Season 2 of Walker brought us some interesting ups and downs over the course of 20 episodes. It had some great character moments, along with some plots that left me scratching my head. I will admit that I’ve been giving the Walker writers a bit of slack due to Lindsey Morgan leaving, something that undoubtedly threw off a lot of their their plans for this season. But my patience has its limits and there are only so many plot holes it can take before it snaps like a rubber band.
Two plotlines in particular gave me issue over the course of this season. The mystery of the barn fire and Marv’s death started out sensible enough but the more we learned about that night, the more convoluted the truth became. There was a point where I almost didn’t want the writers to answer our questions because I knew they could never come up with anything satisfying. There was also the matter of Geri being a biological Davidson, a plotline that bothered me from its conception in “One Good Thing” and it never really recovered. I want to take a moment to go through these plotlines individually, discuss their flaws, and go over a few ways the writers could have corrected their mistakes.
First, let’s discuss the many, many problems with the Geri “Davidson” Broussard story.
The story we were told is that Marv Davidson took the baby literally after she was born, not even giving Gale a chance to hold her before he told Gale that the baby was dead. The hospital staff/midwife apparently went along with this. From there, the baby ended up in the care of Frank Broussard, someone who used to work on the Davidson ranch, though they didn’t part on good terms. Marv paid Frank for child support via a mutual contact, Nate, under the guise of paying to board livestock. Then, in 1995, Marv decided to tell Abby that the baby never actually died and that he simply gave her away because of money concerns. Abby was furious with him and told him to go back home to tell Gale immediately. Marv started to do this but then suddenly remembered Denise planned to watch the comet with That Walker Boy and dragged Gale out to go find her in the barn. After a bit of nagging, while still looking for Denise, he did eventually tell Gale that her child was alive this whole time. After hearing this, Gale killed him with the lantern Cordell left behind. Then, 25 years later, Nate decided to tell Geri the truth of everything after Bonham was arrested for killing Marv because Nate believed Frank was responsible.
Before we even get into the present-day identity crisis Geri has over this revelation, there are already a lot of issues with this story.
Let’s start with Marv getting rid of the baby. We’re told that this was a matter of financial concerns. But why lie to Gale about it? Isn’t this the kind of things married couple should talk about? If he was that worried about having another kid, why didn’t he invest in birth control? Honestly, if this was such a big concern that he would go through all this trouble just to get rid of an unwanted child, why was he even having sex with her? There are a lot of ways he could’ve avoided this pregnancy and the insane amount of legwork that followed.
How many doctors and nurses would he have had to bribe to make sure Gale thought her baby was dead? How did the baby even get out of the hospital?
And why did he pay child support to Frank? Didn’t Marv go through all this trouble so he didn’t have to pay for the baby?
Speaking of Frank, how did he end up with Geri? We know that he worked on Davidson property at some point in the past but we also know he wasn’t exactly on good terms with Marv. Why was he given the baby? I’m assuming this was an under the table adoption with how much secrecy surrounded it as there’s no way that Frank, a single father that moved around often and may not have had a large paycheck, would’ve qualified under normal official adoption procedures (not that any legitimate adoption agency would’ve agreed to taking a baby from a mother without her knowledge). Did Marv pick out Frank to care for Geri? If so, why? If not, who did pick him out? Was it Nate? And how did Nate even end up involved as the middle man for the money? Did Marv pick him out because they were on good terms at the time? And if they were on such good terms that Nate was willing to help him cover up an illegal adoption, what happened to make Nate dislike him so much that he was willing to help Frank pull a heist on Marv? Nate offered us no information on the whys or hows of his involvement, just that he was. It left a lot of questions unanswered, which leaves us room to wonder if what he told us was even true.
Another thing: why did he wait twelve years before he told anyone about this? And why tell his ex-fiancé of all people? Was this supposed to make him look good? Was it a plea for pity? Did he have a vision of himself dying and decided to make a deathbed confession? Was he feeling guilty about it and looking for someone to tell him to make the right choice? And when he finally did tell Gale, why did he tell her while he was searching for Denise? I do understand that he was concerned about the daughter he currently had in his care but, based on the story Gale told us, she was more concerned with the big news he had for her. Wouldn’t it have been better to wait until after he knew for certain that Denise was safe? It may very well have saved his life if he’d done it somewhere where there weren’t any viable weapons within reach.
