Big Sky season 3 episode 9: Cassie puts the pieces together

Kylie Bunbury in Big Sky
Kylie Bunbury in Big Sky (Image credit: ABC/Michael Moriatis)

NOTE: this post contains spoilers for Big Sky season 3 episode 9, "Where There's Smoke There's Fire."

Even in Big Sky, secrets can't stay hidden, especially when those secrets are tied to murders. In Big Sky season 3 episode 9, some big truth bombs are dropped.

Things pick up with Walter (Seth Gabel) in custody, being questioned by Hoyt (Katheryn Winnick) and Arlen (Jensen Ackles), but he won't give up his name or any other information. Hoyt tries to get him to confess to killing Mary and Luke, but he won't. Hoyt presses Walter about Paige (Madalyn Horcher) because they haven’t found her body. Walter says he killed Paige in the hopes of giving her time to get away. But that's definitely not the end of the story for Walter.

Walter's arrest takes the heat off the campers up at Sunny Day for now, but there's still a lot more to this story and Cassie (Kylie Bunbury) and the others aren't going to stop digging for answers. Cassie and Cormac (Luke Mitchell) finally have a real date at the Boot Heel where they dance and have drinks. But Cassie ruins the vibe by questioning Cormac again about Buck (Rex Linn) and Sunny (Reba McEntire). He gets mad and leaves.

When Buck is taking down the sign at the Sunny Day camp he cuts his finger. In blood, he draws a heart on the post. He wipes it away when Sunny comes up to him, but that's very suspicious. Is Buck somehow tied to the Bleeding Heart Murders? Cassie is still determined to solve those murders and Buck is already on her radar, so if he's involved, Cassie and Cormac's relationship may be doomed.

The fire jumper murders

While Arlen is having a moment with Carla (Angelique Cabral), who is picking up Emily (Cree Cicchino) at his trailer, Hoyt calls to tell Arlen a body has been found. It's a man in a cowboy costume who is found in a tree tangled in a parachute. The man, Brett Baker, did drop in parachute stunts for parties and events. He recently quit his job as a fire jumper after the death of his closest friend. One of the lines on his parachute was cut.

While investigating Brett's death, Hoyt and Arlen discover that Brett quit fire jumping because his friend Dave’s father, Frank (Mark Derwin), was the head of the fire jumping unit and blamed Brett for Dave's death. Frank admitted to them he blamed Brett for his son's death but denied having anything to do with the murder.

Arlen and Hoyt learn the unit had been accused of stealing from homes that were evacuated because of fire, and then find Brett had a storage unit, which is full of money, jewelry and stolen items. 

When Arlen and Hoyt confronted Frank and accused him of being involved in the theft ring and Brett's death, he angrily denied it. They instead put their attention on Cooper (Adam Aalderks), Frank's second in command. Wearing a wire, Frank confronted Cooper, who confessed to both the thefts and killing Brett. 

Jensen Ackles and Katheryn Winnick in Big Sky

Jensen Ackles and Katheryn Winnick in Big Sky (Image credit: ABC/Anna Kooris)

Secrets and threats

Even though Walter is in custody and suspected of all the murders at Sunny Day, there are still secrets bubbling under the surface. Avery (Henry Ian Cusick) is threatened by Mr. Jimmy at a secret meeting that reveals Jimmy has been blackmailing Avery to recover the $15 million. Mr. Jimmy threatens to have Carla and Emily killed if Avery doesn't deliver the crypto in 24 hours. He does, but barely.

Cormac knows that Buck and Sunny are keeping secrets too. He confronts them at their home about who the mystery man that was living in the woods is. Cormac suspects that Walter isn’t a cousin as Sunny has said. Buck tells Sunny to give Cormac the truth so they can move forward as a family. Reluctantly Sunny tells Cormac that Walter is her son, Cormac's half-brother, who she gave up for adoption when he was young. She also tells Cormac she has been hiding Walter since he ran away from an abusive home.

Cassie figures it out

Hoyt admits to Cassie they're not getting anywhere with Walter, so Cassie decides to question him with a friendly approach. She is not convinced Paige is dead and she's not convinced Walter really is the one who killed Luke and Mary. While she's questioning Walter, she asks him about the figurine that was found on Mark, the backpacker. Walter tells her that the figurines are meant to be protection. When the person who has the figurine crosses over into death, they will have a friend with them so they won't be scared. 

Cassie points out Luke and Mary didn't have figurines. Walter tells her that they had nothing to fear from him. That convinces Cassie that Walter didn't kill those two. She shows Walter a picture of a figurine from the cabin, which is dressed like Paige. She asks Walter why he still has Paige's figurine if Paige is dead. Walter says nothing and Cassie is even more sure that Paige isn't actually dead.

Cassie goes to the cabin to look for more evidence. She's convinced she missed something that could identify Walter. While she's digging around the cabin she finds an envelope hidden under a floor board that contains newspaper clippings about what happened to Walter's abusive foster family. The clippings identify Walter and Cassie finally has the missing piece of the puzzle — she knows now who Walter is. 

At Sunny Day, Sunny is sitting by the fire trying to come to terms with letting Walter go to protect their family unit of Cormac, Sunny, and Buck. Sunny seems ready to sacrifice Walter to move forward. But as Sunny is sitting there Paige returns to camp. 

Will Paige reveal she's alive and get Walter released? Will Buck be identified as Mary's killer? Now that Walter's identity is out there and Paige is proven to be alive a reckoning is coming.

New episodes of Big Sky season 3 air on ABC on Wednesdays with all other episodes available to stream on Hulu.

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Sonya Iryna

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.