“Home To A Stranger” was a fitting title for this week’s episode of Walker: Independence in more ways than one.
I’m here for another scene-by-scene recap of this episode; I tried to split it up between plots but everything was a little too interconnected for me to do that effectively.
Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?
We open up on the town of Independence, which has a new visitor. A wayward cow is wandering through the streets, right where Tom Davidson can see it. He notices the brand on it’s flank, marking it as property of the Reyes’ ranch. He knows something is up and heads for the local butcher to ask about his slaughterhouse. It would appear Tom as some beef with this cow.
Next, we cut to Calian, Abigail, and Hoyt at the burned wagon. Abigail is looking for clues as to why Tom Davidson killed her husband. Maybe he took something or left behind some evidence. Hoyt doesn’t think they’ll find anything useful; it was likely picked over by scavengers by now. Calian comments that he likely speaks from experience, which pisses Hoyt off; he asks why Calian is even here. Can they even trust him? Calian expresses similar concerns over Hoyt.
Abigail gets between them. Calian saved her life and she trusts him, which is more than she can say for Hoyt. Besides, he’s only there to help Lucia’s family; why does he care so much? Hoyt brushes off her questions just in time for Calian to find a set of horse tracks leading away from the site. It looks like Tom had an accomplice.
Hoyt is annoyed that Calian was useful and returns to looking through the ruins of the wagon. He finds an empty cigar box, which Abby recognizes as the place Liam used to hold his journal and pocket watch. She also finds a painting that Liam made of the cabin that they were supposed to move into. Calian recognizes it and says he can take her there.
Abby finds herself outside of the home that was once meant to be hers. But she’s not alone because Tom Davidson has just moved in. All this before we even get a title card.
Tom invites her in and asks what brought her out here. She spins a tale about asking for him in town and being told she could find him in this cabin. It is the sheriff’s quarters, after all. Tom asks if she has more information about the robbery; she did get pretty close to the perpetrator. Abby goes along with that and gives him a vague physical description of Hoyt. Tom thanks her; it’s more than they got from anyone else at the bank. Abby tries to look around while they talk, saying that its odd what people remember in a crises. But Tom is keeping an eye on her so there’s very little for her to see.
Abby suddenly asks if he has any family around. He evades the question by saying he’d like to start one someday. He then asks her if she knows anyone in town and mentions that the people at the bank said they’d never seen her before. She’s vague, saying she has friends she’s visiting and she’s not sure how long she’ll stick around. Tom then invites her to dinner at his place. After all, he got a big welcome party; it’s only fair that she get a nice welcome as well. She’s (understandably) hesitant to accept his offer but it would be rude to refuse.
Side note: We’re not even fifteen minutes in and I’m already loving the nuance.
Back in town, Kate has taken up residence in Hagan’s office and he’s not happy to see her there. He knows she has a problem with something.
She asks him why he hasn’t paid the dancers yet. He says that he will…once he pays the vendors and for the repairs from all the damage done during the welcome for sheriff Davidson. Kate says that if the girls don’t get paid, then they won’t dance, so he better come up with the money soon. Who knows? They could all get sick *cough cough sniffle sniffle* Hagan says he’ll give it some thought and tells her to get out of his office.
Before she goes, Kate asks Hagan what she thinks of the new sheriff. Hagan has nothing to say except that he wants to buy the hotel. And also: buzz out of his office, honeybee.
Back out on the plains, Calian is leading Hoyt along the trail of horse tracks. He stops at one that was made in the mud and makes a note of the distinctive star on the shoe. Hoyt says they can just talk to the blacksmith but Calian is hesitant to go into town. Hoyt takes great joy in being able to do something Calian can’t and heads out on his own.
In the town, Hoyt tries to work his magic on the blacksmith but it’s not going too well. Before he can try any of his other tricks on him, Augustus approaches him to talk about the robbery. He tells Hoyt that he is a perfect match for witness’ description of the robber. Hoyt says that it would be difficult to get a good description of a man wearing a bandana, which Augustus takes as an admission of guilt since he never mentioned the bandana. Hoyt tries to excuse it as just simple reasoning but it’s enough for him to be brought in for questioning.
On their way, they pass by Lucia. Augustus wonders what she must be thinking, watching him get pulled into the sheriff’s office the day after getting into town. As they walk away, Lucia is approached by another woman, who slaps her. She accuses Lucia of stealing her dress and being a seductress and threatens to get the sheriff if her dress is not returned. After she leaves, Kia approaches Lucia and tells her to come by the laundry later; he can help her.
