The Morning After

Walker’s “A Matter of Miles” was a fast paced tease. Setting up the season finale, it revealed the answers to a few questions, but with only enough information to bait us for next week’s climactic conclusions to the dramas that have been brewing all year. The Walker team masterfully invited us to come back for more! Cutting through all the build-up for the long-anticipated revelations and future dangers, let’s isolate what we learned in this week’s episode about the season’s two primary plot threads: the Davidson/ Walker land, barn, and parentage feuds; and the Cassie/Miles mystery.

Painful Reunions

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Gale: I'll tell you what's sad is how things ended up for her. For all those Walkers.

Geri: You know, I honestly can't stand to talk about it for another minute.

Truer words were never spoken. I honestly can't stand to talk about the Davidson’s skewed view of reality for another minute. The conversation between Gale and her daughter Denise in the open air market infuriated me so much, I don’t even want to repeat their delusional rantings. Then, in turns out that brief exchange was just the warm up for more of their accusations at the most awkward dinner party ever. I give credit to every Walker at that table for having the extreme control it took to sit in the presence of the people whose hate and vindictive actions caused them such extreme emotional trauma. Perhaps the Walkers’ ulterior motive of trying to trip up the Davidsons gave them the strength they needed to endure the humiliation of being reunited with their old dining room, sitting across from the people who stole it from them. Denise looked like she was devolving into irrationality as the conversation skipped around from defending Auggie’s detention, to the mistake of Bonham’s arrest, to goading Dan about her divorce request and threatening to throw him out of his living quarters, to rehashing the barn fire. Her rantings were a convenient reminder of all that has happened between the two families in the last year (as if any of us had forgotten). Liam’s plan to get them all so upset they would unintentionally blurt out something important actually worked, but not in the way he expected.

Partial Answer and Tease #1: Denise gave herself a foolproof alibi for the morning of the race, effectively eliminating her (for expediency in a television drama) from suspicion for the saddle tampering. That sets up Liam and Dan to move onto their next suspect, getting them closer to the truth.

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Partial Answer and Tease #2: Geri shrewdly heard Gale’s slipup and now suspects Gale knew her newborn daughter was alive three decades ago.

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Gale: You know what? Let's just, let's just focus on the good, huh? Right? I mean, like, here we are together. You know, I-I always knew we'd be together again. I just knew it.

Geri: How...?

Gale: Well, you know, just-just in this life or-or the next. That's all. Okay? That's all.

Investigating her doubts with Cordell and Nate, Geri is also one step closer to a probable confrontation with both Gale and the truth about their pasts. It’s about time, as far as I’m concerned. Geri has naively and hurtfully allowed herself to be used as a weapon against the Walkers for months. A confession from Gale that she knew about her baby may lead to more questions about when and how she confronted her husband… in a barn… where he was murdered… before it was set/caught on fire.

Nate: The only other person that knew was Marv Davidson.

Geri: Right. If Marv did tell Gale, if she knew... I mean, what do you think she would've done?

Gale hating the Walkers enough to make their child a scapegoat for her crime may lead to her being implicated or confessing to the saddle tampering. Wouldn’t her arrest be spitefully satisfying?

While Liam, mom and pop were conspiring, baking and bracing for the get together they hoped would break the Davidsons, and Gale dropped her guard and got  a little too close in her mom/daughter reunion, Cassie was at a very different kind of painful reunion, talking about a very different kind of conspiracy.

Title Thread: A Matter of Miles

Partial Answer and Tease #3: Miles disappeared, with the help of his Captain, because they got too close to some massive crime syndicate.

Miles: Look, that night, when we got the tip at the warehouses, you and I split up. As soon as you were inside, Fenton drove up. We staged it. We staged my murder. We wanted to keep everyone safe.

Cordell: From who? Miles, you still haven't told us. Safe from who?

James: I checked all active ranger investigations, and guess what? Yours was not an official op.

Miles: Couldn't be. We don't know who to trust.

Cordell: But you trust Captain Cole.

