Walker’s Second Season Finale Fills In Some of the Blanks with “Something’s Missing”

The season finale of Walker tied up a lot of loose ends for Season 2 – and then kicked off a whole new mystery, and a dramatic one at that!

The episode is titled “Something’s Missing” and that is both literally and figuratively true throughout the show. (One of the things I like best about Walker is that they love to run parallel themes throughout an episode and then reference it somehow in the title, and it’s a fun game for a reviewer to pick out all the instances of that theme – or at least it is for this reviewer!)

The first thing that’s missing is Emily, because Stella Blue is about to graduate. If you’ve ever lost someone, you know that the toughest times are big life events, the celebrations that you always thought that special person would be at. I facilitated a grief counseling group at a university counseling center for many years, and I heard from so many students nearing graduation just how hard it was to approach that milestone without a parent they had always imagined there to be proud of them. Emily not being there is hard for Stella, and it’s hard for Cordell too. Cordell is every parent, wondering where the time went and saying that it seems like yesterday that Emily told him she was pregnant.

Later in the episode, they share a tender father-daughter moment over one of the games they used to play on family game night, something Cordell hasn’t been able to do since he lost his wife. Stella says it seems like a good time to start over, or to carry on where they left off. Cordell admits he would never have taken the game out of the box, that it’s so like her – and her mom – to make him face it.  That’s also a theme of the episode, going back to the exploration of grief and loss that I have always valued most in this show – that you can’t go over it or around it, eventually you have to go through it. Everyone does that differently and on their own timetable, but Stella and Geri and Cordell have all learned that it’s true. Cordell is proud of his daughter.

Cordell: You make all of us feel. You’re the one that keeps this family together. I ran, you stayed.

Stella: I ran a few times too.

Stella has grown up a lot over the past two years of real time, and on the show as well. Cordell gives her a gift, knowing she’s been struggling with individuation and the question of staying close or going away for college.

Cordell: I want you to know now…it’s okay to go.

That made me tear up partly because it was such a beautifully played father-daughter scene, and partly because that’s a line from the Supernatural finale too, when Sam gives his brother the gift of permission to go in a more permanent way. I don’t know if it was a deliberate call back, but it made me even more emotional than I was. I’m sure the parallel wasn’t lost on Padalecki, who understands intimately the importance of that finale to many fans.

Another thing that’s missing, but not for long, in this episode is certainty. The certainty of figuring out who you are and what you want to do with your life. While Stella seems close to figuring that out, both Liam and Trey are at a transition point in their lives and unsure of where they should be going.

James tells Trey that he has to stay out of official Ranger business if he’s not an official Ranger – which James offers him after making some calls. They’re willing to treat his military experience as time served so he could be an actual Ranger – which came as no surprise to most of the fandom, who has been expecting it. I feel better about that than them offering to employ him as a psychologist when he isn’t one, but that’s probably just me feeling bitter about all those years of a PhD program to get to that point. It makes sense to make Trey a Ranger so they can keep Jeff Pierre and his popular character on the show, and Trey certainly seems qualified.

Walker — “Something’s Missing” — Image Number: WLK220a_0392 r — Pictured: Jeff Pierre as Trey Barentt — Photo: Rebecca Brenneman/The CW — © 2022 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Trey talks to his mom about the Ranger offer; she’s not all that happy about it, worrying about all the stress and anxiety. I can relate to his mom – that would so be me if one of my kids announced that!

Liam is also unsure of his next step, saying he’s not so sure he wants to go back to being a lawyer and envious of his father for always knowing what he wanted to do. Later in the episode, he thanks Bonham for forgiving him when he wanted to move away, and Bonham says that it helped make him who he is. So did you, and the ranch, Liam says. And when Bonham says that the ranch isn’t for everyone, Liam tells his father: I think it is, for me.

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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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It’s All About Relationships In Walker ‘Champagne Problems’

Last week’s episode of Walker once again opens with bacon, which is always a good thing.  And right away it’s a bit of a metaphor for the real subject of this episode – relationships. Their ups and downs, their challenges and triumphs, the way they bring joy and pain. Abby and Bonham’s kids and grandkids show their love by knowing how to cook the bacon just like they like it – and planning a big 40th anniversary bash.

The kids and grandkids are determined to make Bonham and Mawline’s anniversary special, right down to trespassing on the Davidson’s ranch to pick her favorite flowers and herbs, finding the perfect bottle of champagne and cooking the bacon just right.  It’s also complicated from the start, though, with Bonham asking Cordell to try to convince Geri to come to the party and give Abeline another chance, while Cordi texts Twyla to wish her luck on her first day at a new job.

Talk about stuck in the middle! He kinda wants to please everyone, and that is never easy, often putting a strain on all those relationships you’re trying to salvage.

Geri comes back from her girls weekend and tells Gale that in spite of how complicated that particular relationship is, she’s glad they’re trying.

Gale: Me too.

Apparently Denise is struggling also, an only child for her entire life who now has a grown up sister who wasn’t her favorite person before she found out they were related. Nobody is ever entirely immune from sibling rivalry either, so having to watch how obviously thrilled Gale is about having her other daughter back must be a bit painful for Denise.

Geri holds out her arms for a hug, and Gale looks overjoyed to give her one and I know most people are not a fan of any of this, but I feel for both these women right now.

Gale says that they haven’t really had any one on one mother-daughter time, and you can see how much just that term means to Geri – mother-daughter time is something she thought she would never ever have, and now it’s being offered. It must be incredibly powerful and also incredibly confusing. Being taken into confidence for the old family recipes – a family she never knew was hers – would be a big deal, I imagine. Family traditions, being part of mothers handing down recipes to their daughters – it’s hard to see things like this all around you and not have them.

Also, can I just say that I love Geri’s adorable little house? Walker is so good with its visuals and its set dec and locations, it’s such a visually appealing show – and I have a thing for tiny houses (this is not that, but it’s small and looks so welcoming)

The episode revolves around all the Walkers trying to pull together the big bash, while nothing goes entirely smoothly. Cassie goes with Liam to get the rare champagne that’s special to Abeline and Bonham. I like Cassie, so I’m not gonna complain, but if my new work partner wanted to be part of literally every family event ever, I would probably be a bit alarmed. I guess she’s new in town and doesn’t know many people other than Cordell though – and we soon find out that Geri isn’t the only one craving family acceptance.

I love that Cassie is a bit of a fangirl, waxing poetic about wine by quoting a movie and then appalled that the clerk doesn’t recognize it.  It’s such a fandom thing to know all the dialogue. Not that I can quote entire scenes of Supernatural or anything. Ahem.

Meanwhile, Liam gets flirty with the other wine store guy, who flirts right back. I was rooting for Liam and Bret to get back together, but I have to admit that Liam and Ben (Matt Pascua) have more chemistry – sparks flew from just about the first minute of their conversation. Maybe because we didn’t get to see Liam and Bret at the start of their relationship and they seemed settled into an almost friendship by the time we met them – for whatever reason, LiamBJamin (as I saw the ship called in a few tweets) kicked up sparks.

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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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