The tenth episode of the CW’s “Walker” starts with Jared Padalecki (Cordell Walker, that is) looking right into the camera, which was unexpected – and I almost always like unexpected. I thought for a second he was about to break the fourth wall, but instead, he asks, “Ready to get to work?” He puts on his safety glasses and he and the kids and Liam and Bonham start breaking down walls and hammering and sawing things.
The renovation of the Side Step has begun.
Bonham opens a can of strategically featured Benjamin Moore paint while music plays and Cordell looks at him skeptically.
Bonham: Are you questioning my palate?
It was a cute moment and felt like a real father-son interaction.
Augie hangs up a family photo with their mom, and Micki and Trey take a break and hug.
The whole group finally sits back and admires their handiwork.
Once the work is done, Cordell plays bartender with what I assume is root beer for the kids. He calls them kiddos, which sounds like a very Jared thing to do, and reminds them of how much this place meant to their mom. Stella laughs and reminds him that he literally nailed himself to it.
She’s got her license back and the keys to the red mustang, and Augie gets an increase in his allowance, and the family seems pretty happy. The kids wonder where Geri is, though, and Cordell is evasive (and awkward, with the family photo staring at him from the wall). He changes the subject to ask where Trevor is and Stella is just as awkward, changing the subject once again after saying she hasn’t seen him.
Later, at the office, Liam gets the news that the DA is stepping down before the end of his term and there will be a special election. There’s an awkward moment when he thinks he’ll be endorsed, but instead, the DA endorses Stan, another attorney, and they want Liam to endorse him too.
Liam: But didn’t you do oil and gas law?
Stan seems kinda sleazy, saying he wants to help Liam move up, gain influence, rub the right shoulders with the old guard. So, Liam can make a new name for himself instead of Yankee Doodle Dandy DA.
Liam: Wait, people call me that?
The anti-Stan vibes are a little heavy handed, but that line made me laugh. Keegan Allen and pretty much everyone on this show can bring the comedy when called for.
Trey and Micki get to the Side Step to help more, and he tells her that his concussion is getting better and he might be cleared to drive again soon. Micki is skeptical and says not to rush it, and Trey reminds her that every TBI is different. I like that they’re exploring Traumatic Brain Injury – it’s more common than you might think, and it’s true that every TBI is different and some symptoms last a very long time.
They walk into the Side Step and Cordell yells “Tricki!” and it makes me grin.
Micki gets a phone call and she and Cordell are called back to “HQ” which made me giggle because I’m not sure who calls it that, but Micki is all excited. Apparently, her buddy from the APD who called knows that she’s seen “this kind of thing” before – this thing being that a thief steals musical instruments, leaving a calling card in the form of a guitar pick.
Walker: What’s their heist theme song?
The comedy was on point in this episode.
This time they stole a 300-year-old Stradivarius violin. Micki says that her sergeant kept her out of the action when she worked this case before she was a Ranger, writing her off as the girl who cried wolf, so she never got to arrest the thief – whose name is Minnie Jayne, a well-known musician (played by the awesome Crystal Monee Hall).
Walker goes wide eyed and full on fanboy, saying Minnie Jayne never got the chance for the fame and fortune she deserved.
Micki (wryly): You gonna help me or not, fanboy? I’m gonna get her on this.
Stella, meanwhile, is getting into trouble once again. Young love and all that, but Stella really does let her heart lead and not her head. She goes to the stables trying to figure out what happened to Trevor, and goes through his bureau drawers, finding photos of Trevor’s mom and dad with her dad — as Duke. She also runs into Clint there, currying a horse with his hands chained, and he ominously tells her to “be careful there, little lady.”
As they prepare to work the new case, Micki knows Cordell is bothered by something, and when he finally starts to spill, she says she’s gearing up for an overshare, facilitating his sharing with the kind of humor the partners have come to have between them. Cordell confesses that he kissed Geri and can’t stop thinking about it. Micki is empathic, saying it must be complicated, and he says he’ll figure it out, “no big deal.” (Which it obviously is to him).
He also reassures her that he’s with her on this case that means so much to her to solve, fanboy or no.
Walker: I’m with you on this. What’s the next move, Lady Ahab?
He soon realizes, though, that Micki actually knows Minnie, and fanboy mode returns.
Walker: Hold on, do you know her??
Micki: Okay, you can’t come…
What’s really funny is that Walker doesn’t even protest, just nods in understanding like yeah, I know, too much fanboying…
It’s endearing and adorable, especially because Jared is so accustomed to being on the other side of the fence and hearing/seeing the rest of us feel that way. (Though he also is a bona fide fanboy himself – in the chapter he wrote in the book “Family Don’t End With Blood,” he writes about being a huge Star Wars and James Bond fan, and how that helped him appreciate his own fans when “Supernatural” came along.)
