Big Sky returned with a bang last week – and with lots going on, including with our favorite sheriff, Beau Arlen. Here’s my Beau-intensive recap (which is in part a great excuse to post lots and lots of caps and gifs of Jensen Ackles making Beau Arlen the latest in a long line of ridiculously hot and complex and heartbreaking characters that we all fall in love with). So enjoy!
But first, the story. The episode picks up just where it left off, Jenny finding her mother in her house bloody and roughed up and frantic, saying she messed up and needs her help, insisting the 30 grand she stole is gone and she grifted the wrong guy. Jenny is at the end of her rope, saying she can’t do this anymore, tying her mother’s hands and preparing to take her to jail, Gigi insisting they have to get out of there, it’s not safe. And sure enough, the bad guys break down the door, taking Jenny down in the process – and drag her mother out.
And where’s our favorite sheriff? Curled up on his deck chair outside under a blanket while Carla and Emily sleep in his trailer. Keeping watch, a rifle at his side ala Dean Winchester with his knife under his pillow.
Emily joins him, saying she can’t sleep, and he gives her his blanket. I love Dad Beau.
He tells her that Avery isn’t a good guy, that he tried to steal $15 Million, that he put Carla and Emily in danger.
Beau: What does she see in him?
Then he thinks better of that.
Beau: Sorry, I shouldn’t say that to you.
I love that even in the brief glimpses we get of him, we see that Beau tries hard to be a good parent to his daughter. He’s not perfect, and he knows it, but he tries. His conflicted character, pulled by his anger to say things he shouldn’t and not keep the right boundaries with Emily, feels realistic, and we relate to his struggle to do the right thing even though what he really wants to do is badmouth Avery from one side of the world to the other.
Emily says maybe Avery’s afraid of losing Carla if he doesn’t have money.
Then she asks a serious question that has apparently driven a wedge between Beau and his family for quite some time – what happened in Houston with his partner?
Beau deflects, saying she knows what happened, but Emily calls him on it, saying he never talked about it.
Beau: Not much to talk about.
It’s painfully clear that’s not true, to us and to Emily, and Ackles lets us see every bit of the pain Beau is still in after the loss of his partner even as Beau tries to deflect. Sometimes when people are grieving, it cuts them off from the other loved ones in their lives, and it seems like that happened with Beau after he lost his partner, perhaps out of the guilt he feels about it. That’s pretty tragic, because then it’s loss on top of loss, and that’s hard to get through. Beau is still suffering from both those losses – his partner and his family. Damn it, I’m caring way too much about this character who is most likely a one season addition to the show, but I just can’t help it!
Emily: Mom never needed you to be perfect, she just wanted you to let her in more.
She leaves and goes back inside, leaving him looking so sad it broke my heart. Jensen Ackles can make you feel every bit of what his character is feeling, and it HURTS.
And damn it, he looks so good while he’s hurting and it’s all confusing as hell and please give me more of it.
The next day, an injured Jenny comes to the station, where Poppernak asks if a found purse is hers.
Jenny: Have you ever seen me with a purse??
She feels guilty that she didn’t believe her mother and needs to find her, though she’s clearly not doing so well herself at the moment. They track down the fact that Gigi’s accomplice was driving a red pickup with longhorns on it.
Beau: Please don’t be from Texas…
Beau is protective, wondering if Jenny should be up and around, asking “What, did you break out of the hospital?”
She thanks him for being there to help and he gives her a gentle hug.
Beau: Try and stop me.
But then an officer reports spotting Avery and she sends him off in pursuit.
Avery comes back to his apartment and puts down his gun, only to find one of the bad guys there holding him at gunpoint.
Bad guy: The boss doesn’t renegotiate.
He takes Avery out, but Beau catches up to them in the hallway, asking who Avery’s “friend” is.
Bad guy says it’s none of his business, and Sheriff Beau gets all kinds of cocky and it’s all kinds of hot.
Beau: Actually it is, seeing as I’m the Sheriff.
He pulls his jacket aside and shows off his badge and damn I love that he wears it there so he can dramatically show it off, just saying.
Look at that cocky sonofabitch, dayum!
Bad guy: Oh, I never shot a sheriff before…
Beau (still cocky) We’re not gonna do that, gunslinger.
Beau loves to call people nicknames and I love that about him.
Avery tells Beau to walk away, and Beau surprises everyone by seemingly deciding to do that.
Beau: Know what, big fella? It’s your lucky day. You can have him.
I imagine there’s a part of Beau that really does want to walk away and leave Avery to his fate. His anger and dislike of the man who in some ways “replaced” him and has now put his daughter in danger is palpable. But he’s also the sheriff, and like I said, he always tries to do the right thing.
