Big Sky season 3 episode 10: where do things stand at the midseason finale?

Reba McEntire in Big Sky
Reba McEntire in Big Sky (Image credit: ABC/Anna Kooris)

NOTE: this post contains spoilers for Big Sky season 3 episode 10, "A Thin Layer of Rock."

Big Sky season 3's midseason finale raised the intensity and set the stage for some life-changing moments to come when new episodes return.

The episode picked up with Sunny (Reba McEntire) and Paige (Madalyn Horcher) talking after Paige reappeared at Sunny Day. Paige reveals she knows Sunny is Walter’s (Seth Gabel) mother. During their conversation, Sunny demands Paige go to the police station with her to prove she is alive and Walter didn’t kill her.

Paige tells Sunny that if she helps her get back her journal and get the money, Paige will keep quiet about her secret and help free Walter. Sunny puts Paige in an empty tent to hide, but that proves to be a mistake.

A wedding and a dinosaur

Pops (J. Anthony Pena) is attending the wedding and starts talking to Natalie (Anna Grace Barlow), one of the bridesmaids. The bride, Skylar (Katya Martín), is a family friend Pops has known for most of her life. As Pops and Natalie are talking, Skyler screams and runs out with her dress covered in blood. Someone has killed her fiancée, Austin.

During Pops' investigation, it's revealed Austin's wealthy cattle ranching family wasn't too happy with the match. At the rehearsal dinner Skylar's father got into a fight with Austin after Austin presented Skylar with a prenup. But the prenup was not even close to the biggest surprise in this relationship.

Austin and a friend had found a Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil that looked fairly intact on Austin's family land and they had been excavating it. Skylar didn't know about the dinosaur fossil until she saw it mentioned in the prenup. If the fossil was worth a lot of money, Hoyt (Katheryn Winnick) believed that might have been the motive for Austin's murder.

Hoyt and Pops figured out Skylar killed Austin, but it wasn't money that caused her to do it. They are just in time to stop her from killing Natalie, her bridesmaid. Natalie and Austin had been having an affair. She was the person Austin was with when he found the dinosaur. Skylar killed Austin in a rage and would have killed Natalie too if Hoyt and Pops hadn't stopped her.

Walter makes a mistake

Arlen (Jensen Ackles) and Hoyt question Walter about the fire that killed his adoptive parents, they mention Meredith, Walter's adopted sister. When they ask Walter if he killed Meredith too, he says he saved Meredith and set her free. Hoyt asks Walter how he survived in the woods all those years by himself, but he refuses to answer.

When she asks Walter if Sunny and Buck Barnes helped him, Walter says no. That was his mistake. Hoyt set him up with that question because when he said no, Walter revealed he knows Sunny and Buck. Making a mistake shook his confidence and after saying that Sunny had nothing to do with it, Walter stopped talking. Arlen and Hoyt discuss Walter with Cassie (Kylie Bunbury), agreeing they need to find Meredith to find out more about Walter.

Cassie, thinking like a private investigator, suggests Meredith may have changed her name and disappeared. She tasks Emily (Cree Cicchino) to search name change requests in the state. She finds that Meredith did change her name. After the detectives track her down, Meredith backs up Walter's story, that Walter set the fire to protect her and stop the abuse. She also says that after the fire, Walter's biological mother picked them up and encouraged her to run away and change her name. Meredith didn't remember Walter’s birth mother's name, but remembered her red hair.

Later on, Cormac (Luke Mitchell) confirmed to Cassie that Sunny is Walter's biological mother, so Sunny's secret is now out. Will that make her rethink her deal with Paige?

Avery flees

Avery (Henry Ian Cusick) buys a gun and calls Carla (Angelique Cabral) to deliver a rambling speech that sounds like a goodbye. He tells her he loves her and will do anything to keep her and Emily safe, all while he is loading the gun. It's a toss up whether he is planning on hurting himself or someone else with that gun, but it looks like he may be a suicide risk.

However, at the end of the episode, Avery calls Mr. Jimmy and tells him he wants more money. Avery takes off after ditching his phone's sim card. It's unclear if he really has the money or if he's just pulling Mr. Jimmy away from Carla and Emily. Either way it’s a bold move.

An unlikely alliance

Sunny, after stashing Paige, goes to meet Donno (Ryan O'Nan) and Tonya (Jamie-Lynn Sigler). She tells them Paige is alive and has offered a deal. If Tonya and Donno can get her journal pages, Paige will split the money with them. Tonya accepts the deal because splitting the money with Paige will get them a lot more money than working with Mr. Jimmy. But when all three return to Sunny Day, Paige is nowhere to be found. 

Buck crosses the line

Paige is gone because Buck (Rex Linn) found her first. He is keeping her bound and gagged and in the attic of the home he shares with Sunny. Cassie goes to the house to speak with Sunny and Buck, but Buck is not about to let Cassie find Paige. The episode ends with Buck opening the door to Cassie with a wicked looking knife in his hand. There won't be any coming back from this for Buck, but will Paige survive?

Big Sky season 3 is taking a few weeks off, with new episodes returning January 4. Catch up with the season on Hulu.

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Sonya has been writing professionally for more than a decade and has degrees in New Media and Philosophy. Her work has appeared in a diverse array of sites including ReGen, The Washington Post, Culturess, Undead Walking and Final Girl. As a lifelong nerd she loves sci-fi, fantasy and horror TV and movies, as well as cultural documentaries. She is particularly interested in representation of marginalized groups in nerd culture and writes reviews and analysis with an intersectional POV. Some of her favorite shows include Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, The Handmaid’s Tale and The Sandman.