The next scene was one of the touching ones, Liam and his dad watching a ranch hand with a young horse.
Bonham: I miss working the ranch with you.
Liam admits he’s disappointed about the DA position and feels like the could get people to start living like we’re in the 2020s not the 1920s, but that he doesn’t know what he wants anymore, still reeling from his breakup.
Bonham: That’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever said. No other sixth grader had his dad change the channel to CSpan. You’re like your grandfather, big brain and even bigger heart. Listen to your gut.
Jared Padalecki live tweeted the episode and said that the way Bonham supports Liam really warms his heart. Mine too, Jared.
Back at the Side Step: Trey teaches August to flip bottles, then fumbles one and it shatters, and we realize he’s still having issues with his hand coordination. He helps Augie finish the memory wall with a memento from his first date with Micki, sharing a sort of heroic story and then wondering if “that guy’s still here anymore,” having a bit of an identity crisis after his injury.
Augie: Have you told Micki what you’re worried about? My dad hid a lot of stuff from us. You get good at spotting it everywhere.
Ain’t that the truth. Every now and then, this show just puts out a little gem like that, that tells you so much about the scars all these characters are carrying.
Stella cannot leave it alone with Clint and goes back to talk to him. She’s worried about Trevor and wants to know where he is; he’s angry and claims that her daddy (dear old Duke) tore apart his family and she stole his boy’s heart. He also ominously asks, “your brother still taking pictures with that old camera?” Hmmm.
Of course, she goes back AGAIN, and this time Clint asks her about the book “Gone Girl” and says it’s about selfish people who run away and the way a lie can destroy a family bit by bit. That seems like a bit of foreshadowing, and also ominous once again. He’s angry that Stella turned Trevor against him, choosing her family over his.
He gives away some information, though, about Crystal’s sister who took care of Trevor when he was a kid and his parents had a job to do. “Til your daddy came along,” he says, sneering. He tells her not to mention their talks to her dad – or he’ll know if she does.
Micki and Walker go to see Minnie and her band at a place that looks a whole lot like Jensen Ackles’ Family Business Beer Company, with the trees and string lights and picnic tables, but I guess that’s just what a lot of that area of Texas looks like – and I love the look.
Cordell grins like a total fanboy and it’s adorable. Seriously, that face he’s making is what many of us look like when Jared Padalecki walks out onstage at a convention. Pure happiness!
Minnie comes right over after, which I watched with my own fangirl goggles on, imagining the thrill that would be.
Minnie: You enjoy the show?
Cordell (grinning): I did!
They question Minnie back at her place and she says she had doorbell cameras installed, so she found out someone was casing the place.
Walker: Like a stalker?
Minnie hands a guitar to Cordell in the midst of the conversation, and he’s all flustered and fanboying. Meanwhile, all Jared’s fans are holding our breath hoping he’s actually going to play it! But alas, nope.
Minnie insists they framed her, and Cordell pretty much just keeps nodding and grinning at her in true fanboy style.
Micki and Walker do a sweep of the house and find evidence that corroborates Minnie’s alibi. They check out her surveillance cameras and the motion detector picks them up as they move around – and also picks up something moving around in the attic.
Walker: What the hell’s in the attic?
A chase ensues as a thief climbs down from the attic with a guitar and runs away. Walker gets whacked with the guitar and the guy vaults over the fence and gets away. They figure out it’s a guy who Minnie helped, named Rex.
Minnie: Kinda figured it might be him when you mentioned backyard Parkour…
She offers to work with them but wants her record cleared. When Micki questions why that’s important to a musician, she challenges Micki.
Minnie: I thought you’d understand what kind of double standards people like us have to deal with.
Micki says she doesn’t have the power to clear her record.
Cordell: Liam does – especially since Rex assaulted a very important Ranger…
He’s in fanboy mode again and it’s still adorable.
Minnie says she taught Rex how to run a job and choose a mark, but she’s not in with him. She also says that what she did before, she did it because poor kids with lots of raw talent can’t afford instruments and she couldn’t take it.
Micki: Well, you literally took it…
That made me laugh, but what Minnie says makes sense too. She says the rest went to the kids or paid for studio time for those artists who couldn’t afford it, but then Rex got lazy, or stupid, or both.
They figure out that Rex might go after Robert Johnson’s guitar, which is there for the anniversary – which was a nice “Supernatural” shout out to the episode ‘Crossroads Blues,’ which was all about Robert Johnson and making deals with the devil.
Stella, having figured out from her talk with Clint where Trevor might be, knocks on Harriet’s door and Trevor answers, alarmed that she’s there. Stella says she understands running away since she’s done it a lot, but she wanted to stand still with him.
Some cars pull up and Trevor is scared, telling Stella that she has to get out of there right now. Men jump out and start beating him up and Stella runs to her car, kicking a guy out of the way to get in. Instead of driving off, she drives onto the lawn after the men and Trevor jumps in the convertible and they drive away, which was really ill-advised but also pretty badass.
