Jared Padalecki has held many impressive roles in his career. Some may think of him as Dean from Gilmore Girls, while others only see him as Sam Winchester on Supernatural.
But now, he’s stepping into the shoes of the legendary Cordell Walker on The CW’s Walker adaptation, a role previously held by the Chuck Norris on Walker, Texas Ranger, a beloved action drama with a premise that’s occasionally viewed as problematic for its portrayal of good guys versus bad guys.
In the 1993 series, the idea of justice was always painted with a black and white brushstroke, but in 2021, we know that’s not the case.
That’s why The CW’s version aims to stay true to the original with a dedicated cop who takes down the bad guys with roundhouse kicks, while also infusing the modern-day version with more progressive viewpoints. The pilot alone touches on the topic of undocumented immigration and introduces Walker’s partner, a Mexican-American female ranger, along with his gay brother.
I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from The CW series going in, but even without fully knowing, it seems I set my expectations just a bit too high… like those famous roundhouse kicks.
Nothing about Walker’s pilot episode drew me in (or made me want to keep watching) despite it being the network’s most highly-anticipated show of 2020, and there’s nothing legendary or iconic about Padalecki’s performance… not yet, at least.
Padalecki’s Walker is angstier and less carefree than Norris’. He comes with a lot of personal baggage inflicted by the mysterious death of his wife, Emily, which spirals into his struggle to raise his two children, Stella and Augie, without her.
One major flaw off-the-bat is that the writers and creators assumed audiences would care about a lead character when much of the action — his wife’s death and his undercover mission following her death — happens off-screen or in “flashbacks.” Instead, we’re provided context upon Walker’s return 10-months after his mission through a series of “heartfelt” talks with his family that often miss the mark.
It’s an action series with minimal action that relies more on telling, not showing. It’s a surefire way to alienate a fan-base coming to see a character famously known for being an ass-kicking badass. Especially since we barely see that side of Walker.
Instead, we’re given a protagonist that ran away from his problems by throwing himself into his work while the rest of his family — his parents and his brother, Liam (Pretty Little Liars actor Keegan Allen), who works as a DA in the liberal city of Texas — stepped up to the plate to raise the children.
Sadly, both Walker and the series struggling to juggle the work-life balance.
In short, it’s unclear what the main focus of the show is supposed to be. Is Walker a man who wants to repair his relationship with his kids? Is he a man who wants to protect his reputation as ranger and focus on justice and equality? Or does he want to solve his wife’s murder, which is strung along as an overarching plot to unravel over the course of the season?
If he’s all three, the show needs to find better ways of communicating it because right now, it feels stiff and falls flat.
Padalecki doesn’t seem to have a full grasp on who his character is or where his priorities lie either, which means that while his shortcomings as a father and a ranger are brought up, he shows no emotional depth. It’s a tough pill to swallow for an actor who has nailed the whole “brooding” persona far too many times.
It’s also hard to figure out what narrative the show wants to push forward. At one point he’s patted on the back and given promotions for being “the best of the best,” but scolded and called out for his “problematic” and “rule-bending” behavior in the same breath.
One thing that’s hammered home is that he hasn’t been a very present father and his daughter, Stella, faults him for it. She may be rebellious, but so far, Stella’s brush-in with the law only serves a potential storyline in which Walker and Liam help her best friend’s parents, who are facing deportation because the crime she committed is now on their record.
It’s also hard to get invested in the mystery of his wife’s death considering we only saw their relationship briefly in the first few minutes of the episode. And it was expected the moment he told her to “be careful.” Other than that, we have no idea what her job entailed or what led to her death, but if we never find out, I’m not going to lose any sleep about it. In fact, I found myself more intrigued by Jerry, the woman that was with Emily the night she was murdered. Walker doesn’t seem to hold any resentment about her involvement and there even seemed to be some sparks flying between the two of them.
The personal aspects of Walker’s life completely overshadowed the case-of-the-week, which was haste and lacking. It was an afterthought when it should have been the selling point for a series pulling inspiration from police procedurals and a crime-fighting icon.
