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 Review – A Tornado and the Truth (1×08)
A tornado blew onto Walker and forced many truth’s to bubble up to the surface.
I guess natural disasters have a way of making everyone confront situation head-on.
And sadly, not all relationships survived the hour.
Liam’s relationship with Bret hasn’t been featured too much in the series, but it was still heartbreaking to see him purposefully sabotage things between them in an effort to keep him safe.
Instead of telling Bret the truth, Liam decided to lie and say that he cheated on him during his trip to Mexico.
In reality, Liam has been hiding out in his office terrified that the Northside Nation gang is coming after him. What else could he possible think after they blew up his and James’ car for investigating Emily’s death.
By cutting Bret off, Liam ensured that he wouldn’t be used as leverage as he delved further into the case.
However, he couldn’t keep the truth from Walker any longer.
Walker’s reaction was much calmer than I expected. He didn’t flip out on Liam or get mad that he and James kept this from him. Instead, he acknowledged how difficult it had to be for Liam to tell the truth.
But it’s unclear how he’ll handle things moving forward. Cordell is hotheaded, so he’ll likely want to pursue the lead himself and get revenge, especially once he finds out that Geri may be involved!
The news hit him right as Cordell was considering going on his first date since his wife’s death. Maybe it’s for the best that he isn’t quite ready because watching him flirt with Julie was all sorts of uncomfortable.
Walker, Micki, and Trey ventured out into the dangerous weather to help the locals including Ruby’s grandfather.
The rescue mission hit a bit of a snag when Micki suffered a panic attack brought on by the intel that Adrianna isn’t her birth mother.
She’s had a bit of trouble processing the truth likely because she bottled it all up inside. Aside from Cordell, she didn’t tell anyone the truth.
Eventually, she had to face the music and came clean to Trey, who wasn’t pleased with her continuing to keep things from him.
Initially, it didn’t make sense why her first call was to Walker, but once she broke it down, it made sense.
By telling Trey, Micki had to acknowledge that it was the truth. It made it real, and she wasn’t ready for that.
Micki always holds things close to heart, but this is the first step into letting Trey fully in.
Also, the three of them make such a great team!
While Trey and Micki figured it out, Stella and Trevor’s perfect high school romance hit a snag when she realized that his father was Clint West. I guess Cordell told her all about Duke’s escapades with Clint, so she immediately connected the dots and realized that Trevor was using her.
Truthfully, I didn’t expect Stella to find out so soon or in this way, but I’m glad the truth is out there.
She’s too sweet to get caught up in some vengeful scheme.
And the deeper she got into it with Trevor, the more it would hurt both of them as the feelings between them seem to be real.
Like Romeo and Juliet, they’re caught up in a love story that’s doomed due to their families.
Trevor was definitely conflicted about the whole situation because even though he wants to do right by his family, he can’t deny that the Walker’s are good people.
Does this mean things are over for good?
Will Stella inform her father about Trevor’s motivations?
Will Cordell and Clint meet face-to-face?
- Bonham and Abeline are finally putting the infidelity behind them and moving forward! At least one couple was salvaged during the storm!
- Liam told Micki the truth about Emily’s death before he told his brother. Did anyone else find that strange?
- Why isn’t James around to help Liam deal with the fallout?
- Keegan Allen sold me on the role of Toby on Pretty Little Liars (even with all the crazy twists), but I’m just not buying what he’s selling with Liam. I can’t put my finger on why that is, but it just doesn’t work for me!
What did you think of the episode?
Were you hoping for more action or are you enjoying the character development?
What do you think happened to Emily?
Let us know in the comments below!
Walker Review – Tracks (1×07)
For the second time in a row, Walker delivers those gut-punches in the final moments of the episode.
They’ve already proven that they’re all too skilled at those OMG-moments, so why did the rest episode lack that same kind of energy.
It was necessary to set the scene, but the pacing couldn’t have been more snooze-worthy.
Technically, Cordell and Micki weren’t working a “case,” per se, but they were digging into Adriana’s arrest, which wasn’t sitting right with Micki.
Micki swore up and down the Texas line that she knew her mother and she knew she would never drink and drive. That part turned out to be true.
And Micki’s hunch that her mother was taking the blame for someone else was also true, but it wasn’t some law enforcement officials her mother double-crossed that was now getting revenge.
The most rational and obvious guess was that Micki’s mother was covering for Mike, who Micki found out her mother was involved in a romantic relationship with.
For someone who despises law enforcement and resents her daughter for becoming a ranger, it’s a peculiar choice for a life partner. But the heart wants what it wants, right?
This proved to Micki that maybe she didn’t know her mother as well as she thought after all. But at no point was she ready for the bombshell that she didn’t know her real mother, period.
There’s an emphasis on the real because, as it turns out, Adriana isn’t Micki’s biological mom — she’s her aunt.
When Micki confronted her about a woman who once came to watch the trains with then, Adriana confessed that her sister, Mercedes, was her birth mother.
