I’m going to structure this week’s review a little differently. That’s because there was some of it I really liked....and some not so much. Instead of going through the episode chronologically, I’m going to put all the stuff I liked at the top, and the stuff that made me twitchy at the bottom, with a warning in between so folks who don’t want to read my concerns can jump out early. Deal?
The Good Stuff
Just like in Supernatural, we got a ‘then’ and ‘now’. The episode started with Walker outside the Coroner’s Office on the night of Emily’s death, waiting to go identify her body.
Geri was in her car, fumbling around in the glove compartment with... something. (It warranted a close-up, so it must have been important, but I couldn’t see anything.) She’s got blood on her jacket, and she takes the jacket off before going to be with Walker.....hmm.
Then she goes to be with Walker, and they go to see the body.
Jared knocked it out of the park with his emotional portrayal, completely falling apart. After having heard Jared talk about how difficult the emotional scenes on Supernatural were between him and Jensen when one of their characters died, and how hard it hit him to portray that, I can’t imagine what it felt like to play that scene with his real wife.
He did a great, painfully beautiful job. (All of the actors turned in strong performances.)
The ‘now’ section begins with Bonham and Abby riding fences, looking for ‘storm damage’. That was a good metaphor for the whole episode...dealing with the damage from the storms that have been unfolding all around them.
Also, it made me think about fences and boundaries, and how fences enclose, guard, and protect, but also keep people out. The characters have a lot of metaphorical fences, for good and bad.
Walker tells his family that North Side Nation (NSN) were the ones at the soccer game, and that there’s evidence they were involved in Emily’s death. Stella says, “It feels like you’re going hunting.” (Hiya, Sammy.) “I’m trying to bring peace,” Walker says. (Peace when he is done? Where have I heard that before?)
Liam, the kids and Walker’s parents are going to stay at the ranch. The kids are angry, and storm off.
Cordell goes out to his truck and finds Captain James waiting. James wants them to handle this together, like the partners they used to be. Throughout the stakeout, James is working hard with words and behaviors to smooth over the resentment between them. He apologizes for not listening to Walker before about Emily’s death, and says he has a lot of remorse over that. They use words. They joke about their old ‘codes’—like Rule 17.
Micki turns up at the Walker home as an unofficial protective detail. Stella tells Micki that Trevor ghosted her. Micki then takes the kids target shooting, which was a good diversion and also restored a sense of control and an ability to feel like they could do something to protect themselves, if needed.
She gets Stella and Auggie talking about their feelings, with Auggie wanting his mom’s killer to die. Stella says she doesn’t feel that way at all. She just didn’t want to go through what it was like before. “Things were almost normal. I liked living in ‘almost’.” I loved that quote. I think we can all relate to times that weren’t as good as they could be, but weren’t as bad as they’d been, and taking comfort in a fragile balance of ‘almost’.
Liam and Abby talk, and she tries to talk him into shaving what the SPN fans will recognize as a ‘grief beard’, signifying that he’s coming back to being himself. Abby tells him to focus on the ‘next chapter’.
I really loved that Walker and James, two men in traditionally macho roles, one White and one Black, choose to talk out an interpersonal problem and clear the air instead of letting it fester. That goes against so much cultural programming, and it’s great to see it. James also admits that he’s facing issues since his promotion from people who don’t like seeing a Black man in his role. He says he wants to ‘make this right’.
By the end, they are in a much better place with each other, and if the rift hasn’t completely healed, it is headed in the right direction.
Bonham and Liam are worried about ‘how Cordell will come home’—in other words, whether he’s going to go off the rails again with violence and alcohol (shades of Dean Winchester), or deal with the situation in a healthy way. Cordell’s future and its impact on the family hang in the balance, and a few seconds could change everything.
When he comes back safe, Bonham says a prayer of thanks and both kids run to him—the homecoming that should have happened in episode one.
In the end, the family is together for dinner.
Cordell makes a toast. “This isn’t the path we chose, but your mother left this world doing what she chose, helping people.” (Am I the only one who heard ‘saving people, hunting things’?)
He says that he doesn’t want to think about what they’ve lost but what they gained—closure, peace and their bond. He raises the toast to the vision of Emily he sees beyond the gathering.
At the end, he’s on the couch with Auggie asleep on one shoulder and Stella on the other—echoing that same pose in an earlier episode when everything was much rougher between them. That was a nice bookend.
The Plot Problems
Ok....now for the parts that made me twitchy. If you really loved the episode, quit now, because there are some logic and plot problems that need to be talked about.
The last episode ended with Liam predicting that ‘a storm is coming’—dire words expecting serious danger for Walker and all of them from NSN. Liam was worried enough about the gang’s retribution that he lied to Bret to push him away, causing Bret to break off their engagement. The bomb in Mexico was linked to NSN through Mendoza’s niece. We saw that these are very dangerous people.
Last week, Liam was despondent about breaking up with Bret but clearly worried about danger enough to justify his lie to himself. He was obsessive about the case since Mexico, not shaving or showering or going home. It appears to only be a few days since then.
But he breaks down the wedding trellis, so he’s not harboring any hope that maybe when the danger is over he could woo Bret back, and he seems to be considering running for office in the future. (Where did that come from? And why, given all that is going on, would that even be a fleeting thought?)
