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Catastrophic Thinking is the tenth episode of the first season of Big Sky and the 10th episode of the series overall. It was written by Annakate Chappell and Matthew Tinker and directed by Gwyneth Horder-Payton. It premiered on April 13, 2021 on ABC.


Three months after Ronald's escape, Cassie and Jenny have officially partnered up to take down a fresh slew of troublemakers, but all isn't coming up roses. Ronald is still on the loose, a domestic case takes a macabre and deadly turn, and a U.S. Marshall is sticking his nose in their case files. Right as the women of Dewell & Hoyt seem to be getting used to the new normal, Jenny gets an alarming call from an old flame, leading her and Cassie headfirst into a new case, a new jurisdiction, and a whole lot of new trouble. It's time to meet the Kleinsassers.



Ronald waits outside a store.

Inside the store, Scarlet Leyendecker passes a customer's purchase across the country at him. As he leaves, Jean comes in to take over for Scarlet. As she walks out, Scarlet grabs a small dog figurine. As she walks to her car, Ronald begins following her. He scares her and starts laughing when she jumps. She playfully chastises him, calling him Arthur, while he and her daughter, Phoebe, continue to laugh. When Phoebe comments that her mother almost peed herself, "Arthur" tells the story of a woman he once knew with a foul mouth.

They sing "If You're Happy and You Know It" as they drive. As a semi passes, Ronald is reminded of the kidnapping.

Cassie and Jenny stake out the Hillcrest Motel. Cassie is startled by a semi and has a flash of Ronald breaking her window and grabbing her. Jenny breaks her out of her thoughts by speculating on their current case. The job has Cassie unsettled. Last night, Kai asked her if he was safe and made her check the windows and doors. She can't tell him he's safe because Ronald got away. Now they're working domestics instead of tracking him. Jenny reminds her those cases keep the lights on. Jenny also reminds her that they saved the girls and got Legarski. A car arrives and Alan Hedley gets out carrying a box. They take pictures as he enters a room. Another car arrived and Jenny takes pictures of that as well. They're shocked when two men get out instead of a woman as they expected. They get out to follow as Alan lets Paul Calgrove and Raymond into the room.

Alan comments that they're late so they're going to have to make it quick. Raymond opens the case, checks the contents, then closes and says it's time to go. Alan tries to stop them, saying he's just trying to support his family and needs the deal to go through, but they threaten him with a weapon. As Alan tries to take the case and run, Cassie and Jenny break in. In order to get them to cooperate, Cassie tells them she called the cops. They think she's bluffing, but agree to leave as Alan hides in the bathroom with the case. Cassie goes to the bathroom, but finds Alan gone.

Cassie and Jenny tell Tubb about Alan, whose wife hired them to investigate his suspected infidelity, and the two men. They suspect it was a drug deal that went bad. Tubb leaves to go have dinner, saying he'll be back.

Horst Kleinsasser looks at a picture as he struggles at his desk. He picks up a phone and dials.

Tad Jacobson, superintendent of the Lochsa County Jail, is about to take a bite of his sandwich when Ralph Frink comes in to tell him Horst is on the phone. Horst asks to speak to his son, Blake. Tad says Blake doesn't want to talk, so Horst wants him to force it. Tad says Blake used his call to hire a lawyer. Horst says to tell Blake he's coming down to the jail. After he hangs up, Horst looks at the picture of Blake again.

Alan enters a motel room, locks the door, and puts the case on the bed. He gets a message telling him to sit tight and the sender will come get him. As he waits, he looks up at a deer head mounted on the wall.

Cassie and Jenny tell Naomi Hedley that her husband isn't cheating on her. She's shocked because of his recent behavior. They tell her they think it might be drug-related, but Naomi says he's ten years sober and would never be involved in anything like that. Cassie and Jenny say the men he was meeting are dangerous and might be looking for him. She begs them to find him. Alan promised to do whatever it took to help their family. She wonders if she's in danger. Cassie tells her she'll be safe.

Paul and Raymond find Alan's car at the motel.

Denise reads out a possible case, a farm who thinks aliens have taken his cows. Cassie and Jenny are exhausted from the previous night's escapades. The phone rings and Jerrie answers it. There's just breathing on the other side. Denise got a similar call yesterday. Jenny gets a message from Naomi saying Alan didn't come home all night.

Naomi tells Jenny and Cassie she feels helpless. Just then, her father, Bruce Stone, comes in. Naomi explains that Cassie and Jenny are the investigators she hired. Bruce asks Cassie and Jenny for a word outside.

