“A Brief History of Crime”
October 5, 2022
Luke is crouched down by a stream trying to wash off the unusually large amounts of blood that are smeared on his arms and down his leg. He turns at the sound of a shutter click. He looks at Emily. Emily looks at the unusually large amounts of blood and whips out her knife. She shouts at Luke not to come any closer. Luke knows the conclusion Emily is jumping to, and not wanting to escalate the situation or frighten her further, he charges up the trail towards her.
Emily takes off. Running through the forest. Running through the forest. Running through the forest. Luke shouts that he just wants to talk, which is totally something a murderer would say while they’re chasing you through the gloaming. Emily stumbles over a root and sprawls on the ground, the knife flying out of her hands. BUNGEE!
She scrabbles around in the dirt, desperately trying to find the knife. She screams when a hand touches her, but it’s just Cormac. Luke runs up and quickly offers an explanation that doesn’t include bashing Paige’s head in with a large rock. He says he’s the one who hit his head. Cormac takes them back to camp and I will note that this scene is filmed in low light with a blue filter and yet you can still see what’s happening on screen, HBO’S HOUSE OF THE DRAGON.
It is in this moment, that Desmond knows he fucked up. Reba argues that he can’t go out looking for Emily in the dark just as the trail trio walks into camp. Luke expands on his story—he and Paige got lost, they got into a fight, she said she wanted to go home and never see him again. The cuts he got after they saw a light in the woods. Paige went towards the light, Luke ran after her, he fell … and it gets a little hazy after that. Luke completes the deflection of any blame by turning the group’s attention to Emily. He hails her as a hero. If she hadn’t found him … He says she saved him.
The pieces of Luke’s story aren’t exactly falling into place for Camper Doug, but Reba quickly quashes his doubt. After a check of their tent, she says that Paige’s stuff is gone. Obviously she left Luke in the woods, found her way back, snuck into camp with no one seeing her, and then hiked the few miles back to town. TOTALLY PLAUSIBLE. MYSTERY SOLVED. Reba says no one is a prisoner to Sunny Day Excursions which isn’t a weird or off-putting thing to say AT ALL.
Emily isn’t buying Luke’s tale, no matter how much Desmond insists that it’s perfectly plausible. Why, it’s just as believable as Desmond’s story that he innocently wandered into Paige and Luke’s tent by mistake. They all look alike from the outside! He says not everything is a mystery. Emily yields, but warns her stepfather that if he’s hiding something she will find out.
Now if he will excuse her, she has to go look for her knife. It’s very important to her; she sleeps with it under her pillow. Her father gave it to her.
Like father, like daughter.
Reba sets out for Walt’s homestead again. She walks into his cabin and asks if he’s alone. He is—it’s just Walt, his little wooden friends, and the picture of Miley Cyrus that he keeps hidden. Reba questions him about Paige; she backhands him when Walt becomes agitated that she’s touching his things. DON’T TOUCH HIS DOLLS, MOMMA.
A look of loathing replaces the fear on Walt’s face. He leans in and snarls at her not to do that again. Reba snatches his warning finger like she’s going to snap it off and poke him in the eye with it. She challenges his unspoken, ‘or else.’ What’s he going to do, hit his own mother? She reminds him that she’s all he has! She shouts at him, asking again if he’s seen Paige.
Walt backs down and the tension is briefly broken. Reba doesn’t know that anything has happened to Paige, but says if people come looking, it won’t be good for either of them. That’s why she needs Walt to move Mark’s body someplace far away where it will never be found.
Walt insists he didn’t do anything to Mark (other than let him suffer in broken agony for SIX DAYS) and Reba tells him he should know it doesn’t matter. But hasn’t she always kept him safe? Which is why he needs to listen and do as mother says. Reba pulls him in close and begins singing the murder song.
“Just me and you, Walt. Just me and you.”
So Cormac doesn’t seem to know that Walt has a cabin in the woods. Does he know Walt exists? Does Buck? Initially I was getting son from an abusive first husband/relationship who killed his father to protect Reba. And maybe that’s somehow related to the Bleeding Heart murders? Like Walt isn’t the killer, but he’s murder adjacent enough that Reba felt she needed to hide him away in the woods all these years? Again, Show does a really good job of getting me invested in its bad guys.
Later, Emily catches up with Reba as she’s stirring a heaping tablespoon of butter into her coffee. She asks about borrowing a SatPhone to call Beau. Emily is still worried and thought maybe her dad could check in on Paige. Reba licks her spoon and wonders if anyone would notice if she stabbed the girl in the throat with it. Instead, she tells Emily that the rangers are on it and Paige has been issued a full refund, so. Everything is fine. Everything is dandy.
