The big question going into season 5 of The Ranch on Netflix was how they planned to handle the firing of Danny Masterson, who played Rooster – one of the 3 leads of the show with Beau (Sam Elliot) and Colt (Ashton Kutcher).
Old rape allegations caught up with Masterson during the height of the “metoo” movement and he was summarily fired. I’m not getting into why he was fired, I’m focusing here on how the show handled it. Spoilers ahead.
The main arc this season is a wildfire that heavily damaged the town and Ranch, and burned down the Peterson ranch that Colt had planned to develop and raise his family on with Abby (Elisha Cuthbert) and how the group of family and friends recover from it.
A big chunk of this season surrounded Rooster’s actions to protect the ranch, Colt’s efforts to cover for his brother, and of course Rooster’s relationship with Mary who recently started up again with her ex-con boyfriend Nick (Josh Burrow). That’s when the trouble started.
Nick’s character just sucked the life out of the show, the writing didn’t fit, the character didn’t fit. Threatening to kill Rooster if he ever went near Mary again (who pretty much runs his mother’s bar)… Then subsequently threatening to kill him and his family if he didn’t leave town right then and there. That’s it. That’s how this character, this lead is written off the show.
Dexter had a better sendoff.
The next season will introduce a new character played by Dax Shepard to fill the empty space left by Rooster. Honestly, with how this was handled I’m really curious if the writers can dig the show out of the massive hole they’ve landed in. Personally? I would have kept the character and replaced the actor.
As of right now – Rooster’s gone to who knows where, no idea if the character will return. Mary’s broken up from an ex-con who was crazy enough to break into Rooster’s cabin and force him out of town at gunpoint. The show just took a really dark turn here, Empire Strikes Back dark. It used to be light-hearted and hopeful. In one fell swoop that mood is gone.
There was some great character development here, especially when it comes to the father/son dynamic between Beau and Colt. I still want to see where the story goes but I’m not entirely sure it’s salvageable. Wait and see I guess.