Walker “False Flag Part 2” 3.15, centered around how one’s actions may have unintended consequences, and eventually there will be a reckoning. However, reckonings, though mostly painful, can be cathartic. This is especially true in the case of …
When Walker is first shown in this episode, he’s dirty, bloody, exhausted, concussed and siphoning gas from a car in a gas station. He’s on the run due to Julia’s article (that she made sure he knew about) claiming he’s working with Grey Flag. FBI Agent Tessa Graves is also after him, never having forgotten he was undercover with the Rodeo Kings for too long. Fortunately, Cassie shows up to get his side of the story, get him a coffee, a burner phone, and Walker adds a Texas Rangers Hat that he uses to get into the Duke persona. The fandom loves Duke, but it’s also who he turns into when he chooses to run. He ran and became Duke prior to season 1 after Emily was murdered. He also ran and pretended to be Duke in season 2 when the family ranch was lost, and Geri had asked for a break. It’s who he becomes in dark times. Considering how much the fandom appreciates hurt Cordell, and also shirtless Cordell, it’s no wonder there is a fondness for Duke. However, him feeling the need to revert to that persona indicates he is again in a dark place. Though Cassie doesn’t exactly recognize this, she does rebuff Walker’s assertion that he’s fine and instead states he needs a place to rest and get medical attention. This leads him to … Geri. Though he goes to Geri to have her tell his children he’s alive (which proves he’s already better than Cooper), he needs so much more from her. One can tell by the deep sighs of relief as he hugs her close upon first seeing her that he needs her comfort.
Jared’s physicality when he portrays Cordell’s exhaustion is phenomenal. One can practically feel him trying to push through to no avail. His body forces him to stop, physically collapsing, while he seeks to not be a burden. In sharp contrast to him waking up in horrible situations over the previous few episodes, this time he wakes up in a nice bed, being gently cared for by Geri, who reassures him that he’s okay and safe. After she calls him on dodging her questions, he tells her all about Cooper, his mentor and how he feels more like him than he realized, the gut punching realization that he believes that maybe his family is better off without him. She quickly calls that silly and correctly proffers that all these emotions of inadequacy are byproducts of his exhaustion – an exhaustion that is more than physical, it’s also emotional as he has been on a strained all season. She gives him clothes and some tough love, giving him a chance for a much-needed shower and change.
Freshly showered, and steady instead of shaky, he’s now in the mindset to connect dots and share a laugh, easing his tension even more as the idea of a plot twist dances in his head with the latest news report featuring Kevin’s dad. After a much-needed conversation with his own father where he is told how much his family wants him around, and a call from Cassie, Cordell is ready to face Kevin. His guilt over Cooper, once almost debilitating, that kept Cordell silent for so long, is gone. This helps Walker, because Kevin is keen on making Cordell feel his pain – a pain Cordell unintentionally intensified years ago at the award ceremony after Cooper’s supposed death by not offering his condolences. Instead, Walker is able to rebut Kevin’s accusations, gets to see his hero be a hero, and stops Kevin from fleeing, thus the cathartic reckoning. Instead of running like he planned, Cordell surrenders and accepts the handcuffs he feared at the beginning of the episode. In doing so, he becomes truly free to go back home – a home that he hopes will also welcome another soon. This dramatic change from broken and on the run to triumphantly vindicated was in no small part aided by the return of …
If looked at from her perspective, the situation is so shocking as to be almost comical. She’s just doing what she’s doing (which those who have watched the promotions for next episode know but avoiders of spoilers don’t yet know), when in stumbles an obviously injured and exhausted Cordell. He’s hugging her like she’s a gift of Heaven one minute, then talking about his kids not thinking he’s dead and how he’s running away the next. She knows he’s unwell, but he refuses to come inside, only for him to collapse in front of her as he tries to leave. She gets him inside, finds him clothes, and takes care of him because, despite not knowing exactly what is going on, she knows what he needs. This is the theme of her triumphant return: knowing exactly what Cordell needs.
