Last Thursday was a double dose of excitement for Walker fans – the original show returned for its third season and its brand new prequel, Walker Independence, premiered right after. For me as a long-time Supernatural fan (who’s been a Walker fan since the start), it felt a little like the “good old days” of Supernatural fandom, with anticipation all day and then a live tweet fest with fans and cast alike all sharing their real-time reactions. Jared Padalecki and Gen Padalecki joined in the fun, which made it extra special for fans – and I think most of us were not at all disappointed with either the original show’s return or what looks to be an excellent new show in Walker Independence!
I’m not doing an actual review of Walker Independence (because holy crap there are a lot of shows out there to watch right now!) but suffice it to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it and its intriguing cast of characters. I can’t wait to see more and will be watching on Thursday nights for sure. (Shout out to an epic callback – Hoyt’s horse is named Cordell. Cue all the innuendo that invites…)
As the second episodes prepare to air, let’s look back at what happened on the season premiere of Walker.
We get a brief recap (as if anyone forgot that Cordell didn’t come back from his run with Trey and Liam!). Dan Miller is mentioned, so we know he’s still around, which makes me very happy indeed – I love Dave Annable and his character, and I always thought Dan got kind of a raw deal, so I’m glad to hear that the Walkers gave him some of the disputed land back. More Dan and Liam push-pull-kinda-reluctant-friendship please!
And then we pick up right where we left off, with poor Cordell being dragged to a shady looking van and tossed inside.
That set the tone for the episode for Walker, who spent it locked in a cage and periodically tortured by his captors as they tried to “break” him.
The men refer to him as their new inside guy, saying they have to “initiate” him. Honestly I don’t entirely understand what their goal was as they keep torturing him and demanding that he somehow give in so they can stop. Give in to what? They’re not asking him for any information. I guess they want him to agree to join them? Not sure how torture gets someone to want to do that, but Cordell figures out they want him to be Fenton’s replacement.
Bad Guy No. 2: So this is the war hero, huh?
That cues us in that what Cordell is going to experience is tied into his past, and whatever trauma he went through then.
The music during the initial putting-a-blindfolded-Cordell-in-a-cage montage was a good song, very Supernatural-esque, but I’m mostly not a fan of how prominent the music is sometimes in the show. In this case, it mostly worked, but sometimes it pulls me right out of a scene that might otherwise have been powerful. In this episode, however, the music was well chosen and worked with the couple of scenes in which music was prominent.
We get to hear Cordell’s thought process as he uses his training and experience to try to figure out where he is and who’s holding him, first with a monologue and later as he imagines Emily there with him, keeping him calm and helping him talk through strategizing.
He tries to throw Neo off by bringing up his daughter Jenny, saying at the end of the day they’re both dads – as Neo repeatedly tasers him. Ouch.
Gotta say, I got squeamish when they brought the water boarding chair in, thinking I was gonna have to stop watching for a few minutes, but luckily they didn’t actually show that part. Cordell makes contact with a woman also being held on the floor above him, who sends him a code that they’re in danger, though that’s pretty damn obvious already.
She says she’s a reporter who figured out they want him to be the new Fenton, and that they’ll break him and then be the ones there to pick him up. He eventually realizes they’re taking her away, but not before she tells him her name and lets him know they’re in an abandoned hospital – and ominously asks him if he has a brother. Uh oh.
Walker channels a bit of his inner Winchester, greeting his captor Neo with a “sorry you’re not my type” when Neo chains him to a hook in the ceiling.
It doesn’t deter Neo but it gives us more insight into Cordell’s coping strategies, and a Supernatural-ish callback never hurts. We even get Jared Padalecki restrained with cold water thrown over him ala Sam Winchester being tortured by the Men of Letters.
So, not a good day for Cordell, but a pretty good day for much of the fandom, who isn’t averse to a little “Walker Whump” with their heroics. Anyone who has ever seen Padalecki’s incredible performance in Supernatural episode ‘Red Meat’ knows how good he is at portraying his character’s pain, and this episode showcased that talent vividly. I can certainly appreciate some fictional “whump”, but some of this episode was hard to watch simply because Jared is so good at making you feel what he’s feeling.
Meanwhile, the rest of the family struggles to deal with the not knowing and the waiting, which really is “the hardest part”. They don’t know what’s happened, or who has Cordell, or if he’s even alive or remotely okay. Trey and Liam at first try to protect Stella from seeing how concerned they are, but she’s not a child and she’s got good instincts.