Back in the sheriff’s office, we get a stunning visual of Hoyt between the bars of the jail cell before Augustus begins his questioning. He asks Hoyt for an alibi for the previous day and Hoyt happily tells him he was at Hagan’s with Lucia Reyes and that she’ll vouch for him. He does ask Augustus not to mention it to her family since he works for them. Augustus doesn’t quite buy it but Hoyt steamrolls him by asking how he feels about getting passed over for sheriff twice and row. Augustus is bothered by the question but tells him that he doesn’t need a badge to do his job and protect his town. He again presses for more information. Hoyt directs the conversation towards the recent cattle thefts instead.
Augustus, again, presses Hoyt for more information. Hoyt sees Tom Davidson outside and distracts Augustus by asking for a drink of water. Then, he writes a quick note and hides it under some letters. Then he gets himself kicked out of the office for asking for a whiskey rather than the water he’s given.
Outside, he speaks with Tom about a reward for catching the bank robber. Tom says they’re offering the robber’s horse, which was the only thing the witnesses could agree on the description of.
Tom goes into the sheriff’s office and speaks with Augustus about the recent criminal activity in town. A bank robbery and stolen cattle aren’t obviously connected but it’s interesting that they’re happening at the same time. Tom brushes off Augustus’ concerns and asks if he’s received any letters. He was supposed to hear from his father soon. Augustus says his father must be proud of him, what with him being sheriff now. Tom simply picks up the letters on the desk and says his father is a hard man to please. Then he sees the note Hoyt left accusing Tom of murdering Liam Collins and where to find the body. Clearly, he needs to be more careful.
Back in town, Abby is heading toward Hagan’s when she sees Calian in the background. She asks him where Hoyt is and he explains that he’s at the sheriff’s office being questioned about the robbery. She’s not happy to hear about this but Calian is more focused on her infected wound.
Before they can talk more, Kate comes over to talk to Abby. She asks if Abby has given any more thought to sharing her room at the hotel and offers her a change of clothes as well. Then Hoyt shows up and Kate suddenly has other places to be.
Hoyt catches them up on what happened in the sheriff’s office (except for the note) and says everything’s fine except that his horse was identified. As if on cue, his horse has caught the attention of people in town and Augustus takes it away. Abby then snaps at him for losing her husbands’ rifle and lawbook. Calian is even less happy about working with a bank robber; it feels like a betrayal of his friend. Hoyt is once again pissed but Abigail calms him down by reminding him that she and Calian are the only reason he hasn’t been turned in yet. They need to make a new plan and fast.
Back at the laundry, Lucia has come to visit Kai. She’s not sure why he wants to help her; he’s just set on making her a dress. He asks what her favorite color is while he takes some measurements; she lists off a few before settling on yellow. Kai compliments her on her singing at Hagan’s the previous night; she knew how to make a loud room quiet. Lucia comments that she was not the one he came to see; it was Kate. She can tell he has feelings for her, even if he hasn’t told her. Kai turns the conversation onto her relationship with Hoyt, but Lucia seems uncertain if they even have one.
Next, we see Tom Davidson riding into town on a horse. He has a body with him: Liam’s.
He rides into the middle of town and announces that he found the body of William Collin’s, the man originally chosen to be sheriff, while he was tracking the bank robber. He claims that the robber and Liam’s killer are one and the same. And when that man is found, he will be hanged.
As Liam’s body is being loaded onto a cart to get a proper burial, Abby spies his wedding ring. Next to her, Kate asks if she knew him. Abby lies, saying she didn’t, and it’s unclear if Kate believes her.
We cut to Calian and Abby cornering Hoyt about how Tom found the body. Hoyt explains that he left a note for Augustus about it since Calian said they could trust him. He thought it was the best call in their situation but either Tom found it first or Augustus sold them out.
Abby tells him that he can’t make these decisions by himself. They’re a team and they need him to be careful since there are things that Hoyt can do that they can’t on their own. Meanwhile, Calian is starting to doubt Augustus; they need to talk, and soon.
In another area of town, Kate is speaking to another Pinkerton agent about the recent events in town. She mentions that the dead would-be sheriff had a wife, who is currently nowhere to be found. The other agent admits that’s interesting but it’s not part of their current assignment: they’re meant to be investigating the railroads and the crime and corruption that follows. Kate argues that it could be connected since Independence is going to be getting railroads soon.
