Is ‘Big Sky’ Taking Place During or After the Pandemic?

by Madison Miller

For those who have binge-watched the new hit ABC drama-thriller, “Big Sky,” you know it’s a perfect cure for pandemic-induced boredom.

However, the question is, are the characters in “Big Sky” experiencing what we’ve been experiencing? Is there a pandemic at all in this rural, Helena, Montana setting or is it a fantasy world?

‘Big Sky’ Dialogue

Dialogue from the show seems to suggest that yes, there is most definitely a pandemic sweeping the nation. Actions and behaviors from characters seem to suggest something entirely different, however.

In the very first episode of the show, Rick Legarski, a Montana Highway Patrol officer, mentions the pandemic. He and private detective Cody Hoyt walk into a small abandoned restaurant.

Legarski says as they walk in, “C’mon in. This place shut down because of the pandemic … if it ever reopens he says he’ll give me a piece of it.”

Another moment similar to this happens when a waitress asks soon-to-be-kidnapped Jerrie a question regarding her watching herself sing the song “Falling.” When the waitress asks her about it she responds, “In pandemic times, people want to believe. Especially in love.” The show lets us know in five minutes that the pandemic is happening.

It’s at this point that you turn your head in confusion as a person who has been living through the pandemic for nearly a year. Just in the pilot alone, we had been seeing some actions that would be unheard of in the real-world of COVID-19.

Cody meets up with a stranger, with no mask insight. Two girls travel across the country to stay at someone else’s house during a pandemic. People walk the streets chatting casually, six feet apart long forgotten.

While people in rural Montana don’t all wear a mask, would it be realistic for no one at all to wear one?

Why Mention the Pandemic?

So, why does the show mention the pandemic but give no real signs that people are dealing with COVID-19? Why not just leave that out entirely?

Making the show as present-tense as possible does give it an eery sense of realism. The feeling that this could be a very real instance today. To some degree it is. Countless women in Montana especially go missing every year. Some recent controversy has come out because a huge portion of women who go missing in the area are indigenous and the show fails to mention this.

At the same time, however, mentioning the pandemic and failing to showcase it makes the show that much less real. It seems like creators are already balancing on the beam between fantasy and realism, but are just failing to pick one side.

Further on in the show, there are even more opportunities to touch on the pandemic. The”germaphobe” trucker using sanitizer, the awkward zoom into a bottle of hand sanitizer on a desk, or even when one character plans a very large funeral.

The show was developed before COVID-19 and could have easily just skipped around the pandemic. Instead, it has created a large plot hole that many fans hope to see mended. No one would hold it against show creators if they had made the setting before the pandemic. So, why mention it at all? It’s unclear, maybe even a bit frustrating, but maybe it will come up first-hand when the show comes back on Feb. 2.

H/T: Vulture