Walker Independence Season Premiere Review – A Promising Reimagined Western (1×01)
Walker fans—throw your cowboy hats high into the air because this right here is the show you’ve been waiting for!
Walker Independence has all the makings of an action-packed Western that the Walker reboot always aspired to be but never could accomplish in a modern-day setting.
The prequel, set in the 1800s, focuses on the Walker family’s ancestors, specifically Abby Walker, who arrives in Independence, Texas (Austin, Texas in the present day) after the death of her husband, Liam. While her real name is Abigail Collins, she takes on the surname Walker (inspired by a nickname “Walks in Tall Grass” given to her by Calian, an Apache who saves her life along with the elders in his trib) after the traumatic murder.
The premiere episode slightly mirrors the first episode of Walker in that we see Abby mourn the loss of her soulmate much like Cordell Walker did following the death of his wife.
The past shapes and informs the future, and as we uncover what happened in the 1800s, we begin to understand the current Walker family so much better.
However, Walker Independence stands on its own. You don’t need to be a fan of Walker–or have ever seen an episode—to enjoy the series, so don’t be deterred if that’s the case. Still, it is fun if you’re a fan of the original as there are many parallels, callbacks, and Easter eggs that connect back. Liam, it turns out, isn’t the only family name passed down through generations as Hoyt Rawlins, a character reprised by Matt Barr, names his horse Cordell.
Abby is an ancestor to the matriarch Abby Walker that we know from Austin, and they’re both fearless and driven in their own right. As most Westerns put a man in the saddle, Walker Independence challenges gender roles and counts mostly on Abby to take the lead. By the end of the episode, she decides to settle down in Independence and fight for justice on her own terms. She may have lost her husband and witnessed his murder, but she’s not a victim; She’s not going to sit by idly and let the man that killed him get away. She’s going to get her revenge, one way or another, and she has a diverse cast of players to help her out.
One of those people is the aforementioned Hoyt, who truly isn’t much different than the present-day Hoyt we got to know ever so briefly. Barr was made to play Hoyt in both iterations. He’s still a gambler, womanizer, and criminal, but it’s all in the name of survival because underneath it all, he’s a kind man whose path crosses with Abby’s as she begs him to help her seek out justice. Upon arriving in town, she immediately identifies her husband’s killer as the new Sheriff in town… Sheriff Tom… Tom Davidson. . If you’ve always been infatuated by the Walker and Davidson feud in the present day, this is actually the origin story of that feud. And it’s dark and ugly, and, quite frankly, makes me despise the Davidson family even more. Marv Davidson’s death was nothing in comparison to the death of Liam Collins.
Abby and Hoyt immediately have a spark, but it’s unclear how long it’ll take them to act on it considering Abby is recently widowed and Hoyt is romancing Luisa, a Spanish woman whose family, particularly her brother, seems to disapprove of her relationship with him. She informs them that Davidson took on the role of Sheriff as his family arrived from Boston and began stealing land from settlers all around with the hopes of getting away with it.
Hoyt is trouble, sure, but she really threw caution to the wind when she asked him to help her commit murder just because she saw him rob a bank is a huge ask. Her determination is admirable, and I can see a future for Independence where she defeats Tom Davidson and takes over as the new Sheriff
As I said, they have a connection, so while Hoyt is determined to shake Abby, he eventually ends up helping her bury her husband’s rotting corpse and vows to help her in any way that he can.
Independence seems to be a budding town filled with lost souls running from something and looking to carve a name and path for themselves, including Calian, Deputy Augustus, who may be one of the rare yet honorable policemen, Kate, an entertainer who works at the hotel owned by Nathaniel Hagan (who just sounds like trouble), and Kai, a man from China who works doing the laundry at the hotel and is clearly in love with Kate.
Kate is friendly to Abby initially, but she also sneaks a peek at the telegraph she sends back home to inform them of Liam’s death and figures out that Abby might suspect the new Sheriff. It’s unclear if we can fully trust her at this point, but I’m hoping she’ll be a source of female empowerment and friendship for Abby. We know she could use it. Could she possibly be Geri’s ancestor in some way?