For 45 minutes, we were baited with Miles’ and Fenton’s fear of some untouchable crime syndicate.

James: Who's trying to kill us?

Fenton: This is what Miles and I were trying to avoid. I mean, I'm sure they're tracking me, which means they know. Ah, they'll keep coming.

James: Who? Who? Who's they? Who's coming?

Fenton: Walk away from this, Larry. Trust me.

James: Trust you.

Shadowy figures behind binoculars who were following Miles and his family threatened his child at school to keep him quiet. Then Fenton was contacted by the criminals and forced into the subterfuge of Miles’ murder to protect Miles’ family.

James: How you're so hell-bent on protecting an unauthorized investigation that went off the rails, it's just... it's... beyond me.

Fenton: They wanted me to kill Miles. If I didn't do it, they were gonna kill him anyway. Rita, too. And Sachi. That trailer was the only thing I could think of to give Miles more time.

To intensify our belief that these mysterious criminals are all-powerful, Fenton killed himself “to protect lives” (Why would he even have a suicide pill with him? Did he believe they would capture and torture him for information?).

James: And who are you trying to protect... yourself, someone else?

Fenton: I'm a dead man no matter what. You want to think I'm a dirty cop? Fine. But I'm trying to protect people [because he’s not quite up to saving people and hunting the monsters who were threatening them? Cue Cordell!].

Maybe because Fenton’s death left Miles alone with their secret, or maybe because the hit squad was closing in on him, at the last possible moment, Miles clued everyone into the “threat” that will presumably be the big bad for season 3.

Miles: We had been investigating that downtown chop shop, remember? Yeah, well, that was one of hundreds of illegal businesses. One of the tamer ones. Human trafficking. Murder for hire. I spent six months connecting the dots to a powerful group. One that operates in the shadows.

Cassie: It sounds like the cabal of cabals.

Miles: Yeah, well, it kind of is, but I didn't think that they were real either. Until one day I went to go pick up Sachi from school. And they said someone had come by earlier for her. We started feeling like we were being followed. And Fenton said that they got to him and they threatened to kill everyone... unless I disappeared, so that's what we did. Staged my death. Took me out so we would stop the threat.

Why didn't Fenton trust his superiors? Were they the ones who told him to kill Miles? Season one was about a corrupt DPS commissioner, and season 2 has a biased district attorney. I’d hate to think that season 3 will also be about an untrustworthy legal system. So if the cabal is strictly criminals outside the system, why didn’t Fenton bring in his boss, or the FBI, or the US Marshalls for witness protection? I guess we’ll have all next season to unravel this new crime organization.

Partial Answer and Tease #4: It was Fenton who used Cassie’s gun to shoot Miles.

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That isn’t so much an answer, though, as a bigger question.

Cassie: Why use my gun?

Miles: What are you talking about?

Cassie: Oh, just cut the crap and tell me why you wanted me to feel responsible.

Miles: Cass, I don't know how that happened. I swear.

[It’s official! Walker’s new partner was given the name Cassie as a Supernatural shout out. Miles’ nickname for her is Cass, which is the official spelling of Castiel’s nickname.]  

How did the captain get her gun when she clearly had it with her in the warehouse? Was it her backup weapon? Did Fenton want to frame Cassie to disqualify/distance her from the investigation of Miles’ “murder” or was he acting on specific orders from the mysterious syndicate to get her out of the way, too? With Fenton now dead, we may never get a more complete answer to this mystery.

Trust, Truth and Lies

The word “trust” was inserted into the dialog nine times. Curiously, it was often in sets of 2 (shown above and below), when two people exchanged the question of whether they could trust each other.

Rita: I trusted him.

Liam: Except Dan is our Trojan horse, okay? He can get Denise to talk. Plus, he's willing to testify.

Cordell: You trust him?

Liam: I mean... I trust that he will protect himself.

James to Cassie: Hey, I'm gonna take care of Fenton. Trust me. He's not getting away with this.

Miles: I should have trusted you.

