The title of this “Walker” episode is relevant right away in a misleading beginning as someone sneaks around in the Walker house while Bonham and Abeline are sleeping, which is super creepy. Bonham wakes up and gets out his gun and nearly shoots his son surprising his parents with their morning coffees – which is about as good a case for not having guns around as any (though Bonham does keep it in a locked gun box).
Bonham is not amused.
Bonham: I woke up to a 6’ 4” grinning busybody…
Abeline: His heart’s in the right place…
Of course, they have no idea why Cordell is acting so nervous or waking them up with coffee and insisting they come to the SideStep for breakfast because their fridge is mysteriously broken – but we know. Dan is watching, which is creepy as hell because he’s watching Bonham and Abeline’s bedroom for godsakes and why is no one commenting on just how creepy that is?? Just like it was super creepy that they were watching Stella in her bedroom in her robe last week. Ewww.
Dan has overheard Cordell’s tearful insistence that the fateful fire was his fault but not much else, and he’s already suspicious of the other bad guy Earl – who has figured out that Dan and Denise are going to marriage counseling.
Cordell isn’t the only one who’s jumpy – Micki is still dealing with PTSD symptoms from Garrison’s fall, rubbing the marks still on her arms from where he tried and failed to hang on. Trey’s gentle touch makes her startle and she’s subtly pulling away from him too, kissing him on the cheek after deflecting from his kiss, again a pretty realistic portrayal of her psychological issues (something I’ve been appreciating about this show from the start).
He knows something’s wrong and that there’s something she’s not telling him, glancing at the painting of the church as she leaves, but he’s also trying to give her space and time to open up to him on her own.
Breakfast at the Side Step looks delicious and makes me hungry, even Liam chowing down on bacon though he brought his green juice with him, and is he taking a page from the Sam Winchester little brother healthy eating book??
Bonham: Bacon isn’t a cheat, it’s a lifestyle.
Bonham has clearly taken a page from the Dean and Mary Winchester book when it comes to bacon, and I’m in full agreement with him.
Liam: So what’s the news, big brother?
Cordell: There’s a camera hidden in our home.
Stella: You let us sleep at home after you found a spy camera? The day I take my SATs?
Poor Cordell, he really cannot get a break. That struck me as an extremely realistic thing for a developmentally appropriately self-centered adolescent to say though!
Liam immediately suspects the Davidsons, but Cordell pulls him aside (not nearly far enough aside that the family can’t hear him btw, which happens all the time on TV and always drives me nuts) and asks him not to add fuel to the fire. Cordell thinks it’s Serano.
Liam: You always do this, you always give Denise the benefit of the doubt, never me!
Abeline: Boys, enough!
Liam is little brother pissed though. There is clearly a lot of sibling resentment under that bridge. Breakfast just got a lot more awkward…
Liam drives Stella to the SATs and tries to calm her down from being stressed about the cameras, though not very successfully, and she can’t open up to her friend __ because she has to keep it confidential. I can relate to Stella since my own MO was to be constantly convinced I was going to fail everything I ever did in school and no evidence to the contrary was going to convince me otherwise.
Bonham is continuing to do a good job of opening up to Abeline about how he’s feeling, which is overwhelmed by everything that’s happened over the past few months (understandably). Sometimes seeing “The Barn Burner” chili on the menu is the thing that puts you over the edge. Abeline is questioning whether they even want to stay at the ranch for their “golden years”, with feuding neighbors and surveillance, and even attacks. Bonham protests that it’s their family’s legacy, but she points out that their boys have their own lives and haven’t been interested in running a ranch.
I’m immediately intrigued by this new storyline and always grateful that this show keeps tackling themes that resonate with me. After 15 years of Supernatural and putting a book together focusing on its legacy and the Winchesters’, just that word makes me emotional – but in real life, what does it mean? Does it enrich your life or does it constrain it? I’m curious to see where Walker goes with this question. And let’s face it, we all know I love Bonham and Abilene and that this show isn’t afraid to explore what’s happening to a couple who are in their “golden years”.
Walker brings his suspicions and the surveillance information to the Captain and DA Denise, who prior to that don’t really have enough to bring down Serano. Walker says he felt like the way Serano addressed him was a little too familiar for someone who had never met him so he suspects him of the surveillance, which is pretty good instincts on his part, and also that Stan said that he was being watched.
Denise has an idea of how to lure the spies out, a twist on something that Cordell and James did when they were partners – the Bodey gambit.
Cordell: DA Miller, I like the way you think!
Both Cordell and James clearly have good memories of pulling off whatever the Bodey gambit is, leaving Micki (and us) needing more explanation.
As Dan spies, Denise comes over to visit Walker, who acts surprised and flustered while James and Micki watch also.
