How Did The Ranch’s Season Premiere Deal With Danny Masterson?

Danny Masterson. Photo: Netflix

Last year, five women accused actor Danny Masterson of rape, revelations that subsequently got him fired from his Netflix show, The Ranch, and also fired from his longtime talent agency. Dealing with damage control, the minds behind The Ranch wrote Masterson out of the show in its season-finale episode earlier this year, where his character, Rooster, decides to quickly leave town after being threatened by a con artist boyfriend of his waitress ex-girlfriend. (Long story short, the boyfriend would’ve killed Rooster if he didn’t leave, so he hastily packs a bag of his belongings and walks away into the Colorado mountains.) Now that the season-premiere debuted on Netflix yesterday, though, the question you’re all thinking of course was answered: A.k.a., was The Ranch going to pull a Lethal Weapon and kill its lead in a grisly murder? Well, kind of!

As recapped by Deadline, Rooster’s future remains purposely ambiguous. His motorcycle is found destroyed at the bottom of a cliff, and when his father (Sam Elliott) and brother (Ashton Kutcher) go to inspect the scene of the crime, they’re told by a police officer that Rooster died despite a lack of a body. This leads his brother to believe Rooster is indeed alive and faked his death, and he refuses to attend his memorial service for that reason — but when a thoughtful package arrives at the family ranch from Rooster, seemingly sent before his death-a-ppearance, it gives his brother the closure he needs to accept that the Grim Reaper might’ve actually been legit. Whether Rooster actually died behind the wheel, well, that’s up to you.

Update, Saturday afternoon: In an Instagram message, Masterson commented on the show’s new season. “The Rooster may be MIA but The Ranch is back and it’s incredible. Please support this great show we spent years putting together. The cast is beyond incredible. The writers were given the ultimate worse case scenario and instead of throwing in the towel they worked longer hours to create new heartbreaking and hysterical storylines,” he wrote, in part. “Support them. Support comedy. Support art. Support the Iron River Ranch and the Bennett family. Much love y’all.”

Did Netflix’s The Ranch Premiere Kill Off Danny Masterson?