Finding out that your whole life is a lie is one thing, but the realization that your birth mother was an addict who sold you to her sister because she couldn’t take care of you is a huge blow.
Micki, who also found out her real name is Nina, didn’t take too kindly to the news simply because of her messed up relationship with Adriana, however, you can’t help but feel for both of them.
The truth is painful, but Adriana did what she thought was best. And by covering up for her sister’s DWI, it seems like her heart has always been in the right place even if she didn’t exactly know how to show her daughter that she was proud of her.
There’s always a chance that Mercedes has turned a corner and will turn out to be someone that Micki can have a functioning relationship with now that she’s an adult.
I found it quite interesting that Micki’s first call after finding out the truth bomb wasn’t to Trey. Maybe it was easier to tell Cordell because he wouldn’t judge her? Not that I think Trey would either, but you often don’t want to seem weak or broken in front of a significant other.
Or maybe she just thought Cordell would be more understanding in this situation since he did spend most of the day with her.
There’s also a slight possibility that there’s something bubbling beneath the surface between Micki and Cordell. Maybe she’s not as committed to Trey as we thought?
It’ll be interesting to see how this changes Micki’s perspective. Maybe she’ll finally stop trying to prove her worth to her mother.
Captain James and Liam traveled to Mexico to find out more about Emily’s death.
They thought they were being slick with Carlos Mendoza’s niece, but she immediately recognized James as the man who put her uncle in prison.
And she didn’t hesitate to put a hit out on them. You can bet that the exploding car sent quite the message.
I enjoyed James and Liam spending time together, but to be quite honest, they didn’t accomplish much of anything and aren’t any closer to solving Emily’s murder mystery.
All they did was attract attention to themselves.
Liam is right that they need to tell Cordell the truth because they never should’ve let him stop digging. He knew in his gut that something felt off.
And you can bet that when he hears that these two went behind his back to investigate, he’s not going to be pleased.
Whatever did happen to Emily, Gerri’s (who is MIA) bank statements seem to reveal that it had something to do with the Northside Nation Gang.
Interestingly enough, it’s the same gang, or faction of the gang, that messed with the soccer team during their trip to Laredo.
Honestly, how pathetic of these grown men to try to start something with high school students. They’ve clearly never heard of the term “pick on someone your own age.”
Trevor stepped up as a hero, but when Cordell arrived on the scene to take out the bad guys in a pretty enjoyable butt-kicking scene, he picked up a gun and considered shooting him for a second. If I heard correctly, he even called him Duke! And for a moment, I thought Cordell heard it. Wouldn’t that be something.
Yet, Trevor quickly reconsidered, which led to Cordell commending him on his bravery and not stooping to the level of the bad guy’s.
Trevor seems really torn about everything. He seems to genuinely like Stella (who wouldn’t? She’s a gem), he’s established a bond with Auggie, and he’s seeing that Cordell is actually a pretty solid guy unlike his old man.
But he does have the devil on his shoulder sitting there and leading him astray. For Trevor’s sake, and for the sake of his relationship, I hope he doesn’t do anything he’s going to regret.
Auggie started off the episode trying to impress the wrong girl, but he ended the hour impressing the right one.
The fireworks evening he planned for Bella so she could feel connected to her parents, who went to Mexico because they were scared they might be deported, was uber adorable and romantic.
How did he manage to pull that off? The gesture ended up scoring him a date to the dance as Rubes, his former crush, looked on longingly knowing she made the wrong choice. Let’s hope she doesn’t try to to steal Auggie after taking too long to realize he’s a catch!
Also, who is Bella staying with if her parents left the country?!
What if that Oswald guy from the Northside Nation Gang who threatened Stella and tried to stick it to Cordell (and who showed incredible restraint and used his head not his fists to put him in place) is somehow behind Emily’s murder?
The gang connection is already there, and I doubt the serious would put so much emphasis on the moment if it wasn’t important in the long run!
What did you think of the episode?
Is the car explosion just a sign of what’s to come? What are your thoughts on Micki’s mom? Let us know in the comments below!
Walker Review – Who Killed Emily? (1×06)
Walker just undid everything it established in its first six episodes.
Everything we knew (and Cordell knew) has been a lie.
And the implications of all these revelations are bound to throw the Walker family, and also his partner, Micki Ramirez, for a loop.
With such jaw-dropping revelations made in the final few moments, it also undid all the progress that was established earlier in the hour, which found the Walker family struggling to get through the one-year anniversary of Emily’s death.
Walker was hit the hardest as he was in denial about his actual feelings. He pretended to be fine instead of admitting that he was struggling.
With a little help from Micki, he was able to admit that his outburst with Jordan was unwarranted and a result of his anger stemming from the loss of his wife. It’s all connected!
He decided to plead guilty the next day, but that court date might never happen considering Micki’s mom was arrested right before going into the courtroom.
Who saw that coming?
Micki was able to get into his head using her mother’s slick tactics, and based simply on that, you can tell why the two are estranged. It must have been hard growing up with someone like that.