The case served up a few fight scenes, which yes, included a roundhouse kick, but it mostly allowed Walker and his new partner, Micki, to get to know each other and connect, a little too quickly, if I might add. Instead of giving their partnership time to evolve, it seemed expedited and by the end of the hour, Micki attempts to be the “buddy cop” next to Walker’s brooding one. They even banter as though they’ve been partners for years, which feels off considering she scolded him for his behavior, which also seems misplaced considering he outranks her.
That’s more of a casualty of the writing than anything else because for the most part, Micki sells is more intriguing as a character even with limited screen time. She has more riding on the line than Walker, and one could make the case that she should’ve been the lead of the series rather than being reduced to a conflicted, emotionless man’s sidekick. Not only is she more secure and confident, but she’s also complex. She worked hard to climb the ranks as a woman in a male-dominated career, and she won’t let Walker screw that up for her. In addition to validating her career choices to her family, she also wants to prove herself to a system that would love to see her fail.
The case resulted in a mind-numbingly generic storyline about a drug cartel, which may or may not serve as a future plotline. And that right there is the biggest issue. A pilot episode is supposed to sell you the idea of better episodes in the future. It’s supposed to entice you into coming back again, but the identity of the series was so vague, we don’t actually know what we should expect from it (and Walker) moving forward. It’s equal parts something we’ve already seen before and equal parts forgettable.
iZombie, for example, adopted a case-of-the-week format that fed into the overarching plot more and more with each passing episode.
Walker can succeed if it finds the right balance of action scenes, intriguing cases, personal development, and a stellar supporting cast. But so far, it hasn’t sold us any of that.
And Padalecki can’t rely on his fans from shows prior to make this a hit.
What did you think of the pilot episode?
Walker Season Finale Review – Something’s Missing (2×20)
The longstanding feud between the Walkers and the Davidsons has finally been put to rest.
Or, should I say, the feud went up in flames?
On Walker Season 2 Episode 20, Cordell and Geri teamed up to break Gayle so that she would finally tell the truth.
And honestly, nothing she said was that shocking.
From day one, the Davidson’s had it out for the Walker’s. They tried to make them feel guilty, taint their name, one-up them, and they tried to take what’s there’s. You name it, the Davidson clan attempted it. They were hypocritical bullies in every sense of the word, and it was all because they were trying to cover up the ugly parts of their own family; they were trying to run from themselves.
When the truth finally came to light, it proved that the Walker family constantly took the high road, even when it would’ve been understandable for them to go low.
In fact, Cordell still extended an olive branch to Gayle upon finding out that she tried to blame her husband’s death on him when he was just a child. And that’s a guilt he’s carried on his shoulders throughout his life.
When Geri realized Gayle was hiding something and gaslighting her, she decided to force her to talk by taking her back to the scene of where it all happened — the barn.
Once confronted with all those memories of the night she had been trying to repress all these years, Gayle couldn’t stick to her fictitious story any longer.
It was time to bury the lies and bubble up the truth.
And it was quite an ugly truth. Gayle admitted that Marv finally told her that her daughter, then 12, was alive, but the fact that he said it as an “afterthought” while assuring her that she’s “had a good life” triggered Gayle into committing an unfathomable crime.
Gayle saw red, so she took the nearby lantern and bashed him in the head. Now, I could’ve understood if this was just a heat of the moment reaction upon finding out your husband was a liar who kept your child from you, but the fact that she locked the barn door and left him in there unconscious while the place went up in flames was straight up cold-blooded murder.
Gayle has been out here pointing blame at everyone but herself when all along, the blood is on her hands. She’s the reason her family crumbled.
She let an innocent kid take the fall simply because it was “his lantern.” As if that makes it okay.
Admittedly, Geri was a little freaked out. She knew something was off, but she never anticipated her birth mother would confess to murdering her father.
And naturally, when Gayle approached her, she withdrew. This time, it was Geri who knocked over the lantern. Now, I’m just going to put this out there — maybe it’s time to invest in a flashlight.
But also, what goes around comes around as this time, Gayle was the one lying unconscious in the middle of the roaring flames.
