"Boundaries" was well-named, as the characters dealt a lot with personal, professional, and tangible lines. Plenty of action and surprises, and some interesting changes for several characters.
I have a lot of opinions, so this week I’m going to skip the recap to keep the length down, and go straight to reactions. If you need a refresher on what happened, the other reviewers do a great job covering the play-by-play.
Let’s start with the parts I liked, and then get into the things that gave me pause.
What I Liked
Shirtless Cordell is always a treat. Great opening visuals! I also like that Jared has chosen to keep his real-life tattoos visible for Cordell. Seeing his wedding ring set aside gave me all the feels!
Despite everything that has gone on between them personally and between their families, Abeline shows compassion to Gale (even if it’s through gritted teeth). She remains dignified and adult in her reactions and when Gale asks about the past, Abeline doesn’t betray Marv’s trust.
Geri stood up to Denise at the Side Step, landing squarely on Team Walker.
The rock climbing scene with Cassie and Cordell was a great effort at building trust and team work. They were trying hard to work together. He was willing to make the effort, and she filed down the sharp edges. I also like that Cassie declared her neutrality when Denise clearly tried to get her to take sides against Cordell—and hinted that her help finding Miles was conditional on Cassie’s silence about Dan being drunk. Cassie is too new to draw a line in the sand, and Denise outranks her, but by declaring herself to be Switzerland, she sidestepped a conflict (and we’ve recently seen that the real Switzerland isn’t always neutral when the chips are down).
Kudos to Stella for telling Auggie that he overstepped by making assumptions about her relationship with Todd and sharing those thoughts with Colton. Stella showed a lot of maturity standing up for herself to Auggie and Colton.
Good for Liam, who is trying to do the right thing, act within the law, protect his family, make sure he has done his research, and deal responsibly with all parties.
Applause for Denise calling Dan out on his behavior, confronting him with his lies about the Walker surveillance project, and making it clear that she knows he got the stay-out-of-jail deal and did it behind her back. I cheered when she threw him out, and groaned when it didn’t stick.
This episode had lots of action and plenty of foreshadowing with all sorts of messy loose ends. We seem destined to head more toward soap opera than crime drama, which isn’t what I hoped for but it seems to be working well for them in the ratings.
If you loved the episode, stop here and enjoy the rest of your week because several aspects ruffled my feathers, which I’ll deal with next.
What Didn’t Work For Me
Waking up alone after sex—especially after the first time with a new lover—is never good. Cordell wakes to find himself alone in bed and Geri already half-dressed. I know some people saw this as modest (she could have still worn the t-shirt in bed, as lots of women do) or respectful to the actress. I read it as Geri being ambivalent about this new step, and it made me mad.
If Geri still wasn’t sure what she wants from Cordell, they could have tip-toed into new territory by dating, even if just for a month or two. That could have let them see how it felt to shift from friends to romantic partners, get used to being a couple in public, and could have included physical intimacy short of jumping into bed together. That’s a very logical, mature approach for two people who have been hurt before.
Someone who is onboard with a new lover stays snuggled for some morning cuddles, luxuriates in the closeness and the shift in the relationship—and maybe initiates Round Two. They don’t jump out of bed, cover up, and then immediately shut down a very logical request to let the family know they’re dating. (Like people weren’t going to figure it out. And it’s just dating—they aren’t announcing a wedding date.) All the more unbelievable because this isn’t a teenager’s first time. These are two people in their late thirties with previous serious relationships.
Shutting down Cordell so abruptly was hurtful—and made me wonder what she’s playing at. Asking Cordell to be her dirty little secret is wrong, and pointless. If she was that unsure of what she wanted, then she should have waited to sleep with him. Asking to ‘go slow’ would have been entirely logical, and could have made for some good TV as we watched their relationship grow stronger and them get more confident with a second-chance love affair. My heart ached for Cordell, who had to have been hurt by her sudden switch no matter how gallant his words.
Colton proves to be a real Davidson, being willing to betray Auggie, Stella, and Abeline over the lantern. Stella definitely picked the right guy by choosing Todd.
Liam deserves better. He’s an experienced lawyer. He’s trying to protect the family and do it with the law on his side. Yet he’s invisible at best and treated disrespectfully by his father at worst. Did he ever go over to Stan’s house to find the hidden thing in the desk that Stan said would change everything? Want to bet it has something to do with the map?
Bonham had been making progress, but now he’s back to being a hardheaded jerk. He’s been keeping huge secrets that affect the whole family, hasn’t been honest with Abeline, treats Liam disrespectfully, and unilaterally wagers their home, legacy, and livelihood on a literal horse race. This is only redeemable if we find out there’s early dementia.
The barn fire had to have been investigated by police and insurance at the time it happened—especially since there were legal proceedings.. Even forty years ago, forensics could pinpoint where a fire began, especially if an accelerant like kerosene was used. The lantern would have been taken as evidence for the trial, not left out in the open for four decades. I’m thinking it would be even worse for the wear if it had been in the hottest flames. This doesn’t make any sense, but I guess that train has left the station.
A quick internet check shows that horse farms with custom homes and amenities similar to the Walker ranch in Texas sell for around $3 million. I’d assume the Davidson property would be equivalent. Bonham and Gale are going to risk a $6 million investment and their homes on a horse race? That’s insane. There is absolutely no reason for this except contrived drama.
Which leads me to the secret baby trope. How in 1980 could a husband ‘give away’ a special-needs baby without his wife knowing about it? How did he get it out of the hospital? Were the doctors in collusion? If the reason for not wanting to keep the child was that Marv didn’t think they had the money to provide proper care, how was it that easy to find adoptive parents willing to take on that responsibility? How did he falsify all the paperwork? Did he sell the child? We’re not talking about a frontier outpost a century ago. There have to be witnesses, maybe a money trail. Maybe a home ancestry test with unexpected results?
Dan getting away with being drunk as a skunk in public was unfortunately realistic given that he’s a rich, white, landowning man married to the D.A. Regrettable, but realistic.
I’ve seen a lot of comments about Jared’s facial expressions and his ‘stuttering’. I’m in the middle of a Supernatural rewatch, and the things people are calling out about Walker are absolutely there in Sam Winchester. Watch for Sam’s ‘twitchy sniff’ expression when he’s angry because he isn’t being listened to or getting his chance to speak (usually with Dean). It happens all the time.
What folks are referring to as ‘stuttering’ isn’t a speech impediment—it’s the awkwardness of not having one’s thoughts fully collected before beginning to talk, or being nervous. (An intentional acting choice, not an issue of being able to say the words or know the lines.) Jared reminds me a lot of the classic movie actor Jimmy Stewart in this, which was something Stewart did frequently and which was part of his ‘aw shucks’ Everyman charm. Sam Winchester also did it in emotionally difficult moments like his first conversations with Mary after she was brought back, when he discussed the Cage with Rowena, or his more difficult discussions with Dean. Now that I’m watching for both the facial expressions and the sputtering, I see it frequently in Supernatural.
Jared is the Executive Producer, so nothing happens on Walker that he doesn’t want to happen. I have the feeling that he likes playing an underdog. Sam Winchester was certainly an underdog, constantly undervalued even by those who loved him, underestimated, and doubted at every turn, but who grew to be one of the guys who saved the world and beat God. I think this is a journey that resonates with Jared, which is why we’re seeing it play out with Cordell.
Once again, Jared and the cast knocked their roles out of the park despite issues with the writing.
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