The people who are earnestly pursuing the truth all trust their friends and family. Those who fell from grace or are soon to be exposed as liars acted alone, not trusting people who may have helped them find a way out of their dilemma.

  • Miles didn’t trust Cassie enough to let her help with the crimes he uncovered, and he didn’t trust his wife enough to be honest with her and get her out of harm’s way. He may have been protecting them from physical harm, but he inflicted significant emotional harm on both. 
  • Fenton didn’t trust he could tell his superiors about the new crime syndicate, circumventing the official programs and safeguards that would have saved his career and life.
  • Dan and Denise certainly don’t trust each other.
  • Geri no longer trusts Gale.

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In sharp contrast,

  • Cordell, Cassie, Larry and Trey are deferring to each other’s skills and judgment, working together to get to the truth.
  • The Walker family went along with Liam’s plan to mix it up at a Davidson/Walker dinner, even though individually they thought it was a bad idea. Still, they owed him that trust.
  • Cordell showed up to support Geri, even reaffirming her with “Don’t doubt yourself”, despite her confused allegiances of late.

Interestingly, truth was only mentioned three times, even though clearly the “good guys” are all seeking the truth, and we as an audience are anxiously awaiting the big revelations of the truth.

No Time Like the Present

True to its name, “A Matter of Miles” gave Cassie (and Rita) closure by answering the mystery of Miles’ disappearance.

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It gave us more clues in the Walker/Davidson feudal mysteries, but complete answers were largely held back, presumably to be revealed in the finale. So, what are we hoping to learn next week?  

  • Who started the barn fire?
  • Who killed Marv?
  • Did Gale know about her newborn baby?
  • Will the Walkers get their ranch back?
  • Will Denise leave the DA job out of embarrassment, or from being fired/disgraced/disbarred?
  • Will Liam finally get the DA job (when Denise hopefully moves far, far away)?
  • Will Geri go back to being a Walker… and Cordell’s girlfriend?

Did I list all the biggies?

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Besides the primary plotline mysteries, a few lingering nitpicks have been nagging at me for a while. Since there’s only one episode left this season and we’re running out of time to get answers, I might as well add this list of open issues to the things I hope to learn from the finale:

  • When did Stella say she was going away to college? The last I heard, she had two choices – one local and one far away. I never heard a decision.
  • Why did the Davidsons move into the Walker’s house? The Davidsons had a beautiful home on their land. Just because they won the Walker’s home and ranch, why would they go through the trouble to pack and move from one house on their now expanded ranch down the road to another house? Is their house just sitting there abandoned? Why is Dan living in the “farmhouse” when he could be living in the old Davidson home (or is that the farmhouse?)?
  • What happened to the entire Walker stable of horses? Surely the horses weren’t part of the land contract. Bonham’s breeding business is probably worth millions of dollars!
  • Stella and August seem to have an endless amount of time for hiking, shopping, socializing with friends, dating, etc. Stella is a graduated senior so shouldn’t she be getting a summer job before going to college? (Auggie works at the bar.) 
  • Speaking of which, Liam has been out of work now for at least six months. When will he get back to being a lawyer?

Since I’m not betting my lunch money that all these questions will be answered next episode, I’m opening them up to be solved by fandom popular opinion! What do you think will or should be their answers?

The Last Word

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Aside from a superspy cyanide pill being within hand’s reach of a ranger captain, “A Matter of Miles” was a tantalizing, logical, well written and wonderfully acted tease to the season’s finale. It brought to a close at least one of the season’s plotlines, and set up a huge finish to the Walkers’ fate next week. It also laid the groundwork for season three:

Fenton: That trailer was just the beginning.

Gale: Well, I'd like to make a toast to... new beginnings and... family.

Liam: Can you just walk me through the beginning, the morning of the race?

Cordell: I think this... is just the beginning.

I, for one, am really excited to see how this all turns out!       

- Nightsky


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Transcript courtesy of TV Show Transcripts  
Screencaps courtesy of The CW