Another strong episode, this time directed by Richard Speight, Jr. who of course was not only the Archangel Gabriel in Supernatural but also directed several episodes of the show—and who will be coming back to direct again in Walker Season 2.
There was a lot to like about this episode—and one thing I really didn’t like.
I saw a theme of ‘moving on’ in last week’s episode, and that continued in “Dig”, although with some unforeseen outcomes. The title made me think of digging for answers, digging for truth, digging deep inside oneself for understanding, digging a hole for oneself, and digging a grave. All those meanings showed up in one way or another—sometimes literally—in the episode.
In the beginning, Stan and Cordell are talking in Stan’s office. Stan offers Cordell a drink (on duty, which he refuses) then pours one for himself. “To Walker, Texas Ranger,” he toasts, and makes a comment about Cordell being ‘a new breed all in touch with your feelings.” Cordell says that maybe it’s time for changes. Stan replies that ‘everything could change tomorrow’ and then signs off on Cordell’s DPS reinstatement, and pins him with one of his own campaign buttons.
Bonham and Abbie are again waiting to hear from the doctor on next steps. Bonham hasn’t told any of the others about his cancer except Liam. That places a burden on Liam to keep a secret from the others (shades of the Winchesters) for no good reason.
Micki realizes she skipped taking some birth control pills, and is worried. She and Trey talk about this not being the right time to have a baby, but she seems open to ‘someday’.
It’s Spirit Week at the high school, where a debate between the candidates for District Attorney is going to be held. Liam recalls his difficulty the year he came out as gay. Supposedly, Spirit Week is for handling unfinished business before the end of the school year. Bret asks if that’s all talk or if people really do that. Obviously, there’s unfinished business between Liam and Bret that needs more discussion and closure.
Stan shows up for the debate and makes a comment to the high school kids to vote (most are too young), followed up with ‘we only count legal votes’. Given the ethnic diversity of the high school and the current legislation in Texas to curtail voting rights, Stan’s comment hit me like a punch, since it seemed to be directed more at ethnicity than age. He chides Liam in front of the reporters for going to New York City, and says Liam ‘always was a wayward son’. (Another Supernatural reference).
Liam gets the interview back on track, and one reporter in particular is very eager to get the story.
A bomb threat is called in, so the debate is cancelled. The bomb appears to be a threat to both candidates, who are still investigating North Side Nation. Liam invites Stan to a barbecue at the Walker ranch. Micki suggests bringing the displaced high schoolers to the Side Step to unwind. Geri is there. She and Cordell reminisce about their own high school days, and a disastrous early crush Cordell had on another girl. Geri tries to bring up what happened before, and he cuts her off, saying that he’s just glad she’s back.
Cordell and Micki sweep the school building. There is a cow in the gym—obviously a student prank. In the school, Micki sees Cordell’s old trophies and photos. She tells him she is wrestling with work/life balance, and he tells her that no one figures it out. He also gets a text from the kids and tells them not to let Stella do a keg stand (shades of Jared and Jensen on Conan O’Brien).
At the Side Step, the kids are eating wings and playing foosball. Isabella reveals that her aunt is taking her to Mexico over the summer to be with her parents. Ruby says she’ll be moving. She invites Auggie to come over, mentioning that her parents are out of town. He’s had a crush on her for a long time.
At the school, Cordell asks Micki for her thoughts since she declined to talk to DPS. She says that everyone should be held accountable no matter what their reputation or what they’re going through. Cordell asks in a strangled voice (which reminded me so much of Sam Winchester in the moments Dean lost faith in him) whether he should quit. She says no—he’s a good ranger but he can do better. Cordell says ‘I have a lot of dark in me and it took hold’, which was another line from the Sam Winchester playbook.
They get a lead on who might have called in the bomb threat. He is an ex con and he’s armed. Cordell talks him down. The man says that the DA and DPS wouldn’t listen to him, and starts raving about aliens. Then he says, ‘People think because I’m messed up I can be ignored. I wanted someone to hear my side of things.’. Micki promises to relay his message.
