‘Tracks’ Is an Explosive New Episode of Walker

Last week’s episode of Walker, titled “Tracks”, was written by the same duo who penned the previous excellent episode, Casey Fisher & Paula Sabbaga, and directed by Bola Ogun. Both the writers and the director delivered an episode with heart and more of those twists and turns that this show is perhaps becoming known for. Because so much happened in each of the storylines, I’ll try to break this up and follow each subplot. First up, Cordell and Micki and their deepening partnership (and their ongoing family relationship challenges).

Walker and Micki and Micki’s Mom: Love, Protection and Partnership

Cordell seems to be finally settling into being a dad to his kids, Augie cooking breakfast and Walker taking the time to tease both his teenage children (Stella and her dad imitating each other was adorable – I’ve said it before but it bears repeating, Jared Padalecki is talented at comedy).

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Totally shallow gif of Walker’s back as he heads to the kitchen for breakfast with the kids. Sorry not sorry.

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His skepticism about his kids’ romantic interests seems on point, including being skeptical about Ruby as the one who told Augie to crash the undercover operation. (I’m glad that isn’t being forgotten, because that was not a smart thing to do for a teenager who should have known better.)  Stella is more concerned with texting Trevor and scheming to get him to come along on the soccer trip, diverting her dad with suggestions that they talk about something simpler — like gun control or his hearing. Touche, Stella.

Walker manages to burn his hand on the hot skillet (he’s a bit accident prone for a Ranger, but it humanizes the character so I don’t really mind). When he stops by Micki’s, Trey notices the bandage.

Trey: You hurt your hand again? You’re a little too committed to that bit…

I love the dynamic between these two.

Trey heads out to chaperone the soccer trip and Walker realizes that Micki is reeling, worried about her mother because a DWI hit and run doesn’t add up for Adriana, who Micki points out doesn’t even drink and whose “MO is accountability.” Micki hypothesizes that maybe her mom was falsely accused because she was “a Mexican American driving a fancy car”. I like how the show continues to put those possibilities out there, and that we see Micki’s resentment.

Walker and Micki’s partnership really solidifies in this episode. Walker offers to come with her to bail out Adriana (Alex Meneses), making it an official case, and Capt. James says take all the time you need. (Because James and Liam are headed to Mexico to investigate Geri’s disappearance and the art gallery where the money ended up. They’re both feeling terrible about lying to Walker.)

To Micki’s shock, her mother is not exactly relieved that her daughter bailed her out, saying that she shouldn’t have done that and that she’ll “take care of this myself.”

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Walker Can’t Side Step His Emotions in ‘Bar None’

So much happened in this week’s episode of Walker, “Bar None,” that it feels impossible to recap it all. So instead, I’ll try to trace the twists and turns that the main characters – and the plot – took in 42 jam-packed minutes of television.

The main evolution belongs to Cordell himself, and it’s an evolution I’m enjoying tremendously.  He starts out the episode defensive about the accusations of use of excessive force against him and the upcoming evaluation he’s set to undergo. He’s still falling back on the rationalization that the guy he attacked provoked it, as well as the privileged assurance that “everyone knows” that judges protect “the white hat”. He shrugs off the systemic bias with a “that’s how the system is” comment.  This is all familiar from discussions we’ve all been having in the real world about qualified immunity and racism, but it’s powerful to see the white male law enforcement lead embody the problems we’re actually facing – and over the course of the episode, not only evolve and adopt a different perspective but also challenge some toxic masculinity tropes along the way.

I think a lot of people are surprised that ‘Walker’ is doing what it said it would, and isn’t afraid to go there. Showrunner Anna Fricke and Jared Padalecki have both said this is what they intended, but the show actually making it happen is satisfying to watch.

The other evolution we see in Cordell is his slow and painful progress in accepting Emily’s death and feeling the conflicting emotions that loss has brought. His struggle plays out against the metaphor of the Side Step itself, Emily’s favorite place that holds so many of Cordell’s fond memories of her. Walker stayed away from it and his family and friends to avoid those painful memories, as many of us are tempted to do when a loss feels overwhelming. At this point, the structure is failing, the foundation unsteady and unable to be an effective support – just like Walker’s coping strategies. He’s just not ready, at the start of the episode, to see it.

In the opening scene, Walker makes a flippant toast to a stuffed boar head on the wall of the Side Step, which takes us on a flashback to six years ago and Emily (Gen Padalecki) gifting him the boar’s head as the world’s strangest birthday present.

Hoyt (Matt Barr) in the past: Denise the deer.

Cordell (deadpan): It’s a boar.

You get the feeling Emily really was a bit crazy – and also that was something Cordell loved about her. I’m not a big fan of stuffed animal heads, let alone on walls, so this was not my favorite part of the episode, but I have to give the show points for being a little quirky. Quirky is good.

In the present, at the Side Step, Geri (Odette Annable) gives Cordell his mail, including the life insurance check from Emily’s death. They all realize it’s been a year, but Walker is determined to ignore that significance, although Stella and August want to honor their mother by doing her favorite thing – going camping. Cordell is planning to do it, for them, but refuses to acknowledge the emotional impact the anniversary is having on him.

