Jared Padalecki is “Back In The Saddle” With the New Walker

For Supernatural fans, who are still grieving the loss of our beloved show after 15  years on the air, the premiere of the new CW show ‘Walker’ on Thursday brought a lot of complicated feelings. Many of us weren’t ready (and to be honest, would never have been ready) to say goodbye to Sam Winchester, so seeing Jared Padalecki inhabit a brand new character was exciting but also brought a fresh sense of loss, as though the new character made the loss of Sam finally real. On the other hand, it was wonderful to have another television show to anticipate, and for Thursday nights at 8 pm EST to be something special once again instead of a time I tended to wander around the house lamenting that ‘it feels like something’s missing…’). In the midst of continuing controversy about the way Supernatural ended, and a hashtag campaign to tank ‘Walker’ before it even began, the show itself managed to air with considerable fanfare anyway – making it the CW’s most watched Thursday in three years, even topping NBC’s airing in its time slot!

Despite being brand new, Walker didn’t get left out of the Bernie meme going around, which must be some kind of pop culture litmus test, right?

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The network went all out in its promotion, with billboards and articles in every mainstream publication and Jared making the talk show rounds. That meant a fandom that’s accustomed to constant content and had been going into withdrawal was ecstatic to finally get some new photos of Mr. Padalecki – and oh, what new photos they were!

The Supernatural cast also went all out, with most of Padalecki’s former cast members sending him best wishes for his new show. On premiere day, former onscreen and always offscreen brother Jensen Ackles posted an Instagram message of support, telling Padalecki to “Go get ‘em, cowboy” and Jared and wife/costar Gen gave a shout out in return to Jensen and Danneel Ackles’ Austin-based brewery, Family Business Beer Company, on their CWWalker Instagram takeover. For Supernatural fans making the transition to new shows, the reminder that in real life they’re all going to remain good friends was somehow comforting. Padalecki has also said that he’s set on getting former costar Ackles to guest or direct on Walker as soon as his filming schedule for Amazon’s ‘The Boys’ allows.

I did not watch the original ‘Walker Texas Ranger’, nor am I a big fan of either westerns or cop procedurals, so Walker wasn’t a show that would have been on my must watch list if it wasn’t for Padalecki. That meant I went into it with measured expectations, and still feeling a bit sad about missing the Winchesters. There were mixed reviews from the media who received advance screeners of the pilot, but I like to make up my own mind anyway, so I sat down to watch figuring I’d just see where the show took me. I didn’t expect to feel as much as I did, and for me, that’s a very good thing. I didn’t even fall in love with Supernatural, my favorite show of all time, right away; I had to get to know the characters. They had to pull me in, make me want to know more about them. Fascinate me. And while I’m not pulled in entirely yet with Walker, I am interested. I want to know more.  And that bodes well for a brand new show.

I have to admit, the second that I saw Padalecki back on my tv screen again, I teared up.

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That’s my boy!! (Okay, one of them…)

For those who are familiar with my (not exactly brief) reviews and recaps for Supernatural and The Boys, for Walker I’ll provide mostly analysis along with a brief recap for each episode. Walker is a different kind of show, so I don’t think an extensive recap is needed – but it’s also surprisingly rich in characters and themes to dig into. For those not familiar, as always, I write as both a fan and a clinical psychologist, so there will inevitably be some deeper takes and some just-for-fun ones. Sorry (not sorry).

So, very brief synopsis: Cordell Walker lost his wife, Emily (Gen Padalecki, Jared’s real life wife), eleven months before the series begins, when she was murdered under mysterious circumstances. Like many people confronted with trauma and loss, Cordell (who prefers to be called Walker) threw himself into work to avoid being overwhelmed by emotion, going undercover for nearly a year and leaving his grieving son and daughter behind to be cared for by his parents and younger brother. Also as is common with loss, Walker vacillates between avoidance with work or alcohol and obsessing about Emily’s death, carrying around a poker chip found on her body and imagining her still with him. His relationship with his children suffers, both of them feeling abandoned and expressing that in different ways. Meanwhile, his new partner Micki Ramirez (Lindsey Morgan) first meets him when she picks him up for public drunkenness, and their relationship doesn’t get a lot smoother from there. She’s got her own challenges to deal with, a Mexican American woman making her way up to the Texas Rangers despite her own family’s disapproval and ready to make damn sure Walker doesn’t ruin things for her. Micki also has a relationship to negotiate, with her recently returned boyfriend Trey. The pilot sees Micki and Walker working together on a case for the first time and in their clashes some of the themes that the show will explore are interwoven, including an examination of masculinity, racism and social injustice. Walker loses his temper and gets into a brawl with a suspect; Micki and Walker’s new boss chastise him instead of going along with the “he swung at me first” rationalization that we too often see upheld.  Walker basically screws up repeatedly during the first episode, but the ending is hopeful, as he turns down a job opportunity that would have taken him away from his kids again and instead settles the three of them into a small house on his parent’s ranch property.

