REVIEW: Big Sky is the trashier, soapier cousin to Big Little Lies

By Rory Cashin

February 17, 2021 at 9:10am

REVIEW: Big Sky is the trashier, soapier cousin to Big Little Lies

Here is our review of the new show from the guy behind The Undoing and Mr. Mercedes.

Executive producer David E. Kelley has been on a bit of a hot streak lately.

While he started his career with addictive dramas like L.A. Law and Ally McBeal, his recent output has pretty much exclusively consisted of high profile classy thrillers: Big Little Lies, Mr. Mercedes, The Undoing.

With his latest outing, Big Sky still remains firmly in the thriller genre, while heavily borrowing some of the soapier elements from his earlier work.

Set in a small town in Montana, the show literally begins with two best friends fighting over a man, with Jenny (Katheryn Winnick) confronting Cassie (Kylie Bunbury) about her relationship with Jenny's estranged husband Cody (Ryan Phillippe). Two scenes later, the two ladies have an actual fist fight in a bar, while a country and western singer performs 'Stand By Your Man' on stage. See what we mean? This isn't exactly subtle storytelling.

Meanwhile, two late-teen sisters - Danielle (Natalie Alyn Lind) and Grace (Jade Pettyjohn) - are making their way to this same small Montana town - one of them happens to be dating Jenny and Cody's son - when they are kidnapped by creepy trucker Ronald (Brian Geraghty), and discover he already has a third victim, Jerrie (Jesse James Keitel), in the back of his truck.

As the two private detectives in town, Cody and Cassie set out to try to find the girls, with the help of Jenny, who is an ex-cop, and they also recruit highway officer Rick (John Carroll Lynch) for the search.

And with that, all of the pieces and plot points are pretty much in place, save for one huge, whiplash-inducing twist at the end of the very first episode that we won't spoil for you here. But we've got a group of people who aren't really feeling each other right now, forced to put their differences aside in order to save the lives of a group of young innocents.

The rural setting makes for a pleasant change of scenery from the usually affluent vistas we've seen in Big Little Lies and The Undoing, while the mostly relatively unknown cast also helps keep us on our toes, as most aren't a big enough name to guarantee they make it to the end of the season.

Only the first two episodes of the show were made available to press for review, but that was enough to give a decent taste of what kind of show we can expect here, and while early word hinted that Kelley's latest would have a lot in common with Twin Peaks, there has been no sign of that weirdness or quirkiness yet. Instead, we've got a decent thriller, with decent performances, and a decent amount of intrigue.

Without wanting to harp on about the comparisons, it seems unlikely that you'll want to talk about it quite as much as we all did when Big Little Lies and The Undoing first aired, especially as the "Whodunnit?" aspect at the centre of the plot is answered quite early on, but you'll definitely still want to continue checking it out just to see how it all plays out.

Big Sky begins streaming weekly on Disney+ from Tuesday, February 23.

READ NEXT: Ryan Phillippe discusses his new show Big Sky, from the creator of The Undoing


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