Many of the “Walker” separate threads that have been woven this season came together in this pivotal episode – some in the way I feared, and some with a twist that I didn’t see coming. In the ‘feel good’ portion of this episode, the Walker family works on building new stables for the horse rescue, taking time out for Augie to try some comedy and everyone to find out that Mawline used to be in a comedy troupe!
Is there nothing Abeline cannot do?
Bonham grouses that Cordell is too busy to come help with the stable building, but Kevin shows up to pitch in. Abeline sees through his earnest just wanna help speech to being all about retaining the mayor’s biggest donor, but Kevin is nothing if not a complex character. He really does seem to want to help, at least part of him does.
Kevin thanks Liam for saving his life when he was hit with the nerve agent, calling him a real hero – which is nice to hear because Liam doesn’t hear that often enough. Of course, Kevin wants to use that in his speech because Kevin always has an angle. We find out he’s an amateur pilot when he hammers his hand by accident, which maybe will be important at some point.
Kevin runs into Cassie at Cordell’s house, and they’re sort of adorably awkward together. I can’t help but kinda like the two of them, though I’m guessing when he says that he can promise that next time he sees her, it will be different, that means something much more ominous than mere awkwardness.
(Spoiler alert now that I’ve seen the whole episode: It does.)
August sees Kevin as a mentor, and asks Mawline to be nice to him. I hope Augie isn’t gonna get hurt in all this…
(More spoiler alert: uh oh…)
That’s the ‘feel good’ portion, such as it is. The rest of the episode is emotional, taut with suspense, and full of powerful performances.
Most of the “Walker” episode is devoted to the mystery of Cordell’s old mentor, Coop, and where the hell he’s been for two decades. Cassie and Captain James speculate – has he been hiding all these years? Was he captured and turned? Cordell and Julia have been busy too, using Walker’s knowledge of Coop’s use of aliases in the past to track his movements and money.
(We’re treated to some flashbacks with Colin Ford as young Cordell – I love that he’s become a recurring part of the show).
Neither James nor Cassie are sure that Cordell is actually going to be able to take Coop down if it comes to that.
James: Cordi, this guy was your mentor. If you do find him, are you sure you’re gonna be able to slap the cuffs on him, or worse?
Cordell is convinced that if he can talk to Coop, he can de-escalate the situation and no one else has to get hurt, but Cassie is still worried. She packs lots of weapons as they prepare to set out to track him, but Cordell sends her off to pick up files while he heads out on his own with the tracker. Uh oh, Cordi, what are you doing?
Seems like Captain James was right to worry about Cordell’s history with Coop getting in the way.
This is why you don’t go after your old mentor alone.
Coop ambushes him on the road, knocking him out when he crashes into Walker’s car, then drags an unconscious Walker out (saving him from it being on fire). Coop looks down on Cordell lying on the ground as an appropriate song plays – the music in this episode was so fitting, and this from someone who doesn’t always love how often music is used in the show.
Gonna dance with the devil and let those demons out
Let me dance with the devil, and let my demons rest
There’s a beast in me…
Cordell comes to in the woods, a bit the worse for wear, smart enough not to follow the easy trail. More great music, Jared Padalecki’s hair freed from the dreaded gel while looking a lot like Sam Fucking Winchester as he avoids all the traps and makes his way (even without his boots that Coop confiscated) to the old house where Coop is holed up.
Smart Cordell is my favorite – he pretends to leave so Coop will come out of hiding, then overwhelms him in an epic fight, cuffing him to the table.
Coop: How’d we let two decades go by and not do this? Good to see you, Cordi.
(It seems to be a thing with how Cordell greets his ‘brothers’)
Cordell is furious, not understanding how Coop could go from someone he looked up to so much to the leader of an anarchist group. Coop insists he was only trying to tap the car and not injure him, and that he wasn’t the one who abducted and tortured Cordell. He burnt his hand saving Walker, he points out, and says he’s only back for his mother’s funeral.
Walker: I used to consider you my brother.
Coop: C’mon, you know me, stinker. Do you really think I’m capable of that?
Cordell bristles at the affectionate nickname, but Coop insists he has no interest in hurting Cordi. He admits that he ran after the blast – from his job, his family, his responsibilities. He’s guilty, he says, of being a deserter and letting the people he loved think he was dead, but not of Grey Flag’s crimes.
Cordell: I’ve been blaming myself for your death, for two decades. This is like talking to a ghost.
Coop: You became the man I fell short of. Guess I did that right, got you started on the right path.
Shit, I was even believing him at that point, when he offers Cordell his gun back.
Jared Padalecki acted the hell out of that loaded (ahem) moment; you can see Cordell’s struggle, how much he wants to believe his ‘brother’, see it as a gesture of peace and trust that he’s longed for.
And then Coop knocks him out and cuffs him to the table instead. He pats Cordi and leaves his gun behind next to him though, seemingly at least a little regretful.
I was totally startled when suddenly Cordell woke up and aims it at Coop’s retreating back.
Coop: I’m not the one you’re after. It’s not your fight, Cordi. It’s something I gotta do on my own. I never wanted you to blame yourself for my death – not then, not now.
Walker lets him go.
Meanwhile, Trey and his partner Lana try to pass the tests that Grey Flag set up for them, preparing for the final one which will have C-4 in the bag. Talk about high stakes!
Lana is on to Trey, realizing he’s not who he says he is. Grey Flag recruited her by promising she and they could make “real change at a grassroots level”, which I still don’t really understand HOW they think they’re doing that. She’s staying now because people who leave and their families pay the price.
Trey trusts her rather quickly, which may not be the best idea. Hope you know what you’re doing, Trey!
Trey helps Lana escape the camp, dropping his notebook in a rush to get her out safely. She makes it to HQ and uses the code word that Trey told her to let Cassie and James know that Trey really did send her to them – and that the Grey Flag leader is headed to the camp tonight. Trey lets the bad guy who saw him help Lana bleed out so he doesn’t tell Grey Flag that Trey is the one who shot him.
As a result, Trey makes it to the Elite Squad – but as a medic whose job was to save people, that must have felt really not good. Then again, he’s been a Ranger for a while now. Seeing him take his hand off that guy’s chest and let him die really hit me though – I appreciate that this show doesn’t shy away from things like that.
All the threads start to come together in the last scene. Cassie and James arrive at the Grey Flag headquarters, and so does the mysterious leader, whose limo pulls up in the dark as they watch through binoculars.
And, of course, it’s Kevin.
Kevin to Trey: Happy you chose the right team.
Me: Damn it, Jake Abel!
Of course, that little exchange could mean a lot of things. Or do I just not want to give up entirely on Kevin? Either way, I cannot wait for the next episode of “Walker!”
This was a really strong episode, with great performances by Jared Padalecki and David B. Meadows as men who were once brothers and still clearly have a bond, but are now torn apart, with lots of pain and anger under that bridge. Coop seems to be heading off on a suicide mission, and I don’t think Walker is ready to let him go – again. But he hurt many people very badly, including Cordell – and I’m guessing maybe Kevin too. We’ll see!
A new episode of “Walker” airs Thursday on the CW with 3.14 False Flag (Part One)!