Walker Brings the Heartbreak with ‘A Tale of Two Families’

Last week’s Walker episode (‘A Tale of Two Families’) was hard to watch at times. That’s not a criticism though – the show has explored grief since its start, and the reason I appreciate that exploration is because it’s done well enough to feel real. This episode, thanks to some stellar acting by Jared Padalecki especially, felt very real. And that was hard to watch.

There were a few scenes that were hard to watch for a different reason that wasn’t quite as welcome, but mostly I came to the end of the episode feeling gobsmacked but like that’s exactly how I was supposed to feel.

The episode was a little more innovative than the show has been so far, starting out with a beginning sequence that picks up where the last episode left off, Walker and Stella returning to the ranch. We see in little flashes a sequence play out of Clint and Trevor driving up, Clint holding a gun on Cordell as Stella screams ‘Dad!’. Liam runs out of the house to help, Cordell yells ‘Liam!’ – and Clint shoots him!

 

 

That was quite a beginning!

We then get a flashback to 13 months ago, to the day that kicked off the trauma and loss we’ve seen the characters struggle with ever since. Emily loads up her car with bottles of water to take to the border. Augie asks if he can use her camera and she says she was hoping he’d pick it up – and we immediately realize why he’s followed up on that hope. It was one of the last things she said to her son, and the last wish she expressed for him.

Augie: What should I take a picture of?

Emily: (striking a pose): Something to remember me by!

Of course she has no idea how poignant and prophetic her words are going to be.

Emily also kicks a ball around with Stella (Gen Padalecki putting her real life sports skills to good use), asking her if she’s sure about playing basketball since she’s so good at soccer. Stella, too, has tried to follow her mother’s last expressed wishes by doing just that.

Emily and Cordell talk on the phone and she reminds him of game night and they trade ‘I love you’ ‘I love you more,”

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Supernatural Rewatch – Something Wicked (And Heartbreaking)

This episode, number 18 in the show’s first season, takes place in Fitchburg Wisconsin, which is now familiar to me not because I’ve ever been there or am likely to ever go there, but because this is a pivotal – and painful – episode.

We start out with a child saying their prayers, the dad tucking the little girl in with an affectionate “goodnight, monkey puss.”  The little girl asks if her mommy is coming home and the dad says no, she’s at the hospital – with her sister. The dad leaves and turns out the light, and from the little girl’s perspective as she looks around her room, it’s like every time you’ve ever woken up at night in the dark and heard odd noises and your imagination has run away with you.

Sometimes this show does the scary and the horror so damn well, showing you just enough and not too much.

The wind howls, blowing at the window, lashing shadows of tree limbs against the glass as the little girl watches, frightened. She leaps out of bed and throws the curtains closed, but they’re transparent unfortunately. The tree branches almost look like hands as they creep along the glass…and then we see one branch actually IS a hand! It’s incredibly creepy and scary as it opens the latch on the window and the wind chimes in the bedroom rattle in the breeze. A shadow looms over the bed as the little girl hides under the covers. She screams, and the shadowy thing opens its gaping mouth…

Rock music plays as the Impala races down the road, and I remember in these early episodes, I’d just sit and grin every week when “the boys were back.”

Sam and Dean  disagreeing about their dad like they often do – John threw a wedge between them again and again just by being John and raising them differently.

Dean: Are you sure you got the coordinates right? Dad wouldn’t have sent us coordinates if it wasn’t important, Sammy. Maybe he’s gonna meet us there.

Sam: Yeah, because he’s been so easy to find.

Dean: You’re a real smartass – I’m sure there’s something there worth killing.

When Sam continues to protest, Dean insists that he’s making the decision.

Sam: Why?

Dean: Because I’m the oldest, that’s why!

He smirks, unseen by Sam, but we all can see that he’s well aware of what he’s doing and that it’s not really valid. As much as Dean knows he’s the older brother and puts stock in that, he always respected Sam’s intellect and skills. And Sam’s little smile shows he kinda knows that too.

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Walker Episode 11 – The Price of “Freedom”

The CW’s ‘Walker’ aired a dramatic new episode last week, and ushered in some big changes that will continue to play out for the second part of the season. The episode is titled “Freedom” and in a sense, that’s what many of the characters got – sometimes in a way they absolutely did not want.

They also gave us Jared Padalecki in a white tee shirt and Jeff Pierre without any shirt at all, which is just a comment on the aesthetic beauty of this show like I comment on every week, honest.

An Awkward Welcome Home

The episode begins with Hoyt’s welcome home party at the Side Step, Cordell and Augie getting the place ready while Micki and Trey keep watch in the parking lot so they can surprise him.

