“Sucker Punch” is an unexpected blow out of the blue. This aptly describes what happened to so many of Walker's characters this week. How one deals with life’s unexpected jolts depends on both one's personality and support network, and no one took more unexpected hits than…
Watching the person he knows was trying to kill him get out on bail was the first sucker punch of the episode, and being who he is, of course his first concern was his family, not himself. Luckily, he has a Captain and brother who have his back. Even though Liam’s mystery client was a surprise of its own, Cordell was quickly able to come up with a plan to nullify the threat. Watching Walker show off his brilliance and competency was wonderful. With his brother and captain’s help and support, he was able to protect them. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the way he wanted, which was another unexpected hit. Jared flawlessly went through every emotion - rage, forced calm, vindication followed by being shaken at Serano’s death. He even cutely portrayed milder, yet still substantial, surprise when finding out about his children’s love lives. Fortunately for him in that instance, there’s …
She is Walker’s steady rock and support. She was able to fill him in on what he misses in his children’s lives. She even comforted him about his children's strengths and futures. Even at the end, when Cordell was rattled after what happened with Serano, she helped him feel better. And her sucker punch? The depths of her feelings for him and how she’s going to work up the courage to tell him. There is more between them than just unsaid feelings. The well of their shared history and mutual suffering makes it complicated. They know they love each other deeply, but do they want to risk their incredible age old friendship? Even though their feelings are undeniably changing from strictly platonic? Odette gorgeously gives Geri life, as this rock to others shows subtle cracks under her own pressure, which was brought on by observing…
Stella and August
These two are doing well - surprisingly well for all they have been through. Their biggest challenges and surprises currently are navigating the waters of young love. August suddenly finding out he needs to form a band to impress a girl is a far cry from finding out his friend is holding him hostage and his friend’s father is lethally vengeful against his father. Getting to watch Violet and Kale play more normal yet wonderfully wholesome teens was delightful. The audience can tell they’ve been able to make so much progress because they have so many who love and support them. They have their father, Geri, their grandparents, Trey, and their uncle …
For poor Liam, the hits just keep coming, and Keegan shows each impact beautifully. The person responsible for most of Liam’s problems this season is the very one who kept the hits coming this episode - Dan. But no matter what was thrown at him, from knowing he was right, to being legally silenced, to almost losing it all, he stayed strong. He even kept his word when Serano was no longer a threat. Cordell and Captain James had his back, giving him strength, even when he didn’t know it. They, especially his brother, knew him so well, he didn’t have to tell them anything, they just knew. This helped Liam when Dan sucker punched him yet again by backing out of the deal. So while the Walkers were able to weather the blows well, the same can’t be said for …
Time will tell how they handle what happened this episode, but when hit with the unexpected, they ran. The one who ran the most? Dan. Giving credit where it’s due, Dave Annable plays cowardice well. Rocked by the news that Serano is free, he ran. First, he ran to find something to put Serano behind bars. Then he ran from Serano’s men. Lastly, he ran to Liam. Even then, he ran from the consequences of his actions, and as soon as he was threatened, he caved. Even when Walker came to arrest Serano, Dan ran. Denise ran from the unexpected truth about Dan, choosing to hide in her office instead of talking to her husband, which led her to find out about the lantern. Amara did a great job portraying a woman uncertain and hurt. Colton ran away in a more teenage way, emotionally. Jalen is amazing as he plays your typical teenager in a love triangle. Not an adult playing a teenager, an actual teenager. He hid the tickets like he hid his feelings for Stella, running from those feelings by pretending he didn't care, when he obviously does. But unlike his parents… he has someone for support, someone who understands - Geri. So, what he does next will be interesting to watch.
The episode was amazing. The intensity delightfully broken with emotional truth. The chemistry between the various characters is entrancing. The protagonists were at their best, shining brightly. Even the antagonists were humanized while still being foils. The music elevated the episode even higher. A thoroughly enjoyable hour.
The only problem was that Trey seemed to be inserted to give him screen time instead of moving the narrative forward. However, since the scenes may have significance later and it’s always good to see Trey, this doesn’t impact the greatness of the episode much.
4.94 stars out of 5.
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Screencaps by Home of the Nutty