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This version of Walker has an interesting real life origin story. The idea took form in part thanks to Padalecki reading a story about a law enforcement agent who couldn’t bring themselves to put a three year old child in a cage and separate them from their parents. He was fascinated by the liminal space in which that person was stuck, between empathy/morality and orders/duty. The show doesn’t shy away from the ways in which enforcing the law without empathy can lead to dehumanizing other humans, with tragic consequences. It also doesn’t shy away from interrogating what masculinity means, especially in America as epitomized by Texas, and how entitlement and normalizing aggression have contributed to a culture in which masculinity is sometimes toxic.

Padalecki’s character is a flawed hero, a trope I enjoy, in that the cultural conflicts the show takes on are played out in his personal circumstances. That’s a contrast to the original Walker, whose Chuck Norris was an unexamined hero who apparently kicked a lot of people. And wore shorts. Padalecki’s Walker, on the other hand, is not an unexamined hero, and he’s far from perfect. In fact, in the pilot he’s sort of having a terrible horrible no good very bad day – but some of that is on his own shoulders.

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While I expected Padalecki to be as lovable as he is in real life (he wrote a chapter for my recent books and is absolutely wonderful) and as lovable as Sam Winchester was to me, it turns out that it’s more complicated than that.  Cordell is both irritating and someone who draws my empathy. He’s a man navigating an evolution he didn’t ask for, and he’s not exactly navigating it smoothly. You get the sense that his marriage and family were ‘traditional’ in the sense that Emily did more of the hands-on childcare while Walker concentrated on his role as a Texas Ranger. In the flashback we see in the pilot, his awkwardness at family game night, and her affectionate eye rolling encouragement, speak to a family that kept those traditional lines, and Walker’s comfort with those. As so often happens in real life, a trauma (in this case Emily’s mysterious murder) turns Walker’s comfortable life upside down and challenges the roles  he’s played all his life. As is also realistic, he has a hard time dealing with that – and so he doesn’t. Instead of stepping up to be there for his grieving kids, Walker throws himself into the role he knows and takes a long term undercover assignment for work.

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I’ve written a lot about how Supernatural’s finale (and the entire show) was like a master class in grief and loss, and interestingly, Walker picks up that theme as well. The characters and the relationships between them have been shaped by trauma and loss, and many of them – like so many of us – are having a tough time dealing with it. The flashback scene in which a frantic call from Emily interrupts Walker’s awkward attempts at game night is difficult to watch; most of it rang true, as Walker at first doesn’t panic, even attempting calm and going outside so as to not alarm the kids. When he can’t reach her again, he does panic, and we see her phone ringing as she lies dying on the ground. I was caught off guard by Walker collapsing immediately after a scream of anguish, not because that’s not a realistic reaction, but because it came so quickly. He can’t see her lying on the ground dying like we can, after all, so I’m not sure why he knew she was dead just because she didn’t answer her phone right away. Whether that’s editing or writing, I don’t know, but Walker’s reaction threw me out of the moment because of that timing, which is too bad because Padalecki sounded truly anguished and Jared continues to amaze me with his ability to portray grief in a way that rings so painfully true.

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When the story picks up in the present, Walker has spent the past eleven months avoiding his feelings (and his children’s), by trying to lose himself both in his work and in alcohol. As the current story begins, he can’t face returning to his family because that will mean he can no longer avoid the reality of his wife and their mother no longer being there. He gets drunk instead, while his heartbroken children and the rest of the family wait for him to show up at his own welcome home party. Ouch.

