That’s more like it! Walker has definitely taken a “drive” in the right direction, correcting several of the start-up bumps in the road that it experienced in its first two episodes. If you’ve just found Jared Padalecki’s new series on The CW, my first impressions of the show were overall very positive, but did note a few slipped gears here and there.
Ironically named “Bobble Head”, Walker’s third episode bounced between drama, action and social messaging more smoothly than the fledgling series’ prior stories. Introducing Cordell’s childhood bad boy friend, Hoyt, this latest glimpse into the life of the Walker family was more engaging, freed from the necessary exposition of a husband’s grief, an absent father’s guilt, teenage rebellion, brewing family resentments and a rookie’s anxiety that kicked off the series. Instead, Hoyt’s antics deepened our understanding of the series’ main characters more organically, using relationships and shared history to build out personalities.
Hoyt Rawlins, played by guest star Matt Barr, added a sassy spark to the cast’s performance. Abeline’s (Abby) belief in her wayward, adopted son gave us more intuitive insight into both her compassion and her husband Bonham’s hard line ruler of right and wrong behavior. Hoyt’s charismatic flirtations with crime also seamlessly served as a cautionary tale to the trials (literally) and tribulations of Cordell’s two teens. The parents had already won me over, but the kids’ performances bumped up a notch, making Cordell’s immediate family unit a stronger storyline.
While I’m thrilled that this episode made great strides in balancing characters and cases, I still have a lingering reservation about Walker’s partner Micki. I’m just not understanding their relative competence, perceived or actual, as rangers. Hoyt’s interactions with them only exacerbated my confusion about the interactions between these two lead characters in the show.
When Micki was first introduced to Walker in the “Pilot”, she referred to his legendary status among the rangers. That reputation was seemingly reinforced by the success he achieved in his last, supposedly very risky undercover assignment. Yet Officer Ramirez keeps being set up as the force to “rein in” Walker. Her conversation with Captain James also repeatedly referred to Cordell’s “blind spots.”
I don’t get it. She’s the rookie and Walker’s the experienced veteran, yet his professional competence is always being called into question. I understand that Cordell is purposefully being established as a flawed person with good intentions who is struggling to get back on his feet emotionally and with his family. The mixed signals are about his abilities as a ranger. Is he flawed on the job, too, or does he have an unorthodox approach that still gets the job done? Micki’s heavy handed arrest of Hoyt didn’t accomplish anything, yet the intel from her interrogation of Hoyt was prioritized over Cordell’s more subtle, “wait and watch” advice. He knew where to go to intercept the gun deal, but I didn’t hear anyone say “You were right. We should have listened to you.” Is he just a guy who (like so many of us) doesn’t get the recognition he deserves on the job, or is Captain James using Micki to impugn Walker’s instincts because James really is the bad guy who fears Walker may uncover his involvement in Emily’s death?
Geri’s quips at Micki seemed to put the rookie in her place a bit at the end, but I wasn’t really sure. I hope that’s what happened. That would have been a nicely framed moral of the story for Micki and a good way for Geri to stand up for her friends. I’m going to play it out that way in my head canon because it works so well!
Despite my continued confusion over Micki, this episode flowed well and presented a story that held my interest. I was curious how Walker would react to August’s uncharacteristic walk on the wild side (superb unspoken punishment, by the way!). Stella’s teachable moments were all realistic and well done. The case was a mystery, not because I cared at all about the random gun runner (it wasn’t clear who or why she was an arch-villain until the slightly overly dramatic shoot out), but because I wasn’t at all certain what Walker’s glittery, muscular, conflicted friend would do. And Jared got himself another muscle car to drive! Sweet cherry red Mustang! Nice ride! So several checks in the plus column. I’ll take that for only week three.
Please share your impressions of Walker‘s “Bobble Head” below!