After Walker's mid-season finale cliffhanger, "Cry Uncle" was a strong follow-up that tied some loose ends, and left us dangling ominously on others! As before, I’ll leave the recap to others and share my impressions. I had very few qualms about this episode, although I do have some unanswered questions and some speculation about things to come.
The discomfort of dealing with emotions was at the heart of this episode, for all the characters. No one got it completely right, but nearly all of them made some progress.
Bonham and Abeline
We saw a lot of tenderness between Bonham and Abeline, nice evidence of the evolution of their relationship over the past seasons. Even though she’s the one who’s sick, Abeline tries to manage the narrative and the mood throughout, in one case by fondly remembering an early date where Bonham tried to impress her with his cooking and they ended up with food poisoning.
Bonham isn’t comfortable sharing his feelings, but he’s trying to do better and his fumbling attempts are charming, even as they sometimes frustrate Abeline. He gets her compression socks, cleans out the pantry to avoid salty foods, brings her a cup full of supplements that he’s researched, and hovers, but shuts down her request to update the will and cuts off her reminiscing because he disagrees that their best days are behind them.
Abeline is still running the family from her hospital bed, and doesn’t take it as easy as Bonham would like when she comes back. They argue, and she points out that he didn’t handle his cancer scare perfectly, either. She does recognize and appreciate what he’s trying to do, but refuses to stop living a normal life and asks him to ‘take it down a notch’. Bonham finally explains that he is terrified of losing her, and we see a much more vulnerable side of him than he usually shows.
Later, Bonham chides Abeline for folding laundry, and she tells him that his hovering is stressing her out. However, she relents when she realizes that Bonham and Liam have made a romantic dinner for them. (Liam cooked the meatballs). Bonham talks more about his fears and agrees to talk about changes to the will. “No more fear dictating our lives” is a thread that runs through the episode. When her brother Willy does call, we sense that change is on the horizon in a good way.
Stella and Auggie
Auggie apologizes for his outburst to Abeline, and is genuinely horrified at his actions. He blames himself for her mini-stroke, even though she and others tell him not to. Cordell is loving and inclusive with Auggie during the emergency, but he makes it clear that he’s not done dealing with both kids’ actions. That’s good. Stella and Auggie have needed more hands-on parenting from Cordell than circumstances have allowed, and it’s led to a lot of problems. It’s clear that they still need an honest conversation with Cordell and each other—we got pieces of that, but I hope we see more, given the severity of what happened with the Mustang and the Side Step.
Abeline masterminds/manipulates Cordell, Stella and Auggie into going to Dallas to help her make peace with her estranged brother. We don’t find out what caused the rift, but they haven’t spoken in 30 years, although she calls him every Thanksgiving.
In the car, Stella and Auggie bicker until finally Cordell makes them walk the last few miles. They discover that the obnoxious owner of the B&B is actually Uncle Willy. He refuses to talk to them or to Abeline, so their mission appears to be a failure.
However…Stella and Auggie hash things out. Stella has the insight to point out that Auggie’s feelings of being lost probably go back to missing Emily; Stella has always been closer to Cordell. She offers to let him vent to her. The emotional maturity that the writers seemed to have forgotten in the mid-season finale script reappears, which was very much missed. I hope they keep Stella more consistent, which was one of my big beefs with the previous episode.
Cordell later tells Stella that he overheard her and Auggie and thanks her. She admits that she doesn’t want them to end up like Abeline and Willy, which they suspect was part of the reason Abeline sent them on the mission.
As they are leaving the next day, Willy refuses to call Abeline, saying he’s not ready. Cordell warns him that we don’t always know how much time we have with someone. Stella shares her earbuds with Auggie, a nice peace offering.
I was pleased with the writing. It felt natural and not contrived and we didn’t get out-of-character actions for the sake of drama. I really hope they stick to this!
Cordell is pulled between worrying about his mom, supporting his dad, being a father and big brother during a time of crisis, and also dealing with the aftermath of everything that went wrong before Thanksgiving. That’s a lot, and Cordell is only just recently learning to process and deal more honestly with emotions. He hangs in there and makes good decisions, but seems in over his head at times.
That he focuses on conversations instead of getting angry and giving orders is a big step forward. He doesn’t talk much about his own feelings in this episode, but he handles everything around him much better than he would have two seasons ago.
Cordell is surprised when Bonham suggests he look for a house of his own, but it’s not an unreasonable request. “Time you got your house in order” is a potent phrase, and I wonder where we’ll see it take Cordell and the family moving forward. Cordell and Bonham are able to say that they love each other, which is also important progress.
Captain James, Trey and Cassie
While everyone else was doing better about being transparent with their agendas and feelings, things went wonky here.
Captain James is angry about something, but playing his cards close to his vest. Trey seems to be caught in the crossfire, because he hasn’t done anything to deserve bearing the brunt of James’ anger. Cassie is scared and confused, because she doesn’t know whether James discovered that they opened the suitcase (odds are good that he did), and the decision with Cordell to stick to their story seems to be digging them in deeper.
The way James lashed out at both Cassie and Trey suggests to me that there’s more at stake with Gray Flag and the investigation than James has told them. Although James acknowledged that he needed to do better expressing himself earlier in the season, he seems to have forgotten. He’s expecting unquestioning obedience from Rangers who are valuable precisely because they are intuitive and creative and go off script for a good cause. He doesn’t seem to understand that those qualities can’t be turned on and off like a switch.
He was disrespectful to Cassie, and his outburst at Trey was unprofessional. I’m wondering if there’s looming danger he can’t talk about, or if the whole suitcase retrieval was a test that Cordell and Cassie failed which is more important than it seemed. I hope we find out that he has a good reason for his actions, something that remains in-character and consistent.
This was one of the few episodes where I didn’t pick up on any Supernatural echoes. Did I miss something? If you spotted some, please let me know.
What were your thoughts?