Lots of action, some good character development, and no one making easily preventable mistakes. This episode was a win!
Hoyt is coming home, and everyone is at the Side Step to welcome him. Auggie is pulling together a video tribute, and Cordell stumbles through his, suddenly awkward.
He thinks about texting Geri an apology for the kiss, and then for putting her in a weird position, then just deletes it. Obviously, what happened is weighing on him.
Trey is with Micki watching for Hoyt's arrival. They talk about what’s going on with them, and Micki tells him that he is the most reliable person in her life. He’s worried that the TBI from his storm injuries might make him unreliable, and she says he can rely on her for a while. Later, he admits that he’s having dizzy spells. She is encouraging and supportive. I love the honesty and the easy way Micki and Trey don’t get caught up in traditional gender roles of who has to be strong or protective.
They share those roles back and forth depending on what’s going on and who has strength to lend or who needs protecting.
Back at the Side Step, Geri dodges Hoyt’s kiss. He and Cordell wrestle in greeting.
It all feels awkward, like they’re going through the motions but instead of it clicking like old times, something’s off.
Clint is on a prison bus, and a motorcycle gang roars up behind them. He smiles and gets a nod from his lieutenant, so we know there’s going to be trouble.
Micki talks with Geri (interesting, because we know Micki and Cordell talked about the kiss and his tangled feelings). Geri admits that Hoyt is ‘not exactly the stuff of fairy tales’. Hoyt asks Cordell what’s up with Geri. The old relationships that used to be second-nature are off-kilter, and they all feel it. Cordell and Geri argue, since they haven’t spoken for a month.
Stella blows off her soccer team’s state championship (seriously, how is she still on the team?) to run away with Trevor. They drove all night, and Trevor wants to keep moving. She didn’t tell anyone where they’re going, she turned off her phone, and Trevor cautions against using a credit card or ATM to avoid being tracked. It’s obvious that he’s been trained on how to stay off the radar. (Which reminded me a lot of Sam and Dean).
Cordell mentions his upcoming DPS hearing (it’s been so long, I wasn’t sure they were coming back to that). He thinks he knows where Clint will turn up after his escape, at the next bank that the Rodeo Kings planned to hit, where there’s an expensive necklace the gang stashed in a safety deposit box. Micki asks why he didn’t mention the fact that he had memorized the safety deposit box number in his deposition, and he promises to add it.
It turns out the box’s ‘owner’ beat them to it, and he’s left them a message about the ‘scavenger hunt’. Then Cordell realizes that Trevor is Clint’s son, and panics over Stella’s safety. (I guess he didn’t hear Trevor call him ‘Duke’ after all.) Cordell’s comment is ‘who knows how twisted up Trevor is on this, and what he’ll do for his dad’. (Anyone else think of John Winchester’s A+ parenting?)
Trevor takes Stella to a place his family vacationed when he was a kid. He knows where his dad’s stash of money, fake IDs and guns are kept. He wants to keep on running, but Stella says she won’t leave her family. They argue, then reconcile, trying to figure out how to make this work.
Hoyt talks to Abbie, and she tells him that it’s ‘never too late to go on the straight and narrow’. Then she gives him a very expensive engagement ring that was hers from the man she was engaged to before Bonham.
Walker goes to see Twyla Jean in prison. She says he did a real number on her, and wonders whether anything was real. He says that he had just lost his wife, and she was ‘the right person then’, still thinks of her when he hears ‘their song’. She says she wanted money ‘to make the grime sparkle’—to have something good in a crappy life. She refuses to tell him anything, and Cordell says he’ll still check in on her from time to time. Finally, she mentions a cabin Clint talked about, and Cordell goes after Stella.
The idea of what’s real and what isn’t runs through this whole episode. Are Hoyt’s many proposals to Geri real? Are their feelings for each other more than nostalgia? What about the kiss between Geri and Cordell? Which is more real—Duke or Cordell? Trey seems to be doing better, but is his recovery real? How about the relationship between Stella and Trevor? Is Trevor’s desire to be a good guy real? Does Liam begin to change who he is to better his chance at winning the election? (And was his relationship with Bret ever real, since it was so easily forgotten?) The engagement ring brings up the second serious relationship Abbie had aside from Bonham. Are their feelings for each other real?