She couldn’t have known how things would have fallen apart when she left but now the Walkers need her. Cordell needs her. So, she quickly begins fixing things. She both keeps her promise to tell the kids in code that their father is alive, as well as getting Cordell another person he needs: his father. Because in Cordell’s vague explanation that included a dead man finding him, she hears a little boy who fears his father doesn’t want him. Thus, she gets Stella to understand, and then let’s Bonham know what’s happening. While waiting for Daddy Walker’s arrival, she helps Cordell laugh, providing a much-needed lift to his spirits, and taking away the doom from of not only being Duke, but also being doomed to become Duke. After another comforting hug (and Cordell deserves all the hugs), she urges him once again to go back home when Cordell requests the same of her. Odette shines in these moments, giving Geri both the humor and gravitas to shake Cordell’s determination to run. And though she is exactly who Cordell needed, she knows he also needs …
Bonham and the Walkers
Told to stay in place by Cordell, they of course fear the worse when the Feds come through the door but their relief is soon replaced with disbelief and anger as Agent Graves hands them the search warrant. In the search montage, Julia’s marks through the faces of Cordell’s unit look especially sinister where Graves finds the planted C4. Those, and the case of energy drinks that Grey Flag is known for, lend credence to the Feds presumption of Walker’s guilt. However, the Walkers know Cordell would never do what he is accused of doing, and are frustrated by the federal agents’ focus on Cordell instead of Kevin and the invasion of their home. So, when Geri’s call comes in, Stella is understandably confused as to why Geri is going on about river houses after all these months, especially at a time like this. When Geri pointedly invites Bonham to join her, then cunning Stella understands.
The way Violet and Mitch showed Stella and Bonham communicating with only simple expressions in a crowded room with listening ears is brilliant. Bonham then carefully makes his way to where Cordell and Geri are only to end up with Cordell mistakenly pointing a gun at him. The conversation between father and son is long overdue. Bonham conveys love and empathy, offers a sideways apology for kicking Cordell out – a cathartic reckoning of the consequences of his earlier actions, but most of all, expresses the family’s not only need but want for Cordell to be with them.
He offers what turns out to be vital expert help in going after Kevin. Bonham also unknowingly offers Cooper another chance at redemption. The senior Walker’s efforts are also noted by …
Cap (Captain James)
“I can answer your questions, or you can keep shouting at me, but we can’t do both.” Beset is a good word to describe poor Cap in this episode. Coby Bell is great at portraying the captain’s calm perseverance. So much is going wrong in this episode, and he is doing his best to stop it from getting worse. The FBI have a vendetta against Walker and wouldn’t mind taking down his family to get him, so Capt. James has to make sure to keep them out of harm’s way, even though he severely dislikes having to silence them. Trey is going down the similar road of Micki before she left, so Cap fears losing him, too. Especially since this is the moment Cap needs Trey most. And then there is …
Still reeling from just how villainous her ex-boyfriend turned out to be, Cassie is also in a bad place. Wisely, Capt. James sends her to find Walker, make sure he is okay, and ensure they have a way to contact each other. Cassie pulls this off superbly, understanding Walker’s reasoning and worrying about his health. She will also make sure he knows where Kevin is for their showdown. And very impressively, she saves Walker by taking out Kevin. But she isn’t okay, either, like she calls Walker out on. She feels like Cassandra of legend, that she keeps telling people the truth, but they never listen. In this instance, she is upset how Trey (and Walker) made her feel about Kevin, and she treats Trey coldly because of this. When he asks her about why she seems distant, she unloads on him. But one can’t help but feeling that she feels disturbed by her connection to Kevin, and that the one she’s maddest at for not listening to her … is her. However, with Walker elsewhere, the one who receives the brunt of her anger as she tries to achieve a catharsis of her own is …
The weight Trey has put on his shoulders is immense. He blames himself for Kevin getting one step ahead and bombing the FBI safe house, causing the loss of all those lives. He had to lie to his friends and let a man die. He, much like Micki did after her undercover stint where she lost Garrison, wonders what it was all for. Though Capt. James tries his best to help him view it better, the only thing that got through was that he needs to Ranger up because his expertise is needed. (However, if Trey needs to hit a punching bag as part of self-care, he should be allowed to do so.) Capt. James proves correct as Trey puts together clues and finds out where Kevin is, just in time. But the rift between Cassie and him hurts his already battered heart, and it’s heartbreaking to see.
