Big Sky episode 'I Fall to Pieces' spoilers follow.
Big Sky star Valerie Mahaffey has reacted to the show's latest huge twist, insisting to fans that "the tide was beginning to turn" long before her character Helen's violent altercation with her son.
In last night's shocking instalment (Thursday, February 2), the police procedural saw long-haul trucker Ronald Pergman (Brian Geraghty) exposed as Rick Legarski's sex-trafficking accomplice and later, murder his holier-than-thou mother by snapping her neck.
"At first, she was the power broker of the whole thing and could chastise him and make him slink away," Mahaffey told TV Line shortly after it aired, explaining the shifting dynamics within the relationship.
"In that very episode where he ultimately kills her, do you remember the scene where she goes to his truck? And he screams at her to get out? It was scary. She got it. He throttled her a couple of episodes before that," she continued.
"So the tide was beginning to turn. Yeah, she was scared. Even watching it, I knew what was coming, and I was like, 'Ooh, that's terrible!'"
Elsewhere in the interview, Mahaffey – whose past credits include Northern Exposure and Desperate Housewives – revealed that she wasn't aware of Helen's whole arc when she signed on for the project. She's glad though, to have been a part of a storyline that explores the effects of controlling relationships between close family members, albeit in a heightened way.
"Parents… have agendas to make their children perfect," she claimed. "I appreciated it, ultimately, when my daughter – who was a very good little girl, didn't get all rebellious when people said she would. She was late to that party. But then she did start to rebel.
"I realised that's a good thing. I think kids should. And Helen, she just took this weak boy and kept stressing her idea of how to be in the world, and just warped the heck out of him. It's not always completely the parents' fault, there's society in there, right?"
Big Sky airs on ABC in the US. It doesn't currently have a UK broadcaster, but is due to premiere on Disney+ as part of STAR's launch on the service on February 23.
Organisations including Women's Aid can provide further support and information on coercive control or coercive behaviour.
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