Out in front of the house, Bruce asks how much her daughter is paying because she can't afford it. He'll end up footing the bill, which is fine, but Alan isn't missing. Bruce just spoke with him and he said he'd be home that evening. He didn't tell Naomi because Alan didn't want him to. He wants to explain himself. Alan is selling his collectibles and it would break Naomi's heart if she knew. He doesn't know what happened with the meeting Jenny and Cassie witnessed, but he'll get the whole story. Alan was too proud to ask Bruce for money. Bruce asks them to have their bill sent to him so he can take care of it. Jenny asks him where Alan is right now. Bruce says he's coming home and thanks them. Cassie and Jenny leave, but are still not convinced.

Mark Lindor enters Dewell & Hoyt Private Investigations. Cassie and Jenny fight over who has to deal with him. When Cassie loses, she approaches him, but he walks past her and stands behind her desk. He introduces himself as a US Marshal and says he's there about Ronald Pergman. He wants to go on a walk with her. She reluctantly goes.

Outside, Cassie says she's been calling the feds for months, trying to get a sense of who's in charge of Ronald's case. Mark says the case has mostly gone cold, but he wanted the case anyway. Legarski's name came up in some documents they intercepted from a Canadian sex trafficking syndicate, but there's no mention of Ronald Pergman. He knows that the case is personal for Cassie and Jenny. His plan is to wait for Ronald to slip up, because they always do, but him slipping up will mean someone gets hurt. Cassie tells him to get to his point. He tells her they have an informant. If the syndicate tries to contact Ronald, they'll know about it. Cassie gets into her truck, saying the walk is over. Mark is worried they got off on the wrong foot and she tells him the last time that happened was with Legarski. He gives her his card and asks her to contact him when she's ready.

Jerrie has gone over Alan's recent purchases, which she finds odd. They're waiting for Alan to use the card again so they can track him. The phone rings and it's a man breathing heavily again. Jerrie knows it's Ronald.

Ronald puts the phone down in the sand and smashes it with a rock.

Jerrie looks out onto the street.

Jerrie shared Alan's recent purchase history with Jenny and Cassie. He's also still not answering his phone. Denise then prompts Jerrie to tell them about the weird calls. She can't explain why she thinks it's Ronald. She's sure she could identify his voice if he spoke.

Cassie goes to see Mark. She tells him about the calls Jerrie's been getting. He's not convinced it's something because Ronald's smart and knows how not to be traced. He's been tracking truckers, as he knows Ronald will go back to his old ways and it's only a matter of time. Cassie asks what if he doesn't. Mark says the key to Ronald is understanding his past. They have to find out what event triggered him. There's something, some pattern, some action he can't stop. They need to find that. Cassie reveals that she researched Mark as he did for them. He asked to be re-assigned to Montana and people who come to Montana are fleeing something or searching for something. Mark throws a paper airplane at his bulletin board, drawing Cassie's attention to a picture on it, which is one of the men who threatened Alan. Mark tells her who he is and says he goes by "The Snail." He's a henchman and gun for hire. Cassie tells him about their run-in with him. He warns her that Paul Calgrove is thorough, so if she's tangled with him, she's going to need help.

Ronald, Scarlet, and Phoebe are sitting down to dinner. Phoebe tells about someone she knows with a pet snake. Ronald says snakes can be quite calm until they're cornered or feel threatened. There's a knock at the door and Scarlet gets up to find it. It's Mary Leyendecker, Scarlet's sister. Scarlet introduces Ronald as Arthur to Mary. Mary asks if he's one of the good ones and he says he likes to think he is. Mary says Scarlet's been waiting a long time for a good man.

In the kitchen, as they make a plate for Mary, Ronald comments that Scarlet said she doesn't speak to her family. She says she doesn't, but her sister is a gossip and probably saw Scarlet and Ronald walking together. Scarlet kisses him to reassure him and tells him to be nice.

Ronald locks himself in the bathroom and turns on the water and screams. He gets under the sink and grabs out his taser.

Ronald returns to the table and says he's been called to work. He works for a meal delivery service and says he forgot to turn the app off. He tells Mary it's okay to stay and leaves. After he's gone, Mary says he seems like a good guy but only time will tell. The only thing is that he looks familiar to Mary.

Raymond says they can't wait any longer and goes to leave the car, but Paul stops him and says he'll go instead. They kiss briefly before Paul leaves.

A knock at the door summons Alan, who has been waiting impatiently. He's horrified to see Paul at the door with his weapon. Alan begs for his life as Paul approaches, beckoning for the case. Alan thrusts it at Paul, knocking him backward. Alan begs Paul not to hurt him, but realizes he's not fighting back. Then he notices Paul's been impaled on mounted deer head. Alan takes his jacket and leaves, leaving his phone and the case behind.

