To say that Big Sky was one of the most anticipated shows of the 2021-22 TV season would be the understatement of the century.
Armed with a killer cast and a convincing mystery, the only way was up for the freshman drama, but after viewing three hours of the back half of Big Sky Season 1, the magic appears to be gone.
The initial mystery was fine, delivering the twists and turns you would expect. Some of them were decent, some of them were forced, and some of them were just downright head-scratching.
When TV shows find success, especially shows with a limited run in mind, they have the option of wrapping up the mystery early or pivoting on to something else to keep those healthy ratings.
Big Sky chose the latter in a new family in a clear attempt to capture some of the success of Yellowstone, and it's falling flat.
The Kleinassers may well be the most despicable family on television, but the only compliment I can offer about their addition is that the series managed to get a fabulous cast to play them.
There are many questions about the mystery this half-season, but it seems like we're going to be watching Cassie and Jennie relentlessly pursued and put in precarious situations by men all season long.
The character development for both of them has been traded in for this method of storytelling, putting them in harm's way and introducing a raft of new characters instead of developing the ones who were there when the series debuted.
Cassie and Jenny are two of the most badass characters on TV, and it's unfortunate to show them in this light.
They have families, but instead of checking in with them, they've been shoved aside.
I want there to be a reason to have these women away from their families. Investigating a mystery is plausible, but not when they're terrorized by the Kleinassers and the law.
The issue with the Kleinassers and the people in their orbit is that they are all too dark to care about.
We've witnessed them threaten multiple people through three episodes -- some of them resort to murder -- and it's a bit too difficult to follow.
Add this into the random mystery during the first half of the two-hour Spring premiere, and it makes me believe these episodes have been tacked on only as a way to extend the series.
Had Big Sky Season 1 concluded with the death of Legarski and unveiled hints that something else was brewing, it would have been a convincing hook for Big Sky Season 2.
The Ronald of it all is also concerning. Jerrie has been struggling to move on from their time in captivity, and it seems completely and utterly cruel for them to be wondering if Ronald is going to emerge from the shadows to cause more problems.
If you watch Big Sky online, you know Ronald has a ludicrous wig, a new girlfriend, and a newfound revenge plan.
The series would have been wise to completely end the Ronald arc. Jerrie could still be haunted by what happened even if Ronald was locked up or, more convincingly, killed while trying to escape.
The best comparison I can make to how cheap this feels is to say that Big Sky Season 1B is to Big Sky Season 1A what I Still Know What You Did Last Summer is to I Know What You Did Last Summer.
All of the random plot points appear to be poorly thought out in these new episodes. Another glaring issue was that the Sheriff kidnapped Cassie, and he let her keep her phone, therefore allowing her to record the encounter.
Surely one of the first things someone would do when holding someone against their will would be to take away anything that could be used against them.
Is the series going through an identity crisis, or is Big Sky bitten off more than it can chew since ABC ordered more episodes?
There could be a good mystery here, but the hasty execution, the lack of character development, and the way the two female leads are being pursued by a psycho family leave a bad taste in my mouth.
Big Sky has no issues with killing off series regulars. Remember when Ryan Phillippe's Cody was killed on Big Sky Season 1 Episode 1 after months of relentless promotion with him as the male lead of the show?
Yes, fans were surprised. You don't get rid of that hotness unless you have big plans to advance the other characters' stories.
The ratings are also sinking.
Big Sky Season 1 showed impressive retention throughout its winter run, but it dropped 29% vs. its fall finale with its two-hour spring premiere.
The numbers dropped even further, with Big Sky Season 1 Episode Episode 12 shedding another 15% to come down to 2.9 million viewers and a 0.4 rating.
The demo is almost half what it was earlier in the season, leading me to believe that many fans feel like the series is going too far with this new mystery.
All you have to do is check the comments on Big Sky reviews or check the show's social media pages to understand that the Kleinassers are not the right direction.
What do you think of my concerns?
Are you digging the new mystery, or do you feel like Big Sky is putting its female characters in jeopardy too much for entertainment?
Hit the comments.
Catch new episode Tuesdays at 10/9c.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.