Walker’s ‘A Matter of Miles’ Amps Up The Family Feud

Walker’s penultimate episode ‘A Matter of Miles’ was an uncomfortable one to watch – intentionally so. The gulf between the various ‘sides’ feels pretty much uncrossable now, many characters feeling like their backs are against the wall after coasting along without expressing things like anger, resentment, guilt and suspicion for too long. There’s a sense of desperation that pervades all the tenuous relationships, amping up the tension for pretty much the entire episode. I found myself feeling like I needed a break mid episode from all that tension, so I could imagine how the characters were intended to be feeling!

There are two main story lines running in parallel throughout – the return of Miles and the mystery of what he and Fenton were really up to and who is/are the bad guy(s) here, and the escalating feud between the Walkers and the Davidsons. I don’t like black and white anything, I’m always here for the nuance, but this episode painted the Davidsons with a much darker brush. I’ve been expecting that to happen, since they’ve been set up to be the ‘bad guys’ all along and obviously the Walkers have to turn out to be the ‘good guys’. But there were only a few characters who I could say I actually liked in this one – the rest, on both sides, were just plain unpleasant. I get where the Walker family’s anger is coming from – who could not be angry at people who literally took your home right out from under you? But the show did a good job early on of showing the Davidsons as people who’ve endured as much loss and tragedy as the Walkers – including all their land – so there’s anger and bitterness and now a drive for revenge on both sides of the fence. Understandable maybe, but stressful to watch!

Walker — “A Matter of Miles” — Image Number: WLK219b_0148r — Pictured (L-R): Jalen Thomas Brooks as Colton Davidson, Kale Culley as August Walker, Dave Annable as Dan Miller, Amara Zaragoza as Denise Davidson, Molly Hagan as Abeline Walker, Paula Marshall as Gale Davidson, Mitch Pileggi as Bonham Walker, Keegan Allen as Liam Walker, Odette Annable as Geri Broussard, Jared Padalecki as Cordell Walker and Violet Brinson as Stella Walker — Photo: Rebecca Brenneman/The CW — © 2022 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Gale and Denise in this episode are much more the stereotypical villains, saying one seemingly reasonable thing to Geri and then snarking about the real reason they’ve agreed to dinner with the enemy behind her back. I half expected them to do an evil cackle at some points, enjoying that they have the power to wreck anything that was the Walkers – especially Abeline’s. Tearing up her vegetable garden even if it means no more nice fresh vegies was a petty, purely vengeful thing to do. Abby is right – no matter how much Gale takes from them, it’s never going to heal for her the rage she feels about Abilene having Marv’s love and the Walkers having all the land and her not getting to raise her child (even if most of that was probably Marv’s mistakes, not the Walkers’ fault). It’s impossible not to dislike Gale and Denise heartily in this episode.

Unfortunately it was also impossible for me not to dislike how some of the other characters who I usually like a lot were acting. Bonham is a barely contained boiling-over pot of anger throughout the painful dinner, tossing barbs at the Davidsons any chance he gets. Probably it was putting the Walkers in an impossible situation, asking them to come back to the house that was theirs and still feels to them like theirs (witness Cordell walking in without knocking and almost tossing his hat on the peg he expects to still be there) and expecting them to sit down and make nice.

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Last Week’s Walker Goes on Multiple ‘Search and Rescue’ Missions

Last week’s Walker was titled ‘Search and Rescue’ and it was appropriate for multiple story lines. Directed by Austin Nichols (who was on the show in the last season), it was a fast paced episode that didn’t have any down time. As Jared Padalecki recovered from a serious car accident, Cordell’s role was light, but there were plenty of powerful performances by the ensemble cast.

The main rescue is of Stella and Colton, after their first date hiking in the state park goes south. They split up with Augie and his new hiking partner, who is striking enough to make August forget all about the sunscreen he was so worried about. Augie, I know your mother taught you better than that!