Like many people who experience an unanticipated loss, Walker seems to have blamed himself for Emily’s death. Unfortunately for humans, that sort of self blame is common after any trauma. Part of the trauma is feeling out of control and helpless, and the terror of feeling like we can’t protect ourselves or our loved ones is difficult to bear. Sometimes the way we deal with that fear is to shift our  understanding of what happened in order to feel like we did and do have some control – if we could have done something to prevent the trauma from happening, then maybe we won’t be helpless to stop it the next time. Unfortunately, that means self-blame and guilt often go hand in hand with trauma and loss. The fact that Cordell is obsessed with how Emily died, carrying around and constantly toying with the poker chip that Emily had with her when she died, suggests that he feels responsible no matter how illogical that might be. Which explains the bout of self loathing and getting drunk at the gazebo that was a romantic spot he shared with his wife.

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Not a very heroic introduction – which made the show so much more interesting. Walker also struggles with those stereotypical norms of toxic masculinity. When a suspect goads him later in the episode, blaming him for his wife’s death and throwing a punch, Walker loses his temper and erupts, smashing the man onto a table. (There was also some spitting going on that I fortunately missed, but the guest actor confirms it was CGI – Supernatural fans know that Padalecki has a thing about being spit on, which is quite understandable).  Ramirez pulls him off and gives him little sympathy for his busted hand; later, Walker’s boss Captain James (Coby Bell) is similarly unimpressed, warning him to get himself under control. He refuses to let him off the hook with the empty apology that so often follows an action that has tacit support from cultural norms.

Captain James: Apologies won’t cut it. Do better.

Neither his partner nor his boss let his rationalization of “he swung first” convince them otherwise, which was a refreshing change from what we often hear – and frankly, from what we sometimes let ourselves believe in the real world too. Ramirez doesn’t mince words, calling him an idiot and saying she was “not prepared for jackass disasters”. I admit I laughed out loud at Morgan’s delivery and Padalecki’s response, managing to look both affronted and sheepish.

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Walker’s children aren’t dealing very well either. Supernatural was also a show about what happens to children who lose their mother, and how that can be complicated by a father too caught up in his own grief to be a parent. Walker’s daughter Stella (Violet Brinson) responds to her hurt by wanting to write her father off, protecting herself from ever getting her hopes up again only to have him disappoint her – or to ever again lose a parent who she depended on and loved. She’s overtly angry as teenagers often are, and doing a great job of rebelling to get back at her father for his abandonment (and probably her mother too, though that abandonment probably won’t be acknowledged as such). That she chooses some substance use to do it rang so true. He drinks too much, why shouldn’t she get picked up for drug possession?

Stella: Using a substance to numb the mind, who does that?

Touche, Stella. Bonus points for making her law enforcement dad have to come get her in front of other officers. Padalecki plays Walker’s anger just right, letting us see him in all his unflattering hypocrisy but also showing that edge of caring underneath that lets us identify with him a little too. Those of us who are parents at least!

Walker’s son (Kale Culley), at first introduction, seems to be faring better. Unlike his sister, he refuses to give up on hoping their dad will show, which must have made their eventual cancelling the welcome back party even more painful. Defenses can get in your way, but they also can minimize your hurt in the moment. Walker’s mom, who’s clearly painted as the wisest one in the extended family, doesn’t let Walker just assume that August is okay like he wants to, though. She points out that he’s TOO okay – faced with too much loss and abandonment, August is the kid who hopes that if he’s perfect, he won’t have to lose anyone else. The show did an excellent job with showing the different ways children react to disrupted attachment, some lashing out and claiming independence, hoping that if they act like they don’t need anyone, maybe they really won’t. Others try to do everything right, hoping that will convince the people they love to stick around. Neither method works well or facilitates healthy relationships in the long run.

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So far, I’m most intrigued by the family conflict and relationships in the show, and the exploration of how we as humans respond to trauma and loss. But I also was unexpectedly taken with Lindsey Morgan’s character, Walker’s partner Micki Ramirez. The show doesn’t shy away from examining other sociocultural issues in addition to asking questions about masculinity, including racism and sexism. Micki is Mexican-American, and her history is shaped by both racism and expectations for her as a woman that conflict with her choice of career. Her rise through the ranks to Texas Ranger has been complicated by both constraints, which have given her a take-no-shit attitude that is a joy to watch and a rift with her family that clearly causes her pain (that she doesn’t want to talk about). I hope the show will include some exploration of what the norms of femininity are as well as masculinity – the pilot was written, directed and produced by women and the showrunner is also a woman, so the show is in a unique position to undertake that exploration and do it justice. (Jessica Yu directed and series creator Anna Fricke wrote the pilot episode). We’ve already heard Micki note in passing that ‘my mother wouldn’t let me play with dolls so I learned about cars’, so she clearly has an interesting backstory herself when it comes to gendered norms and expectations.

