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The End is Near is the eighth episode of the first season of Big Sky and the 8th episode of the series overall. It was written by Morenike Balogun and directed by Hanelle Culpepper. It premiered on February 9, 2021 on ABC.


Cassie and Jenny grow more suspicious of the circumstances with every visit to the hospital, while Ronald finds himself in a precarious situation thanks to a nosy paperboy. With his back against the wall, Ronald will have to address his inner demons and decide just how far is too far.


Jenny and Cassie enter the house with their guns raised. They go upstairs, but each area is clear. There's no sign of Ronald in the house. A window is open where he's obviously escaped. They find the storage space in the back of the closet, which they assume is what Ronald was after.

Ronald is driving away when Merrilee calls him. He slams his phone repeatedly into the steering wheel and then throws it out the window.

The cops search the area around the Legarski house. Inside, Tubb questions Merrilee about what Ronald said. She tells him everything she knows about the man who was in her house. Cassie has Tubb back off and asks Merrilee herself if she knows anything. Merrilee says all she knows is that she's the world's biggest dope.

Ronald arrives back at his house. Inside, he looks at his mother's body, still in her chair.

Ronald has put his mother's body in a wheeled chair and wheels her down to the basement.

Elena Sosa asks Jenny if there's any part of the scene they didn't contaminate as she examines the space in the closet. Jenny says they were in pursuit. Sosa says it would be easier if Jenny were a cop again. Tubb says they're witnesses and he has questions for them. They know he was there when they arrived, but was gone by the time they got upstairs. They're all creeped out by a life-size standee of Legarski, which came from an award he'd received.

Legarski gets an MRI.

Penelope tells Legarski he has no signs of bleeding and he's improving, but they need to talk about his accomplice. He was in Legarski's house and he's still at large. If he remembers anything, he can tell her. He says he doesn't know who it is. Penelope wants to give Legarski a polygraph. If he passes, they can use it to their advantage. If he fails, no one will ever know. Merrilee comes in and says the police want her to make another statement as they believe she's involved. Penelope advises her to get a lawyer for herself. With the press, she might be able to find someone to do it pro bono. In the meantime, Penelope advises her not to talk to the police or FBI. Legarski asks if the back door was unlocked. He always tells her not to leave it unlocked.

Ronald mops the floor as the news breaks of a manhunt. When the news says he's considered to be depraved, he insists that he isn't. He turns off the news in anger and then moves to washing the dishes, mimicking his mother's insistence that they keep a clean house. Suddenly, he breaks a dish on the floor and then starts mopping frantically again, remembering his mother's mockery of him driving a truck.

Ronald watches another news report, which says that one of the captives was able to describe his truck in detail inside and out.

Erik Westergaard rides his bike around town, delivering papers on his route. The lady at the flower shop stops him and says to tell his boss they don't get the paper anymore. She gets it on the iPad now. He goes to put the paper back in his basket, but sees Ronald's face looking back up at him from the front page, where the sketch has been printed.

Jerrie looks at pictures of trucks and uses them to describe Ronald's truck. Denise says the dance hall where Merrilee danced with him has security cameras, but they self-erase. Tubb comes in and says Merrilee is getting a lawyer and refusing to talk to the police. But she might still talk to Cassie. Tubb says they got some prints from the Legarski house, but nothing that matched. Tubb also tells Jerrie they're going to increase the drivebys for her safety. They don't have the staff to post someone there all the time. Jerrie says she should be okay as her friend's husband has a big dog and a big gun.

Dr. Wang says it's doctor-patient privilege, but Cassie says it's evidence he's withholding. Dr. Wang is worried Legarski's lawyer will put him out of business if he discusses Legarski's medical condition. Cassie says he gets one legacy and wants to know if this is his. Dr. Wang says he doesn't even know what's going on in Legarski's brain. Penelope comes up and asks what they're talking about. Cassie covers by saying Wang was hitting on her, as men do. Cassie is appalled that Penelope could be defending Legarski, but Penelope just says she has a job to do, as Cassie does.

Erik delivers the Pergmans' paper. As he goes to leave, he stops for a moment and looks back at the house.

As Penelope watches from the doorway, the polygrapher shows Legarski a picture of Grace and he denies recognizing her or shooting her. Next, he shows a picture of Jerrie, whom he also denies knowing. He asks if he shot that one.

Cassie asks Tubb if he knows for sure that Legarski passed. Tubb says his lawyer is asking for an official one, which can be submitted as evidence, which suggests he passed. Cassie says he must be faking, but Tubb says cops love polygraphs and trust them. Legarski would never allow one to be done on him unless he was sure he'd pass. Jenny knows that means he doesn't remember. If he doesn't remember, that doesn't mean he didn't do it, but it does mean he'll be considered incompetent to stand trial. He'll end up at a psychiatric facility. If he improves and is considered a changed man, they'll release him. Tubb says that won't happen and wants to see how it'll play out.

