March 11, 2021
Y’all. This episode almost broke me. This episode almost got Walker fired.
Micki and Walker are at the Side Step—sitting at the bar, in uniform, drinking beers. That doesn’t seem like it should be a thing, does it? Micki would very much like her partner to appreciate that he could lose his job on Monday. Walker chooses to take his situation in stride. He says he could always almost lose his job.
Fun! Good times!
The suspect Walker manhandled in the Pilot is pursuing a case against him. Walker acknowledges that Micki wasn’t wrong when she said he should evolve, but—
No. No. Just stop talking Walker. Nothing that isn’t problematic ever comes after a but.
—the suspect did CGI spit in his face, so. Walker says it probably won’t matter anyway since judges tend to protect the white hat. It’s not ideal, or even right, but why should Walker question the rules and the system that benefit him?
Walker raises his glass to Denise while Micki quietly has a rage aneurysm. See, Denise agrees with him. And Denise’s opinion matters because the stuffed boar’s head—a birthday gift from Emily—was her favorite thing about her favorite bar.
Geri walks over and lays a stack of mail on the bar in front of Walker. She asks can he please change his address? She really doesn’t want his Bed & Bath coupons. Micki does! YOINK.
And why was Walker having his mail sent to the bar and not his parents or Liam?
Walker ignores me and flips through the stack. He stops cold when he comes to the envelope containing Emily’s life insurance check. Geri says she didn’t realize it was in there. Which is why you don’t have your mail forwarded to a bar.
Walker says it’s fine. He’s fine. It’s fine. The 1-year anniversary of Emily’s death is on Sunday and the kids want to honor their mother by doing her favorite thing—camping. Camping is terrible but it’s fine.
Geri prods Walker to talk about his own feelings, but he insists the anniversary is just a day. A normal day. No different than any other day. And that’s when the pergola over the dance floor collapses.
Wait, is the bar haunted? Is Emily haunting the bar?
Walker begins Emily’s just a day, a normal day, death day with a cup of coffee and a call from Geri. She’s selling the bar. Packing up boxes as they speak, selling the bar. She’s had millions of offers over the years, but she says now, it’s time.
Walker does what anyone would do when a beloved bar soaked in memories suddenly closes—he abandons his children to convince Geri that running a business on pure sentiment and nostalgia is a solid plan for success and long-term financial security.
Stella is like, THERE IT IS. THERE’S THE EXCUSE. THERE’S THE LAST MINUTE CASE.
Walker snips that there is no case and he will be right back.
Narrator: Walker will not be right back.
Micki and Trey are spending a lazy morning in bed. The doorbell rings with what Trey thinks is his Olive
Garden Garlic delivery. He puts on a cunning silk robe and opens the door to Micki’s hell-on-wheels mom, Adriana.
Micki is thrown for several loops. She tells Trey she didn’t even know her mom knew where she lived, much less that she was coming over. She instructs him not to speak, not to say a word to Adriana. Trey is nonplussed. He says even in combat he’s never seen her spin out like this. Micki hisses that in combat she didn’t have a manipulative Ph.D. ready to twist every word she says into a condemnation of her entire life.
They’re not close, is what she’s trying to say.
Micki walks back into the living room after getting dressed and is like, BOUNDARIES. Adriana is like, HAHAHA NO. She says the boyfriend seems sweet, but what about your partner, the one whose psych eval I’m doing tomorrow? Micki is like, THERE IT IS. THERE’S THE CASE.
Walker hustles into the Side Step and announces that Geri isn’t serious about selling. Geri tells Alex the nice real estate developer man that actually, yes. She is. The ‘You don’t pay my mortgage, fuck you Walker’ is left unspoken but implied.
She introduces Walker as the Side Step’s Moaning Myrtle. He clarifies that he’s a Texas Ranger and says there will be no sale today because he’s declaring the space a crime scene. Which is funny, because I kind of want to murder this jackass.
Walker is the worst.
But Geri is a better person than I am (OR IS SHE). She sees Walker’s shenanigans for what they are and pleads with him to recognize that he’s in denial. She says he can’t fix this. These are foundational problems. It’s time to face it.