That gets Cordell thinking about Carlos Mendoza, who perjured his testimony about killing Emily, and that no one bothered to hear his side. He says he intends to go as a widower, not a Ranger.
Trey’s mom visits. Almost from the moment she enters, she’s going on and on about babies. She says she wants to make sure that Trey and Micki want the same thing, which clearly is focused on babies vs. Micki’s career. This pissed me off. Trey’s mom has no understanding of boundaries—between herself and her son, or regarding his relationship with Micki. She doesn’t respect Micki’s career or how hard she’s worked for her achievements. There’s a toxicity in the underlying suggestion that the only worth of a woman lies in making babies, and that Micki’s career should be set aside for that purpose. There’s also a self-centeredness about her pressure to ‘give her’ grandbabies, when she won’t be doing the hard work of parenting. Micki and Trey have been doing so well with communication and I hope his mom—whom he usually keeps at a friendly distance—doesn’t mess them up. Of course with Micki worried about an unplanned pregnancy, this ratchets up the stress for her and Trey.
At the Walker ranch, Stan mocks the reforms Liam wants as a ‘liberal manifesto’. Stella asks Liam in front of everyone whether he would have let Cordell be a ranger again (why?) and Liam says ‘I didn’t think he was ready.’ Then Liam acknowledges that he thinks Cordell is ‘trying to change and be at peace.’ Micki arrives at the barbecue.
Auggie goes over to Ruby’s house. Ruby lives up to her Supernatural namesake as a temptress, offering Auggie alcohol and making sexual advances on him that struck me as disturbingly experienced for a high schooler. Auggie doesn’t drink the alcohol and refuses her, then leaves.
Cordell goes to see Mendoza in the hospital. He apologizes to Mendoza for not listening. Mendoza said he confessed for money to help his family because he is dying. Cordell senses that there’s something Mendoza isn’t saying. He tells Mendoza that Cali—‘the one who killed Emily and put you up to this’ is dead. Mendoza says that ‘the ones who did this should pay’. Cordell realizes Mendoza was indicating more than one person was involved, and Mendoza tells him it was Stan who put up the money.
Stan is alone at the ranch gate and is confronted by the reporter, who says Stan was evasive about the dirty cop and the disgraced DA. He keeps asking questions, wondering if Stan has something to hide. Stan is the DPS chair, and he signed off on all the cases the dirty cop and the DA dismissed that had North Side Nation links.
Stan gets flustered, and says ‘you’re not hearing me’ (meaning the reporter isn’t buying his evasion). He shoves the reporter, who falls and hits his head and dies. Stan checks the body and has blood on his hands.
Stan goes back to the ranch and washes up in the kitchen. He asks about Bonham’s health, and makes a comment about the Walkers having a ‘natural born survival instinct’. He offers his place to Abbie as a place for the vow renewal ceremony with Bonham. Bonham finally agrees to tell the others about his cancer, and that ‘there’s been enough secrets around here—we need to tell everyone.’ Abbie mentions Stan’s offer, and they talk about making happy memories.
Then Micki mentions that Cordell went to see Mendoza, and Stan is alarmed. He calls someone and says, ‘we’ve got problems’. Cordell is desperate to get back to the ranch now that he knows Stan was involved in Emily’s death, and is at his home with his family.
A truck runs Cordell off the road, and his vehicle rolls. Men with guns come after him.
Micki brings flowers as a gift for Trey’s mom. She isn’t pregnant, and is relieved but says it’s good for her and Trey to talk about it. She tells him that she worries about the future because it’s good and that she still wants to find that work/life balance, hoping Cordell is wrong.