Augie is making welcome home videos for Hoyt, attempting to tape his father’s message while Cordell is busy trying to figure out what to text Geri. He keeps typing and then deleting, increasingly anxious. The other video messages to Hoyt are heartfelt, including a clearly joyous Abeline and Geri saying that Hoyt deserves good things, which just makes Cordell feel more guilty and conflicted. When he finally tries to record his message it’s incredibly awkward, starting out calling Hoyt “my best friend, a brother to me” and continuing to something about him sparking joy in Walker’s life. He gives up in exasperation.

I’ve said it before – about Sam Winchester as well as Cordell Walker – but Jared Padalecki can pull off the comedic aspects of his characters so well. I appreciate that in a show that can be either suspenseful or angsty, as this one can.

Micki and Trey wait in the car for Hoyt and Geri to get there, Trey putting on her hat and teasing about how good it looks on him (it does). Micki reassures him that his TBI struggles haven’t made him unreliable or changed how she feels about him, reminding him that he can rely on her for a change.

Micki: You are the most reliable person in my life

Trey (grinning) Relationship achievement unlocked!

I like that they’re continuing to follow Trey’s TBI (traumatic brain injury) story line instead of magically wrapping it up too quickly.

Geri and Hoyt pull up, him assuring her that he’s “going legit” because she deserves more, and her clearly avoiding him, turning away and putting on lipstick before she goes inside. He senses something is wrong.

Hoyt: You got someone you’re trying to impress here?

As they walk in, he asks her again, did he do something? (Other than being incarcerated?)

She says no and he believes it (because he clearly wants to, and that’s what we all do when we just desperately want to believe something is true).

Cordell sneaks up behind them and knocks Hoyt’s hat off, then tackles him to the ground, saying it’s payback (for that scene we saw in one of the first episodes).  They laugh, because wrestling is clearly a thing for them (ala the Winchesters), and then they hug (also ala the Winchesters).

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Relationship Complications and Renovations in Walker’s 10th Episode ‘Encore’

The tenth episode of the CW’s ‘Walker’ starts with Jared Padalecki (Cordell Walker, that is) looking right into the camera, which was unexpected – and I almost always like unexpected. I thought for a second he was about to break the fourth wall, but instead he asks,”Ready to get to work?”

(I may have answered “yes!” out loud before I even understood the question, because … Jared Padalecki!)

Walker puts on his safety glasses and he and the kids and Liam and Bonham start breaking down walls and hammering and sawing things.

The renovation of the Side Step has begun.

Bonham opens a can of strategically featured Benjamin Moore paint while music plays and Cordell looks at him skeptically.

Bonham: Are you questioning my palate? (pallette?)

Damn it, are we talking taste or color range here?

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Celebrating Radio Company Vol 2 – Steve Carlson and Jensen Ackles Part 2!

We left off in Part I of our look back at the history of Steve Carlson and Jensen Ackles’ friendship and musical collaboration somewhere around 2009. We saw Steve play a few times in between – once at a con in New Jersey, if I’m remembering correctly, where I actually took a picture for a change!

In 2011, Jensen and Steve did a little jam session that was one of the highlights of the Nashville convention. Jensen was still clearly nervous about playing and singing in front of people (but not as nervous as he was for his first jam with Jason Manns). Here are a few of my recollections about that first ‘public’ performance of Steve and Jensen:

Steve shared more backstory to how the two friends ended up playing together, and even doing some recording. Whenever they were both in town they’d get together at Steve’s house and the guitars would come out. Apparently wherever Steve is living, something gets turned into a makeshift studio – when Jensen and Steve lived together, it was the hall closet, wired up and soundproofed with foam, and probably looking very …. Interesting. In Steve’s place before that, it was the garden shed, similarly outfitted but alas, sans air conditioning. Steve would lure friends out to record there and they’d emerge sweat-soaked and bedraggled, asking plaintively, “was that okay?” (And hoping it was so they could come out of the garden shed!)

Photos Lizz Sisson

I remember they played a really haunting version of “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” full of emotion – if I heard that one now it would be even more emotional, post Supernatural finale. They also played the first song that Jensen had learned to play, “If I Had a Million”, which they actually recorded at one time with Steve on mandolin, but there’s some backstory there so they swear no one will ever hear it.

Steve and Jensen also played “Bad Company,” one of my favorite songs. Jensen said that the crew had asked The Impalas (the cast and crew band) to learn that one because it was so perfect for the show – “I was born, six gun in my hand…”   He should totally sing that again one day.

Stage It

I also remember that Jensen asked the fans to excuse the mistakes. And then didn’t make any.

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