Walker is no more ready to face Emily’s death now than he was when it was just a hypothetical. The jangly guitar of memory flashes us back to Walker’s birthday seven years earlier. Whatever put the heavily bandaged wound in his side had Emily thinking about the dangers of his job and things like wills. Walker asked Emily what she would do if he died?
Marry Geri and work at the bar, obviously.
Asked what he would do if Emily died, Walker said his life would be over. He’d grow a crazy widower beard …
… drink himself blind, and come back to the Side Step every night just to feel the faintest spark of joy she brought to him. And just let the kids raise themselves and grow up feral, obviously.
Speaking of, Stella is packing and refusing to waste the day just because Walker bailed. August says they don’t know that, because apparently after exorcising the ghost of Duke Culpepper, he’s back to worshipping his father. Bonham and Abby bustle into the room, late additions to the trip now that Walker has officially, “gotten held up a little.” Stella is like THERE IT IS and tells her brother to pay up.
Also, she made her own backup transportation plan. It has floppy hair and doe eyes and drives a convertible.
The hold-up is Walker’s quixotic efforts to thwart the sale by proving to Geri the bar is worth saving. And I get the grief and denial, but his children need him. The actual physical, living, breathing sparks of joy that Emily left him, need him. SO SACK UP, HO.
Walker is the worst.
Stella argues with Abby about Trevor. And it’s weird that she invited him to go grief camping, right? Anyhoo, Stella insists that her grandparents don’t need to come—she and August will be fine on their own with Boy Band. Abby says Stella can wait until Walker gets back and ask him. Stella nearly explodes because she watches this show and she’s met her father. HE’S NOT COMING.
Narrator: Yeah no, he’s not coming. I’m Team Stella on this.
She storms off and Bonham asks Abby if this is the hill she wants to die on. Because if it is, he’s going to marry Geri and work at the bar. He wonders what the harm is in letting the boy come with them. Trevor puts a smile on Stella’s face and those have been in short supply this last year.
Wait, what? When did crusty and low-key shitty Bonham develop a soft, nougaty center? I approve, but the sudden shift in his character is a bit jarring.
Abby relents and Trevor joins them. When they stop for lunch, Bonham gives Trevor the sandwich meant for Walker. Abby squawks and Stella says again some more HE’S NOT COMING. Later, Stella asks her grandmother why she’s being so harsh about Floppy. Abby says after everything Stella has been through the last year, they’re taking extra care. And that Abby just wanted to hold her a little closer, today of all days.
Unlike her father, who is still at the bar.
He’s been joined there by Micki. She is desperately trying to convince him to take the threat to his job seriously. She says her mom’s psych evals can be career-ending. And Adriana has plenty of incentive to punish Walker so she can show Micki that she made the wrong decision joining the Rangers. She begs Walker to let her help him avoid Adriana’s traps.
Walker poo-poos and deflects and insists that he knows what he’s doing. And then he nails his hand to a 2×4.
He nails his …
Micki texts Trey who tells her they just need to pull the nail—like a bandaid! Easy peasy. She grabs a pry bar and counts down, 3 … 2 … but wait, real quick, “while I’ve got you nailed down,” hear her out about the psych eval. The line delivery is just *chef’s kiss*.
Moments later the nail is out and Trey arrives to make sure Walker’s hand doesn’t turn green and fall off. Also, Adriana is with him. Walker hisses and spits in her general direction until Micki finally hustles her mom outside.
Trey keeps it professional. He tells Walker he’s lucky he didn’t hit bone or anything structural. He says that’s when you get into real problems and issues that are harder to fix. Walker snaps that he appreciates the metaphor but this is not about him trying to avoid the anniversary of his wife’s death.
Trey is like, I am literally talking about the hand that you just punctured with a nail. The hand I am literally bandaging right now.
Trey and Adriana leave and Micki hangs back to help Walker with the repairs and prep him for his evaluation. She asks the kind of pointed, probing questions she knows her mother will ask. Questions about the role that Emily’s death may have played in his interactions. Micki pushes and Walker explodes. She changes tack. Was physical violence the only option for controlling the situation with the suspect? When Micki corners him into saying that violence was justified, Walker turns it back on her—was her lack of action justifiable?
Walker asks why Micki didn’t step in if she thought he was out of line? Well, my memory of the pilot (and my recap) says she did, WALKERSON. He accuses her of running away when life gets tough. If violence is his default then avoidance is hers. He says she’s running away from her mom to prep him for a hearing they both know is going to go his way.