Raymond is surprised to see Alan leaving. Alan gets in his car and speeds away while Raymond runs inside. Raymond is horrified and angry to see Paul dead on the floor. He finds Alan's phone and looks at the picture of Naomi on the lock screen. He's able to unlock the phone, which has 1234 as its passcode, so he pockets it, then pulls the sheets down on the bed and closes Paul's eyes.

Jenny tells Cassie they traced Alan's credit card to a candy bar he bought at the hotel. They're 20 minutes away. From the backseat, Mark makes small talk.

They arrive at the hotel and are let into the room. The room is neat and orderly except the case, which is tipped over on the floor with vials broken around it. Cassie recognizes it as thoroughbred horse semen as Jenny notes the bedsheet is missing. Cassie says the semen is worth over $100,000. Stablehands must have collected it off the clock to sell it. It'll be easy to trace. Cassie knows someone cleaned up the room and Jenny finds blood on the deer antlers. Mark says it looks like Paul's work and he's betting they'll find Alan at the same time they find the bed sheet.

Jenny and Tubb shoot cans. Tubb tells Jenny that Naomi still hasn't officially reported Alan missing. Jenny tells Tubb what they have on the case. They'll need a warrant to search a warehouse, which Tubb says he can get. Tubb tries to talk Jenny into giving up Dewell & Hoyt and running for Sheriff, but Jenny says Dewell & Hoyt is Cody's legacy. He would have wanted her to take over. Tubb asks her what she wants and she says just the warrant right now. If Alan's not already dead, he's in danger. They shoot the cans again.

Denise asks them how it went at the warehouse. They only found old farming equipment, but Naomi's dad, Bruce, owns it. Jerrie gives them Alan's cell records, which shows he's called Bruce seven times in the last day. Cassie has a feeling that Bruce is in on it. He tried to pay them off so they'd stop looking into it. Naomi hasn't called and hasn't answered when Denise has called.

Cassie and Jenny go to Naomi's house. When she answers the door, she tells them Alan just got home. They realize something is wrong and pretend to leave, but really they go around to the side of the house. Through a window, they see Bruce tied up with Raymond behind him.

Raymond is torturing Bruce for Alan's location, but Bruce just tells Raymond to take his watch and money, but not to hurt Naomi.

Cassie sees Alan pull up and the car door closing draws Raymond's attention as well. As Jenny enters the house through the back, Raymond leads Naomi to the front of the house at gunpoint. Once they're out of the room, Jenny frees Bruce. Cassie enters the house and holds a gun on Raymond as he holds a gun on Naomi, threatening to shoot her. Jenny then steps out and shoots Raymond herself, freeing Naomi.

Alan tells Naomi he never looked inside the case, that it was just a way to make some easy money. He did it for them. They say they love each other and kiss before Alan is put in the back of a squad car.

Tubb questions Bruce about his involvement, though Bruce denies everything. Jenny says she had to shoot someone because of his actions. Bruce claims he didn't steal the straws because he had ranch hands to extract them. Tubb advises him to get a good lawyer. After he's walked away, Tubb reminds Jenny to think about what they talked about, but when Cassie asks what he meant, Jenny says it's nothing.

Horst arrives at the jail to see Blake. He's told it's past visiting hours, but Jacobson tells the jailer to get him. They make small talk until Ralph brings Blake out. Horst says he has something for Blake, a memento. He shows Blake a fist full of dirt from the ranch, which he pours into Blake's hands, saying that's all he's going to get of the ranch. Horst then leaves the jail.

In the morning, Denise tells Cassie and Jenny about the cases that have come in. A call from an unknown caller comes in and Jerrie answers it. She expects it to be Ronald again, but a voice calls for Jenny. It's Blake. He needs her help.

Ronald watches Dewell & Hoyt.



Special Guest Star

Guest Starring



Song Performer Scene
"Dear Mr. Fantasy" Traffic
  • Ronald has disguised himself.
  • He waits as a woman leaves work and scares her.
"If You're Happy and You Know It" Cast (Brian Geraghty, Anja Savcic, Zoë Noelle Baker)
  • Ronald, Scarlet, and Phoebe sing in the car as they drive.
"Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man" Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty
  • Paul and Raymond wait for something.
  • They kiss before Paul goes into a motel.
  • Raymond watches Alan leave.
"Bad Moon Rising" Minotaur Jr.
  • Blake asks for Jenny's help.
  • Ronald watches them.


  • This episode scored 3.43 million viewers.


Episode Stills

Behind the Scenes


See Also

A complete overview of this episode's crew can be found here.