Hoyt and Geri’s relationship is an interesting element of Walker's first season. From Hoyt’s introduction in “Bobble Head” (1.03), we learn that the two have a long-term on-and-off relationship that’s been going strong since their younger years. Through many trials and tribulations, conjugal visits and absences, Hoyt and Geri have come back together over and over again.
But was that the right choice for them? The implications for Geri carried over into Walker's second season, and definitely affected her relationship with Cordell. Let’s have a look at the facts.
On the surface, Hoyt and Geri's relationship appears to be a simple case of opposites attract. Geraldine Broussard is a smart, reasonable woman who’s maintained a successful business on her own for years while living in Austin. Conversely, Hoyt Rawlins is a professional getaway driver and drifter extraordinaire, never staying in one place for too long and always finding some trouble to land himself in. Despite their differences and long absences from each other, the love and care between them is clear to anyone who cares to look. Between Geri’s conjugal visits and Hoyt’s incessant proposals, there seems to be something holding them together despite their very different lifestyles and outlooks on the world. Unfortunately, due to Hoyt’s short time on the show and the show’s choice to not acknowledge the way he complicates Cordell and Geri’s relationship, we have yet to learn what that “something” is, but there’s plenty of room to speculate.
By the time Hoyt makes his first appearance on Walker, he has been gone for some time with very little word back home. Despite this, he proudly proposes to Geri with a plastic bottle ring only to be rejected for what is clearly not the first time. At the end of the episode, we can see Geri looking meaningfully at this same ring and in a later episode, “Freedom” (1.11), we see what looks like a collection of these rings as part of Hoyt’s proposal. The implication here, to me, is that Geri has kept the “rings” he gave her, despite her many rejections. Was it because she intended to say “Yes” one day but wasn’t ready yet? Was she waiting for Hoyt to do something? If so, what caused her to change her mind? Or, if not, was Hoyt right in claiming that she never once took him seriously?
In order to get to the bottom of what made Hoyt and Geri “work” and what ultimately led to their downfall, we’re going to have to do a little detective work and explore all possible theories.
Let’s start by looking at the evidence.
The first mention of Hoyt and Geri’s relationship comes during “Bobble Head”, before we even see them on screen together. When Cordell invites his friend for a boys’ day out, Hoyt mentions stopping by to meet his girl. Cordell (jokingly?) tells him that if he really thinks Geri still holds a torch for him after all this time, then he’s crazy. The first time we see Hoyt and Geri on screen together is when Hoyt proposes and Geri plays it off as a joke. He takes it in stride and they dive into their poker game. At the end of the episode, we see Geri contemplating his most recent plastic bottle ring.
The next time we see them on screen together is during a flashback scene in “Bar None” (1.06). During Cordell’s 32nd birthday party, Hoyt and Geri are all over each other (though that may be because of the alcohol). There’s not much to say here except that this little scene is evidence of their closeness and chemistry with each other.
The final time we see them on screen together is “Freedom”. This episode is quite a doozy for them. This is the first time we’ve seen Geri since the infamous kiss with Cordell, and Hoyt has just gotten out of prison. While he’s under the impression that everything is fine and dandy and just as it was when he left, even going as far as to deliver another “fake” proposal at his Welcome Home party, that could not be further from the truth. Hoyt mentions to Cordell that he “can’t get a read on” Geri at the party, a troubling issue that even Micki can pick up on.
It seems Geri has reached a fork in the road in her life. On one path lays Hoyt Rawlins and their relationship as it stands today, conjugal visits and all. On the other, is a life without Hoyt, perhaps one with Cordell. Which one does she want? Which one will make her happiest in the long term? Which one will end in the least amount of pain for all of them?
Hoyt, on the other hand, is a lot more confident in where he wants to take their relationship. He plans to propose to Geri and give up his life of crime to settle down and make an honest man of himself. We find out in “Mehar’s Jacket” (1.14) that he went as far as to acquire some land in a place Geri mentioned wanting to settle in and even arranged for some livestock. Though he is a little unsure if the simple life is for him, he’s willing to give it a try for Geri.
The next day, Hoyt surprises Geri in the morning with a heartfelt proposal. Shocked, Geri tells him that she and Cordell kissed while he was in prison. He brushes it off, though his confidence is faltering. Then, Geri deals the killing blow and tells him that she’s not in a place to marry him. She’s thinking about making major changes in her life and she can’t make those changes while tied to him. While her logic is sound, Hoyt becomes angry and circles back to the kiss admission. He grabs his hat and storms out of the house to confront his best friend, but he leaves Geri with this parting remark: “You know, I meant it every time I asked you. I should’ve paid more attention to how you never took me seriously.”
We all know what happens next so I’m not going to force us to relive it.
Before we move on to the analysis, I want to bring up a few more things from Geri that happen following Hoyt’s death.
