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.

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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!

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‘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.

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Walker 3.02 – Not Exactly Sittin’ On A Rainbow!

The first two episodes of Season 3 of Walker have kicked off with a bang! I watch this show mostly for the relationships and the universal human themes that play out, so the arc of Cordell being kidnapped tapped into both of those. The Walker family and close friends having to deal with the horror of just waiting and not knowing rang very true, as did Cordell’s reliance on his memory of Emily. Add to that the Supernatural-reminiscent focus on the Walker brothers’ relationship and I was a happy viewer. Episode 2 was directed by Austin Nichols, a Walker cast alum who is now directing – he filmed some beautiful scenes that added to the dark but intense feel of this episode.

This episode picks up right where the season premiere left off, with Liam being tossed into the cell where Cordell has been held. That was a shock – to both the audience and Cordell – and it raises the stakes for whether or not the mysterious Sean will be able to ‘break’ Walker like he says he wants to.

Liam asks Cordi to promise that he’s not gonna try some Lone Walker Ranger stuff and risk his life to save his little brother. Cordell promises, the brothers clasping hands, and then he holds his injured little brother and I am all filled up with Supernatural-ish brother feels.

Cordell is unchained since they’re playing mind games with him, though I still don’t entirely grasp how Sean thinks this is going to work. Cordell is going by his gut, he says, and assures Liam that he trusts his brother – and Julia Johnson too, the reporter who had been confined upstairs.

The scenes of the brothers locked up together are ominous and dark, but they’re also beautifully filmed, the light coming through the bars making the whole scene look surreal. A moment of applause for the director of photography and for director Austin Nichols! And for Padalecki and Keegan Allen, who make being roughed up and held in a cell look alarmingly attractive.

They give Liam dinner then put a hood over Walker’s head and take him to an office to eat dinner with Sean, part of Sean’s attempts to get Cordell to “join them”. He refuses, saying ‘I’m stuffed” and having flashbacks to when he served. They try to talk Cordell into joining them since he’s “edge of the coin” Cordell Walker, but I think they’ve seriously misunderstood that side of him. He agrees there are some flaws in the system but insists there are good people making strides to fill those cracks. Sean tells him that Emily died at the hands of an organization that he serves, taunting that he’ll never get her back.

“You could save the next widower,” Sean says, but Cordell accuses Sean of murdering people who get in his way, which makes him a terrorist. Sean insists it’s necessary to trigger change, though I don’t really know how he thinks that’s going to happen. Power vacuums often get filled by even worse organizations, and this sounds like it could be one of those.

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‘Walker’ Returns for Season 3, and Kicks Off the “WalkerVerse”

Last Thursday was a double dose of excitement for Walker fans – the original show returned for its third season and its brand new prequel, Walker Independence,  premiered right after. For me as a long-time Supernatural fan (who’s been a Walker fan since the start), it felt a little like the “good old days” of Supernatural fandom, with anticipation all day and then a live tweet fest with fans and cast alike all sharing their real-time reactions. Jared Padalecki and Gen Padalecki joined in the fun, which made it extra special for fans – and I think most of us were not at all disappointed with either the original show’s return or what looks to be an excellent new show in Walker Independence!

I’m not doing an actual review of Walker Independence (because holy crap there are a lot of shows out there to watch right now!) but suffice it to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it and its intriguing cast of characters. I can’t wait to see more and will be watching on Thursday nights for sure. (Shout out to an epic callback – Hoyt’s horse is named Cordell.  Cue all the innuendo that invites…)

As the second episodes prepare to air, let’s look back at what happened on the season premiere of Walker.

We get a brief recap (as if anyone forgot that Cordell didn’t come back from his run with Trey and Liam!). Dan Miller is mentioned, so we know he’s still around, which makes me very happy indeed – I love Dave Annable and his character, and I always thought Dan got kind of a raw deal, so I’m glad to hear that the Walkers gave him some of the disputed land back. More Dan and Liam push-pull-kinda-reluctant-friendship please!

And then we pick up right where we left off, with poor Cordell being dragged to a shady looking van and tossed inside.

That set the tone for the episode for Walker, who spent it locked in a cage and periodically tortured by his captors as they tried to “break” him.

The men refer to him as their new inside guy, saying they have to “initiate” him. Honestly I don’t entirely understand what their goal was as they keep torturing him and demanding that he somehow give in so they can stop.  Give in to what? They’re not asking him for any information. I guess they want him to agree to join them? Not sure how torture gets someone to want to do that, but Cordell figures out they want him to be Fenton’s replacement.

Bad Guy No. 2: So this is the war hero, huh?

That cues us in that what Cordell is going to experience is tied into his past, and whatever trauma he went through then.

The music during the initial putting-a-blindfolded-Cordell-in-a-cage montage was a good song, very Supernatural-esque, but I’m mostly not a fan of how prominent the music is sometimes in the show. In this case, it mostly worked, but sometimes it pulls me right out of a scene that might otherwise have been powerful. In this episode, however, the music was well chosen and worked with the couple of scenes in which music was prominent.

We get to hear Cordell’s thought process as he uses his training and experience to try to figure out where he is and who’s holding him, first with a monologue and later as he imagines Emily there with him, keeping him calm and helping him talk through strategizing.

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