This isn’t just the origin story of the Walker family but also the Side Step Saloon. While it’s fun to see it in this dated form, I’m hoping we see how the Walker family gets ownership.
Independence may have been a rough start for Abigail, but it’s full of possibilities; it offers the promise of a fresh start and a found family. I hope she makes the most of it and doesn’t spend too much time living in the past. While revenge is great, it won’t change what happened, and by focusing too much on the past, you might miss out on a great future.
Walker, Independence is a reimagined Western that incorporates all the elements people love about the genre while also tackling the bigger issues and telling raw and honest stories about racism, sexuality, and more.
What will Abby do next? How will Hoyt’s carefree vibe fit into it? And who is ready to see everyone band together to take down the Davidsons?
Let us know what you thought of the Walker Independence Series Premiere!
Walker Independence Review – The Calm Before the Storm (110)
Abby Walker went from hating Tom Davidson and trying to get revenge on him to falling into bed with him all in the span of 10 episodes.
It’s definitely a change of attitude for Abby, but the realization that Tom isn’t her husband’s murderer allowed her to see the Sheriff in a new light.
And it didn’t help that they were “riding out the storm” together and boozin’ it up for much of the evening, which likely impaired their judgment just a smidge. But the truth is, they simply acted on sexual tension and chemistry that has always been there. Previously, Abby pushed it down because of her belief that he was responsible for killing her husband, but when that turned out not to be the case, she was a little more open to the possibility, seeing Tom as a man who wants to do the right thing and help people out.
Of course, this will prove to be quite complicated for Abby considering all of her friendships in town were built on the premise that they will all help her avenge her husband’s death and take down Tom. Kate, Hoyt, Gus, and Calian have all distanced themselves from Abby after she informed them that she may have misjudged Tom, feeling a bit slighted for putting all their trust in her, and when they find out that she’s now sleeping with the enemy, it will likely drive an even bigger wedge between them.
Kate’s reaction is proof of that—she was shocked and disappointed as she thought she knew Abby and felt betrayed finding her in Tom’s bed.
Though, I can’t figure out why Kate walked into Tom’s bedroom so freely in the first place. I know that they work together at Hagan’s, but wouldn’t she at least knock? They aren’t that comfortable with each other.
There’s also the fact that neither Abby nor Tom are being completely honest with each other. Abby has hidden her true identity from him, so he’s, as far as we know, completely oblivious to the fact that she’s Liam Collins’ wife. If he was a good detective, he’d pick up on all the very obvious clues she’s been dropping, including her interest in finding Shane Davidson, the alleged murderer, but I don’t think Tom wants to face the truth just yet. He might know deep down, but he’s in denial.
As for Tom, he’s not being forthcoming about the fact that he’s holding his brother captive. Shane is definitely the wild card of the family, and likely the person responsible for Liam’s death, but Tom is also dangerous in his own right. He keeps his cards close to his chest. Unfortunately, in the final moments of the episode, Tom realized that Shane escaped, proving that he’s likely going to pose a threat to the town of Independence. I guess Tom has to go on the hunt for his sibling after all.
A storm is always such a catalyst for change. The dust blew in a ton of it, with new relationships and business deals forming left and right.
While Abby and Tom were enjoying each other’s company, the rest of the bunch hunkered down at the Side Step teaching the owner, Randall, quite a lesson. Randall was getting a little “too comfortable,” according to Kate and Hoyt, so they devised a poker game plan that would put the reins of ownership into Lucia’s hands. Randall thought he caught Kate and Hoyt cheating, so he let his guard down, but little did he know, it was all part of the plan for Lucia to come out victorious—taking the money, her ranch, and the Side Step with her.
If Walker fans ever wondered how the Walker family came to own the Side Step, well, this is how it all started. Once Lucia became the new owner, she hired Hoyt to take on all the responsibilities. They, of course, celebrated the big win with a little romantic rendezvous—and while I wasn’t a fan of their coupling in the past, this is putting them on a new path that I can totally ship. I can’t remember if Hoyt owned the Side Step on the sister show, and in his death, it was transferred to the Walker family, or if it was always theirs.
