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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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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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’ Gets a ‘Nudge’ into a New Partnership

Walker’s tenth episode of Season 2, ‘Nudge’, starts out with something we haven’t seen before – Cordell, Liam and Trey out to lunch together. Cordell suggests Liam and Trey moving in together since both are a bit at loose ends right now, gives them a ‘nudge’ so to speak. Though I didn’t think Liam was considered single necessarily – isn’t Bret coming back? Come back, Bret!

Liam and Trey call Cordell out on saying that unlike them, he’s not alone – he’s never alone in a house full of teenagers – but they point out that alone isn’t the same as lonely. He admits it’s been quiet (lonely?) working alone without a partner.

As Walker has to go to work, he leaves Trey and Liam to ponder their future living arrangements.

Cordell: Sorry to ruin your date, but it’s on the house!

Trey: He needs to get a partner…now.

Liam confides in Trey that he’s been looking at land surveys of the Davidsons and Walkers’ land, and Trey offers to help him out.

Liam: Maybe my brother’s not the only one who needs a partner.

Awwww. Liam and Trey is the partnership nobody knew we needed, but perhaps we did. Maybe they should be roomies!

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Walker kills time outside James’ office, picking up some imaginary thing on the floor (and in the process making the fandom quite happy) and then awkwardly pretending he wasn’t.

Jared is so good at creating a believable and unique individual with Cordell, and I am constantly amazed that there is not a trace of Sam Winchester in him most of the time. I’m not an actor, so that seems mysterious to me – and sometimes a bit impossible. But here we are!

James updates him on the search for a new ranger/partner, which isn’t going very well at all. In the meantime, Cordell has a solo assignment searching for a person impersonating a missing Ranger named Miles who’s doing a bunch of carjackings.

Fistbump!

Elsewhere in town, Abeline puts the word out that they need ranch hands and then (literally) bumps into Gale at the market. The two of them are so strained with each other, polite and pleasant on the surface and simmering anger still underneath.

Abeline says she taught Colton the song that Marv used to sing and Gale goes off that she always oversteps, talking about her dead husband like they had nothing to do with it…

And then we realize we’re hearing her internal monologue instead of what she says to Abeline, which is overtly polite instead.

On his solo assignment, Walker finds a suspicious looking car and stops to investigate, asking local PD to come back him up. He’s no sooner climbed into the car (carefully pushing the trunk opener with his knuckle so he doesn’t leave fingerprints because smart Cordell) than someone else with a gun shows up just as he’s climbing OUT and orders a hands up and gun down.

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