Stella and Auggie talk. He says he didn’t stay with Ruby, and Stella tells him about Isabella going to Mexico for the summer. Auggie says that he admires Stella’s insights. ‘You see more than what’s in front of you—you see what others’ don’t.’ Then he asks her about Trevor. She says that she thinks about him, and the moments they had together, that ‘they were all real—some moments harder to separate than others’.
Stan is with the North Side Nation goons who have Cordell at gunpoint and are making him dig the reporter’s grave (and probably his own). If there’s one thing Sam Winchester knows how to do, it’s dig a grave! Cordell seizes a moment and whacks one of the goons with his shovel, grabs the gun, and kills both goons. (Sam F’n Winchester has become Cordell F’n Walker!) Cordell pulls the gun on Stan and tells him to get into the truck.
As always, the acting from Jared and the rest of the cast was spot-on, and for those of us familiar with Richard’s directorial style from Supernatural, we could see his hand in the flow, pacing and shot set-up, which was done very well.
If you loved everything about the episode, stop here—because I’ve got a major beef coming up next.
One of the biggest failures of the Walker writing team has been providing no evidence to viewers of how ‘bad’ Cordell was to warrant a DPS inquiry. People keep throwing it up to him, but we haven’t seen it, except for roughing up one guy in an early episode who taunted him about Emily’s death (and as roughing up went, it wasn’t much). There have been no flashbacks, we didn’t see the actual DPS hearing, and the whole plot thread about Adrianna planning to ‘make an example’ of Cordell apparently got left in the dust after she pleaded guilty to a DUI charge to save her new boyfriend.
What we *have* seen is restraint from Cordell. He didn’t shoot any of the North Side Nation members when they terrorized the kids’ soccer game or during the bust with Captain James. He didn’t shoot or rough up anyone when he went back undercover as Duke. He didn’t shoot Clint during the stand-off at the ranch, even when Clint shot Liam and killed Hoyt and threatened his family. He didn’t shoot the dirty cop, and didn’t even lay hands on him to bring him down (instead, he kicked a cart into his path). He talks the ex-con who made the bomb threat out of violence. And he doesn’t shoot Stan, even after everything he’s learned.
I am terribly disappointed to see both Liam and Micki underestimating Cordell (just like Sam was constantly underestimated by everyone, including Dean and Bobby).
While Micki is correct about the need for accountability, she came off as very judgy and insensitive, and inappropriate in tone for a partner, friend and subordinate officer. (Cordell’s wrecked voice asking if he should quit reminded me of Sam in the church in the episode “Sacrifice” talking about all the times he let Dean down.)
I don’t know what the hell Stella thought she was doing asking Liam for his opinion in front of other people. In private, maybe. After last week when she begged Cordell to go back to the Rangers, this seemed like backtracking. For her age, Stella presumes to have a lot of say over what her father does and doesn’t do—which doesn’t seem like a healthy parent/child boundary. Once again, the adults let it happen, and instead of Liam saying something like that’s between him and Cordell (a more appropriate response), he answers her and shows a disappointing lack of faith in his brother. So much for Liam having Cordell’s back.
Cordell was right about there being a cover-up of Emily’s death. He was right about the quick conviction of Mendoza not being plausible. He was right about her death being part of a bigger picture. He has demonstrated restraint in situations where he could have been killed. He was willing to walk away from being a Ranger to focus on his family. He didn’t contest the DPS charges and thought he should have been punished more. He is onboard with learning and changing.
What in the blue blazes do these writers want from him? Is he going to get in trouble for not allowing himself to be murdered by Stan and his goons? He was outnumbered 3-to-1 and outgunned, so asking them nicely or going for non-lethal force when they literally had a gun to his head wasn’t going to work.
I thought after last week that Cordell was finally going to be allowed to be the hero of his own show, having proven himself. If the season ends with Cordell once again being found at fault and everyone’s whipping boy, I’m going to be very upset and disappointed.
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Wonderful Screencaps by Raloria on LJ; Article Illustrated by Gail and Nightsky.