Technically, this Hoyt is not a Walker, so for it to become a Walker establishment, it needs to end up under Abby’s ownership… which makes me wonder if Hoyt and Abby are endgame. After all, before she had any romantic feelings for Tom, she had plenty of chemistry with Hoyt.
It was nice to see Lucia take charge for a change. Being a boss looks good on her, and I hope this is the start of the series really investing in her character in the same way they have for the others. She has always given off a “better than you” vibe around Hoyt, but she proved that she’s learned from the very best when it comes to hustling and taking what’s hers.
Nathaniel Hagan was passing through town and reconnected with Kate, who initially felt betrayed by his decision to sell the hotel to the Davidsons. She didn’t get to the bottom of what motivated the decision, and honestly, they have an interesting relationship, which I’m struggling to figure out. He’s either her father or a father figure. I also don’t really understand the moment between him and Olivia, the woman passing through town who hunkered down with Tom and Abby. Will we see more of her?
Gus managed to avoid the dust storm by assisting Calian on his journey to find his sister, Nascha. It was a heartbreaking storyline as Calian spent years feeling guilty about what happened to Nascha, letting that one moment define him, thinking he wasn’t worthy of happiness, and putting so much effort into finding her, all while she was not only surviving by thriving. She may have been taken from her home, but she was taken in by parents who shielded her from the horrors of her past, and she built a beautiful life for herself with a good husband and a loving daughter.
Unfortunately, Nascha barely had any memory of her past—nor did she have any interest in revisiting it. The only thing she did truly remember was Calian. While her disappearance affected his whole existence, she was barely phased, and it really seemed as though the Nascha he knew died the moment she was taken.
However, it was also incredible that after all these years he did find his sister and got the closure he so desperately needed to move on. They may not have the relationship he’s always envisioned, but he will be able to stay in touch and have her in his life. And now, he can forgive himself. Through healing, the second half of his life can begin.
Upon returning to his people, Calian was informed that they chose a leader who would “fight back” against the railroad, which is everything Taza was against. He wanted Calian to take over so that he could leverage his connection with the people of Independence to prevent a war.
It seems that the railroad is going to introduce a lot of issues for Independence’s finest. How will they all band together to come out victorious and preserve what they’ve built?
And what will Abby and Tom’s hookup mean moving forward?
What did you think of the episode?
Walker Independence Review – Strange Bedfellows (109)
A Kai-centric episode brought a lot of zest to Walker Independence while also letting everyone focus on something other than avenging Liam Collins’ death.
Don’t worry, that plot line was still very much in play with the arrival of Shane Davidson, Tom’s charming yet dangerously wicked brother, but a good chunk of the episode dug into Kai’s backstory and his squabble with the Tong, a Chinese criminal syndicate.
The Tong action kicked into high gear with Lily’s arrival. Kai is overjoyed to see his former love, and within minutes, they fall right back into old patterns. She convinces him to pack up his things so that they can get out of town, but thankfully, a brief chat with Kate puts things into perspective—the timing of Lily’s arrival is just a little sus.
Kai didn’t want to believe that his beloved would betray him, but the signs were all there, and she couldn’t keep up the rouse for much longer. The only way for Kai to pay off his debt, she said, was to convince the Sheriff to strike a deal with the Tong.
Kai managed to convince Tom, but when Shane got wind of this golden opportunity, he went over his brother’s head and directly to Lily. Tom was wary about making a deal with a criminal syndicate—as he should be—while Shane only saw dollar signs. It’s clear that Tom is the black sheep of the family as he’s not willing to make a dangerous decision for the sake of monetary gain. He didn’t see money signs in the way Shane did as he actually takes his job protecting the people of Independence seriously. The negotiations were tense, with Lily refusing to accept Tom’s offer, that is until Kai stormed in there more confident than we’ve ever seen. He told Lily that either she accepts the deal, with him running point on Tong operations in town, or she ends up like the men he killed back at Sung’s.
