Spoilers below for Part 6 of Netflix’s The Ranch, so be sure to watch before reading on.
The Ranch returned today, and it had some major updates on Danny Masterson’s character. The first several episodes of Part 6 — aka the second half of Season 3 — focused on what happened to Jameson “Rooster” Bennett.
Danny Masterson was fired from the Netflix show during filming for Season 3, after five women came forward with rape allegations. Part 5 arrived in June, and ended with Rooster apparently leaving town. It seemed like that was how they were going to write off the character. But Part 6 just took a darker turn, while ending on both bittersweet and somewhat ambiguous notes. The door is potentially still open for Rooster’s return, or at least it was not confirmed that he died.
In Episode 2 (via TVLine), Beau Bennett (Sam Elliott) got a call that Rooster’s motorcycle was found at the bottom of a cliff. Apparently he went into a curve too fast, his brakes locked up, and he went over the guardrail. The motorcycle was retrieved from the river. But since Rooster’s body wasn’t found, Colt (Ashton Kutcher) was in denial and tried to prove that his brother was still alive. But the search-and-rescue effort was called off, and Rooster was left presumed dead.
Beau and Maggie (Debra Winger) had a memorial service for their son. Cole didn’t attend at first, but here’s the sort of sweet coda to the story. At home, Colt found a package for him from Rooster. Rooster included a onesie for his soon-to-be-born niece and a note thanking his brother for making their dreams come true. Cole took the package to Rooster’s funeral and shared loving words for Rooster, calling him the best friend a brother could ask for. Rooster was then honored with a toast at Maggie’s bar.
So, yeah, they didn’t throw Rooster under a bus, but they did throw him off a cliff. But since they didn’t recover the body, you can always say he didn’t die. And they did give the character a loving sendoff, even if you could argue a more loving way to say goodbye might be to not kill him at all.
The Ranch has earned loyal fans thanks in part to its strong cast — including a That ’70s Show reunion for Ashton Kutcher, Danny Masterson, and Wilmer Valderrama. There was pushback to Danny Masterson’s firing from fans, but also pushback from his accusers since Netflix still went ahead and released the first half of Season 3 with Masterson’s involvement. Masterson was an executive producer on The Ranch, as well as one of the main stars.
In that respect, Danny Masterson was like Kevin Spacey, a producer of House of Cards who was fired as a star of the show after sexual misconduct allegations. Kevin Spacey’s character was completely removed from the final season of House of Cards, and given his own brutal ending. In The Ranch, Danny Masterson appeared in the first half of Season 3/Part 5, but not at all in the most recent 10 episodes, which just released on Netflix on Friday, December 7.
Netflix has already renewed The Ranch for Season 4, which is expected to include 20 episodes again. Original stars Ashton Kutcher, Sam Elliott, Elisha Cuthbert, and — maybe? — Debra Winger are expected to return, along with Season 3 newcomer Dax Shepard.