‘Big Sky’ Boss on ‘Earning’ What’s to Come for Beau & Jenny, Plus a New Side of Buck


[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Big Sky Season 3 Episode 10, “A Thin Layer of Rocks.”]

Big Sky: Deadly Trails ends its winter finale on a few big notes.

First of all, Beau (Jensen Ackles) and Jenny (Katheryn Winnick) definitely have a moment, only to be interrupted when his ex-wife Carla (Angelique Cabral) and daughter Emily (Cree Cicchino) show up to stay with him due to Avery’s (Henry Ian Cusick) strange behavior. Jenny then goes home to find bloody towels and her mother waiting. And Cassie (Kylie Bunbury), on the hunt for the bleeding heart killer, ends up at Buck’s (Rex Linn) door … and he has a knife.

Showrunner Elwood Reid teases what’s ahead.

Cassie’s potentially in danger at the end.

Elwood Reid: Cassie’s the one that’s been instigating the whole idea of Buck hiding something. She’s been bugging Cormac [Luke Mitchell] about that, and she’s been going after Sunny [Reba McEntire]. It doesn’t play out the way you think it plays. Last year, she barked up the Ronald tree, and that was a pretty dark journey she went on. This season, she’s the one that has been putting this whole thing together, and we’ve just begun to see the bag of tricks that Buck has. Hold tight: [Episodes] 11 and 12 really start to show a side of Buck you haven’t seen before.

Beau and Jenny definitely had a moment before Carla and Emily showed up. Jenny knows she’s interested, right?

Yes.

How does Beau feel?

This has been something we’ve talked a lot about in the writers’ room. I think the modus is to go right to giving the audience what they want. But one of the things that made Beau a really interesting character was the fact that he still did love his wife. He went through a pretty dark time in his life back in Houston with this event with his ex-partner. He failed at his job, [and] he failed in his marriage; that’s something Beau was still trying to unwind a little bit.

He also has feelings for Jenny, but he’s a boss, and they work together, and he’s a gentleman. There are these weird barriers that both of them have, and it’s been really fun through the season to put things in front of them. But you’re gonna get some resolution in the back half of the season with that and also with Beau’s future in Montana — because, remember, he was only there temporarily, and he followed his wife and his daughter up there. There’s gonna be some stuff around his wife and his daughter involving our big storyline with Sunny and Buck that’s gonna come as a surprise and throw our team into real turmoil.

Kylie Bunbury in 'Big Sky'

ABC/Michael Moriatis

When it comes to his feelings for Carla, is it more trying to hold onto the past versus actually wanting a future with her?

Beau’s got a lot of regrets in his life. He’s made some mistakes, but the confident, funny, very charismatic guy [we see him as], that’s what he and Jenny [have] in common. If you think about the way we’ve worked with Beau with both of our leads, Jenny and Cassie, there’s a relationship that he and Cassie have, and they talk a lot about loss — the loss of her father and Beau’s loss of his partner and the dissolution of his marriage.

With Jenny, the relationship he has a great working relationship. But he doesn’t let Jenny in emotionally because he doesn’t want to be vulnerable to her. If he really did, she would see that this feeling that he has for Carla or what he professes he has with Carla is something that is wrapped up in the mistakes that he made back in Houston, so he’s holding those cards back. We’ve serviced this quite a bit recently — Jenny’s a little bit jealous of Cassie’s relationship with Beau, not in a romantic way, but like, “does he talk to you about something emotional?” She’s craving that. In the back half of the season, these emotional rollercoaster rides, Jenny with her mother and Beau with his family, are gonna throw these two together and have them open up.

Beau’s been very, very guarded around Jenny about any emotional stuff in his life regarding his marriage. When Jenny got to interview Carla, that was a real chess match, and what was being discussed was trying to figure out what makes Beau tick and what kind of woman would be with this guy Avery, who Jenny and Beau know is up to some dirt. Those are the cards we’ve been playing with in this relationship. I think it all goes towards earning those looks, earning any kind of physicality that may occur in the back half of the season, really earning it, and making the audience want to be there for it.

Speaking of mistakes, everything that Avery is doing.

Yeah, Mr. Bad Idea.

He’s clearly in over his head, and he’s put Carla and Emily in danger, but does he think that this can end well at all?

