Big Sky season 1, episode 5 recap – “A Good Day to Die”

December 16, 2020 (Last updated: January 28, 2021)
Jonathon Wilson 0
TV Recaps
3.5

Summary

“A Good Day to Die” sends Big Sky on hiatus with a literal bang, as another major character suffers an earlier-than-expected demise.

View all
3.5

Summary

“A Good Day to Die” sends Big Sky on hiatus with a literal bang, as another major character suffers an earlier-than-expected demise.


This recap of Big Sky season 1, episode 5, “A Good Day to Die”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.


Ever since the pilot, Big Sky has delighted in subverting expectations. And while it hasn’t quite managed to recreate the sheer shock value of killing off its ostensible lead, Ryan Phillippe’s Cody, at the end of the very first episode, I must admit that I got the same sort of feeling from the midseason finale, “A Good Day to Die”. But let’s go over how we got there.

We pick up where we left off in “Unfinished Business”, with Rick hovering over a sleeping Merilee, contemplating smashing her head in with a hammer. He imagines it briefly, but ultimately can’t bring himself to do it, instead promising to change and make her happier, which to be honest feels like more of a threat than the hammer.

The bad guys being mostly useless is another recurring theme of Big Sky, and what I like most about the trio of kidnapped women at its center is that they kind of know this. Danielle, taking a page out of Grace’s book, furiously berates Ronald about being a weak little loser, trying to goad him into making a mistake, and while he doesn’t fall for it it’s obvious that the words cut him deep. Either way, the girls should be gone soon, meaning they won’t be Ronald’s problem anymore and he can go back to masturbating his frustrations away at the urging of his mother.

But Ronald isn’t as stupid as he seems, and he quickly realizes that the barn where he and Rick are holding the girls has been compromised. That leads Rick to decide that they need to be taken off their hands earlier than planned and that Cassie and Jenny need to be taken care of since they’re not going to stop pressing the issue. And he’s right since Cassie figures out in “A Good Day to Die” that the property she and Jenny were standing on at the climax of last week’s episode actually contains a hidden basement which is just too much of a coincidence to ignore given that Rick’s SUV is parked there once again. They return to Sheriff Walter, confess to the tracker, but insist that Rick’s up to something, and before long the authorities are converging on the barn.

Of course, it’s empty, and Rick once again gets an excuse to play the aggrieved Republican lawman in Big Sky season 1, episode 5, even though it’s still mightily suspicious that he’d go so far out of his way just to eat a sandwich in peace. Ronald, meanwhile, has moved the girls to the All-In Bar, which is dumb since Rick always hangs out there, but it’s also realistically the only place they could move them, so needs must.

After coming so close to being caught but getting away with it once again, Rick is feeling pretty contemplative, telling Ronald that he’s getting out of the kidnapping game to better treat Merilee, obviously not knowing that Ronald was her dance partner. He seems rather confident he’ll get the opportunity to do this, especially given that Jenny is arrested for criminal stalking, but as we’ll see, “A Good Day to Die” has other plans for his retirement.

I’m curious to see what the show intends to do with Ronald. He’s obviously a demented nut-job who has been facilitating a sex trafficking operation for who knows how long – we even see Rick recruiting him for the job in a brief flashback this week – but he’s also, in a way, a victim himself, a timid and pathetic little man driven to self-loathing by his overbearing mother and, one assumes, endlessly cruel peers. It’s no excuse, obviously, but it makes him more a villain of circumstance than Rick, who’s just a big, lumbering cartoon of criminality, and here we see him share a moment of genuine tenderness with Jerrie and express genuine concern to Rick about what happens to the girls once they’re moved on. Admittedly he then goes home and strangles his mother – not to death, but close – when she asks him if he’s a sexual pervert, which of course he is. The truth hurts, doesn’t it?

The fact that Ronald later walks right past Cassie, even holding the door for her as she enters Merilee’s quilt shop, is telling of how we’re to believe other people see him. He’s polite but pitiable; a nice-enough guy with a slight creepy edge, but not someone you’d necessarily guess at being a serial killer. His timid demeanor is enough that Cassie literally doesn’t even look twice at him. She’s much more concerned with informing Merilee that her husband might be involved in the missing girls, but even Merilee, knowing everything she does about Rick, thinks that’s a little farfetched. She does let on that Rick is a creature of habit, though, which leads Cassie right back to the All-In, where Rick is babysitting the girls, anticipating the imminent arrival of the traffickers.

This is probably why he’s so surprised to see Cassie stood atop the basement stairs, pointing a gun at him. But the real surprise of “A Good Day to Die” is that Cassie then shoots him in the head, offing one of the show’s two major villains in just the fifth episode. That’s a pretty ballsy move. As I said about killing Cody, it’s enough to paper over any other cracks in the show and keep people interested. Where things might go next is anyone’s guess.


Thanks for reading our recap of Big Sky season 1, episode 5, “A Good Day to Die”. For more recaps, reviews, and original features covering the world of entertainment, why not follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page?

View all

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.