He turns to walk away.
And Bad Guy immediately raises his gun to shoot – but Beau spins around and shoots him first. Badass! (With great instincts and great reflexes!) Mmmm. Shades of Dean Winchester. Seriously, that is a Dean Winchester move and a Dean Winchester face if I ever saw one. And I’ve seen every one of them.
You have to really admire Sheriff Arlen’s guts here – he turns his back to the bad guy knowing that the guy is 99.9% likely to try to shoot him, but he stays cool and calm and totally sells it. Then whips around so fast he gets the drop on the bad guy anyway!
He orders Avery to put his hands on his head, pissed and rough and is it hot in here?
“Don’t give me a reason to make my life any easier,” Beau growls – yes, growls – at Avery.
It’s still unbelievably hot in here, yes.
Beau and Avery face off at the station, the tension between them off the charts. No lessening of heat either.
Beau: Start talking.
When Avery doesn’t, Beau says that he found the journal pages that Avery stole and knows he stole the $15 Million.
Avery is stupidly stubborn, disputing what the Sheriff is saying by petulantly asking did anyone report it stolen? Isn’t it a victimless crime?
Avery’s powers of rationalization are immense, but Beau calls him out on his naivete.
Beau: What’s your plan? These people don’t forgive and forget! You put Carla and my daughter in danger!
Avery: (steely) Everything I’ve done has been to protect MY family. You’ve put us all in danger by killing that man.
That hits home, like Avery knew it would; Beau almost looks like he’s been physically kicked, had the breath knocked out of him. Hard.
Avery knows just how to get to him with the “my family” thing. Beau’s still angry as hell but he’s hurt too, you can see his change in expression because Ackles is a master at showing those microexpressions. That feeling that he lost his family, all his regret and all his guilt, come rushing back – you can see the emotion on his face.
He stands up, seething, and storms out, kicking the chair as he leaves.
Shades of Dean Winchester again, and I say that as a very good thing. Beau is different, very different – but every now and then a similarity creeps in and damn, I like it.
Also, apparently this is called a pony kick and somehow that makes it even hotter…
Meanwhile, Tonya and Donno are still trying to find Avery too. Donno asks her what she’d do with the money if they got it, and she answers that she’d “own this town”. And start a diner franchise. Donno says he’d like to breed foxes. Angry and strong foxes. Superfoxes. And then sic them on fox hunters, because he’s still a bit traumatized by reading the Fox and the Hound who just wanted to be friends but the bad people wouldn’t let them…
I love Donno, I can’t help it.
Jenny comes to Tonya and Donno and asks for help finding Gigi.
Jenny: I need your help. Please – she’s my mother.
Tonya and Donno are not your stereotypical bad guys at all; they give Jenny the information and address. Love me some complicated villains!
The creepiest part of the episode is Jenny and Cassie going to the address they’re given and finding an old woman known as “Ma” and a feral kid on the porch. They search the property and Jenny finds her mother being held at gunpoint, her other accomplice shot and dragged off to be eaten by some half feral and apparently ferocious pigs of all things! Apparently Gigi’s grifting got Ma’s son killed and the rest of the commune is ready to take revenge – all the children are gathered around to watch the bloody festivities. Shades of ‘The Benders’ or that X Files episode that won’t ever leave my brain entirely. Well done with the creepiness, Big Sky!
The kids vote thumbs down and someone gets fed to the pigs. Jenny busts in to save her mother, only to be held at gunpoint herself. Ma lets the youngest child vote on how they’ll die – bullets, pigpen or ‘the pit’? (I don’t want to know what that is). He votes for a game and Jenny offers to play in Gigi’s place. Ma says that’s okay, you can play each other. Poor Jenny. They have to play cornhole, of all things. The absurdity of playing a game like that for your life is so very Big Sky though. Also every Supernatural fan was still thinking of ‘The Benders’ and repeating Dean Winchester saying ‘demons I get – people are crazy’.
Both of them try to lose on purpose, Ma threatening them not to cheat. Gigi, about to make sure she’s the one who dies, tells Jenny that she never stopped loving her. The guy cocks his gun… And then Cassie saves the day. The feral girl whose father was killed finds out that Gigi might not have been the one who killed her dad and helps Cassie instead of her abusive – uncle I’m guessing? Cassie holds a gun on Ma, who calls off the execution. Once Gigi and Jenny are safely out, the cops move in and arrest them all. Yay!
The other cliffhanger from the last episode was Buck inside the cabin with a captive Paige and Cassie outside the door – but Buck stashes Paige in the basement and lets Cassie in, calmly offering her coffee and pie with a giant knife on the table in front of them. Creepy!! Cassie tells him to drop the act, she knows that Walter is Sunny’s son and that he lied about the truck. It’s getting scarier and scarier when suddenly Jenny calls and Cassie has to go – one second before Paige finally manages to break a lamp and make some noise. Uh oh, Buck is PISSED.
