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‘Big Sky’ Season 2 Episode 7 Recap: Smiley, Could You Give Me A Hand?




‘Big Sky’ Season 2 Episode 7 Recap: Smiley, Could You Give Me A Hand?

These Big Sky multi-week hiatuses are doing a number on my memory. Who can even remember which drug-dealers have died and which ones are actually undercover cops and which ones are just caught up in things way above their pay grade?

When we last left off, Travis was kidnapped by his boss Dietrich while Jenny watched it happen from behind a motel bed. Travis, who had previously been kidnapped by Ren, agreed to work for her in order to go, like, triple undercover, and while he was busy being re-kidnapped by Dietrich, Ren and Donno were busy killing Smiley, one of Dietrich’s men, who just agreed to work with T-Lock to distribute ye olde bags o’ drugs that are at the center of this season’s drama. Oh, Lindor made the bad decision to sneak onto Wolf Legarski’s property to look for Ronald Pergman.

And that’s where we begin this week’s episode, with Lindor sneaking around Wolf’s dog kennels looking for signs of Ronald and Scarlet. He doesn’t find them, but he is found himself, by Wolf, who temporarily locks Lindor in Ronald’s old kennel to teach him a lesson. His captivity is brief, and when he’s released, Ronald sees him from out a window and tries to get his attention, until Wolf’s wife Agatha zaps his collar and incapacitates him, while knocking out a defiant Scarlet with a piece of wood.

At Cassie’s house, Jenny shows up to reveal that she watched as Travis was abducted by Dietrich, and the two go looking for him at the local bar, The Boot Heel. When they arrive, a bloody box addressed to “The Liar” is sitting on the pool table (doncha hate when you hafta replace the bloody felt on your pool table?), and inside the box lies Smiley’s hand, cut off at the wrist and holding a bag of drugs. It’s a message, y’all.

At Smiley’s apartment, a bit of levity as Donno and his new co-worker, Tonya the Former Waitress, bag up Smiley’s chopped up limbs. Donno criticizes Tonya for buying what feels to him like those thin, plant-based garbage bags that fall apart of they contain so much as a human head. Donno, I’m right there with ya, it’s Hefty Cinch Sack or nothing for this gal. In a subsequent moment of dismembered-body-related comedy, T-Lock arrives to Smiley’s apartment mere moments after his body has been cleared out, and does a fantastic pratfall after slipping in a puddle of his former business partner’s blood. T-Lock hides in the bathroom because he hears Travis and Dietrich entering the house, but of course the tension rod shower caddy falls over because those things never stay up, and the sound gives him away. He runs out of the apartment, but Travis and Dietrich are on his tail.

Harper, still feeling empathy for the weird watcher in the woods who saved them from Deputy Harvey, brings the watcher to Madison and Bridger’s house because he’s been dying of an infected stab wound for a few days now. He tells them not to take him to a hospital, so they do what any teenager in Montana does: find their friend whose dad is a doomsday prepper and ask him for some of their secret medical supplies. This friend, Hot Pete, is happy to oblige. His basement, stockpiled to look like a CVS, makes me realize that the Venn Diagram of doomsday prepper basements and extreme couponer basements is no diagram at all, it’s just one big circle.

Madison plans to bring all the medical supplies back to her house where the watcher, named Creary, is safely hiding out because Bridger and Madison’s parents are away at a conference. (Cut to Bridger and Madison’s parents coming home early because their flight got canceled, and cue the subtle hijinks of trying to perform minor surgery on a stabbed, half-dead man while keeping it from them!)

Tonya is showing initiative as Ren’s new employee by proposing that Ren buy a local ranch nearby. Ren is thrilled by her young new employee’s attitude and sends her to scout the property. Thing is, Cassie’s father is also interested in buying a ranch, so when Tonya arrives, Cassie is there and wonders what Tonya is up to. Tonya tells her she’s working for a new boss, whose identity she can’t reveal and Cassie’s private detective antenna is immediately up.

Jenny calls Dietrich in to let him know that Smiley is dead. Dietrich, who has apprehended T-Lock, leaves him under Travis’s supervision while he goes to Jenny. When he learns of Smiley’s death, he’s shaken, and reveals that he thinks that Ren is behind it. (He’s not wrong.) So Jenny goes to investigate Ren, who acts surprised that anyone thinks she’s involved in a drug cartel, she’s just a friendly real estate developer come to town to build a shiny new subdivision. As Jenny leave’s Ren’s, Tonya walks in and Jenny realizes that something – nay, everything – is amiss.

As for the women’s love lives, because that’s why you watch Big Sky, right? Travis, who has brought T-Lock to a secret, underground bunker, forces him into it, but ever the multi-tasker, Travis calls Jenny while pointing the gun at T-Lock to tell her that, whatever happens to him from this point forward, he loves her. Awww! And then Lindor and Cassie share a moment where he shows up to her office and, while he fumbles his way through describing his feelings, she kisses him. Poor Jerrie! All this is happening while she’s away, and she’s probably out there thinking about that kiss she had with Lindor, and savoring that one, beautiful moment they shared as she drove off into the night to care for her dying mother that she hates. This love triangle, a plot point so minor that most people would ignore it, is going to stress me out more than pretty much anything all season, I can tell you that. #JusticeForJerrie.

