Walker Heads Into Midseason Hiatus with ‘Just Desserts’

All too soon, Walker is headed into its mid season hiatus – but boy, did it go out with a bang! Last week’s episode was an emotional roller coaster, which we should have expected since it’s titled “Just Desserts.” That doesn’t just apply to what comes at the end of Thanksgiving dinner either. The opening scene sets up the episode as one that deals with loss and family strife. Abby leaves a message for her brother William, saying she’s here if he wants to talk. Molly Hagan can make me feel so much with just a short little scene.

Cordi and Liam try to cope with everything they’ve been through by starting a new tradition – ranch to table turkey, complete with turkey imitation gobbles (which we also got some behind the scenes iterations of on Instagram thanks to Keegan Allen, lucky fandom that we are).

From Keegan’s IG

Jared does do a pretty authentic turkey imitation…

Stella always said she wanted to “mix things up” and Cordell is really missing his daughter, so he’s also planning Stella’s favorite dessert. Abeline and Bonham point out that Cordell is making grand gestures instead of talking to her instead of avoiding some awkward conversations. He clearly is upset that she’s been “radio silent” for a few weeks – and I find it hard to believe that Abeline hasn’t made sure Cordell realizes he got it wrong about what happened at the SideStep yet. What the hell??

The brothers tell their mom she’s not lifting a finger, assuring her they’ll have everything ready in time for the traditional Circle of Thanks, because they know this is a tough day for her.

They also do some hilarious imitations of their dad, which I’m sure Jared Padalecki and Keegan Allen thoroughly enjoyed regaling Mitch Pileggi with.

They also clearly enjoyed roaring around on ATVs wearing hunting camo gear and trying to outpace their dad – both the characters onscreen and definitely the actors.  The whole kill the turkey on Thanksgiving Day and get all dressed up in camo gear and oh we also need to race ATVs didn’t make a whole lot of sense, but I don’t think that was the point – it was some indulgent fun that everyone could roll their eyes at a little.

They had just as much fun behind the scenes too…

They find some turkeys just hanging around gobbling and take a shot – which misses.

Liam: I was kinda hoping a Texas Ranger would be a better marksman.

BOYS.

They oddly give up on hunting fairly quickly, perhaps because they ran out of time riding around on their big toys like little boys. Cordell rationalizes.

Cordell: These gobblers are crafty.

Me: lol

Defeated by the wild turkeys.

Read more

Walker Welcomes Supernatural Alum Jake Abel to the Family!

It’s the awkward morning of all awkward mornings at the start of this episode, when Cordell gets up and Liam is ready to have that talk they discussed but Cordell is a bit distracted by the fact that he left his daughter in jail the night before.

It only gets more awkward when Mawline comes home – with Stella, who she bailed out.

Cordell is angry, saying he left her there to think and learn the consequences of her actions now that she’s an adult (he did have the sergeant separate her so we know she was safe, which is what I figured, but still.)

Abeline: She’s 18!

Cordell: And she’s MY daughter!

They’re both right actually. She is undermining his parenting and he is refusing to listen to Stella’s side (though she did a terrible job of actually trying to TELL him her side too.) This family is infuriating sometimes! (Like all families…)

He’s also angry that she told Cassie, accusing her of “meddling in my work as well” – and again, he’s actually not wrong, that’s not her place. But her saying “you need to take it down a notch and you need to hear your daughter out” is also good advice.

Stella FINALLY tells what really happened to Abeline – who she apparently also did not tell the story to for some reason I literally cannot fathom!

August is still infuriating (and hungover), saying he can’t help clean up at the SideStep because he’s the head of the homecoming dance committee. Mawline doesn’t take excuses though, insisting they follow the list of chores that their father left and clean up their mess at the bar. Augie also insists that Cordell wouldn’t let him tell the story, but I find that even harder to believe. He still isn’t owning up to any responsibility or apologizing, insisting he’s becoming his own person and she’s just pissed because she’s losing a sidekick and holding everyone hostage with her indecision.

Ouch.

August: So since you wanna stay hogging up the limelight…who knows, I might even shine…

Wow, Augie. But it’s clear that’s what’s really getting to him, the struggle of the younger sibling in thei shadow of their superstar older sibling’s spotlight all the time.

Colton arrives in the middle of awkward sibling rivalry fighting and offers to make breakfast – a “happy curry”. What a sweetie Colton is.