In season one's “Mehar’s Jacket” , the episode right after Hoyt’s death, Cordell and Geri have some interesting conversations about Hoyt. Despite both of them knowing him since they were all children, it seems neither Geri nor Cordell really knew him and they both severely underestimated him and how he cared for both of them. They both lament not giving him enough credit while he was alive, especially considering how he died.
Jumping ahead to season two's “Sucker Punch” (2.09), Geri offers Colton a few words of wisdom while he struggles with admitting his feelings to Stella. She not only tells him to make his move while he still has a relative chance, but she also delivers a warning of what might happen if he doesn’t. She says that she’s not only seen that sad story play out before, but she’s been a part of one herself. If you combine this with some other comments she’s made in the season, it looks like her romantic feelings for Cordell are far from new.
Now that we have all our evidence, I want to dive into a little analysis so that we can answer our key questions. Why were Geri and Hoyt together? Why did they stay that way for so long? Was their relationship doomed to fail from the beginning or was there something they could’ve done to prevent its downfall?
While we don’t know exactly when the romantic side of their relationship started, we know that they’ve been together for quite some time. They do appear to be a bit off-and-on due to Hoyt being away for long stretches of time, but Geri always seems ready to welcome him back into her heart with open arms. But why? Why is she so accommodating of this? Why does Hoyt keep returning? And what changed the tides for them?
One possible answer to these questions is that Geri was willing to wait for Hoyt to settle down for a certain amount of time before she got tired of waiting. Even when Hoyt proved himself to be willing to turn his life around for her, she’d either already committed to leaving him behind or she didn’t think he was capable of sticking it out in the long run.
Similarly, it’s likely that Geri just didn’t want to settle down with him. We’ve seen over the past couple of seasons that while she does have a permanent residence in Austin, she’s no stranger to travel and has a tendency to flee when things get too complicated or serious for her liking. Hoyt was a simple on-again-off-again boyfriend that allowed her to exercise the freedom to live this way while keeping the security of a loving relationship. When he decided to make it serious, she turned him down because that wasn’t what she wanted from him.
Another possibility stems from Geri’s comments to Colton. If she really has been in that movie before, it’s possible that her missed opportunity was with Cordell; Emily just got to him first. Between that, the infamous kiss, and the fact that she had tried to tell him about these feelings in “It’s Not What You Think” (2.04), I believe it’s very likely that she’s had these feelings for many years and was unable to act on them due to his marriage to her best friend. It may not be too far off base to say that she was using Hoyt as a substitute for what she couldn’t have.
Or, we could look at the simplest answer: they were a relationship of convenience.
Geri and Hoyt entered a romantic relationship at around the same time as their best friends, Emily and Cordell. Maybe they loved each other, maybe they didn’t want to feel left behind, maybe it was a little bit of both. Whatever they had, they made it work because they wanted it to work and they cared for each other.
But just wanting something to work isn’t enough. Geri didn’t want someone like Hoyt; she wanted someone more present in her life, someone who would be there for her whenever she needed them, someone who would accommodate her schedule, someone with whom she could settle down. Hoyt wanted someone who could appreciate his free spirit, who didn’t want to conform to society’s expectations on how to live a life, someone who would support his endeavors. No matter how much they wanted it to work, they weren’t being what the other person wanted from them. They stuck it out, but there was only so long the charade could go on.
At some point, they both had to ask themselves if this was worth it, staying with someone that wasn’t quite right for them for the sake of not being alone. Geri came out of that question with a firm “No”, deciding she wanted to try a new direction in her life. Hoyt, on the other hand, decided it was worth one last go and he made plans to completely change his life so that he could be the right man for her. The result was a disastrous proposal but, unlike all of Geri’s “rejections” before, this one sank their ship for good.
Which brings us to the conclusion, the place where we answer the question “What went wrong here?”
Whatever the reasons for Hoyt and Geri’s relationship beginning or ending or staying together, I think the biggest factor in their downfall comes down to a lack of communication. Geri wasn’t able to communicate her feelings to Hoyt about what she wanted from him or how she was ready to throw in the towel on their relationship, which is why he was so blindsided by her final rejection. Hoyt wasn’t able to communicate to Geri how much he loved her and how much he was willing to give up to make it work, which is why she never took him seriously. In the end, all they got was heartbreak.
But those are just my thoughts. What do y’all think? Was there ever a way for Hoyt and Geri to live and thrive romantically or were they doomed from the start? Do you think Geri would’ve continued on with Hoyt if not for The Kiss or was their breakup inevitable? Would their marriage have ended in a bitter divorce? Please share your thoughts below!
Gain more insights on Walker's Characters and enjoy Esther's detailed episode Recaps/ Reviews, all found on her Writer's Page!