There is so much great television coming up this fall that there’s no way I can do the kind of deep dive reviews I relish doing for all of them – but there’s also no way I can not post at least a little squee about Supernatural’s Jensen Ackles’ new role as Sexy Sheriff Beau Arlen. There’s also no way I can not post some of the gorgeous screencaps from the episodes that CappingQueen created. So each week I’ll trace the evolution of Beau here just for fun as we discover who this new character is – which does not mean the show doesn’t have other great characters and an intriguing mystery going on. I mean, Reba is on this season! And her oh-so-creepy (spoiler alert!) son who hangs out in the woods being menacing is already living up to Big Sky’s tradition of creating characters that make you go eeeeek! So yes, all that’s happening and I appreciate it when I watch.
But this little review? It’s all about Soldier Beau… I mean Sheriff Beau…
He’s handsome, that goes without saying. And we’ve seen from the season 2 finale that he’s charming as hell. Season 3 kicks off with reminders of both those attributes. And then we get the show’s slightly meta acknowledgement that Big Sky was maybe a little caught off guard by the passion of Ackles’ fans at first, but they catch on fast and they sure know now! The show’s social media been courting what they’ve picked up on as the ‘Ackles Army'(though that has some interesting connotations in the fandom that they are likely unaware of…). They’ve also been parrying back and forth with The Boys social media (the show Ackles was on last season), as both shows have clearly realized they have a PR goldmine on their hands.
The Boys is a whiz at social media, so it’s been fun watching the two networks go back and forth. Talk about meta!
In this episode, Big Sky brings the acknowledgement of (a small part of) Ackles’ appeal right into the show, as Beau returns a casserole dish to Denise with a good-natured complaint that if he keeps eating like that, none of his clothes will fit. Seems like Beau has a little bit of Dean Winchester’s hedonism when it comes to food.
Denise unselfishly offers to take him shopping, assuring him she’ll make sure his pants fit just right, especially in the back – leading to lots of peach emoji use by the fandom. Deservedly so.
Sheriff Arlen is anything but put off by Denise’s generous offer – or her sincere appreciation of his assets. His cheekiness is charming…and oh wow, that was totally a Freudian slip on my part…
We get some nice conversation between Beau and Jenny in this episode, some of it just for fun and some of it more serious.
We also start to learn more of his backstory, as he advises Jenny to do what he’s done to handle the reservoir of anger he’s carrying around – make a ‘punch list’.
Beau’s list, which includes his childhood bully and football coach along with Elon Musk and some beer commercial guy, gives us a little insight into who he is behind the handsome face and the disarming grin. Perhaps a child more sensitive than he now lets on, shaped by bullying and a football coach who hurt him enough in some way to be remembered thirty years later. Pretty sure the last two were added to deflect from the unintentional disclosure of vulnerability and get back to the aw-shucks-wink-wink persona that Beau has perfected.
We also find out that while hiatus was happening, Beau and Cassie have started a movie night tradition. Jenny seems to feel a little left out, setting up an interesting dynamic for the three of them, but Beau assures her it’s just a movie night and she’s welcome.
Their conversation gets derailed spectacularly – in true shocking Big Sky fashion – when a guy wearing only an unfortunate pair of tighty whities comes jogging up the road.
Side note: Big Sky really knows how to shoot the big sky. Which is not actually Montana, but New Mexico does an admirable job filling in.
Neither Beau nor Jenny is thrilled about having the guy reach into his undies to pull out his wallet and toss it at them – points for Beau’s catlike reflexes as he jumps out of the way with a clear “not it!”
The guy turns out to be an officer transporting a felon – who got away. With his clothes.
We find out here that Beau (and Jenny of course) have some pretty good instincts – he’s not just a pretty face. The chagrined officer admits that the female prisoner talked him into some hanky panky and thus was able to get away. Beau’s expressive face pretty much says it all. Don’t bullshit me, man!
They watch the store video tape and begin figuring out who the woman is and where she’s headed.
Also, bowlegs – Beau legs? – appreciation, and Jensen Ackles finally gets to be the tallest one in the room now that Jared Padalecki isn’t always standing next to him!
We get a little interaction with Deputy Poppernak, which is a recurring bit that I’m enjoying – it lets us see Beau’s playful side. I like to play a little game with Ackles’ characters to see if I can guess which of his lines are ad libs. I was freakishly good at it with Dean Winchester, but in all fairness, I had fifteen years to study him and he’s my favorite fictional character of all time, so. I don’t know Beau well yet, but all those names he comes up with for the Deputy? That all include some permutation of ‘pop’? Love it!
