Cordell and Liam weren’t quite “Sittin’ On A Rainbow” in this second episode of Walker‘s third season, but sitting in front of a mural of one is close enough I think.
We were given another action-packed episode this week. I’m going to be giving this one a scene-by-scene recap just like last week’s since this was essentially part 2. Let’s begin, shall we?
We open up on Cordell and Liam in the cage. Liam is demanding that Cordell promise him that he won’t go “Walker, Lone Ranger” and put himself at risk just for Liam’s sake. Cordell seems hesitant but agrees when he sees how frantic Liam is. They engage in a brotherly handhold-to-hug and then we cut to the title card.
After that heavy start, we’re sent to the Walker ranch. Trey comes into the kitchen and sees Geri and Abeline poring over some old family photos. They’re looking for a recent picture of Cordell; his official ranger portrait is a bit too serious for their tastes. While they’re looking, Abby comes across a photo of Cordell on his first tour with the Marines. She remarks that he wasn’t even 21 at the time and that that was the first time she worried he wouldn’t come home.
Then Bonham comes storming into the kitchen and digs around in the drawers looking for something. Abeline asks what he’s looking for and he says that he needs to fix one of the cattle collars. She asks if that’s really something he needs to do right now and he says that it is because there’s absolutely nothing else he can do in that moment. The weight of how long Cordell has been gone is starting to affect all of them.
We then cut to the next morning in Ranger HQ. Cassie is handing out orders when she gets a call from Ben. He wants to know if she’s heard anything from Liam. They were supposed to meet up that morning but now Liam isn’t even answering his texts. Even though they haven’t been together long, the thought of losing Liam is terrifying for him. Cassie quickly assures her brother that she’s on the case and goes to alert James.
Captain James doesn’t want to believe it at first but when his calls go straight to voicemail, it’s hard to ignore the truth. James quickly alerts the team that they now have two missing persons and that this whole mission just got a lot more serious. Now he just has to tell the rest of the Walker family what’s happened, which I’m sure will be a delightful conversation.
A bit later, we see Cassie poring over their current evidence. James comes into the conference room with plate numbers they got from the neighbor’s trail cam. Unfortunately, they’re fake numbers that can’t be tied down. However, Cassie remembers that the chop shop Miles had been investigating, the one that led him to the cabal in the first place, made fake plates like that. She compares the plate from the cam to the list of plates from Miles’ file and finds a match. This makes her think Miles might know something and she wants to speak with him right away. James is very much against this idea. Miles is going into WITSEC for a reason and, more importantly, he’s out of their jurisdiction. He’d need to get permission from several people, a fact that annoys Cassie because she knows they don’t have that kind of time. But James reminds her that they don’t need to go making enemies with the fed and they have protocols in place for a reason. As much as she wants to find Cordell, she needs to follow the rules. Cassie is annoyed and resistant but eventually gives in. For now…
But James doesn’t have any more time to worry about that because Stella has just walked into Ranger HQ.
Stella is continuing her crusade to help the investigation in any way she can. James initially tells her to go home and let the professionals handle it but she’s not giving up that easy. If he won’t let her help in the office, she’ll go search the whole city on her own until she finds her dad. James sees (and admires) Cordell’s fighting spirit in her and decides to let her help in a much safer way by manning the tipline. He has every available hand out on the street so having someone to manage the phones will help. She doesn’t like the idea but there’s nothing else for her to do. So, she sits at her father’s desk and waits for the phone to ring.
Back in the cage, Cordell has caught Liam up on what he’s learned while he’s been away, including his vent friend, Julia Johnson. Liam asks how he can be so sure that Julia isn’t broken or some kind of mind game. Cordell says that if Julia is a mind game, then Liam could be too. Then he says that in a situation like this, the only thing you can really trust is your gut, and his gut tells him that Julia Johnson is their ally.
Just then, a few goons arrive and open up the cage door. They toss an MRE pack at Liam’s feet and tell Cordell he’s got “other dinner plans”. They haul him up to his feet and put a sack over his head before taking him to his new dining location.
