Last week’s episode of “Walker” grabbed my attention from the start and didn’t let it go – in fact, this episode seemed more fast paced than the last, even though that one featured a breakneck pace horse race! I had expected that it would take a while for us to find out who the Davidsons’ lost baby had grown up to be, but this episode actually gave us that reveal. Spoiler alert – it’s Geri!
Most of us had predicted that it was Geri from the various hints given, though the fandom gave me a headache trying to figure out how to make the dates and the math work so that she could have gone to school and grown up with Cordell. I know it’s an unlikely situation, throwing one hell of a monkey wrench into Cordell and Geri’s newly romantic relationship, but I’m okay with unlikely in this show. It’s a trope worthy of fanfic, right up there with the “and there was only one bed” machination, and that’s always a compliment in my book.
The episode opens with a shot of the moving trucks and the ‘W’ coming down from the gates, ouch. And then Cordi and Geri waking up together, soft and affectionate with each other as they deal with the stress of Bonham’s upcoming bail hearing, packing up the ranch, and giving the ranch hands an explanation for why they’re about to be out of a job.
The fandom was definitely grateful for the double shot of a shirtless Cordell from both angles, thanks to the mirror that captured the very attractive slope of his back…. I mean, the bruising on his shoulder blade from the fall from the horse. Yes, that’s what I meant.
I’m not super invested in the Cordri ship, but Jared Padalecki and Odette Annable are entirely believable together, small touches of reassurance and a realistic banter that’s half old friend teasing and half romantic flirting. It’s a great combination, and one you don’t see all that often on television.
Cordell’s beating himself up about going back to help Dan and losing the race as a result, but Geri reminds him that to get through a painful time, what you need is a port in a storm – just “one good thing” to think about to get you through. Her father Frank used to do that for her, when they were constantly moving around for her heart treatments – something special would be waiting for her to make the hard days a little less hard. It’s a good coping strategy for when life is throwing way too much at you – something most of us can relate to recently.
The Walker family is understandably struggling, their patriarch facing accusations of murder and about to lose the house that’s been in their family for so long. Liam is still questioning why Bonham buried the lantern, while Cordell is facing the difficult task of trying to thank their ranch hands as they’re facing unemployment. I very much appreciate that the show doesn’t have the ranch hands replying to Cordell’s heartfelt “you’re family, and thank you” with a calmly delivered “you’re welcome” or “we’re behind you 100%”. Instead, we get to see their anger and anxiety too – they had no say in this and yet their lives are being upended. It wasn’t pleasant to watch, and I felt really bad for Cordell, but it seemed realistic.
Ranch hand: So what, 25 years and all we get is ‘I’m sorry, grab a handful of peppers outta the patch on your way out?’
Cordell says he hopes the Davidsons will keep them on, but they all know they can’t count on that.
Ranch hand: Maybe you should’ve asked before you raced.
They also accuse Cordell of getting them into this mess by going back for Dan, for “being the bigger man.”
Ranch hand: You feel like the bigger man now, Cordell?
He promises them they’ll help them all get squared away, but admits they don’t know where yet – or when.
Ranch hand: Well by all means, take your time.
This show is at its best when it’s unflinching and tells it like it is – this was one of those times. The ranch hands came off as not very likable, but they’re faced with losing their livelihoods so I imagine there would be quite a bit of anger going on. I did feel bad for Cordell though. Nobody listened to me last week when I tried to scream at my screen that The Insane Race ™ was a very bad idea.
Meanwhile, Denise tries to convince the judge that Bonham murdered Marv, even though it seems like the most egregious conflict of interest ever. Liam argues that Bonham’s not a flight risk, while Denise counters that he was just out there destroying (burying) evidence last week.
Fun fact: Jared Padalecki’s real life parents were in the courtroom. Two of my favorite people!
Luckily for the Walkers, the judge says that Denise isn’t going to prosecute her own father’s murder. Not so luckily, bail is denied – and off goes Bonham in handcuffs.
He’s characteristically stoic, trying to put his family at ease by insisting he’s okay and turning down a plea deal because he’s innocent. Cordell’s self-confidence is shaky after being so confident that he’d win the Insane Horse Race™ but he and Cassie are up for the fight, he says, of continuing to investigate Marv’s murder.
James offers Cassie the option to stay out of it, since she just got there, saying “this isn’t your fight”. But Cassie is undeterred.
Cassie: I believe Bonham is innocent, and I think you do too. So, if you don’t mind, I would like to go down with your ship, Captain.
James: All right but just so we’re clear, this wasn’t, like, a test or anything
Cassie: No. Of course not. But if it was…
James: It wasn’t.
Cassie: (winking) Yeah, but if it was…
James: Then you would’ve passed. Do me a favor, don’t ever wink again.
I actually laughed out loud. Coby Bell is so good at comedy and it turns out that Ashley Reyes is too.