The other agent acknowledges her concern but turns the conversation to the current sheriff. He has wealthy family out East with ties to the steel industry, which would be connected to the railways. He also has family out west, who are involved in ranching. Looks like both sides could benefit from having a sheriff in the family.
It’s time for the other agent to leave for his own work, but he reminds Kate not to go looking for something that isn’t there. After what happened back east, she needs to be careful. Kate is annoyed that he even brought it up but takes time to ask him for money before he leaves; she needs money for lodging, bribes, and other such expenses.
Back with Calian, he gets Augustus’ attention behind the sheriff’s office to talk about Tom. Calian doesn’t trust him but Augustus seems to think he’s worthy. Meanwhile, Augustus is suspicious of Abby. A strange woman rolls into town and suddenly there’s dead bodies and bank robberies? It’s an odd coincidence. Calian dismisses his concern and asks Augustus to really think about if he trusts the new sheriff. Doesn’t he find it strange that someone like him passed Augustus over again?
As if to prove his point, Tom Davidson goes racing off on horseback without a word to Augustus. Calian asks if it’s not strange for Tom to go running off without Augustus, especially with what happened to the last sheriff?
We catch up with Tom in a hideout outside of town. He’s speaking to a man named Griffin about the recent cattle thefts. Griffin and his men were hired to steal cattle, yet one was caught wandering in Independence. Griffin argues that one stray isn’t that big of a deal, but Tom doesn’t like the idea of loose ends. Griffin dismisses his concerns and asks for the rest of his money.
In the distance, Tom sees Augustus peeking over the hill. He decides to turn this situation around and asks Griffin if he was anywhere near where Liam was killed last week. Another one of Griffin’s men spots Augustus and it’s an old-fashioned shootout as Tom takes out all of Griffin’s men, leaving just him alive as Tom’s scapegoat. Augustus seems more certain of Tom’s innocence now and they take Griffin back into Independence together.
In the crowd, Calian, Abigail, and Hoyt watch as an innocent man is condemned to hanging.
Calian says he recognized the tracks from Griffin’s horse going to the hideout where they found him. Hoyt isn’t too happy with the situation but he is glad not to be the fall guy. Abigail is far from happy; she doesn’t want an innocent man to go die over this. But there doesn’t seem to be any way around it.
Abby insists that they may be able to get information out of Griffin still. But Hoyt points out that there likely won’t be a trial and it’s unlikely Griffin will talk while he’s locked up in the sheriff’s office. Abby suggests breaking him out, a thought Hoyt finds amusing. Has she ever done a prison break? No, but she imagines Hoyt might have.
Whether he has or not isn’t the question. The question is whether their “team” is capable of working together. Calian and Hoyt don’t get along any better now than they did this morning and a delicate operation like this won’t be easy if they aren’t a well-oiled machine. Abby simply tells them they need to figure out how to work together without liking each other.
Back in the sheriff’s office, Tom harshly, but quietly, tells Griffin to keep his mouth shut and he’ll get him out later.
Just then, Abby enters the office. She’s asked if she recognizes Griffin as the robber. Tom steamrolls over her answer, saying she may be too rattled still to give a proper answer.
Side note: Tom really likes the word “rattled”. That’s twice now he’s used it to describe Abby.
Abigail then asks when Griffin’s trial will be. Tom says there’s no need for one; he shot at both the sheriff and the deputy. But she presses the point, quoting that the due process of the law insures a fair trail as quickly as possible. Augustus is impressed that she could directly quote that and she explains that her uncle used to pay her in nickels for remembering law statutes.
Tom breaks up the happy moment by informing Abigail that he was told to use his own discretion in certain matters and that he doesn’t believe that a trial is necessary. She argues that, while some of the residents of Independence may appreciate a brutal start like hanging a man without trial, it may serve him well to earn the trust of the community by following the letter of the law and still getting justice. Tom doesn’t take that, stating that the law is a discussion for another time. Abigail asks if dinner is a better time to have that talk, if the offer is still on the table.
Back at Hagan’s, Kate is using the money she got earlier to pay the dancers. They thank her profusely but she tells them it’s not a problem. They’re her girls, after all.