Micki shows up as unofficial protection. Bonham makes it clear that if attacked, they’ll fight back.
But there’s no danger, Micki goes off with the kids instead of keeping a lookout for trouble, and the tension just fizzles as they all have a pleasant afternoon. It was like the last couple of episodes never happened.
James and Walker do a stakeout with listening equipment at the NSN’s hideout.
James hands Walker the folder full of the information he and Liam have compiled. Walker freaks when he sees Geri’s photo, and James tells him she’s been a person of interest for a while, laundering money for the NSN through the bar.
‘Person of interest’ has weight and meaning, and should be a red flag for Walker to proceed with caution.
When Geri drives up, Walker compromises the entire operation by going out to confront her in the parking lot of the secret lair which apparently doesn’t have lookouts or cameras. If he had sat tight, they could have seen/heard exactly what Geri’s business was with NSN and her true role/relationship.
Once she knows they are watching/listening and agrees to wear a wire, now she’s performing for them, and everything she says/does becomes suspect. She tells Walker and James it was just a bad loan and she’s come to pay it off.
Oswald tells Geri not to sell the bar—especially not to a Ranger—because they’re not done using it yet. She pushes back, and tries to get him to incriminate himself about Emily’s death. Oswald finds the wire and grabs Geri, putting a gun to her head. Walker and James come in with guns, and more Rangers pour in shortly afterwards. Oswald lets Geri go. The Rangers take them all into custody, but a blond woman, Cali, who was at the poker game tells Walker and James she has information about Emily’s death.
Oswald and his buddies....don’t live up to the bombing badass expectation. They’re roadside biker bar scum, but they didn’t even have lookouts around their secret lair bar-warehouse. There was no big gunfight, even when Walker and James were outnumbered. These guys didn’t even seem as bad as the ones that threatened the kids at the soccer game.
So if they were the NSN, they’re a real let-down as the potentially threatening bad dudes. Oswald wasn’t even around the night Emily was murdered because he took his mother to a casino—and his alibi checks out. WTF?
Walker and James talk to Cali, who said she could help. She refuses to tell them anything until they offer her protection and uncuff her. I get agreeing to protect her—but taking off the cuffs? Then she says she has proof but it’s on her phone which is back in the lair and they just send her in alone to retrieve it? Big surprise—she bails on them and the lights go out. (Seriously, this is such a ludicrous epic fail I can’t imagine even a rookie cop making it.)
And what was the big deal about the cigarette lighter? It triggered a memory for Walker, but they never explained it.
Walker and James go in after her.
Cali says she killed Emily because they were bringing drugs across the border and spilled a few capsules and Emily happened upon them and they were afraid she’d turn them in. Walker really wants to shoot her, but James talks him down.
Then Geri lunges out of the shadows and kills Cali before she can shoot Walker or Walker can shoot her.
Why is Geri still there? How did she not end up being taken with the rest of NSN at least for her statement, since she was a ‘person of interest’ and involved in money laundering, whether or not she was an innocent victim? What is she doing prowling around the dark warehouse? Why is she still armed after the raid? Anyone else wonder if Geri shot Cali to shut her up, rather than to save Walker?
If a character that we’ve never seen before is Emily’s true killer and this wraps up the big mystery, I’m deeply disappointed. It’s ending the season’s major arc with a fizzle instead of a bang. If the NSN really only spilled ‘five or six’ pills on the ground like Cali said, how did they think Emily would have even seen that, out in the desert at night? Weren’t they wearing masks? And how was Geri close enough to close Emily’s eyes but not close enough to also get killed? This makes no sense at all.
If Liam was really obsessed with catching NSN and devastated over his breakup with Bret, why isn’t he even considering apologizing and explaining and telling the truth if the danger is now over? The bozos at the secret lair didn’t seem like much of an international money laundering/smuggling cartel. If Liam was obsessed, why isn’t he poking around the details to make sure they aren’t taking the easy solution again?
Why isn’t James reading Walker the riot act for completely compromising the investigation he and Liam have worked so hard on? Why is Geri not in custody at least overnight until the shooting is processed, since she killed someone? Why would she be released if she’d been a ‘person of interest’ in an investigation—they can hold you for 24-48 hours without charges. How is she in the bar? Even if Geri was victimized with a ‘bad loan’, she wasn’t ignorant of the money laundering. That makes her complicit, even if she offered to rat them out. In the real world, the bar would probably be seized as an asset for the duration of the investigation.
Why does Walker leave his family to go to the bar to see Geri? He was ready to believe she’d had a role in Emily’s death just hours earlier, and now he totally buys her story and all is forgiven?
Then they kiss? His decision-making skills and impulse control are terrible, and still trusting Geri despite everything just makes him look incredibly naive.
Mid-season finales usually are cliff-hangers with everyone in jeopardy—life-or-death situations, big secrets revealed with high-stakes impact, pivotal emotional confrontations. After the faster pacing and danger of the last episode, it looked like the show was hitting its stride. But instead, there’s no urgency, no follow-through, and no logic.
I really want to like this show. I’m rooting for Jared and I think he and all the cast knock their performances out of the park. But I’m losing patience with the writers. The repeated breaks in release dates for new episodes might be unavoidable given current circumstances, but it also drains away the tension and interrupts the flow. I hope this gels soon, so we can all get the amazing show we want to see.
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Screencaps by Raloria on LJ