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After several case-focused episodes, catching up with family drama was inevitable. This week’s episode did a good job of providing insight into how the characters were dealing with recent events—and added a surprise.

I’ll skip the recap and go straight to what I liked best and what made me scratch my head.

What I Liked Best

Captain James and Kelly house hunting felt very real, and we got the feeling that the qualms over different kinds of homes were metaphors for their rekindled relationship. Is it new construction, a fixer-upper with ‘good bones’, or a solid home where the work has already been done to make it move-in ready? Their interaction and chemistry were natural, and I enjoyed seeing them act on their love for each other. Abeline’s advice about resetting his grandmother’s ring to make it the ‘same but different’ was a nice touch and summed up Larry and Kelly’s relationship.

Cassie and Trey showed how good friends play off each other, giving space to recover but not letting someone wallow. Cassie gently keeps at Trey until he at least goes out for a beer. Later, they’re able to crack a wine forgery investigation which gives them a win without the spectacular danger of recent events.

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Stella and Auggie demonstrate their commitment to the horse rescue, and Stella is growing into her management role. Auggie plays an important part by handling the music, and deals with a last-minute schedule change with skill and ingenuity.

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I enjoyed seeing Hoyt in flashbacks, even though now we know his ‘ancestor’ from Walker: Independence better!

What Made Me Scratch My Head

The interaction between Ben and Liam struck me wrong. Liam was so careful, asking if he could say anything, negotiating the roles they would play in advance. Ben told him he could talk, then got mad at him for making a balanced, insightful comment. Ben struck me as very insecure. Why take Liam with him at all if he wasn’t supposed to help? That’s not the kind of teamwork that goes with being a solid couple.

And as it turns out, Liam was right to be suspicious. Trey and Cassie uncovered the wine forgery scam, getting Ben’s money back and shutting down something harmful for the restaurant community. Will Ben’s ego resent the help? Ben’s prickly reaction to Liam didn’t bode well for their relationship.

Why is it that even when Cordell does the right thing, somehow is family still can’t resist being passive aggressive? Cordell reports that he passed his checkup after the injuries and events of the Gray Flag case, but still needs physical therapy. Abeline praises him for taking time off, but her phrasing struck me as carrying an undercurrent of ‘why do you work so much’ guilt. Is his family truly that clueless about the demands of being a Texas Ranger?

Certain professions demand a lot from a person and their family—law enforcement, military, medical, first responder, clergy, emergency services are just a few roles that by their very nature are not nine-to-five. It takes an exceptional person to do the job, and exceptional commitment from their family not to resent the intrinsic intrusion of the work into everyday life. Cordell’s family continually guilt-trips him about how being a Ranger imposes on family time, but then encourages him to stick with it whenever he has considers walking away. I’m tired of seeing Cordell be ‘wrong’ no matter what choice he makes.

Which leads me to the biggest issue with the episode—Sadie. She starts off grifting before she’s been in the Side Step for ten minutes, and Cordell—as an officer of the law—shuts her down. Then everyone jumps on him for doing his job and stopping her from stealing. Why? They all talk about how if they had intervened more with Hoyt he might not have gone down the wrong path, but when Cordell does try to intervene with Sadie, everyone’s upset that he’s being too hard on her.

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They don’t owe Sadie anything just because she’s (supposedly) Hoyt’s daughter. She clearly doesn’t feel any respect toward them or toward the horse rescue to try twice to steal from them. Any goodwill or second-chance after the ticket scam ended when she stole the boot full of money. Sure, she brought it back (or is that part of a long con to gain trust/sympathy), but her actions bode  badly for the future.

The comment is made that ‘there’s a fine line between benefit of the doubt and enabling.’ I think that line definitely got crossed with Sadie. Geri seems to be operating out of guilt over Hoyt, and yet walking away from him because he was a criminal was the sane thing to do even if it hurt. Cordell cared about Hoyt, but Hoyt didn’t/couldn’t go straight and Cordell had constraints of his own as a Ranger.

There were some themes that it will be interesting to see play out over the rest of the season. Cordell talks about how his job and life experience conditions him to assume the worst. He and Geri agree that Hoyt couldn’t get out of his own way. Trey and Cassie realize that partners have your back when you need it the most. Ben’s angry about Liam ‘inserting’ himself into the conversation. All those statements are potential omens or predictors for how relationships might play out. Were they clever throw-away lines, or will the writers act on their portent? I can’t wait to see how it all works out.

As always, Jared and the cast did a great job!

Find more of Gail's commentaries on her Writer's Page.

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Images courtesy of The CW.