Walker: First Two Episodes Review

There were several shows that I grew up on. One of those is Walker, Texas Ranger. We watched it on USA when it came on. It’s about Cordell Walker played by Chuck Norris and he’s a badass and yeah. I loved it. It was one of my favorite shows which is a surprise since I’m not into westerns. Walker, Texas Ranger was an exception though. My grandpa Kopanke even liked it some because it reminded him of John Wayne movies. Now, pretty sure it has not aged well, like a lot of shows that began in the mid to late 1990s but it’s nostalgia. We all have shows like that that we watch over and over because of nostalgia.

So when I heard that The CW had a reboot planned, I was a bit leery, admittedly. Reboots are always a hit or miss. I tried to get into the reboot of Charmed but I couldn’t. And if they ever did a reboot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I would not be happy. However, Walker was different. Why? Because 1), I like The CW. I love their shows, and 2) Jared Padalecki. I was already stressing because what in the world am I going to do when there’s no Sam and Dean Winchester to keep me entertained? I heard he was playing Cordell Walker and I’m like, okay, let’s do this. It doesn’t help that he’s one of the executive producers so he’s helping to direct and produce episodes while also being behind the camera himself. So kudos to him. I can’t imagine being an actor and a producer in the show. I feel like that would be a lot.

The first trailer came out (below), I swooned, may have squealed and probably stopped breathing for a moment. I tend to do that when I get excited. (Seriously when the first full trailer of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier dropped, I stopped breathing for like the entire trailer.)

Isn’t he just intense? Hello.

Now the first two episodes, “Pilot” and “Back in the Saddle” are out. I watched them both last week and then rewatched them yesterday with my bf on The CW. The next episode comes out Thursday. Here are my thoughts on the first two episodes of Walker.

First, the first episode of any show is usually called “Pilot” for a reason. The first episode is the one that determines if there will even be a show. Sometimes they do test watching for shows (and for movies as well). Hell, sometimes, producers want your entire first episode written frame by frame before they even consider funding your show. The “Pilot” episode introduces the characters to the viewer and to the world they are trying to create.

Some “Pilots” are good and some are. . . .well, not. An example of a pretty good “Pilot” is Supernatural. The episode introduces the characters and the world quickly but efficiently and leaves you wanting more. A lot of the times, the first season of any show is rough because the writers and directors and producers are still getting their feet wet. They are still trying to figure out the characters, the plot, etc. With Supernatural, the first season is one of the best first seasons of any show I’ve watched. It has it’s rough moments, don’t get me wrong, but the writers do a wonderful job with the dynamic between Sam and Dean, the dialogue, the story, etc.

An example of a not so good “Pilot” is the first episode of Criminal Minds, which is actually called “Extreme Aggressor,” rather than simply “Pilot.” You get introduced to the characters but the dialogue is, frankly, horrible. It’s stilted and awkward. Also, I always felt like they weren’t quite sure what to do with Derek Morgan’s character in the first season of Criminal Minds. He goes back and forth a bit. The first season of Criminal Minds is rough. Very rough. It’s almost a bit painful to watch at times and definitely cringeworthy. I still rewatch it, because I love Criminal Minds, but now I can really tell how rough it was. There is a big difference between season one Criminal Minds and season five Criminal Minds.

The first episode, “Pilot” of Walker is definitely better than the first episode of Criminal Minds. It isn’t quite up there with Supernatural, but it’s still a decent “Pilot” episode. It introduces the characters quite well.

Now, before we get to my review, as River Song says:

We start with Cordell Walker (Jared Padalecki) talking to his wife, Emily (Genevieve Padalecki) about a game night they’re having. She’s running some errands and will be there later. Cordell, or Walker as he prefers to be called (can you honestly blame him? Cordell is a very old-fashioned name), plays a game with his parents and his kids (Stella and August). He gets a call from Emily and she’s scared. “Something’s not right,” she tells him. Then he hears a gunshot. He goes outside and tries her cell again but it keeps ringing. Then you see her laying on the dirt, bleeding out, while her cell phone rings and rings. Walker screams and collapses on the ground, leaning against his truck.

All that happens within like five minutes of the show. It’s quick. . . .Now if only the rest of the show had that quick-paced, high energy, and tension. But we’ll get to that.

Skip ahead to 11 months later. Walker is back from being undercover for a year. His family is waiting on him to show up at his parents’ ranch but he doesn’t show up. Instead, he’s sitting on the bed of his truck, getting plastered. A nice cop lady shows up and takes him home. Walker is awkward and rambles and it’s honestly, a bit adorable.