In true Big Sky fashion, things once again take a shocking and unpleasant turn as a guy gets pushed out a window – and lands right on the truck Beau and Jenny are in. Ouch!
We get alot of competence kink satisfaction with Sheriff Beau, including not just his weapons and fighting skill, but his instantly affording CPR to the hapless man.
We also get a really touching callback to Supernatural and the Winchester brothers (at least that’s what it was to me) as they find a moose plushie and Beau remembers that he and his brother fought over one when they were kids. He’s incredibly soft as he remembers this, letting us know that his brother was/is important to him, and of course my Winchester brothers loving heart was all awwwwww.
(For those who don’t know, Sam Winchester’s nickname in Supernatural was ‘Moose’, and it’s often used to refer to Ackles’ real life costar and honorary brother, Jared Padalecki too.)
Thanks, Big Sky.
The most upsetting scene in this episode was the one where Beau and Jenny catch up to the woman on the run – who, it turns out, fled in panic of losing the little girl she helped raise, and who considers her to be her mother. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a mom or because that actress and the child actress did such a damn good job, but as the little girl clung to the only mother she has, crying, my heart really broke for them. Obviously you can’t break out of jail and toss guys out the window onto trucks, but ouch.
Beau comes in gun raised, but he sizes up the situation quickly and realizes what a tragic thing he’s witnessing. He shows both empathy and smarts when he urges the woman to not do anything violent – for the sake of her child.
She listens and puts the gun down, and Beau stops Jenny from pulling the mother and daughter apart, asking her to give them some time. It’s crystal clear from the look on his face and the way his eyes glisten that he understands how heartbreaking the separation of a parent and child is – we suspect from personal experience.
The last scene is quite beautiful, both visually and emotionally. I love the aesthetic of Beau’s trailer with its lights strung up and its Adirondack chairs and checkered tablecloth and a perhaps distant relative of the Winchester brothers’ green cooler to keep the beer cold.
Jenny has taken Beau up on his invitation, so it’s all three of them settling in to watch some movies. The women seem to genuinely care about Beau and sense that he’s feeling down about something. Their invitation to him to share with them rings true, and to my surprise, he does.
As many of us suspected, the teenage girl currently glamping with Sunny Barnes (Reba) and her stepfather is Emily – Beau’s daughter. Which means Emily is in alot of danger and doesn’t know it.
Beau reaches out to her but she doesn’t pick up his call, texting that she’s having fun and will talk to him later. She adds a “Luv U!” but you can see how it crushes Beau. It feels like a dismissal and a rejection, and knowing she’s having fun with the man who has in some sense replaced him is salt in the wound.
Also? It’s so weird that Jensen Ackles now has a (TV) daughter with the same name as my (real life) daughter.
Beau hesitates for a moment when Jenny and Cassie ask him what’s going on. You get the feeling that he wants to trust them enough to be vulnerable, but it’s hard for him. Perhaps all that toxic masculinity stuff that his previous character Soldier Boy bought into wholesale has left him reluctant to take down the persona of devil-may-care competence that has been a necessary defense in his life.
He takes that chance, though, admitting that he feels like he’s losing his daughter, and that someone else is getting to share all the important moments in her life instead of him. That he feels lost, unable to call up any of his customary coping strategies.
“I don’t know what to do with that,” he admits, meaning the strong emotions it brings up in him and the more practical question of ohgod what do I do to fix this?
Jenny and Cassie are both parents of children who are no longer little kids too, and their empathy for Beau is clear. As always, Ackles lets us see every bit of Beau’s pain, his nonverbals making it crystal clear and the waver in his voice making my heart clench.
We leave our heroes there, watching a movie and hoping for some distraction while Beau misses his daughter and his eyes show the pain he’s feeling. I can’t help but wonder if he’s experienced those things before – rejection, abandonment, loss – and how his early challenges (traumas?) have shaped him. As I sit here pondering that, I realize that Ackles has done it again – made me care about a fictional character.
Honestly, if he did that with Soldier Boy, I should have known he could do it with literally anyone. I’m intrigued now. Who is Beau Arlen and how did he get to be who he is? What’s behind that charming smile and those familiar bowlegs?
I can’t wait to find out more! A new episode of Big Sky airs tonight on ABC!
