This Walker review contains spoilers.
Walker Episode 2
Walker’s “Back in the Saddle” sees this show starting to find its groove after the introductory pilot. While the first episode was very much set up and angst, this episode is about expanding on everything that we’ve seen already and working on reconnecting a family broken by loss. There is still plenty of angst. It’s not easy and Cordell Walker isn’t the best, but he’s trying. They’re all trying, in their own ways. And that’s always going to count for more than people give it credit for—at least it does in the world of Walker.
While some might not like the family aspect of Walker, I do. Family is at the heart of everything that we do as people, be it blood relatives or found family. And while we’re used to watching Padalecki grieve all over Supernatural with Dean by his side, this time it’s different. This time there are kids to take care of, a mystery to solve that pertains to a dead wife, and dealing with personal feelings of disappointment that stem from missing so much of his kids lives and feeling guilt because of it.
Cordell’s character is interesting. He’s messy, loves queso, and is cocky in a way Sam Winchester never was. He’s not as in touch with his emotions, holds back from getting close to people, and sets his family aside because he can’t deal with the pain of his wife’s death. In some people’s eyes, that makes him a bad person. In mine, he’s just a man who is shattered and needs to put himself back together, not only for himself, but for his kids too. It also means that there’s major growth that’s going to happen. And isn’t that what TV is all about?
Micki Ramirez continues to be a nice counterpoint to Walker’s, well, everything in “Back in the Saddle.” She’s still steps ahead of her partner, doesn’t take any of his crap, and has clear goals of what she wants in her life, no matter the fact that her “boyfriend” is back in town for longer than expected. Most characters who have these traits, be they men or women, end up being contextualized as quite cold, but Micki is different. Her strength is wrapped in kindness. Her dreams are wrapped in hope for a better future for herself and people that look like her. Plus, the fact that she kicks most of the ass on this show is swoon-worthy.
Giving Micki her own life as a character is a bonus. She isn’t here to be the sidekick who falls in love for the big and hunky Texas Ranger. She is a Texas Ranger herself and she can be her own hunk. And that is refreshing, and I can’t wait to see what this show does with a pair who has zero sexual interest in each other. Men and women can be friends. They can solve cases together, ride up to the bad guy together, and save the day together. Walker is here to prove that in “Back in the Saddle.”
On a side note, it’s really great to get to know the Walker kids on their own. Stella, who has the most problems with her father, is just like her father. She’s hot headed, grieving the death of her mother, and stands up for those who are being treated unfairly. No wonder she bumps heads with Walker all the time. August is the polar opposite of both of these characters. He wants to keep the peace and make sure that he doesn’t rock the boat in any way. But he needs to grieve. And if rocking the boat is part of that, then go ahead, kiddo.
As Walker progresses, it would be nice to learn more about Liam Walker. He’s been the surrogate father to Stella and August for months. He loves these kids and they depend on him because he chose to step up when things got hard. Liam also loves his brother. Trying to get custody of the kids wasn’t done with malicious intent. It is born out of love and an understanding that these kids need a parent who is there. And until Walker steps up, he can’t get mad that others fill the void he’s not.
After the second episode, it’s easy to get invested in this show and the family in it. Sure, half of the characters are emotionally constipated. But what fun would it be to watch a show where everyone is perfect and has no problems? No fun at all, that’s what it would be.