I’m on vacation with the family for the next few weeks, so this will be a bit less in depth than my usual recap/reviews of Walker (okay, that kinda did not pan out to be true….) But anyway, that happens to work well for this episode, which comes on the heels of the action-packed thirteenth episode that was originally intended to be the season finale. Everyone is rocked by Hoyt’s sudden death, and that has everyone rethinking their priorities and reevaluating their relationships.
As Bonham puts it, ‘we’re all adrift’. He copes by working on the house. Abeline copes by worrying about everyone and trying to take care of a bunch of adults who probably don’t need as much taking care of as she needs to do. Liam protests that he can take care of himself as he recuperates from the gunshot.
I love the screencap below, Walker contemplating the crime tape and looking at (I think) that hitching post that sort of started them all down this unfortunate path.
And Walker and Geri cope by taking Stella and Augie on a trip.
Walker is mired in guilt over Hoyt’s death and over how impacted his kids have been by all the losses of the last year, blaming himself entirely. Geri also feels guilty; she’s wearing Hoyt’s jacket and has the bar coaster on which he wrote his last will and testament, leaving behind a plot of land. Geri had mentioned to him once that it would be a nice place to settle down, and he apparently took it seriously and bought it.
Geri and Walker decide to take a trip out to see it, taking the kids with them to make a day of it.
Most of my fandom friends and pretty much my entire twitter timeline have been listening to the new Radio Company album on repeat since it dropped last night — shortly after midnight here on the east coast U.S. (Yes, I ended up staying up far too late doing that same thing). I love the new CD so much, and it reminded me of not just how much I love Jensen Ackles’ voice and singing, but how much I also love Steve Carlson and the way the two of them harmonize together – and have for a very long time.
So I thought I’d share some chats I’ve had with Steve over the years about his music and making music with Jensen, as we all enjoy their latest collaboration.
I was introduced to Steve’s music way back in 2007, when my friend and Fangasm co-author Kathy and I fell head over heels in love with Supernatural and Dean Winchester, and impulsively flew to Fort Worth Texas to see Jensen Ackles in a community theater production of A Few Good Men. We met and bonded with other fangirls there, and somehow ended up driving around listening to music in someone’s jeep and singing along – to a song called ‘Wasted Jamie’ by Steve Carlson, with Jensen singing backup vocals. I was hooked on Steve’s music from that memorable day, and also on Jensen’s surprising ability to do yet another thing really well – go figure!
Steve used to come to many of the early Creation Supernatural cons, so we often were treated to a Carlson concert as the precursor of the Saturday Night Special. (Jensen never got onstage to sing with him like he did at Asylum with both Steve and Jason Manns, but oh well). My LA friends often went to hear him play at the Hotel Café, and sometimes we joined them, always a little dismayed we lived on the ‘wrong coast’ so we couldn’t be there more often. One of my favorite Steve concerts was in Vancouver, during one of the very first Creation cons there. Back in the day, we often enjoyed the shows alongside Danneel and Jensen, and pretty much every show was amazing. I am SO hoping Radio Co. starts touring because it’s been too long since I’ve been treated to a live Steve performance!
Last week’s episode of Walker was the most eventful one ever, with many of the emotional story lines laid out in the first seven episodes getting put to the test as that time honored raise-the-stakes moment of television and film takes over – a tornado! As much as a sudden storm and people being caught in it, allowing us to find heroism in the show’s characters, is a common way to bring suspense and danger, somehow being in the middle of a real life pandemic and the very real effects of climate change make it all seem a bit more serious. That worked in the show’s favor, because the sense of danger was palpable. Kudos also to the show’s writer Katherine Alyse and director Stacey K. Black for keeping the pace slow enough to let that sense of danger build, at first from newscasters warning of the coming storm (a warning mostly missed by the characters caught up in their own emotional challenges) and later from the flurry of phone calls back and forth, which seemed a realistic way of depicting what we all would do in that kind of situation.