It was interesting to see Kai break this character that he’s crafted to keep a low profile, but now, the charade is up. Kate was the one most thrown after seeing Kai go into beast mode to protect himself from the Tong. It proved to her that she never really new Kai, and the man she thought he was didn’t exist. And the fact that he was willing to get in bed with the devil proved to her that maybe he wasn’t any better than the Tong or Davidson. I think Kate was being a little bit too judgmental, which is understandable considering she was completely blindsided by both Kai and Abby. However, she’s also kept her fair share of secrets, and she definitely understands doing whatever is necessary to survive. I think she’ll come around eventually, and knowing Kai’s secret will strengthen their bond.
Kate, Hoyt, and Gus also threw caution to the wind and joined forces with Tom Davidson, solely to help out Kai. Again, it’s proof that you’ll do what’s necessary when the situation requires it.
Gus knew that there was no way that they could lend a hand without deputizing them, and it was especially fun to see Hoyt on the other side of the law—doing the arresting rather than getting arrested. It must’ve felt good, and while he informed Gus that he doesn’t see himself as a lawman, I kind of hope this is in the works as his character develops and becomes a better person through the town’s positive influence.
The trio also turned on Abby after she informed them that she wasn’t convinced that Tom killed Liam. Their frustrations were understandable considering they never doubted her and supported her in every way. They’ve poured so much of their energy into this case simply because Abby was 100% sure. However, it’s unfair to hold it against her considering the resemblance between Shane and Tom. I mean, with a hat on and in the dark, they look identical. And Abby never knew he had a brother, so how could she ever consider this possibility before? She was upfront with them the minute she had her doubts, and I wish they would’ve been as supportive as Calian when she confided in him. They are all solid friends, but Calian is the wise one who never holds grudges.
In a shocking twist, Abby also confided in Tom with her theory that Shane killed Liam Collins, especially after seeing the scar that would’ve been caused by the wagon explosion. It’s an alliance that has been episodes in the making, but it’s surprising nonetheless. Tom is the kind of man that everyone seems to underestimate, too. Shane is clearly the force in the family, and he tried to overpower Tom’s authority in the meeting with Lily and the Tong, but behind-the-scenes, Tom’s pretty ruthless. He took Abby’s word for it, and the next thing you know, Shane is hanging from Tom’s barn roof all bloodied and bruised as he informs his bro that they need to have a little chat.
Abby has a lot of chemistry with many of the men of Independence, including Calian and Tom, which I can totally get behind only if he ends up not being her husband’s murderer.
Calian has always been there for her, and thus when he needed her, she was there for him. Calian’s only remaining family, Chief Taza, passed away, handing over the reins to him. While Calian definitely felt underprepared to take on the role of Chief, particularly as he’s been torn between his own people and his friends in Independence, Taza informed him that the connection between the two worlds would be beneficial to his people.
Calian turned to Gus for some support as he’s now the only family he has left… or so he thought. Gus had some news that was definitely a surprise to Calian—his sister, Nascha, might be alive. I kind of felt as though the series was going to embrace this route and introduce her, so I’m very excited about this development.
Everything is more out in the open than ever before, which means things are only going to get more intense. Will Abby be able to keep her real identity a secret while getting justice for Liam’s death? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
Walker Independence Review – Blood & Whiskey (103)
Abigail Walker is a not a woman to be messed with.
On Walker Independence Season 1 Episode 3, she accepted Sherriff Tom’s job offer so that she could get answers about her husband’s death, but she quickly proved to be an asset for the town—and a thorn in Tom’s side.
Abigail is resourceful, so when her first item on the agenda was delivering an eviction to the Sullivan sisters, she immediately began working on a way to help them keep their stores open. And that proved more difficult than she thought because all the town’s people were going to neighboring towns for much-needed supplies simply to avoid the sisters and their constant arguing. Their inability to put aside their differences was literally driving people away from their stores.
Abigail, however, also realized that Tom had a personal investment in the property as he was trying to scoop up the 200 acres that came with it for his own selfish reasons, which is why he expedited the eviction on behalf of the bank himself. This made her that much more determined to help the Sullivan sisters put an end to their feud and make the money necessary to pay off the debt.