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The dynamic between Walker and Micki works, as does the dynamic between Padalecki and Morgan (who were apparently told they had too much chemistry in the chemistry read!). When Walker is being an ass, she calls him on it. Thanks to both the writing and the delivery of her lines, those are some of the best moments of the pilot, and the fact that as a viewer you often find yourself on Micki’s side instead of Walker’s is an unexpected but welcome twist.  There are small moments between them that say so much, like when Micki tells her boyfriend Trey (Jeff Pierre) that Walker “thinks he knows everything about me already.” It’s a subtle way of calling out the knee-jerk assumptions that come from stereotypes that we often don’t even know have kicked into place. Kudos to Fricke for that nuanced bit of writing. Trey is as charismatic as the other main characters, and Micki and Trey together have graced the grateful fandom with a multi-racial ship with the fabulous name of “Tricki”.

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We haven’t seen too much yet of Walker’s relationship with his little brother, Liam (Keegan Allen). I feel like as a Supernatural fan, I’m primed to see Jared play a brother, but it’s odd that this time he’s the big brother instead of the little brother.  There were no overt Supernatural shout outs or Easter eggs, but there were several subtle ones, including the wrestling match that Walker gets into with Liam when they’re reunited. (And the fact that Cordell keeps saying ‘call me Walker’ much like Sam Winchester corrected everyone with ‘it’s Sam’. And, if you squint, the fact that Walker dresses alot like a Winchester.)

Liam has stepped in to play a father role for Stella and August in Walker’s absence, and that will inevitably cause friction sooner or later.  Liam is also the one who confronts Walker about hanging onto Emily through an obsession with her death, embodied by his carrying around a poker chip that she had on her for some reason when she died (the beginnings of the show’s mystery story line).  Liam and Walker are obviously close, so much so that the younger brother calls him “Cordi” at one point, so I’m intrigued to know more. The show also has a gay character in Liam (and his husband Brett, who we haven’t met yet), which was included in a refreshingly matter of fact way. I’m looking forward to learning more about the relationship between the brothers as we go along.

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Walker’s parents Bonham and Abilene (Mitch Pileggi, who played Sam Winchesters’ grandfather on Supernatural, and Molly Hagan) are also interesting. So far all we know is Walker’s dad seems even more like the stereotypical Texas dude than Walker, gruff and critical and a little behind the times. His mother is the matriarch, wise and loving but possibly controlling too. (She enrolls the kids in Catholic school without asking him and sets up the house on the property for Walker and the kids before even asking him if he wants to move in there, but this is presented as a good thing even though my psychologist brain doesn’t think so). We’ll see.

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The final relationship that’s introduced in the pilot episode (whew, that was a lot of introductions!) is Walker’s friendship with Emily’s friend Geri (Odette Annable), who makes him a drink at the bar and then does a few seconds of two-step with him before Walker is predictably called back to work. While his partnership with Micki seems set up to be a platonic bond, Walker’s friendship with Geri has a more romantic undertone just by virtue of the few moments of dancing. I’m not sure either felt very comfortable with it – or perhaps that was some real life discomfort with two-stepping on camera – and I don’t think I’m up to shipping anyone or anything after my fifteen years with Supernatural fandom, but we’ll see where this relationship goes too.

Both Padalecki and Morgan have talked about how they want to explore and ask questions in the show, not shove answers down the audience’s throat; that they want to tell a story of two perspectives that might sometimes clash. That’s a tall order, and a middle of the road approach sometimes backfires and doesn’t do justice to either, but it’s also something that could be helpful in a real world that’s divided and struggling with finding any common ground whatsoever. There are references to the immigration issues that inspired the show in the first place, as Stella’s friend comes from a family who are undocumented and living in fear as a result. In fact, the explicit question, “who does the law protect?” is raised in this first episode.  Padalecki has said that one of the things they are trying to do in the show is to “give voice to the voiceless in the best way that we can.”  Again, a tall order, but a worthy goal.

As always for me, the relationships and the characters themselves are what interest me most. I miss Sam Winchester like hell, but I didn’t want to see him in Cordell Walker. And I didn’t. Jared had to start filming Walker very quickly after wrapping fifteen years of Supernatural thanks to Covid delays, which must have been quite an undertaking. He’s clearly put a great deal of thought into bringing a brand new character to life, and so far it seem to be working.