Big literary news! Wolf Legarski might have a new book deal! Remember, he’s not just a dog trainer, he’s an author, and his newest books is about how to train both man and beast. He packs up to meet his agent, and with him gone, Scarlet, who has grown antsy at not seeing her daughter, Phoebe, who has been secretly kept in another location with Agatha’s sister, decides now is the time to break Ronald out and get Phoebe. She steals the key to remove Ronald’s collar and sends Ronald to retrieve Phoebe and escape Wolf’s place. Tasting freedom for the first time in who knows how long, Ronald walks through the woods to find a highway, the open road he used to drive on in his big rig, picking up girls to, you know, sell into slavery, only now, he’s alone and his destiny is in his own hands.

Liz Kocan is a pop culture writer living in Massachusetts. Her biggest claim to fame is the time she won on the game show Chain Reaction.

Watch Big Sky Season 2 Episode 7 on Hulu


Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death




Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death

Legendary NFL coach and broadcaster John Madden died Tuesday morning at 85, the NFL announced. News of the football icon’s passing hit Twitter on Tuesday evening, and athletes, coaches and broadcasters from across the sports world reacted.

Fellow broadcasting legend Dick Vitale, who is currently battling cancer, called Madden “the greatest analyst of all time of any sport” in his Twitter tribute.

Former Yankees pitcher and notable Raiders fan CC Sabathia said “your legacy will live forever.” Madden coached the then-Oakland Raiders from 1969-78, a couple of years before Sabathia, a Vallejo, California native, was born. Lakers star LeBron James had similar words about Madden’s lasting legacy, adding an infinity emoji.

Former tennis star and social justice activist Billie Jean King recalled meeting Madden as a “privilege.”

Radio voice of the Rangers Kenny Albert, a five-sport broadcaster who’s been with FOX Sports since its inception in 1994, shared a photo circa 26 years ago to remember Madden.

ESPN’s Bomani Jones took a bit of a shot at current color commentators, noting that Madden “set an unreachable standard.”

Frank Caliendo, who’s made a career out of impersonations, including one for Madden, said he was surprised how emotional he felt.

Several football players, and others, including Saints running back Mark Ingram II and former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, credited Madden with being part of the reason why they love football.

Rams wide receiver and NFL MVP contender Cooper Kupp quote the late coach in his tribute: “The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer.”

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Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence




Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence

MINNEAPOLIS — The Knicks got back another body in rookie point guard Miles McBride, who was cleared from protocols Tuesday and rejoined the team in Minnesota.

But there is no longer any hype for the rookie’s return. Kemba Walker is back as the starting point guard and coming off winning Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors with four standout games, including his Christmas Day spectacular. The Knicks have gone 2-2 since Walker regained the starting job.

“It’s great,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He had a great week. He’s playing great basketball. The team winning helps him get recognized and he was a big part of driving that winning. It’s great for the team.’’

McBride was also spectacular in his last outing before getting COVID-19, when he played the entire second half Dec. 16 in Houston and seemingly earned a spot in the rotation. In fact, McBride had strung together two decent outings before he was ruled out. But things have changed since his emergence and McBride is likely back to being a bit player.

Without a practice, McBride wasn’t even expected to see time when the Knicks faced the Timberwolves to kick off a four-game road trip.

Miles McBride
NBAE via Getty Images

Of course, with Walker’s arthritic knee, anything is possible. The Knicks play Detroit on Wednesday in a back-to-back, so it’s uncertain whether Walker will complete both contests. In addition, Immanuel Quickley is out of COVID-19 protocols but Thibodeau wasn’t sure he was ready for meaningful minutes.

That left Walker against the depleted Timberwolves, who were missing their three top players (Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell), all because of COVID-19 .

Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker

When McBride got sidelined by the virus and Derrick Rose needed ankle surgery, Walker was resurrected by Thibodeau and it’s been a stunning comeback story.

Though Thibodeau has clear reservations about Walker based on his nine-game banishment due to his defensive malaise as an undersized point guard, he admitted after the Christmas Day triple-double against Atlanta that Walker is playing “much more aggressive.”

Walker’s triple-double that featured 10 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds was a lot different than his prior outing, when he scored 44 points against Washington.

“I thought his passing was terrific,’’ Thibodeau said before the Knicks resumed their schedule.

“Kemba had control of the game. The game tells you what to do. That’s what I loved about the way he played. I don’t think he forced anything. They puts size on him and were aggressive in their pick-and-roll coverage. He didn’t fight it. He attacked pressure the way you like to attack pressure. You don’t fight pressure with pressure. Don’t try to split it. Get rid of it, go to the backside. Let the game tell you what to do.’’

The Knicks coach is finally seeing all the elements of what Walker can do. Before his demotion, Walker was nothing more than a no-defense, 3-point shooter whose plus-minus was an abysmal minus-122.

Thibodeau was also concerned about his durability in sitting out two of the three back-to-back sets. The last load management game in Atlanta in late November triggered Thibodeau’s decision.