Stella: Something’s wrong.
Those she apparently got from her Mawline, who says she also always knew when one of her kids was in trouble. Like now. She always reminded her boys of the invisible string, and all they had to do was tug on it if they were scared, and she’d know.
As a mom? Yeah, I can relate.
Trey and Liam find Walker’s watch on the side of the trail they were running on – if Cordell is anything like Jared, there’s no way he’d give up his watch, so that instantly tells us that something is very very wrong. Liam agrees, saying “he never took this off.”
Soon everyone is convinced that Walker is in fact missing, and Cassie is sure this is related to Miles and Fenton, though Captain James is more reluctant to go down that path.
Stella and Augie are thrown back to trauma of their own – of not knowing where their father is and if he’s okay. Stella reaches out to Colton, who’s with Geri trying to come to terms with their own recent family trauma, and Liam consoles Augie, the two playing a piano duet to ground themselves.
Stella and Augie are pretty much at the end of their ropes, wondering if this will be the case that kills their father and scarred from when he was gone before and they didn’t know then either.
Stella tries to be the big sister, saying it’s her job now to keep him safe, though Augie protests that he’s not a child and she’s acting like their father, the selfish hero.
Augie: And who was always there to clean up after him? His little brother.
Ah sibling issues, right up my Supernatural alley.
Trey becomes a Ranger more or less, which strains credulity but I’m willing to ignore it so we can keep Jeff Pierre an organic part of the show.
Cassie and James head out to find Cordell – she’s of course reminded of the way Miles suddenly disappeared too, so everyone is dealing with extra apprehension because of their pasts, unfortunately. Cassie follows a lead from her recon “date” but it doesn’t pan out, leaving everyone increasingly frustrated.
Before they leave, James talks to Abeline, who’s understandably worried as hell and equally understandably pissed off, wishing her son could take a desk job and not constantly be in danger. I did find myself yelling stop wasting time, go go go!! Which I did from time to time in Supernatural too – there’s urgency, stop hugging and chatting, people!
But Abeline breaking down in half strangled sobs really did get to me. I’m a Molly Hagan stan, what can I say? She makes me feel.
Cassie opens up to Abeline about her fears, and her guilt about ‘missing something’ as she’s been unable to find Walker just like she was unable to find Miles. Abeline reassures her, saying she too believes in the art of just knowing.
Ben shows up to support Liam, and we find out a little backstory about Ben and Cassie oddly, and Liam realizes Cordell stopped his watch, so at least they know when he was taken.
Someone also finds a bullet casing so they realize that Cordi got a shot off, and an entire fandom scrutinized screen caps wondering WHERE Cordell was hiding that gun…
Colton also shows up to support Stella, and Geri bakes Emily-recipe cookies to help herself cope and to be there for the kids too. Geri’s not so sure she should be comfortable with Colton and Stella going upstairs to her room, which is kinda adorable.
I so feel for Abeline as she takes down the decorations for her granddaughter’s graduation party, wondering if maybe “this is it.” I love the way Bonham is there for her though.
The last scene is a shocker, or at least it was for unspoiled me. No sooner does Cordell insist to imaginary Emily that “I’m not broken” than the worst happens. Emily prepares to leave, and Cordell begs her not to go, pleading “don’t – don’t leave me,” in the exact same way that Sam begged Dean not to leave him as he died in the finale of Supernatural.
I instantly recognized it for that callback and got emotional, tweeting about it with an OHNOOOOOO – Jared tweeted back, saying “good catch”. It turns out that he improvised those words, an intentional callback to that powerful heartbreaking scene.
And the next thing we find out is about as Supernatural as you can get, as the bad guys drag in a beaten up Liam.
Liam (gasping): Cordell…
Cordell (horrified): No…
That was quite an ending and I cannot wait for this week’s episode to find out what happens. I love the brothers’ relationship on this show too, and I’m worried that Walker’s captors have indeed found the way to break him. As Dean Winchester once said to his own little brother, “you’re my weakness – and I’m yours.”
Screencaps by spndeangirl
Stay tuned for a brand new Walker tonight, followed by a new episode of Walker Independence!
You can read the powerful chapter that
Jared Padalecki wrote about fandom and
his own life journey in Family Don’t End
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