Yes, I do mean that literally about “Walker,” False Flag Part 1.
Last week’s episode of “Walker” picks up right where the previous one left off, and doesn’t let up on the tension for pretty much the entire episode. Cordell wakes up to Emily’s voice, telling him to wake up and not stay cuffed to a sink.
Cordell: Honestly, cuffed to an old sink in the middle of nowhere is about how I’m feeling right now, emotionally.
So many of us can relate, Cordi.
He’s traumatized by learning that Coop was actually a deserter and a coward instead of someone he admired and thus modeled his whole life after, questioning what would have been different if he’d seen through him. Would Liam not have been tortured? Would Hoyt still be alive? Would he even be a Ranger at all?
Emily reminds him he’s not a deserter or a coward, even if his self-doubt is winning out right now. She’s the voice of reason in his head when he considers just trying to shoot his way out of the cuffs, and finds a smarter – dare I say a totally McGyver way – to do it instead. We get to see a very badass and resourceful Cordell indeed, chewing his way through a bullet to accomplish that.
Meanwhile, Trey thinks he’s fooled Kevin into believing he’s a loyal Grey Flag operative now. We learn that Kevin actually poisoned himself, which is…. Disturbing…
Kevin says he’s new to being the leader, trying to “right the ship around here”. Trey does a pretty good job of playing along, and for most of the episode, we’re not sure if it’s working or not.
Kevin says he believed in the bureaucracy at one time, then realized the whole system is flawed, designed by people plagued by self-preservation. Huh? Not willing to sacrifice, he means? I still don’t understand what Grey Flag – or Kevin – is all about.
He brings up Lana as a deserter too, saying she was afraid of what he and Trey are willing to do for the greater good.
The greater good? Is that what they’re doing? Whose good? How? I still don’t really get it.
Trey: I see now that it might cost a few lives to start a real revolution.
He asks Kevin what the mission actually is.
Kevin: Trust me, you’ll hear soon enough, and when you do… BOOM.
Well, he wasn’t lying about that.
Cassie and James want to make their move on Grey Flag right away, but the higher-ups want to “monitor the situation” for a while and not risk another Waco. Cassie is frankly sick of being right, including that the FBI isn’t right to wait. So she heads out to find Walker.
Cassie finds Coop’s cabin just after Cordell frees himself so that when she bursts in gun raised, he tackles her from behind.
Cordell: Cassie! Hey hey hey.
Cassie: Nice to see you too.
Excellent comic timing for both, and I love Cassie for using a Hawk’s Shadow reference. Fangirl!
Cordell updates her on Coop not trying to kill him, and she updates him on the Grey Flag leader being, of all people, Kevin.
Cordell confesses he isn’t sure what’s right or wrong at this point, and Cassie snaps.
Cassie: I know you’ve had a rough night, but this is really not the time to get all existential crisis-y.
Ashley Reyes truly shone in this episode.
She gets it when he says he needs to see his kids though. They’re all putting together a dinner for Bonham and Abeline when Cordi and Cassie get there, everyone excited over Stella’s new design for the Rescue and setting the table with beautiful flowers. What a contrast to what Cordell has just endured!
Ben reminds Augie to brag about having the honor of being asked to give a speech at the medal ceremony. Cordell asks if the mayor asked him…
And suddenly Kevin appears with an apron on and serves up the food in the Walker kitchen.
Cordell looks stricken.
Kevin: Actually I did.
Everyone is excited about all the help Kevin has been giving them, and they all are laughing and happy and poor Cordell is just cringing watching Kevin pat his son on the shoulder.
Kevin: You okay? Bit of a rough night?
Cassie has to do the whole “no weirdness here” routine with Kevin too, which wow, a lot of stammering and acting struggles going on here with these two, but who can blame them?
Kevin and Cordell take a walk. Kevin plans to have Augie pin the medal on his dad, and it’s chilling how nice he seems because damn, Jake Abel.
Kevin tells Cordell that Julia refused her medal, said she couldn’t make it to the ceremony.
As they walk past Cordell’s place, Kevin says Cordell has a lot to be envious of, and then off he goes, leaving Cordell upset and fuming and suspecting that Grey Flag is planning to hit the medal ceremony.
Liam asks if something’s wrong and Cordell admits that yes, something is going on that he can’t talk about.
Cordell: I just need your help, no questions asked.
He asks them all to stay away from the medal ceremony. Augie is upset about not getting to deliver his speech; Cordell asks to hear it when he gets back. They all go along, no questions asked. That’s a lot of evolution for Stella and Augie.
Stella bonds with August later in his room, telling him his speech was beautiful – but still complaining that he needs to include his kickass older sister and totally being siblings.
Before the mission kicks off, Trey tries to go out and find the journal he dropped with no success, nearly caught by both the closed-circuit cameras and another Grey Flag guy. They head out with a case full of C4 to the medal ceremony, Trey taking a quick detour to send a quick warning text – and almost getting caught again.