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As much as I’m all about the characters, Supernatural’s incredible cinematography and set dec enriched the series for me, so it was nice to see some beautiful shots of Austin, where the show is filmed, in the pilot. Austin is another one of my favorite cities in the world (Vancouver, where Supernatural was shot, is another) and the beauty of its food-truck and music-loving city that proclaims “keep Austin weird” came through, as did the stark beauty of the out-in-the-country locations around Dripping Springs.

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One of my quibbles with the show is an odd one – the first quarter of the show was strangely difficult to hear. In part that was because Padalecki and Morgan talk really fast, unlike the stereotypical Texan drawl, and in part that was because the music in the background ended up being more in the foreground at times. I get that the show wants to spotlight everything about Austin, and I’m all for that because it’s a city I love, but the music can’t drown out the dialogue. Hopefully that will be fixed in episode two.

Pilot episodes often are overwhelming as they introduce too many characters that we don’t know or care about yet, and try to provide enough exposition to fill in back story, and to some extent Walker did both those things. However, the characters are interesting enough and the performances strong enough that I began to care a little about them already – which means I’m really looking forward to next week. Not gonna lie, I’ll still be missing Supernatural on Thursday evenings, but I’m grateful to have another show to look forward to in that time slot.

Walker’s final words in the episode are hopeful – a reminder that we need to live in the moment as much as we can, instead of avoiding our more painful feelings by running away from them.

Walker: Now’s all we’ve got.

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Looking forward to learning more next Thursday!

Now I’d love to hear what your thoughts are. What worked for you and what didn’t? How does having Walker on the air intersect with your feelings about missing Supernatural if you were a fan? Are you going to keep watching?

Check back here for a review of episode 2 of Walker  next week, as well as my next rewatch review of Supernatural (Bloody Mary aaahhhhh!) and a brand new Supernatural cast interview too.

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27 thoughts on “Jared Padalecki is “Back In The Saddle” With the New Walker

  • Loved this review, and agree all of it and especially with the sound issues! The voices were not only quiet, they were muffled. It did seem to improve later on in the episode, but we had to have it really loud and we still missed a lot. I definitely need a rewatch to see if I can catch more.

  • NGL I love your recaps and insights of shows. My thoughts aligned with yours on Walker. I loved Jared as the antihero. I did catch a tiny glimpse of Sam Winchester but it was over before I could really grab ahold of him. I miss Supernatural more than I can say but I wish our heroes all the success in their new endeavors. Sam and Dean will forever be a part of me and my gratitude to J2 knows no bounds.

    Still I enjoyed Walker. I thought the relationships between Cordell and his kids were of most interest to me as I taught alternative high school. The teenage psyche has always fascinated me. It’s a time when you learn your true identity but the way there be fraught with dragons.

    The supporting cast was excellent. Love Mitch Pileggi even though I despised Samuel Campbell.

    Looking forward to next week

    • I don’t watch a lot of tv and it is rare I find a show I feel connected to based on the pilot alone. I really liked Walker. I liked the chemistry between the characters and already feel like I WANT to learn more about them. I was a little worried about seeing Sam but I think the only reason I saw some of Sam at all stems from this obsession so many of us have with SPN and its characters. It’s gonna be a long time before someone mentioning eating pie (as Walker’s Captain did) does not bring up comparisons to Sam and Dean.

      I’m in and look forward to next Thursday!

    • I agree Walker’s troubled relationship with his kids was well done and surprisingly realistic. It’s nice to have something to look forward to on Thursdays again!

  • So agree about the fast talking and the music being to loud said this to my husband when we were watching it. Really hope they fix that as I have a disability and need clear voices.

  • Emily was out in the desert(?) putting out food and water for border crossers(?) (couldn’t really hear). When she called Walker during that family game she was breathless and panicked. There was a gunshot, she cried out, and dropped the phone. When Walker called her back, and I got the impression that he did it repeatedly, and she didn’t answer, it was not surprising that he realized she was dead.

    • I didn’t get that he called her repeatedly – that would make a bit more sense. I think I would have tried frantically to drive after her or something illogical like that!

  • I was looking forward to watching this show-especially because I had never watched the original. Jared? Check. Family drama? Check. Ok-reasons to watch!!

