Big Sky S03E01 Review: Do You Love an Apple – Monster in the woodsBy Salome G| September 25, 2022 TV Blogs And we’re back. As I started this episode, I thought wow, it feels like we just finished season 2. It ended only 4 months ago, after all. But I know that “these troubled times,” etc. have had a way of making time feel like a flat circle. So if you don’t recall where we left off, then here’s a quick refresher. Jenny et al seem to have neutralized the Bhullar cartel, at least for the time being. With that done, Travis left to see if Veer was telling the truth about Kate, the missing CI, still alive. Jensen Ackles joined the cast as the new sheriff (in town), Beau Arlen. And with this new season, country music icon Reba McEntire will be joining the cast as the new big bad. I believe that traditional American country music ended ’round about 2000, with 90s country being the last great gasp.* It certainly was a cracking decade for Reba, as she released most of my favorite songs of hers then. As such, I predict that I will make a lot of allusions to Reba’s 90s output. We’ll see. Anyway, as I mentioned in that last review, Reba is playing Sunny Barnes, whose family owns a “backcountry outfitter with a secret history of missing customers.” As this episode begins with an Anonymous Handsome Backpacker (Zach Tinker), you know immediately that things are ominous. For one thing, there’s that character description for Sunny. In addition, soundtracking the scene is Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?,” which, of course, begins with the lines, “Someone told me long ago/there’s a calm before the storm.” And also, there’s the plot summary for this episode, which mentions that Cassie will investigate a missing backpacker. (Just like her, I’m a regular Sherlock.) Handsome Backpacker is doing just that–being handsome, backpacking through the Big Sky country–when the CCR fades out on the soundtrack. “Do You Love an Apple,” a folk song that sounds like it was written by someone hangry, is playing, instead. But it’s not on the show soundtrack–it’s playing on some kind of prehistoric device wedged into the rocks. (I’m being told this is called a cassette player.) Listen, I think a little bit of mystery and magic is essential to life. Just a few weeks ago, I was driving home shortly after dawn when I approached a four-way stop. I saw a dog in the yard of a house on one of the corners. Just as I was about to drive off, my brain went, “Brrr, that wasn’t a dog.” No, it was a coyote. I often hear them at night, laughing. This was the first time, though, that I’d actually seen one so up-close and we made eye contact and it felt like magic. This was in a residential area, however, in a place that, while bordering on rural, is basically suburban. So it all felt safe enough. (Ignore the fact that this happened literally right next to another house where a dog attacked me. Also, don’t try any of this yourself.) Controlled magic. Controlled mystery. This is all to say, that mysterious objects and encounters in the wild may not be as safe. I mean, there are literally centuries of spooky tales about that very thing. There are also lots of scary stories about weird dudes in the woods. Unfortunately, HB–aka Mark Woodman–finds both. Walter (Seth Gabel, really leaning into creepy characters lately) appears behind him. Their initial exchange is a little odd, but nothing unsettling enough to write home about. Walter asks for help butchering a deer that fell off “Deadman’s Drop.” Mark declines, citing the need to keep moving on his hike. A few moments later, Walter again appears behind him (which reminded me of this story). And then it’s really weird. He doesn’t explicitly threaten Mark, not at all. But his whole vibe is so unsettling that Mark keeps backing away from him…straight off the drop. RIP (probably), Mark. Meanwhile, Sunny and company come into the picture. The Barnes family, which also includes Sunny’s husband Buck (Rex Linn) and their son Cormac (Luke Mitchell), run an outdoorsy company that does stuff like glamping and hikes. They’re just beginning a new glamping…experience (?) when Cassie drops by to check out the trails for missing Mark. The glamping group includes Emily (Cree Cicchino) and her dad Avery. Henry Ian Cusick is playing him, so your first instinct is probably to keep an eye on his character. It’s like the Law & Order rule–if you recognize the guest actor, then they’re the murderer or whatever. In this case, we learn that he’s here because Avery is actually Emily’s stepdad; Beau is her real father. In addition, there is also Luke (Anirudh Pisharody), whose girlfriend Paige (Madalyn Horcher) organized this trip. Luke wanted a beach vacay and is hating every minute of this. Yes, they just got here–doesn’t matter. They swap opinions, though, once they have a much different encounter with a coyote than I did. Specifically, they discover its body, which is on a ledge above them. And they make this discovery because its blood was dripping onto Paige’s face. As grim as it seems, this isn’t that unusual to find, especially in wilder areas. So that’s not really cause for concern. The other thing happening in the woods certainly is, though. As we saw, Walter was technically not responsible for whatever happened to Mark. So is he the monster in the woods or is it someone else? You’ll know we’ll find out. 9/10 – I liked the format here, where they introduced the seasonal story while Jennie and Beau had a storyline (probably) confined to this episode. I wouldn’t mind if they did that every week. As for the stories themselves, I’m excited to see how they go, especially the big story. The reveal that Walter is Sunny’s son wasn’t particularly shocking, especially if you’ve seen movies and TV before, but I did find it interesting. Again, I’m wondering if he’s a killer or just creepy. Oh, and I did love the reveal that Donno is now a short-order cook in Tonya’s diner. Also, they subtitled this season “Deadly Trails,” but I’m just going to stick with the basic name. Speaking of names, the original character description called her Sunny Brick, but obviously, they’ve changed it. I don’t know, though, if the Barnes family still runs an outfitter or if they’ve changed that to just Sunny Day Excursions. Finally, fun fact: Rex Linn and Reba are not married IRL, but they are a couple. *I’m being (slightly) facetious here, but I do think modern country music drifted too far over to pop.