With Kate’s help, along with the dancers, the turnout at the Sullivan shops was incredible, and they were able to pay off their loan and then some, which did not sit well with Tom as it directly sabotaged his plans.
Abigail sarcastically commended the Sheriff on only being there a few weeks and getting so much done to help the community, and at this point, they both have to be onto each other. They’re both playing the game all too well.
Hoyt and Calian were against Abigail’s decision to join the Sheriff’s office—and it’s sweet how much they both care for her— but she understood that a core principal of survival included keeping your enemies closer. She didn’t stay out of the lion’s den; she walked proudly into it. And I’m hoping her position will keep him in check and hold him accountable, so at the very least, it’s harder for him to get away with his shady plans.
Kate may be a helpful hand whenever Abigail needs it, but she doesn’t exactly trust her new roommate either. She’s not naive—she’s been trying to figure her out since her arrival by observing and analyzing. And the same goes for Abigail. By the end of the episode, she found Kate’s gun and they both had the same question—who are you?! I can’t wait to get her backstory!
Only a few people in town know Abigail’s true story, but I’m hoping Kate can be one of those trusted confidants. In man’s world, it’s a blessing to meet another tough and cunning woman and befriend her. Kate knows a thing or two about the town that could come in handy, while Abigail is fearless because she has absolutely nothing to lose. This has the makings of an epic friendship.
Speaking of friendship, Hoyt and Calian are totally buddies, but since this isn’t your typical friendship, they aren’t exactly going to own up to the fact that they make a good team and enjoy each other’s company.
For most of the episode, Hoyt got pulled back into his past life, where he pretended to be a preacher in a town that seemingly trusted him all too well.
When Jacob knocked him out, a throwback to what Hoyt did to Jacob in the premiere, it definitely seemed like retaliation. So, when Hoyt woke up in Angel Springs with all of the villagers that he wronged staring right back at him, he began to sing like a canary, repenting for all of his sins. “Lived a life of lies and transgressions” is what he called it. Hoyt is a master manipulator and actor who will milk any situation to his advantage.
Turns out, they didn’t really care about all he’d done, but they did need have another purpose for him as they needed his criminal expertise in stopping a bunch of thieves who were robbing their whiskey deliveries. He owed them, and Jacob (whose wife he slept with), that much.
Hoyt was up to the task, but when things went south and he was ambushed by the group of robbers he used to run with, he decided against helping. “Welp, I tried,” was his response.
That’s when Calian, who is not a runner and finishes what he started, unlike Hoyt, pushed him to be a better man, and together, they get the whiskey back and help a community in need that only ever showed kindness Hoyt’s way. Small baby steps, but Hoyt definitely has it in him to do the right thing. With Calian’s help, he’ll get there.
The duo went into battle together, this time for a completely different reason than defeating the new shady and murderous sheriff, but it was just as action-packed and exciting as ever!
Unfortunately, Calian was scolded by his people for prioritizing his friendships with the others. It was heartbreaking to see him torn between his people and his new friends, but it likely isn’t the first or last time. As an “outsider,” it’s hard to find your place and fit in, especially when you are open to changes that your people have never considered. But my guess is that Calian and the Apache people will play a significant role in stopping Tom from his ruthless land grab and taking what doesn’t belong to him because his plans seem bigger than anyone imagined.
Lucia’s family, including her father, Senor Reyes, was also largely impressed with Calian and how eloquently he spoke and presented himself while addressing the issue of the cattle being stolen in comparison to Hoyt, which only further angered the latter and fueled his hatred. Hoyt’s going to have to prove that he can stay out of trouble for at least a minute if he wants to earn the respect of Lucia’s family, or even convince Lucia to continue giving him any more of her attention.
It seems as though Abigail wasn’t the only one hurt by Tom Davidson as he’s a common enemy for everyone in and around town, including Deputy Gus, who was also threatened by Tom. It’s only a matter of time before he’s exposed!
What did you think of the third episode? Are you enjoying all the action? Do you think the Sheriff is aware that Abigail is onto him?
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