‘Walker’ Past Is Prologue 3.11 Looks at the Impact of the Past on the Present

walker 3.11 past is proglogue recap mttg lynn with jared padalecki 2023

Past is Prologue is an interesting title for last week’s “Walker” episode. So often, our past is what impacts our futures – if we don’t make sense of it, it can have way too much impact.

Bonham is still grumpy about nobody coming to his family meeting and the horse rescue not being run by him first, feeling like he’s been “put out to pasture”.  Abeline’s having none of it and I am here for her, as always.

Walker Mitch Pilleggi grump on set being Bonham 3.11.
Walker Abilene dealing with a grumpy Mitch Pilleggi Bonham on set 3.11.

Abeline doesn’t want Bonham to have regrets, feeling bad that she waited so long to reconcile with her brother. She of course prevails, telling him she’s got his back and is on his side, but also, he needs to talk to Liam and Stella, even if they should have talked to him first.

Abeline: We need to do the teaching, lead by example… and bask in your superiority.

God, I love Abeline.

I love that Liam and Stella now have a horse rescue because it means I get to see lots of gorgeous horses too.

Liam and Stella shoot a social media promo post, much to Bonham’s annoyance. He walks out.

Stella: He’s still mad?

Abby: He’s still somethin’…

Bonham eventually listens to Abeline and comes around, telling Liam that he did accept that he and Cordell didn’t have that “rancher green thumb”, and that what matters is that they’re happy. He’s grudgingly impressed with what Liam’s done and is “man enough to admit that it hurt,” that it wiped away a vision he’d become fond of. It’s a pretty candid thing for Bonham to admit, so I give him a lot of credit.

Walker gay Liam Keegan Allen getting in deep with Mitch Pileggi in barn hot scene 3.11.

Liam says he was hoping it could be “ours,” a family thing that the new logo is based on his Grandad’s signature.

Bonham: Well hell, William, when you put it like that…

Of course, he can’t leave it at that, though. He needs a parting shot to keep his grumpy grampa persona intact.

Bonham: Daddy’s signature was damn chicken scratch – that ain’t it.

Walker gay Keegan Allen looking very flaming in cowboy drag 3.11.

Meanwhile, just when we were all open-mouthed at Captain James’ ability to be harsh (to Trey), we get to see the softer side of him when Kelly returns to town and they rekindle their romance at a new level, with her moving to Austin full time. Awww. 

Walker Coby Bell James with Kelly on couch.
Walker Kelly back in town to service Coby Bell on set 3.11.

Most of the fandom figured out that Trey wasn’t really fired, and that James was setting him up to do some undercover work, but it was good to have that confirmed in this episode. So yay, now we can go back to liking Captain James again! Though Trey got to hang out in some nice outfits while he was “unemployed.”

Walker Trey trying to fist hard with Cassie over going undercover.

It doesn’t take long for the bad guys aka the lobbying group (disguised as country club golfing types) to reach out to Trey, in fact.  It also doesn’t take long for him to figure out their ‘prove you’re smart enough to do this job’ little test.

Walker Trey sitting with country club moron undercover job.
Walker Trey happy to get some scenes going.
Walker Trey ready to fist with Jared Padalecki 3.11.

Trey is smoooooth in not seeming to want it too much, and the lobbying guy is smooth too in making it sound like they’re actually trying to help vets (who in real life really don’t get the help they need). I confess to not really understanding the whole Grey Flag thing, honestly.

Julia is off working in DC, so it’s Cassie and Cordell teaming up to try to figure out why his old squad is maybe being targeted – and why maybe HE is being targeted. I love Cassie for being all in on trying to get Cordell some closure, and also her willingness to drop back and give him some space when digging into all this brings back his PTSD and survivor’s guilt big time. Jared Padalecki is so good at showing those emotional struggles, and I love when this show gets serious and goes there.

Walker Cordell and Cassie doing intense research 3.11.

(Padalecki also tweeted a CW video encouraging people to fight the stigma around talking about mental health issues, which is so important in making real-world change. The chapter he wrote in Family Don’t End With Blood was a similar encouragement, since Jared opened up about his own mental health in it, and it’s helped many other people do the same.)

Cordell looking into his past and how his “brothers” died means flashbacks – which means we get Colin Ford as young Cordell again. Yay! Colin is SO good and it is uncanny how much he seems like a young Jared Padalecki, both on Supernatural and on this show.  We see some of the trauma that Cordell and his unit endured in combat, their vehicle blown up and one of their own losing his hearing. 

Walker military flashback scene in 3.11 Past is Prologue.
Walker Rob after getting blown up by Jared Padalecki in military flashback PTSD.
Walker military flashback in 3.11 with Rob before he got blown up by Jared Padalecki.

Cordell and Cassie’s visit to the widow of his other “brother” turns out to be traumatic itself, Cordell remembering Rob’s struggle with addiction and his widow not wanting to hear it.  We see another painful flashback, Rob being reprimanded for getting high and Cordell trying to reassure him that he’s not alone, that he’ll be okay.

