This episode explored how people can cause rifts in their relationships by focusing on what they want and not thinking about others. On the other hand, focusing on other's needs instead of your own can bring you closer together with people. The interesting twist was that antagonists can act in the interest of others, and protagonists can be selfish, even ….

Cordell

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Walker’s goals are noble. He wants to protect his family, and take down those who would harm them. The problem is that he is so focused on who he thinks it is, and making amends for sins of the past, that he doesn’t approach things objectively. He ends up not only not finding out the whole truth, but also hurting a lot of people.  He hurts his family by worrying more about catching who is spying on them than telling them the truth immediately. He hurts Geri with his ruse. He hurts Micki by doubting her motivations. He upsets Denise while trying to make it up to the person he also hurts by not believing…

Liam

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The younger Walker brother is not blameless either. He’s so focused on his hurt feelings over the Davidsons that he fights with his brother. He even puts himself in harm’s way trying to prove himself. And he doesn’t forgive that Cordell seems to choose…

Denise

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The new DA is so focused on getting what she wants, that she doesn’t care who she hurts. She chooses to take a ruse that is about pretending to be crooked, and twists it to come on to Walker. She forgets about her marriage counseling with her husband. She keeps Liam out of the investigation, which heightens his suspicions. She lashes out at Cordell for suspecting her. And she intentionally hurt …

Geri

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At the wrong place and wrong time, unbeknownst to her, Geri had finally gathered the courage to tell Cordell how she felt and pursue what she wanted - a relationship with Cordi. Unfortunately, Denise interrupted too quickly, making it seem like Cordell was with her, even going so far as to say they had a hotel room waiting. Geri immediately changes course, apologizes, and doesn’t want to get between them, even though she’s obviously hurt. This causes Cordell to immediately try to assuage her and want to talk and work on their bond. He even goes so far as to text her the title of the episode, “it’s not what you think,” while discussing operations with Capt. James, Micki, and Denise, proving how much he cares about her and wants to help take away her pain.  Another person who is hurting is…

Micki

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Burying oneself in work is a common way some people try to cope with grief, and that’s exactly what Micki is doing. She is rushing headlong all episode, deflecting concerns, until she is physically stopped by barbed wire. Then she is forced to see that her actions aren’t okay. She needs to change. She needs to slow down at work, and work on her relationship with…

Trey

He is trying to be understanding, to give Micki the space she needs, but he can tell something is off. And because he doesn’t push her, she ends up in his arms wanting to make things better between them. Another couple of people who end up hugging are …

Todd and Stella

This is a new relationship for the show, and honestly, not a romantic one. Todd is a good person who exemplifies selflessness. He was doing well on his SATs, which as a repeat senior, he really needs. But one look at Stella’s distraught face, and he sacrifices his SAT score by setting off the sprinklers, ruining all the tests. Stella, for her part, acknowledges what he did, and in expressing her gratitude, they grow closer. But actions that appear selfless aren’t always borne of the best intentions, as is the case with …

Dan

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Denise’s husband is definitely on the list of villains in this episode, and yet because he makes his actions seem selfless, he strengthens his standing with both Denise and Cordell. Even though, in actuality, he was covering up for his misdeeds of also spying on the Walkers, it looked like he was just a Good Samaritan who saved Liam. This brilliant use of appearing selfless has put him above reproach - which is an interesting way to twist this theme of the episode.

This was another amazing episode that really explored why people act the way they do and the effect it has on others and how they see them. Walker is never just about plot points. In this episode, an undercover operation uncovered more about the people involved than who all the culprits were. And though it’s frustrating to see those we side with act badly, it makes them more real.

4.75 out of 5


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Screencaps by The CW & Cat Bowland.