Now, in front of him is Sean, a healthy-looking dinner, and an energy drink that sparks a memory from his days in the military. Sean tells him to eat up, but Cordell isn’t taking the bait and he puts the silver dome back on the plate before asking Sean what he wants. Sean says he wants Cordell to be their new “ally” within the Texas Rangers and that he’s sure he’ll be better and stronger than the disappointment that was Fenton because Cordell is a good guy, a man of action, the Edge of the Coin, someone who can make the hard decisions. Sean lists off the corrupt members of the DPS that Cordell has had a hand in taking out over the past few seasons and there are likely more names in that file from previous years. Cordell argues that, yes, the system does have flaws but there are good people within it that are fighting against them the right way. In response, Sean goes for the jugular and reminds Cordell that Emily’s death and subsequent cover up came at the hands of that system. No matter how many corrupt people he takes out, he’ll never get her back.
Cordell concedes that he’s right but argues that Sean isn’t much better; he’s just as willing to kill people to get his way and Cordell won’t get Emily back if he works with them either. What makes him better? Sean says that it’s all a necessary sacrifice to make a change. He claims that he and his group are anarchists. They intend to create a power vacuum and fill in the gap.
Side Note: That is absolutely not anarchist ideology, and it irritates me that the writers made this misstep. Cordell is right to call them terrorists. I might go as far as to call them dictators or militarists, minarchists at best. Anarchy is not “We’ll destroy the current system and replace it with our own regime”. Anarchy is “Government should not exist in any form because no one person should be able to hold power over anyone else”. If the writers did more than ten seconds of research on the subject, they would know that. I might be okay with it if they made it clear that Sean and his followers misunderstood anarchy or were just flying that banner to gain allies but, given that they are called “anarchists” in the season synopsis, I highly doubt that’s the case. It’s irritating and it really threw me out of an otherwise excellent episode.
Sean then informs Cordell that he will be given time to think it over and that, if he decides not to join them, “other tactics will be applied.” He buzzes his cattle prod and Cordell flinches, knowing that it will be used on Liam. He glances at the energy drink again and we’re treated to a flashback.
This flashback takes place in Afghanistan in the year 2004. There’s a wrestling match going on between soldiers and Walker is getting his ass soundly beat. One of the soldiers alerts their sergeant and asks him to help; he’s got good money riding on this. The sergeant walks over and breaks up the fight before asking Walker what the hell he’s trying to do. Cordell starts listing off moves from the combat manual they were given and gets a well-deserved scoff. The sergeant tells him he can’t operate by the books all the time; he’s just giving himself away to his opponent if he spends so much time mapping out his moves. He needs to operate in the moment and improvise. After those wise words, the sergeant calls for a round two and the boys are at it again. This time, Walker kicks ass.
Side note: COLIN FORD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (That’s it. Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk)
Side side note: Anyone else desperately marking down any years we get to figure out a timeline of Cordell’s life milestones? Just me? Cool.
We return to the present in time for Cordell to be returned to the cage. We’re greeted to the sight of Liam struggling to breathe and crawling to the corner of the cage. The floor, and Liam, are newly wet. Cordell rushes to help him to his feet but Liam very much does not want to be touched right then. Cordell does manage to get his shirt up and he sees new wounds and bruises. It would appear that “other tactics” are already being applied and this is only the beginning.
Back at Ranger HQ, Stella is diligently watching the phone, though it’s clear that she wishes she could be doing more. Just then, the phone rings and there’s a woman on the other end who claims she has information on where Ranger Walker was taken. Stella tries to keep calm and ask the routine questions but the thought of having information on her dad has her flustered. The woman gives her a name, Shannon, and some very vague information. Then she asks if there’s a reward instead of answering Stella’s other questions. Stella is hesitant to answer and looks for James, only to see that the rangers who had previously filled the office all simultaneously disappeared. Desperate for information but without time to get approval, she tells the woman that there is a reward and gives her a number, which we later learn is $10,000. This can only end well.
Next, we see Cassie and Ben about to go on a mission of their own. Ben thanks Cassie for letting him be involved and just being there in general for him. Cassie reminds him that she promised she wouldn’t let him go through something like this alone again. She’s making up for her past mistakes.
Back at the Walker ranch, Stella is going through every nook and cranny and pocket in her room looking for money. August sees her and asks what’s going on. She doesn’t answer and asks him if he has any money to give her. He asks her what for and she still doesn’t answer. Then he says that he should probably tell Mawline about this and she breaks, telling him that she needs the money to pay someone who has information on their dad. This gets August’s attention, and he insists on going with her. She tells him not to come but he’s not backing down; this is exactly what they were talking about in the last episode. Telling the adults about this does not cross either of their minds, but I’m sure that won’t cause any problems down the line.
