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 Recap – It’s a Nice Day for a Ranger Wedding (318)
A plethora of storylines were explored throughout Walker Season 3, but one thing remains evident—Cordell has a lot of skeletons in his closet. And they’re all going to keep bubbling up to the surface.
The latest one seems to be a serial killer by the name of Jackal. The resurfaced case shook everyone to the core, including Captain James who was said to have been “obsessed” and “consumed” by it to the point that it ruined his relationship with Kelly.
And none of that bodes well for him considering he just re-married Kelly in a romantic ceremony. The duo found love together once again, so this really isn’t the time to be opening past scars.
However, there’s no way they won’t be taking this case and trying their hand at finding out Jackal’s identity for the second time around.
But that wasn’t the only shocking moment that put a damper on what would have been a very celebratory evening. Stella and Sadie came back to the apartment to find an intruder rummaging through their things. One thing led to another and Stella accidentally shot him with his gun. Instead of calling the cops, or her dad, who is a ranger, Stella sought out help from Liam. But when he entered the apartment, the intruder’s body was nowhere to be found.
The good thing is that they took off the man’s mask before doing anything else and identified him as a guy from the party named Witt. It’s unclear what he may have been looking for, but it was definitely not something promising. It also makes me wonder if these bad people are just going to keep showing up because Sadie owes them money or something. She is her father’s daughter after all.
Aside from those two darker moments, the Walker finale was filled with love, light, and second chances. James and Kelly were obviously leading the pack there, but the romantic atmosphere gave Cordell a little nudge to rekindle the spark with Geri. And honestly, I hope this one sticks. If they keep breaking up and getting back together any more, the whole relationship will lose its magic.
Bonham and Abby, who is like everyone’s surrogate mom on this show, jetted off for their honeymoon in Tuscany, and if there’s anyone who deserves it, it’s them.
Meanwhile, Trey wrestled with his feelings for Cassie, which are becoming more intense and getting harder to ignore. And the truth is, I don’t blame him. Cassie is awesome—and she’s a confident and self-assured go-getter.
She seems to be oblivious to the sparks flying between her and Trey, but her mind is seemingly elsewhere as she’s seriously considering a position with the FBI. They offered her a spot on a summer task force, but Cassie seems to be interested in something more long-term and permanent.
I was fully expecting Trey to tell Cassie how he feel, convincing her to stick around for the summer, but he’s also not the time to jeopardize someone’s great chances; he acknowledges that this would be big for her career.
That being said, I do feel like he needs to let Cassie know exactly where his heart is at. She deserves to know.
Walker was fielding a lot—from his romantic feelings to a resurfaced case to both of his children making decisions about their future. Stella came to the decision that she would be enrolling in college, which made Cordell super proud, while Augie told his father he wants to enlist in the military. The latter wasn’t so well received. It’s almost as if Cordell is getting a taste of his own medicine—this is exactly what he did to his parents.
Though, I can’t argue with his reasoning that it’s just a smidge too early to start training. When he finishes high school, he’ll be able to apply without parental consent. Until then, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying summer and finding yourself. Those luxuries are sadly not afforded to adults.
What did you think of the season finale? Are you excited about the storyline shaping up for season 4? Did you enjoy seeing Calian from Walker Independence as David Luna, a detective from Walker’s past? With the spinoff series officially canceled at The CW, they have a promising cast to include in their sister show.
Walker Midseason Finale Review – False Flag Part 2 (315)
Walker aired a midseason finale that wrapped up the mystery of Grey Flag once and for all—and I can’t say it was all that surprising.
When Clay Cooper came into the picture a few episodes ago, setting his sights on Kevin Golden and informing Cordell Walker that he had to handle the situation, it was clear that the two of them were somehow related.
My initial gut instinct was that Clay was Kevin’s father, but it turns out, they were brothers, and Kevin’s motive, which was unclear for much of the season—as was his vendetta against Cordell and his reason for killing off every member of his former unit—was that the foursome abandoned Cooper during battle.
Color him surprised when Clay walked into that airport hangar very much alive. Unfortunately, by that point, the damage had been done and Kevin was too far gone in his revenge scheme for anyone to actually reason with him.
