The first two episodes of Season 3 of Walker have kicked off with a bang! I watch this show mostly for the relationships and the universal human themes that play out, so the arc of Cordell being kidnapped tapped into both of those. The Walker family and close friends having to deal with the horror of just waiting and not knowing rang very true, as did Cordell’s reliance on his memory of Emily. Add to that the Supernatural-reminiscent focus on the Walker brothers’ relationship and I was a happy viewer. Episode 2 was directed by Austin Nichols, a Walker cast alum who is now directing – he filmed some beautiful scenes that added to the dark but intense feel of this episode.
This episode picks up right where the season premiere left off, with Liam being tossed into the cell where Cordell has been held. That was a shock – to both the audience and Cordell – and it raises the stakes for whether or not the mysterious Sean will be able to ‘break’ Walker like he says he wants to.
Liam asks Cordi to promise that he’s not gonna try some Lone Walker Ranger stuff and risk his life to save his little brother. Cordell promises, the brothers clasping hands, and then he holds his injured little brother and I am all filled up with Supernatural-ish brother feels.
Cordell is unchained since they’re playing mind games with him, though I still don’t entirely grasp how Sean thinks this is going to work. Cordell is going by his gut, he says, and assures Liam that he trusts his brother – and Julia Johnson too, the reporter who had been confined upstairs.
The scenes of the brothers locked up together are ominous and dark, but they’re also beautifully filmed, the light coming through the bars making the whole scene look surreal. A moment of applause for the director of photography and for director Austin Nichols! And for Padalecki and Keegan Allen, who make being roughed up and held in a cell look alarmingly attractive.
They give Liam dinner then put a hood over Walker’s head and take him to an office to eat dinner with Sean, part of Sean’s attempts to get Cordell to “join them”. He refuses, saying ‘I’m stuffed” and having flashbacks to when he served. They try to talk Cordell into joining them since he’s “edge of the coin” Cordell Walker, but I think they’ve seriously misunderstood that side of him. He agrees there are some flaws in the system but insists there are good people making strides to fill those cracks. Sean tells him that Emily died at the hands of an organization that he serves, taunting that he’ll never get her back.
“You could save the next widower,” Sean says, but Cordell accuses Sean of murdering people who get in his way, which makes him a terrorist. Sean insists it’s necessary to trigger change, though I don’t really know how he thinks that’s going to happen. Power vacuums often get filled by even worse organizations, and this sounds like it could be one of those.
Sean: We are anarchists. First step is taking down the Texas Rangers. If you don’t come around, other tactics are gonna have to be applied. We didn’t bring your brother here for a family reunion. You may be able to handle this, but your brother?
He zaps the taser, threatening.
Liam being in danger unnerves Cordell a lot more than being threatened himself, Sean is right about that.
Cordell remembers his time serving in Afghanistan – we see a flashback of two men fighting, one coughing violently. It’s young Walker, losing the fight – and it’s Colin Ford, once again portraying a young Jared Padalecki!
His commanding officer reminds him to get out of his head, to fight in the moment in order to come out on top – try a little spontaneity.
This time Colin Ford prevails – and looks damn good doing it!
For Supernatural fans who so appreciated his portrayal of young Sam Winchester, it was a thrill to have him on our screens and working with Jared again. Perfect casting remains perfect!
Cordell returns to the cell to find they’ve beaten Liam badly. He’s traumatized, shrinking away from Cordell while insisting he’s fine. Cordell knows he’s not at all fine, though, and he’s increasingly freaked out. Cordell holds Liam, saying ‘I got ya, I got ya,” just like Sam and Dean always said to each other when one of them was badly hurt.
Cordi knows they’re going to hurt Liam to try to break him – or kill him. And he knows they have to get out of there.
Back at the ranch, Abeline and Geri look through photos, trying to find one of Cordell that’s not “so serious” as his official Ranger one (or maybe just trying to kill time since that seems more plausible) – and they comment on one of him in the Marines. And, as the fandom has been expecting and gleefully anticipating, it’s Colin Ford playing young Cordell.
Abeline: it’s the first time I didn’t know if he’d be back…
Bonham is doing his own distracting, choosing to fix a cattle collar at night because there’s nothing else he can do. The helplessness strikes me as very real, and painful. Also, Bonham calls her “Abs” and damn, that’s cute.
Abeline and Bonham snipe at each other, dealing with the worry in vastly different ways, which was also realistic. I like this show best when it shows that kind of realism in relationships, as it often does in theirs. They’re prickly with each other, but they push through and communicate. He’s not as worried as she is, and that bothers her.
“Ask me why,” says Bonham.
It’s because their boys are together, he says, and they taught them not only to love each other, but to stick together. So he’s not as worried as her. He holds her hand, and she laughs a little – it helped. That’s kind of the theme of the episode, sticking together and stronger together.
Cordell’s kids are also feeling helpless, which leads to a series of ill advised decisions. The weirdest part of the episode is that the Rangers let Stella handle a phone tip line because she insists on “doing something”. I can totally understand her frustration and helplessness, but letting her be a dispatcher doesn’t seem like the best idea – though James instructs her to give the messages to a Ranger. Which of course is not what she does.
Stella gets a tip call from a woman who wants a reward for sharing information, and Stella impulsively offers that (nonexistent) reward to keep the woman on the phone – and then goes to deliver it herself instead of telling an actual Ranger. Dumbest idea ever! Also did the woman think if a real Texas ranger was coming, that they would have brought money? Or that they could have overpowered actual Rangers? Augie catches her frantically searching for money and insists on coming with her.
Of course things go very south, the bad guys being gross to Stella and beating up Augie. Stella ends up giving them her car to get them to stop beating on Augie, and off they drive. Toss up as to whether Stella and Augie or the blackmailers are less smart tbh. And they didn’t even give them any information!
Ben calls Cassie freaking out because he can’t reach Liam, which really, can you blame him? Cassie gives James a heads up that the other Walker may be missing too, and now everyone is freaking out, understandably.
Cassie figures out the van’s fake plate was from the shop Miles was investigating, but James insists on going through proper channels and protocols to avoid the feds hassling them. “We have to do it the right way,” he says.
This episode is about sometimes needing to do things not by the book, though, and that’s what Cassie does. She meets with Ben and takes him with her to see Miles. Ben pulls a Bobby Singer and impersonates a commanding office giving Cassie permission to visit Miles, who remembers the reporter Julia Johnson. He manages to convey that to Cassie just as they arrest her.
Ashley Reyes has a real gift for comedy, and she made me laugh out loud still trying to get information from Miles as they literally arrest her and walk her out of the room – backwards.
James is furious at Cassie, calling in favors to keep her out of custody, but they pursue the lead on Julia Johnson, who is also missing. Cassie finds a pin board at Julia’s house that looks almost John Winchester worthy, and they also find an article about Sean and the operation he’s running – that Julia was doing an expose on. Cassie also finds a brochure for the closed psychiatric hospital, and they send some cavalry over there.
The Walker brothers, meanwhile, take matters into their own hands. Cordell says Liam has internal bleeding, and that if he dies they may as well kill him too. It’s the oldest trick in the book but it works, and after a pretty brutal fight, the Walker bros overpower the bad guys. This episode was dark in that they show Cordell not only being smart and caring, but also ruthless when he has to be. The show has definitely had an evolution from the first season, when Walker sometimes seemed more bumbling than deadly effective – now we can see it, vividly. Sometimes so vividly it’s hard for me to watch!
They stop to break Julia out too and then run (to a music montage of course, but it is a pretty good song).
I like Julia, she pushes right past them to get the hell out of there. Cordell notices some biological weapons in the warehouse that he recognizes from his Marines days and knows how dangerous they are. Another flashback with Colin, and more advice to “be your own man”. Caught between following orders and doing the right thing? Follow what your heart tells you, Cordell remembers his commanding officer saying.
He insists Liam and Julia go, but he goes back to try to get rid of the biochemical weapons. Liam tries to talk him out of it, but Cordi says “I have to” and finally, reluctantly, Liam lets him stay. Cordell promises to come back.
There’s a final (brutal – bone breaking brutal) showdown with Sean, who I confess I do not really understand, and then Walker is smart enough to take cover in the radiology room when Sean pulls the trigger on a grenade and explodes half the building (and himself I guess).
The fight is also a throw back to his Marine days and what he learned then presumably. I’m glad to have Walker be both a badass and smart this season!
James and Cassie show up just in time to save a fleeing Liam and Julia, and then the building explodes and they panic, thinking the worst for Walker. Liam runs toward the building, yelling his brother’s name, and then Cordell staggers out of the smoking building.
He falls into his little brother’s arms. It’s reminiscent of that time Dean Winchester killed Cain and then fell into his little brother’s arms.
We even got a forehead touch between the two brothers and damn, all those Supernatural brotherly callbacks really got to me.
“What do you need?” his partner asks, and Cordell says just to hug his kids.
I would argue that both Walker brothers need an ambulance or a med check first, however.
The brother moments were my favorite thing about this episode other than seeing Colin Ford portray a young Jared Padalecki again. I didn’t entirely grasp the plot that revolved around Sean and his mercenaries, but I enjoyed the way it put the Walker brothers in harm’s way and forced them to depend only on each other.
Cordell and Liam have each other’s backs, just like Sam and Dean always did.
The other really great thing about this episode? None of the Walker fandom’s mortal enemy – hair gel! We actually get to see Jared Padalecki’s tresses flying free instead of plastered down. Mmmmm. Can someone just like hide that stuff on set??
Next week I’m hoping we get to see some aftermath of the trauma that the Walkers – all of them – went through. I know how good Jared is at portraying PTSD, and how careful he is to be sure it’s shown realistically, so I’m looking forward to seeing the show tackle some of those difficult themes.
Shout out to Jared Padalecki and Keegan Allen for making the Walker brothers’ predicament, pain and love for each other so real in this episode!
Caps by spndeangirl
You can read the chapter that Jared Padalecki
wrote (along with may Supernatural actors)
about what fandom has meant to him in
Family Don’t End With Blood. Links at: