Wow! That was another fantastic episode with plenty of emotion, surprises, and epic fight scenes—plus some Supernatural references!
I’ll leave the recap to others, and dive into the story by characters.
Agent Tessa Graves
Hmm. In Supernatural, Tessa was the reaper who kept coming for Dean’s soul. She was too fixated on doing her job to see shades of gray. Was the character in Walker named with the reaper in mind? I don’t know, but it would fit. (With her single-minded goal of destroying Cordell, she also reminded me of Billie in Supernatural.)
She won’t listen to Liam about Kevin being a flight risk, won’t hear anything James says about other possible scenarios.
We don’t know why Graves is so quick to want to destroy Cordell, or so unwilling to question her assumptions. That tunnel vision doesn’t make for a good agent. She overlooked some obvious red flags like the source for Julia’s damning article, or the fact that Kevin had been at the Walker ranch with plenty of opportunity to plant the C4.
At the end, Graves cracks a joke, then doesn’t even apologize for a witch hunt that would have destroyed Cordell’s career, locked him up for life, or gotten him killed. I’m not very impressed with her as an FBI agent. Victor Henrikson, she isn’t. I hope we never run into her again.
Captain James, Cassie, and Trey
Thank heavens that this time, they believe Cordell and are watching his back. James stands up for Cordell as best he can to Graves, trying to knock holes in her certainty.
Cassie meets up with Cordell, although the convenience store seems too exposed for their extended conversations. Those places always have the news on TV. Cassie could have brought him snacks and gas and met him somewhere deserted, but I guess this raised the stakes more.
Cassie buys two burner phones and a trucker cap for Cordell—it’s a Rangers sport cap, making it clear that Cordell is still on the job.
Trey is punching a sandbag when James finds him in the gym. Trey blames himself for tipping their hand to Gray Flag with the lost notebook. “What was it for?” He asks, an echo of a question Sam and Dean asked many times after Pyrrhic victories.
I was pleased that this time, Cassie, Trey and James aren’t keeping secrets.
Trey is the one who remembers the ‘big money’ comment, while Cassie gets the ‘throttle hand’ reference. Putting clues together, they figure out the money trail to the billionaire funding Gray Flag, and to the airstrip.
Cassie and Trey have a tough moment when she confronts him about not listening to her. ‘I started to think it was me, being crazy again,’ Cassie says, something women in the work world can relate to when ideas are dismissed without being evaluated. She says that she didn’t listen to her instincts and let him convince her that she was wrong. Trey is defensive, but says he’ll work on his listening skills, and later loops around to apologize. Progress!
James promises an FBI press conference to set the record straight and clear Cordell’s name.
At the end, Trey says, “I guess this is what it was for. We won.” Cassie’s “Sure did” sounds less than convinced.
Cordell and the Walkers
Cordell ran after the bomb exploded because he knew he’d be blamed and locked up, which he tells Cassie. He sees that Kevin set them up, but still doesn’t understand why.
Cordell drives a stolen car to a farmhouse where Geri is living. She can see he’s not well. He doesn’t want to get her in trouble for harboring a fugitive, but then he passes out.
My burning question—how did Geri move an unconscious Cordell from the yard up the steps and through the house to tuck him into bed without a wheelbarrow and a winch?
Geri questions his choice to run. He tells her it’s the only way to clear his name, and he explains about Cooper, and how Coop thought his family would be better off without him (shades of Supernatural again). Geri gives him clothing but says that when he’s like this he’s not someone she wants to know. (Once again I marvel that the people in Cordell’s life sometimes don’t seem to have a clue about what his job entails and its psychological impact.) They joke awkwardly about Cordell’s ‘outlaw name’ and going on the run together. He asks her to come back to Austin.
Cordell sees Kevin’s father on TV asking Kevin to turn himself in, and recognizes the man as Cooper’s dad.
Geri calls the Walker ranch to pass along Cordell’s coded message to Bonham. Stella is pretty clueless, but Bonham picks up on the meaning right away.
Bonham meets Cordell at the river house and apologizes about asking him to move out. Says that he was angry about Abeline’s stroke. “When it’s all hells bells, you think you have to sacrifice yourself for their protection,” he tells Cordell. “They don’t want your protection if it comes with your absence.” Once again, another line that could have come right out of the fights Sam and Dean had about sacrificing for each other.