This was a complex episode, with serious emotional arcs playing out within the context of a natural disaster – the lingering effects of Abeline’s infidelity, Trevor caught between his feelings for Stella and his loyalty to his father, Micki still trying to avoid the reality of Adriana’s revelation by keeping it from Trey, Cordell making his first awkward and tentative steps toward envisioning a new relationship, and a guilt-stricken Liam wanting to come clean to his brother but trying to protect his fiancé and hurting him in the process. Somehow the writer managed to weave those stories in and out of the storm context deftly enough that they all spooled out realistically.
Watching this week was extra fun because Jared Padalecki and some other cast members live tweeted along with the fandom, adding some behind the scenes insights and some priceless dad jokes. For those of us who watched Supernatural for many years, Walker sometimes feels like a fandom reunion, since many Supernatural fans are now watching and interacting around a new shared TV show.
The episode opens, as it often does, with the core family – Walker and his kids. It’s a brief scene but it shows the progress Cordell has made in keeping to his resolve to be a dad to his children, as he makes pancakes and even flips them deftly.
His newfound comfort in that role is contrasted with what Liam is explaining to Micki about how his brother was after Emily’s death.
Liam: You didn’t know him then…constant driving obsession that sucked the life out of every second of his day and consumed him. He was convinced that Carlos didn’t kill Emily. We said that there was no conspiracy. We were wrong.
Liam, as Micki points out, looks like shit. Consumed with guilt and the burden of the secrets he’s been keeping from both his fiancé and his brother – that Carlos isn’t the killer and that the bad guys who probably did kill Emily are now after him and Capt. James. And willing to blow up their car to get to them. He’s avoiding Bret so he can keep up the lie, sleeping in his office, unshaven and hollow eyed. Keegan Allen really made me feel for Liam, his guilt and indecision showing in the way he holds himself, his expression, his physicality as well as his words.
Liam insists he won’t risk putting anyone’s life in danger and is terrified that they could have been followed back to Austin. He does have a confidante in Micki now, though. Her research shows that forensics on the bomb matches Northside Nation’s MO. (I’ll admit that name for the gang makes me want to either roll my eyes or giggle each time someone says it, especially after that weird truck round up of kids playing soccer scene, but it is what it is).
Micki: It was them, Liam. I understand how hard it is, but this isn’t your secret to keep. Walker needs to know. That person is now targeting his brother and his captain.
Liam promises that he’s going to tell Walker the truth, and we can all imagine just how difficult that conversation is going to be – for both of them. And Liam is much too preoccupied with his own stormy relationships to listen to the news warning about the actual storm coming.
The rest of the family misses the warnings too, wrapped up in something much more pleasant – the school dance that Stella and Augie are both going to. Abeline helps Stella get ready, a little scene that touched me with its melancholy (Emily not there) but also its resilience (her grandmother stepping in).
Route 666 is an interesting episode. It’s not a fan favorite, and the whole ‘killer truck’ thing doesn’t entirely work for me. Up until this point in Season 1, Supernatural had pulled off being pretty damn scary, and this episode tries hard with lots of the big truck looming out of the mist, but when it revs its engine and puffs smoke it just ends up looking a little silly.
That said, there’s a lot to appreciate in this episode. It tackles some serious themes that weren’t seen in media that often in 2005, calling out racism overtly and not within some sort of monster metaphor. That was a rare thing in 2005, certainly on the WB. It’s also one of the relatively rare episodes where one of the brothers has a relationship that feels real and understandable. I’ve often said that Jensen Ackles has chemistry with just about everyone and everything, but he definitely did with guest star Megalyn Echikunwoke. I wasn’t really in the fandom in Season 1, so I don’t know what the fan reaction was to Cassie at the time, though I’m guessing the idea of Dean Winchester being ‘taken’ in any way, shape or form was not a welcome idea. I’m also fine with the show concentrating on the brothers, but I really liked the way Cassie and Dean’s relationship was explored in this episode. Once again, it gives us a chance to see Dean’s vulnerability. Faced with the loss of the only other person who had shared and really understood his life when Sam went to college, Dean opened up to Cassie — and was reminded that most people would not understand the kind of life he lives. That must have made being on his own even harder. Knowing how hurt he was by the break-up, it makes his insecurity with Sam once they’re back on the road again even easier to understand.