Cordell pulled up to the barn at the exact moment to see it in flames and remembered that he couldn’t have been responsible for the fire all those years ago because he wasn’t inside the barn, a his memory he blocked out due to the trauma.
Justice was served as Gayle was locked up, and Denise finally saw the truth that she’s been denying for so long: her family is messed up and the enemy.
Wanting to make amends and start fresh, she came clean about cutting the saddle, which allowed them to win the race for the Walker family ranch.
All the terrible things you thought about the Davidsons? Yep, they were all true. Who knew Dan would be the innocent one in all of this?
However, when judgment day came, they also knew how to own up to their mistakes and make amends by giving the keys to the property back to the rightful owner.
It feels right to have the Walker family back at the ranch, and it’s even better that Liam has now realized his place on it. From lawyer to ranch hand, it’s a massive change, but one I’m not opposed to seeing pan out.
And thankfully, the next generation doesn’t seem nearly as bad as their family members as Colton was ready to make amends and move forward by making Stella a priority despite the fact that their families will always have this deep-rooted resentment toward each other.
You would think that after everything, Geri would run into Cordell’s open arms, but she once again pushed him away.
And I get it — that girl has been through a lot. So many curveballs were thrown her way this season and she has no idea who she is. It’s understandable if she needs a minute to process.
On the other hand, Cordell has always been her person; a constant despite how messy life got. Why wouldn’t she allow herself even a sliver of happiness?
With the Davidson mystery laid to rest, the show is able to divert its attention to the Texas Rangers and a new case involving a nefarious organized crime group filled with ex-military who have a hand in sex trafficking.
They have the protection from someone up above, and they are determined to take out anyone that figures out too much, which in this case is the Captain, Cassie, and Cordell. At this point, Trey is likely in the line of danger too because he was there at the time of the safehouse shooting. If he hasn’t already been convinced to accept the Captain’s offer to become a ranger, the fact that Cordell was kidnapped will surely sway him.
Cassie thought she was going on a date, but instead, she was the target of a recon man gathering intel for the group. She can hold her own, and the man totally realized he wasn’t going to get anywhere with her.
Of course, that’s nothing compared to Walker literally getting knocked out and stuffed into a van on his jog.
How did they manage it without Liam and Trey seeing anything? And did it really have to be right before Stella’s graduation? That girl has worried enough about her parents throughout her life. Can’t she just get this one nice moment?
It’s unclear who is protecting the organized crime group, but now that they’ve initially lit the match by kidnapping Cordell, you know it’s going to be a full-out war.
By the time they find Walker, my guess is Geri is going to make sure he never leaves her sight again.
At times, the whole Walker vs. Davidson dilema felt so melodramatic that it felt like we were watching a bad soap opera.
I’m glad that this new storyline taps back into the roots of what this show was always meant to be by putting the Texas Rangers action at the forefront.
What did you think of the finale? Who do you think took Walker? Is it still part of Serano’s crew? Let us know in the comments below!
Walker Review – A Matter of Miles (2×19)
The penultimate episode of Walker was one of the best of the season.
Slowly but surely, the series is honing in on a really fantastic and dynamic team that knows how to play off of each other, even if I’m still partial to Micki over Cassie. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Cassie, I just still can’t figure out her place in the show yet. She seems to have chemistry with everyone, which might just be a personality trait at this point, but I’m constantly finding myself overlooking her personality to figure out whose love interest she’s going to end up.
But what made Walker Season 2 Episode 19 such a stellar episode was the perfect balance of action and personal family drama. Just when you thought you were getting all wrapped up in the Walker vs. Davidson fight, you were pulled into the Miles mystery at Ranger HQ.
The viewer, like Cordell, needed to have a stake in every fight, and yet no pull in either.
On top of it all, there’s a new mystery involving Gale and whether or not she knew about Geri’s existence. The fact that Geri, who may be the sweetest person with a pure heart of gold, is questioning if her loyalty is misplaced means a lot.
I understand her desire — along with Stella and Colton’s — to have the families put aside their difference and hit reset, but too much has happened for that to be possible. There’s some truly bad blood, which started with the barn fire, led to the horse race being rigged, and ended with the matriarch likely deceiving Geri.
