Fall television has officially arrived with the premiere of Big Sky season 3. This season, country star Reba McEntire and Jensen Ackles join the cast in a Montana camping (or should I say glamping) mystery that I have a feeling will keep us guessing until the very end. Under the new title Big Sky: Deadly Trails, we are back with our favorite local cop Jenny Hoyt (Katheryn Winnick), who is joined by temporary sheriff Beau Arlen (Ackles), and private investigator Cassie Dewell (Kylie Bunbury) as they take on new investigations including the disappearance of a backpacker. Things in the Montana wilderness are starting to get deadly.
Sunny Barnes (McEntire) is the head of a backcountry outfitter business that seems to be connected to an oddly high number of missing person cases. Is she behind our missing backpacker? You'll have to watch to find out. This episode was full of unexpected twists and turns as the case of the missing hiker continually gets more interesting. Here are 7 of the biggest surprises in the season premiere.
That missing hiker quite literally goes missing immediately
We start the episode as a male hiker makes his way through the beautiful Montana wilderness. He finds himself at a crossroads and decides to take the Basin Trail up the mountain. He's enjoying the view when he hears music and finds a bizarre cassette player sitting on a nearby rock. A seriously creepy man (played by Seth Gabel) makes himself visible and starts a conversation. He's holding a knife, there's a dead deer nearby...it's all around weird vibes. The hiker is understandably spooked and makes his leave up the hill, finally enjoying the view below. Seth Gabel's character shows up yet again and creeps him out so bad he falls off the cliff. Well, that's one way to start an episode! He didn't necessarily push him off the cliff, but I feel like his falling was still the intention. Regardless, he's a creepy guy with an even more interesting identity revealed at the end of the episode.
Reba and Rex are quite adorable together in character
Sunny Barnes and her husband Buck (McEntire's boyfriend Rex Linn) set up Sunny Day Excursions outside of town, and it is so fun to see the real-life love birds playing a married couple on the series. They seem excited about their business and all of the guests showing up throughout the episode and obviously have a natural chemistry that immediately draws you to them as characters. But it's also a family business with the help of their handsome son Cormac (Luke Mitchell). But this happy family isn't what initially meets the eye as we soon discover. I'm only one episode in and fully invested in this entire storyline.
A criminal is on the loose...but isn't who she seems
While going to investigate the missing backpacker, Jenny and Beau stumble on a man running in his underwear on the highway. Turns out he's actually a corrections officer (he did manage to shove his ID in his underwear), and a prisoner he was escorting is on the loose, dressed in his uniform and carrying his gun. As we find out, it's a female prisoner who seduced him to escape, and she means business. She holds up a local store and takes the guy behind the counter hostage, forcing him to drive her away in his car. Jenny and Beau are on her trail but what they discover isn't what they expect. It turns out she was trying to reunite with her daughter (technically her ex's daughter she helped raise), who is going to move away with her uncle. It's actually a really tragic story, and it was nice to see Beau show some compassion when they finally catch up to her and allow her to say goodbye to the little girl. Even Jenny seems intrigued by this new side of him she's seeing.
Another person disappeared on the same trail as the missing hiker
When looking into the Basin Trail where the hiker was last seen, Denise uncovers another story of a missing person on the same trail. A few years ago, her neighbor's son's girlfriend (quite the connection) was on that trail, and her body was later found mutilated — and not by a bear. I can only assume this means that whoever is killing people out on the trails is just getting started.
There's already some drama at Sunny Day Excursions
There seems to be something going on with each of our featured guests at Sunny Day Excursions. Avery (Henry Ian Cusick) is there without his wife but hopes she decides to join him...whatever that means. I can only assume something happens with this in future episodes otherwise, why mention it? It's also worth noting he's Emily's stepfather. Then we have Luke and Paige on a trip for Luke's birthday that he's upset about because he wanted to go to Cabo. Not sure how anyone could have a bad attitude in the stunning Montana wilderness, but that seems to just be Luke's personality. The two of them are arguing and not necessarily seeing eye to eye when another guest, Emily, is caught spying on them by Sunny. She was recording their argument she says for a potential podcast. Weird, but we'll go along with it. Everyone seems happy enough by the end of the episode while trying to put their personal issues aside, but obviously, they have no idea what's coming for them.
Emily was not who I expected
Turns out, Emily is actually Beau's daughter. He tries calling her at movie night with Jenny and Cassie, but she declines the call. He does know that she's at Sunny Day Excursions, so that's something. Cassie assures him that Sunny is legit and that she is in good hands. This obviously tells me that is not the case and everyone at that glamping site, including Emily, is probably in danger.
Sunny is up to no good
At the end of the episode, she looks at the flyer for the missing hiker and puts it in the fire as she makes a s'more and walks with it on a plate into the woods. Well, I'm sure I'm not the only one who was surprised to see that the plate was intended for the creepy guy from the beginning of the episode, who turns out to be her other son. It just adds to the creep factor that Sunny is humming the song from the weird cassette tape. So is this other mysterious son behind all of the missing persons cases in the area? And she just goes along with it, somehow able to run a legitimate business nearby? I'm very interested to get more answers.
READ MORE: 10 of Reba McEntire's Best Acting Roles
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