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!

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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.

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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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The Trickster Messes With Sam and Dean for the First Time in Season 2’s ‘Tall Tales’

Tall Tales is one of those episodes that felt like FUN, despite some typical Supernatural monstrous happenings and, of course, people dying. But still, FUN. It was also a great episode to showcase Sam and Dean’s relationship as brothers. For better or worse! And, of course, it introduced us to Richard Speight, Jr. as the Trickster.

The ‘Then’ segment reminds us that Sam and Dean have pranked each other in the past, as brothers do, from Nair in the hair to Dean’s hand stuck to his beer bottle, Sam and Dean taunting each other with “That’s all you got?” and “Bring it on, Baldy!”  And lots of calling each other ‘bitch’ and ‘jerk’ which at this point (rewatching the series after it has ended), just makes me tear up because we know now exactly what those words mean when the Winchesters say them to each other.

Sigh. I miss my Show.

This episode opens with a professor walking to his office building at night, encountering an attractive young woman hanging out waiting for him, inexplicably dressed in a little sundress even though it’s cold and other people have jackets on.

She shows off her legs and he doesn’t notice, and he initially does try to get her to come back during office hours. He’s reluctant to respond to her flirty advances and hero worship until she finally says okay, I should go, and turns to leave. Then he changes his tune, saying he understands what she’s feeling. He shows his true narcissist colors by saying it’s natural, since he’s “somewhat of a celeb around here”. I had to cringe on behalf of professors everywhere when he said that. Nice touch of what his latest book is about though.

He kisses her even as he says it would be wrong for him to take advantage of her, and then… her face starts to disintegrate. Because this is Supernatural. He recoils in horror.

Zombie woman: What, you don’t like me anymore?

Outside the building, a janitor played by Richard Speight, Jr. watches as the professor’s body falls from the window high above, head splattered on the stones in a pool of blood.

Of course at the time that was not newsworthy (the janitor, that is). But now, on rewatch, we all squealed because Richard has joined Supernatural! He will become an integral part of the SPNFamily over the next 15 going on forever years.

ONE WEEK LATER

Sam is researching, as a Joe Walsh song plays on the radio. He’s clearly annoyed at his brother, who’s munching on something on Sam’s bed.

Sam: Dude, you mind not eating those on MY bed?

Dean (as he stuffs more in his mouth and licks his fingers enthusiastically): No, I don’t mind.

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Boys. I love how Supernatural always gets it so right. They are such brothers.

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What Happens In Vegas – Creation Supernatural Con 2022!

The Creation Supernatural convention’s return to Las Vegas this month was extra emotional for me. Vegas was the last convention that happened before the pandemic became a pandemic, which means it was the last convention of the Before Times. This year, I was once again with my friends who were there with me at Vegas 2020 as we all started to wonder what the hell was happening and clung to each other bolstering our courage to fly back home after a last round of pina coladas and uncertain goodbyes. I remember hugging my friends that night, not knowing it would be a very long time before I saw them again, and then flying home as the world changed around me.

I don’t think the Before Times will ever return in the same way – the world has changed now, in so many ways – so that Vegas 2020 con will always be a symbol of how the world was pre Covid. Despite the fact that things aren’t the same, though, it felt incredibly good to be BACK. To have Jared and Jensen and Misha and everyone else who made the pilgrimage back to where we left off two years ago on stage once again. It felt healing, even if it wasn’t exactly the same – and it felt hopeful, which I desperately need right now.

I have no choice but to be extremely Covid cautious, and all my friends were incredibly lovely and considerate as we ate in our hotel rooms instead of the restaurants we usually frequent and avoided the actual casino (okay, I do that part every time I’m in Vegas…). Creation has done a great job of making the conventions themselves feel safe enough even for me, and I’m very grateful for that also. In 2020, the new book with chapters by the show’s actors and fans that I had put together to celebrate the legacy of the show, There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done, was not yet released. In fact, it was at the printing press as Vegas 2020 happened, with me on the phone frantically trying to coordinate some last minute changes (I see you laughing, Alana King…). I was thrilled to be able to bring the book to Vegas con this year and share the inspiring messages the actors put together about why Supernatural and the SPNFamily made such a difference to them – and will always be with us.

Vegas con, like all cons, reminded me of the good in the world – and in the fandom. My friends got there early and set up the vendor table for me, Betty working her magic on setting up those banners and convincing me to finally use Venmo and Sue getting everything so organized that we even had printed signs for the table! The con was a reunion with so many fellow fans who I hadn’t seen in way too long, so the weekend was a constant OMG it’s so good to see you fest too. Like the best shot of endorphins all weekend long – and add to that a reunion of sorts with some of my favorite people who made that little show I love so much.

Here are a few highlights from the panels that I caught – work ensured that I missed the entire first day and part of the second, unfortunately. Boo on having to work for a living.

It was wonderful to see Felicia Day again – Charlie is so many fans’ favorite character. In fact, there are multiple chapters in There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done written by fans whose lives were touched by the character of Charlie in such a positive and powerful way.  I love her sense of humor and her ability to tell a story.

Felicia: When I got the call that Charlie was going to die, I thought OMG my performance was so bad that they wrote me off the show!

She understands that many of us take issue with the way Charlie died, but she also has an enduring appreciation and gratitude for Supernatural and all it brought her.

Felicia: Charlie could have fit through that window, just saying…. But it’s all okay, because even when you’re dead on Supernatural, you’re always part of the family. I would have loved to be on more, but making television is hard and I’m not gonna second guess the people who make this show and loved this show.

She’s excited about the prequel The Winchesters as a fan of Supernatural, especially because Robbie Thompson is showrunner – and of course also created the character of Charlie. She does wish that OG Charlie could have had a story line with Cas though – that would have been fun!

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