It’s All About Relationships In Walker ‘Champagne Problems’

Last week’s episode of Walker once again opens with bacon, which is always a good thing.  And right away it’s a bit of a metaphor for the real subject of this episode – relationships. Their ups and downs, their challenges and triumphs, the way they bring joy and pain. Abby and Bonham’s kids and grandkids show their love by knowing how to cook the bacon just like they like it – and planning a big 40th anniversary bash.

The kids and grandkids are determined to make Bonham and Mawline’s anniversary special, right down to trespassing on the Davidson’s ranch to pick her favorite flowers and herbs, finding the perfect bottle of champagne and cooking the bacon just right.  It’s also complicated from the start, though, with Bonham asking Cordell to try to convince Geri to come to the party and give Abeline another chance, while Cordi texts Twyla to wish her luck on her first day at a new job.

Talk about stuck in the middle! He kinda wants to please everyone, and that is never easy, often putting a strain on all those relationships you’re trying to salvage.

Geri comes back from her girls weekend and tells Gale that in spite of how complicated that particular relationship is, she’s glad they’re trying.

Gale: Me too.

Apparently Denise is struggling also, an only child for her entire life who now has a grown up sister who wasn’t her favorite person before she found out they were related. Nobody is ever entirely immune from sibling rivalry either, so having to watch how obviously thrilled Gale is about having her other daughter back must be a bit painful for Denise.

Geri holds out her arms for a hug, and Gale looks overjoyed to give her one and I know most people are not a fan of any of this, but I feel for both these women right now.

Gale says that they haven’t really had any one on one mother-daughter time, and you can see how much just that term means to Geri – mother-daughter time is something she thought she would never ever have, and now it’s being offered. It must be incredibly powerful and also incredibly confusing. Being taken into confidence for the old family recipes – a family she never knew was hers – would be a big deal, I imagine. Family traditions, being part of mothers handing down recipes to their daughters – it’s hard to see things like this all around you and not have them.

Also, can I just say that I love Geri’s adorable little house? Walker is so good with its visuals and its set dec and locations, it’s such a visually appealing show – and I have a thing for tiny houses (this is not that, but it’s small and looks so welcoming)

The episode revolves around all the Walkers trying to pull together the big bash, while nothing goes entirely smoothly. Cassie goes with Liam to get the rare champagne that’s special to Abeline and Bonham. I like Cassie, so I’m not gonna complain, but if my new work partner wanted to be part of literally every family event ever, I would probably be a bit alarmed. I guess she’s new in town and doesn’t know many people other than Cordell though – and we soon find out that Geri isn’t the only one craving family acceptance.

I love that Cassie is a bit of a fangirl, waxing poetic about wine by quoting a movie and then appalled that the clerk doesn’t recognize it.  It’s such a fandom thing to know all the dialogue. Not that I can quote entire scenes of Supernatural or anything. Ahem.

Meanwhile, Liam gets flirty with the other wine store guy, who flirts right back. I was rooting for Liam and Bret to get back together, but I have to admit that Liam and Ben (Matt Pascua) have more chemistry – sparks flew from just about the first minute of their conversation. Maybe because we didn’t get to see Liam and Bret at the start of their relationship and they seemed settled into an almost friendship by the time we met them – for whatever reason, LiamBJamin (as I saw the ship called in a few tweets) kicked up sparks.

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It’s All About Trust with Walker’s ‘Bygones’

Last week’s Walker episode wasn’t the big event that the week before was (since it was directed by Jared Padalecki’s Supernatural costar Jensen Ackles), but it was a solid episode that I thoroughly enjoyed.  This is an unusual way of judging an episode, I’m sure, but for me, one of the best things about this episode was its positive commentary on fandom, something I’m always happy to see in media. The episode starts out with Cassie and Walker on a stake out – as she watches a fictional show (within a fictional show) called Hawk’s Shadow. It’s got a shout out to other CW shows, including Supernatural and Kung Fu…

“Who knew Satan’s greatest weakness was kung fu??”

And it’s got an awesome tag line: Whenever crimes come a-knockin’, I’ll be there to answer the… CAW CAW!

Walker isn’t into it, but Cassie definitely is, pointing out that there’s a lot of real life drama going on and an escape with a 90’s fandom classic seems like a good idea. I can get behind that, totally. Also, Cordell’s face is gold. I like that Cassie is thoroughly unapologetic about loving the perhaps a bit cheesy 90s show and it turns out that lots of other people like it too as the episode goes on.

Also the fictional show has a shout out to the threat of bears, a nod to Padalecki’s real life fear of them. Nicely done, show.

The partners check in with each other, Cassie struggling with being so wrong about Captain Cole (or is she??) and Cordell struggling with Geri being on a “girls’ trip” with Gale and Denise.