Walker — “Search and Rescue” — Image Number: WLK218b_0414r — Pictured (L-R): Kale Culley as August Walker, Jalen Thomas Brooks as Colton Davidson and Violet Brinson as Stella Walker — Photo: Rebecca Brenneman/The CW — © 2022 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Stella and Colton have a teasing competitive dynamic that works to make the relationship believable, but it sends Colton scrambling up a cliff side to try to get to some flowers after Stella sets it up as a race. He hits his head on a rock on the way down and is disoriented and bleeding – and for most of the rest of the episode it’s a race of a different kind to keep him conscious and get them some help.

Stella manages to call Liam and leave a seven second message before her phone battery dies (poor planning for a hike, Stella, and I feel like your hike-loving mom taught you better than that!). So everyone knows they’re in trouble and the feuding families temporarily put aside their differences to try  to find them. Earlier in the day the feud was going full force – Liam went to the Davidson ranch to confront Denise and Dan, accusing them of cutting Cordell’s saddle strap. Bonham’s leather detailing knife went missing about that time, and they’ve finally caught up to what viewers have assumed for a long time. I’m still not sure why it wouldn’t be obvious that the saddle strap was cut immediately when they examined it, but at least they finally got there. Dan is furious at being accused, insisting he didn’t do it, but Liam storms out.  Dan and Bonham had been working well together, but the accusation ends that relationship, Dan saying “It means a lot, what you’ve done for the ranch, Bonham.”

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He holds out his hand to shake and Bonham doesn’t take it.

Bonham: Mr. Walker’s fine.

He angrily embeds the ax in a block of wood and walks away.

Dan rarely gets a break even when he’s trying, honestly.

Now that the kids’ lives are at stake, however, the feuding families manage to work together to find them.

Walker — “Search and Rescue” — Image Number: WLK218b_0162r — Pictured (L-R): Molly Hagan as Abeline Walker, Keegan Allen as Liam Walker and Mitch Pileggi as Bonham Walker — Photo: Rebecca Brenneman/The CW — © 2022 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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Triangles and Tough Decisions in Walker ‘Torn’

This is a slightly shorter review thanks to being at a Supernatural convention when this episode aired and then flying back in the nick of time to dive into summer teaching, but I wanted to take a little time to process this episode of Walker before I dig into this past week’s new episode.  ‘Torn’ was aptly named, since just about everyone in it has to make some difficult choices.

Stella is torn between current boyfriend Todd and rapidly-becoming-her-new-love Colton, procrastinating telling Todd the truth even though she knows it’s inevitable. There’s a focus on sibling relationships in this episode too, including Augie telling it like it is to Stella, urging her to tell Todd because it’s not fair to either of them not to.

She finally does, but not before Todd figures it out on his own. He at first responds by lobbing a basketball at Colton and then getting into a fistfight. Trey intervenes, getting popped in the jaw himself for his troubles, and he reminds Todd that who Stella is with is her choice.

Trey:  Both people have to want a relationship. The one who wants it the least has the power. It does get easier after high school though.

Todd: Seriously?

Trey: No, not at all. But you do get a better understanding of things.

Trey’s pretty wise, gotta say.

Todd eventually takes the news a lot more maturely than most would, hugging Stella and saying they can hopefully be friends in the future. I am impressed, Todd!  There’s a tender Stella and Colton kiss before the end of the episode – the actors have a lot of chemistry, and Stella and Colton are kind of shy and sweet together. I’m sure their relationship is as doomed as Romeo and Juliet’s thanks to similarly feuding families, but I hope I’m wrong.

Geri is still torn between the Walkers and the Davidsons emotionally, but for now she’s made her choice. She and Cordell are not together (though they’re awkwardly trying to at least remain friends) and Geri is equally awkwardly trying to connect with her now family the Davidsons. Denise is initially reluctant, still blaming Geri’s adoptive dad for her father Marv’s death. That’s not rational, but it struck me as realistic. They all had some unprecedented revelations dropped on them a short while ago, and it’s no wonder Denise is having trouble just accepting Geri as her sister.

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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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