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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Relationships Are Hard – Walker 2.05 ‘Partners and Third Wheels’

‘Partners and Third Wheels’ is an odd title for an episode, but it was an accurate one. Just about everyone ended up a third wheel at one time or another and no one’s relationships are going swimmingly, so it wasn’t a very upbeat episode. In fact, I felt bad for many of the characters. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, I want to feel something for the characters – that’s how I know I’m caring about a show and it’s doing its job – but it’s tough to see so many of them struggling.

The episode starts out with Cordell maybe feeling the same way, trying to cheer his coworkers up with breakfast tacos, an Austin staple. Micki doesn’t take him up on it, and James says he doesn’t think Micki is ready when Cordell suggests she should return to the field, though he does admit that Cordell is “better partnered up”.  Something he has in common with Sam Winchester!

James has a date with a new woman and suggests a double date with Geri and Cordell. However, Cordell apparently hasn’t cleared the air with Geri or explained about Denise and the sting operation yet for some odd reason.  Cordell and Geri are hard to figure out – they have a lot of chemistry, they clearly enjoy each other’s company, but neither of them seems willing to even acknowledge their feelings for each other let alone act on them. It’s cute but it’s also frustrating – and I don’t even ship them, so I imagine it’s even more frustrating for fans who do.

The other relationship not going well is Micki and Trey’s, which has been one of my favorite things in the show – a rare realistic imperfect but still basically healthy relationship. Trey wakes up (shirtless because  this show does know its fandom) upset that Micki is already gone, but finds a note saying she’ll be home for lunch and gets a lot happier. I got stuck wondering how the hell someone does not wake up when their partner gets out of bed and gets dressed and leaves for work though – what I wouldn’t give to be that heavy a sleeper!

Liam and Cordell’s relationship isn’t going all that well either. Liam is supervising the case of the week, a murdered attorney named Mac whose body was recently found years after his disappearance. James tells Micki she’s “running point” on the case and Cordell celebrates with a fist bump – “Partners, back at it!”

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Walker’s Episode 2.04 Warns It’s Not What You Think

The title of this episode is relevant right away in a misleading beginning as someone sneaks around in the Walker house while Bonham and Abeline are sleeping, which is super creepy. Bonham wakes up and gets out his gun and nearly shoots his son surprising his parents with their morning coffees – which seems like a reason for not having guns around  (though Bonham does keep it in a locked gun box).

Bonham is not amused.

Bonham: I woke up to a 6’ 4” grinning busybody…

Abeline: His heart’s in the right place…

Have I mentioned I love the Walkers?

Of course they have no idea why Cordell is acting so nervous or waking them up with coffee and insisting they come to the SideStep for breakfast because their fridge is mysteriously broken – but we know. Dan is watching, which is creepy as hell because he’s watching Bonham and Abeline’s bedroom for godsakes and why is no one commenting on just how creepy that is?? Just like it was super creepy that they were watching Stella in her bedroom in her robe last week.

Dan has overheard Cordell’s tearful insistence that the fateful fire was his fault but not much else, and he’s already suspicious of the other bad guy Earl – who has figured out that Dan and Denise are going to marriage counseling.

Cordell isn’t the only one who’s jumpy – Micki is still dealing with PTSD symptoms from Garrison’s fall, rubbing the marks still on her arms from where he tried and failed to hang on. Trey’s gentle touch makes her startle and she’s subtly pulling away from him too, kissing him on the cheek after deflecting from his kiss, again a pretty realistic portrayal of her psychological issues (something I’ve been appreciating about this show from the start).

He knows something’s wrong and that there’s something she’s not telling him, glancing at the painting of the church as she leaves, but he’s also trying to give her space and time to open up to him on her own.

Breakfast at the Side Step looks delicious and makes me hungry, even Liam chowing down on bacon though he brought his green juice with him, and is he taking a page from the Sam Winchester little brother healthy eating book??

Bonham: Bacon isn’t a cheat, it’s a lifestyle.

Bonham has clearly taken a page from the Dean and Mary Winchester book when it comes to bacon, and I’m in full agreement with him.

Liam: So what’s the news, big brother?

Cordell: There’s a camera hidden in our home.

Stella: You let us sleep at home after you found a spy camera? The day I take my SATs?

Poor Cordell, he really cannot get a break.  That struck me as an extremely realistic thing for a developmentally appropriately self centered adolescent to say though!

Liam immediately suspects the Davidsons, but Cordell pulls him aside (not nearly far enough aside that the family can’t hear him btw, which happens all the time on TV and always drives me nuts) and asks him not to add fuel to the fire. Cordell thinks it’s Serano.

Liam: You always do this, you always give Denise the benefit of the doubt, never me!

Abeline: Boys, enough!

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Walker Episode 2.03 – A Real Barn Burner!