Liam is talking to a reporter when Hoyt and Abbie come into the house, and Hoyt’s clowning around makes Liam worried about what the reporter will say. Later, he talks to Abbie about comments online targeting his run for DA by bringing up Cordell’s upcoming hearing and Stella’s brush with the law. Abbie tells him to to get ahead of it by talking about the bad stuff first.
Trevor burns the cash and fake IDs to prove he doesn’t want to be part of his dad’s type of life. They keep the guns. Clint’s lieutenant shows up and grabs Trevor, while Trevor helps Stella get away. The lieutenant chases Stella through the woods, shooting at her.
(Anyone else wonder if that’s a mirror of what happened to Emily at the border?)
Stella has a gun, and she shoots—and hits Cordell. The lieutenant jumps Cordell, they fight, Micki arrives as backup, and they take him down. The lieutenant says that Clint wants to reunite with Trevor, and that Stella shouldn’t think he’ll pick her. “Families fight and forgive. Never underestimate the love between a father and his son.” (Total flashback to Supernatural!)
We see Clint driving in a truck .... going where? And where’s Trevor?
Afterward, Stella and Cordell argue about keeping secrets (another Supernatural reminder). She says she wants to save Trevor. Cordell tries to empathize with ‘first love’. He tells her that he realizes how potent that is, but sometimes your heart wants you to do things that your brain doesn’t agree with. (Hmm....could that also have something to do with Geri and Twyla Jean?)
Stella tells him that for graduation, she wants to go on a road trip with Cordell like she and Emily were supposed to do, just the two of them. (Another hint of Supernatural, since Sam often said he was on a ‘road trip’ with his brother.)
Hoyt asks Geri to marry him, with the real ring Abbie gave him. She turns him down. He says that she makes him a better man. She confesses to having kissed Cordell, and at first, Hoyt says it doesn’t matter—unless it matters more to her. Geri says they’re both looking to change, and she isn’t sure they can do it right together. Hoyt tells her that he meant his proposal every time, even with the milk carton rings, although she didn’t take it seriously. Hoyt goes to confront Cordell, who is just getting home and doesn’t know Hoyt’s already at the ranch.
The episode title came into play in several ways, with some interesting parallels. Hoyt was released from jail/ Clint and his lieutenant escaped from prison. Geri kept her freedom and didn’t go to jail for killing Cal/ Twyla Jean lost hers and ended up in prison. Trevor wants to be free of his family’s dark past (hello, Sam Winchester), Stella wants to be free from restrictions, Trey wants to be free of his injuries. Cordell, Liam and Abbie are all trying to work their way free from their past choices. Does freedom bring good things, or was Janis Joplin right about it meaning ‘nothing left to lose?’
For me, this was the best episode so far in terms of several key things: 1) The characters’ actions actually made sense and didn’t feel like forced errors designed to create drama or be a cheap shortcut to maneuver the plot; 2) No one seemed to be acting out of character for the sake of angst; 3) We had action, danger and suspense while also following the life issues of the family/friends.
I’m still hoping that we find out more about Bret and Liam and that Liam isn’t callous enough to just pretend their relationship didn’t happen. Abbie and Bonham still haven’t patched things up between them—sounds like she had an interesting history. The too-easy wrap-up of Emily’s murder and how North Side Nation went from scary car bombers to incompetent poker players still makes me wonder if there’s more to come (or maybe that was just bad writing). But “Freedom” gave me hope that better written episodes may be in our future.
The cast’s acting has always been fantastic, but too often they’ve had to wade through scripts that lacked logic, consistent characterization and urgency. If we can get more stories like this one, I think Walker can kick it in the ass.
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Screencaps by Raloria on LJ; Article Illustrated by Nightsky.