Jenny and Cassie don't want to wait for it to play out. Cassie says Tubb has just given up. Cassie wants to go into Legarski's room herself, as she knows he'll remember her. She knows someone who works at the hospital who can help her get in.

Ronald goes to his porch to grab his paper and sees his own face on the front page. From the bushes, Erik takes pictures on his phone. As Erik goes to leave, Ronald grabs him from behind.

Ronald has Erik in a cage in the basement. Erik says he'll never get away with it. Ronald says getting away with stuff is kind of his thing. Erik says he was taking Ronald's picture for a show and tell project about his job. Ronald knows he's lying. Ronald suggests that Erik try screaming, as that's what he does when he's stressed. Erik says people knew he was coming to take Ronald's picture, so when he comes up missing, they'll look at his house.

Cassie is disguised in hospital garb. Jenny wishes her luck as she goes to see Legarski.

As Jenny listens from the hall, Cassie pretends to be a nurse and checks on Legarski. She closes the blinds and then has him look straight at her. She tells him her name is Missy when he asks. He likes her name because when you forget a woman's name, you can always call her Missy. Cassie says some women don't like that. She has him squeeze her fingers and then says she's going to count and gives him the same three options he gave her before she shot him. She finally tells him her real name and asks if he remembers her. He starts to panic and asks if he shot her with an arrow.

Jenny's still not convinced he can't remember anything. Cassie says Legarski wasn't there. It's possible if the bullet damaged the amygdala. But the Rick Legarski they knew is gone. Jenny is upset that this means Legarski could go free. Jenny wants to take her own turn.

Rachel Westergaard goes to see Denise at Dewell & Hoyt Private Investigations. She asks if Denise has seen Erik. Denise says she saw him deliver the paper. Rachel is worried because he didn't come home. Sometimes he'll go fishing, but he's usually home by this point. Denise asks if she tried calling his friends. Rachel is worried because Erik called her at work but she couldn't talk much because she had a lot of customers, but Erik said something about knowing someone in the paper. She told him to tell her about it later. Rachel says Erik said something about a reward. Denise glances over at the paper and sees the sketch on the front page. Rachel then sees it herself and says Erik said he thinks he knows where the guy lives.

Jenny realizes it must be someone on Erik's paper route. Tubb asks for a list of Erik's customers, which Denise got from the paper. Rachel doesn't remember him saying it was someone from his route, but it's still a good place to start.

Ronald ties Erik's arms behind his back. Erik asks how long Ronald plans to keep him and Ronald says as long at is takes. Erik asks if Ronald is going to kill him and Ronald snaps back that he's thinking. He explains that it's a Jack Benny joke. Erik knows who Jack Benny is as he watches lots of old shows and movies with his mom. Ronald used to watch that stuff with his mom, too. He asks Erik if he knows the Pit and the Pendulum. Their conversation is interrupted by the doorbell ringing. Ronald locks Erik back up and goes to get the door.

Ronald finds Father Ted Maynard at the door. He asks after Ronald's mother and Ronald says his mother is away visiting his aunt who has cancer. He's surprised Helen never mentioned it to him. That's what clergy is for, to talk about the things people worry about. Lately, his mother's been talking about him. Ronald says his mother doesn't see truck driving as a noble calling. Maynard says that's not what she's been talking about. He asks Ronald to let him in so they can talk about it.

Denise tells Rachel police are going door-to-door, starting with Erik's route. Rachel is upset because Erik tried to tell her, but she was busy. Denise tries to reassure her, but she feels guilty. Denise puts a stone in Rachel's palm and wraps her hand around it.

Maynard tells Ronald that Helen feared his prurient urges were taking hold again and was more worried that he seemed involved in something bigger than himself.

Downstairs, Erik tries to get free.

Maynard talks to Ronald about what God is when Ronald asks if the something bigger than himself is God. Ronald says he has a general idea of what God is and he also has a general idea about Maynard. Ronald remembers that Maynard tried to drown him as a child. Maynard says it was a baptism and Ronald is mistaken.

Erik is able to push his feet between the bars and use that to move the cage around the basement.

Ronald remembers hearing his father tell Maynard to hold him down a bit longer so he could toughen up. Maynard says Ronald was only about two years old, but the experience made a dent.

Erik moving the cage makes noise.

Maynard hears it upstairs and asks about it. Ronald says it's his dog, but Maynard says it doesn't sound like a dog.

Erik tries to reach Ronald's tools.

Maynard grows even more suspicious. Ronald tells him it's time for him to leave. Maynard says he has time on his hands and there are many places he could go. He asks if Ronald cares where he might go.

