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Big Sky 3.5 "Flesh and Blood"

Scenes play from last week's episode, ending with Sunny and her husband Buck leaving the cabin.  Walter opens a door into a back room where Paige, a young, dark-haired woman with a bandaged ankle, is sitting and staring ahead tensely.  "They're gone," he says softly, and last week's show flows smoothly into the new episode.

3.4 164982 0626 paige

Walter faces Paige in the dimly lit, rustic back room of the cabin. She looks tired and leery but not terrified.  He wonders why she didn't scream, and she says she didn't know who those people were or what might happen to her if she did.  He says, "Nothing good."  He adds that his mom told everyone she went home, and she's surprised that his mom is Sunny.  When she asks why she keeps him in the woods, he says it's to protect him from other people and the police.  He tells her that he saved her from Luke, who was going to hit her in the head with a rock.  She doesn't really believe that her boyfriend would do that.  Walter grows agitated, raising his voice and saying that Luke doesn't care about her and was already "frolicking with other women."  Walter kneels before Paige and quietly says, "He's bad news!" as if he's pleading with her.  She accuses Walter of spying on his mom's camp, but he says it's just observing.  He asks politely if he can rebandage her leg where she'd cut herself running away from Luke.  He promises he'll protect her, reaching forward to touch her hair.  She flinches, face filled with trepidation and determination.  As he puts antibiotic ointment on her wound (after teasing her about maggots), he tells her that he has so much good inside him but it gets built up and makes his head hurt.  Paige tells him that he's been out here too long; maybe he needs a mission.  "I like missions," smiles Walter.  She wants him to sneak into camp and get something for her.  He agrees, extending his hand.  She puts her smaller hand in his and he kisses it, eyes staring at her. 

Beau is in a motorcycle shop planning on buying a bike for his daughter.  She doesn't ride ("over-protective mother"), but there's just something about daddy-daughter time, Beau says to the owner.  The grey-bearded man sees a young man outside who seems to be taking pliers to a motorcycle and excuses himself, while Beau straddles the bike and chuckles to himself as he starts an imaginary conversation:  "What?  You've never seen Emily so happy?  Of course not. 'Cause you took her glamping.  I gave her a bike."  He's distracted from his admiration of the soon-to-be purchased bike by the two men on the sidewalk outside who are arguing.  When the younger man strikes the older, Beau heads out, calling for someone to help the older man on the ground.  "He was trying to steal the bike!" says the owner.  Beau runs after the young man, who climbs over a fence. Beau's leaped on by a large dog.  The dog, however, is chained.  The suspect sidesteps and keeps running, Beau running after him, yelling, "Stop."  The younger man rounds a corner where an orange panel truck is waiting and leaps inside.  Realizing he's lost him, Beau recites the license plate to himself, pausing to yell, "I got you!" after the disappearing vehicle.  

In the woods, law enforcement has arrived where Cormac and Cassie found the body of the lost hiker.  Jenny arrives, and they discuss how the body has been there less than 48 hours, though decomposition indicates he'd died earlier than that.  Cormac tells Cassie that he has to leave to go get some new campers but that he'll be around if she needs anything.  Their eye contact and smiles indicate attraction, which makes Jenny smile too.  Jenny puts on gloves to examine the body. She finds the crudely carved wooden figure of a backpacker with the body which both women agree is weird.

  3.5 Screenshot 1183 figurine

Cassie is reminded of the guy she'd seen on the side of the road with a stranded vehicle.  He'd given her serious Ted Kazinsky vibes.  It was a blue and white Suburban and she remembers seeing something under a tarp in the back.  