Cassie: Cool, got it, now can we chat for real? Because I think I have the bead on Marv’s true killer.
James: Why didn’t you start with that?
Cassie: Cause you wanted to do the test thing.
The stress of their situation gets to Stella and Augie too, who argue about who’s to blame for the lantern that helped get their grandfather locked up. Stella snaps that Augie just had to impress Faye, saying that she only acts like she likes him half the time.
Augie: Faye doesn’t like me any of the time, all right? She broke up with me – it’s, it’s too much drama.
Poor Augie, worried that it’s his fault and dealing with a break-up too.
Liam tries to console Cordell and convince him that it’s not his fault because he went back for Dan, which gave us a touching brothers scene – something I always appreciate.
Liam: Of course, you had to go back, you’re a Ranger, you save lives for a living. And as much as I wanted Dan to suffer out there, you wouldn’t want that on your conscience, the guilt you’d feel.
Liam often makes more sense than some of the people around him. Listen to Liam, Cordell.
Abeline finally comes clean and tells her sons about the Davidson child who actually didn’t die after birth, and that Marv had come to her the night before the barn fire and told her, saying that Gale had no idea – and that she probably still doesn’t. When her sons are understandably shocked, she insists again that it was not her secret to tell.
Cordell and Cassie continue their investigation after Cassie finds out that Marv paid off one ranch hand a monthly stipend for a decade – Nate Smith. They think maybe Nate was blackmailing him and decide to pay the rancher a visit. Cassie is proving herself a very good Ranger indeed.
Cue guest star Ben Browder, who many of us enjoyed very much on Farscape many years ago. So nice to see him on my screen again!
Nate generously offers to give the Walker ranch hands a job, but Cordell is angry and jumps right into accusing him, guessing that the payments had to do with finding out about Marv’s second child. Nate insists it was just rent, and Cordell kinda loses it.
Cordell: Hey Nate? You know what, I’m gonna need you to wipe that smile off your face. Just rent?? I’m thinking that it was you who killed Marv Davidson and you’re figuring out that 25 years of lies is finally catching up with you.
Nate laughs, and Cordell gets scary mad.
Cordell (threatening): I told you to stop smiling. You blackmailed Marv over the existence of that child.
Nate is not cowed, saying he once turned down a job from Bonham, and that there’s something off about the Walkers, something two-faced.
Nate leaves, and Cordell acknowledges that he let his temper get the best of him.
Cassie: What was that? I can’t hear you over the sound of our blown lead.
She tells him to eat so he can think more clearly, shoving a bag of potato chips at him.
He does, which was pretty amusing, and as he calms down she tells him that they’re partners, and that when he’s off, she can be on – but she needs to know that.
Cassie: I don’t think you actually regret any of your choices on that (race) day. Just the outcome.
Words of wisdom, tbh.
Cordell goes back to the house as it’s being cleaned out and gets a surprise visit from Denise. I think she might feel just a wee bit guilty (though I know I’m in the minority of wanting to give her any grace at all). She urges Cordell to tell Bonham to take the plea deal, but he says they’ve retained counsel and doesn’t want to hear it, again stressing her conflict of interest. She claims she’s worried about him nuking someone else’s career – first Liam, now Cassie. He shuts her down, and she softens, sounding sad for the first time.
Denise: Cordi, how did we get here? I thought we were gonna be the ones to stop the feud.
Cordell: Yeah well, I guess we turned out to be the exact people our parents told us we’d be. Go figure.
That was such a sad conversation, honestly. They were close at one time, and I think both genuinely wanted to end the feud and are trying to do what seems like the “right thing”. They’re way too caught up in the so-called family feud, though, too many strong emotions fueled by loss and grief and old resentments.
Walker warns Cassie that maybe she shouldn’t “fly under the Walker banner,” since it might be a little toxic right now.
Cassie: Just right now?
She refuses to back down; in fact, she tailed Nate Smith as he withdrew money from the bank and packed up some luggage – and he’s now at the Side Step.
So is Augie, who confides in Geri that Stella thinks he’s responsible for the lantern being found (and buried).
Geri reassures him that there were 25 years that preceded the ripple that he caused. She shares the ‘one good thing’ coping strategy with him too.
Nate greets Geri at the Side Step, introducing himself as Nathaniel, a friend of her dad’s, and saying he hasn’t see her since she was a kid. Geri is understandably taken aback.
Cordell arrives and they clear the bar, as Nate says ominously that “this isn’t just about Marv – it’s about Bonham.”
Nate says he knows Bonham is a good man, and wants to talk to Geri in private, but she says that he can say whatever it is in front of Cordell too. Nate shares details about Geri’s childhood, a specific music box her father gave her to help her sleep when she was sick and seeing specialists. Nate was a friend of Frank’s and would go with him to the hospital – Geri begins to remember.
There came a time when Austin General had a new treatment, Nate says, but Frank couldn’t afford it, so he shared an idea with Nate – robbing Marv.
Geri is shocked, insisting that her father wouldn’t do that, but Nate says he was desperate.
Marv was apparently not that great a guy, living “high on the hog” but shorting his employees. When he wouldn’t give Frank his back pay to cover the surgery, Nate and Frank decided to steal it – from the barn. The barn caught fire that night, as we all know, and Nate passed out from the smoke. Bonham was there too.
Nate: But he was trying to save a life, not take one.
Nate continues the story. Frank came out with the money and said that Marv wouldn’t ever be a problem again – because he was dead. And those payments? Nate was the middle man between Marv and Frank for a long time – for child support.
Geri: Why would my father murder some random man?
Nate: He wasn’t random. Marv Davidson is…
Nate: He’s your father, your birth father.
Cordell picks up the story, putting the pieces together from what Abeline told him. Geri is understandably rocked by this news, that her beloved dad is not her father – and that Marv Davidson is.
Geri’s whole world, everything she’s ever known – or thought she knew – about herself and her family, is falling down around her.
Cordell tries to console her, saying that Frank is still who raised her, still her port in a storm.
Geri: I know you’re trying to help me right now, but … maybe, don’t.
She says she feels stupid, that she spent all day trying to help his family. Cordell reiterates that his family is her family, that she’s still a Walker, that this doesn’t change anything.
Geri: Don’t kid yourself, it changes everything.
It does. I don’t think we know how yet, but of course, it does. Whether Geri decides to be a Walker or to let the Davidsons into her life, nothing is the same for her as it was half an hour before. Her whole identity, her entire sense of self, has been turned upside down. That is incredibly hard to deal with, especially when it happens so suddenly, coming out of the blue.
Poor Cordell, as blindsided as Geri and still with the same strong feelings for her.
Poor Geri, not knowing who she is and who she has been all this time, lied to and deceived and feeling like a fool even though none of this is her fault.
Abeline and Cordell stand in the empty house the next day, remembering silly little moments – Liam coloring on the walls when he was little.
Abeline: You prepare for the big memories. It’s the little ones that catch you off guard.
Abeline worries that Geri will blame her for keeping Marv’s secret all these years. She also finds something in cleaning out the house that she thought was lost – which no doubt will turn out to be significant in some way. Whatever happened to Marv’s ring that she gave Hoyt to give Geri? I can’t remember.
Liam picks up a released Bonham, and he thanks his son for believing in him. A father and son hug that I feel like Liam really needed ensues, and then they head to the Side Step for a Walker family reunion.
Augie shows up with breakfast tacos and coffee – and much like Sam and Dean knew on “Supernatural,” the Walkers realize that family is home, it doesn’t need a place.
Bonham: All of us together anywhere is just fine.
As the Walkers enjoy their reunion, Geri is having a different kind of reunion – with her mother, Gale. Of all the Davidsons, Gale is the one who seems the most shady, and I’m fairly sure she’s done some horrible things. But I still can’t get my head around how horrific it would be to have someone take your newborn baby away and tell you she’s dead – to have to live with that grief for decades – only to find that it was a lie. I think she’s genuinely overcome with emotion to find that her baby girl is alive – and is Geri.
Geri is standoffish, which is equally understandable – but Gale’s impulsive sweeping Geri into a hug seemed completely heartfelt.
Is she going to try to manipulate Geri away from the Walkers? No doubt about it. Gale’s life story, the way she writes her own narrative, is that the Walkers – and especially Abeline – took everything she loved and cared about away from her. She is sure to try to prevent that with Geri in any way she can, and I fear some of those ways will be pretty horrible. But I do feel for Gale in that moment with Geri, and for Denise who has just found out she has a sister and looks at Geri with a lot more warmth than she did when confronting her at the Side Step last episode. None of the women are responsible for what Marv did – at least as far as we know – and they were all hurt because of it.
Geri asks if Gale knew that she was out there, and Gale says no, that Abby was the only one Marv told.
Gale: And why she would keep that a secret when I could have…could have been looking for you… I don’t know. But you’re here now and I’m just willing to make up for lost time, if you are.
Geri is ambivalent and still in shock, but she accepts the invitation to come in.
Talk about a cliffhanger!
I enjoyed this episode, although there were some things that required handwaving because they don’t quite make sense to me…
Marv gave away the baby because he couldn’t afford her medical treatment, but then paid child support to a ranch hand who had less money than he did? Nobody else saw Bonham at the barn that night – and he never told anyone what he saw? Why was he there? Where were Cordell and Denise at that point?
Maybe some of those questions will be answered in time, but for now I’m putting them aside and waiting to find out. And I cannot wait for tomorrow’s brand new Walker – directed by none other than Jared Padalecki’s “Supernatural” costar and real-life ‘brother,’ Jensen Ackles!