Last week’s Walker, the third episode of Season 2, dug deeper into the themes of grief and loss that the series has tackled since the pilot, tying those themes to those of hate and resentment that have become clearer in season 2. The episode opens with Cordell sleeping on the couch in the midst of a nightmare, tossing and turning as he sees flashes of that fateful night in the Davidson’s barn with Denise long ago. The two teenagers are sitting there together with a lantern when they suddenly have to run out, leaving the burning lantern behind. Cordell wakes up, distressed.

What’s even more distressing is we immediately jump to the perspective of the creepy Walker family’s spy, watching intimate family moments – Augie and Stella on the couch, Bonham and Abeline working on a puzzle, Stella in a bathrobe (creepier still). Geri sleeping on a couch too, Colton and Stella bandaging the wandering horse’s leg, Denise’s husband lurking around. Liam on the phone talking to someone about “tying it back to Serano”. The whole scene is shot with creepy music that makes it seem like something bad is about to happen – very well done, in other words.

It’s actually two guys listening in, and when they hear what Liam says about them being onto Serano, they immediately realize “the boss is toast”. One wants to cut and run, one wants to find another buyer for their surveillance setup since the Walker family, he notes, collects lots of enemies. (Ouch)

That ominous background runs beneath everything else going on, although the episode overtly is about a chili cookoff, Abeline using their Gran’s original recipe and a $10,000 prize up for grabs. There’s a sentimental reason Abeline wants to win, which I totally understand. (I love Abeline so much – she’s not perfect by any means, but I can often so relate to where she’s coming from). (Did you catch Jared/Cordell snacking on a pepper?)

Cordell’s on edge after the nightmares, overreacting when August leaves a towel too close to the pot of chili on the stove and it catches fire and yelling at his son.

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‘Walker’ Returns for Season 2 and Some New Mysteries

Walker returned for its second season last week, and immediately hit the ground running with some intriguing new mysteries and some deeper themes that kept my psychologist brain happy too.  I couldn’t watch it live so caught up on the CW app, which means I missed live tweeting with Jared Padalecki unfortunately. I am so enjoying how active he is on Twitter recently – I always end up smiling at his ability to spread joy and excitement throughout the Walker and Supernatural fandoms by just randomly replying to tweets. At the same time, I really admire his ability to ignore the haters who seem to always be lying in wait. It must be tempting to just pull back and stay quiet when you know you can count on being attacked every time you interact – he does see some of that and it has to be hurtful on some level – but being a positive force is more important and so he does it anyway. One of my first in depth conversations with him, way back in the early days of Supernatural, was about how hurtful those online comments can be – yet here he is, still persevering and being a bright light in the lives of so many fans.

Last week was an eventful one for the Walker fandom – it was premiere week, which was a joyous occasion, but it was also the week that Lindsey Morgan announced that she would be leaving the show. I don’t know anyone who didn’t love her character of Micki, and her dynamic with both Cordell and Trey, so the fandom was sad about her departure. I’m sure the cast and crew and producers were also sad about it, since a mid season unplanned departure has all sorts of ramifications – but it is to the credit of both the fandom and the show that everyone supported Lindsey in her decision to take care of her own mental health. Too often, we all ‘push through’ and ignore what our brains and bodies are telling us we need, sometimes with disastrous consequences. I will miss Micki, but Lindsey set a great example in being candid about what she was going through and making the tough decisions she needed to.

I know Jared understands that need – in his autobiographical chapter in the book Family Don’t End With Blood, he wrote openly and eloquently about his own mental health and how difficult it had been for him to ever make that a priority as a lead on a television show. There’s a lot of talk about how we all should do that, but Jared put his money where his mouth is and got behind Lindsey and her decision, both as a lead actor and as an executive producer. That’s a real departure from ‘the way things are done’ in television and film, and I feel kind of proud of both Jared and Lindsey for doing the right thing.

That said, I am really going to miss Micki Ramirez!

The episode itself was non-stop, sometimes moving so quickly I felt a little dizzy.

Micki Undercover

Micki’s story line was the action-packed one, with her undercover assignment three months in and the demands of living that role 24/7 starting to take a toll on all her relationships, just like it did when Cordell became a little too much Duke and less Cordi.

She’s cut herself off from Walker and from Trey (and presumably from her moms after just reconnecting/reestablishing those relationships). It’s easy to see how that seems like the right thing to do, to keep everyone safe, but it takes a toll anyway. Lies and deception and isolation are built into being under cover – which is something I honestly never gave a moment’s thought until watching Walker.

I really felt for Trey, knowing that Micki is in danger but cut off from her and unable to verify if she’s okay. I don’t blame him for tracking her down at trivia night at some bar, just in time to see her partner-in-crime (literally), the hapless Spider, get tossed off a building onto the roof of a car and murdered. Micki grabs Trey and tells him that she loves him, tearfully saying that she “sure hopes that girl of yours comes home”. But then she sends him on his way.

Everyone, in fact, is worried about both Micki and Trey. The episode begins with a nice bonding scene, Walker and Trey and Liam all out for a run. They make a pretty picture for the fandom too, which I’m sure was not lost on anyone (though they looked a lot more like Jared, Jeff and Keegan to be honest).

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