Micki: Wow, my partner’s not winning an Oscar any time soon… She’s good though.
Denise pretends they’ve got a hard drive that has enough evidence to link Serano to Northside Nation, but that’s not all they’re pretending.
As Denise takes off her jacket, she worries out loud that something else they did in Del Rio might come to light too.
Micki to James: That’s what you and Walker did? Pretended to be having an affair?
James: No! We pretended to be crooked cops.
Micki: Well then why are they laying on the chemistry so think in there?
Hmm. Good question. James says they’ve got history, familiarity, and they’re capitalizing on it. Hmm.
Creepy Earl taunts Dan, saying some men talk, others act, and “Walker knows what your wife responds to. Do you?” as we see Cordell hold an apparently upset Denise in his arms.
Earl is happy because he thinks Denise will be disbarred for what she’s admitting and won’t be able to prosecute Serano. Dan says any prosecutor can use what’s on that hard drive, but Earl divulges his plan to steal it when Walker and Denise head to the bedroom, sleazy guy that he is.
Micki uses some connections to get some extra drone coverage, so they give Walker and Denise a heads up that someone’s headed their way – to Cordell’s surprise, it’s Geri, complaining about Gail Davidson’s victory speech and teasing Cordell that there are a bunch of women’s phone numbers in the tip jar from the other night.
Cordell tries and fails to tell Geri it’s not a good time (awkwardly, poor guy) and finally, Denise comes in, putting her jacket back on – and things do not get any less awkward, Geri saying she didn’t want to interrupt, Denise with a possessive hand on Cordell’s bicep, Dan glaring at the screen.
Creepy Earl: Cordell, you dog…
Poor Geri, excusing herself and clearly flustered. And poor Cordell, worried at what he’s just done to their friendship/relationship.
Not sure that Denise didn’t enjoy that a little too much though. When they return to where James and Ramirez have been monitoring, Denise says she feels like they pulled it off, right?
Cordell: Yeah, felt pretty good.
Micki looks doubtful and Cordell is texting Geri saying it’s not what she thinks so it’s not all as good as it seems, however. When Denise says it made her nostalgic for when they used to “play house” as kids he says he doesn’t remember that game exactly. Padalecki’s Walker does awkward like no one else.
Micki worries that Walker is distracted by his past with Denise; he worries that it’s more about her past with Garrison. (They are both probably right).
Stella is distracted from her SAT, meanwhile, by worries about what the surveillance camera picked up and honestly I cannot blame her – like I said, totally creepy! Her friend ___ sees how much trouble she’s having and next thing you know the sprinkler system comes on, soaking their still-paper-and-pencil SATs, even though he himself was doing well. Awww.
Liam joins the not-party to say that whoever is watching them is ‘close’ because of the way the signal is transmitted, while Denise looks sort of shady just out of earshot (maybe). She’s on board with searching her own home, though, while Liam looks more and more pissed off, texting his brother “Get a head start to hide monitors?” when Denise suggests she go in first.
Dan goes to take off, but he’s confronted by CreepyEarl, who pulls his gun and tells Dan to call his wife. It turns out she already missed their marriage counseling appointment and tells him not to come to the house because they might be under surveillance. He covers for her though with CreepyEarl, so the plot thickens. In fact, Dan sets Earl up to head to the Walker ranch believing it’s clear, while he hangs back. Dramatic music starts to play as Dan grabs tapes and Earl’s phone and drenches the place with kerosene and sets it on fire.
Denise gets home and Walker joins her semi awkwardly, going in what seems way too soon. He asks her if there’s something she wants to tell him, so maybe he’s taking Liam’s suspicions more seriously than it seemed.
Ramirez and company spot CreepyEarl heading toward the Walker ranch, and everyone goes into crisis mode.
Micki: We can’t delay, that’s how people get killed.
She impulsively hops on an ATV and takes off.
James and Liam grab guns and head out too, and oooh badass Liam! Walker takes off as well, telling Denise to stay behind, it’s too dangerous. Micki pursues the car but is stopped by a barbed wire fence and thrown from the ATV. Liam gets to the ranch, wielding a weapon and kicking the door shut, rock music playing as he pursues CreepyEarl through the house, cat and mouse style. Liam fires a warning shot, telling Earl to come out with his hands up – James and Micki hear the gunshots and he leaves a bleeding Micki behind to go help.
Keegan Allen excels in this scene, Liam clearly steeling himself but not backing off.
Cordell pulls up outside and it’s the Walker brothers ‘defending the ranch’ this time, shades of the Winchesters. Unfortunately, Earl sneaks up behind Liam and points his gun just as Cordell calls, “Liam, behind you!” – a shot rings out and Earl falls, but it’s Dan who pulled the trigger. Convenient, Dan!
