There were certainly a lot of “Bygones” handed out this week.
I have a lot of thoughts about this one, especially regarding the ending scene, so I’m going to start off with the smaller plots and cover the main story after that.
Let’s start with Trey, Larry, and August.
Following a disappointing encounter with his ex-wife, Kelly, Larry James turns to Trey for a listening ear. While Larry does love Kelly, he’s having a hard time giving her the emotional connection she wants with him, which is part of why their marriage fell apart in the first place. It has gotten so bad that he couldn’t even express his excitement correctly when he was propositioned with a family vacation. August overhears their conversation and jumps in with his own girl troubles. He tells them that, even though Bonham was found innocent, Faye still refuses to talk to him or even consider getting back together with him.
After hearing out these poor, lost souls, Trey gets an idea. He takes them to a rage room later that day and encourages them to let out their internal and unrealized aggression. After they’ve all gotten a few hits in, he asks them to try an exercise. Starting with Larry, he tells them to shout small details about their day. Larry is unsure but he goes along with it anyway. In the process of yelling about his day, he reveals his hidden frustrations about how Cordell doesn’t seem to respect him as a Captain. He questions Larry’s decisions often and doesn’t appear to trust him to do his job. Trey congratulates him on tapping into his feelings.
After August takes his turn (which we sadly don’t get to hear for ourselves), the three of them get ready to leave. August is ready to accept that if Faye wouldn’t stand by him over something he had no control over, then she wasn’t the girl for him. Larry’s learned the importance of sharing his feelings, especially regarding his work, and Trey got an offer for a job helping other Rangers with their emotional constipation, which he readily accepts. We finish off with Larry talking to Kelly one last time, apologizing for his earlier emotional incompetence, promising to do better, and expressing his real excitement at taking a family vacation over the summer.
Side note: Did anyone else mishear August? I could’ve sworn I’d heard him say “I’m the king of that shit.” and it took me a few rewinds to hear “ship”. Doesn’t change the show much but I was mildly impressed for a second.
Next up, we have Stella and Bonham dealing with the Davidsons and the messy emotions therein.
We start off with Bonham and Abby looking at properties to start a new ranch. It’s a frustrating task as so many good options are just out of price range. Bonham starts to think it might be better to just give up on the idea altogether.
Meanwhile, in the background, Stella has gotten into her number one pick for university. However, she’s chosen to keep this a secret from the rest of the family because of money concerns. Even with financial aid, there’s a hefty price tag and she doesn’t want to pile on to what they’re already dealing with. She’s also still having mixed feelings about Todd and Colton, something else she’s keeping from her family. When Abby asks if she’d like to look at ranches with them, she says she’ll be hanging out with Todd instead, while she texts him that she can’t see him today.
Following this, we see her walking with Colton and talking about some of what she’s been dealing with. She acknowledges that this is a weird conversation to have with him given their current relationship status, but he doesn’t seem to mind and lets her vent. He does take a moment to ask if she’s given any more thought to what he told her the last time they spoke. Before she can give him an answer, she notices quite a lot of hemlock growing on the side of their walking path. Given that the current care status of the horses is up in the air and Dan recently ripped down the fence between the two properties, her first worry is that a hungry horse will wander over the line and chow down on the poisonous plant, so she immediately calls her grandfather for help.
When Bonham arrives, he immediately scoffs at the large golden “D” that now adorns the gate into the property. As soon as he approaches, Dan starts telling him to leave but Colton stops him and lets Stella explain the situation to both of them. Bonham, unsurprisingly, digs into Dan for knowing so little about ranching and trying to tackle so much himself. While Dan has his pride, he can acknowledge that he messed up and graciously accepts the Walkers’ help clearing away the hemlock.
While they work, Dan tries to strike up a conversation with Bonham and asks about his cancer treatment. Bonham is understandably standoffish about this, and Dan apologizes before bringing up his own experience with cancer. He says both of his parents had to deal with it and he lost his father to it. This makes Bonham soften a little and gives Dan room to offer him a job on the ranch. He admits that he’s completely out of his depth and that the big projects he’s been taking on solo, like taking down the fence, have all been an attempt to impress Denise and save their marriage. I can only imagine how impressed she’ll be to hear that he nearly killed a lot of horses.