The open is the scary truck chasing after a car in the dark somewhere in Cape Girardieu, the radio gone staticky. The driver, a black man, skids to a stop and suddenly the truck is right in front of him, ramming into the car, windows shattering, until it drives him right off the road in a fiery crash. The truck pauses for a minute, ‘breathing’ hard through its exhaust pipe, and then drives off.
I think it’s the anthropomorphizing that makes it not work for me – before that part, it was scary, and also disturbing as the guy is killed in a more realistic way than most of the deaths on Supernatural.
Cut to the Winchesters, Dean on the phone and Sam reading a map finding a route to Pennsylvania.
Dean: Problem is, we’re not going to Pennsylvania.
He says he just got a call from an old friend whose father was killed the night before, and that it might be their kind of thing. When Sam questions it, Dean says she never would’ve called if she didn’t need them.
Sam has good instincts already when it comes to his brother.
Sam: And by ‘old friend’ you mean…
Dean: A friend that’s not new.
Sam’s surprised to find out that Dean dated someone for more than one night, and Dean is evasive, uncomfortable with his carefully constructed devil-may-care persona being called into question, with Sam of all people.
Sam quickly figures out that she’s calling them and saying it’s their kind of thing because she knows what their kind of thing is, and then he’s angry.
Sam: How does she know what we do?
Dean doesn’t answer, but that’s answer enough.
SM: You told her. You told her? The secret. Our big family rule no. 1 – We do what we do and we shut up about it. I lied to Jess and you go out for a few weeks with a girl and tell her all about it?
For our final photo retrospective for Supernatural Spring Break week, Kim has put together her thirty favorite photos from Supernatural cons over the years. I have no idea how she was able to do this, because narrowing it down to 30 from so much incredible beauty? I would give up. If you’ve ever stood behind her and looked over her shoulder in a convention hotel room at 2 am and watched while Kim edits her shots and tries to decide which of the hundreds (from one con) to post, then you get what I mean.
Most of the time, my contribution on those late night editing sessions is to periodically distract her by exclaiming OMG GUH!!! when she gets to a particularly gorgeous one. Kim, for some reason, does not appreciate this.
So I’m paying her back by NOT rearranging these photos before this posts. You’re the photographer, Kim, so you get the final say on which of your photos bring you the most joy. I’m just grateful for every single photo you’ve taken, and that you put together the color photo spreads for both Family Don’t End With Blood and There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done. The books would not be nearly as pretty if it wasn’t for your contributions, and the photo and art contributions of other talented fans you coordinated too. (Also you wrote a powerful chapter!)
So here, in order of ability to spark joy, are Kim’s Supernatural cast faves – along with her commentary below and some of mine I couldn’t resist adding. Enjoy!
#30 – Misha at the convention in Jacksonville 2016.
Lynn: And Misha Collin’s blue blue blue eyes too!
#29 – Nashville 2019. I love their riffs.
Lynn: Me too. And their smiles. Jensen Ackles and Rob Benedict aka Robsen definitely sparks joy.
#28 – Louden Swain concert in Austin, Texas, 2020. I’m pretty sure this is “Rock Song.”
Lynn: The Swain show in Austin as 2020 began was one of the last times we got to see them play and be with our fellow SPNFamily. It was a charmed trip in so many ways, and the Swain show on my birthday was the perfect way to celebrate. And, I’m in my feelings already…
#27 – Saturday Night Special, Nashville 2019. She just has so much fun at these concerts, and it shows.
Lynn: Kim Rhodes putting her inner rock star out there at the Saturday Night Specials is one of the best things to come from Supernatural conventions.
#26 – Literally the best emcee Ever. Dallas, 2019.
Lynn: Hands down. I remember Richard Speight, Jr.’s very first con and how his personality came through loud and clear. When Creation had an actor cancel for their next con and were wondering who could replace him, I said they should call that Richard Speight guy (who we’d interviewed for our first book) because he was a natural for the convention stage. They did, and the rest is history. And the conventions became something they might not have without Richard’s guidance and incredible ability to improvise onstage at the drop of a hat.