What You Need to Know About the Primetime Soap That Has Everyone Talking
If the Big Sky debut was any indication, this is gonna be one wild, twist-filled ride!
“Stay off the Internet until you’ve watched!” a friend texted me minutes after the debut of ABC’s new drama Big Sky had aired. And while the show was on my to-view list, that single message instantly pushed it to the top. An hour later, I was hooked.
This is the part where I warn you that if you haven’t seen the episode and want to fully enjoy that huge shocker (which in all likelihood, you’ve read about by now), stop reading this story. Immediately.
But if you’re still uncertain whether the show is for you, read on and let me explain why you should give it a try and what you need to know to dive directly into episode No. 2, airing at 10/9c on Tuesday, November 24.
The series is set in Montana and follows several seemingly divergent storylines which slowly begin coming together. On the messy-personal-life front there’s Cody (One Life to Live‘s Billy, Ryan Phillippe), who is estranged from wife Jenny and having an affair with her friend Cassie, with whom he runs a detective agency. Despite the awkwardness of the situation — and the two women having a literal barroom brawl — the trio put aside their personal issues when two local girls go AWOL.
As it turns out, one of the missing girls was on her way to see Cody and Jenny’s son, Justin, when she and her sister were abducted by an uber-creepy trucker named Ronald. When not picking up hookers at truck stops and kidnapping teenage girls, Ronald lives with mom Helen, who is… less than supportive. “I don’t really mean to be a nuisance, honey,” she tells her son. “I guess mothers can get that way. ‘Don’t forget to clean your room, don’t forget to do your homework, don’t be 38 years old and not have made something of yourself.'”
Need I even mention that Helen — played by the apparently ageless Valerie Mahaffey — is my favorite character?
Cody’s search quickly leads him to Montana highway patrolman Rick Legarski who…
… before I continue, final warning. Stop reading if what I’ve told you so far has you intrigued enough to go back and watch the pilot before diving into episode No. 2.
Still here? Alright then. In the closing minutes of the pilot, we learn that quirky patrolman Rick is actually working with kidnapping trucker Ronald. And because Cody’s gotten a little bit too close to the truth, Rick murders him!
“Wait,” you’re now asking. “They killed the star of the show in the first episode?”
Why yes, my friend, yes they did. As Phillippe told Digital Spy, his alter ego will still appear in flashbacks and viewers will “still get a sense of him,” but the character is dead-dead, not soap-opera-dead. “I think when you get shot in the face,” he suggested, “it’s hard to bounce back from that.” (Clearly, he’s never met some of daytime’s more resilient residents.)
Truth be told, I was hooked within the first five minutes or so, but the episode-ending shocker ticked all my boxes. Phillippe said it was a big draw for him, too. “I feel like so much in entertainment today is redundant, or you can see the twist coming a mile away,” he admitted. “Network television in [particular] is often [reluctant] to be too shocking or surprising. So there’s a part of me who enjoys, from a playful standpoint, being part of that reaction, because it’s unique.”
Where does the show go from here? Expect to see Cody’s wife and mistress working together to solve the unfolding mystery even as we get a closer look into the relationship between Ronald and his mom. And then, of course, there are the kidnapped young women who hope a distraction might provide them with an opportunity to escape.
So what say you, soap fans? Is this the kind of thing which you can see yourselves getting drawn into? Hit the comments with your thoughts, then check out the gallery below in which we prove to Phillippe that sometimes, death isn’t as permanent as it sounds. In fact, some of these soap characters rose from their premature graves on more than one occasion!
<p>See the skeptical look The Mustache is working in this photo? That’s the kind you — and anyone who knows him — oughta wear whenever he “passes away” again. Twice, the mogul was presumed dead; once, he was <em>declared</em> dead (but was actually in hiding); and once, he faked his own death.</p>
<p>Victor’s chip off the ol’ block was first believed to have kicked the bucket after a confrontation in a car with Billy Abbott led to a wreck and fiery explosion. After Adam returned with a new face, he was presumed doomed again following a cabin explosion courtesy of Chloe Mitchell. Needless to say, he was no deader than you or we are.</p>
<p>You know the saying about how you can’t keep a good man down? The same is true for a bad woman. Consider: Back in 2015, Ava was shot by Carlos Rivera and plunged from a bridge. But rumors of her death were exaggerated: She survived, only to succumb to cancer. Or so we briefly thought. She kicked the big C’s butt, too, and returned to Port Charles to pick up right where she’d left off stirring the pot.</p>
<p>Word to the wise: Don’t ever count out Steffy and Thomas Forrester’s mom. In 1994, she was presumed dead following a plane crash (though the amnesiac was really living <span style="text-decoration: line-through">it up</span> with Prince Omar in Morocco). Taylor gave sometime hubby Ridge a sense of deja vu in 2002 when she died in his arms after being fatally shot by Sheila Carter. Sorry — “fatally.”</p>
<p>Third time’s the charm? Not quite. Jack has thrice been presumed dead: once at the hands of the Salem Stalker, once in the jungle and once following an elevator fall. (It could happen!) He’s also disappeared now and again, only to resurface and reunite with true love Jennifer Horton.</p>