Trevor tells Stella that he cut his dad off too the night he left her, and that this was his dad using him to get some revenge. He had hoped, when he got to know her “normal” family, that it would work, but then he met her dad, the reason his mom is dead…
Stella: That’s not fair to say.
Trevor: We don’t know what happened, do we?
These kids are really caught in the middle, aren’t they? Trevor says that he doesn’t want to put her at risk, and Stella bristles.
Stella: So you just lied? I’m not some princess in a tower – we could’ve figured this out together.
Trevor: Everything with our dads, the history there, is it too much for this to work?
Minnie Jayne is called up onstage to play at the Robert Johnson anniversary event, and she tells the story, straight out of a “Supernatural” episode, about how the Devil appeared to him at a crossroads and he made a deal, six strings for his soul.
Minnie: I’ve made my fair share of deals with the devil too… worth it.
Cordell is fanboying out watching, after telling her excitedly that he and Emily saw her play back in ’08, which sounds like a million times I’ve heard fans tell Jared similar stories, so it’s priceless.
Onstage, Minnie suddenly collapses, and the lights go out. They realize that she was drugged, and so were all the guards around the real Robert Johnson guitar. Rex is sneaking out with the real guitar, pretending to be a security guard, but Micki and Walker stop him before he gets away. Success!
The next day, Stan the aspiring DA is at a Cattleman’s fundraiser that once again looks like Family Business Beer Company. Liam tells Stan that he can’t endorse him, saying that people are scared of change, but he’s not. He asks his dad, where did his grandfather’s campaign go wrong?
Bonham says that he was crazy, that he cared about people but (I think) that he lost his guts at some point. He adds that he doesn’t see that happening to his son. Bonham takes the stage.
Bonham: I’d like to introduce you to my son. He’s a man who left town to learn, and when the time came, he came back to teach, to lead. I may be biased but I think he’d make one hell of a DA.
At the Side Step reopening, Minnie performs – and tells Micki she wrote a song for her. The two women share a laugh, and it seems, an understanding.
Micki has a little heart to heart with Cordell and tells him that he’s got to trust his instincts when it comes to Geri. She says she didn’t do that with Minnie, was too focused on ‘getting it right’ even when the facts said otherwise.
Cordell: You’re good at holding a grudge. Almost as good as my old man.
After Micki goes inside, he calls Geri, but it goes straight to voicemail.
Minnie performs, and Trey and Micki dance. He tells her that he wasn’t being real with her before, and that he has no idea when he’ll be cleared to drive. He also opens up about why he’s struggling, because he’s always the fun guy, Mr. Positive. That he and Micki were finally good and then all this happened and it was overwhelming.
Micki: You don’t have to pretend with me.
Trey: I don’t know how to be me when who I am is changing.
That’s another of those lines that brings so much character insight and really hits home.
Trey: I know. I don’t wanna do it without you, though.
Cordell dances with his daughter, asking her if something’s on her mind, but she deflects. It’s a sweet scene though, Cordell sensing that something’s wrong and trying to comfort her, holding her protectively.
If you’ve ever had a chance to be hugged by Jared Padalecki, you know he gives the very best hugs ever.
His phone gets a text and Stella says that’s okay, she’s gonna head out early tonight anyway. It’s Geri – texting that Hoyt is coming home tomorrow. Cordell texts Geri back, looking anxious. Talk about a complicated situation – complex feelings between the two long-time friends, Cordell’s guilt about loving anyone else after Emily, Geri’s long-time relationship with Hoyt as he returns… this is sure to be messy. But that’s pretty realistic about life, I guess.
Stella gets back in the car where Trevor is waiting.
Stella: I get why you hid things from me but it still hurts. Our dads really screwed it up for us. But they don’t get a say in how we fix what they broke.
Trevor: How do we fix it?
Stella: Let’s not worry about it tonight. Let’s just stay out until the sun comes out, drive til we run out of gas…
Trevor (smiling): Light’s green.
He holds her hand, kisses her fingers.
Minnie sings as they drive away, “this hell feels better with you…”
It’s a nice ending, and I see what they’re going for with a modern Romeo and Juliet parallel with Stella and Trevor, but the mom in me keeps wanting to tell her she’s putting herself (and probably everyone else) in danger. Which, in all fairness, is not the priority when you’re a teenager in love.
Also, Jared Padalecki keeps ending up in shows with awesome cars, just saying.
It looks like in this week’s upcoming episode a couple of story lines come to a head, so I’m looking forward to seeing what happens when Hoyt returns, Liam starts his run in earnest, and Stella and Trevor have to stop driving eventually. None of the relationships on this show are going smoothly right now, and I’m kind of enjoying the intrigue of that.
New episode airs this Thursday on the CW with “Walker” 111 Freedom!