“Torn” was all about the triangles in life and how they tear at people. As the promo said “Love Triangles Break Hearts.” But as it often does, “Walker” subverts the classic love triangle trope, while also using a common example as a foil. Aaron Carew crafted a brilliant episode that dives deep into the motivations of the characters. Perhaps most impressive was the love triangle involving…
If “Walker” was any other show, the love triangle would have been between Cordell, Geri, and Twyla. But instead, especially since Geri refused to take part, they went with the much more psychological route with the actual triangle being Cordell, Twyla, and … Duke. Not only did it repeatedly show and state that Twyla loved Duke, not Cordell, it even went deeper than that. Showing that because of the pain in his life, Cordell was with Twyla because he preferred being Duke to being himself. Brilliantly calling back to the first season and before, Cordell buries himself in the sweet oblivion of an alter ego that doesn’t have the attachments, responsibilities or .. pain that his life involves. Both Liam and Geri call him on what he is doing. That, plus August’s reaction, which is also true to his previous feelings, and Twyla’s pain help Cordell realize that he was again using Twyla and Duke to hide, to run. When explaining why he likes being with Twyla, he never listed what he likes about her, but how he doesn’t think about the troubles in his life. And he doesn’t want to use Twyla, which is unfair to her, or run anymore. Being carefree is wonderfully fun, and it seems like some of the audience was intoxicated by watching Cordell again donning the Duke persona with Twyla and getting to be that. But as Cordell says at the end, that’s not him, his life, or what he wants. Another character who is chasing what she wants, but maybe not fully understanding how it’s affecting others is ….
Geri’s love triangle is also different than the typical love triangle, even being a different kind of love… that being the love of family. Geri is still torn between being a Davidson and a Walker through and through. And currently she believes she can be both. She shows she is still a Walker by confronting Cordell about his hidden relationship with Twyla, and how this will affect him and his family, mainly the kids. Her conversation expounds on what Liam cautioned Cordell about in 2.16. Whereas Liam talked about how Twyla’s connection to the Rodeo Kings will remind the family of Hoyt’s murder, Geri focuses on the dark time in Cordell’s life when he ran from his pain and how that affected his children. She doesn’t want him going that way again, especially since he fought so hard to mend those relationships to what they are today. She also calls out Denise Davidson Miller, and how she is avoiding Geri and blaming her for her father’s sins. However, with Denise after the callout, she tries to build a relationship she never had. Whereas with Cordell, she steps aside for him to be with his son, assuming she’ll keep the relationship with him she’s always had. She even, in a drunken state, seeks to win a sister by putting Denise the Deer (boar) in storage. It was both symbolic and easily reversible, but may have ramifications she wasn’t thinking through in the moment. She’s trying to win the Davidsons over with love and understanding. But she may be better off remembering how hard she knew ending the feud would be between the Walkers and the Davidsons. And that was when she had just heard stories. Hopefully, she’ll choose the Walkers in this familial love triangle before she accidentally does something that can’t be as easily undone as interior design. Another person who has to choose in not your typical love triangle is …
He is torn between the love of his current job and the promise of working with the Rangers, which he also loves. When Captain James gives him the news that he either has to be the in house therapist full time … or stop and be the school guidance counselor only, Trey has a choice to make. He, like Geri, realizes he also wants both. But, for him, he knows there is an end date. As soon as school is over, and Stella’s class graduates he wants to work with the Rangers full time. Hopefully, he gets a hat, though it seems like Captain James has something more planned. It will be interesting to see what that is and how Trey responds and what he chooses. And finally the one who had to choose in the typical love triangle was …
This love triangle has been brewing for awhile. Who will Stella choose, Todd or Colton? In this episode, she finally chooses Colton. Which is better than her heart being with Colton, but her still dating Todd, which August sagely says is unfair to both. Poor Todd, he is hurt. But after starting a fight with Colton and talking to Trey, he handles it with an emotional maturity beyond his years. He even realizes it’s too soon for them to be friends. So now Juliet is with her second Romeo. Hopefully, this won’t end as badly as with her first.
The continuity of this episode was amazing. The callbacks to last season and earlier in this season were well executed and added a layer of depth to the story. Besides examples previously listed, there was Geri being a good listener, Denise the Deer coming down, Trey winning a hat (hopefully), Duke’s aftershave, all Denise’s crimes against the Walkers, the chili incident, even the fact that both Stella and Colton consider Geri an aunt. They even proved August’s words in 2.11 “Boundaries,” of “don’t you deserve some fun? Dating someone not involved with all the family drama?” to be foreshadowing for both Stella and Cordell. Though they did clunkily add some callbacks to move the story forward, it was otherwise well done.
It’s wonderful that “Walker” doesn’t go the well travelled route, and instead takes on different types of love triangles. And though some criticisms in a previous review still apply, those have already been discussed so won’t be rehashed here.
So, though not my favorite episode, it was much better than it could have been.
4.6 out of 5 stars.