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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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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Last Week’s ‘Walker’ Explores All Sorts of “Boundaries”

Last week’s episode of Walker was unusual in some ways, taking us into new territory and exploring all sorts of ‘boundaries’. The episode opens on the morning after, Cordell and Geri waking up together and awkwardly trying to figure out what the boundaries are on their newly physical and romantic relationship. There’s a deliberate shot of Cordell’s wedding ring on the bedside table, reminding us that he’s still got some ambivalence about moving on from Emily – perhaps especially with her best friend.

Odette Annable and Jared Padalecki were both believable in portraying the characters’ clear affection but also the anxiety of not knowing exactly where you stand in a new relationship, especially one that’s long standing but as friends, not lovers. Especially when the shift happened as abruptly as it did, after a season and a half of slowest burn ever. There’s a reason the ‘friends to lovers’ trope is so popular, because it’s all kinds of adorable to watch these two negotiate where they go from here, even coming up with a safe word to let each other know if one goes too far too fast.

It’s ‘Dolly,’ not as in Parton but as in that cloned sheep – something that was happening in the news when Geri came to town and reminds them both of their shared past. Geri and Cordi bonded over mutual geeking out, and who doesn’t love that?

It also seemed to be a deliberate reminder that Geri did indeed “come to town” at one point – which everyone is guessing might mean that Geri is the long lost presumed dead Davidson baby who we find out about at the end. Now won’t that be awkward!

I love that Walker a) knows its audience and b) goes out of its way to be respectful of all its women characters, because Padalecki is the one who’s not dressed while Geri is in a tee shirt.

The fandom was mostly happy about that, and Geri’s reluctance to make anything ‘official’ after getting carried away with passion the night before made sense to me. She’s a little hesitant, feeling vulnerable, and needing to cover up both physically and emotionally. Cordell was much less ambivalent, but isn’t that often the way it goes? A mismatch (even temporarily)  is painful but common.

Also those screencaps are just really pretty, aren’t they?

Both Geri and Cordi struggle a bit throughout the episode with figuring out where their boundaries should be, especially when it comes to their friends and Cordell’s kids knowing about their new relationship status. Cordell very awkwardly comes back home in the morning, his dad and brother immediately teasing him for his ‘walk of shame’ and Stella just glaring.

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Walker Delivers More Than One ‘Sucker Punch’

The Walker fandom – and the Supernatural fandom – got some good news yesterday, with the pilot pickup of a prequel called ‘Walker: Independence’ and a Supernatural prequel called ‘The Winchesters’. Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles both took to social media to celebrate and to congratulate each other on their respective new projects. For fans of the original Walker, who are eagerly awaiting news of its third season, knowing the Walker  universe is about to expand was a welcome bit of news.

Walker will be taking a mini hiatus until the end of February, so there was a lot of anticipation for last week’s episode to hold fans over for that drought. It was a hard hitting episode in several ways, aptly titled ‘Sucker Punch’ – which is exactly what happened to a lot of the characters.  Directed by frequent Supernatural director Amyn Kaderali, there were some beautiful and powerful shots that brought the force of those punches home.

The episode picks up shortly after the last one ended, Captain James returning to HQ after recovering from his gunshot wounds. Liam is there because he gave him a ride, and Trey is too just because (because their bromance is in full swing, obviously, complete with welcome back fist bump).

Walker, however, is not there – instead he’s the first to get sucker punched at Serano’s bail hearing. Despite Denises’ argument against it, the judge grants Serano bail at only $50,000. Serano smirks; Walker grimaces.

On the way out, Serano can’t resist the opportunity to gloat. Denise reminds Cordell that the case has to stay on the up and up and asks for his promise not to try something like Liam did.

Walker: If Micki taught me anything, it’s that the ends don’t justify the means.

I like that the show is keeping Micki alive by showing us that the characters have not forgotten her – far from it. Cordell promises he’ll go completely by the book and refuses to get rattled by Serano getting in his face and asking, with a thinly veiled threat, “how’s the family?”  Walker really did learn a lot from Micki, and he’s evolved and grown in the length of time we’ve known him. He doesn’t rise to the bait, though he does engage in the power play with a thinly veiled threat of his own.

Walker: Hey Serano, now I‘m watching YOU.

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Walker Delivers an Emotional Goodbye Episode for Lindsey Morgan

The holiday themed episode of Walker, aptly titled ‘Douglas Fir’, has an interesting start – which in my book is a good thing. A Texas-sounding version of Jingle Bells plays as a big red bow blows down the street like a tumbleweed, shifting to a guy eating a candy cane driving along the road listening to that song on the radio.

I loved these shots in the beginning, with the Christmas music accompaniment. Beautiful and creative cinematography.

It then shifts into more stereotypical Walker territory as some bad guys hold up the public safety truck (wearing truly creepy reindeer masks and carrying big guns). They beat him rather brutally (hard to watch) and then try to break into the van with a blow torch.

That was a suitably offbeat beginning for an episode that turned out to be very emotional, in a different way, for both its cast and its fans.

That’s because this was the last episode for Lindsey Morgan (Micki), who leaves the show for personal and self-care reasons, with the full support of the rest of the cast and production. As a fan of the show and the character, I will definitely miss her, but this episode handled her departure with compassion by bringing some of the real life themes and emotions right into the canon of the show.

It’s also the holiday episode, so the next scene finds the Walker kids bringing in a sort of Charlie Brown Christmas tree, right down to the criss cross wood stand it’s nailed onto. Augie’s shoulder is still hurting but he doesn’t want to own up to how it happened. Enter Cordell – Jared Padalecki looking seriously adorable in an elf hat and being all in the holiday spirit. Bonham is decidedly not in the holiday spirit, unfortunately – and not on board with the Charlie Brown tree though I think it’s kinda cute.

The Walker bros reminisce about 90s Christmases past, which unfortunately also includes some bad memories with the Davidsons, a theme that’s hard for the Walkers to get away from. Cordell is still not wanting a war and Liam agrees to be civil.

Cordell: We’re good?

Liam: Yeah man, we’re good.

Of course in TV show land, that usually means we are not going to be good for long…

Enter Denise, who shares a lot of those holiday memories with the Walkers but isn’t in the holiday spirit, especially now that the transport van was hijacked.  Denise asks Liam to go with Cordell to check it out since the locals will clam up when they see her in her old stomping grounds.

Meanwhile, Micki and Trey try to talk it out about Garrison, so she doesn’t answer Walker’s phone call. She apologizes for not telling Trey sooner and tries to explain, being truthful about Garrison being her ex-fiance. Trey’s hurt, understandably, because she lied – especially about something so big, not just an ex boyfriend but Micki being engaged. Her explanation for how he ‘slipped right out of my hands’ is so vague I’m not sure Trey even understands that it is literal and not a metaphor, but it seems like they have a chance to work things out now that she’s come clean.

Micki: Are we okay?

Trey: Cmon, it’s us, it’s Tricki…

(I kinda love that they’ve incorporated the fannish ship name into the show). But the directorial choice to position the painting between them speaks volumes.

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