Among the new guests arriving at the camp is Beau's ex wife.  Her hair is down and she is relaxed and happy.  Sunny greets her and promises her a chance to go fly fishing after breakfast with Avery and Emily.  As she walks on, two more guests appear:  a tall bearded man in a blue tropical shirt and a pink-sweatered, smiling woman - Donno and Tonya.  Donno is very impressed; the horses remind him of how he'd had a stick pony as his child that his dad would use to hit him.  Tonya puts on a no-nonsense tone:  "You've got to cool it with those stories while we're here!"  Sunny welcomes them, Tonya claiming they're husband and wife.  Donno wants to ride a white horse which he plans to name Gandalf.  "Well, he already has a name, but you do you!" says irrepressible Sunny, though she's a bit taken aback when Donno fiercely refuses to hand over his bag which she'd offered to take to the tent.  She keeps a smile plastered to her face but can't stop the eye roll behind their backs as Cormac approaches, wondering why they took late comers. 

3.5 Screenshot 1161 Sunny

Sunny says they paid double. Her smile is wide, close-lipped, and insincere as she adds that, since he'd stayed out all night, he doesn't get a say-so.  He says they found the missing backpacker - dead.  Sunny warns him to be careful of Cassie; she might be using him.  "Maybe I want to be used," he replies. 

3.5 Screenshot 1160 cormac

She tells him, "I'm still your mother.  I just don't want you to get your heart broken."  He takes Tonya's bag from her and heads off to put it in their tent.  "Cassie.  Cassie.  Cassie.  Cassie," whispers Sunny with a deep sigh.  

3.x 164982 0028 Deputy

Deputy Poppernak has found the name of the man the trunk was registered to, and he and the sheriff are at the address on the registration.  He's surprised that the sheriff wants to spend his day off looking for a punk kid who wanted a joy ride, but Beau says he absolutely wants to because the guy stabbed the business owner with a screwdriver.  That's a felony.  Poppernak is planning on searching the lot for the truck while Beau heads inside to talk to the manager. Poppernak hears rock music and enters an open garage to find a woman working on a bike.  She stands with a cheerful smile but says she's not familiar with the truck.  Suddenly, there's the click of a gun.  The criminal who assaulted the grey-bearded man holds a gun to Poppernak's head.  The girl looks serious and resigned, and Poppernak looks scared.

Inside, the manager tells Beau that the truck has been there for a while and is rarely moved.  An engine rumbles, and the orange truck drives by.  "Son of a bitch!  That's it right there!" exclaims Beau, running out.  He pulls out his walkie-talkie, but "Pop" doesn't answer.  

Jenny enters the detective agency office with the backpacker's personal effects.  They're not needed for evidence because his death has been ruled an accident.  Cassie doesn't think it was.  Jenny says his broken ribs prove he fell from a height.  Perhaps he crawled away before dying.  Cassie wants to know how his parents got a picture sent to them from his phone AFTER his time of death as determined by the coroner.  Also, the phone was not recovered with the body.  Denise, who doesn't want to be called a conspiracy theorist, speaks up and says that this has to be connected to the bleeding heart murder.  "That was twenty years ago!" protests Jenny, but Denise says she can feel it in her bones.  His parents will be arriving soon, and Jenny says they need to just stick with the facts they know:  the coroner says it was an accident.  She's interrupted by a phone call, and she starts to rush out.  "It's Poppernak!"