Honestly, it seems like this whole plotline was introduced for shock value and contrived drama. It didn’t come across as well thought out at all. Like I said earlier, I am sympathetic to the fact that the writers had a lot of rewriting to do with Lindsey Morgan leaving as that likely took away half of their plans for season 2. But, again, there really is only so much ridiculousness I can excuse. This plotline really could’ve used at least one more once-over before it was officially greenlit to show the audience.
That’s not to say that it couldn’t have worked at all. It certainly could’ve, but it needed quite an overhaul. I’d like to put forth a theory I came up with shortly before the season 2 finale aired. This theory relies on the concept of Gale knowing that Geri was alive all along, even from birth, something that is plausible based on Gale’s “I always knew we’d end up back together” line in “A Matter of Miles”.
We know that Gale and Marv had a rocky relationship, even early on. This likely stemmed from Gale only pursuing Marv because of Abby, and Marv settling because of Bonham, but that’s a story for another day. I think it wouldn’t be too far out of line to say that Gale and Marv had toyed with the idea of ending their marriage but decided to stay together for appearances without actually doing anything to fix the root of their problems. I think it would’ve been entirely possible for all these issues in their marriage to result in one or both of them having an affair.
We also know that Frank worked at the Davidson ranch at some point, possibly even around the time that Geri was born. Let’s say that Gale took a liking to Frank for any number of reasons. She has an affair with him and ends up pregnant with his child. She intends to pass the child off as Marv’s but he finds out (DNA test, a confession, etc.) and flat out refuses to care for a child that isn’t biologically his. So, following Geri’s birth, he tracks Frank down and dumps her on his doorstep. He agrees to pay for child support so long as Frank and the baby stay far away from them. Gale and Marv then tell everyone else that the baby died in order to avoid the scandal. Tension continues to rise in their marriage until eventually Gale snaps and kills Marv for forcing her to give up her baby.
This idea covers pretty much everything. Why the baby was given up, why Gale knew, why she killed Marv, how Frank got involved, and so on. It’s not perfect but I do think this is a way that this plot could have worked.
As for everything that happened with Geri after the revelation… Personally, I don’t think what happened was too out of character for Geri. Time and time again, especially in season 1, she had a tendency to run away from her problems until someone made her feel better about them, which is what we saw in the show. That being said, I do think it would have worked better if Geri had held onto her initial hesitance and been slowly converted into a Davidson by Gale and her silver tongue before coming back around to sanity after a few Freudian slips. But that’s just my opinion. I know that a lot of fans took issue with this part of the plot, and I do understand why given how much her actions hurt Cordell and the rest of the Walker family, but I do think this was mostly in character and could’ve worked seamlessly with just a few tweaks.
Next, I’d like to talk about the barn fire.
From what we were told through various flashbacks, the Davidson barn was quite a busy place on that fateful night in 1995. We got so many details, it was hard to keep track of them all and form any kind of cohesive storyline.
This is my best attempt at creating a timeline of that night:
- Cordell and Denise met and hid out in the loft to watch the comet
- Frank and Nate show up to rob the Davidsons’ money stash
- Marv tells Gale that they need to talk but also she needs to come out to the barn because of Denise
- The kids hear Gale and Marv arrive and Cordell runs away. In his haste, he leaves the lantern behind
- Frank and Nate pack the money into their carrying case
- Marv tells Gale about Geri being alive
- Gale becomes overwhelmed with emotion and uses the lantern to hit Marv over the head. This knocks him out and causes the fire. She locks the door behind her when she runs away
- Nate gets knocked out during the explosion
- Cordell sees sparks floating in the air and runs back when he sees the fire
- Bonham comes running over and tries to open the locked door to save the kids
- Nate eventually wakes up and gets back to the getaway car, where he meets with Frank, who tells him that Marv is dead
This timeline is not perfect but it is based on details that we’ve received from flashbacks as told by Cordell, Nate, and Gale. There are some details that are missing, partially because I am unsure where to fit them.