Quite frankly, Kevin’s motivation watered down what was a pretty incredible twist that revealed him as the mastermind behind Grey Flag. Though, to be honest, I don’t even know if he was because his brief squabble with the billionaire Danny Dawson, who he then killed, revealed that Kevin was just a political figure “they” recruited—the “they” remaining rather ominous. However, Danny never condoned the kidnapping and torture of Cordell and his brother, so that was solely Kevin’s rogue mission.
Either way, Kevin was the person that had a beef with Cordell, and he went above and beyond to infiltrate Walker’s life by schmoozing his family and even getting close to Cassie by pursuing her romantically.
No one saw Kevin coming (I guess maybe Cassie did, in a way), which is kind of concerning since they are all rangers. He played the part well, and before Cordell knew it, he was being framed for a bombing that took out six of his fellow rangers and Julia, the reporter he’d been spending quite a lot of time with, in addition to putting the mayor in the ICU.
After the explosion, Cordell made a run for it, which made him look guilty. At first, I didn’t really understand why the FBI thought that Cordell was Kevin’s accomplice, but eventually, his decision to run made sense—Kevin planted a ton of evidence against Cordell, which is what Julia was trying to tell him right before the explosion. If someone like Julia, who knew Cordell and trusted him, could be swayed by the information Kevin was feeding her, the FBI would eat it right up. And they did. Graves set her sights on Walker almost immediately, scoffing at Captain James’ suggestions that his ranger and former partner was set up.
Thankfully, Walker had a few people in his corner, including James, Trey, and Cassie, who tracked Cordell down and stayed in constant communication with him while he kept a low profile.
The truth is that Cordell knows exactly how these things work, and he wouldn’t have been able to prove his innocence if he got caught. By that point, Kevin might’ve been in the wind.
His priority was getting to Geri’s and asking her to inform his family that he was alive. It was truly nice to see Geri again, and a brilliant way to bring her back into the fold. If there’s anyone who is going to risk it all for Cordell, it’s her. And she did by not only harboring a fugitive but making a call and passing along a message to Stella, which was understood and received by Cordell’s father.
Who knew that the team-up we needed in the finale was Bonham and Cordell? That man knows his way around a gun, and he was a damn good lookout for his son!
Geri did the right thing by calling Cordell’s father because he was spewing nonsense by suggesting that maybe his disappearance would be the best for the family. He’s put them through a lot, that’s true, but their biggest concern is his safety, and not having him around brings them more stress than anything else.
It’s also the reason for this mess in the first place because Cooper thought he was doing his family a favor while his brother felt hurt and abandoned. Admittedly, the Clay/Kevin relationship wasn’t really explored, so their conversation fell a bit flat as we couldn’t fully understand the extent of Kevin’s pain when he mentioned being left alone with his father. I assume it means that they weren’t on good terms, but it wasn’t very clear or well executed.
Regardless, Kevin shot his brother, while Cordell chased Kevin on a motorcycle while trying to stop his plane from taking off. It was the kind of action sequence that fans of Walker find thrilling. The cherry on top of it all was Cassie, who was arguably hurt the most by Kevin’s betrayal, taking the shots that ended his life while protecting Cordell in the process. She. Did. That.
Cordell’s name was cleared in the end, with Graves and James promising a full apology from the rangers—as they should. Seriously, jumping to conclusions about a decorated ranger was just messy and rash decision-making.
We’ll have to wait until new episodes return on April 27 to find out how Cordell is coping, how his family reacted to his return, and what will happen between him and Geri upon her return.
The scene between Cassie and Trey may have been the most heartbreaking if I’m being frank. I didn’t realize how much I was rooting for them until Cassie blamed Trey for making her question her instincts. And while I get where she’s coming from since both Trey and Cordell insisted that she give things with Kevin a go, the truth is that she can’t blame everyone for the choices she made. And the reason she is blaming Trey is that she’s denying her feelings for him. That’s the real reason why it hurts the most.
As for Trey, I feel for him because he never meant any harm by encouraging her to let her guard down—he never could’ve anticipated this outcome. He thought he had her back, and was shocked by the development himself, though it’s a nice reminder to trust her instincts in the future. The poor guy already placed so much blame on himself, it was a bummer to see him get kicked while he was already down. Not to mention this is his first real gig with the rangers!