One of the best things about Walker, that was magnificently highlighted in this episode, is that it never loses sight of the fact that it is a family drama. That family, and the people therein, are the heart of the show and what truly matter. It does a great job balancing heartfelt moments and incredible action. The triumphant return of Geri and the way she is exactly who Cordell needed in that moment was brilliantly done. The fact that she also knows the importance of family, that he needed Bonham, is one of the reasons she is the perfect person, and this was the perfect time, for Odette to return from maternity leave. Cordell and Bonham exquisitely bridge heartwarming moments and action, showing both how to communicate one’s feelings and how to take down the bad guys.
Even the climatic showdown between Cordell and Kevin made sure to incorporate family, but also exciting action. Watching Walker chase down a plane on a motorcycle while using quick thinking repeatedly, elevates the excitement of the episode.
Jake Abel’s performance as the tormented, grieving brother turned villain is captivating and so well done. The timing of Clay Cooper’s arrival, coupled with David B Meadows’s soulful depiction of a person who feels he failed two people he loves dearly, take what could have been yet another bad guy monologue, and replaces it with a study of grief and blame. Major kudos are definitely deserved.
The episode is not perfect, however, as it does have some continuity issues, vagueness, and falls into a trap that mysteries sometimes do. Minor continuity quibbles include Kevin not knowing that Clay was alive. Kevin was in Walker’s home office when there was a file of all of Cooper’s aliases right there in the office -a file with a picture of Cooper on it – where he planted the C4. There was also the fact that they seemed to see each other in 3.14.
Also, how does Trey, who was nicknamed Tip-Top Trey because he parachuted into combat zones, not know what a throttle hand is? Trey also talks about putting something Kevin said in the notebook, but why would he have done that if he didn’t know Kevin was connected to Grey Flag before going undercover, losing his notebook, and seeing Kevin in the Grey Flag compound?
Lastly, through Kevin’s conversation with the Grey Flag billionaire board member, it is revealed that Julia, in vague terms, was a valuable asset to Grey Flag, so much so that Kevin is fired for getting her killed, but no more is known, which feels incomplete.
There is a movie called Clue that makes fun of the traps that mysteries can fall into. Mystery writers love to introduce random, previously unmentioned characters at the end so people never have all the clues necessary to solve the puzzle. This is portrayed as infuriating in that movie. Clay and Kevin’s abusive father is a character like that, never mentioned until this episode. When Julia told Cordell that Cooper’s mother passed away, he responded as though he had no way to make it up to Cooper’s family. Yet, he recognized Kevin’s father as also being Clay’s father on the news broadcast. There was even an unexplained photo of Cooper with the father on the front of Cooper’s file, and yet the father was never talked about. According to David B Meadows (the actor who portrays Cooper) in the At The Side Step podcast for this episode, there was a flashback scene in 3.13, “The Deserters,” where Cooper talks to young Walker (the soldier played by Colin Ford) about his no-good father and his younger brother. It’s not clear why Cooper having a father was never mentioned, and in fact, was deleted, but it feels like the writers were intentionally not giving the fans all the pieces of the puzzle.
However, these few flaws don’t heavily detract from the overall brilliance of the episode.
4.97 out of 5 stars.
Photos Courtesy of The CW. Screencaps by Raloria on LJ.
Don’t Miss Cat’s Supernatural Photo Stories and other Walker Reviews on her Writer’s Page!