The next day he finally sees his parents and his younger brother Liam who Walker calls “stinker” which is just great. Liam is an attorney and engaged to Bret. I love that they didn’t make a huge deal out of Liam being gay. It was casual and relaxed. I liked that a lot. August, Walker’s 14-year-old son is happy to see his dad while Stella, his 16-year-old daughter, has already left for school. Walker gets called to work. And guess who is his new partner since his old one is now captain? That’s right. The nice cop who picked him up the night before.

Photo credit: The CW

That awkward moment when you new partner turns out to be the officer who found you drunk and drove you home. What a way to meet someone. Good job, Cordell. Kudos, bro.

Micki Ramirez is the first woman of color Texas Ranger and she’s basically like “Look I got your back and I need to know you got mine. Also, I know you have a certain way of doing things but could you like not mess this up for me? Thanks.” (I’m ad-libbing here, obviously.) She’s wonderful and just a blessing. The actors have great chemistry from the get go. But really, that’s the whole show. The characters mesh well together and it doesn’t feel forced.

Micki already has a boyfriend who is back from the army and is a medic. I’m glad she’s already got a boyfriend. I’m going to be very displeased if they make her a love interest. Walker honestly doesn’t need a love interest. Not right now. Maybe like in the third or fourth season (if that happens) but not now. It’s way too soon. Plus, he needs a friend. Micki is calm and steady. She compliments Walker well.

After an kid mentions Walker’s dead wife, he plum loses it — I can’t blame him there, honestly — and she sets him straight. Plus, Micki’s boyfriend handles the fact there’s a random tall white dude on her couch quite well. Then he patches up Walker’s hand. Now all we need is Liam to get involved and boom, power quartet. Two Texas Rangers, a medic, and a lawyer. The perfect team.

Walker turns this poker chip in his fingers. It’s like a nervous tic. That’s important later but also, a bit disappointed about the poker chip and why Emily’s eyes were closed. We’ll get to that.

Walker has to pick up Stella from the station. An awkward reunion. Bel, Stella’s friend, is illegal and her parents are worried about I.C.E. Walker shows he has a good heart because he tells Bel’s mom later — after Stella has gone missing and he goes there thinking making Bel knows where she is — that he’ll do what he can. In the next episode, “Back in the Saddle”, you find out that Emily was leaving food and water for immigrants who cross the border and that Walker told her where the cameras were so she and Geri, a woman who runs the bar and boy do her and Walker have chemistry, wouldn’t get caught. He tells Geri that’s the reason why he doesn’t know what happened because she avoided the cameras like he showed her. Geri admits that she closed Emily’s eyes.

So that mystery is solved.

Walker finds his daughter and they have a conversation. Stella is angry that he left them for his undercover case. And I get that. I do. But like, she’s also not giving him a chance either? Anyways, she gets found. he leaves and has to do his job and Micki is a badass. They get their guy. The captain tells Walker that there’s another undercover case and they want him. He doesn’t take it but Stella doesn’t believe him and that’s basically it.

In “Back in the Saddle” it frustrates me because like he’s trying so hard to get to know his kids again and get things back to normal. Poor Walker clears out the kitchen and he just stands there awkwardly. Later on in the episode, his father, Bonham (seriously, a horrible name but oh so Texan, I guess) tells Abeline, his wife and the mother of Cordell and Liam, that he — Walker — needs to figure what he wants to do. It’s gotta be his choice and his decision where he wants to live with his children.

He has to get recertified as a Texas Ranger. Those scenes are hilarious. He shoots all his targets, makes the instructor for the driving part sick. He’s kind of a shit, honestly. And I ain’t gonna lie and say I don’t like it.

Walker’s personality is like, a mix of Sam and Dean from Supernatural. He’s rough around the edges. He breaks the rules. He will straight up beat up a dude for bringing up his dead wife. Very driven by emotion. He likes to do things his way. He’s funny, laughs at his own jokes and is a bit of a dork. But at the same time, he has a good heart. He showed that in the episode before when he wants to help Stella’s friend Bel. He is trying with Stella, so hard, but hey, teenagers are hard. Teenage girls? Even harder. He does love his kids. Should he have left them? No. I don’t think he should’ve. He should have been there. But also, I don’t think Walker should have found out from his daughter that his brother Liam tried to get custody of Stella and August. I can’t blame Walker for going after his brother. But I get why Liam tried to get custody. Walker went dark for three months and Liam didn’t want his niece and nephew to be alone. I get that. But Liam should’ve told Cordell and not Stella.