Read more

‘Walker’ Episode ‘Mum’s The Word’ Shocks with its Ending

Last week’s episode of ‘Walker’ was titled ‘Mum’s the Word’, which was partly about mothers and children and how we all cope with the danger that’s all around us, but also about silence and when you need to break it.

Stella and Augie are still in a bad place, August still angry that Stella didn’t go away to college as planned. It’s not pleasant to watch and it makes him an unappealing character for now, but it strikes me as very real for an adolescent who desperately wants out from under his older sibling’s shadow. I don’t think Cordell really gets it, because in his own sibling relationship, he’s the older sibling in the spotlight.

Augie has got a bit of a martyr thing going, asking his dad to please be there to play on the junior team for the annual flag football match tradition.

Walker says he will if he can, but he’s got a new assignment the next day so can’t promise.

Stella isn’t happy either, feeling lost and not knowing what her future holds. She and Geri work the food truck at the game the next day, a former classmate of Geri’s coming by to condescendingly say she’s so brave to still show up there after all she’s been through and then toss out to Stella, “I could’ve been your mom…”   Not very good taste in previous girlfriends if that’s what she’s implying, Cordell!

Afterwards, Stella says she doesn’t want to be “that weird alumna who’s always around” and then realizes Geri might take that personally. She doesn’t, though. She tells Stella that she was originally supposed to go to business school, but then her dad died and left her the Side Step, and “life got in the way”. Part of being a grown up is owning your choices, she says, pointing out that Stella is lucky to have a safety net.

She definitely is, but an 18 year old isn’t really an adult (says someone who was a psychologist in a college counseling center full of 18 year olds for many years). Everyone is expecting Stella to magically turn into an adult just because she graduated high school, but that’s not really fair.

Stella tries to say that their dad has been trying to show up for them lately, but Augie dismisses that, saying “for you maybe”.  She invites him to hang out with her and Colton – which I think an 18 year old would definitely know that would not be what your 16 year old brother would want! – and he is once again furious that she doesn’t get it.

Stella is in the tough position of trying to be August’s big sister and also a bit of a mother figure for him too, which is never going to go over well with a younger sibling.  When Augie hears that the Sidestep will be closed that night, he gets his 16 year old rebellion on and invites all his friends for a party there, with beer flowing freely.

Augie ends up locked in the tap room with his friends, who tell him that they actually think he’s “badass”, which I feel like a 16 year old would not say, but anyway, they thought he was the one on his high horse. August is making strides in popularity, but has to text Stella to come let them out. She comes and kicks everyone out and frees her brother, angrily asking “what were you thinking?”

And that’s the moment the police show up and arrest both of them.

Meanwhile, back at Ranger HQ…

Cordell now runs on a treadmill instead of outside, which I really can’t blame him for, and he’s still jumpy and hypervigilant, but he seems to be slowly recuperating from his ordeal. James assigns Walker and Cassie to go pick up a briefcase of evidence from the Dallas station, from the mercenaries who are now all captured. On the way back, a strange ringing comes from the case, and they leave it on the road for a while, pondering whether it’s a bomb.

Cassie: It could be kitchen timer…or a Furby…

Read more

Wild Horses, New Rangers and Realistic Progress on Last Week’s ‘Walker’

Last week’s episode of ‘Walker’ was in some ways a quieter episode than the first few of this third season, but no less impactful. I’ve been traveling for the past week, so this is a drive-by recap and review, but I have to give a shout out to a few things about the episode that I loved. Number 1? The horses! The title is ‘Wild Horses Couldn’t Drag Me Away,’ which makes me sing the Rolling Stones in my head immediately, but also refers to multiple themes in the episode – and to the fact that there are actually wild horses in it! Beautiful wild horses. I can watch  horses on my TV screen happily for a very long time, so just that fact put a smile on my face.

It also gave me mixed feelings about the actual plot of the episode, at least the case-of-the-week one. Trey is in his last week of being a trainee, Capt James having pulled ALL the strings to get his military service to count as the years of training he would have been doing. The show acknowledges this as unprecedented, which is good because otherwise I might have eyerolled. But they make it part of the plot, and of Capt. James’ good faith attempt to change the system from the inside, with his acknowledgement that if it fails, his own career is also on the line.