Walker says he feels betrayed, especially because Geri is his best friend; that it feels like she chose them and the Davidson family over him and his family.

Cassie doesn’t try to disabuse him of that, agreeing that “if you can’t trust your best friend to stick by ya…” and saying he can trust her as his partner.

The episode has a theme of trust running through it, starting off with this very first scene.

Cordell’s feelings are entirely understandable, but I can’t help but think that Geri’s are too. She has just found out that she has a sister and a mother, when she thought she didn’t. When she thought she was given up and maybe not loved by her own mother. When she thought she had no living relatives. How could she turn down an invitation from them to get to know them better? She must have so many questions, and they are the only ones that can fill in the blanks.

I have no doubt Gale is going to turn out to be scheming and manipulating this somehow, but I also can’t help but think that of course she wants to get to know her own daughter, who she’s been grieving for literally decades. Denise too – the sister she thought she lost is right here.

I might have tried to help Cordell understand all that a little more if I were Cassie – but I am not. I like Cassie a lot, including that she’s not always what I expect. That’s rather fascinating, so I’m glad, but I also had to bite my tongue when she just agreed with and amplified Walker’s feeling of betrayal instead of maybe helping him put himself in her shoes a little more (while also empathizing with his feelings).

Their conversation is cut short by the suspect exiting – Cassie figures out that this particular string of nightclubs always has a secret back exit so you’d never seen people leaving. Walker doesn’t understand, yelling that the guy is gonna get away, but Cassie once again asks ‘Do you trust me?’  He does, and so they’re right there when the guy comes out the exit and they take him down.

Cassie: Caw Caw!

A group of bystanders: Caw Caw!

Walker (longsuffering): That’s not even the sound a hawk makes…

Me: Fandom is awesome.

The Return of Twyla Jean

Walker is late to meeting with Captain James and he’s annoyed.

James: Walker, It is… 9:47…

Walker: Uh, yes sir, 9:48.

James: (glares)

Walker: Uh, let’s go with 9:47.

(Apparently an ad lib – this cast can be subtly funny and I enjoy it a lot)

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Supernatural’s Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki Reunite On The Walker Set for ‘No Such Thing As Fair Play’

Last Thursday was a big day for Supernatural fans who miss seeing “Sam and Dean” on their screens. It marked the first time series star and Executive Producer Jared Padalecki was reunited with his Supernatural brother and costar Jensen Ackles – this time as Director of an episode of his new show, Walker. To say that I was bouncing with anticipation for this episode would be an understatement!

Because this was a special episode, I’ve gathered together some of the behind the scenes interviews and photos and posts here along with my review of the episode itself – I want to remember how much fun it was!

The episode title is ‘No Such Thing As Fair Play,” but the SPNFamily will always think of this episode as “Don’t You Cry No More”, the title that we all saw on director Jensen Ackles’ working copy of the script – our first clue that this was going to be a very special episode for all of us who love Supernatural and now love Walker. (And a big hint that Kansas would play an integral part in this reunion episode)

Katherine Alyse, the writer of the episode who is a bona fide Supernatural fan, explained in a tweet after the episode aired:

Katherine: To atone for the heart break I’ve caused I offer to you a fun fact about why the episode title changed. Using song lyrics for an episode title is actually very expensive. Like eat up your whole music budget expensive. But we all know what the episode title in our heart is.

Yes we do, Katherine.

The episode marked the first time that Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki had been on set working together since Supernatural finished filming over a year and a half ago. While the two didn’t technically have time onscreen together (though both appear in the episode), it was a new kind of collaboration too, with Jared an Executive Producer and Jensen the director.

The anticipation leading up to the episode airing was like the old days of Supernatural fandom, everyone online and constant content coming in every single time I played a little hooky from work to check in on social media. We even got a Walker cast and crew TikTok thanks to Ashley Reyes:

Walker TikTok

There were multiple interviews with Ackles about directing on his friend’s show, which made it clear that he thoroughly enjoyed the experience. He told TV Line that it gave the duo a whole new audience for their fifteen years of jokes.

Jensen: Jared and I kind of laughed about…all the jokes that we repeated for 15 years, they’re now landing on fresh ears – we have a whole new audience! This is amazing!

KSiteTV

Ackles spent his birthday on set with Padalecki, which he said had happened so many times that he’s lost count, and appreciated that Jared had told the cast and crew how much he’d learned from Jensen (and vice versa clearly).

Jensen: I was walking a little taller that day. It was very sweet and so typical of Jared to give some good shoutouts and some honor… He’s that guy.

On working with Padalecki again, he told EW:  It was fun to get back into the shorthand with him with performance notes, with technical notes. I can even use a reference to a movie and he knows that I’m actually giving him a note. There’s nobody else I can do that with. He and I have that, and we’ll always have that. That’s not something that fades away.

