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After the first three episodes of Walker's season being rather heavy, 3.04 "Wild Horse Couldn't Drag Me Away" offers a lighter tone perfectly timed. Decisions can be hard, and some decisions are harder than others, especially when one is burdened by the past. But the past can also hold answers that one needs.  This episode of Walker explored the pain than comes with decision making, and whether the characters learn from the past, or are haunted by it. And no one is more haunted than …

Cordell

3.04 575

Sadly, Cordell isn’t only dealing with the recent trauma of kidnapping and torture, which is enough to make his family and friends cringe just reading about it. The poor guy is also dealing with the trauma of his brother that has been put on his shoulders, as well. Cordell wants to help Liam, he does. He just can’t yet bring himself to give Liam what he wants. His evident unease, which Jared portrays flawlessly, when his father confronts him on it is proof of that. But that’s not all Cordell is dealing with, even though that in of itself is a lot. His time in captivity also brought an old trauma to the surface. The loss of his friend and mentor, Gunnery Sargent Clay Cooper, in battle. He’s haunted by flashbacks to the Texas flag Cooper hung over his cot, and he's repeatedly reminded of Cooper’s words that have guided Cordell for most of his adult life. He finally makes the decision to tell someone, Cassie, about what happened, even though he hadn’t told anyone before. He wanted her to understand what he is going through and that he has a handle on it. But when she suggests returning the flag he kept to Cooper’s family, Walker is faced with a choice. He makes it to the door, and even inside, but once faced with a wait and picture of Cooper, he decides to leave and lie to Cassie. He also takes an easier route and brings rescue horses to help with equine therapy instead of talking to ….

Liam

3.04 315

Having listened to his father, Liam is starting equine therapy, but he still wants his brother there. But Cordell just can’t yet. Keegan has mastered the hurt baby brother look, which serves this episode well. Cordell’s rejection leaves Liam feeling out of sorts, and his therapy horse can tell. However, Liam, with some coaxing, can learn from his brother’s past instead of needing his brother. The trick of giving the horse a treat, as Cordell did to Texas Nightshade in the second episode of the series, works wonders. Soon Liam is riding Ol’ Kenny, and feeling much better. Sadly, the therapist, Chelsea, has to move away. So Cordell’s gift of rescue horses, saved from the corrals the thieves were breaking into, is excellent timing. Liam chooses to take this gift instead of forcing Cordell to talk to him. He has decided he can’t keep depending on Cordell to feel better. This hits Cordell hard, he knows what he’s done isn’t enough, just like his performance of being okay isn’t enough for …

Cassie (and Captain James)

3.04 247

Both of these people are trying to decide if Walker is ready to be a Ranger again, with Captain James remembering when Walker returned after his undercover work previously. This decision to see if Walker is fit coincides with Trey proving himself to be a Ranger, as well. Coby and Ashley are good at being co-conspirators. Their shared looks as they notice Walker space out and the way they prank Trey, honestly make them seem more like partners than Walker and Perez are. But Cassie still has Cordell’s back, so when he reveals to her a past trauma he hasn’t even told his family, she takes the opportunity to help him heal more by returning the flag to Cooper’s family, and she offers to back him up. And Captain James enjoys his final test of …

Trey

3.04 126

Since Season 1, the show has teased that Trey would wear a Ranger hat. Even last episode, he pulled it out admiringly. This episode he earned his hat, and he looks good. Jeff is amazing as the charming, eager to please Ranger Trainee. Being in charge of his own case, he had many decisions to make. But it was whether to follow orders, or get in the trailer to not lose the horse thieves, that was pivotal. On the line wasn’t only his shot to become a Ranger, but also Captain James’s program that enabled Trey to become a Ranger, and possibly even Captain James’ career. Trey chose to disobey, and he was correct. If he would have waited, they wouldn’t have been able to catch the thieves in the act as they wouldn’t have gotten there in time. Though Captain James reveled in pretending Trey ruined everything, he proudly finished telling Trey that the best Rangers, like Walker and Perez, know when to push the boundaries, just like Trey proved. So Trey’s journey to find what he wants to be, through coach, trainer, and guidance counselor leads him to being … Ranger Barnett. And he was absolutely right - he looks great in the hat. But though Trey seems to have found his purpose, the same can’t be said for …

Stella and August

3.04 169

The Walker siblings are having another typical teen moment, which with all the major events they experience, is kind of nice. Stella is wondering who she wants to be and what she wants to do now that she isn’t going to college. Meanwhile August is upset that he’s still going to be in Stella’s shadow. With Geri’s help, Stella sees that she can still look to her mom’s example for guidance, and that she doesn’t need to know what to do right away, but she will find it. This helps her decide to help August. She refuses to give up her room, but she does agree to teach him to drive a stick shift car. And in true teenager fashion, August decides to try to look cool, only for it to backfire, as often happens.

This episode is a needed change of pace from the heaviness of the earlier episodes, but it still carries forward the themes of the season - Liam is still hurting, Cordell is still keeping up appearances while trying to heal - while being a good mix of action and angst, humor and heartache.

The slow reveal of this season’s mysterious event is being handled intelligently. From the vague “so this is the war hero” and flashbacks to his military training in earlier episodes, to finding out Cooper passed away in action this episode, the show is taking a more measured approach this season. The different pace is refreshing and intriguing.

Another stellar episode in a season of incredible episodes.

4.95 out of 5 stars.


Photos Courtesy of The CW. Screencaps by Raloria on LJ

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