Netflix's sitcom The Ranch is returning for its seventh part (the first half of Season 4) on Sept. 13, but it may signal an exit for one of the show's new characters. There are signs in the new trailer and just released promotional images that Dax Shepard's character, Luke Matthews, may be on his way out ahead of the show's eighth and final part.
Luke, the PTSD-stricken veteran who is revealed to be Beau Bennett's (Sam Elliott) nephew, ran off at the end of Part 6 with Mary Roth (Megyn Price), who happens to be the ex of Luke's missing-and-presumed-dead cousin Rooster (Danny Masterson). That strand is picked up at the beginning of the Part 7 trailer as Colt Bennett (Ashton Kutcher) vents about dad Beau and estranged wife Abby (Elisha Cuthbert)
"Abby, she left me. I don't wanna see my dad. I partnered up with my cousin, and a couple weeks ago he run off with Rooster's ex and all the money," Colt says to neighbor Sam Peterson (Kurtwood Smith).
Mr. Peterson replies, "God, your life blows."
While a lot of people have turned on Colt, there all clearly part of the show. In fact, Beau and Abby make up a bulk of the scenes in the Part 7 trailer. However, there is only one very brief glimpse of Luke and Mary in the trailer. They show up briefly in a Las Vegas wedding chapel, locking lips presumably after they say "I do." Furthermore, the shot isn't exactly clear of the pair, as their faces are obscured.
It is entirely possible that we could see Luke and Mary wed, only to tie up their loose ends and ride off into the sunset in Part 7.
This argument is strengthened by the fact the Shepard has commitments to the ABC sitcom Bless This Mess, as well as his highly successful podcast Armchair Expert. Additionally, in the batch of 18 promotional images just released by Netflix, Luke is completely missing, as is Mary.
While this could signal Luke, who was introduced in Part 6 and filled the creative void left by Masteron's firing from the series, departing the show, it may have another reason. He could return to the family ranch at some point, and Netflix is keeping it under wraps to avoid spoilers and make fans think Luke is out of the picture.
This could easily be the case, as there is precedent for Netflix doing this for The Ranch. After Masterson was fired after being accused of multiple sexual assaults, Netflix still had a batch of episodes, Part 5, ready to release that featured his work. When Netflix promoted the season with a trailer, they edited Masterson out of all shots but one, even though he was a major part of that half-season.
It's also worth noting that Shepard posed with Elliott, Kutcher and Cuthbert for a portrait to accompany the show's final season announcement. It seems odd for him to be part of a special moment if his character was leaving.
The Ranch's past episodes are all available to stream on Netflix. Part 7 will premiere on Sept. 13, with Part 8 releasing some time in 2020.
Photo Credit: Greg Gaynei / Netflix