Their relationship was so tense, her mother showed up unannounced because she was afraid her daughter wouldn’t agree to see her.
But from all the things Micki has said about her mother, she’s far from what I pictured.
And it turns out, she’s far from perfect, too. She expects Micki to live up to this unattainable standard, but yet she’s the one with an arrest warrant.
This sets up for a pretty interesting mother-and-daughter dynamic with her mother no longer being able to hold anything over her head.
And oddly, it could benefit their relationship as it destroys the “always right” facade her mother has been keeping up.
While Micki was able to successfully get through to Walker, he was also pretty accurate about his assessment of her.
Micki uses avoidance to cope when life gets too difficult. We’ve seen her do it with Trey and her mother, but she also did it when Walker attacked Jared for spitting on him.
It seems this partnership is proving beneficial to both of them as they both confront their demons and learn from their mistakes.
To get through the day, Cordell channeled all of his energy into redoing the Side-Step, which was falling apart. He couldn’t bear to see Geri sell it because it held all of his happy memories with Emily.
It did bother me a bit that he did this all while the family had a camping trip to honor the late matriarch. I mean, why couldn’t he just be there for his kids this one time?
While he didn’t let them down fully and they did eventually camp-out at the bar, Emily’s favorite place, it once again felt like his kids were an afterthought. He continues prioritizing himself and his feelings over what his children need for him.
He needs to step-up for them the way he’s stepping up for the Side-Step.
The whole camping trip scenario was also strange because Stella decided to bring Trevor for some reason instead of just spending time with her grandparents and brother.
Trevor’s inclusion didn’t make much sense to me, and neither did Abeline’s hostility towards him. I get that she wanted it to be a family moment, but since the kid was around anyway, why make him feel so uncomfortable?
It was all so weird, and maybe that’s because Trevor’s intentions weren’t pure. Let’s be honest, what teen would want to tag along on a family event mourning a death in the family? That’s a lot of pressure no matter how much you like the girl.
Remember Cordell’s undercover case on Walker Season 1 Episode 5? He thought he put the cowboy named Duke to rest by tying up loose ends and faking his death, but his past might be coming back to haunt him.
And it has the power to put the whole family in danger. I love that his undercover storyline is actually going to serve a purpose!
Trevor is revealed to be the son of one of the rodeo cowboys, Clint, who was arrested after a botched robbery. (Yay to Austin Nichols getting a more permanent gig on the series!)
So, that means that not only is “Duke” responsible for Clint’s current predicament, but he’s also responsible for the death of Trevor’s mother.
It’s unclear how Trevor made the Duke and Cordell connection — did know about it going into the camping trip? Or did he simply recognize Cordell from the pictures as Duke? D
Maybe he didn’t try to weasel his way into the family under the false pretenses of liking Stella, but I’m not so sure. His father is manipulative, so I could see this going either way.
And after all she’s been through, she doesn’t deserve to be used and conned like that. She actually believes Trevor is a good guy who likes her all while he’s trying to destroy her family to avenge his. Or, again, that’s at least what it seems like right at the current moment.
At the end of the day, even if Cordell led to his father’s arrest, it’s because Clint deserves to be behind bars. Hopefully, by spending more time with the Walker’s, Trevor will see that they aren’t bad people.
However, now that Cordell’s secret is out, it puts a target on his back.
And finally, the third major bombshell: Geri may have had something to do with Emily’s death.
At this point, she sure looks guilty, and while I don’t want to point fingers because looks can be deceiving, the timing behind her decision to get out of town and start over is questionable. Does she know someone is onto her?
We all saw that smirk on her face after she sold the Side-Step to the Walker family, right? It made my stomach drop. We don’t know much about Geri, but I’m still shocked that she may have been involved in Emily’s death. That’s the ultimate betrayal!
There’s no better time like reopening a murder case than on the anniversary of said murder. Talk about perfect timing.
Captain James and Liam teamed up after realizing the events surrounding Emily’s death simply weren’t adding up.
They roped Hoyt into it by having him become cellmates with Carlos Mendoza, the alleged killer, to see if he could pick up any dirt.
While Mendoza never revealed anything, Hoyt observed that he had a deadly disease, which meant that he was likely serving the time for someone because he was already dying.
And that someone close to him seems to be his niece, who operates a small gallery across the border that was wired a large sum of “hush money” just a few days after Emily’s death from an LLP that Geri used for the Side Step.
So again, all signs point to Geri, but for now, there’s no motive as to why she would want to kill her best friend.
It’s also interesting that Hoyt lead Liam and Capt. James right to his ex-lover Geri. If there’s anyone that could get her to talk, it’s Hoyt!
While the episode in itself may not have been the best use of the hour, the series sure made it clear that it has a knack for delivering cliffhangers, right?!
The Walker family has been through so much, but they’re going to realize that they need each other now more than ever before!
What did you think of the episode, Cravers? Sound off in the comments below. Do you think Geri is behind Emily’s murder? How much danger is Cordell in?
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