Another solid episode. I’m hoping this means that the writing team for Walker has found its stride. Lots of action, some character development and plot progression, along with unanswered questions and minimal teenager distraction. "Nudge" is a strong addition, aside from a few things that made me go ‘hmmm’.

I’m going to group my comments by character(s) rather than chronologically so I can organize my thoughts about what happened.

Cordell, Liam and Trey

Cordell, Liam and Trey eat lunch together. They are all missing partners of different kinds—personal, professional, or both. Liam is thinking of going into private practice, since his political career is toast. Trey is moving because the old apartment has too much history. Cordell misses having a work partner. Trey offers to help Liam research the old map of the Walker ranch. None of them have resolved the lack of a romantic partner. This was good writing, and a nice set-up for what lies ahead for each character.

At the office, Captain James tells Cordell he’s looking for a partner for him, and mentions that someone has been impersonating a ranger. With that in mind, when Cordell finds a car sitting out like bait, he cautiously approaches it, being careful not you touch anything. (He taps a button with his knuckle to not add fingerprints. He probably shouldn’t have sat inside it, but this is TV.) A woman comes out of nowhere shouting at him. She refuses to listen to him, tases him and pushes him into the trunk.

Cassie makes a dramatic but not sympathetic entrance. There was no reason for Cordell to listen to her, as she had no authority and didn’t identify herself. She dismisses his attempt to explain or to identify himself and accuses him of pretending to be ‘the ranger who is always in the news’. But if she recognized his name, wouldn’t she have also seen his face in the coverage?

She then takes him on a wild ride, driving dangerously on populated streets to throw Cordell around in the trunk. We’ve seen reckless driving during car chases, but Cassie initiates this all on her own, heedless of the danger to other cars. She’s also totally screwed up any fingerprints or other evidence in the car, and she is being a real jerk to Cordell. Finally she calls Captain James and realizes that she does, indeed, have Cordell Walker in the trunk. By this time, Cordell has dug into the wiring and pulled the brakes.

My initial reaction was to be annoyed at Cassie for being obnoxious. Then I stopped and thought about how I’d have processed her actions if she’d been male. We’ve been taught to evaluate actions/attitudes differently depending on the gender of the person. The same cocky arrogance that made me mad at female Cassie would have been amusing with a male character. At which point I realized that Cordell has not just been gifted with a new partner who is a female version of himself in season one, he’s gotten a female Dean Winchester.

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Cops arrest both of them, and James is sympathetic to her story. Cassie’s prior boss hired her after James hired Micki, and she’s now on leave after losing her partner, Miles. Cassie believes Miles is still alive.

Cordell accuses James of trying to ‘Parent Trap’ him into taking Cassie as his new partner. There was a nice Supernatural throw-back in James’s comment about Cassie being able to force ‘a moose like you’ into the trunk. James asks Cordell to consider partnering with her.

Meanwhile, Cassie shows up at the Walker Ranch and says she’s there about the ranch hand position, but Abeline and Liam figure out fast that’s not the case. Cordell is at the Side Step talking with Geri about the situation, and makes the comment that Cassie couldn’t ‘muck out a stable’. Nice parallel! Geri tells Cordell that she’s on his side. Geri thinks he and Cassie are too much alike, but asks him to give her a chance.

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When Cordell pulled the brake line, he also uncovered a tracking device. They realize someone planted the car to have it found and towed away, disclosing the secret location of the asset forfeiture warehouse. Cassie and Cordell go there and track the perp. Her comment to Cordell about whether he wanted to ‘ride shotgun or are you partial to the trunk’ was pure Dean Winchester.

She’s only using a baton and not carrying a gun. Still, between the two of them they subdue the would-be thief. Cassie thinks he hurt Miles and Cordell talks her out of doing serious damage to the guy. She can clearly handle herself on the job. (Cordell, like Sam Winchester, falls down and gets hit in the head a lot.)

Cordell tells her that he knows what it’s like chasing ghosts (nice allusion to both losing Emily and to his undercover cases) and that it’s best not to do it alone.

Cassie goes to see James. It turns out that the perp was a drifter with no connection to her case. James gives her badge back and says that he likes rangers who color outside the lines, that she reminds him of his old partner (Cordell)—the best ranger he ever knew—and that he will have her back. This is interesting, because so often James seems to side with just about everyone instead of Cordell when Cordell is in front of him. Has James come to see Cordell in a new light, or was he always more supportive than he appeared but withheld showing that to Cordell in order to rein him in?