Buck is gathering firewood when Sunny approaches saying she will NOT be apologizing for wanting to help her own son.  "It's my job to protect you," he says, "especially from the things you can't see coming."  She says she draws a hard line when it comes to her own blood.  Buck says they had a deal that Cormac would never know about any of this.  She's says they'll deal with that if it happens.  Buck wonders if Cormac told her about him and Cassie finding the backpacker.  "Are you going to tell me the whole story?"  Sunny sighs, then says, "Walter brought the boy to me."  "Why?" Buck asks. Sunny says it's because he was hurt badly and there was nothing anyone could do.  "Did Walter do something to him?" asks Buck.  "No!  He FELL!" insists Sunny.  "Walter was trying to save his life!"  "Like he tried to save the folks who adopted him?" responds Buck.  "They weren't worth saving," Sunny tells him.  Walter did the world a favor, if you ask her.  She poo-poos Buck's concern about Paige, but her husband is worried:   "We know he's capable of it.  What if he did something to her?  How many people does he have to hurt before you see him for what he really is?"  "I'm his mother!  It doesn't matter what he does.  I'll always love him!" Sunny insists.  Buck says he's not going to stand around and watch him wreck everything they've built, and Sunny wants to know what he'd like her to do.  Buck says that maybe it's time to let the law handle it, but Sunny says they can't because she let Walter use the truck to move the body and Cassie Dewell saw him driving it.  Before Buck can offer any ideas, Sunny says they'll move Walter far away.  "You already tried that, Sunny," he says.  But this time, she says, Walter won't have a say in it; he'll do exactly what she says.  "Are you with me?"  "Always, babe, 'til they bury me deep in the ground," Buck answers and kisses her.  

Jenny pulls up at the business lot.  "I literally watched the truck drive off!" Beau exclaims.  "I didn't know Pop was in it.  I've been trying his cell phone."  They hear it ringing and find it discarded near some mechanic's tools.  Jenny spots his radio on the ground near an empty padding stand where someone had been working on a motorcycle.  "Maybe it was the guy I was chasing," suggests Beau.  "But why take a cop?" wonders Jenny.  Beau surmises that the criminal might be trying to cover up something bigger like a bike theft ring.  The owner of the truck is probably not involved; he's a 90 year old.  It doesn't make any sense, but they need to figure it out fast.  "We're talking about my partner here!" Jenny says.

Poppernak is tied and gagged in the back of the truck.  "We got to let him go," says the female mechanic, standing inside the moving vehicle.  "Too late.  He saw you," says the man who'd tried to steal the bike earlier.  When the deputy starts to cough, the woman removes his gag, fearing he'll choke, but when he asks to be let go, the man grows angry.  "Shut him up or I will!"  Suddenly, the back sliding door rolls upward, revealing a smiling man with a dark moustache and short beard.  The intense young man continues his rant:  "I told you bringing your girlfriend was a bad idea!"  "She's cool," says the new man, unruffled.  "You think I'm not tough enough? Watch me!" declares the girl boldly.  The man steps toward her, but the boyfriend tries to defuse the situation, saying they'd be in and out of the bank quickly.  "Do you want my mom's stuff or not?" asks the woman.  "We're gonna play by MY rules," says the first man.  And they'll be bringing the deputy.  "You're gonna kill a cop?" she asks.  "Depends," he replies. 

3.5 Screenshot 1203 office

At the sheriff's office, they're busy trying to find the missing deputy.  Beau is getting an officer to Poppernak's mother's house while Jenny has searched the records for family members of the truck owner.  She's found a grandson, Trent Dillard, who has a record of some misdemeanors and rides motocross.  Beau recognizes his mug shot as the man from that morning and wonders when he escalated to grand theft auto and kidnapping.  They cross check the lot logs with records of crimes to see if anything went down when the truck left the lot.  "Son of a bitch!" says Beau, staring at the computer screen.  "He's stealing a lot more than bikes, Hoyt."

The young mechanic walks Poppernak into a bank, one hand on his arm, the other holding a gun pressed to his back.  "You don't have to do this!" he tells her.  Along with Trent, in dark glasses and with a backpack over his shoulder, they approach a banker at a desk.  "Follow my instructions or she shoots him," says Trent.  He wants her passcard and the master safety deposit key.  If she does anything stupid, people will get hurt.  "Do what he says," whispers the deputy.  The banker reluctantly opens her drawer to get him the card and key.  She's about to press the alarm buzzer, but Trent pulls a gun and aims it at her head.  "That would be stupid!" he says.  She nods, then without warning, he shoots her.  She falls from her chair, and Trent turns, shooting into the air as customers scream in shock and horror.  "Get on the ground!" he yells.