Dan spins a story about seeing the fire and seeing the guy break in, saying that he hid when he heard the gunshot, acting (or being) traumatized but taking the hero role in the story at least for now. James says that Cordell was right, that Earl was part of Serano’s organization, so that seemingly closes that part of the story.
Cordell apologizes for doubting Dan and offers his hand to put any bad blood behind them while Liam looks dejected, wondering if he was wrong in suspecting any of the Davidson family. I felt for Cordell so much right then, always trying so hard to do the right thing. That’s the danger, I guess – that sometimes you’ll be wrong when you think the best of someone. But I don’t think that makes it the wrong thing to do anyway.
Augie tries to bring a little levity to the aftermath, wondering if they can salvage any of the surveillance footage so he can prove he didn’t eat the last piece of cheesecake. Also in the aftermath, the team sweeping the place finds an old gun box and gives it to Bonham. He opens it up to find an antique looking gun.
Me: The Colt! Wait, wrong show…
It also has a map made by E B Walker of the ranch, making Bonham a little more nostalgic about the place.
James tells an injured Micki that he was impressed with what she did, up to a point – correctly understanding that she feels like she got to Garrison too late and didn’t want that to happen again. He tells her she needs to take a step back and she reluctantly agrees.
Micki comes home and overreacts again when Trey gets protective and wants to look at her injuries and she pulls away, saying “you don’t have to do that!”
Trey: You need time, I know. It’s okay, I understand.
Micki: It’s not.
Trey: No, it’s not. We’re not. But we can be.
She knows she pushed it all down instead of dealing with it, and pushed him away. She tearfully tells him that she’s taking a step back from work to do what’s best for her – and for them. He holds her as she apologizes, tells her it’s okay, and she clings to him, the painting of the church framed between them.
I couldn’t help but think of the parallel to real life, that Lindsey Morgan is also taking a step back from her work on this show to do what’s best for her and to deal with some real life stressors that are taking a toll. Her decision is as courageous as Micki’s, and I hope (and think) that her friends and family and castmates are as supportive as Trey is being.
The last scene is an emotional one, in more ways than one. Liam and Cordell, in their jeans and single layers, fix the fence that Micki plowed through. The brothers argue about Dan Miller, Liam not wanting to hear that he’s a hero, Cordell saying that he saved Liam’s life. Liam is the only one who’s suspicious about Dan being on their property, but Cordell accuses him of being jealous and says they should look at their own faults.
Liam: What fault did I have today?
Cordell: You thought all along that Denise was behind the cameras and I never should have listened to you.
Liam: There it is…your own brother…
I will admit I am a sucker for brother conflict and love that the show is deepening Cordell and Liam’s relationship and starting to explore the complexity that’s been hinted at since the pilot. Liam is hurt and angry, and those feelings are clearly not new ones. He walks back to the truck just as Denise drives up and thanks them for fixing the fence, but her earlier warmth for Cordell is gone. She realizes that he suspected her family of putting cameras in their home and questions how they can even work together after that kind of betrayal.
Denise: I came back to Austin to heal, to begin again, but that starts with my family, not with you.
She walks away, leaving poor Cordell with everyone angry at him.
And in the past, we see a flashback of Denise walking away then too, from a young Cordell, saying they’re not supposed to hang out, that she’s worried about pissing her parents off even more when they’ve been fighting a lot.
Denise: I saw my dad go talk to your mom today, which is messed up when you think about their past.
(We still don’t know the whole story there and I am so intrigued to find out).
Young Cordell suggests that they watch (a meteor shower or something?) from the barn’s hayloft, a once in 25 years chance – which must be that fateful night. The show cast two perfect young actors to play young Cordell and Denise, and I hope we keep seeing more of them.
Denise: I like the way you see me.
Cordell: I guess I just believe in you.
In the present, a shaken Cordell picks up the lantern hanging on the fence post and heads back to the truck where his brother is waiting.
I honestly don’t know where they’re going to take the Davidsons family feud story, and I like that I don’t know. I don’t like shows to be too predictable, and while there are some aspects of this one that are at times, there are also plenty of times that a twist or turn catches me off guard. I like that.
I’m liking Cordell even more this season – his earnestness in trying to own up to his own and his family’s own imperfections and his attempts to be open to forgiveness are endearing. As hard as it is to see sometimes, it’s realistic that just because you’re trying to do the right thing, though, it doesn’t mean all the pieces are going to magically fall into place. His life is a struggle, and it’s complicated – like most of ours. The show doesn’t shy away from having its characters express gratitude for the good stuff, or from letting them show their hurt and vulnerability when the not-so-good (and even traumatic) stuff happens instead.
No new “Walker” episode this week for Thanksgiving, but I cannot wait to see where we go from here!