Then Hagan calls for his “honeybee” to meet him in his office and Kate heeds his call. In there, Hagan informs her that he’s thought it over and he’ll be paying the dancers…next week. Kate lets him know that, in that case, there will be no show this week. Hagan says they should dance this week and he will pay them for it next week. Kate presses him again, mentioning that since she’s run his books before, she knows he has the money to pay them now. And if he doesn’t, he can sell off some of his antiques or lower his hat budget. He concedes her point and promises to pay them tomorrow. Kate then threatens bodily harm if she sees him gambling that night.
Lucia enters the office then, in her new yellow dress from Kai, and asks Hagan if she may sing in his hall again. Abby enters soon after to ask Kate about borrowing a dress and is stunned by Lucia’s new garb. Lucia is given permission to sing and Kate wants new costumes for the dancers. Why can’t they all be pretty?
After getting a new dress from Kate, Abby goes downstairs to meet Hoyt at the bar. She’s supposed to be meeting Tom for dinner soon and she’s not sure she’s ready. Hoyt gives her some sage grifter advice: she needs to play a part for Tom, not be herself. He then mentions that he’s done that for a long time, so long that he may have lost who he is as a person. But Abby probably won’t have that problem; she’s pretty sure of who she is.
Then Hoyt sees Lucia headed for the stage in her new dress and goes to stop her, only to be greeted with a slap. She tells him off for stealing her red dress from before and robbing the bank. He tries to argue that he did all that for her and her family but she’s not having it. She never asked that of him and she doesn’t want his dirty money; in fact, she burned it. Then she turns back to the stage for her show.
We’re back in Tom Davidson’s cabin. He and Abby are having a lovely dinner. After a reference to the portmanteau of their first meeting, they engage in small talk. Abby gets lost in her head, trying not to let Tom’s mere presence intimidate her, and then brings up some of what she’s learned about him, specifically about him having family in ranching near here and wanting to buy out Hagan. Tom dismisses them as rumors and moves the conversation to the more serious matter of the law.
Tom still doesn’t want to give Griffin a trial; he knows the man is guilty. Abigail presses for what evidence he has; without a confession, he needs to know without a shadow of a doubt that it was Griffin based on provable evidence. He tells Abby Griffin’s criminal history, how he’s the kind of man that will kill and get enjoyment out of it. It doesn’t matter if there’s evidence; the man is a born criminal and he needs to be punished.
Side note: I really like the idea of Abigail wanting to be an attorney after watching her uncle in court but having to settle for less because of societal expectations. I wonder if her family being involved in the justice system has anything to do with her claims of them being corrupt and warped?
Abigail understands that reasoning but points out that it doesn’t mean he killed Liam. She presses again and Tom walks around the table behind her to present her with Liam’s pocket watch. He also mentions that they have a law book and rifle that belonged to Liam that was found on “Griffin’s” horse. That seems like more than enough evidence to him. Why isn’t it enough for her?
Abigail reiterates that he deserves a fair trial. It’s his right as an American citizen.
We return to town. Calian rides through a bustling night life on horseback, much to everyone’s surprise. As he enters Hagan’s, people stare and whisper. It’s clear that he’s not wanted there, but no one makes a move to stop him. He walks up to the bar and orders a beer but is rudely ignored by the bartender. Kate gets the bartender’s attention and orders him to make Calian his drink. The bartender does (after an eye roll) and slides it down to Calian, but then Hoyt grabs it and drinks it. Kate, very annoyed, tells the bartender to make another one and then tells Hoyt not to drink it this time.
Hoyt and Calian then engage in some posturing before Hoyt punches him and a proper fight breaks out. Kai and Kate step in to keep people away from the destruction. It’s a pretty even fight, skill wise, but I’m sure the crowd is rooting for a certain fair-skinned fellow.
Back at the sheriff’s cabin, Abby is preparing to leave. Tom adjusts her shawl and insists on taking her into town. It’s late, it’s dark, and it’s not safe. Abby insists that she’ll be fine, but then they hear a gunshot.
It’s Augustus, stopping the fight at Hagan’s with a warning shot to the ceiling. He asks what happened. The bartender immediately claims that “the Apache” started it, but Kai calls him out on it. Then the bartender seems ready to start a fight with him but Kate steps in and corners him against the bar, telling “Flynn” to stop it.
Augustus turns to Hagan for answers and, after a hard look from Kate, he confirms that it was Hoyt who started the fight. Hoyt drunkenly congratulates Augustus on getting to toss him in a cell after all as he’s walked out of the hotel.
Once Hoyt is in his cell, he waits for Augustus to leave before he starts breaking out with a fork he stole from the hotel. Griffin asks what the hell he thinks he’s doing and Hoyt fills him in on the plan to get Griffin out of his cell and to freedom, IF he’s willing to spill on Tom Davidson.
Outside, Calian speaks to Augustus again. Both men are starting to doubt each other. Augustus feels that Calian is hiding something from him. Calian admits that he hasn’t told Augustus everything and starts to confess a secret but Augustus gets distracted by the horses being disturbed.
Back at the hotel, Abigail thanks Tom for the dinner and the escort. It’s a nearly sweet moment before people notice Griffin running away. He’s on horseback and he’s making good time. But, before he can go too far, he’s shot and falls off his horse, dead almost as soon as he hits the ground.
The camera pans down the barrel of a shotgun and we see that it was Augustus that took the shot. As he leaves, he passes Abby, who sees her husband’s initials engraved on the side.
Sometime later, Hoyt is let out of his cell and he joins his team at Kai’s for soup. Abigail seems disheartened that their big risks and hard work all went to waste. But she’s not ready to give up yet. She needs to know why Tom killed her husband and she can’t leave Independence until she figures it out. Calian and Hoyt both tell her that they’re in this journey for the long haul. They may all have their separate reasons to fight Tom but they’re ready to work as a team.
Side note: Kai called Hoyt his best customer in this scene and I really do have to wonder what Hoyt does to his clothes and, more importantly, how he pays Kai for his work.
Hoyt asks Abby if she needs a place to stay and she tells him she’s already found one.
We cut to Abigail moving into Kate’s room at the hotel. She gives Abigail a quick tour of the room and shows off the dividing curtain she put up. She then recommends that Abby get some rest and they can get to know each other better tomorrow.
Later that night, Abby is silently crying to herself in her bed. We then cut to her playing piano, the hotel dark aside from a small light near her.
From the shadows, Tom Davidson makes himself known and says he recognizes the tune she’s playing. She asks him how long he’s been sitting there. “In the shadows? For long enough.” He steps toward her into the light and says he thought a lot about what she said and decided she was right; Griffin did deserve a fair trial. He actually intended to send a telegram to the county judge in the morning. Too bad he never got the chance to.
He then tells her that he could use someone like her in his office. Abigail is surprised by the offer but accepts it.
The episode ends with Tom putting Liam’s law book on top of Abby’s piano.
I swear this show has so much going on in it I can barely keep up sometimes.
This episode had a big theme of trust. From something as simple as Lucia trusting Kai to make her a nice dress to something as complicated as Calian and Augustus’ trust in each other waning, every dynamic was explored and I’m interested to see where this goes.
As much as Kate was hyped up before this episode, I have to say Tom Davidson carried my attention for most of it. We got a look into his inner world and I dare say he’s far more nuanced than some of his descendants end up being. Yes, he is a shady man with a shady past but as I watched him this episode, I couldn’t help but get the sense that this status was pushed onto him by his family. I imagine his father had a lot to do with this attitude. I was also surprised to see how soft and vulnerable he appeared to be with Abby at times. When he was speaking with Abby about his hopes of having a family and inviting her to dinner, he seemed incredibly genuine, which is not something I expected to see from him, let alone so soon. Not to mention his offer at the end. Whether or not he knows that she’s the wife of the man he killed, I suspect there may be a part of him that feels sympathy for Abby. In fact, in the beginning I nearly thought he was flirting with her. I’m curious to see if we’ll see more of this side of him as they work together.
I’m also curious about Calian and Augustus’ relationship and where they stand with each other now. Calian mentioned they worked together for a long time but they’re both so at odds over Abigail Walker and Tom Davidson. Will they be able to sort this out or is this the beginning of the end for them?
And I have so many more questions about the rest of our cast. What happened to Kate out East and why doesn’t she want to talk about it? Will Lucia ever forgive Hoyt or will she go her own way? Will Calian and Hoyt remain friends or is their relationship still forming? How will Abby and Tom work together? When will Kai admit his feelings to Kate? And how long will Augustus trust Tom for? And, most importantly, will Hagan ever pay his dancers?
I have a feeling this show will continue to leave me with more questions than answers in future episodes. 10/10 I love that for them.
But what did y’all think? Was it a good episode? Did anyone stand out to you? What relationship caught your eye the most? What questions were you left with? Let me know in the comments! I’m so curious to read your thoughts!