Beau tells his department that Trent has robbed three banks in the past six years, always riding away on a motorcycle and he always kills a hostage.  They've alerted the feds and local banks, and Beau wants a cruiser and two policemen in front of every branch, and they're getting a strike team ready.

"This wasn't the plan," gasps the mechanic.  "You didn't have to shoot her," says Poppernak.  "Would you rather I shot you?" asks Trent, pointing the gun at him.  He leans in toward his accomplice and speaks low:  "Time to prove how tough you are."  As they head toward the back, Trent threatens to kill their hostage if anyone calls an ambulance.  

At camp, Emily approaches Luke and tells him she's been thinking about the person he says he saw in the woods the night Paige went missing.  "I don't remember anything," replies Luke, "and if you're smart, you'll stay out of it."  He says it mildly, but Emily challenges him:  "Is that a warning?"  "Yes," he says mildly, putting his Air pods back in.  "About what?" she asks, sitting down.  Luke tells her that Paige isn't little miss innocent, but he's interrupted by Tonya who approaches, cheerfully introducing herself and Donno.  When Emily says Luke was there with his girlfriend, Tonya asks where she is.  Luke says she had to go home and excuses himself to go running.  There's a close shot of Sunny's face.  She appears lost in thought.  Is she watching the new arrivals or wondering what to do about Walter?

The two bereaved parents sit at Cassie's desk.  Cassie tells them that they don't believe that their son's death was an accident.  With their permission, she'd like to continue pursuing this.  "He always came home safe and sound," his father says wistfully.  Cassie offers them the bag of his personal effects and asks them specifically about the carving found in his pocket.  His parents don't recognize it and say that Mark would have never carried something like that - junk and trinkets.  Cassie promises she will find out what happened to their son.

"You know that Poppernak is talking the guy's ear off about some species of Montana woodpecker, right?" Beau asks, trying to reassure Jenny, who gives him a little smile.  "If anyone can get through this, it's Poppernak, right?" she asks. 

3.5 Screenshot 1163 Jenny

"You're damn right," Beau says earnestly and gives her a hug.  "We'll find him."  "Ahem! Someone loudly clears their throat, and they separate.  A female deputy tells them one bank hasn't picked up their calls, and they head off to check it out.  

Hands zip tied in front of him, the deputy sits by helplessly as the two robbers ransack the safety deposit boxes.  "Hurry up!"  yells Trent.  "Thirty seconds!"  "I can't find it!" the young woman responds.  "She must have switched boxes!"  She frantically opens smaller boxes while Trent stuffs more bills from the larger ones into his backpack.  He's heading out, but she wants to keep looking.  "I'm sick of your mommy issues!" he declares.  "I'm not leaving without it!" she responds.  "You're not cut out for this," Trent tells her, raising the gun.  "You weren't making it out of here anyway."  Just then Poppernak leaps to his feet and lunges at the huge door, swinging it shut, trapping them inside with Trent on the outside.  "What the hell did you do?" gasps the panicked robber, raising her gun and pointing it at the deputy.  

Jenny and Beau enter the bank, guns drawn, finding customers and employees on the ground.  Jenny tells everyone to stay down.  They hear the roar of a motorcycle from outside. "Go!  I've got this!" Jenny says.  Beau runs out just as Trent drives off, but there's a second bike waiting there for the second robber.  Beau puts on the red helmet with a grim look in his eyes and heads after Trent, tires squealing on the pavement. 

3.5 Screenshot 1188 chase

They swerve in and out of traffic, Trent as determined to lose his pursuer as Beau is to catch him.  Then Beau spots the orange truck, parked on a side lot, with its back door up and a ramp down.  He turns his bike and drives back to the truck.

Jenny motions the people out of the bank and finds the wounded woman on the floor, shot in the shoulder but still alive.  Jenny calls for an ambulance and back up, then hears a bang from the rear of the bank.  

3.5 Screenshot 1187 Luke   3.5 Screenshot 1186 Tonya

Luke enters his tent to find Tonya sitting on the end of his bed with a big smile.  He's confused and orders her out.  "Where's your girlfriend?" she asks.  "I told you!  She went home!" "Actually, we know she didn't," Tonya replies, as Donno steps up behind Luke.  There's a small hatchet in his hands.  Luke tells them he doesn't have what they're looking for because Paige took it.  "Took what?" smiles Tonya.  "The fifteen million," Luke replies as Tonya's jaw drops.  "Stay in the camp.  Try to run, and Donno will find you," she says.  "Chop. Chop." adds Donna calmly.  Tonya smiles smugly.

Gun pointed ahead of her, Jenny walks down a hallway and through offices to the vault.  Finding the passkey on the floor by the door, she swipes it and pushes the huge door in to find Poppernak on his knees with the mechanic behind him with her gun to his head.   "Careful, Hoyt," says the deputy.  "Drop your gun or I'll kill this guy!" the robber says.  "Ok!" Jenny replies, holding up her hands and carefully placing the gun down.  "I have no weapon.  Now let my partner go."  The robber wants a way out.  When Jenny tells her she doesn't think that's going to happen, she hits Poppernak hard on the back of the head and he collapses.  "You think I'm not serious?" she yells. "Calm down!  I'll help you," Jenny tells her.  

Thinking he lost his pursuer, Trent comes back to the trunk, rides up the ramp, and dismounts, yelling in triumph.  He bangs on the inside wall:  "Let's move!"  Instead of a getaway, though, he is confronted by his partner, handcuffed and being walked around the back of the trunk by the sheriff who points his gun at Trent, who raises his hands in resignation.

The robber, Heather, is still pointing a gun at Poppernak.  Jenny tells her she's gotten money, her car is on its way, and a plane is on standby, but she wants her to let the deputy go, but the woman won't:  he's her insurance.  "I saved your life!" Poppernak reminds her.  "This isn't personal," she tells him.  "It's all personal.  All because you're mad at your mom," he replies.  "Shut up!" the woman yells, then explains in a shaking voice that her mom cut her off and stole her inheritance.  "I'm just supposed to forget that.  We're flesh and blood."  "Flesh and blood doesn't always make you a good parent," says Jenny.  "I get how she hurt you, but don't let her ruin the rest of your life."    Heather says it's too late for her, but Jenny says she can help her.  Seeing a glance between Hoyt and the deputy, Heather becomes suspicious that they're just playing her.  Jenny grabs one of the nearby safety deposit box drawer and swings it at her.  When she falls to the floor, Jenny swiftly handcuffs her:  "That's what you get when you mess with my friends."  

In one of the luxury tents at the camp, Carla is playing cards with Avery and Emily.  She teases Avery, saying this is killing him.  He protests that he loves it, and they laugh at him.  She wants him to come fly-fishing with her tomorrow and he agrees.  Their flirting makes Emily feel a little awkward.  Then Carla puts her mom instinct into play, questioning Emily about what's going on with the boyfriend of the missing girl and recognizing that she and Avery are "thick as thieves."  Emily says she just wants to find out what's going on and use it for her podcast about relationships.  The mood changes when Emily tells her that she thinks Paige didn't make it home.  Avery sighs as Emily says that some of the other campers also think something bad happened.  "I can't believe this!  Emily, you need to keep your distance from this kid!" Carla commands.  She wants to call Beau because he's the sheriff and get to the bottom of this, but Avery says that's not necessary.  Sunny says everything's fine.  "Oh, really?" mocks Carla, but Avery takes her hands and tells her to breathe.  He reminds her that he built a panic room in their house and has high-quality security because he is a professional worrier and he would sound the alarm if he thought something was wrong.  "Trust me," he says, and she nods her agreement, mollified.