Looking back on how everything transpired, it’s wild to see how the situation got away from them all so quickly—and it’s a lesson that you never really know who you’re dealing with.
I think with time, Trey and Cassie will rebuild their friendship and trust in each other, and before you know it, they won’t be able to deny their feelings for each other much longer!
What did you think of Walker Season 3 Episode 15? Are you happy to see the Grey Flag storyline wrap up?
Walker Review – False Flag Part One (314)
Walker delivered a riveting part one of its season 3 finale, setting the scene for a showdown between Cordell and Kevin.
If you remember, Kevin Golden was revealed to be the leader of Grey Flag. And no matter how many times the Rangers, the FBI, and Cordell think that they are one step ahead of the terrorist organization, they end up learning that they’ve been wrong this whole time the hard way.
They were confident that they would be able to thwart the attack at the medal ceremony while ambushing the Grey Flag compound in the process, but things took a bit of a nasty turn.
One thing led to another and a shootout ensued in the ground floor parking lot, forcing Barnett to give up the act and own up to being a ranger to protect Captain James. He tried to play it as best as he could, but there was no stopping these guys once they went rogue. They come from the belief that some must die for the greater good, so there’s no reasoning with them.
Turns out, the medal ceremony was the distraction this whole time as Kevin was aware that Trey was undercover. It was a good attempt, but there’s no way in hell someone as slick as Kevin would believe that Trey would turn his back on the Rangers and his friends.
The nexus of everything seems to be Cordell Walker. Grey Flag has made it very clear that he’s their target, as was evident when the C-4 actually exploded at the FBI safe house where Cordell met Julia. Kevin used Julia as a Trojan Horse, and while she was completely unaware of his nefarious intentions, she led Grey Flag right to it. And the C-4 was presumably planted in her vehicle, exploding just as Cordell got the call that the target was not the medal ceremony as previously intended.
The attack took Cordell and Julia by surprise, and at this point, it’s unclear if she survived though things did not look too promising for her. Why is Cordell constantly losing love interests? It’s a huge shame because Julia was Cordell’s most trusted confidante—one who escaped this Grey Flag hell once before.
Kevin planted some doubts in Julia’s mind about Cordell, which is essentially his goal. He’s been playing a game this whole time, schmoozing up to Cordell’s family by securing the new horse rescue donations and funding, which Julia revealed are coming from a shady government agency that makes it seem as though Cordell is working for them. Kevin framed Cordell in one fell swoop, and no one even saw it coming cause they were so focused on simply figuring out Grey Flag’s game.
A lot is still unclear about Kevin’s motivations, however. He wants to create change by dismantling a system that he believes doesn’t work, but why is Cordell at the center of it all? Why did he go after his whole unit?
And how is Coop involved? They are missing a key piece of information to see the full picture and make the connection.
I’m guessing that Coop is Kevin’s father, though that still doesn’t explain his obsession with Walker.
Hopefully, the second half of the season final will clue us in and it will all start to make sense. The weirdest thing is that if Kevin wanted Cordell dead, he had ample opportunities to make it happen. And yet, he never did, instead getting closer to Cordell’s family than ever, which is just terrifying.
The Walker family somehow always ends up as the victim of Cordell’s job. At some point, he’s going to have to make a choice because this is no way to live. They thought they were being hospitable and making a good friend who was simply using them this whole time.
Barnett did his best to help out the Rangers, but sometimes, even your best isn’t good enough. There was just too much working against him.
Cassie was definitely caught off guard by the revelation that Kevin was behind Grey Flag, but she also had a gut instinct about him and knew she couldn’t trust him. Women just know when something is off. I can’t imagine the trust issues she’s going to have coming off of this.
The good news is that she’s finally proving that she needs to follow those vibes and see them through because she’s not been wrong once… and unfortunately, that’s not something to be proud of when you always expect the worst.
What did you think of the episode? Will Julia survive? Is Kevin in the wind? How will Cordell find his way out of this one? Will it result in a team-up with Coop for old-time’s sake? And how will Cordell move forward ensuring his family’s protected once and for all? Is Lana safe?
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