Walker insists there are no structural issues—not with him and not with the bar. And that’s when the pergola collapses. Again. And Walker’s dam of denial finally breaks.
He tells Micki that he’s not sad—he’s pissed. Pissed that the only time he didn’t feel like crap was when he was pretending to be Duke Culpepper. Pissed that bad guys get to live and Emily doesn’t. Pissed that, “I felt threatened, my actions were justified,” is his get-out-of-jail card, even when it isn’t true.
He says that he made a promise to Emily that he would give her and the kids a better world. When she stopped being in it, he thinks a part of him just stopped trying.
Micki heads home to find her mom and Trey fixing dinner. Adriana asks how her prep session went with Walker—she knows it won’t help him, right? Micki says she knows. And so does he. Which is why Walker is pleading guilty and taking the suspension to save his badge. And maybe start making good on his promise.
Walker calls Bonham and asks him to turn around and drop the kids at the bar. He admits that he needed to honor the day, not run from it. And what better way to honor her than by doing her favorite thing at her favorite place? Stella says it feels right. Walker tells them camping wasn’t Emily’s favorite thing. In fact, she hated it (as one does). But she said it’s always important to know that not all things have to be good for them to be good.
After the kids are asleep, Walker pours two shots of the good sipping whisky. He apologizes to Emily’s ghost for not saving the bar. He says he’s scared it’s not the only thing beyond repair. Emily agrees that there’s some fixing to be done, but reassures him that nothing is beyond repair. It just takes time.
The next morning, August dishes out eggs from the Coleman stove. Walker pulls out a tin foil-covered surprise—a skillet snickerdoodle! He says Emily made it the day before she … He stops himself. He can’t say the words. Stella realizes it’s the last thing her mother ever left them.
A year-old murder cookie.
Geri walks in and sees the disaster in her bar as a
glass construction dumpster half full. She says she accepted the developer’s offer. He’s going to tear the bar down and build condos. For all she knows, Walker just gave him a head start.
August says he wouldn’t tear it down if he bought it—so why don’t they use Emily’s insurance money to buy the bar and fix it up? Stella agrees it’s what their mother would want. Well, she is the one who thought wagering a classic car in a poker game was a sound investment strategy, so that’s probably true. And who exactly is going to run the place? Walker? Because he’s already so adept at juggling the demands of work and family?
I’m so looking forward to Season 2 when the show retools itself as Walker, Texas Dive Bar Owner.
While Walker spent all weekend avoiding Emily’s death, Liam and Captain James took a second look at it. They attempted to interview her confessed killer, Carlos Mendoza, but he wasn’t interested in talking to them or Captain James’s cunning quilted jacket. Realizing the situation called for an oiled-up glitter cowboy, they put Hoyt in the cell with Carlos. They hoped he could charm something out of the man. But it’s what Carlos doesn’t say that is revealing.
Hoyt gleans from a friendly guard and his own observation that Carlos is suffering from ALS—and that he doesn’t want anyone to know. Because a dying man makes a good fall guy. A passing comment from Hoyt about Mendoza’s love of art leads James to an art gallery owned by the man’s niece. There’s nothing at all suspicious about the repeat $50,000 purchases originating from the same bank in Austin. Or the first purchase being made two days after Emily was murdered. The payments are all coming from a company called Straw Ring, LLP.
James sits back in his chair. He says Straw Ring is Geri’s LLP for the Side Step.
We see Geri driving along a rural two-lane road looking satisfied? Resolved? What? How? WHAT??
What was I saying about jarring character shifts? I don’t care for this.
Walker and Micki meet Adriana outside of the station … where she is promptly arrested on a felony warrant for DWI hit and run. And, scene.
And for the final WTF of the episode … did you notice how freaked out Trevor looked when he met Walker at the bar? That’s just normal for a kid meeting his maybe girlfriend’s dad for the first time, right? Yeah, no. He was freaked because, as far as Trevor knew, Duke Culpepper was dead. Trevor knows this because his dad—Clint, the leader of the Rodeo Kings—knows this.
Walker airs Thursday at 8:00 p.m. (Eastern) on The CW. Follow Whitney on Twitter @Watcher_Whitney.