Reba has spoken.
And I’m really enjoying the sense of brittleness that Reba gives Sunny, underneath the aw-shucks good-natured exterior that the character tries so hard to maintain. We’re starting to see the cracks and get hints about what’s lurking underneath and I’m here for it!
Emily sees Luke getting cozy with another camper by the horse paddock and throws up in her mouth a little bit. She commiserates with Camper Doug, who confides that he doesn’t trust Luke either. Doug calls him shifty. Desmond walks up and is like SHIFTY? WHO’S SHIFTY? NOT ME. I WASN’T SNOOPING IN PAIGE’S TENT THEY ALL LOOK THE SAME.
Desmond shoos Doug away and tries to reset with Emily. He says if something is important to her, it’s important to him. They’ll start by finding her knife and then they’ll get to the bottom of the whole Paige deal. Just the two of them.
Over at the case of the week, there’s apparently a body just laying out in the open all willy-nilly on the Mooney brothers’ property. Jenny explains to Beau and his Wranglers and his shiny silver belt buckle and his big hat and his GODDAMN MAN JUST LET US LIVE
that Gil and Ivan used to own half the valley; now it’s just this small parcel. Beau wonders if they shouldn’t go knock on the front door rather than jumping the fence clearly marked No Trespassing. Jenny reminds him he’s in Montana—they’re just as likely to be greeted by a rifle or a pack of dogs.
And they avoid those things by trespassing, how? What?
Beau jokes that at least they have manners in Texas; you get an iced tea before you get shot for trespassing. Jenny says he can always go back to Houston, but Beau thinks she would miss him too much. Deep down. Just a little bit. And anyway, Beau isn’t going anywhere as long as Emily is there. Jenny wonders if that’s something he and Cassie talk about and celebrates finding a topic that actually gets Beau to clam up.
They arrive at the body and are immediately forced to take cover as shots ring out from the house. This is Ivan’s land and that corpse with its fool head caved in is his brother! He tearfully explains that Gil was just trying to save the ranch. Ivan blames his brother’s death on what he calls “the gold mine bastards.” Jenny pings as Ivan starts explaining the scam; her breath catches when he drops the company name.
Jenny looks into Starlight Mining and pulls a jacket on Harold Garner. She hands Beau a second report, a woman arrested along with Harold—her mother.
“So are we not going to address the fact that your mom is a career criminal?”
And now Beau has found something that Jenny doesn’t want to talk about. She says it’s complicated. They roll up to mom’s local motel of preference. Jenny warns Beau not to be charmed by her mother; nothing she says can be trusted. Jenny knocks a specific pattern on the door and Gen-X icon Rosanna Arquette answers.
Their reunion is tepid at best. Rosanna mommishly comments on Jenny’s clothes—she’s wearing a Journey t-shirt that I really wish was a Toto band tee. Or even better, a vintage Madonna shirt.
Rosanna turns away from the crime scene photo Jenny shows her, insisting she had nothing to do with Gil’s murder. Neither is she on the grift with Harold. She’s on the straight and narrow. In fact, Harold stole from her! He took her life savings—everything. Rosanna is unapologetic about how she acquired those savings. She says a girl has to eat.
Cassie gets a tip on the location of hiker Mark’s (abandoned) car, and uses the printed itinerary she finds on the dash to retrace his steps. His family checks in to report receiving an email from Mark just hours before saying his service was spotty but that he’s fine and definitely not buried in a shallow grave out in the woods. An email—rather than a call or text—seemed off to Mark’s mom. Because mothers always know.
Beau stops by the agency to return yet another baking dish. Cassie is taken aback that Denise is still cooking for a grown man. Beau calls her pumpkin enchiladas another home-cooked home-run. Sounds weird; totally worked. Denise giggles before revealing the recipe’s secret—sweet and salty. She pointedly looks at Cassie when she says the word salty.
And y’all, I think we all know Show probably intends to pair Beau up with someone and I am firmly Team Denise. If nothing else, it preserves the immaculate vibes of Beau’s platonic relationships with Cassie and Jenny. And it keeps him alive. Because I mean, Jenny has had a bit of a bad run.
Jenny is working on the grift case at home when Rosanna comes knocking. Her mother teases, asking if Jenny was expecting “that cute sheriff”.
“He’s not that cute.”
