‘Walker: Past Is Prologue’ Looks at How our Past Impacts our Present

Past is Prologue is an interesting title for last week’s Walker episode. So often, our past is what impacts our futures – if we don’t make sense of it, it can have way too much impact.

Bonham is still grumpy about nobody coming to his family meeting and the horse rescue not being run by him first, feeling like he’s been “put out to pasture”.  Abeline’s having none of it and I am here for her, as always.

Abeline doesn’t want Bonham to have regrets, feeling bad that she waited so long to reconcile with her brother. She of course prevails, telling him she’s got his back and is on his side, but also he needs to talk to Liam and Stella, even if they should have talked to him first.

Abeline: We need to do the teaching, lead by example… and bask in your superiority.

God, I love Abeline.

I also love that Liam and Stella now have a horse rescue because it means I get to see lots of gorgeous horses.

Liam and Stella shoot a social media promo post, much to Bonham’s annoyance. He walks out.

Stella: He’s still mad?

Abby: He’s still somethin’…

Bonham eventually listens to Abeline and comes around, telling Liam that he did eventually accept that he and Cordell didn’t have that “rancher green thumb”, that what matters is that they’re happy. He’s grudgingly impressed with what Liam’s done, and is “man enough to admit that it hurt”, that it wiped away a vision he’d become fond of. It’s a pretty candid thing for Bonham to admit, so I give him a lot of credit.

Liam says he was hoping it could be “ours”, a family thing. That the new logo is based on his Grandad’s signature.

Bonham: Well hell, William, when you put it like that…

Of course he can’t leave it at that, though. He needs a parting shot to keep his grumpy grampa persona intact.

Bonham: Daddy’s signature was damn chicken scratch – that ain’t it.

Meanwhile, just when we were all open-mouthed at Captain James’ ability to be harsh (to Trey), we get to see the softer side of him when Kelly returns to town and they rekindle their romance at a new level, with her moving to Austin full time. Awww.

Most of fandom figured out that Trey wasn’t really fired and that James was setting him up to do some undercover work, but it was good to have that confirmed in this episode. So yay, now we can go back to liking Captain James again! Though Trey got to hang out in some nice outfits while he was “unemployed”.

It doesn’t take long for the bad guys aka the lobbying group (disguised as country club golfing types) to reach out to Trey, in fact.  It also doesn’t take long for him to figure out their ‘prove you’re smart enough to do this job’ little test.

Trey is smoooooth in not seeming to want it too much, and the lobbying guy is smooth too in making it sound like they’re actually trying to help vets (who in real life really don’t get the help they need). I confess to not really understanding the whole Grey Flag thing, honestly.

Julia is off working in DC, so it’s Cassie and Cordell teaming up to try to figure out why his old squad is maybe being targeted – and why maybe HE is being targeted. I love Cassie for being all in on trying to get Cordell some closure, and also her willingness to drop back and give him some space when digging into all this brings back his PTSD and survivor’s guilt big time. Jared Padalecki is so good at showing those emotional struggles, and I love when this show gets serious and goes there.

Padalecki also tweeted a CW video encouraging people to fight the stigma around talking about mental health issues, which is so important in making real world change. The chapter he wrote in Family Don’t End With Blood was a similar encouragement, since Jared opened up about his own mental health in it, and it’s helped many other people do the same.)

Cordell looking into his past and how his “brothers” died means flashbacks – which means we get Colin Ford as young Cordell again. Yay! Colin is SO good and it is uncanny how much he seems like a young Jared Padalecki, both on Supernatural and on this show.  We see some of the trauma that Cordell and his unit endured in combat, their vehicle blown up and one of their own losing his hearing.

Cordell and Cassie’s visit to the widow of his other “brother” turns out to be traumatic itself, Cordell remembering Rob’s struggle with addiction and his widow not wanting to hear it.  We see another painful flashback, Rob being reprimanded for getting high and Cordell trying to reassure him that he’s not alone, that he’ll be okay.

His wife is understandably angry, blaming their military trauma for what happened to her husband.

She eventually orders them to leave, and Cordell feels guilty for having upset her.

Cassie wants to continue their investigation, but Cordell is overwhelmed with emotions stirred up by their conversation and his flashbacks.

Cordell: We all did what we had to do to survive over there, and we all had vices. What happened over there to us, that was ugly, and what happened when we came back, the guilt, the regret, that was ugly too.

Every time we understand more about that trauma and his time in the military, we understand a little better just how much Cordell is carrying. Still.

He tells Cassie he tries to avoid thinking about it, because it’s hurts. That’s a raw, honest thing to say, and she takes it in like the serious admission it is.

She gives him the time and space he needs, and then when he’s had a little time and feels like he’s ready to be all in, they try to reach Tommy for more information – and get a disconnected phone.

Uh oh.

They find Tommy mortally wounded, set up for Cordell to find him – a scene so dark it seemed like something out of Supernatural honestly.

Cordell’s “no no no no no, stay with me, hey stay with me” hit wayyyy too close to the barn scene in Supernatural when Sam loses Dean, so it made me unexpectedly emotional. Cordell stays with his dying brother, again evoking the Winchester brothers with his “I’m not going anywhere”.

Meanwhile Cassie takes off after the guy who apparently gutted poor Tommy.  The music montage actually works for this one as Cassie floors it and the lyrics say “I’m a monster…going going gone…”   The bad guy rams his vehicle against hers and then crashes, Cassie looking shocked as the car flips again and again. The guy who must not have been wearing a seat belt is dead, half out of the vehicle. Cassie finds a file with Tommy’s name and photo on it.

Uh oh.

There’s a pretty cool shot of the destroyed vehicle from above, Cassie holding the file, the truth of what this means hitting her.

Cassie still respectfully covers the dead guy with a blanket. The file confirms the dead guy was Grey Flag, and they realize now that this isn’t an anarchist group taking issue with the military – this is something personal. That Cordell’s unit was targeted – and so is he.

Cassie: Walker, you’re next.

Walker: I think it’s time we read in James.

Who at that moment is in his car on a dark road not taking Walker’s call – because he’s meeting with Trey. It would have been a gasp worthy reveal if most of us hadn’t figured it out (possibly because we just wanted it to be the case!)

James: Mission is a go. Be careful, man.

Trey: Will do. It’s good to see you, Cap.

They part ways, their cars under two isolated lights on a deserted road – another dramatic shot that worked really well.

This episode was beautifully filmed and directed, and the music in this case worked instead of throwing me out of the action. Ashley Reyes and Jared Padalecki were both so good at conveying their characters’ slowly dawning realization of just how serious – and how personal – this is for Cordell. And both also showed us their emotions, Cassie’s empathic negotiation of when to push and when to back off as Cordell struggles with survivor’s guilt and PTSD. So well done!

James and Kelly negotiating the complications of a mature relationship of two people who were bonded at one time but pulled apart trying to carefully come back together was also really well done.

The Bonham and Abeline scenes almost always work for me because Molly Hagan is amazing, and I liked the grudging softness of Bonham’s admitting to his son that his personal aspirations for his sons was getting in the way of his being happy for them being happy.

Plus, beautiful horses!!

Solid episode in just about every way.

New episode of Walker tonight, so stay tuned!

Caps by raloria/spndeangirl


You can read Jared Padalecki’s thoughts on

how the fandom helped him through his own

challenges in his chapter in Family Don’t End

With Blood, and his experience on Supernatural

in There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done.

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