February 18, 2021
Cordell walks out of August’s bedroom holding the cell phone of secrets like it’s a grenade that’s going to blow off his hand. He goes into the bathroom, runs a sink full of water, and plunges his face into it.
Panic attack averted for the moment, Walker tells the kids that he’s been called into work but promises Stella that he’ll be at her soccer game. August makes a snarky remark about their father leaving town; Walker tells his son he’s grounded and waggles the cell phone of secrets in the air. He says it was boxed up for a reason. But hey, nothing for you to worry about, Stella! You just focus on the game. The game that your father is 100% not going to miss.
Narrator: He is 100% going to miss Stella’s soccer game.
Instead of alerting Captain James that August has unwittingly made contact with the inside woman from his undercover gig, Walker slaps on some of Twyla Jean’s favorite aftershave and goes to meet her.
If he had made the call, Walker would know that James is already aware. Because the FBI has been monitoring Twyla Jean’s phone. Walker was sent into a traveling rodeo and tasked with identifying members of a bank robbery crew. There’s $300,000 unaccounted for from the crew’s final job. If he had made the call, Walker would know that FBI agent Tessa Graves thinks “Duke” and Twyla Jean are making a run on the money before fleeing town.
Tessa pulls up a CCTV stream from the Jarrow Motel. James, Liam, and Micki watch as Walker pulls into the parking lot in his Duke cosplay and goes to Twyla Jean’s room. She tries to get him out of his clothes while he desperately tries to slow her roll. Seriously girl, do you not know about the Peen of Death?
Twyla Jean switches gears to the money, certain that Duke knows where it is and sure that him reaching out is a sign. It’s a sign that Walker’s kid is a dumbass. Duke tells her again some more that he doesn’t have the money and suggests whisky and garlic knots at the motel bar instead.
They reminisce and Walker flashes back four months earlier. Sipping whisky with Twyla Jean in the rodeo stands and her asking why he only looked happy when he was riding a bull. Walker told her he lost someone. He wanted to say wife, but he checked himself and said brother. He lost his brother.
He lost his brother and there was a werewolf in Austin and now there he was. And Twyla Jean and that bull were the only things that could hold a candle to his brother.
Because it’s every girl’s dream to be compared to a dead guy and a bull.
Y’all, what even is this show?
Micki is sitting in a corner of the bar, hiding behind a menu and keeping an eye on Walker. She watches in alarm as one of the Rodeo Kings, Jaxon, comes through the door walking with an air of purpose. Ignoring Graves’s order in her ear to hang back, Micki slips up behind Jaxon, pulls his gun out of his belt, and lays it on the table in front of Walker. Walker is all like, HOW? WHAT?! HOW??
Micki eases right into character. Did they think Duke would come without backup of his own? Micki introduces herself as Adrianna and tucks into the garlic knots. Jaxon says he and Twyla Jean saw Duke and Crystal running out of the bank with a bag of cash and bills falling out of their hands. Jaxon wants his money and he’s not leaving Austin without it.
Adrianna observes that they’ve got an experienced crew and Duke says they have a bank cased and prepped—a job they never pulled after ring leader Clint was arrested. Duke insists that this is the only option on the table if Jaxon and Twyla Jean want their money. The two are in, but Jaxon says there’s one thing Adrianna has to do if she wants to pull a Rodeo Kings job.
James and Graves are delighted with Micki’s quick thinking and improvisation. They leave to assemble a tac team, but Liam hangs back, lost in a memory. He remembers Walker sticking his face in a sink full of water and pleading with him to arrest the crew that night, before the bank job. Walker frantically telling him that Clint and Crystal were talking a Butch and Sundance scenario. Liam remembers telling his brother that he needed the Rodeo Kings in the bank to make the undercover operation worth it. One day, one foot on marble was all they needed.
Micki and Walker ride out to the arena. She asks Walker how his morning was. Did he have a nice breakfast with the kids (nope) and give Stella a pep talk before the game that he has completely forgotten about (also a no)? Because Micki’s morning involved blowing up at Trey when he floated the idea of meeting each other’s moms—because mommy issues—and then having her unspeakable jackass of a partner not show up to work.
Walker thanks Micki for backing him sight unseen. Micki corrects him—she saw plenty, most of it not tip-top, but she knows her partner isn’t dirty. No matter what Graves—or Captain James—might believe.
They meet Jaxon and Twyla Jean inside. Adrianna is unimpressed by the mechanical bull that’s waiting for her. She didn’t think they played with toys to pull jobs. Jaxon is aghast! He tells her to never disrespect the Brahma. Twyla Jean adds that that goes for both the living and the mechanical variety. Together, Jaxon, Twyla Jean, and Duke recite what appears to be the Rodeo Kings credo: BRAHMAS SHOW US YOUR SOUL.
Adrianna gamely climbs aboard and beats Duke’s personal best. While Micki enjoys the exhilaration of being someone else for the day, Walker notices a car pulling into the parking lot. Walker approaches the car, gun at the ready, and August and Ruby get out. Walker is like, I NEED A SINK AND SOME WATER. SINK AND SOME WATER. CAN SOMEONE GET ME A SINK AND SOME WATER?