Gorgeous caps by CappingQueen, gifs by sensitiveham and abordelimpala
You can read Jensen Ackles’ thoughts
on fandom and on Supernatural in his
chapters in Family Don’t End With
Blood and There’ll Be Peace When You
Are Done – links here or at:
11 thoughts on “Season 3 of Big Sky Kicks Off – With New Sexy Sheriff Beau Arlen”
I always love watching Jensen Ackles act. He is skilled and able to convey so much with his expressive face and gorgeous body. I will watch Big Sky although I wasn’t much impressed with the writing. Beau is indeed intriguing and his fast talking delivery is fun to watch. I just hope it gets better
I’m watching for fun – and for Beau – the way I watch most things that are not Supernatural. I think I’m spoiled forever by that show!
You are so right in how Jensen has a way of making us care about the character he plays no matter how good or bad they may be. Each one has a uniqueness that draws you in to care about them. I am loving him as Beau but sometimes get a little disgruntled at how they have him take more of a back seat behind Jenny even though he is the Sheriff. I understand that Jenny is or was the lead along with Cassie but its the job position snafu that bothers me. I am loving that they added Reba to the cast and I cannot wait to see Jensen and Reba interacting tonight. Thanks again for your awesome review and fleshing out some great key points.
I watched some of the earlier seasons, so I understand that Jenny and Cassie are the leads and he’s a guest star, but it is a little odd that he is the Sheriff. Maybe that will end up being part of the story sooner or later…
I was hoping you’d have the time to do a quick review of our latest way to watch our dear Jensen! I am so glad to have two TV nights to look forward to now with him on “Big Sky” and Jared on “Walker,” though I miss them being together so much. Can’t wait to see “The Winchesters” and “Windy” as well. I’m already loving how, as usual, Jensen can tell us so much about his character with just an expression or even his eyes. I love how Beau, as we call it down here in the South, “picks at” Poppernak with the nicknames to bring some levity to a serious job. I loved the Smurf reference since Dean often mentioned the Smurfs, and I’m expecting Pop Tart, Popsicle, and maybe even Poppin’ Fresh anytime now. I wondered if Beau’s “punch list” was derived from an anger management course and perhaps suggests what might’ve contributed to his problems in the past. We shall see.
I hate to be “that person” who finds something negative in our joyful hour of watching Jensen, but since this has always been a forum for getting to express our thoughts freely, I’ll go ahead. My husband pointed out that as long as Beau wasn’t in the room, the ladies could express their admiration for his finer qualities as much as they wanted, but once he came in, any kind of comment like that would be considered out of line in his office, especially if it were reversed and a male employee said it about a woman. As a great husband and girl-dad, he’s very supportive of professional behavior in the workplace, but that has to apply to women, too. I know Denise was just being “cheeky,” but still…. When I mentioned that some fans were already “shipping” Beau and Jenny, he said that would be highly unprofessional of both of them, especially given Beau’s past issues, whatever they were, and he hopes the writers don’t go in that direction. I personally agreed with him because I have a confession to make: I don’t really like Jenny. On a list of favorite characters on the show, she wouldn’t even be as high up as Tonya and Donno. Everyone in her sphere of influence winds up hurt or dead because of how she conducts herself, and I know that’s just how the writers portray her, but I don’t care for it. When she started to cuff the outlaw mom clinging to the little girl, I said, “Geez, give her a minute” before Beau said it, unsurprisingly. Perhaps with her mother showing up soon we’ll get a glimpse into why she acts the way she does and I’ll be able to empathize with her better, but I’m still praying to the TV gods for no “Beau-ny” or “Jeau” ship please! Thanks for letting me quietly fuss; looking forward to more reviews of shows with or produced by our boys!
I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on episode 2. I think they’re building a really complex and realistic dynamic between Beau, Emily and Avery. Neither man seems the know what their place is in Emily’s life now and especially as she’s 16. Beau is overwhelmed and overprotective and Avery is unsure and not protective enough and each afraid of overstepping boundaries. I wonder how long ago the divorce was? What caused it? How long have Carla and Avery been married? It’s super interesting.
It is! Stay tuned for my episode 2 Beau-centric wrap up!
Oh also, as cozy as that trailer setup is it’s also some excellent story telling. When he said he followed his ex and kid up there he literally must have just dropped everything and moved to Montana. I have lots of questions that I hope get answered. Why was he “on the bench… well.. retired”? He tells the deputied they can lookup his boni fides and there’s things he’s not proud of. What happened in Houston? Did he “retire” to follow them or was he “on the bench retired”(aka dignifiedly fired)? I have questions.
Hmmmmm…. methinks there’s more to Sheriff Beau than meets the eye (tho that’s mighty nice) 🙂
Haven’t watch the show but I will be why is Jensen daughter living with her step dad who is her mother