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Walker: Independence episode 1.12 "How We Got Here" is a stunningly beautiful masterpiece that gorgeously weaves together the backstories of all of the characters that have become beloved. Narrated by Philemon Chambers in golden tones and often providing words of wisdom, this episode reveals how far the characters have come by showing where they started. And all of that changed when into Independence entered…

Abby

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Always shown to be clever, head strong and resilient, a peek into Abby’s past before showing up in town confirms this. When faced with only bringing limited amounts in the wagon to her new home, she takes a breath then moves forward decisively, choosing both practicality and sentiment. On the trail, though still showing signs of her wealth, she casts all privilege aside to help those in need. The quick and authoritative way she helps Eliza give birth is both supportive and inspiring. Throughout it all, Kat is amazing at showing the many facets of this wonderful character, one who was unknowingly stalked by …

Tom

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In retrospect, it’s funny the lengths everyone went to in order for Abby to hide her identity from the sheriff, only to discover that he has known who she was before she even met him. Tom is a very interesting character. There is an intense darkness in him, his willingness to kill, torture, and maim. But there is also this man who tugs at heartstrings with sad stories. A man with a more egalitarian view of the world than one in his position would hold. Overall, as he himself has stated, a charming devil. Apparently, stalker can be added to this description, portrayed by Greg's incredible acting. The next question will be how devoted to family he will be. His background with them seems rocky. But he left the barn with Shane while the audience was left to worry for ….

Augustus

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The voice of the show, the audience is treated to a greater understanding of this amazing man. He is noble and strong in his beliefs. As Otis says, he makes the hard choices. His wisdom outstrips his impressive education. He is the hero of his story although he most certainly has seen himself as the villian. The meeting between Augustus and Calian was beautiful in both cinematography and heart. Philemon and Justin are simply magnificent in this scene. These two wonderful outsiders find each other when they should be enemies. Though Calian doesn’t get his own separate story, what all he has done for Augustus explains why the latter would do anything for the former. Calian was the reason Augustus was given a new life, but he wasn’t the only one who needed one, so did …

Kate

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“What happened back East,” was finally revealed. Someone Kate cared about was killed on Kate’s watch, leaving them bereft and their confidence wrecked. So upon arrival, they’re out of sorts and the heat doesn’t help. Countless doors are slammed in their face until they find a respite with Kai that’s more than a place to rest. “Sometimes home is a person.” Kate finally accepts what they always knew, that Hagan’s was the place for them. Mark and Katie are always fun to watch on screen. They so embody their characters that the dance they create is a pleasure. But while Kate was finding a home, the audience found out why the one who always roams is…

Hoyt

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His sunny persona and ready wit are surely partially armor that Hoyt created against a tragic past. After losing his father in the Alamo before he got to know him, his mother made him her criminal accomplice to get by. She guilted him into wanting to always be by her side as she went from place to place, and equated settling down to stopping living. But then her misdeeds caught up to her in the form of Texas Rangers, and Hoyt was left on his own. He never had a choice. A life of crime is how he was raised, and life without that thrill pales in comparison for him. The heartbreaking revelation that he didn’t want another partner after losing his mom, and the realization of how far he has come to consider the other people in town like family, not crew, but friends, is gorgeously done. Through a flashback featuring another Texas Ranger, whose modern day equivalent is known and loved, the audience gets to see him at the height of being an outlaw. He outdraws the Ranger and steals his clothes, but leaves the Ranger to live to ride again. Matt is brilliant as the incorrigible but golden hearted rogue. His friendship with Kai is heartwarming, even as he plans his next con. One is really thankful he comes back to town, and takes his place as a vital branch on the found family tree.

There are people in this world who didn’t and may not ever see "How We Got Here", and that is sad for them. The wisdom woven throughout this most gorgeous of episodes raises this beyond a normal flashback. Philemon’s voice adds a silky gravitas to words that linger.  As Jared said, this is one of my favorite episodes of television ever.

5 out of 5 stars.

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Review illustrated by Nightsky. Images courtesy of The CW.