Cormac shows up at the detective agency.  Denise wants to hang out and watch their interaction, but Cassie shoos her away.  He's actually there because Cassie had called him.  She's looking for a creepy guy in a blue and white Suburban.  "Doesn't sound like me," he jokes.  He says there's no one up there in the woods but his group, and no blue and white Suburbans.  She shows him the backpacker carving.  He doesn't recognize that either, but he has seen the mark on the bottom of the carved boot. 

3.5 Screenshot 1182 heart foot

It's a reddish heart.  It's been carved on some of the trees in the woods near camp.  "Where, exactly?" asks Cassie.

Decompressing at a bar later, Poppernak tells Cassie and Beau that it was weird being with the bad guys.  He says everyone just seems scared, but he was glad that they came to find him.  Cassie and Beau, however, tell him that he's fired.  It was terrible police work.  "The worst!" Beau adds.  "Really?" Poppernak asks, then they start smiling and laughing.  "We're just glad you're safe!" Jenny says.  "We need more beers!" he says. "For the good guys."  After he steps away, Beau asks Jenny how she's holding up.  "Today got me thinking about my mom."  "Thinking about robbing some banks?" he asks.  "I dunno.  Maybe," she answers with a smile grin.  "Well, Hoyt, listen," he says.  "All we can do is the best we can, and at the end of the day, all relationships have to be a two-way street.  Even blood.  Maybe especially blood."  His eyes are earnest and she's open, then she says mildly that she hates when he does that whole cowboy wisdom thing.  "Well, my bad," he says.  "I actually kinda like it," she admits.  "We don't really blush in Texas," he replies, "so I'll just accept that compliment and maybe we'll just get drunk."  "OK," she laughs, and holds up her bottle.  "To family," she smiles.  He considers it for a second.  "To family," he repeats and clinks their bottles.

A large moon hangs high in the night sky.  Buck is putting on his boots as Sunny says she's just trying to protect all of them.  She'll always love her firstborn, Walter, but that doesn't mean she loves Buck and Cormac any less.  Buck stands and grabs two large gasoline containers, saying he'll miss the old gal, but Sunny says with the blood and DNA evidence they have no other choice.  Buck hears something and hushes her.  Going to the tent flap, he shines a flashlight into the trees and catches a glimpse of Walter.

3.5 Screenshot 1180 walter

Luke is washing up in his chandelier-lit tent, when Avery enters.  Luke wants to know what's going on, and Avery tells him he knows a seed-phrase when he sees one.  It's a code that opens a crypto account.  Avery says he saw Paige's journal and the gun.  "Why were you looking through her stuff anyway?" challenges Luke.  Avery says his stepdaughter and wife are here and, if Luke is in trouble, he should tell him because he can help.  Luke says there's no trouble and nothing to tell.  

In the darkness, Cassie is checking out the trees and finds a redding heart carved into the bark. 

3.5 Screenshot 1190 cassie   3.5 Screenshot 1170 heart tree

In the distance, she sees flames.  She goes closer to find the Suburban fully engulfed in flames.  As she stands watching, another figure is watching too, Walter, shadows flickering across his face, as he slowly smiles.  

THE END

  1. How dangerous is Walter?  Is he capable of killing?  
  2. Who killed the young girl 20 years ago?   What is the significance of the carved hearts?
  3. What Supernatural connections did you see in this episode?
  4. The title "Flesh and Blood" highlights the conflicts that can come in families from Heather's mom to Jenny's mom to Sunny's questionable mothering choices. There is also Beau's desperation to connect with his daughter.  I'm also reminded of the twisted family dynamic in season 1 between Ronald Pergman and his mother as well as the horrible relationships in the Kleinsasser family.  What is your take on some of the complicated family relationships highlighted in this show?
  5. On the lighter side, Cormac is definitely attractive as is Sheriff Beau Arlen, but I also find Buck appealing:  strong, protective, loyal.  Which characters appeal to you and why?


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Screencapped and Illustrated by Nightsky. Images courtesy of ABC.