Back with Cassie and Ben, Cassie enters the facility where Miles is being held and asks to speak with him. The receptionist looks for her clearance and sees nothing. Then he gets a call from “Captain Kennedy”, Ben’s secret alter ego, telling him that Cassie is to be allowed in to speak with Miles. While Ben and the receptionist argue over protocol and interdepartmental cooperation, Cassie sneaks away to speak with Miles.
She finds him in the gym and explains the current situation. She asks him if he can give her any more information, anything that might not have been in his statement to the rangers. Miles thinks and then remembers that Rita got a call from a journalist who was asking a lot of invasive questions.
Just as Cassie thinks she’s found a lead, she’s being put under arrest for crossing the federal government. While she’s being cuffed, she begs Miles to remember the name of the journalist. After a bit of sputtering, Miles remembers the name Julia Johnson. Mission accomplished.
Up next, we have a small, quiet scene at the Walker ranch. Abeline is sitting on her bed, rosary in hand and tears shining in her eyes. Bonham asks her if she’s okay from the doorway. But how could she be okay, with both of her sons missing? She then expresses frustration that Bonham seems capable of doing literally anything but admit that he’s just as worried as she is. Bonham admits that he actually isn’t as worried as her because he knows that for both of his boys to disappear so close to each other, they have to be held by the same people. It can’t’ be a coincidence. He knows in his gut that Liam and Cordell are together. He also knows that they were raised by a mother who taught them not only how to love each other, but how to stick together and fight together. That’s why he’s not as worried as she is. That’s enough to draw a smile out of her, if only for a little while.
Side note: Abeline and Bonham are literally the cutest couple in this show and I will not hear arguments to the contrary.
Back at ranger HQ, Cassie is in trouble with a capital T. James is extremely pissed at her for breaking protocol and his trust to talk to Miles. He had to burn through a lot of favors to keep her out of jail and he’s not hearing any of her martyr talk. He just needs to hear that she got some valuable information out of this.
Cassie informs him that she did; Rita was contacted by a journalist named Julia Johnson while he was under cover. She already checked up on the journalist. Her work believes that she’s on a leave of absence while her family was told that she’s on assignment. James is still upset but concedes that she got a good potential lead and starts to get a warrant for Julia’s house. Before he does, he reminds Cassie that she’s very much still in hot water over this.
Side note: Anyone else happy to see James disciplining someone that isn’t named Cordell Walker?
Back in the cage, Cordell is trying to keep Liam comfortable with all his injuries. He tells Liam that they need to start making plans to get out of there. Liam asks why they can’t wait for the cavalry. Cordell tries to avoid answering the question but Liam presses. He explains that their captors are going to hurt Liam to try and break Cordell into being their inside man. Liam insists that he can handle it but Cordell isn’t done. Cordell will not break, and when Sean figures that out, he’s going to kill Liam. That’s why they can’t wait. Liam understands the gravity of their situation now and he agrees.
The next morning, Stella and August arrive in a parking garage, alone, to meet with the woman who says she has information on their dad. Shannon steps out and asks for the money. Stella asks for the information first, but Shannon isn’t budging. Then August lets it slip that Ranger Walker is their dad and that was the second stupidest thing he’s done since he got up this morning (the first being that he came here in the first place).
Then, a couple of her buddies step out and ask for the money again. It’s clear the kids are in over their heads on this one. August tries to stand up to them and gets a couple good punches in but is quickly subdued. Stella hands Shannon a wad of cash to stop them but it’s hardly the promised $10,000. Then one of Shannon’s buddies draws a knife and, in her desperation, Stella hands over the keys to the Mustang. Shannon and her crew race off in the car, leaving the kids without transportation or any information on their dad and all they have to show for it is August’s bloody nose.
We cut to Cassie and the rangers breaking into Julia Johnson’s house. The place is empty of people but full of information. It would appear that Julia had been tracking these people for longer than even Miles was involved with them. Between the red string board and information on Julia’s laptop, Cassie and James learn that Sean was involved and that they’re dealing with a terrorist group. Then Cassie sees a brochure for West Vale psychiatric hospital, which shut down about 30 years ago. James deduces that this could be where Cordell and Liam are being held and he sends out a team to investigate.
Back with the Walker brothers, Cordell and Liam are trying their variation on the “Get Help” plan, with Cordell shouting for help from the goons who guard them. He tells them that Liam is suffering from internal bleeding and that if he dies like this, Sean will never get what he wants from Cordell. The goons have the brothers outnumbered but a surprise attack from Liam catches them off guard enough for a fair fight. Cordell gets one of the goons to reveal where Julia was moved to while Liam breaks their restraints. Then they grab the keys and lock the cage behind them.
