The Walker season 2 finale, “Something’s Missing,” lives up to its title. Each character strives to find, or move past, what is lacking in their lives. It is an intense hour filled with painful revelations and self discovery. The ending cliffhanger further underscores the theme by making the “Something’s Missing,” be …

Cordell

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Jared brilliantly portrays Cordell’s multitude of emotions as he grapples with all that’s missing. With their daughter about to graduate, Emily is missing from the momentous occasion. Time is missing as a parent wonders where it all went. At the end of the episode, tied up in the back of a mystery van, Cordell is definitely what is missing over the longest hiatus Walker has ever had. But for most of the episode, what is missing is … the truth. Cordell needs the truth to lay the past to rest and to get the Walker ranch back for his family. Luckily, he has Geri. When it seems like everything else has failed, he aids in her discovery of the truth about the barn fire. In pursing that truth, overcoming the trauma of the past in order to save Gale, more dominoes are knocked over revealing more truths - notably, Denise admitting to sabotaging Cordell’s saddle, which returns the Walkers to their rightful home. But also, on a more personal note, Cordell learns why it didn’t work out with …

Geri

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This season has been especially rough for poor Geri. Odette is masterful as Geri takes all these hits and keeps going. First, she discovers that she’s a Davidson, that her father discarded her and lied to her real mom about it, and that her adoptive dad was the one who killed her biological father... only to discover last episode that her mom lied about not knowing she was alive. Geri's previous pain pays off by putting her in the unique position of being able to get the Davidsons to open up. Walker hates putting her in this situation, but as Geri herself says, they can’t give up, so they embark on the painful path of discovery. Accidentally flinging truth with fake barbs in a pretend fight to earn Gale’s trust. they dig into painful, festering wounds to find horror and healing. Geri’s skillful questioning in the perfect location (good job on that Walker), leads to discovering that her mom killed her dad in a fit of rage, and blamed Cordell for it. Gale also let Geri's adoptive dad (Frank) take the blame, and Abby, for the truths Gale had known. Even knowing all that, Geri still frantically begs Cordell to save Gale when she could not, because she and Walker aren’t bad people, but are a great team. They just got together too soon and when they did, as Geri figures out, they hadn’t healed enough. Oddly, they had been pushed together by …

Cassie

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What was missing for Cassie was different than the others. For her, it was the reason behind the bad feeling. It plagues her all episode - from researching the paramilitary group, to her first date, to when she pulls up after the fire. Is Walker being kidnapped part of it? It seems so. Again, she is missing her partner. One wonders if she will be aided in her quest by…

Trey

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What’s missing for Trey is certainty. He had earlier made the decision to join as in-house ranger psychologist, but then Captain James throws him by asking him to be a Texas Ranger. Trey goes around the rest of the episode seeking guidance from those around him. From August, he met with hope that Trey would stay at the high school. From his mom, there was fear of what this new path will mean. Cassie understands the enormity of the choice. Finally, Cordell expresses desire to work with him. But, the audience doesn’t find out his decision because Trey figures out Cordell is missing along with …

Liam

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He, too, has been adrift since losing out on being DA, first to Stan, then to Denise, two antagonists in a row. What is missing for Liam is a sense of purpose. He finally seems to find his place when they get the family ranch back, in part because of his efforts. He wants to work the ranch with his parents …

Bonham and Abeline

While all were happy and proud for Stella, there was a cloud over the elder Walkers. They were missing … home. Bonham gets that in the end. Abeline… not as much. But Abeline does get something that Bonham doesn’t- closure. She confronts Gale for her treatment of Cordell, for all of it, and she demands an apology. They finally clear the air between them - Abeline expressing her rage for Gale when Marv revealed the baby was alive, and a surprise confession of envy from …

The Davidsons

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What is missing for the Davidsons is their willingness to admit the ugly truths of their pasts, thus causing them to act in increasingly caustic ways and hurt those around them. In the place of her past crimes, and with Geri’s expert coaching, Gale is finally able to reveal her past, and unload the guilt she’s been carrying for so long. With Cordell saving her, she realizes she had been hurting the wrong people. This dominos to her daughter, Denise, who tearfully confesses she cut Cordell’s saddle to the other Walker-loving Davidson, Colton. Both Dan and Colton meet Denise’s confessions with love and understanding. There is a hope for the future, for Dan with Denise, and for Colton, a continued relationship with…

Stella (and August)

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Like all the Walkers, they are missing the ranch, and the truth of what the Davidsons did. But soon, August will be missing Stella, and Stella will be missing who she she used to be. “It’s not like I’m going to become someone else,” she declares. “You are, though,” her wise grandmother replies. Stella also misses her mom as this rite of passage is about to take place. At the end of the episode, Stella is the one who notes her dad is missing. In a way, she fulfills what her father said, she’s the one that pulls him back, that keeps the family together. Some people scoffed at the idea, but maybe forgetting that it’s not always wise perfection that keeps a family together. Sometimes, it’s something different. It can be telling one’s boyfriend to go be with his family. It can be having dinner with your boyfriend’s rival family, so a crack lets the truth through. It can be going on a hike unprepared with a not fully charged phone, causing the families to have to work together. It can be needing help with hemlock, that gives your grandfather purpose again. It can be having a bad day at school so your dad tries to make it better, and he learns a lesson about acceptance. It can be falling for the wrong boy, who endangers your family reminding you all how much you mean to each other. It can be hitting your head protecting your mother’s high score, causing your uncle to stay. It can be getting in trouble with the law, and your father finally feels like a dad helping you learn your lesson. It can be ditching a game, throwing a party, letting your dad know your uncle sued for custody, to make him understand how bad things became. It can be running away to a special place, forcing your father to find you, and making him realize he can’t just be a ranger, he needs to be a dad, too. Stella doesn’t keep the family together on her own, but she does help keep them together, by challenging them.

This finale was beautiful and true to the “Walker” way. Even the villains hurt and feel guilt. People react badly sometimes for family. … Whatever is missing can be found if effort is put forth. Beautiful lessons told through the lives of beautiful people. Everyone was important to reach the end; everyone helped.

There were some hiccups. They should have learned that there are safer lanterns. Denise’s confession feels out of the blue and incomplete. How and when did she cut the saddle? Geri talking about why she and Cordi didn’t work out feels disconnected with the story at that point. Denise and Cordell having muddled memories is a too convenient retcon of what was shown before. But conversely, the use of unreliable narrator is brilliant in this sense.

Season 2 was an emotional roller coaster, and this was a fitting end with wonderful payoffs for earlier heartbreak. Liam losing his job as ADA enables leads to self discovery. Geri being a Davidson puts her in a unique position to uncover the truth about what the Davidsons were hiding. And would the audience appreciate the Walkers owning Walker Ranch again, if they hadn’t lost it. It was beautifully crafted, with a nice use of mirroring, to makes us feel - in a similar way to how Stella keeps the family together not only in good times, but by being a challenge. Sometimes realizing “Something’s Missing” is what helps one find what they need.

4.7 stars out of 5

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