That means that James, Walker and Cassie put Trey in charge of a sort of test case – to take down a trio of people who are freeing wild mustangs from “kill pens” and letting them go. Hence my mixed feelings. I was the Research Assistant in grad school who snuck back into the lab the night before it was “kill day” for all the rats who’d “volunteered” as test subjects and hence had little metal cones sewn into their poor little heads – and umm, liberated, quite a few. My kids had the best pets growing up, what can I say? The ‘conehead rats’ were famous with their friend groups.

Anyway, so I might not be the right audience for going after a trio of people who see themselves as do-gooders freeing beautiful wild horses who are about to be made into dog food. On the other hand, they almost run over a ranch hand accomplishing it, so that’s not exactly okay. And as Capt. James points out when Cassie also questions it (making me very fond of Cassie at that moment), they are defacing federal land. Which, to be honest, sounds like one of those things people in power use as an excuse…but technically he’s right and they can’t be reckless about it like they’re being, clearly. Interestingly, Walker also bristles when James says they have to “go through legitimate channels”, remembering the lessons he learned from his superior officer in the Marines, which is exactly not that. In fact, he has a flashback when James says those words, for a moment not even present in the here and now as he remembers.

Cordell: Sometimes people ignore legitimate channels when conditions on the ground call for it.

Cassie: Wait, are you agreeing with me??

Trey takes on the case and puts on the white hat (and the short sleeve very very tight shirt that I guess is his version of the Ranger uniform but no one is complaining so carry on, Ranger Trey…) and everyone cheers.

They also applaud Walker being back, although Cassie and James notice how he keeps zoning out and are worried. James knows he put Walker back in the field too soon before, and Abeline definitely put the fear of God into him when her son was missing this time.

There’s a fair amount of humor in this episode as James, Walker and Cassie put Trey through the end of his “hell week”, getting him to do silly things like “1, 2, 3, Rangers!” complete with the hand motions and taking way too much pleasure in Trey lucking out (not) by having to work with a bristly fed. Trey takes this all in good spirits, to his credit.

And we get alot of adorable Jared Padalecki smiles.

Eventually, Trey disobeys James’ orders to stay put and wait for them to arrive when Trey finds the horse thieves – he instead jumps into the back of the trailer, much to the surprise of the horse inside. More beautiful horses, yay!

Read more

‘Walker’s Rubber Meets The Road’ Takes An Unflinching Look at Trauma

Last week’s episode of ‘Walker’ was one of my favorites so far – and more than that, it felt important. I talk a lot, as a psychologist, about the ways in which fictional media can help us, in everything from providing a much-needed escape, to role models and inspiration, to giving us a way to work through our own ‘stuff’ in a safely displaced manner. The latter is what this episode of Walker did. Aptly titled ‘When Rubber Meets the Road,’ the episode picks up where the first two episodes left off. The brothers Walker, traumatized from captivity and terror and torture, are now physically safe. But that does not translate to any kind of psychological safety, as Liam tries to confide to his big brother.

He says what I said in last week’s review – they should have taken both of them to the hospital, and yes, they should have had MRIs and I find it hard to believe they wouldn’t after those beatings.

“Every time I close my eyes…” Liam begins, but Cordell cuts him off, saying they don’t need to do any of that, that the threat is over.

That’s the last thing Cordell wants to do, to close his eyes and relive the trauma. He’s been trying to perfect not doing that for a long time, it turns out.

Cordell: You’re safe, I’m safe, so let’s not compare notes.

Liam protests that they need to talk about it, but Cordell disagrees.

Cordell: We don’t. It’s better this way.

Liam’s helpless sounding “maybe we have internal injuries” is spot on. They may not be physical injuries that you can see, but both men are deeply wounded internally, psychologically and emotionally.

gif jarpadandjensens

Cordell cannot go there, and that’s intensely hurtful to Liam, who keeps trying to reach out to him throughout the episode. The imagery of Cordell walking away from Liam is repeated, as though he’s turning his back on his little brother (he isn’t, but the image is nevertheless painful.)

Geri is there to console Cordell and he appreciates it, but also immediately makes a joke about his falling-off shirt.

Cordell: You’re not digging the deep V?

He deflects from her concern for him by asking about everyone else and how they are. And while that’s certainly relevant, because this was a trauma for all of them, it also keeps the focus off Cordi opening up about his own feelings to someone who clearly wants to listen.

We know they’re there, though, just under the surface – we can see it in his expression when he sees the old photo of him in the Marines on the table as he comes home, hearing in his mind “so this is the war hero…” that they taunted him with.

He doesn’t feel like a hero right now.

Read more