<p>We saw the body. There was a whole murder mystery built around the vixen’s demise. But it was all much ado about nothing: In 2022, she revealed that, with Deacon Sharpe’s help, she’d faked her own death, then waited years (<em>and</em> years) to buy Jack Abbott’s dead son’s house in hopes of convincing her old flame to help her explain the mess she’d made to their son.</p>
<p>If we had a nickel for every time somebody had tried to off the Cassadine clan’s malevolent matriarch, we’d be as rich as she was. Or should we say <em>is</em>? Sure, she’s supposed to be <em>dead</em>-dead these days, having been poisoned by grandson Nikolas, but we’ll believe it when we… Actually, ya know what? We did see it, and we still don’t believe it!</p>
<p>Hope Steffy didn’t cash in on her husband’s life insurance policy, ’cause only a month after he was killed — by his gun-crazy biomom, no less! — it was revealed that his adoptive mother was keeping his heart tick-tocking on the off chance that he might bounce back. And by “on the off chance that he might bounce back,” we mean obviously “with a soapy certainty that he would bounce back.”</p>
<p>After introducing Julian Jerome to his maker in 2020, the Teflon don was sent up the river in a whole new way when a bridge collapsed beneath him. But while his loved ones mourned his passing — and his rivals circled his turf like vultures — Sonny was enjoying a whole new life canoodling with Nina Reeves as Nixon Falls’ sweetheart “Mike.”</p>
<p>When queen bee Stephanie says, “You ain’t dying,” face it, ya just ain’t. So although we watched her daughter succumb to cancer, the Forrester matriarch wasn’t having it. She spirited away Felicia, with the faintest of heartbeats, to a private clinic, got her a liver transplant and willed her to live.</p>
<p>“It’s the Grim Reaper? Eh, put him on hold.” Salem’s favorite shrink doesn’t answer to him. Sure, back in the late 1980s, she died and stayed dead for a few years (damn you, Orpheus!). But she was no more pushing up daisies then than she was decades later when she was “fatally” shot by the police at the climax of her reign of terror as the Salem Stalker.</p>
<p>Keeping up a long-held family tradition of “dying” in air quotes, Nick was thought to have shuffled off this mortal coil back in 2007 when his plane went down. Though no body was recovered, his nearest and dearest still leapt to the conclusion that he was toast.</p>
<p>The soap-hopping villainess was presumed dead not once but twice on <em>Young and Restless</em> and both times turned up back on <em>Bold & Beautiful</em> to wreak more havoc. Along the way, she’s also disappeared and had extensive plastic surgery — anything to keep her enemies looking over their shoulders!</p>
<p>Stone Cold really <em>was</em> stone-cold for a hot minute in 2012 after he was shot dead by <span style="text-decoration: line-through">Duke Lavery</span> Cesar Faison. But shortly after everyone had gotten done crying over his passing, he turned up with a new face and the same old black T-shirts. <em>That</em> Jason, however, turned out to be his surprise twin brother, Drew Cain. The real one returned again in 2017, only to be killed in a tunnel collapse. Or so we’ve been told…</p>
<p>Though in 2019, the muscle-bound hero was thought to have perished in a plane crash, he was alive and well. Well, except for the whole being-imprisoned-by-Peter-August thing and that one eensie boo-boo.</p>
<p>It looked grim for the heroine in 1990, when she was suspended over a vat of acid as an explosion rocked the cage in which Ernesto Toscano was holding her prisoner. In fact, it looked so grim for her that true love Bo moved on from his Fancy Face, only to learn years later that she had in common with the proverbial cat more than just one measly life.</p>
<p>“Lily, whatever you do, avoid bridges!” It was while driving over one in Kenya that it collapsed, sending the ab-fabulous photographer to the kind of death that only lasts a couple of years before you get to come back mad that people didn’t search for you harder or longer.</p>
<p>Talk about a splashy “exit”! Sick of being hit on by her sometime stepbrother, Hope Logan “helped” him into a vat of acid in 2019. But a relative rookie at playing dead, he didn’t make her freak out for too long before revealing that he had not only survived his dive, he’d done so without the chemicals leaving him scarred for minutes, much less life.</p>
<p>Since only the good die young, the scourge of Port Charles lived to a ripe old age, “dying” twice in boat explosions before treacherous son Peter August ensured that he never recovered from the gunshot wound inflicted by hitman Jason Morgan.</p>
<p>Like father, like son. Taking after pop Faison, Peter was thought to be so dead that he was stuck in a freezer following a tumble down a flight of stairs. Needless to say, he wasn’t permanently iced, just temporarily chilling. To put him down for good, he had to be whacked by babymama Maxie Jones’ mother, Felicia. Side note: Thanks, Felicia.</p>
<p>So notorious is Salem’s foremost baddie for dying and coming back to life that his nickname is the Phoenix. Heck, once, viewers even saw Stefano’s decayed corpse, yet he <em>still</em> rose from the grave, only to be shot dead by Hope Brady in 2016. And even that didn’t mean that he was <em>gone</em>-gone: He wound up being resurrected again when his “essence” was transplanted into an unwitting Steve Johnson, transforming him into the nefarious “Stevano.”</p>
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