There were a few photos leading up to the episode airing, which at one point made up about 99% of my social media feeds. Keegan Allen proved himself one of us with his post of the photo of Jared and Jensen from EW, saying that “It was a joy to see this in person – totally understand the fandom because I am a fan as well.”

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Walker ‘One Good Thing’ Also Finds One That’s Probably Not

Last week’s episode of Walker grabbed my attention from the start and didn’t let it go – in fact, this episode seemed more fast paced than the last, even though that one featured a breakneck pace horse race! I had expected that it would take a while for us to find out who the Davidsons’ lost baby had grown up to be, but this episode actually gave us that reveal. Spoiler alert – it’s Geri!

Most of us had predicted that it was Geri from the various hints given, though the fandom gave me a headache trying to figure out how to make the dates and the math work so that she could have gone to school and grown up with Cordell. I know it’s an unlikely situation, throwing one hell of a monkey wrench into Cordell and Geri’s newly romantic relationship, but I’m okay with unlikely in this show. It’s a trope worthy of fanfic, right up there with the “and there was only one bed” machination, and that’s always a compliment in my book.

The episode opens with a shot of the moving trucks and the ‘W’ coming down from the gates, ouch.

And then Cordi and Geri waking up together, soft and affectionate with each other as they deal with the stress of Bonham’s upcoming bail hearing, packing up the ranch, and giving the ranch hands an explanation for why they’re about to be out of a job.

The fandom was definitely grateful for the double shot of a shirtless Cordell from both angles, thanks to the mirror that captured the very attractive slope of his back…. I mean, the bruising on his shoulder blade from the fall from the horse. Yes, that’s what I meant.

gifs let-me-be-your-home

I’m not super invested in the Cordri ship, but Jared Padalecki and Odette Annable are entirely believable together, small touches of reassurance and a realistic banter that’s half old friend teasing and half romantic flirting. It’s a great combination, and one you don’t see all that often on television.

Cordell’s beating himself up about going back to help Dan and losing the race as a result, but Geri reminds him that to get through a painful time, what you need is a port in a storm – just “one good thing” to think about to get you through. Her father Frank used to do that for her, when they were constantly moving around for her heart treatments – something special would be waiting for her to make the hard days a little less hard. It’s a good coping strategy for when life is throwing way too much at you – something most of us can relate to recently.

The Walker family is understandably struggling, their patriarch facing accusations of murder and about to lose the house that’s been in their family for so long. Liam is still questioning why Bonham buried the lantern, while Cordell is facing the difficult task of trying to thank their ranch hands as they’re facing unemployment. I very much appreciate that the show doesn’t have the ranch hands replying to Cordell’s heartfelt “you’re family, and thank you” with a calmly delivered “you’re welcome” or “we’re behind you 100%”. Instead, we get to see their anger and anxiety too – they had no say in this and yet their lives are being upended. It wasn’t pleasant to watch and I felt really bad for Cordell, but it seemed realistic.

Ranch hand: So what, 25 years and all we get is ‘I’m sorry, grab a handful of peppers outta the patch on your way out?’

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No ‘Common Ground’ on Last Week’s ‘Walker’

Last week’s episode of Walker, ‘Common Ground’, was an intense wild ride (literally) that left fans screaming at their screens and at one point exclaiming something along the lines of “oh shit”. That was me anyway!

I had a slightly different reaction to the episode than many people did, I think. Walker can sometimes be a little heavy handed with its good guys v bad guys, or at least it can seem that way, but in this case they’ve done an interesting job with the Davidsons in not being black and white. I really appreciate that about this show, and I do NOT want it to change, but it got in the way of my unfettered cheering Cordell on in the big race too.

The Davidsons are not your stereotypical villains who have nefarious plans to take over the world or poison the water supply or something. They are very human, and they’ve experienced some nearly unimaginable losses. Gale is scary because she seems like she’s capable of just about anything, including manipulating her own family members (though she clearly has her own trauma history impacting those manipulations). Denise has been more sympathetic, especially prior to this episode. We’ve seen Denise through Cordell’s eyes as who she was as a teenager and someone he cared about a lot. She’s being manipulated by her mother away from the more reasonable courses of action that she seems drawn to herself again and again, and it’s working like a charm, but she lost her dad in a tragic way, her marriage is on the rocks, and I can’t help but feel bad for her. Same with Colton, who we were introduced to in a sympathetic light. He’s the new kid, longing to fit on, longing for a home and for a family who can stay together and give him a sense of stability. Yes, I know, cutting a saddle strap ain’t okay in any way, shape or form if indeed Colton is the one who did that (I’m really hoping he didn’t), but I still feel bad for him as he fears the little bit of stability he finally has is falling apart.