    I was impressed with how fast the characters drew me in. Generally in a pilot, you meet the characters, maybe decide if they’re interesting enough and decide if you want to see them again.

    Micki is a strong, badass character that I could like-very intuitive I think and has no problems taking down whomever- although I would have enjoyed Walker (Jared) using some of his kicking abilities. Not sure about Liam yet. The kids are quite interesting and definitely torn and damaged but smart and I like smart.

    Jared was totally believable as Walker and not Sam. There are some similarities in character I think-they’re both smart, damaged and not too good on their own. But Walker is more self involved and finds it hard to relate to everyone else.

    Like Lynn said, it’s nice to have a show to look forward to -especially on Thursdays. Also, Jared was the tallest on Supernatural and the hat he wears on Walker isn’t exactly shrinking him! He still looks too tall sitting down and the scene where he was trying to fit in the back seat of the cop car made me laugh. Also, jumping down from his truck and slamming the tailgate-hello!!

    Bring on next week-I’m ready!

    • I forgot to mention him squeezing into the back of the car – agreed, that was so funny! Jared has a real knack for comedy 🙂

  • I love the show and even though Gen isn’t in it much, it is still nice to see heron my TV again. As for anything not working for me,well I’m not one of those that picks apart a show scene by scene thinking it could have been done differently or better because I’m not in that line of work and have no idea what it takes to put together a show. Especially put together one under the COVID restrictions that have to be put in place to keep everyone safe.

    I love the fact that the CW was cool enough to put Walker in the Supernatural time slot. I watch Supernatural every Tue thru Thur for anywhere of 4-5 hours so I’m getting my fill. Sure it would be nice to be able to look forward to a brand new season with 20 more new episodes but that isn’t going to happen so I enjoy what I do have. I will continue to watch every episode of Walker because I enjoy it already and come on, it’s Jared Padalecki so who wouldn’t want to watch his new show. I’ll be on board with The Boys for Jensen when that one comes back also, but with that one, I am already a fan of The Boys so having Jensen join is just the cherry on top.

    Now a little correction that Liam and Bret are not married. Here’s a little bit of the bio that was put out introducing us to each of the guests. According to Deadline, Landi will play Bret, fiance of Keegan Allens. Liam, who is Cordells brother. Bret is genuinely in love with Liam – but he thinks Manhattan is the place to be, and that he and Liam should lead a life where the only horses are in Central Park.

    • Ah, so we’re going to have some interesting tension between Bret and Liam, I see – sounds interesting!

  • So far this evening, I read a couple of chapters of Supernatural Psychology, watched “Proverbs 17:3” (SPN 15×05) as part of my post-finale re-watch, came here to read your recap of that episode, instead saw the beautiful post about Dean’s birthday and cried my way through reading that, and then clicked on this Walker post. It’s kind of a good representation of where I am–basically pingponging all over the place through 15 seasons of Supernatural and related analysis while supporting the launch of Walker and keeping up with all of the news on social media, even as the DVDs of The Boys (seasons one and two) that I got for Christmas await me.

    About Walker, I am like you in that I never watched the original and would not otherwise be interested in this show if it weren’t for Jared. I just want the very best for anyone affiliated with Supernatural, but especially J2. The way that Jared has talked in interviews about the show’s focus on family relationships and social justice is appealing to me. So far, I like all of the characters and want to learn more about them. If anything, the show was too fast-paced, in that I wanted more moments between the brothers, between Cordell and Micki, between Micki and Trey, the Walker kids, Bel’s family, and basically everyone except that guy who comes to Cordell’s homecoming and is described as the fixer (he seems like a snake based on the very little evidence presented in the pilot). I think the 13 episodes are going to fly by because there’s so much material to explore.

    I liked the look of the show–very warm and golden, a sort of breezy filming style, thoughtful set decoration in the characters’ homes. The music was also contemporary and well chosen, featuring indie favorites such as Boygenius and White Denim (Radio Company would fit right in), which added to establishing the layered Austin flavor of the show. After spending the past 10 months quarantining, I welcomed the escape to this sunlit world of in-person game nights and grabbing lunch with a co-worker on a busy street.