Cordell and Bonham go to the airstrip, and there’s an epic gunfight. The music is awesome throughout this episode, but especially in the fight scenes.
Cordell confronts Kevin, who taunts him about being ‘a fugitive, just like me’. Kevin accuses Cordell and his unit of abandoning Cooper and leaving him for dead, confirming he’s Coop’s little brother. He’s angry that Cordell got a medal and didn’t even stop by Cooper’s family’s table at the ceremony. Shoutout to Jake Abel for fantastic acting as Kevin credibly moves through a wide range of emotions that show clearly on his face.
Cooper saves Bonham’s life with the guards outside, and shows up to intervene with Kevin. Apparently their father was abusive, and Kevin can’t forgive Cooper leaving him in that situation.
Cooper acknowledges that running away left Kevin and his unit in a bad place. Kevin said, “You said you were coming home. It was gonna be us, dad didn’t have to stay in the picture.” Wow, another line that could have come straight out of Supernatural!
Cooper admits that he thought everyone would be better off without him (Supernatural again!). He tries to convince Kevin to turn himself in, but Kevin tries to shoot Cordell and Cooper takes the bullet for him. (A brother shooting a brother-in-arms and another brother protecting that brother-in-arms.) Then we get another epic fight scene with Cordell chasing Kevin’s plane on a motorcycle. Cordell wounds Kevin, but Cassie kills Kevin when he pulls his gun on Cordell.
Jared did a great job communicating Cordell’s pain and resignation in his expression when he surrenders to the FBI.
Brotherhood in all its messy expectations and obligations is front and center in this episode with Cordell and Liam, and Cordell’s feelings of betrayal at the way Cooper’s desertion let down his brothers-in-arms. Kevin’s rage, grief, and need for revenge at Cooper leaving him stuck in a bad situation and walking away without keeping his promise arises from broken brotherhood. Cooper realizing too late that he was important to people who loved him and that he let them down brings back the sacred bond of brotherhood.
Family was another theme, as Cordell’s parents, brother, work partners, and friends rally around him against threats. Even with Cordell and Geri in an awkward place in their friendship, she proves the old saying about home being the place that when you have to go there, they have to take you in. At the same time, we see that Cooper’s lies and deception destroyed the found family of his Marine unit, and his blood brother, and nearly got Cordell’s family killed.
Listening came up a lot. Agent Graves didn’t listen to anyone, or pause to consider evidence vs her assumptions. Trey and Cassie hashed it out over actually hearing what’s being said. Captain James listened to Cassie and Trey and to his own insights into the case, which is progress from where he started early in the show. Bonham wants Cordell to listen to his apology about being wrong to ask him to move out.
Vengeance lay at the heart of the episode. Kevin wanted revenge against Cordell and his brother’s unit for leaving Cooper to die—a mistaken assumption. We’re still not sure whether Kevin’s choice of targets for the safe house bombing was some kind of revenge against the mayor or not. Cordell has been down the vengeance route and knows it leads to darkness. (Another Supernatural nod.)
Agent Graves seemed to have a need to destroy Cordell that went beyond the facts of the case—was she taking out unaddressed wrongs by someone else in her past on Cordell? She sure seemed to be driven by vengeance.
Recognizing your value was a heartbreaking thread. Cooper thought people were better off without him, and they weren’t. When Cordell lost himself in the Rodeo Kings, he felt the same way after Emily’s death. In both cases, the men did not realize that the damage done by their absence was far worse than any trouble inflicted by their presence. There’s a very powerful subtext here that links back to Jared’s longtime ‘Always Keep Fighting’ mantra, as well as a callback to something that was a persistent theme in Supernatural.
This was a fantastic wrap up on the Gray Flag story, but the season isn’t over yet! I can’t wait to see where we go from here.
The writing was really strong, and even more than usual Jared and the cast knocked it out of the park. What did you think?
Find more of Gail’s commentaries on her Writer’s Page.
Images courtesy of The CW. Illustrated by Nightsky. Some screencaps by Raloria@livejournal.