What happens when you’re pushed too far? This episode explores how being pushed to your limits tests your character. It also reveals the horrible truth that sometimes cheaters do win... but that sometimes good people refuse to lose their moral center, such as …
Ever since the Davidsons returned, Cordell has tried to play peacemaker and end a feud that has spanned centuries. He even wanted to cut a deal if he won the race, so they wouldn’t have to leave their home. That was until Denise illegally questioned August. The way Jared portrayed Walker as at first guilt ridden, then soft to his son, then angry was a sight to behold. It was a line that should have never been crossed and was a declaration of war to Walker. He now just wants the Davidsons far away from his family. But even pushed out of his peacemaker bit, he still didn’t leave an injured Dan. His moral code may have cost the family their land, but it shows that good people always strive to be good. Another person who proved she was good even when pushed was …
Much like Cordell, Geri has tried to stay neutral. Even saying her allegiance has always been to the Walkers, she was a fair moderator for the chili cook off and fed the Davidsons when the initial summit fell through. But when Denise went after August, she could no longer stay on the sidelines. Even though she was determined to get August help, and went to Walker to get that help, she only told him about the accusations Denise made of August. Odette plays the part of a person determined to help, but torn as to how, perfectly. She proved her loyalty even when backed into a corner. For she refused to tell on …
Bonham & Abeline
Both have kept so many secrets over the years, and as both Cordell and Abeline say in this episode, keeping secrets just hurts them. Bonham reveals two secrets in this episode. One is the lantern. Geri refuses to be the one to tell that secret but since August is in trouble, Bonham tells Cordell the truth. Later, with the coaxing and support of Cassie, Bonham reveals his second secret - that he was relieved, not sad, when Marv died. That secret has eaten at him for years. In a heartwarming scene, Abeline and Bonham reconcile, as they both realize it’s unfair to judge each other for things they themselves have done. Molly and Mitch’s chemistry completely sells this strong, tested love, which is good because greater tests are coming. The ending where they lose everything, even the ability to be together, is heartbreaking. They’re losing the legacy they were planning on leaving to …
Stella & August
Stella and August couldn’t have cared less about the family feud, and considered Colton a friend, but when Denise came to question August, that changed. There are reasons that a minor cannot be questioned without a legal guardian present. The fear radiating out of August and the fierceness of the hug he gave his father are proof of the unfair pressure he was under. He still stayed respectful, though. Kale did amazing as a child in trouble, while Violet was amazing at showing all of Stella’s emotions. Stella was so angry, she confronted Colton. She still wanted to believe in him and did nothing more than talk. This left an opening for …
Liam feels helpless. Keegan shows the lost confidence brilliantly. His conversation with his brother where he bemoans the fact that his law degree can’t help them demonstrates that. But he desperately wants to help, and after Cordell wanted to make a deal and what happened with August, Liam tries to use his know how and his history with helping Dan to head off the upcoming confrontation. But he forgot one thing about the …
They really aren’t good people. No matter how much Cordell wants to give them the benefit of the doubt, they prove repeatedly that they don’t care who they hurt or how they hurt them in order to get their way. Gale accuses a 13 yr old of murder on television, and even though her assertion that the lantern proves Walker murdered Marv makes no sense (which even Denise admits), it doesn’t stop both Gale, and more directly Denise, from going after another child about the lantern. Denise knows that what she is doing - reopening her father’s case and not recusing herself - is wrong, yet she continues. Dan doesn’t care that he’s kicking a family out of their home, even after they offered a way for his family to keep theirs. There is a serious question of if he cut Walker’s saddle, but he definitely didn’t offer Walker the same courtesy he was afforded. Even Colton lashes out, causing trouble for people he claimed were his friends. All the actors are so good at being bad, their brand of evil is all the more insidious because they have reasoned themselves into thinking they’re right. Paula, Amara, Dave, and Jalen play this expertly. The audience wants to hate them, and their apparent win this episode definitely created a sense of not only loss, but anger.
And that is what makes this episode so good. The anticipation and anxiety leading up to it. The anger invoked. The love felt for the Walkers and their “strays.” As Jared tweeted at the end of the episode, he wants the audience to feel, and his goal was accomplished.
It was also incredibly, beautifully shot. The director did an amazing job with an amazing script, bringing it to life magnificently.
However, I can’t quite give it a perfect score. Because… well… I’m mad. This show’s main draw for many is the comfort it gives. The feeling of a warm hug. And though there were numerous hugs this episode, the overall feeling was not … warm.
But it is still a really good episode.
4.85 out of 5.
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Screencaps by Raloria on LJ