Rosanna bears peace offerings—a bottle of wine and the ingredients for a pineapple dump cake. Jenny’s favorite. After a few forkfuls, they both agree the cake is disgusting. But also good? Coke’s latest limited edition flavor is also kind of like that. Not good AT ALL but also oddly drinkable?
Rosanna brings up the past and wanting Jenny to feel like she was getting something special. It wasn’t all bad, was it? Rosanna asks if she remembers their last road trip to Vegas—the one before her father left them. Rosanna lost all their traveling money at the roulette wheel; Jenny won it all back.
It seems like that might actually be a decent memory. Jenny lets herself smile when her mother says she was her good luck charm. She’s visibly wounded when Rosanna says the stolen money—just the money—is what brought her back to Montana.
The next morning Jenny signs for $30,000 in county cash—honey for the trap to snare Harold. To complete the window dressing, Jenny suggests she and Beau pose as a newly married couple. They roll up to the meet all like, I’m your huckleberry, and I would just like to pause to thank whatever gods of television casting put this role in front of Jensen. I would like to thank them for giving him an excuse to dress in some variation of this every week.
Beau and Jenny sit across from slickieboy Harold while he pitches them on the gold refinery investment deal of a lifetime. A 10% stake sounds like just what they’re looking for! Beau says the wedding tapped them out a bit. Does Harold have any idea what a life-sized ice sculpture of George Straight costs these days?
I do not, but here’s a video of a pumpkin being carved into a larger-than-life likeness of the King of Country.
The wheels of the undercover bus start to wobble a bit as Jenny and Beau ask about other investors. Has Harold encountered any problems or pushback? Say, he or his bulky associate haven’t recently bashed a man’s skull in, have they? No? Well then, let’s get these contracts signed and these stacks of cash counted!
They conclude the deal and Jenny tells Harold he’s under arrest. Beau takes the stocky associate through a window and Jenny punches Harold in the throat. The caper goes down nice and easy until Ivan Mooney starts taking potshots, shouting that Harold is going to pay.
He empties his clip and takes off running with Beau close behind. The sheriff tackles the man and shouts that Harold will pay—but does Ivan want to go to jail for the rest of his life for the bastard? Is that what his brother would want?
And you can trust Beau when he says he knows about brothers.
Harold heads for the roof and I’m impressed that Jenny doesn’t trip on her long prairie dress as she goes up the ladder behind him. Harold contemplates the distance from the roof to the ground and jumps.
While Jenny is putting the zip ties on him, Harold realizes why she looks familiar. He asks if Rosanna put her up to it. He chuckles and shakes his head. Rosanna always comes out on top, doesn’t she?
Jenny’s stomach drops as awareness washes over her. She races back into the office, but it’s too late. The money is gone. It’s Beau holding his hands out and taking a step back like, WHAT JUST HAPPENED, that makes the moment poetry. They go to Rosanna’s motel room, but she’s gone. “She hasn’t changed.”
“Hello again, friend.” Walt is out in the woods digging up Mark’s fetid corpse. He tucks a hand-carved hiker figure into the pocket of Mark’s flannel, calling it a present for the dead man. Walt drives along in quiet contentment until his truck’s radiator suddenly explodes in a plume of white smoke.
Naturally, Cassie and Denise come upon the stranded vehicle.
Cassie hops out, and the “I can help / No, it’s fine” back and forth with Walt escalates to the point of someone getting stuck with a pointy object before Denise breaks in and they drive off. Out on the trail, Cassie holds up a photo Mark attached to his proof of life email. She and Denise compare perspectives. They both realize the picture had to have been taken weeks earlier—there’s snow on the mountain—and Mark isn’t the one who sent it.
Reba stomps back to the cabin again some more to confirm the Mark problem is sorted. Walt is like yeah, we’re good with the body … but someone saw him. When Walt says her friend called her Cassie, Reba has a rage aneurysm.
“You are such a disappointment.”
Reba’s fury compresses her voice to a whisper. Walt’s face crumples in dismay and shame. She says he has to do better. Not trusting him with any more tasks for the day, Reba does her own digging to hide Paige’s leopard print bag. She paws through the duffle’s contents and finds a handgun. She gets a look on her face that says, ‘Better to have and not need, than to need and not have,’ and tucks it into her belt.
Jenny has a good rage cry on the way home. She grabs a beer from the fridge and looks at the dump pan of cake and abandonment issues as a single Lady Tear rolls down her cheek.
Big Sky airs on ABC and streams on Hulu. Whitney will also be watching The Winchesters airing on The CW and streaming at CWTV.com. Follow her on Twitter @Watcher_Whitney.