Of all the regular characters on Walker, August Walker is the one who’s most often relegated to the background. Most of his moments with the other family members involve him being a sounding board or a plot device. His individual plots are often short (when he gets them), and even his longer arcs involving his love life are still given very little screen time. Within the fandom, his character is often ignored or forgotten beyond being Cordell’s son. He’s just another character in an ensemble of others who have had larger, more memorable plots and more impactful moments. Despite all of this, it’s hard to ignore the impact August has had on Walker’s overall narrative - or perhaps, it’s a bit too easy to ignore it.
When August was first introduced to us, he was described as Cordell’s thoughtful son. August then spent the first few episodes acting as a peacemaker and buffer between his father and the far more opinionated Stella. Though he has gained a bit more personality over the course of the show, it’s still easy to put August in the background of his more dynamic family members. Because of this, his impact on the plot and the other characters is easy to miss or even forget about, when in reality he has been the driving point behind most of the larger plots and character development moments.
Walker’s “Champagne Problems” was a vast departure from the hatred fueled feud that has driven the Walkers’ story this season. In fact, there was so much love, happiness and reconciliation in this episode, I watched the entire show with trepidation, waiting for the inevitable bomb, literally or figuratively to go off, ruining everyone’s celebration. I admit that expecting disaster is a personal bias in my life right now, but I’m wondering how many other viewers also had trouble trusting that Cordell could actually have “a good day” without something blowing up in his face. The same could be said for Abby and Bonham, Liam, Stella and Augie, and maybe even Cassie.
Sometimes a show takes a breath before the drama intensifies. “Champagne Problems” delivers this reprieve before setting up for drama ahead. With the heartwarming theme of “you show up for the people who mean something to you,” it was a time of healing and understanding what’s important to our characters… even if other characters aren’t so thrilled about it. At the heart of it all is …
We had a lot of joy in this episode—long overdue—as well as some problems from the past and character insights. I’m going to skip the recap and just cover what I liked—and what made me gnash my teeth.
The Good Stuff
Bonham and Abeline are so sweet! It’s rare and wonderful to see a mature couple be so affectionate. They acknowledge that there have been hard times along the way, but also gave a wonderful acknowledgement to the importance of family, friends and community.
The big party was fun, and watching the family try to pull it off was familiar to everyone who has ever tried to surprise people who are hard to put one over on! I loved the affirmation that their family is more than their ranch or their house, that it’s the people and not the possessions or career milestones that really matter. Bonham and Abeline both gave insightful speeches, and we got to see Bonham sing and play guitar! (Go, Grandpa Campbell from Supernatural!)
While the champagne was there, Walker's "Champagne Problems" covered a lot more problems than that.
This episode had a few different big plotlines going on and gave a decent amount of time to each of them. It could almost be said that there wasn’t really an A plot at all. While any one of the “bigger” plots could have easily taken up one episode, I think they were all handled well here and didn’t feel too rushed, even if they did share the screen. Of course, the main event is the 40th anniversary party for Abby and Bonham but I think it serves more as a vessel for other stories to be told than a story on its own. So, I’m going to do things a little differently this time and cover the events of this episode in order from start to finish.
This review is going to be different from my usual discussions of characters. Instead, it’s going to follow the format of fellow reviewer, Gail. It will start with what I liked and loved about the episode, then give you the chance to stop before I discuss what I didn’t like.
Another really good episode, with only a couple of things that made me scratch my head. When the Walker writing team decides to kick it in the ass, they do a fine job! I’m going to skip a recap and just focus on what I liked and the stuff that pulled me out of the story.
Walker’s 2.15 episode “Bygones” was sneaky. The case of the week was straightforward enough. Cordell and Cassie needed to work with Cordell’s undercover girlfriend on a sting operation. Nothing very unusual about that, except maybe feeling a bit like Cordell when the perp tested his knowledge of cryptocurrency. The veteran ranger could throw around the cryptocurrency terms (once prompted by Cassie) but he really had no idea what our culture’s new financial lexicon meant. I applaud the show for the “currency” of its crimes. The more the mainstream is exposed to cryptocurrency, the faster we’ll educate ourselves on its possibilities.
As I said, though, other than the counterfeiting details, the story was a rather predictable backdrop for the more unsettling messages of the show. The moral of the story snuck up on us, in both the conversations and actions of the characters. It was refreshing to hear some of the characters’ personal revelations. Things that desperately needed to be acknowledged were finally said aloud. Those moments were the highlights of show for me. In sharp contrast, some of the character’s actions were terribly hard to accept and left me with an unexpected pang of conscience. Would I be gracious enough to let bygones be bygones the way many of these characters did after they had been grievously wronged?
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