Bonham balks at the idea initially. He sees it as an insult that he needs permission to do work on his family’s land. But he also acknowledges that Dan has no idea what he’s doing and lists off a few chores that need to be done sooner rather than later, showing that he’s more open to the deal than he wants to admit.
Back at the new Walker home, we see Stella arranging some hemlock in a vase. Bonham approaches her and notices an email notification from the university on her phone. She tries to brush it off, but he quickly figures out that she was accepted. When she tells him why she kept it secret, he tells her not to worry. They can figure out the money later and she should share her accomplishments with the family. She asks him if he feels the same way about taking Dan up on his offer and he admits that while it’s a tough pill to swallow, he’d love to be working the ranch again, even if it isn’t his name on the gate.
He then asks her how she ended up at the Davidson ranch and she gives him a very vague answer about changing her mind while going back to arranging the hemlock. He eyes the plant meaningfully and tells her to be careful.
Side note: “Guess that ‘D’ on the gate stands for ‘Dumbass’.” The writer’s room brought their A-game to this episode I see.
Now, onto the main event!
We start off with Cassie introducing Cordell to the wonderful world of “Hawk’s Shadow”. He’s not into it but she’s not giving up and insists that he just needs to watch more episodes to really appreciate it. In an attempt to escape the cheesy 90s action show, Cordell directs the conversation in a different direction, asking how she’s been feeling since the reveal about her old partner. She tells him that she’s feeling better now that she’s had some time to adjust to the news. Then she asks how he’s feeling about everything regarding Geri. He is, admittedly, not doing well. After the revelation about Geri’s biological heritage, she’s been distancing herself from the Walkers and him. He’s trying to respect her need to get to know her biological family, but he can’t help but feel betrayed that his best friend and girlfriend is essentially getting in bed with the enemy. Apparently she’s gone off on a girls’ trip with Gale and Denise in the two weeks since the last episode (which is a bit of a red flag for me).
Just then, their cryptocurrency thief makes a move, forcing their attention back to the stakeout. Their man makes a transaction on the server and exits the building shortly after, prompting them into action. The suspect runs at the first attempt to make contact, leading them on a street chase. The suspect enters a nightclub and Cordell tries to follow but Cassie stops him, bringing him around the back of the club. When Cordell gets lost in her (admittedly convoluted) explanation, she asks him if he trusts her, a bold stroke that’s proven worthy by the immediate appearance of their suspect out the back door. They quickly take him down and Cassie lets out a victorious “Ca-CAW!”, which is echoed by some of the clubgoers, much to Cordell’s annoyance.
The next day, Larry informs them that the suspect was going to trade the cryptocurrency for counterfeit money, and he gives up the name of the middleman: Eric Davies. Cordell recognizes this name as he’s the ex-husband of one Twyla Jean, who he had a more-than-professional relationship with while he worked with the Rodeo Kings. They bring her into Ranger HQ in an attempt to get more information on him.
From the moment she arrives, things are tense. Neither of them are willing to trust each other given their past but there does seem to be a undercurrent of unresolved feelings of a more romantic variety.
Twyla agrees to help them, for a price. She needs a little more than an empty promise of a visit, so Larry offers to bump up her parole hearing. She accepts this offer. She admits that she doesn’t know much but she can predict where they’re most likely to find him. When they start planning their next move, she tells them it won’t be easy. According to her, Eric is excellent at reading people and if they go in with just Cordell at the helm, he’ll see through it very easily. Cassie suggests an “old trick” from Dallas where a piece of eye candy is used as a distraction during a covert op. Twyla pegs it as the plot of a “Hawk’s Shadow” episode, much to Cassie’s excitement. Everyone likes the idea except Cordell, who is extremely skeptical of Twyla and her intentions and lets her know that he’ll be keeping a very close eye on her.
Cordell and Twyla get ready to meet Eric. While she looks stunning in her cocktail dress, she finds fault with Cordell’s outfit and de-narks him in the parking lot, much to his discomfort. They walk in together to meet Eric while Cassie watches from the sidelines, posing as a waitress.
The meeting is a little rocky. Cordell tries to play it smooth, but he gets tripped up when Eric questions his knowledge of this world. Twyla saves him as best she can but falters when her ex asks if she and Walker are in a relationship. When they both say ‘No’, Eric calls bulls**t and tells them that the deal is off since they clearly can’t be honest. After he leaves, Twyla runs after him to try and talk him into taking the deal. Cordell starts to suspect the worst when he realizes that she left her mic behind at the table and it only gets worse when Cassie shows him a picture of them getting cozy.