While Walker desperately tries to get his son to leave, August lets his fear paint a narrative—that his father would rather be a fake cowboy badass with crap aftershave than be with his family. That he’s a coward who has abandoned them twice. And there’s a part of me that wants to be like, UGH THIS KID, but August’s assumptions aren’t out of line for a character that has been written as a raw nerve just waiting for the worst to happen.
At the high school (after the game that Walker forgot about 30 seconds after Micki mentioned it), Coach Trey is trying to get Stella to open up after a tough loss. He says he can tell when someone’s heart isn’t on the field. He offers to run sprints with her and Stella is like, FINE YOU WIN. She admits she’s hurting. She tells Trey that her mom was kind of a big deal in college soccer. And that her dad said he never missed one of Emily’s games. Stella says while he was away she threw herself into soccer because she thought it would bring him back. That it would make him come home. She’s embarrassed by how silly she thinks she sounds. Trey totally gets her because he is a precious bean that must be protected at all costs.
Trey tells Stella he’s sorry that her father still isn’t there. He’s sorry for all of it. But he also says that she has to decide who she’s playing for—herself or her dad.
Walker is busy trying not to unspool while the Rodeo Kings gear up for the job. Micki tries to keep his head in the game, quietly saying that August will forgive him. Walker thinks back to the crew’s last robbery and Crystal’s last words to him as she drove away with a bullet in her belly and a bag full of folding money—tell Clint we’ll always have one last dance. He makes the deductive leap that Crystal stashed the cash in the jukebox at the motel bar. Jaxon is delighted! He’s buying the first round after they collect.
And then Twyla Jean clubs him over the head with her gun.
She orders Duke and Adrianna to drops their weapons, get on the floor and start counting down from 50. “Pretty hair on the concrete.” Micki side-eyes Walker like, is she talking about me or you?
The minute Twyla Jean leaves the room, Micki starts giving Walker shit. She says he just can’t help himself. He has to talk. Walker grits through his teeth that he got excited. Micki reminds him that Twyla Jean is literally a robber. Did he really not think he would get robbed by the robbers? Have I mentioned that Lindsey Morgan is just *chef’s kiss*?
Walker says that on the plus side, they know where to go to make the arrest.
Micki snarks that Twyla Jean can just shoot him and an idea thunks to life in Walker’s brain. What did August just say to him—that if he never sees Duke again it will be too soon? Walker suggests giving his boy what he wants.
Twyla Jean is just pulling the bag out of the jukebox when Duke walks into the bar. He asks her to dance; she puts one hand on his shoulder and presses a gun to his side. She says she really thought it would be the two of them splitting Jaxon’s share. And that she can’t shake the feeling that there’s something behind his eyes that was never going to quite let her in.
The song ends and the Rangers close in. Twyla Jean grabs the bag and makes a break for it with Duke close behind. Duke is penned in by agents as James cuffs Twyla Jean. Duke calls out to her—what do they always say? Not the thing about the Brahma and your soul, the other thing. Go big, right? Duke pulls out his gun; Graves fires twice, hitting him in the chest. Duke falls forward into the motel pool.
After Twyla Jean is led away, Walker hauls himself out of the water. Liam is instantly by his side. He reassures his brother that his family is safe. Duke Culpepper is dead.
That evening, Trey arrives home to discover he likes the Adrianna side of his girlfriend. Micki gives him a sketch she drew of him as a peace offering. She apologizes for how she reacted when he brought up her mom earlier that morning. She says it’s stressful—she thinks of the criticism and running feels better than feeling small. Dr. Adrianne Ramirez makes you feel small. Trey says that Tina doesn’t. Micki agrees that, if they’re in it for the long haul, that she should at least meet his mom.
PRECIOUS BEANS. PROTECT AT ALL COSTS.
Walker arrives home to a deeply disappointed and resigned son. He says if his father is leaving, he has to be the one to tell Stella. August won’t do that for him. Walker is distracted by the orange jersey Stella is holding. Emily’s jersey. Stella says she’s going to change her number to Emily’s 8. Stella has clearly decided who she’s playing for. Neither of them mentions the game that Walker 100% missed.
Walker does apologize to August and tells his son he’s not leaving. He says the boy’s recon op to the rodeo would have been impressive if it weren’t so dangerous. But it’s over now. Duke is over. Nothing inside—or outside—the box of mystery or the cell phone of secrets will ever keep Walker away from his family again.
Which is not to say that something else won’t compel Walker to put his family second, but that’s for another day. I’ll let them have this one.
Walker pulls a box of matches from his bag. Duke needs to be put to rest. Walker asks who wants to take this fake cowboy badass and his crap aftershave and light ‘em up?
Wait. Wait. Did … did Walker just suggest they salt and burn Duke Culpepper? ARE THEY GOING TO SALT AND BURN DUKE CULPEPPER?
Yes. Yes, they are. Because Walker, Supernatural Ranger is a thing.
August puts the box of secrets in the fire pit outside. He asks what Duke was like. Walker says Duke pretended a lot. To be happy. To feel whole. To be in love, asks August? Walker admits, yes. Stella says they pretended a lot, too. Walker wraps his arms around his kids as they bask in the glow of the past going up in flames.
Walker airs Thursday at 8:00 p.m. (Eastern) on The CW. Follow Whitney on Twitter @Watcher_Whitney.