They get to the basement cell where Julia is being held and unlock her door. Cordell enters first and Julia tries to fight him initially but then recognizes his voice. He tells her that they’re there to break her out. She gladly follows them through the hallways of a not-very-well guarded facility until they reach the garage bay. They hide behind some crates when the doors open up. While they wait for a chance to escape, Cordell sees a familiar symbol on one of the containers near him.
We get another Marines flashback to a mission regarding some dangerous airborne poison. Just a small amount of the stuff is enough to kill off a community. Before his squad heads out on the mission, his sergeant stops him to tell him he did well today. He also tells Cordell that if he’s ever stuck between following orders and doing the right thing, that he needs to trust himself.
The flashback ends and Cordell leads Liam and Julia to safety. He says he’ll join them soon, but Liam isn’t letting him go that easily, reminding Cordell of his promise at the beginning of the episode. Cordell remembers, but he needs to do this. He fills Liam in on the poison issue and promises his brother he’ll be out soon. After one last brotherly hand clasp, they split up.
Next, we see one of the goons getting ready to load the poison into a truck, only to find that the whole pallet is missing.
On the road, Cassie and James get word that the West Vale location is teeming with activity. James orders all units be sent that way and they speed off.
Cordell is wheeling the poison somewhere safe when the alarm is raised. Sean just so happens to find him in the hallway and aims his gun. Cordell turns around and wrenches the gun from his hands and it turns into a wrestling match. Sean has a knife but Cordell is quick enough to avoid it. Employing his old military skills, he goes with his gut and pulls a move that dislocates Sean’s arm. After a few more hits, Sean is down. Cordell picks up the gun from earlier and aims it, but doesn’t shoot him, choosing to stick it in his shorts for later while he heads for the radiology wing.
Outside, Liam and Julia are making a break for it but soon find themselves surrounded by goons. When all the escape routes are blocked and all hope seems lost, one of the goons gets shot and goes down. Then James and Cassie step out of the bushes and tell the others to get down. Other law enforcement officers follow, just in the nick of time.
Side note: Did anyone else notice how Liam immediately checked himself for bullet wounds after the gun went off? I love those little details. Thank you, Keegan, for trauma consistency.
Back in the radiology wing, Sean has caught up with Cordell. Cordell tells him to give up, the fight is over. But Sean won’t; he doesn’t think he’s lost just yet. Then he pulls out a hand grenade and pulls the pin. Cordell acts quick and wheels his pallet of poison into an x-ray room and shuts the thick steel door.
Outside, James is asking Liam where Cordell is. Then, the explosion happens. For a brief (perhaps too brief) moment, we’re left wondering if Cordell can keep his promise as Liam runs toward the destruction.
Then, one of the garage doors opens and Cordell steps out of the smoke. Liam hugs him first and everyone gathers in a small grassy area to decompress. Cordell tells James there’s a present waiting in radiology and gives Cassie her hug too. He hugs Liam again and there’s a brief forehead touch while they appreciate that they’re alive. Then Cassie asks what Cordell needs. His answer: “I need to hug my kids.”
Thus ends a very action packed and emotionally charged two-part season opener.
I was very satisfied with this episode. My biggest concern with Cordell being kidnapped was that he was just going to be rescued and we wouldn’t get a chance to see him show off his skills. I was very happy to be proven wrong. Though the rangers did help in the end, he was able to get himself, Liam, and Julia out of the building and prevent a major poisoning on his own. I hope we see more action like this from him in the future.
I was also very happy to see James directing some criticism at Cassie. I doubt we’ll get to see any further disciplinary action but I’m happy to see him direct that energy at someone besides Walker.
My only complaints with this episode are that, somehow, no one figured up what the kids were up to and tried to stop them (Wasn’t Colton supposed to be staying there? And in Stella’s room no less?), and that the Walker writers don’t know what anarchy is. Otherwise, a very solid episode and a happy ending for all. I give it a 9/10.
But what did y’all think? Was this a good episode for you? Or were the flaws too glaring for you to enjoy it? How good was it to have Colin Ford on our screens as a young Jared again? Let me know what you think down in the comments! I’m excited to see y’all’s thoughts!
Catch up on Esther’s detailed Walker Recaps and insightful Character Profiles, all found on Esther’s Writer’s Page!