Here are some questions that remain unanswered by the current canon:
- Did…Did Gale lock Denise in the barn, too?
- How did Frank get Marv’s blood on his hands and learn that he was dead?
- How did the lantern get from the loft of the barn to the floor?
For the first question, it could go either way. Early flashbacks show that Denise was still in the barn when the fire started. However, this flashback is from Cordell’s perspective and we know his memory of that night isn’t the best. On top of that, he was heavily burdened by guilt from the events that happened after the fire. Her still being in the barn and in danger could be a result of unreliable narration.
However, her still being in the barn could point toward an answer for another question: Why did Denise peg Bonham as Marv’s killer with so little supporting evidence? We know that Bonham tried to break into the barn. It’s possible that he got in and helped Denise get out. Her memory of that night is also hazy and biased by her mother’s anger and lies. It’s possible that she remembered Bonham being there but not the circumstances around it and used herself as an eyewitness to his involvement in her father’s death.
For the second question, there’s a lot of room to speculate. I do think it’s possible that Frank could’ve gotten into the barn after getting the money. Perhaps he also saw Bonham trying to get in and decided to help when he learned that lives were at stake? Maybe he came across Marv’s body and tried to help him, only to find that he was already dead and fled the scene when he heard sirens arriving. Sadly, I highly doubt we will ever get a canon answer for this given that the current canon implies that Frank died years ago.
For the third question, I have no explanation. We know that Cordell brought the lantern over for him and Denise to watch the comet. I can believe that he would’ve left the lantern behind in his haste to avoid being caught trespassing. What I can’t believe is that he left it somewhere on the floor of the barn. It would’ve made much more sense for the lantern to still be in the loft, where he was sitting with Denise. Even if it fell off the edge of the loft somehow, it likely would have broken after the fall and started the fire on its own before Gale could’ve used it to kill her husband. There is also the question of how Gale even knew that the lantern belonged to the Walkers. Their family brand was on the bottom of the lantern, not something she would’ve seen if she swung it over her head and then ran. Unless, of course, she picked it up later and actually looked at it.
This brings us to a final, unanswered question that has been plaguing us since this lantern was first introduced in “Partners And Third Wheels”: How did the lantern go undiscovered for so long?
When August first found the lantern, he had just fallen to the ground through the weak wood of what is left of the barn loft. He’s stunned after hurting his shoulder and he saw it on the ground under some burned wooden planks and dry brush. This lantern was not hidden in the slightest and we’re led to believe that it has sat in this position for the last twenty-five years.
This begs the question: Why did the crew of investigators in the background of the initial news report we saw in “Common Ground” not find it? And how did a lantern that was exposed to the elements for so long still have enough blood on it for the DNA to be recognizable?
Earlier in this season, I came up with the theory that after Gale used the lantern to kill her husband, she hid it away in a safe location until the return to Austin. Then, she planted the lantern back in the old barn as part of an attempt to reopen the investigation and frame the Walkers for her crime.
As much as I would like to think that this is true, Gale made no such confession to Geri or anyone else in “Something’s Missing”. Unless she mentions it off screen in time for the season 3 premiere, I imagine that this is a detail that the writers just didn’t want us to think too much about.
I was really hoping that the season 2 finale would hold some answers to the burning questions and plot holes the writers had been handing out. Unfortunately for my sanity, it did not. While this season did have its strong points that I enjoyed and it even improved in some areas over last season, it did disappoint me in other places like the ones discussed above. I did enjoy the series overall but that doesn’t mean I don’t have my criticisms. I can only hope that next season brings us more improvements and fewer disappointing plot holes.
I hope this article brought you some closure and the relief of knowing that other people did notice at least some of glaring issues that you might have seen. What did y’all think? Do you agree with my points or do you have any counter arguments? Are there any other plot holes you noticed this season? What would you have done to avoid the issues I discussed here? Let me know in the comments! I’m curious to see your thoughts!
Gain more insights on Walker‘s Characters and enjoy Esther’s detailed episode Recaps/ Reviews, all found on her Writer’s Page!