When Stella confronts Colton and demands to know why he outed Augie to Denise, Colton responds with “I’m sorry, what?” Does he even realize what he was doing when he confided in Gale of all people? Again, master manipulator.

He seems to eventually buy into the feud all the adults are insisting is “just the way things are”, but he reiterates again that all he wanted was a home. He knows his parents aren’t happy and he’s in danger of literally losing any semblance of home he might have had. He’s feeling hurt and angry that Stella has rejected him but still, at the eleventh hour, he tries to tell his dad that he doesn’t want to take the Walker’s home. That’s a more mature response than most of the adults are having, Walkers included!

I even feel a bit bad for Dan – he’s a fuck up, has clearly had a history of being a fuck up – but he loves his son and is desperate to stay close to him by winning their family back the disputed land (and the Walker’s land too because…revenge, I guess?). There’s nothing more dangerous than someone with nothing left to lose, and that’s Dan. When his son said there was nothing left to fight for because he’d lose the home he wanted so badly, I knew Dan would do just about anything to make that not happen. Which is a motivation I can relate to – doing anything for your child – even if the revenge part is making Dan do things that are anything but relatable. Also Dave Annable makes Dan confusingly appealing just because Dave is appealing!

The Davidsons are thus not your stereotypical bad guys. They are not the ones ‘in power’, despite Denise being the DA. They’re the ones that lost their family patriarch and their land – and one of their children, because then they didn’t have enough money to take care of her. That’s all pretty tragic – to them, the Walker family must look like a bunch of entitled and privileged winners. The show has hinted that maybe the Walker family wasn’t exactly fair to the Davidsons back then, so some of their resentment is certainly understandable. Loss pulled Cordell into a dark place for a while; it pulled the Davidsons there too, and they never got back out.

So I felt a little out of sync with the rest of the fandom as the epic horse race started. I was rooting for Cordell, especially when he stopped to go back to be sure Dan was okay, but I kind of hated the whole idea of it. Would it really be okay to take ALL of the Davidsons’ land from them? Their home? Everything? Wouldn’t it compound what they already lost perhaps unfairly and the tragedy of the barn fire? Both Liam and Cordell have struggled with that ethical question, and I was still struggling when everyone got on board with the insane plan of deciding it all on a horse race.

Lots of emotional decision making going on all over the place in this episode! Rational, what’s that?  Everyone should listen to Liam a lot more, since he’s sometimes the only person hanging onto a thread of rationality in the face of very strong emotional reactions.

I felt really bad for Cordell at times too. He’s tried so hard to give the Davidsons the benefit of the doubt and not see this as a war, and I know some viewers were fed up with that and ready to just buy into the Davidsons-are-evil-take-their-home-away solution, but I appreciated Cordell’s reluctance to do that. He started out the episode finally watching the news report from back in 1995 when the barn burned, Gale insisting that it wasn’t an accident and blaming “the kid next door”.

She insists that Marv was the self sacrificing type and that he ran into the burning building to save the kids (Cordell and Denise). She even says right out, “Cordell Walker murdered my husband”, which seems like something that should not have been broadcast since Cordell was a minor at the time. Where is this news report and why is it still accessible on the internet?

I wonder why there wasn’t more of an investigation at the time if she really thought that? (I also continue to wonder how they missed the lantern that was just lying around the burnt barn).  Poor Cordell, having to see that, even as an adult. We know he still feels guilty about that night and doesn’t know for sure what happened, so that must have been excruciating to watch. Protect your mental health, dude! He also feels bad about “the last time the Davidsons had to move”, a reference to the fact that the Walkers might not have done right by the Davidsons back then. I can’t forget those sort of things that the show intentionally put out there, so I was glad it was acknowledged again at least initially.

At this point it’s still on the table to make a deal that’s at least somewhat equitable with the Davidsons even if the race happens, though that seems to go by the wayside by the end of the episode. Also, Liam is the voice of reason repeatedly, noting how crazy it is to decide something like this with a horse race. Ya think??

Liam is the only one who wants to cut a deal BEFORE the race (trying to cut a deal with Dan for 20 acres of Walker land so they can find some common ground). Cordell doesn’t agree though, eventually buying into the macho BS I like to think he’s mostly walked away from, saying he doesn’t want the Davidsons to think they’re afraid of a challenge. That’s a crappy reason to go ahead with this, Cordell, just saying. (Though he does, at this point, say the race is on but they don’t have to start a war. That’s a good sentiment, but I’m not sure that either family can be expected to be ‘okay’ with losing ALL their land. The stakes are too damn high here.)

I also felt bad for Cordell as he tries to practice riding on Chopper, a gorgeous horse who seems pretty high strung, with his dad as his “Coach”. (He gets way too into the part, even donning a hat that says ‘Coach’. Over the top, Bonham!).

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