Cordell Walker flashback with robs addiction and PTSD trauma from military 3.11.
Walker Cordell having military PTSD flashback 3.11.

His wife is understandably angry, blaming their military trauma for what happened to her husband.

She eventually orders them to leave, and Cordell feels guilty for having upset her.

Jared Padalecki talking PTSD trauma and depression with military wife on Walker set.
Jared Padalecki talking PTSD depression with military veteran on Walker 3.11 set.
Cassie actress on Walker set 3.11.

Cassie wants to continue their investigation, but Cordell is overwhelmed with emotions stirred up by their conversation and his flashbacks.

Cordell: We all did what we had to do to survive over there, and we all had vices. What happened over there to us, that was ugly, and what happened when we came back, the guilt, the regret, that was ugly too.

Jared Padalecki loose jeans on Walker set.

Every time we understand more about that trauma and his time in the military, we understand a little better just how much Cordell is carrying. Still.

He tells Cassie he tries to avoid thinking about it because it hurts. That’s a raw, honest thing to say, and she takes it in like the serious admission it is.

She gives him the time and space he needs, and then when he’s had a little time and feels like he’s ready to be all in, they try to reach Tommy for more information – and get a disconnected phone.

Uh oh.

Jared padalecki in kitchen with Cassie on Walker 3.11 set.
Walker Cordell and Cassie hunting Tommy killer with guns outside.

They find Tommy mortally wounded, set up for Cordell to find him – a scene so dark it seemed like something out of “Supernatural” honestly.

Cordell’s “no no no no no, stay with me, hey stay with me” hit wayyyy too close to the barn scene in “Supernatural” when Sam loses Dean (Jensen Ackles), so it made me unexpectedly emotional. Cordell stays with his dying brother, again evoking the Winchester brothers with his “I’m not going anywhere.”

Walker Jared Padalecki holding hands with Tommy who is dying like Jensen ACkles in Supernatural finale.

Meanwhile, Cassie takes off after the guy who apparently gutted poor Tommy.  The music montage actually works for this one as Cassie floors it and the lyrics say “I’m a monster…going going gone…”   The bad guy rams his vehicle against hers and then crashes, Cassie looking shocked as the car flips again and again. The guy who must not have been wearing a seat belt is dead, half out of the vehicle. Cassie finds a file with Tommy’s name and photo on it.

Wa.lker Cassie pursuing man who gutten Tommy.
Walker car crash with vehicle flipping end over end 3.11.
Walker Cassie reacting to causing a man to crash his car in pursuit chase 3.11.

Uh oh.

There’s a pretty cool shot of the destroyed vehicle from above, Cassie holding the file, the truth of what this means hitting her.

Walker Cassie at crash site with dead man thrown from car 3.11.

Cassie still respectfully covers the dead guy with a blanket. The file confirms the dead guy was Grey Flag, and they realize now that this isn’t an anarchist group taking issue with the military – this is something personal. That Cordell’s unit was targeted – and so is he.

Walker Cassie talking to Jared Padalecki sitting on back of truck looking stern and vexed.
Close up of Jared Padalecki talking on Walker 3.11 set.

Cassie: Walker, you’re next.

Walker: I think it’s time we read in James.

Jared Padalecki sitting on back of Ford truck on Walker set 3.11.

Who at that moment is in his car on a dark road not taking Walker’s call – because he’s meeting with Trey. It would have been a gasp-worthy reveal if most of us hadn’t figured it out (possibly because we just wanted it to be the case!)

James: Mission is a go. Be careful, man.

Trey: Will do. It’s good to see you, Cap.

Cody Bell working up Trey in a car outside a cruising park in Texas.
Trey sitting in dark car with James in a hooking up gay cruising part to go undercover.

They part ways, their cars under two isolated lights on a deserted road – another dramatic shot that worked really well.

Walker 3.11 episode surprise twist with Trey going undercover for James Cody Bell.
Caps courtesy of raloria/spndeangirl

This episode was beautifully filmed and directed, and the music in this case worked instead of throwing me out of the action. Ashley Reyes and Jared Padalecki were both so good at conveying their characters’ slowly dawning realization of just how serious – and how personal – this is for Cordell. And both also showed us their emotions, Cassie’s empathic negotiation of when to push and when to back off as Cordell struggles with survivor’s guilt and PTSD.

So well done!

James and Kelly negotiating the complications of a mature relationship of two people who were bonded at one time but pulled apart trying to carefully come back together was also really well done.

The Bonham and Abeline scenes almost always work for me because Molly Hagan is amazing, and I liked the grudging softness of Bonham’s admitting to his son that his personal aspirations for his sons was getting in the way of his being happy for them just being happy.

Plus, beautiful horses!!

A very solid episode in just about every way.

New episode of “Walker” tonight with 3.12 Best Laid Plans, so stay tuned!