After that fight with Liam, Walker finds out that Emily had a poker set made for him and she carried some poker chips with her to show off to people. So the eyes being closed and the random poker chip has been solved.

I’m really hoping that’s not the end of that. After all, we know that Emily and Geri both took supplies to those going over the border. Also, in “Pilot” the drugs came from the cartel in Mexico, the job Walker turned down. There is a lot of potential for there to be more to Emily’s death than just a random shooting. I think The CW would be missing out if they just left it at that. I’m hoping they’re trying to give us a false sense of security. Then boom, plot twist later.

Walker doesn’t pass the horse riding part of the certification because the saddle he has his wife gave him. It’s still raw. My theory is that he spent a year undercover but he never really mourned her. He didn’t grieve. Instead, he focused on the job. That’s what he did.

Walker ends up finding the prize race horse, Texas Nightshade, and rides on him. There’s a badass scene in “Back in the Saddle” with him riding the horse and chasing down a car with Micki. Also, the captain is funny. Walker rides up on the horse and is like “I’m here to help.” The captain just waves his hand and says “You’re certified.” It made me giggle.

One of my favorite parts of “Back in the Saddle” is when he and Stella finally talk. It starts with via texts and then she gives him his mug. they go back to their old house in town to get the concrete slab with Stella and August’s handprints when they were little. Stella is trying to get it up and it ends up breaking. She starts crying. Walker hugs her, like the first hug they’ve had since he’s been back, and tells her “Just cause it’s broken doesn’t mean it we can’t take it with us.” (Something like that. I’m ad-libbing.)

I think that’s a good summary of the show.

His wife is dead. His kids’ mother is dead. That’s the cold hard truth. She’s not coming back. They can’t go back to normal and live in that house where everything reminds them of who they lost. But they can live in the ranch house. They can have a new start and a new beginning with the support of the grandparents and uncle. Walker will figure out what the new normal is with Stella and August, and try to juggle being a widow with being a Texas Ranger.

Admittedly, the show is a bit slow. It needs a lot more action. That’s not to say that I don’t love the family dynamics. I do. But he is a Texas Ranger. We need a bit more of that action. I’m wondering if Walker is going to do the same thing that most cop shows do like Criminal Minds, Law & Order: SVU, and others. Which is a case per episode. There’s nothing wrong with that but there needs to be like a bigger plot — other than Walker and his family. Action is definitely needed.

Of course, this is only the first two episodes. It will probably pick up. Also, we have to consider that COVID (one day, one day I will have a blog post where I don’t mention that) has more than likely affected how they filmed action sequences. Safety first, after all.

Random comments:

I am kind of digging this scruffy Jared Padalecki with his backwards cap. Then his cowboy hat. Totally sexy.

Geri and Walker totally had a thing and no one can tell me otherwise. I wonder if that will be brought in.

I’m trying so hard to not compare Cordell and Liam’s brother relationship to Sam and Dean’s but it’s so hard. So far, the brother dynamic between Cordell and Liam is alright. Need to amp it up. A lot.

Micki is wonderful and I swear if they demote her to a love interest later and not keep her the badass Texas Ranger she is, I will throw a huge tantrum.

Kind of wondering if they meant to have some subtext between Stella and Bel, not going to lie.

Does Bonham and Abeline know about Bret? I have questions. We know Cordell does. But like it is a secret that Liam is gay and is engaged? I’m confused about that.

I totally hope Cordell kept Texas Nightshade and that’s his horse now. Canon in my head already.

Who all knew that Emily and Geri left food and supplies for the illegal immigrants hoping the border? That could be interesting.

I need Chuck Norris to make a guest appearance. We got his blessing for this reboot. Now come on, be a guest. Cater to us fans.

If you haven’t watched Walker on The CW, you should. . . and also, sorry for all the spoilers. of course if you haven’t watched the show why would you read this post? But whatever.

I think it’s going to be a great show. I can’t wait to see how it goes. New episodes of Walker premiere Thursdays on The CW.

Now enjoy this post from Buzzfeed as an ode to Jared Padalecki in a cowboy hat.

Can You Make It Through This Sexy Western Without Getting Your Ten-Gallon Hat Steamed Up?

-K

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