One recurring theme of Walker is that no matter how bad it gets, people will be there to love and support you. This episode explores the other side of that … showing up honestly when those you love need you. One person who shows up even past his comfort zone is …

Cordell

2.08 6 walker

Even at the beginning, he is showing up for his kids. He is playing games, something that was a rarity when Emily was alive. But in true 'Jared Padalecki universe' fashion, game nights mean doom. In this instance, Captain James being shot. And Walker has to do more than show up at the hospital, he has to step up into the Captain’s position while Captain James recovers. Jared makes sure discomfort and nervousness is clear on Walker's face, but he steps up. He even faces Stan, the one who took his wife from their family, when there are no other leads. And Walker shows up honestly. He leads the rangers with honesty, admitting his nervousness, but also his commitment to getting justice ethically to those in his command. Then when Captain James is better, Walker truthfully reveals he doesn’t want the Captain’s position, but he will continue to show up and answer the call of …

Captain James

2.08 9 Larry    2.08 1 Larry

Poor Captain James.  Seeing him hurt yet still worried for others proves what a good man he is. Coby embodies this innate goodness with every word, every movement. Captain James constantly shows up for others. In this episode, his motivation for being captain is revealed more: he witnessed injustice and wanted to stop it from happening. He wants to stop the cycle of violence. So he shows up for work, and makes the hard calls, even though he’s slowly realizing that’s not enough. But in doing so, he forgot to show up at home. This cost him his marriage. But in this episode, he’s present for them, too. Because he really loves and needs…

James’ family

2.08 8 Jameses

Across multiple state lines, his son, DJ, and his ex-wife, Kelly flew to be by Captain James’ side in his moment of need. It was wonderful seeing this family together. While DJ was introduced last season in the intense “Bad Apples” episode, the viewers hadn’t met Kelly until now. The chemistry between the two exes was fire, with deep love still evident with every word. DJ was honest in needing a break but wanting more time. Kelly was honest on why she left. This leaves to door open to a future for them together. A future that wouldn’t have been possible if not for …

Trey

2.08 7 trey

He showed up in a major way, breaking cover to come to the captain’s aid. He used his skills as a soldier and medic to save the captain’s life. Jeff Pierre shone in this role, deftly going from fierce soldier, to concerned friend, to skilled medic. Trey was always honest in his prognosis, never giving false hope but working his hardest to prevent the worst outcomes - and it worked. He was also honest to himself. Though he is good in a crisis, that’s not what he wants. He prefers the path he chose before the shooting started, to help young people find their way. Young people like …

Stella & August

2.08 2 teens

After so many tragedies in their lives, they know when a friend is in need. So they show up for DJ while he worries about his dad. Violet, Kale, and Joshua walk the line between childhood and adulthood with aplomb. They reminisce about the days when they were younger, when the parents would have their own game night. And again, Stella is honest. She can’t press pause or have them go back in time to when things were better, but they can play a game from their childhood and pretend for a little while. Another childhood friend who shows up at the perfect time is …

Geri

2.08 4 geri

When Walker needs her most, she appears. Odette gorgeously waltzes in and now becomes the quintessence of unwavering love and support. Walker's broken with self-doubt, with the additional worry he made everything worse for Capt. James. She reminds him honestly of how well he does in the darkest of times, and truthfully tells him that he second guesses himself too much. When he despairs of having no one by his side and being unable to do what Larry has entrusted to him, she calmly points out the truth. He is already being the leader he was called to be and has more on his side than he knows. Her calm, honest support is the rock he needs to briefly cling to in order to right himself. She’s also right that he gets unexpected help from …

Liam (and Stan)

2.08 3 Liam    2.08 10 stan

Showing up even when it hurts is one of Liam’s defining traits - one he stays true to in this episode. Keegan telegraphs beautifully the range of Liam’s emotions, from helplessness, to determination, and even self-loathing rage. Liam makes a deal with the devil, in this case, Stan, in order to get the necessary information. Though Liam breaks the tenant of honesty with his brother, he keeps his part of the bargain with Stan. Jeff Nordling is a genius at being an anti-villain, someone who is clearly evil, but helps the hero. With Stan, you can’t tell if he at all cares, or if his concern is an act to further his own agenda. He plays brilliantly with both brothers Walker, and it’s wonderful to witness.

This episode was amazing. Emotional throughout yet leaving the audience craving more instead of drained. It returns the series to the story less told, a man not thinking he has to achieve more to be successful. A person willing to work for others and help them achieve their vision. All the characters feel real and brilliant, with layers just waiting to be further explored.

It even once again broached how the justice system can be flawed. How all too often violence is met with more violence resulting in death when there may have been a better way. Overall just a stellar episode.

4.98 out of 5.

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Screencaps by Raloria on LJ