I liked Walker‘s fourth episode, “Don’t Fence Me In” – mostly. Cordell seems to be getting more comfortable re-inhabiting his real life (as opposed to running away/being undercover) and his family. I like how hard he’s trying to bond with Micki, and that he even calls Trey to find out a little more about how to connect.
What I really like is that, true to an ensemble cast, this isn’t just about Cordell. Micki gets to be a full character, not just a sidekick or a prop, and that means she gets screen time.
Trey is adorable (and ripped!) as her boyfriend, and he is very warm, emotionally available, and supportive, dodging a lot of toxic stereotypical behavior. Micki is trying to invest in their relationship while also focusing on her career.
I loved the drawing of the superhero she did, and how Trey pointed out that Micki became a superhero, that she might have inspired other little girls when she did the stand-up in front of the cameras that she disliked doing, and that he framed the drawing. Trey also gets a win with his new job, and there’s a sense of breaking barriers and achieving so others can follow that is explicitly acknowledged. The at-home conversation between them feels real. There’s a huge understanding of the importance of representation there that was done well, and sounded genuine, not like an afterthought.
We are getting to see life as a Texas Ranger and the cases from Micki’s perspective, and as a Latinx woman, she has a different perspective from Cordell, created from her own experiences and points of reference. I love that this isn’t all going to be from the white guy’s POV with everyone else there to hold his coat. It’s not always done perfectly, but at least it’s being attempted.
Cordell is also trying to learn how to honor this, and he’s making the effort and aware that he needs to try, which is huge. He doesn’t truly grasp his privilege as white, male, tall, handsome and coming from an established, well-to-do family (and the contrast to Micki in every aspect), but he is trying.
The spirit creature carvings (alebrijes) in Micki’s apartment were a nice touch. I liked the realism of when the retiring chief puts his arm around Micki and she jokingly ducks out of it–that is so real for women in a business situation.
We also get several different takes on the Latinx experience, as seen through Micki, Enzo and his daughter, and Isabella. Micki is climbing the ladder inside the system with supporters. Enzo came up from the bottom, got out of a gang for his kids, and got murdered for his lucky break. His daughter ended up inheriting, but she blamed Micki and accused her of selling out her people, and then went back to Mexico. Isabella’s family might get deported. (Kudos to Liam for doing what he can to help.)
I don’t really care for episodes about infidelity, and this had two and a fake-out. The murder victim had an illegitimate son, and his current wife was having an affair with the retiring Ranger chief. (Hmm..I wonder why James pulled some documents from Emily’s file after that revelation. Was the chief dirty about her investigation, too?) Then it turns out Walker’s mother had an affair and she’s not very forthcoming about it. No lie, I like her less now.
Then August goes snooping in a box from Cordell’s undercover assignment (why is it at home?) and finds a camera and a cell phone (why did Cordell keep the phone?) He develops the film–which he should know is from an undercover investigation–and charges up the phone and then texts a contact? WTF????
Growing up in a household, you learn as a kid the rules that go with your parents’ jobs. That might have to do with how you answer the phone, or what you don’t open in the mail, or what you can or can’t talk about that you overhear. Did no one ever explain to August what an undercover cop does? How dangerous it is to blow your cover? How it involves playing a role and sometimes that means crossing some lines in order to make the bust? His behavior was beyond reckless and utterly stupid–he’s old enough to understand the risks. And of course, the photo of Cordell cuddling a strange woman was part of his cover and she was a member of his team. So fake-out (I sure hope, or the show becomes a total nope for me.)
Nice phone contact for ‘Winchester Auto’ BTW! Also, I appreciated the oil guy’s wife’s authentic ‘patrician Southern’ accent–the tight jawed, upper-crust drawl of someone from one of the old moneyed Southern families. Points for authenticity!
Meanwhile, Stella is getting on my last nerve. She’s completely blind to her own privilege and doesn’t seem to grasp what she’s cost Isabella and her family. For Stella, the penalty was a slap on the wrist, but that ‘teenage mistake’ could cost Isabella everything and while Stella pushes Liam to help and champions Isabella, she really doesn’t *get* the sh*tshow she’s caused. Her ‘help’ is likely to make things worse, and you can see that Isabella understands even if Stella doesn’t. Stella’s clueless performative allyship is going to lead to tragedy.
For all that Emily was willing to leave water for migrants and all, did neither she nor Cordell ever actually talk to their kids about the issues? If Emily was an activist for migrant rights (which would presumably have put her at odds with everything ICE), why was this not dinner table conversation? Educating the next generation is as much a part of creating lasting social change as any protest or civil disobedience. Were Cordell and Emily so focused on their own interests/jobs that they weren’t as invested as they should have been in their kids?
And then there’s Trevor, the cute guy Stella meets doing community service, after her dad warned her about inmates helping at the barn (WTF then why was a Ranger’s kid sent there for service? Seems like asking for trouble). She finds out up front that Trevor’s dad is one of those inmates. But she’s going to get involved with Trevor anyhow?
Does Stella have no clue what it means to be a Texas Ranger? Or is she so blinded by her own privilege that she can’t see the chasm between her and Trevor with real and dangerous implications? That’s not rebellion–that’s stupidity that could get someone hurt or killed or fired. Tons of conflict of interest, given what Cordell and Liam do for a living. If the dad was wrongfully imprisoned, she could compromise his case, especially if Cordell or Liam were somehow involved. If the dad is a bad guy, she’s either going to get used against her family or end up in danger. She’s veering into unlikeable territory for me (and since she’s fictional I don’t have to make myself try to deal with it the way I would if she were a real person in my life).
So there you have it. What are your thoughts? Please share below!
Illustrated by Nightsky. Screencaps by @raloria at LJ.
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