How Netflix's The Ranch Wrote Off Danny Masterson's Character

the ranch rooster danny masterson part 5

Spoilers below for the latest half-season of Netflix's The Ranch, so be sure to watch before reading on.

Netflix took on another controversial situation in late 2017 when execs made the decision to fire Danny Masterson from the comedy The Ranch in the distant aftermath of multiple sexual assault and rape allegations. The Ranch Part 5 (or the first half of Season 3, depending on how you word it) was already mostly through production when Masterson was ousted, and Netflix decided to keep seemingly all of his footage intact before writing his character Rooster Bennett out in the finale. Here's the almost surprisingly dark way things wrapped up.

The season started out with Beau attempting to live a calmer life after his heart attack, which is impossible with sons like Colt and Rooster, and problems with the ranch only got worse, thanks in part to wildfire threats that forced the whole town of Garrison to evacuate. But Rooster's own biggest problems spawned when he started reconnecting with former girlfriend Mary, played by Megyn Price. Mary herself wasn't the issue, but rather her boyfriend Nick (Josh Burrow), who'd recently gotten out of prison. To be expected, Nick hadn't gone to jail for "being perfectly cool with other dudes banging his girlfriend."

The tension grew as the season came to a close, with Mary not feeling proper about carrying on with Rooster while also wanting to develop something further with Nick. And once Nick discovered the illicit affair, he turned into a micro version of Cape Fear's Max Cady, breaking into Rooster's cabin to deliver some serious late-night threats. In the face of Rooster's stammering (and joking accusations that "Colt might be fucking her"), Nick literally threatened to kill Rooster. Mary soon broke up with him after hearing he'd gone all psycho like that.

No viewers likely believed that Nick had actually left town like he'd told Mary, and so it wasn't so shocking when Nick once again showed up at Rooster's with a bigger ultimatum. He threw a sleeping bag down and gave Rooster two choices: he could either leave town still breathing, or he could disappear in a more permanent way. Rooster's attempts to reverse-threaten Nick were vanquished once the ex-con pulled a gun out to punctuate his demands, with the final warning that he would kill all of the Bennett family members if Rooster told anyone about this incident.

And with that, it appears that Danny Masterson's Rooster has actually left The Ranch for good, with the actor's firing almost definitely preventing him from returning in future episodes. It was perhaps a little too over-the-top a maneuver for the multi-camera comedy, even with all the serious moments that have come in the past, but desperate times call for desperate measures, I guess. At least things ended swell enough for Sam Elliot's Beau and Kathy Baker's Joanne.

To be expected, Netflix and The Ranch have faced some blowback over Danny Masterson's continued presence in these latest episodes, considering the streaming giant had so quickly severed ties with other male celebrities accused of various forms of sexual misconduct, including Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K. and Ed Westwick. Masterson, a member of the Church of Scientology since his youth, has actively denied the accusations of multiple women who claimed the actor assaulted them in the early 2000s, and eventual investigations into the claims have been touch-and-go.. It was after firing an exec for publicly dismissing the accusers' claims that Netflix made the decision to officially fire Danny Masterson, though he reportedly finished filming the season after that. It's currently unclear if the actor is maintaining his executive producer credit.

The Ranch Part 5 is currently available to stream in full on Netflix, along with all the other episodes. Production is currently moving forward for the second half of Season 3, with Dax Shepard set to serve as Danny Masterson's replacement. Head to our 2018 Netflix schedule and our summer premiere schedule to see all the new and returning shows hitting streaming and primetime soon.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.