Cowboys ain’t easy to love, and neither is the Netflix show about them. It’s been almost four months since the first half of Season 4, or part seven, of “The Ranch” was released. And now that 2020 is underway, the other half of the final season, part eight, is set for release on Friday, Jan. 24. It will feature 10 episodes starring Ashton Kutcher, Sam Elliott and Dax Shepard that will designate the end of the series and, hopefully, won’t leave a disappointing taint on the franchise like “Game of Thrones” did with its eighth and final season.
As with every TV show, there’s just no telling what new seasons have in store for both characters and fans, especially on the bumpy old country road “The Ranch” takes place on. But as most come to find, it’s simply a part of the experience. Whether the show doesn’t release for a year at a time, or the plot line looks like a curly fry tied into a pretzel, studios have to find ways to keep their audiences coming back for more.
“The Ranch” is no exception to this rule. For a show about life on a ranch in small town Colorado, the Netflix Original has been through more dips and turns than “Keeping Up With The Kardashians,” which they ironically like to poke fun at sometimes. With Bennett family squabbles, drunken escapades, pregnancies, love triangles, drug addiction and more, there’s no shortage of dysfunction in this cowboy comedy.
The most famous plot twist occurred in 2017, when Jameson “Rooster” Ford Bennett, one of the show’s foremost main characters, went missing without telling anyone where he was going. Several days later, his motorcycle was recovered from the bottom of a cliff to the shock and dismay of his family members.
The next episode featured a service in Rooster’s memory, though nothing was confirmed regarding his death. The cast, and subsequently the viewers, simply assumed he died — that’s a worse write-off than when “Days Of Our Lives” did Joey Tribbiani dirty and made his Dr. Drake Ramoray fall through an elevator shaft. In reality, this was how Danny Masterson, the “That ‘70s Show” alum who made Rooster come to life, was written off the show after he was accused of sexual assault.
Part eight picks up right where part seven left off, which means fans finally get to see the cliffhanger from the last released episode resolved. The first half of Season 4 saw Nick, the ex-convict whom the Bennetts believe is responsible for Rooster’s death, return to town to cause more trouble, foreshadowing some juicy conflict. To be fair, Nick did run Rooster out of town, but the Bennetts don’t know that. But there’s no evidence Nick played a direct hand in the eldest Bennett brother’s untimely demise.
What is known is that Rooster’s brother Colt, his father Beau and his cousin Luke were all on their way to Nick’s trailer to confront him when the final scene of part seven showed an outside view of Nick entering his trailer to find a surprise visitor, followed by a single gunshot. They really did it with that one.
Unsurprisingly, there has been no shortage of speculation as to who the shooter is. A TVLine poll showed 13%of viewers believed the shooter was Mary, Nick’s ex-wife and Rooster’s ex-girlfriend, compared to 11% believing it was Beau. A whopping 55% think the shooter is Rooster, returning as a resurrected redneck badass to save his lady.
That certainly would be one of Rooster’s beer-driven fantasies, but unlikely as a feasible plot twist. According to WhatsOnNetflix.com, Danny Masterson is still dealing with the fallout from the accusations against him, which would make it unlikely that Netflix would bring him back given how quickly he was fired. However, a Masterson cameo may be possible given the fact that the actor was seen at the season wrap party.
The other aspect of the show part eight will have to resolve is the rift in Colt and Abby’s relationship. They put a serious strain on their marriage in past seasons with Colt lying to his wife about the state of their finances, which resulted in Abby fleeing the ranch to stay at her parents’ house with their baby daughter, Peyton (named after Peyton Manning, of course).
In part seven, Colt worked tirelessly to win back his wife’s favor and convince her to move back in with him, doing things like bringing her coffee and McGriddles before work, having flowers sent to her and, most importantly, providing ample support in taking care of their baby daughter. Even diaper duty. Yet the prevailing attitude was the newest Mrs. Bennett maintaining her reluctance in fully forgiving her husband, leading to more fiery bouts between them and ultimately leading to divorce papers being signed. However, the situation with Nick called Colt away from Abby before the situation was officially resolved.
With the end of the show in sight, it’s important to recognize the success “The Ranch” has enjoyed and also appreciate the comedy series for its redneck genius. Despite many jokes aimed at the Democratic party and liberal “city folk,” the show, often considered a “red state sitcom,” manages to poke fun at just about everyone, even the President.
Taking place in rural Colorado, the show is country to the core, with the episode titles referencing country songs by the likes of Kenny Cheseny, Garth Brooks and George Strait. But that being said, the show’s importance lies in its representation of dying small towns and their residents’ interactions with a changing world. Like when Rooster joined Tinder, or when Colt found a way to sell his cattle online. And who could forget when the boys set up Beau on FarmersOnly.com?
The small town family in “The Ranch” will make you feel like one of their own as they take you on every kind of adventure, from taking a tractor through the Dairy Queen drive thru to recovering stolen calves from a rival ranch. Through nursing heartbreak, embracing unexpected disasters and welcoming new blessings, the Bennett family reminds us all of the importance of the people we call our kin and how we cherish them. Tune into the final roundup starting Friday, Jan. 24.