But now it’s only superlatives from Thibodeau in judging the last four games.

“Sometimes it’s going to be his shooting, sometimes it’s his penetration and getting in the paint to force a collapse and sometimes they’re being aggressive with their traps get rid of the ball quickly,’’ Thibodeau said. “The overall play, his rebounding. When your guards rebound, those are key to fast breaks. The more guard rebounding we get the better we can be. ‘’

The Knicks still have three players in protocols — centers Nerlens Noel and Jericho Sims and the newly infected Wayne Selden. Quickley and Kevin Knox were cleared on Christmas but were held out for conditioning.

No matter. The Knicks go as Kemba goes.

“He’s much more aggressive,’’ Thibodeau said. “That was the challenge. At the beginning of the year he and Evan were two new starters. Sometimes guys are trying to fit in. he’s being very aggressive which is the way we want him to play. Not deferring at all. When he and Julius [Randle] are aggressive like that our team is different.’’

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Bar raises dramatically for Zach Wilson in matchup with Tom Brady, Buccaneers




Zach Wilson and Tom Brady

When Zach Wilson stares across the MetLife Stadium field at the opposite sideline this Sunday, it won’t be Trevor Lawrence he’ll be looking at as his game-day counterpart.

Lawrence, drafted by Jacksonville one spot before the Jets selected Wilson at No. 2 overall last April, is a contemporary.

This Sunday at MetLife, the Jets rookie quarterback won’t be staring at a contemporary on the other sideline. He’ll be staring at the GOAT.

Tom Brady.

The bar raises dramatically for Wilson and the Jets, who are coming off of their feel-good, get-well win over the woeful Jaguars and Lawrence this past Sunday.

Brady and Buccaneers, who are 11-4, NFC South division champions and seeking to repeat as Super Bowl champions, play the Jets, who are 4-11 and seeking more signs of development from their rookie quarterback.

To say this is a step up in competition for Wilson and the Jets going from Lawrence and the Jags to Brady and the Bucs is as obvious as pointing out that Tampa Bay receiver Antonio Brown has had a few off-the-field incidents during his otherwise stellar NFL career.

There hasn’t been a lot to keep the interest of the Jets fan this season — other than watching Wilson’s development. That took an unfortunate pause for the four games Wilson missed with a knee injury, but he’s been back for five games and has looked like a better quarterback, throwing only two interceptions in those games (none in the last three) since returning from his injury.

The problem, though, is that Wilson hasn’t been producing enough touchdowns, throwing for three of them and rushing for four others in the past five games.

Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg; AP

Baby steps, though.

Wilson was the better quarterback this past Sunday when matched up with Lawrence, who threw for more yards than Wilson did, but Wilson ran for 91 yards, including his electric 52-yard scoring jaunt, and made key throws when he needed them.

Wilson will not win Sunday’s game against Brady and the Bucs throwing for the 102 yards he had against the Jaguars. He and the Jets will need more.

Consider this: Brady enters the game having thrown 37 TD passes and for 4,580 yards this season and averages a league-high 305.2 passing yards per game.

Then this: The Buccaneers average 29.5 points per game this season, second most in the NFL.

And this: Wilson doesn’t have a single 300-yard passing game, averages 183 passing yards per game and has thrown seven TD passes in 11 games.

Seven TD passes is a pedestrian two-game total for Brady.

Wilson and the Jets are playing with house money anyway in what always has been a developmental season, so Sunday against Brady should, at its very least, be a great measuring-stick learning experience for Wilson, who’s studied Brady on tape.

Wilson revealed this month that he watched film of Brady before the Jets played the Eagles on Dec. 5 in an effort to pick up tips on how Brady worked against the Eagles defense when he played them earlier in the season.

“I thought it was really cool to see kind of how he went through his whole process, how he navigated the pocket, different things like that,” Wilson said at the time.

On Sunday, Wilson gets to see that process up close as Brady tries to dissect a Jets defense that has yielded 29.9 points per game this season, the most in the NFL.

That puts an added onus on Wilson to produce on the other side of the ball, because he knows Brady is going to get his. Wilson will likely need to produce four TDs — any way he can — for the Jets to simply remain competitive with the Super Bowl champs.

That’s a lot to ask of a 22-year-old kid who’s produced just 11 TDs in his 11 starts, up against Brady, who’s thrown 618 TD passes and for 83,784 yards in his remarkable career.

It, too, is a lot to ask playing against an aggressive Tampa Bay defense that’s ranked No. 9 in the NFL in points allowed (20.8 per game) and is led by former Jets head coach Todd Bowles, who’d surely like to send a holiday message to his former employer.

If you don’t think Bowles will be blitzing the bejesus out of Wilson, then you probably think Antonio Brown is a living saint.

The good news for the Jets is that Wilson has shown incremental improvements, particularly when it comes to his decision-making and quicker releases on his throws.

“He’s coming along, he’s getting more comfortable, he’s calmer back there,’’ Jets coach Robert Saleh said Monday. “He’s in a great headspace and it’s going to be fun to watch him grow, continue to grow.’’

A big part of that growth will take place this Sunday as he watches the GOAT operate from the opposite sideline at MetLife.

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