    The least interesting part was the actual crime investigation and that shady ceramics business/drug-smuggling front. Finding the drugs in the cross statue seemed a little too easy. Also, the employee who confronted Cordell seemed to have a lot to say about Cordell’s personal life, in a way that felt unrealistic, but I imagine they’re building to something with that and will probably tie it in with Emily’s death. I just hope it’s not tired cliches about cartels. I don’t think it will be, based on the way they’re trying to add nuance to the racial and political representation on the show, but it makes me a little bit nervous.

    I’m definitely going to be streaming Walker next Friday (no TV) and sending the whole team positive vibes from afar. Thanks, Lynn, for continuing to share your thoughts with all of us.

  • Thankyou for continuing your reviews Lynn, with Walker. With SPN ending, I also dreaded the loss of other content including these! I really enjoyed the first taste of Walker, even though I had only read bad reviews. I did not see Sam at all in Jared’s performance. I think I will become a big fan of Micki. I also think the kids are going to prove to be interesting characters. One thing I agree with that I read elsewhere, was that too much was crammed into the first ep. The bar scene for instance could have waited till next week so it could be longer. We didnt get to know Geri at all, and I thought it weird having the scene be a little flirty (when the whole show revolves around him missing his wife and the consequences of that) – then the dance which lasted like 3 seconds, before he ducks out leaving his brother without a word. Just didnt make sense to me. Regardless, I really enjoyed the show, loved watching Jared create Walker so different to Sam, and am looking forward to next week!
    Lastly, please excuse a stupid question – is Latina, or Latinx different from Mexican-American, or is it not quite PC anymore? I don’t mean to be offensive, just honestly curious.

    • I don’t feel quite qualified to answer that perfectly reasonable question, I was going by how the show described Micki and how she described herself since I’ve heard different recommendations. I do agree about the bar scene, it happened so fast and seemed sort of awkward and pilots are notoriously jam packed already. I guess we’ll see what that relationship is all about as we go along!

  • I eagerly awaited your review, just because everything else I’ve been hearing has been very polarized. I’m curious how you feel about some fans saying this show is taking a story about people oppressed and then focusing on the oppressors all to make money. I’m tired of arguing that this is an interesting story that I’m curious to see told and might show the problem to folks who might otherwise not see it. I mean, it’s just a TV show for entertainment, it’s not meant to change the world, but if it changes a mind or two, I’m all for it.

    Overall, I liked the show, and my only complaint might be that maybe they tried to shove a little too much into that first episode. I would have been okay not meeting Trey, Geri, Stan, and possibly even Micki (keep the drunken pickup scene in the beginning, but then intro her as his new partner closer to the end of the episode and wait to really meet her) until episode 2. I hardly feel like I met Walker in this episode, since he’s so out of his own comfort zone most of the time. Everything I saw, I liked, I just wish it all hadn’t felt so rushed. I’m suspicious of Geri, and I want something to tell me why Walker felt comfortable enough with her to dance with her. Like, if they were childhood friends, and she introduced him to Emily? Then I could see that dance happening, but as it stands, we know nothing about her, except that she was supposed to be with Emily when she died.

    I, too, did not watch the original, and am only here for Jared. I’m not hating it. In fact, I’m invested and liking it, so far. I have to say, though, it cracked me up that the only roundhouse kick I saw was done by Micki!

    • I don’t think we know yet where the focus will be as the show goes on, but from what I read, the intention is not to tell the story from the pov of the oppressor. I think their hearts are certainly in the right place and touching on real world issues that need changing is a good thing in terms of facilitating that change. Time will tell if they’re able to put their intentions onto the screen – I hope so. I think most pilots cram way too much in them, and this one was no exception. Hopefully going forward they can slow it down a little so we can start to get more indepth.

  • It was solid enough for a pilot, Jared did a good job, at this point Walker isn’t a particularly nice man to know, very self absorbed, a bit hypocritical.
    Mostly no Sam on show, although I think drunk Sam turned up for the park scene, but that was ok, it made me giggle( sorry not sorry, I’m not letting Sam go quite yet…..)

    Austin was a beautiful host and there was some fantastic camera work to give us an overview of the world Walker lives in. Lovely horses too, so a bonus!

    The episode probably had a bit too much crammed in. Too many introductions perhaps a slow reveal would have been better?
    The music was definitely a problem, it gave the show too much of a soap opera feel , was at times intrusive and didn’t really fit the action.

    It very much felt like a typical procedural cop show with some angst thrown in, they’ve yet to properly established their own unique angle so it didn’t really click for me, not feeling a connection to any of the characters, but who knows, maybe in time it will grow on me?