No one does our Geri like that. The Walkers are good people who care about Geri; they’re protective of her, so if they even sniff out a hint of a lie, they will rip them apart.
Even Dan seems to think that they deserve it. His character has made huge strides from the total jerk to the man who is very much convinced the Davidsons are not the good guys in the fight.
Since Dan figured out Gale cut the saddle, I was wholly expecting the dinner to take a different turn when he outed her and made her confess. But I think Denise is too convinced of her own BS to come clean. There’s ego and pride that’s stopping her from owning up to her involvement in all of it.
I don’t know why the Davidsons feel so entitled to everything. I get that they blame the Walker family for Marv’s death in the barn fire, but honestly, it’s so petty at this point.
And now, the promo for the finale seems to indicate that Gale may have been responsible for the fire!
There’s nothing about Gale that screams “you can trust this person,” and it’s a shame because Geri truly wanted to give her a chance.
As Bonham said, blood does not evoke loyalty. It would be great for Geri to have her biological family in her life, but she doesn’t need them. She has a loving home with the Walkers.
There has been some tension between Geri and Cordell since their split, but I love that she trusts him enough to share her concerns about Gale. They’re friends first, lovers second.
Cordell was a bit preoccupied with work though, so he couldn’t get too invested in the feuding family politics.
Things at Ranger HQ were pretty wild, I’m not going to lie.
After Cap and Cordell discovered Miles alive and got ambushed by sniper bullets, Miles had a lot of explaining to do.
Except neither Miles nor Captain Fenton Cole wanted to talk about the case they were working on.
Miles informed them — and Cassie — that he faked his death with Fenton’s help. Of course, Cassie was livid since she put herself on the line so many times to look for Miles. She never gave up on him or the idea that he could still be alive because she never thought things added up./
Miles didn’t know, however, that Fenton wasn’t being entirely honest with him. While Miles was hiding out in order to protect his family, Fenton got into a relationship with his wife, Rita.
Who does that?
I know Fenton refused to talk to the Cap because he didn’t want to put him in danger, and sure, the mission might have been important, but Fenton was kind of a terrible person to be involved in an unauthorized undercover investigation with.
While Miles took the hit, he basically assumed his life.
And then when he felt pressure from the Cap to spill the beans, he took a pill and killed himself. He didn’t say goodbye to Miles or Rita, and he didn’t tell the Cap how he could protect them.
How is that helpful to anyone?
Miles eventually told them that his investigation led him to some very scary and dangerous people who deal with human trafficking, so Fenton’s death was for nothing. He didn’t die protecting some big secret.
Once the truth came out, Trey, Cassie, Cap, and Walker realized they were in a world of danger as the hideout cabin got attacked..
Here’s where that true Walker action came into play as they all kicked major butt proving that this is one talented team.
I was convinced Miles and Cassie were supposed to find their way to each other. Am I crazy in thinking that there was some mad unspoken love there?
Cassie was so dedicated to Miles — more than his own wife. She believed he was alive and didn’t let that belief waver because she knew him better than she knew herself. Meanwhile, his ex moved on immediately with his boss. One could argue that she was hurt and grieving but it’s just such a stark difference from how dedicated Cassie was.
It didn’t feel like Miles and Cassie’s story should end so abruptly, so I’m kind of bummed that it did.
As Miles and his family go off into the witness protection program sunset, Cassie and co. are getting knee-deep into a case that’s going to prove very dangerous. Taking down an organization that deals with human trafficking and murder for hire is no joke.
As Walker put it, this is just the beginning.
They’ve poked the bear, so I hope they’re ready to pay the price.
Naturally, this will bring Trey into the fold and possibly into a romantic relationship with Cas, though, I’m at the point where I truly enjoy their friendship. It seems like they both need each other to work through their previous issues and trauma, so I don’t know if dating each other is the right answer… at least not right now.
What did you think of the episode? How do you think the season finale will unfold? Will the truth about the Davidson’s come to light — about both Geri and the horse race? Will the Walker family get their ranch back? Cordell needs a place to hang up his hat! How will that bode for Stella and Colton’s relationship?
Walker Review – Torn (2×17)
I want to like Walker.