Walker: It’s just a normal day, no different than any other day.

Denise the boar’s head: Falls off the wall.

Walker: Denise! You just had to make this about you…

The metaphors in this show are a tad on the nose, but Jared’s delivery of that line was so funny, I laughed out loud.

Geri informs Walker that she’s selling the bar, that she’s had a million offers from developers and it needs more work than she can do. He protests, but she says “it’s time.”  Selling the bar equals moving on for Geri too. She’s ready, but Cordell is not.

Despite Walker’s insistence that it’s just another day, his level of upset at the thought of the bar being sold is a pretty good indication that he’s far from chill about it. Anniversaries of loss are always difficult. One of the things I’ve learned as a therapist is that sometimes we’re not even consciously aware that it’s a loss anniversary, yet we feel the impact anyway. Feeling raw emotionally is sometimes a clue that it’s the anniversary of losing someone or something, because we’re unconsciously aware of that loss. Walker goes so far as to declare the place a crime scene to get rid of a developer interested in buying it. Geri is pissed, accusing him of being in denial – and not just about the bar. She says she needs a fresh start, implying that maybe he does too.

Walker won’t hear it though. He insists he’ll fix up the place himself.

The metaphor holds, Walker wanting to throw his time and energy into constructing even sturdier walls against the awareness of his loss, telling himself that he can do that and have them hold a while longer. Maybe forever. Geri is skeptical.

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Get To Know Micki’s Mom – Alex Meneses Joins Walker!

Tomorrow night we get to meet Micki Ramirez’ (Lindsey Morgan) mom, Adriana, on the new CW show, Walker. If you’re reading my episode reviews of Walker, you know that I’m really enjoying the complicated characters the show has introduced and the genuine struggles they’re all going through. So I was excited to have a chance to chat with Alex Meneses, who will portray Adriana, alongside Lindsey Morgan and Jared Padalecki, when the show returns on March 11. Now that I’ve learned more about Adriana (and about Alex), I’m even more excited to see where this show is headed.

Here’s my chat with Alex from a few weeks ago. She shared some insights about Adriana, avoiding Jared pranks, and the considerable acting and life experience she brings to the role – as we get ready to meet Adriana!

Lynn: It’s so nice to meet you, I’m really enjoying Walker.

Alex: I know, isn’t it good?

Lynn: I was rooting for the show because it’s Jared Padalecki – he has chapters in two of my recent books. The chapter he wrote in Family Don’t End With Blood is like a 30 page autobiography, very personal and powerful, so I admire him a lot, but you never know with a new show whether it will be good or not.

Alex: It is good. He’s put his heart and soul into this show, and it shows. As you know, he’s a wonderful person. I’m crazy about him and his whole family.

Lynn: Absolutely. You’re playing Adriana, Micki Ramirez’ mother. What is your favorite thing about the part and what have you enjoyed the most about filming for the show so far?

On the Walker set (tweet @RealAlexMeneses)

Alex: I love Adriana. I love the fact that she is a woman of color, a Latina, and she’s a psychologist. She’s an educated woman, not just a Latina mommy who’s crying and cooking all the time. Which sounds fine – that’s who I am basically at home – but it’s really fun to play someone who’s taken a path in their life that might not have been easy for her or her family and accomplished something. I’ve enjoyed it so much. The cast and the crew, I have to tell you, you’re gonna love writing about this show, because they are wonderful. They’re so nice, and Austin is fabulous, I love it.

Lynn: Me too, it’s wonderful.

Alex: It’s like a big town. The neighborhoods have been here for a long time. There are so many places that are wooded, and nature is respected there. The people are very friendly too. When you’re spending a lot of time in a place, it’s much easier and such a delight when they – my new Walker family – are nice. I’ve been in this business for a very long time, and that’s not always the case.

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Lynn: I’m looking forward to learning more about the relationship between Adriana and Micki. At first I read the description of Adriana and thought ‘oh she’s like me!’ – I’m a “psychologist and published author” too – but then I read “manipulative and invasive in her daughter’s life” and decided NO since I also have a daughter in real life and I try not to be either of those things! Have you been able to find things to relate to in the character as a mother yourself?

Alex: (laughing) I was reading your question and started laughing when you’re like oh, like me… wait, manipulative and invasive?!

Lynn: Then I was like, nope!

Alex: Well, Adriana is, but when you say manipulative, when it comes to someone that’s very close to you like a son or daughter, a husband or wife even, it’s hard to see it, I think. I think Adriana has a difficult time seeing that she’s being manipulative. And anything she does for Micki is out of complete and utter love. Adriana desperately loves Micki, and you’ll find out why in the coming episodes. Of course because she’s her daughter, but it’s more complicated than that. She has had to protect Micki from things that happened earlier in their lives. She loves her daughter and she’s devoted her life’s path to being a better person for Micki. That’s how I see it, that she needed things to be in order because their early life was so out of order.

Lynn: That makes sense. One of the things I really like about the show, as a psychologist, is that they do a great job of going deep into all the characters, and not just the leads. I feel like my episode reviews are always a deep dive into what’s going on with the characters internally and psychologically, and it sounds like there will be a lot to dig into with Adriana and Micki too.

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