James manages to get the text message from Trey, so they intercept the mayor and take him to the safe house along with some FBI while the rest cover the medal ceremony. Coop’s there too, looking cleaned up and determined (to do something, though we don’t know exactly what or why).
Cassie: You think we’ll get two medals if we stop the attack?
Julia calls Cordell back as he’s headed to the ceremony; she doesn’t want to talk on the phone and asks to meet, so they head to the safe house.
To Cordell’s shock (and mine), Julia accuses Cordell of actually working for Grey Flag! She’s clearly been manipulated into doubting him – apparently by the same source that has been feeding her information for a very very long time.
She hands the file of intel she has for Walker to him for him to look over, finding shady donations to Walker Rescues and wondering if maybe he’s being forced to cooperate with them because she clearly does not want to believe that he’s doing it willingly.
Walker tells her that Kevin is the leader of Grey Flag, and she’s astonished.
Cordell: You came here because some part of you knows that this isn’t true. I’m telling you the truth, I always have.
Julia laments what other lies Kevin told her over the years and also admits that she didn’t want to believe the lies about Walker.
Julia: It never felt right, what he told me about you.
They have a touching few minutes together, saying that maybe they can see where they’re at when she gets back from her assignment for six months. They get the news that the attack at the ceremony was stopped, and I get a very bad feeling.
Trey and the Grey Flag van full of mercenaries run into two police officers. Trey tries to avoid a firefight, but it ends up happening anyway and he blows his cover, in the end, to try to save the two cops.
James and Cassie show up and intercede as the guests at the medal ceremony all run out of the building screaming after hearing shots fired.
In the chaos, Kevin makes an escape out a side door, Coop watching him.
The FBI are now Cassie and James and Trey’s biggest fans.
FBI guy: Feel like I owe them two medals at this point.
Then it all goes to hell.
Trey discovers that the bag with the explosives has bullet holes in it, which should have blown it up.
He opens it, finding the word ‘Traitor’ instead of explosives. Kevin was onto them the whole time.
Cordell and Julia walk out, preparing to say a temporary goodbye. For now.
He reaches out for her, hesitating. Just then, his phone rings, and he answers it while she waits. He asks her not to leave yet.
Cassie: The medal ceremony was a distraction. He knows Trey was undercover.
Cordell takes that in, then looks at the van in the safe house garage, wheels turning.
Cordell looks at Julia standing in the driveway. You can see him put two and two together, the terrible realization dawning in real-time, and he yells a warning, “Julia! Get down!”
It’s too late – the whole house explodes, Julia framed for a second with the fire behind her, whipping her hair up – and then they’re both blown off their feet by the force of the explosion.
Cassie screams into the phone: Walker!
And then to Captain James and Trey: I think they just hit the safe house.
Emily: Cordi, wake up…
He comes to just like Sam Winchester did in “Supernatural’s” amazing episode All Hell Breaks Loose Part 1, the camera shot the same from above, dizzying as it spins and focuses on him as he struggles to wake up. The reference was instant for those of us who are forever Supernatural fans, and it made this episode (which was already powerful and emotional), even more so.
A Kim Manners homage from director Richard Speight, Jr. perhaps.
Cordell, bloodied and covered with dirt and debris, struggles to get up, looking around for Julia.
He crawls to her through the smoke and debris, then gently turns her over.
He takes her pulse, and realizes she’s gone. His face shows his anguish as he huddles over her, trying to comfort her even as he knows it’s too late.
Jared Padalecki shows every bit of that anguish, and it comes through loud and clear.
Richard Speight, Jr.’s directing is powerful here, again pulling up bit by bit to show the tragic tableau. It reminded me once again of All Hell Breaks Loose – this time the last scene, as Dean holds a lifeless Sam in his arms at the end of that episode, sobbing as the camera pulls up high in the same way.
That association only made it more emotionally devastating – and for someone who really liked Julia, it already was pretty devastating for me. Jared Padalecki does an amazing job portraying grief and pain – sometimes such a good job that it’s hard for me to watch – and this scene is another example of that. You can feel his anguish.
I know a lot of people didn’t like Julia and were convinced she was sus, but I’ve loved the character from the start. She was tough and defended and sometimes bruising honest and she took no shit and wasn’t afraid of anything. She was so far from the typical ‘love interest’ that you see on most network TV, and I loved her being smart and capable and a journalist with principles. I thought she and Cordell had a ton of chemistry, and even their one very complicated grief-fueled love scene was realistic in its very imperfection. I am truly sad that she’s gone, truly.
All the kudos to Anna Enger Ritch for bringing to life such a complicated character, who kept people guessing until the very end. I, for one, was totally rooting for her.
Poor Cordell. So much damn loss. I don’t know how he’s going to get through it.
Tonight’s new episode of “Walker” is inevitably going to hurt – and I’m here for it with False Flag Part 2 3.15.