Erik manages to open a door in the basement, revealing Helen's body. He screams, but it's muffled by the tape on his mouth.

Upstairs, Ronald hears the screaming and excuses himself to check on his dog.

Ronald comes down the stairs and tells Erik he's made things worse. He tells Erik to stay still and quiet or Ronald will kill him. He asks if Erik can follow those instructions. Erik sees Maynard coming down the stairs. Ronald turns around and starts chasing Maynard. He catches Maynard in the kitchen and tases him. They fight.

Downstairs, Erik continues his escape attempt.

Ronald brings Maynard over to the sink and pushes his face down in the water. He holds Maynard there until he stops struggling.

Erik watches in horror as Maynard's body tumbles down the stairs.

Jenny, Cassie, and Denise watch the news report on the Amber Alert for Erik. Ronald's face is out there everywhere. Taking Erik was reckless. Jenny's afraid it's part of a plan Ronald has. Jerrie comes in and is horrified that Ronald took someone else. Jerrie's afraid she's losing her mind because she keeps seeing Ronald everywhere when he's not there. She wants to know when they're going to get Ronald.

Jenny and Cassie go to Legarski's room. They ask the cop guarding the door if he's allowed any visitors except family. The deputy says he isn't, so Cassie says she'll wait outside, saying Jenny is Legarski's sister.

Jenny goes into Legarski's room. Penelope immediately calls for the guard while Jenny tells him all the evil things he's done. The guard tries to remove Jenny, but Legarski says he'll talk to her. Penelope tells him he won't, but he asks if he really killed her husband. He wants to speak to her. Penelope says he's not competent to make that decision. Jenny says he was competent enough to kill and hide a body in a hole, but not to be held accountable. Jenny tells him Cody was her husband and they have a son who is now grieving. Before she can continue, the guard pulls her away. Legarski says if he did what they say he did, he hopes to die.

Out in the car, Cassie tells Jenny again that the Legarski from before is not there. Jenny can't believe he's gone and says if he goes free, she'll kill him herself.

Erik cries in the cage. Then he stops and starts rubbing the tape around his legs against something metal in the cage.

Merrilee is sitting in a room when Cassie comes in. She says she asked for a lawyer. Cassie says she's not police. Merrilee knows the police can't legally question her, so they sent Cassie in. Cassie says this is just about truth. Merrilee doesn't know what the truth is. She knows she doesn't have anything to do with the trucker or the boy he took. Cassie believes her, but it doesn't look good. If they knew what he was looking for at the house or what he took, it might help them identify him and find Erik. Merrilee doesn't know. Cassie says her best path is to tell them everything she knows and help them break her husband if he's faking the memory loss. Merrilee doesn't think he's faking. She still has a little hope that Ronald wasn't just targeting her and really felt something for her. She tells Cassie that Ronald kissed her. She's grateful for him because he made her feel, which she hadn't done in a long time. Cassie shows Merrilee a picture of Erik and says now they need to keep him alive.

Ronald drags Maynard's body across the floor. Ronald sees that the door to his mother is open and closes it. He tells Erik his mother was nice, then she stopped. He asks Erik if he's going to be nice. Ronald takes the tape off Erik's mouth and says he's going to ask some questions. If Erik lies, he's dead. He asks why Erik was taking his picture and Erik says he saw his picture in the paper. He also admits to telling his mother he recognized Ronald, but never told her a name or address. When Ronald leans in to ask another question, Erik hits him with a staple gun. He also has the taser with him.

Merrilee goes to see Legarski. She shows the picture of Erik and says Ronald kidnapped him. She tells him he needs to tell them who the man is. He maintains that if he ever knew who the man was, he doesn't remember it now. She asks him if he remembers The Big Rick. He used to care about morality. The man she married was all about humanity. That's why he became a state trooper. His humanity needs to rise up now as he's the only one who can save Erik. The Big Rick needs to remember. Legarski just says he can't. Merrilee says the man might kill her, too. Legarski says he's sorry. Merrilee looks at his fingers as they drum on his hospital bed.

Ronald sings jovially as he spreads gasoline all over the basement. He asks Erik if he has a match.



Guest Starring



Song Performer Scene
"Take the Exit" The Footlight District
  • Ronald drives away from Merrilee's.
  • He ignores her calling and breaks his phone.
"Dead in the Water" Spelles
  • Ronald hides his mother's body in the basement.
"If You're Happy and You Know It" Cast (Brian Geraghty)
  • Ronald happily spills gasoline all over the basement as Erik watches.


  • This episode scored 3.65 million viewers.
  • Natalie Alyn Lind and Jade Pettyjohn are credited despite being absent in this episode. However this marks their final episode as series regulars they leave the main cast in the following episode.
    • This marks the first time a series regular is absent in an episode.


Episode Stills

Behind the Scenes


See Also

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