On the way out of the ranger station, Cassie and Cordell banter about partner nicknames, and joke about being Yoda and Luke. (Nice nod to Eric Kripke conceiving Supernatural as Han and Luke at truck stops.) She pushes Cordell to move forward with Geri, because ‘it’s always complicated’ and you never know when your conversation with someone will be your last. Cassie mentions that she and Miles argued right before he disappeared, making me wonder if their relationship was both romantic and professional given her comments.

Trey and Liam go riding with the map, looking for the ‘real’ property line. Liam says that depending on which map is right, a chunk of the Walker farm could be Davidson land.

Cordell goes to see Geri and is adorably flustered. She asks how he feels. He fumbles. She kisses him and draws him inside.

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I’m more okay with Cordell and Geri’s romantic relationship now than I was when it was hinted in earlier seasons, partly because the characters have had time to grow and move on. I really hope none of my earlier suspicions about Geri turn out to be correct. I have the feeling those elements either have been abandoned by the writers or were red herrings, but time will tell.

Abeline and Gale

Abeline is at the market and runs into Gale, who is shopping for the secret chili ingredients used for the dish served at the Side Step. Abeline mentions that Colton has visited the house to work on music with Auggie, and that she taught him the song Marv liked. Gale has a total freak out at a level that is not normal. It’s been 40 years. Gale needs serious psychological help, and seems to be utterly consumed with bitterness and rage. If a theme for this episode is moving forward, Gale is mired in the past.

Gale takes her groceries to the bar, which isn’t open yet. Geri is hosting a grief support group. She follows Gale into the kitchen (smart move—I wouldn’t trust her to be alone anywhere) and tells Gale not to let the past define the future. Gale says she knows Geri has experienced loss and has appeared to find more peace in one year than she herself has in twenty.

Gale shows up at the Walker ranch, and Abeline invites her in, but Gale refuses. She says she was thinking about the past, and that Marv came to see Abeline the night of the barn fire. Now she wants to know what they talked about.

We still don’t know the extent of Gale and Dan’s involvement with North Side Nation. Dan got a ‘get out of jail free’ pass, but that could leave Gale twisting in the wind if she was complicit. Personally, I’d love to see Gale get busted for being part of the gang and Denise resign over the involvement by her mother and husband. That wouldn’t restore Liam, but it might give us a D.A. who is more impartial. I’m not a fan of the feuding families storyline, but considering the prequel we’re getting, I’m afraid it’s here to stay.

The Kids

Stella, Auggie, Colton, Todd, and Auggie’s new girlfriend want to go to a concert, and Stella thinks Todd can get them tickets. Todd doesn’t show up at the concert, so Colton drives Stella to his house. Todd has the tickets, but can’t go because he has to help his younger brother study for a make-or-break test. Stella takes the tickets out to Colton and says she’s staying with Todd to help tutor his brother. Todd’s brother says he approves of Stella, and Todd kisses her.

Auggie tells Colton that Todd is a fling and that making Stella mad won’t help. Auggie says he wants Colton to stick around for the band, but the way he phrased his warning made me think that he sees the possibility for Colton and Stella to get together after she’s over Todd. (None of these relationships really matter in the long run because they’re all graduating and going off to other places, so it’s very difficult to care.)

The Take-Away

At least the teen drama was minimal. I know they feed The CW’s demographic, and that Jared has said Walker is a family drama with law enforcement elements instead of the other way around, but I didn’t like teen drama when I was a teenager and it’s even less interesting now. There were, however, some connections to the grown-up arc in terms of waiting for the right time with relationships and being a good brother, so the plot thread didn’t feel disconnected or distracting.

Gale Davidson needs medication, therapy, and to be kept away from sharp objects. Gale is fixated on Abeline talking to Marv. Given that she broke up with Marv at their engagement party to run off with/sleep with Bonham, I can understand some hard feelings—but not after 40 years. Or, since we know Abeline was a wild spirit and has had at least one affair, were she and Marv cheating on both Denise and Bonham? (I hope not—that would make Abeline into a less sympathetic character.)

If Liam and Bret don’t reconcile, could Liam and Trey have a fling? They’re good together. I hope Geri and Cordell work out if they’re going to do this and that she doesn’t turn out to have been more involved with North Side Nation than we’ve seen. (The first season’s messy writing left a lot of possible loose ends that might or might not have been intended or carried forward.)

Cassie has potential, and given that her sharp edges come from grief and loyalty, she may become less abrasive as those issues are resolved. I am going to be reminding myself as a viewer that behavior I would have enjoyed from a male character should be just as acceptable/enjoyable from a female character who is breaking gender expectations.

As always, Jared and the cast knock the acting out of the park. I hope the writers stay consistent with strong plots and good action!

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