I like the characters, I like the idea of the show, but oftentimes, I find the execution lacking, so I’m torn.
Walker Season 2 Episode 17 felt like a disjointed mess when it came down to the relationship between Walker and Twyla Jean. It almost felt as though the episode was pressed for time, so they made haste jumps from scene to scene that didn’t make all that much sense at all.
One moment Twyla was helping Walker and the Rangers pinpoint the people laundering money at a horse auction, the next minute she was hooking up with Walker. Shortly after, she met his son, and next thing you know, she’s requested a transfer because the timing of their relationship just never made sense.
All of that stands to reason, but did we need to press fast forward? I found myself getting whiplash trying to keep up with the state of their romance in such a short time.
Did this all happen throughout the span of a day? Because if so, that’s one really long day.
And it’s a missed opportunity not to explore this in-depth. Walker’s dalliance with Twyla could’ve spanned a handful of episodes so that we could fully explore their feelings.
If they realized that their lives could never fit into each other, that’s fine, but at least we should’ve been able to build up to that moment and the realization.
Walker isn’t the kind of guy that can have a casual relationship, and again, that’s fine, but it should have been a big “aha” moment achieved by attempting a relationship with Twyla.
The worst part is that Walker and Twyla actually made a great team. She knew how to handle herself in any situation that they threw her in. She’s the kind of partner Walker needs by his side.
Cass is great at keeping him in line and levelheaded, but if we want that true action where the chemistry comes first, Twyla delivered on all fronts.
I’m surprised to admit that I was sad to see her go.
Though, it’s fair that she was an escape for Walker. When he was with her, he sunk back into the character of Duke that he created to avoid his reality. He didn’t have to think about the real issues at hand including the Davidsons, the farm, and Geri.
The other thing about introducing Twyla for one short episode is that it felt as though Walker moved on way too quickly from Geri.
Geri acknowledged that she saw them the night prior, Walker informed her that they were giving their relationship a shot despite the history, and they both went their separate ways.
Did I miss something? I could’ve sworn Geri came to the Sidestep to inform Cordell that she still had feelings.
They broke up not too long ago and yet it seems as though they completely moved on. And now he’s just going to slink his way back to Geri as if his heart was always hers? If it was so easy to move on and consider a new life with someone else, how is any of that fair to Geri?
It’s frustrating, especially because Geri means a whole to Cordell, so this makes his character wholly inconsistent. Writers, fix this, please.
I’m all for Geri finding a place within her family, but I hate that she’s constantly torn between her loyalties to the Walker’s as well. Especially because, no matter how you slice it, the Davidson’s are kind of terrible.
Walker came to the realization far too late that something about the race wasn’t right. I could’ve sworn they were all in agreement that the Davidson’s rigged in, but I guess with all the other information coming out about the family, it didn’t sink in until now.
Calling someone a cheater is a serious accusation, so hopefully, before they point fingers, they have the means to prove it.
But I’m more than ready to see the Walker’s return to their rightful place on the ranch.
And you know it’s coming since Stella and Colton acknowledged that things were finally peaceful between their families… but not for long.
I hope they don’t hold anything against Stella and Colton because they are simply being mature and putting the past behind them while acting on their feelings.
And they are so cute. I wasn’t aware that I was a shipper until they finally locked lips and my teen rom-com heart fluttered. Sorry, Todd. The breakup was inevitable, but again, props to him for handling it in a mature way. These teens are better at being adults than the actual adults.
Cass was mostly sidelined this week, but there’s definitely something brewing between her and Trey, especially since the Cap just secured a spot for him on the Rangers.
He has plans for Trey, plans that Trey isn’t even aware of, but I’m all for it. The high school needs a good counselor, but Trey can’t be the only one available. And since Stella and Auggie are graduating, there’s no reason to waste Trey’s efforts in that setting anymore when he can do some real good alongside Walker, Cass, Cap, and the team.
What did you think about the episode? There are three more episodes of the season, so strap on it!
Do you think the Walker’s will get their farm back? Will Walker and Geri reconcile or will the cheating accusations cause a bigger rift between them? Will the series find its groove once again?
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