Back at Ranger HQ, Twyla tries to defend herself and says she left the mic behind by accident but that she got him to take the deal anyway. Cordell immediately accuses her of double crossing them and even goes as far as to say that she told him about working with Rangers. Cassie steps him and pulls him into Larry’s office to straighten him out. She understands his suspicions of Twyla, especially given their history, but she tells him he’s being way too hard on her than the situation deserves. She also brings up his misgivings over the situation with Geri and suggests that he’s taking out his frustrations about that on Twyla because the situations are similar. He denies this but agrees to back down and try to trust Twyla. They then get a text from Eric, confirming the meeting but changing the original deal. This does not bode well as far as Cordell is concerned but he’ll be quiet for now.
Later that day, Cordell, Twyla, and Cassie are set to meet with Eric to make the deal. While they’re waiting, Cordell makes a dig at Twyla over the sudden deal change. She responds by asking him why he always assumes the worst of her. He falters and admits that he doesn’t, not really. Then she asks why he never came to visit her. He initially makes the excuse that he just hasn’t had time with everything that’s gone on for the past year, but eventually concedes that he also feels bad for putting her in prison in the first place. In a way, he betrayed her first. Twyla asks him if he’s ever thought about how things might have gone if they’d met under different circumstances. Before he can answer, Eric arrives on the scene and they go into business mode.
When Twyla goes to hand Eric the money, he takes her hostage and hands the bag over to one of his men to check it. Cordell tries to deescalate, but it doesn’t get much better when they find the tracking device hidden in the bag. Cordell tries to pass it off as an insurance policy but that fails, leading to Twyla supposedly revealing her treachery. Eric moves to shoot Cordell, but Twyla takes the gun from him and it appears that she’s about to do that herself. Then, she turns on Eric, pistol-whipping him and giving Cassie and Cordell room to fight back. The day is won with another victorious “Ca-CAW!” from the girls, much to Cordell’s annoyance.
We finish off with Twyla’s parole hearing. She thanks Cassie for putting in a good word for her and asks why Cassie helped her. Cassie tells her that Cordell gave her a chance after she had some rough experiences and that it felt right to pass that on. She also tells Twyla that while he may not make the best choices, he’s a good man and he means well.
This prompts her to meet up with Cordell, who is sitting on a bench nearby. He immediately starts off making small digs about her being a liar but she stops him and explains that she had to. She needed to get Eric to go through with the deal, so she pretended to join him in the scheme. But she knew if she’d told Cordell about it, he would’ve benched her to stop her from really running away with Eric and that would’ve killed the deal. Cordell then apologizes for being so hard on her and admits he should’ve given her more credit, especially since she helped them bag the Counterfeit King of Texas. She forgives him.
He then brings up the question she asked down at the docks, about them meeting under different circumstances. She asks where this is going and he stands up to reintroduce himself as Cordell. She smiles and introduces herself as Twyla Jean.
Side note: “Cool it with the conspiracy theories. Who are you, me?” Nice to see some self-awareness from Cassie.
This episode was full of ups and downs. Twyla brought a new energy to the show that I wasn’t expecting and I’m excited to be seeing more of her. While I don’t think she and Cordell are endgame this time around, I’m very interested to see where this is going to go, especially with Geri’s return in the next episode. Personally, I think Twyla and Cordell (Twydell?) have more romantic chemistry then Cordell and Geri do but this isn’t up to me.
I also have questions about the future between the Walkers and the Davidsons. Bonham swallowed a huge hunk of pride to agree to work with Dan on the ranch, even if it isn’t his name on it anymore. It also looks like Stella might be taking her romantic sights in another direction. How this will pan out with the rest of their families remains to be seen but I imagine it won’t be smooth sailing. I’m not opposed to redemption arcs on principle, but I am concerned that there won’t be enough time to give all the Davidsons a chance to make up for their sins. Only time will tell I suppose.
This episode was solid overall. It advanced the plot without being too overbearing, giving the audience a chance to breathe before the storm that undoubtedly awaits in the next episode.
Solid 10/10. The presence of “Hawk’s Shadow” was large and a bit overdone but they more than made up for it in other ways.
What did you think of this episode? Share your thoughts below, then return here over the next several days for more reviews of "Bygones."
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