We are six episodes into the third season of Big Sky and, so far, the addition of Jensen Ackles has improved the series dramatically over its second season. It’s not just Ackles, though: Big Sky is doing a bang-up job of mixing cases-of-the-week with the season-long arc. There’s a series-long murder investigation happening in the deadly trails of Montana, but Jenny Hoyt and Sheriff Beau are still solving weekly murders involving the likes of, say, Brad Leland — Buddy Garrity of Friday Night Lights fame.
But the real action continues to be on the trails, where Reba McEntire’s Sunny Barnes has become a killer in her own right. She runs a camping-and-hiking business, where people go to escape their lives and the real world for a few weeks. They also apparently use it to hide from people to whom they owe money. However, there is a serial killer, Walter, up in the woods played by Seth Gabel. Presumably, he is the Bleeding-Heart Killer, although we actually haven’t seen him kill anyone. He did scare a hiker who fell to his death, and he is currently in some sort of Stockholm syndrome situation with Paige (Madalyn Horcher), a woman hiding from Jamie Lynn Sigler’s murderous Tonya Walsh. It’s unclear if Paige is using Walter, or if she is scared of Walter.
Either way, Walter’s estranged(ish) mother, Sunny Barnes (Reba), is determined to protect her son, and Sunny’s husband, Buck (Rex Linn), is determined to protect Sunny, which means that in this week’s episode, Buck has to kill a hiker to protect Sunny who is protecting Walter because the hiker learned too much. Kylie Bunbury’s Cassie, meanwhile, is growing suspicious of Buck and Sunny, and her would-be romantic interest, Cormac (Luke Mitchell) — the other son of Buck and Sunny — is starting to feel a little unsure about his parents, too. Is it possible that Sunny is actually the Bleeding Heart Killer, but she only kills to protect her son?
Cassie seems to be closing in on Walter, which means that next week, somehow Darius Rucker and Lyle Lovett — who look like Texas Ranger types or hired hitmen — get involved. Lyle appears to be holding a guitar in the promo, so I sure do hope there is singing. This show is nothing like Twin Peaks, but the addition of Lyle Lovett and the weekly presence of Ryan O’Nan’s Donno really does give it that feel sometimes.