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“Buffering” is more than a computer term with which many are familiar. Though it can be preloading and saving data for a computer to run smoothly, it can also mean to try to lessen the impact of … something. Both of these definitions describe Walker's characters who are striving to lessen the impact of previous happenings, while gearing up for what is to come. And the one who has been through so much, and gets the creepy cryptic message about what is to come is …

Cordell

3.9 Screenshot 1449 Cordell

Still shoving down the memories of his captivity to hide his strain, he has to face those memories when he sees Julia again and Kevin asks him about their ordeal. To lessen the impact, he focuses on Julia instead. He worries about her and offending her. They talk about their shared experiences, and she gives him advice for handling his “what’s left.” Jared plays the vulnerability perfectly. Cordell later uses the information, locking onto one thing he knows to be true, to help talk the hackers into stopping their plan. He also gets a glimpse into the future when a mysterious package filled with the energy drink that his captors, and his mentor, drank. The threat of Grey Flag isn’t over, and this is just the beginning of the next part of the story with them. Another person beginning a new journey is …

Cassie

3.9 Screenshot 1458 Cassie

Cassie and Kevin are new in their relationship and still working out the kinks. One rule they had to help buffer their professional and private lives was tested severely and failed. This left Cassie trying to lessen the impact and save their relationship. Ashley is cute as a rambling Cassie; Kevin’s assessment is spot on. Their new agreement gives them a roadmap for the future, but the audience some suspicions. Another person who is trying to mend a completely different kind of relationship is …

Trey

3.9 Screenshot 1453 Trey

After Captain James’s lecture and Trey's assignment to desk duty, Trey is desperate to prove that he is a good Ranger. He wants to more than buffer; he wants to change the captain’s mind that it was a mistake to hire him. So he declines to go to the luncheon and instead pours over footage from the broken-into server farm. Jeff's portrayal of the handsome Ranger who is oblivious to women flirting with him, not once, but twice, is adorable. But sadly, once he and Walker figured out the criminals’ plans, he defied orders once again by going into the field while assigned to desk duty. With Captain James’s current attitude and clues from the promo for next week, Trey’s time with the Rangers may be in jeopardy.  But he’s not the only one in hot water, so are…

August and Stella

3.9 Screenshot 1457 Auggie  

Still in trouble from throwing the party and losing the Side Step’s liquor license, plus his outburst at Mawline, August is working hard to make amends. This includes being there for Colton when he needs an ear. Stella lends a similar ear, proving that the Walker siblings are once again on the same wavelength. Both of their attempts to buffer hurts work, as Stella and Colton end the episode on a good note. Though Colton may be leaving soon, August also ends the episode with a better relationship with both …

Bonham and Abeline

3.9 Screenshot 1444 Abby Bonham

Bonham is still very much worried about Abeline after her stroke, and is taking it out on everyone around them. Mitch is perfect as the taciturn patriarch. But while Abeline is doing much better, Bonham is pushing the family away. He is abrupt to August, he made Cordell feel like a burden, and is in effect kicking them off the ranch. He is even grumpy with …

Liam

3.9 Screenshot 1468 Liam

Liam is having a hard time lately, and this episode is no different. He starts by trying to help more around the ranch, only to mess up the deal with his lawyer approach. Then, with advice from Stella, he sets up a charity without asking Bonham first. This sets up for future confrontations between the two Walker men.

Overall, this was a nice episode setting up for the intense drama to come.

It was really nice to see how incredibly intelligent and good at his job Cordell is, without resorting to violence that can become all too glorified. Though opinions differ on whether Cordell and Cassie should trust Julia and Kevin, it’s shaping up to be an even more exciting season.

4.90 out of 5 stars.

Photos Courtesy of The CW. 

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