    • The music bothered me too at times – it threw me out of the moment if it seemed too, as you say, soap opera-like. And there was definitely alot going on. Still, I did feel like I was intrigued by several of the characters, including Walker. I like that he wasn’t presented as perfect or a paragon of virtue, but a man debilitated by grief and not coping very well at all. It remains to be seen whether it will continue that psychological focus or pivot to more action type drama – I’m hoping not, but that’s just me!

  • I also write for a blog and find it difficult to process the loss of my characters of 15 years but not being disloyal, Walker is helping.
    Austin is the new Baby. Jared was not Sam. He was Walker- a work in progress of grieving and learning to parent and to self care. Man can inhabit characters to evoke empathy. The music/sound overwhelmed the dialogue-confirmed. Easter eggs from flannel plaid shirt, to pressing his wounded hand to stay focused, to his brother’s pie comment. Even Auguie refinishing a table- ok, maybe I see what’s not there but I still see the names on the bunker’s table.
    Both Walker and Sam experience the loss of a lover, a friend: impetus for holding on to family. Different as Walker is not supernatural. That’s the point. If it is fleshed out in an interesting way, I’m in. Not a family story. Not a police procedural. Mixed. A socially woke script. Some rough edges. Great angst when he realizes Emily is dead. Check out his subtle change in eye expression not just the scream. I question the edits. Also promo had a funny scene that was cut from what aired about Walker being an idiot. The two step dance might have been amusing if boy cut short. Edits for time. If the Walker fans were expecting the martial arts, stone faced ranger- this is not it. From my POV, that’s a good thing for moving forward.

  • I love this show already. I thought it would be hard seeing Jared play a character other than Sam, but I was wrong. Walker is a very different person and you see that in the way Jared portrays him. I found it odd that Walker didn’t immediately get in his truck and go looking Emily, but instead sinks to the ground in tears as if he already knows she’s dead. Since her death seems to be the central story arc for the season I’ll assume there’ll be more even question than answers to come.

    Walker’s work-in-progress relationship with his children is what has me wanting more. Seeing Jared play a father of two teenagers will be interesting to watch. And realizing that he is the same age now as JDM was when he filmed the pilot of Supernatural is just to crazy to think about.

    I only have a few issues with episode one, the background sound being one of them. I don’t usually like watching with subtitles because I find myself staring at the words more than paying attention to the scene. It was nearly impossible for me to hear to the dialogue in the scene with Walker and Micki outside eating and getting to know each other. Second I feel there were way too many character introduction in the first ep. I think it should have kept to just Walker and his immediate family. Then bring in Micki and Capt. James towards the end or at the beginning of ep 2. I could have done without Geri altogether. Lastly, and this is more about The CW than the show, but what was with all the commercial breaks. Maybe it’s just me but it felt like there were a lot more than usual. It is hard to get into a show especially a new one when what felt like every five minutes they cut to commercial.

    • You mentioned several things that I think most of us agree on – hopefully some of those at least will be better in subsequent episodes!

  • I loved the pilot. Or maybe in other words I love that fact that I was able to love it. I was thrilled when I heard Jared would do another show and I would have at least something after Supernatural has ended. It was my silver lining, something to look forward to.

    I`ve never expected it to be a substitute for Supernatural though. Maybe I`m to pessimistic here, but I don`t believe there will ever be a show that I care about as much I do about Supernatural. (still permanently rewatching)

    But back to Walker. When I start a new show, what is most important to me, is how I feel about the characters. If they draw me in and make me care about them, or at least being interested in them. I can condone if the storyline is not perfect, not saying that is the case with Walker, but the characters are more important to me. If I don`t care about the characters, I loose my interest in a show very quickly. I don`t fear that with Walker. I think they did a great job with developing these characters, all of them. Well written and acted.

    I was a bit sceptic how I would feel about Walker and his brother, I didn`t want a comparison to Supernatural, but even when they seem to be close too, the dynamic is totally different, so I`m really looking forward to see more of that relationship too.

    Alltogether I really liked what I`ve seen and I`m glad to have something weekly to look forward to.

    • I agree with everything you said. I too watch for the characters and the relationships between the characters, and I got enough of that here that I’m looking forward to more. But I have no illusions – I will never feel about another show or other fictional characters what I felt for Supernatural. I’m going to be grieving it for a long time, but I will always feel incredibly lucky to have had it.

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