He’s so pissed he’s going back to drinking after 20 years of Sunny keeping him in line (in more than one way perhaps). He takes off the tape over her mouth and she pleads for her life, offering bargains, but he slaps her and she falls unconscious. How does Rex Linn makes Buck so damn scary??
Sunny and Buck have a bit of a confrontation, Sunny asking for his help finding Paige and Buck refusing, telling her that Cassie knows Walter is her son. Sunny smells alcohol on him, and as he drives away they plan to have a ‘long talk’ and god Sunny, maybe you should get away while you can!
Near the end of this episode, Buck makes up a new jar, putting a label on it – for Paige I’m guessing. There’s a whole shelf of hearts in jars behind him. Once again, Rex Linn makes Buck creepy and terrifying simultaneously. Paige is a fighter though – she gets free and fights Buck off repeatedly, eventually beating the crap out of him and escaping up a ladder and through a hatch into the outside. There are lots of secret hatches and rooms and such on this show and it’s all – I know I’m saying creepy a lot, but it is so creepy!
Tonya and Donno find Avery (who probably should have stayed safe in jail), and Donno happily plans to start chopping off body parts in what he enthusiastically calls “progressive amputation”. Avery insists he has the money, he figured out the code, and he’ll share it with them if they keep him safe. Meanwhile, Donno: So, right hand, or… hear me out… left hand?
Tonya is intrigued though, so Avery does not lose any body parts. Yet.
It’s a bittersweet ending for Jenny and her mom, as Poppernak cuffs Gigi to take her to jail.
Gigi: Sometimes you really disappoint me, Jenny Bear.
Jenny: Right back at you. And I love you too.
Their relationship is heartbreaking, but I love its complexity. I feel for Jenny so much, caught in this toxic relationship with someone who does love her but can’t stay on the straight and narrow.
Sunny accuses Cormac of choosing Cassie and he doesn’t deny it.
Cormac: Anything can be buried with enough lies, right Mama?
He walks away as she calls after him.
That night at the campsite, Carla comes to sit with Beau, saying they’re thankful that he’s helping them.
Beau is worried, very worried.
Beau: I’ve got a very bad feeling about all this. Like with Randy… feels like something’s coming and I’m powerless to stop it.
Carla: Randy’s death wasn’t your fault.
Beau insists that it was, his guilt, regret and sadness written all over his face.
Beau: We both know that’s not true. He was my partner and I let him down. Then I wasn’t there for you and for Emily. I don’t blame you for leaving me.
Carla: Well, you are here for us now.
Beau says that doesn’t make up for the way he checked out, and he looks so sad and sorry as he turns away.
Carla: I forgive you for all that, okay?
I think she knows he needs to hear that, that he blames himself and maybe she blamed him too, not understanding what grief can do to a person’s ability to connect to others, even those they love.
Beau is still worried, saying this thing with Avery isn’t over by a long shot.
Beau: I’m not saying that to scare you. I’m not gonna let anything happen to you two.
Carla is emotional now too, saying she knows in almost a sob.
Beau hears the emotion in her voice.
He looks down, wistful. Sad. His eyes are glistening and just the expression on his face breaks my heart.
Beau: God… I’ll always love you.
Carla holds his hand.
I know not everyone is a Carla fan, but I actually like the two of them. There’s real emotion there, history, a lot of tenderness. It may be tragic, but it seems like she really is the love of his life, and he’s full of guilt and regret that he let that fall apart. I feel for him so much. Damn you, Jensen Ackles! (And all the kudos to Angelique Cabral here too – she’s playing a complicated character who’s not always the most sympathetic, but in this scene I really felt her genuine caring for Beau and the sincerity of the forgiveness that Beau is convinced he needs).
The next morning, Denise sends Emily down the street to a coffee shop to get them some lattes, saying that her dad won’t let anything happen to her and her mom. The bad guy is there though OMG.
Bad guy: Mm, I love nutmeg too…Emily.
He claims to have read her name on her cup and she leaves…and the bad guy follows in his car…
OH NO NOT EMILY! DON’T TOUCH MY SWEET SUMMER CHILD!!
Beau is gonna be BESIDE HIMSELF next episode and I cannot wait!
The penultimate episode of ‘Big Sky’ airs this Wednesday on ABC!
Beautiful caps by raloria / spndeangirl
You can read Jensen Ackles’ experience with
fans and on Supernatural in his chapters in
Family Don’t End With Blood and There’ll Be
Peace When You Are Done – links at: