There was trepidation when ‘Walker’ returned because we left it up in the air whether Abeline would be okay after suffering a stroke – and we pick up right there, so the first part of the episode was full of terror as Cordell and August find Abeline on othe ground. Not sure it was the best thing to do, to pick her up and take her to the hospital in the truck instead of calling 911, but maybe out on the ranch that’s the quickest way to get help.
I’m never a huge fan of making everything into a music montage, but once they get to the hospital, the tension is palpable. And Bonham is beside himself – understandably. The tension between August and his grandfather is also hard to watch, but Cordell to his credit pulls his son in when he hugs Stella.
Turns out Abeline had a TIA and no lasting residual symptoms, but the doctor recommends stress management and aspirin and other preventive measures – which Bonham definitely takes to heart. Abeline hasn’t lost her sense of humor, and reminisces about the first time they came to the hospital – they were dating and Bonham tried to impress her with homemade spaghetti and meatballs, which were so undercooked that she got food poisoning. And they still ended up together!
Bonham doesn’t even want to talk about the past, feeling like she’s spending too much time looking back and refusing to look forward. He’s been scared so much by her near-miss that he doesn’t want to take any chances, while she wants to forget that it happened and carry on like nothing did. That puts my favorite couple in conflict a bit, Bonham insisting on compression socks and colloidal silver and tossing out all the high sodium laden foods in the kitchen, Abby bristling at being coddled.
I thought both their reactions to the TIA were very real, especially for people who are getting older. Everyone worries about losing their loved ones who are no longer young and seemingly invincible, or being reminded of their mortality. And no one wants to be faced with their own, or accept that they might have restrictions or need to make changes in their life, that there are things they can’t or shouldn’t do anymore. I value this show so much for its realistic depiction of grandparents, it’s so rare!
Liam: Don’t be a bad patient, Mom!
Abeline wants to update their wills; Bonham refuses to even talk about it.
Both of these people are incredibly stubborn, but I can relate to how both of them are feeling. Abby points out how Bonham handled his cancer diagnosis on his own, so it’s hypocritical of him to want her to share everything. To their credit, they’re able to talk it out and share how much they’re both feeling, though. Sometimes people don’t agree but can still work at seeing each other’s perspective, but that seems so rare in television!
Bonham cooks dinner, a “healthy alternative”; Abeline claims that he’s stressing her out with an all lettuce diet or asking her to wear monstrosities that come up to her knee. Bonham walks out, head down. Abby sighs, thinks better of it and goes after him – to find a beautiful table set by candlelight with flowers, Liam in the kitchen too. Bonham promises not to go overboard, confesses how terrified he is to go on without her in life.
Bonham: I recognize those vows mean walking through the difficult parts of life just like you do the happy ones. I’ve been the luckiest man for years, and would hate to ruin that by making you walk through eggshells.
He promises to discuss the will and they share a passionate kiss, Liam smiling at his parents and serving up some pasta – and meatballs. It’s low sodium marinara and whole wheat noodles, and Liam made the meatballs just in case. That’s Abby’s part of meeting him halfway.
Bonham hasn’t forgiven August, but Abeline does. They have tea and talk it out, her letting him apologize to her. She says she knows he didn’t mean to say what he said, and she reassures him that he didn’t cause her stroke and that she knows he’s a good person.
Abeline: We all say things that we regret. What you’re feeling means you’ve got a good ticker.
She hugs her grandson, and Cordell watches, glad that he apologized but focused on punishing him. Abeline asks Cordell to take the kids to Dallas as a favor to her – she wants to see her brother, Uncle Willie. The one she calls every Thanksgiving, though he never picks up. Cordell is resistant, saying that he should be the one to make an effort, but she asks and so he agrees.
Oh Abby, you’re so smart.
The car ride is one like every parent who has more than one child has experienced, Cordell trying to give his kids some backstory on Uncle William (who Liam was named after), Augie relating to him as “the black sheep”, Stella snapping that they’re only on this trip because of him and August snapping back that their grampa must have given her a list of things to say to remind him to hate himself.
It goes from bad to worse until Cordell does what most parents have done at some point – pulls the truck off the road.
August: You’re such a toad, Stella.
Cordell: Nope, nope. Out. You’re walking.
Okay, so I’ve never done that. Way too paranoid to put my kids out on the side of the road and tell them to walk a few miles in a place they don’t know. They’re pretty much adults, I know, but I still probably wouldn’t have done that, though I totally understand WHY he did it! I hope Stella’s stylish boots are also comfortable…
When they get to the beautiful bed and breakfast, the kids meet their Uncle Willie, who immediately says “No vacancy especially for you – I don’t take Monopoly Money for payment. Why don’t you and dirty little Linus here get out of my place?”
Cordell walks in and Stella triumphantly says oh here’s my dad, he’s a Texas Ranger.
Cordell: He knows who I am. Say hello to your Grand Uncle Willie!
I was as astounded as the kids – because it’s Jeff Kober!!
I love everything that Jeff Kober is in – especially my guilty pleasure General Hospital and his quirky bad guy – so I was beyond thrilled that he’s the actor playing Uncle Willie. When fandoms collide!
He doesn’t like to be touched and he’s not so wild about kids, I don’t think, but he stammers and is clearly upset when Cordell says that Abeline had a mini stroke.
He still insists he’s much too busy, and that they have no idea the kind of pain his sister has caused him over the past twenty years. But Cordell points out that a) they do have a reservation under Stella Blue and b) she wants to have a relationship with him, so they’ll wait until the next day for him to decide.
Cordell: I like what you’ve done with Meemaw’s house. Looks good.
Cordell does get through to him, you can see it, though he doesn’t react.
Next morning awkward breakfast is awkward.
Cordell reminds them that they’re family, that they need to talk it out.
Stella: Why do you hate us?
Augie: You would know, you’re the one who moved away!
Cordell: You know what? Forget it. Do whatever you want.
He gets up and walks away, and the kids dig into each other again.
Augie: Okay, whatever, Toad.
But Stella is smart; she notices that odd word he keeps trying to demean her with, and it clicks for her – and to her credit, she’s able to put her own frustration and hurt aside to have empathy for her brother.
Stella: You know why you’re having such a hard time? Because you miss mom. She used to call you her little toad, do you remember that? You used to make these little noises, so she used to playfully call you that.
Stella says that while Augie feels that their dad favors her, she always felt that their mom favored him, they were so close. She’s been there, she gets it. She says she knows she’s not his mom, but he can vent to her, she gets it, and she’s “a little less sacred” than Mawline.
It happens way too fast because this is television, and it’s asking a lot of Stella to put her own still-mostly-adolescent feelings aside to be there for her brother while he’s calling her a toad, but it’s a touching conversation anyway, made moreso by Cordell eavesdropping from the next room.
Sometimes I’m struck by how good Jared Padalecki is at showing you what his character is feeling, even without words, and that little moment was one of those times. His relief, his overwhelming love for his children, his own missing their mom – it’s all there in the little toss of his head, his smile that encompasses all those emotions.
He’s learned a few things from his mother about leaving people alone together to work their stuff out, hasn’t he?
Cordell admits that he was eavesdropping and thanks Stella, who says she doesn’t want to end up like Mawline and her brother. He suggests they start weekly Sunday dinners and she agrees – if he doesn’t cook!
They start to drive off when Uncle Willie runs out, admitting he misses his sister but he’s just not ready to see her yet.
Cordell: I can respect that, but we don’t always have the time we think we do.
Willie: You have your uncle’s wisdom.
When no one responds, he goes on.
Willie: I was talking about me.
Willie: Nice meeting you two kids.
Cordell tells his mom about finding Uncle Willie and that he’s not ready to come down for a visit just yet; she’s glad he got to meet Stella and August. Cordell has figured out that she sent them on the trip so they could work it out.
Abeline: Did it work?
Cordell: Yeah it did, thank you.
And then the phone rings – it’s Uncle Willie! Yay!!!
Meanwhile, Captain James asks Trey to work with Perez while Cordell is dealing with his mother’s stroke – and he wants Trey to be in charge, mysteriously. A tech guru named Victor is missing, a wife who withdrew a lot of money. Trey has good instincts – he knows the Captain is acting strangely but doesn’t know why.
James: Things around here have gotten a little lax lately – I expect you to follow not only the spirit of the law, but the letter. And check in with me before you make any moves.
He’s notably chilly to Perez too – does he know what Cassie and Cordell didn’t tell him?
Trey and Cassie search for the tech guru, ribbing each other about their love lives, from “dry January” (that is not what that means…) to how’s Kevin?
Victor’s wife insists she has no idea what happened to Victor, that they ended things a long time ago although she still runs the foundation they started together. They were getting a divorce, and she’d lose the company as a result, but she insists they already reached a settlement.
She insists her husband “wasn’t the man you think he was.”
Trey gives Captain James real time updates, and Cassie knows that’s weird that he didn’t ask her as he usually would. She calls Cordell, who says that the Captain did want to talk to them, and both agree that he may be suspicious they lied. Hmm.
Cassie and Trey find a suspicious warehouse building that tech guru owns and hasn’t sold, which sounds like the perfect place to bury a body. Trey wants to check in first, but Cassie insists they should just drive by, that they don’t need a warrant, which will take a few days. Trey is unsure, but Cassie says she’s his superior and can always say she brought him there against his will.
Oh Cassie. Bad idea.
When they hear gunshots, Cassie impulsively jumps out of the truck and runs into the warehouse, although once again Trey tries to rein her in and go by the book, calling it in before he runs in after her – exactly what Cap said not to do! Amusingly, it turns out to be Mr. Tech Guru playing a very loud high tech shooting video game.
He faked his death, and insists Cassie looks like a romantic and Trey does not to distract them, but they arrest him.
Cassie: Not wrong though. Dry January, just saying.
Trey: That’s not what it means!
Captain James goes off on Trey when they get back to HQ, reminding him that he was supposed to check in and wait. Cassie interrupts to say she was the ranking ranger to take responsibility.
Cap: Am I talking to you?
Cassie: No sir but…
Cap: Then shut up!
Cap: Maybe making you a Ranger was a mistake.
The last scene was totally unexpected too, and I honestly don’t even know what the hell Bonham is thinking. Out of nowhere (to me at least) Bonham says that it’s time for Cordell and the kids to find a place of their own.
Bonham: This was always supposed to be a temporary thing. It’s time you got your house in order, son, in more ways than one.
Cordell looks blindsided, says he’s probably right.
Bonham: I love you, son.
Cordell: I know, Daddy. I love you too.
Me: But WHA???
I honestly don’t know why Bonham thinks it was a good idea for him to pull the rug out from under his son just when things were getting back on an even keel a tiny bit. Why can’t Cordell ever get a break??
I hope we find out more in tonight’s brand new episode on the CW – stay tuned!
Caps by spndeangirl/raloria
You can read Jared Padalecki’s powerfully
written chapters on fans and his own
journey in Family Don’t End With Blood
and There’ll Be Peace When You Are
Done – links and info at: