Netflix’s The Ranch returned for Part 6 this weekend and tackled the departure of Danny Masterson, who was fired from the series amid allegations that he sexually assaulted multiple women in the early 2000s. Instead of writing him off without word of what became of his character Rooster, though, the show spent the first three episodes delving into what happened to him… and ultimately raised more questions than were answered.
Following the events of Part 5 — that is, the first half of Season 3 — when Rooster’s renewed relationship with Mary (Megyn Price) led to her boyfriend Nick (Josh Burrow) putting a gun in his face and demanding he “take that bag and disappear” or disappear in a very different sense, Colt (Ashton Kutcher) is surprised when Rooster doesn’t show up to work on the ranch.
At first, he suspects Nick of having something to do with his brother’s sudden absence and confronts the former felon, but when Rooster’s motorcycle turns up at the bottom of a cliff after having apparently taken too sharp a turn, his theory changes: Colt suspects his brother must have faked his death to escape the wrath of Nick. He even refuses to attend Rooster’s funeral on account of his disbelief that the other Bennett brother is actually gone.
This transpires into Colt staging his own sort of search and rescue mission — just as the authorities turn their own official operation into a hunt for Rooster’s remains. Colt hacks into his brother’s bank account and finds that it has indeed been active recently. Only the motel that’s issued a new charge against his card hasn’t actually heard from him in days. It’s not until Colt receives a package that Rooster had sent him before his death, including a fancy new sign for the ranch and a piece of clothing for his niece-to-be, that reality sinks in for Colt. He finally attends the memorial service for Rooster and issues a tearful goodbye to his brother.
We still don’t have a body to prove what happened to Rooster one way or the other, but his entire family has now come to terms with the notion that he died in that motorcycle accident. Whether he’s still secretly alive or not, it seems unlikely the character will ever make any true comeback to the series, given the reason for the actor’s departure.
For his part, Masterson took to social media to show his support for the show’s return and everyone whom he worked with, writing on Instagram, “The Rooster may be 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 worst case scenario, and instead of throwing in the towel they worked longer to create new heartbreaking and hysterical story lines.”
All six parts of The Ranch are now available on Netflix.