He’s delusional. He’s not a bad guy. He’s a guy who’s doing bad things that he thinks are gonna fix something and make Carla respect him and fix his money problems. It’s the absolute worst thing he could possibly do. In the end, I don’t want to say Avery’s gonna be redeemed, but you’re gonna get to see a little bit of Avery’s true colors. There’s some heavy stuff that’s coming up, and Avery does sort of redeem himself a little bit. He does love Carla, but he realizes that he saw this opportunity, and in taking this opportunity to try to take this money that Paige had taken, it put everything that he cared about at risk. You’re gonna see the real cost of that in Episodes 11, 12, and 13.

Cormac seems like a good guy, but considering his family and the choices he might have to make, how much of a struggle is that going to be for him going forward, especially when you have to factor in what’s going on with Cassie?

He still has Emily’s knife. … Cassie, in her pursuit of Buck, is blindly overlooking what is Cormac’s culpability with both Walter [Seth Gabel] and what Sunny’s been up to. The real question that’s gonna linger over the Cassie-Cormac romance is, did you know what your father’s up to? When did you know? Did you think your mother knew? For someone who has as fraught family relationships as Cassie’s had, she really does want to reach him emotionally. Part of the solution of the last couple of episodes is going to be Cassie and Cormac really putting their heads together to try to crack what Buck has done.

Reba McEntire and Seth Gabel in 'Big Sky'

ABC/Michael Moriatis

Walter started out as this very unsettling guy in the woods. Then we hear about him protecting Meredith in this episode and see Paige was better off with him than Buck. Who is Walter? Complete bad guy? Somewhat bad guy? Misunderstood?

He’s a guy that got a raw deal and is completely misunderstood. But remember who’s been the person when we’re with him that’s been vilifying Walter? That’s Buck, because Buck is someone who really had something to hide. An interesting dynamic we’ve been playing with is Sunny’s belief that Walter is actually a good guy that did a very bad thing. We learned that he killed his foster parents, but he did it for a good reason. Ultimately is he gonna redeem himself? He has displayed chivalry towards Paige and helped her, much to his detriment. But Walter, like all of our characters on Big Sky, is gonna have a hand to play in the end game with Buck and Sunny. There’s a reason Sonny has kept Walter and believed in him and trusted and loved him, and tried to protect him.

It seems like a big Sunny versus Buck confrontation has to be coming…

One of the things we played with a lot with Sunny is how ignorant she is of Buck. The last couple of episodes — we’re actually shooting the finale right now — really do a deep dive into their marriage and into what Sunny is going to do. Is Sunny a bad person? When confronted with the facts about who Buck is, what is she going to do? Is she going to fix that problem, or is she going to blame herself and try to help her husband get away?

It’s Big Sky. Anybody can turn on a dime. I don’t think Sunny’s one thing. We’ve seen a lot of sides of Sunny. … Now, she is confronted with the idea that Buck is this horrendous bleeding heart killer. What does Sunny do about that? If you know anything about Sunny and Reba’s characterization of her, she’s no shrinking violet, and she’s no victim.

If Sunny had to choose only one person to protect — Buck, Walter, or Cormac — who would it be?

I would say Walter because she feels guilt over having abandoned Walter as a baby and all the misery that followed him in his life; she feels very responsible.

The very same way she feels about Walter, you can flip that emotion around when confronted with Buck. She’s a woman who takes responsibility for her mistakes and tries to fix them. That’s what she’s been doing with Walter. That’s gonna take a very, very different tact when it comes to Buck. Who’s this woman who has been married and aiding and abetting maybe this brutal serial killer? When that urge in him reawakens, what does she do? Is Sunny good or bad? Is she gonna break and do the right thing? Or is she gonna break and do the wrong thing?

Anything else you can tease about the best of the season?

Just pay attention to what Tonya [Jamie-Lynn Sigler] and Donno [Ryan O’Nan] are doing because they’re our lovable psychopaths, at least Donno is. In the last half of the season, they get in the middle of the whole thing with Avery and, of course, at the end with Buck. But they also are gonna hopefully lead us into what a storyline could possibly be next season. There are some little eggs we’ve planted in there about what could be the next world we’re going into in Season 4.

Big Sky: Deadly Trails, Winter Premiere, Thursday, February 24, 10/9c, ABC



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