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I think “Something There That Wasn’t There Before” breaks the record for the longest title of an episode of Walker! We’ve had mostly long ones this season. I wonder if that’s going to be a trend going forward.

This episode was interesting for me. I had to think a bit about how I wanted to format this recap. I’m going to split this one up less into plots and more into character interactions since most of them were pretty isolated. And, because this is my review and I do what I want, I’m going to start off with the more lighthearted stories and work my way up the angst ladder.

I’m going to start off with the shortest (and the sweetest) first: Geri and Colton.

While he was helping clean up the Side Step after the big party, Colton called Geri to give her a briefing on the situation at the bar. Nothing was damaged, thank goodness, but there was a big mess to clean up. He just wanted to give her a heads up before she came in and saw it.

Geri was grateful for the warning but she won’t actually be going to the Side Step later. She has some Broussard family business to attend to, but she’d love it if her nephew could take over at the Side Step for her. And, actually, could he house sit for her too? She’d feel better if he was able to crash there instead of having to drive all the way back to the ranch. Colton gladly accepts the offer, even if it is a bit sudden.

After they hang up, Geri returns to packing and we get a glimpse of a folder labeled “HOYT RAWLINS”.

Side note: I wanna know the secrets of that folder but something tells me we won’t be getting answers until 2023. Maybe we’ll get some flashbacks (and a familiar face? Please?)

Next, lets talk about the dynamic trio of the evening: Trey, Cassie, and newcomer Kevin Golden!

We start off in the atrium of Ranger HQ where Cassie and Trey are enjoying a quick snack. Cassie is quite pleased with herself, having been selected by Abeline Walker to play Puppet Master to get Cordell to take the day off. She then wonders when Keesha will be calling on her to do the same to Trey. Trey scoffs and insists that won’t be happening, but Cassie informs him that Keesha already reached out to ask about his Lady Friends situation. It’s a real shame that she had to inform his mother that his Lady Friend Count is zero. Why’s he having such a hard time getting out there anyway?

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Trey pulls out his phone and shows her a dating profile, which she accuses him of making just now. He laughs it off and then asks her what her aversion to dating is. Cassie denies his claim. She doesn’t need a boyfriend to hold her hand and watch Hawk’s Shadow with her. She’s doing just fine on her own. Trey then suggests that her aversion to dating could be connected to the disaster with Sean. You know, the date where she got catfished by a terrorist organization that kidnapped her partner the next day. Perhaps she has some trust issues that are getting in the way? Cassie scoffs at the mere idea. She trusts people all the time. She doesn’t have any trust issues at all.

Then, when she sees an unfamiliar face knocking on Captain James’ door, she immediately gets out of her seat to confront the stranger that she does not trust.

Side note: JAKE ABEL!!!!!!!!!! That’s all. Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.

Trey follows Cassie and recognizes the new face as Kevin Golden, the mayor’s Chief of Staff. Cassie is a little offput by how friendly they are and asks for clarification on their relationship. Trey explains that they met at the event held by the Mayor recently. It turns out Kevin is here to get the final okay on getting some rangers available for a security detail at a charity fundraising event being held that day. Cassie is again confused, and Trey explains that they thought it would be a good idea to get some rangers in and rubbing elbows with the policy makers so that they can pass on some of the issues they’re dealing with on the ground.

Kevin is happy to announce that Ranger-Doctor-Coach Barnett is officially on the staff for the event. While Kevin briefs Trey on the details, Cassie tells them to have fun at the party, but she has other things to do. But before she can walk away, Kevin stops her and tells her that she, too, is invited to join the security detail, and she will look just as baller in a dress as Trey will in a nice suit. Kevin leaves to go sort out some other details and, as he leaves, Cassie comments that a dress probably wouldn’t be the most practical garment for security work. But she would look good in it.

We pick up later with Cassie and Trey at the event being given a rundown by Kevin and Layla, the head of security for the event. The Mayor is not to be fed crabs and there are some concerns over an uptick in threatening letters coming in recently. Trey will be on the Mayor’s security detail, because he’s the best of the best. Cassie will be in charge of Kevin’s safety. Cassie has her concerns about this but there’s no changing Kevin’s mind. But he does need to go right now because that banner isn’t hung in the right place.

Side note: Cassie and Trey are looking absolutely baller in their classy dress and I’m here for more fancy events with the Rangers.

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Later, we see Kevin personally greeting attendees of the gala while Cassie stands behind him looking bored. Trey comes over to see how things are going and Cassie complains about him being a typical politician schmoozer, saying pretty little lies to get people on his good side. Trey defends Kevin, saying that he is a genuinely good guy even if he is a politician. Cassie should be nice to him. She’s not buying it but she did notice that Layla and Trey were having a good time looking after the mayor. Trey laughs her off and goes back to doing his job, leaving her alone with Kevin again.

Some time later, Trey finds her at the bar enjoying a surprisingly yummy non-alcoholic drink. He asks her where Kevin is because the mayor has a question for him. Cassie starts to point him out, then notices that he’s not where she left him. She starts to panic a bit and goes looking for him while trying not to draw to much attention to herself. After a few moments, she notices his shoes peeking out from under a tablecloth. She walks closer and catches the tail end of a conversation he’s having with two brothers. Kevin is telling them that, while they will fight, ultimately their brother is one of the only people in the world they’ll be able to turn to for the rest of their lives. Your brother always has your back, no matter what.

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While Cassie listens to this, she can’t help but become a little endeared to him. Politician or not, he’s speaking the truth. After he gets the brothers to hug it out and leave the shelter of the table, Cassie lifts the tablecloth for him to come out as well. She then asks if those kids belonged to a large donor. He says he’s not sure but he didn’t think so; he just wanted to help them out. This catches her by surprise, enough that she accepts his hand to stand up from her crouch. But the moment is broken when she remembers that the mayor had a question for him.

Some time later, Cassie and Kevin are walking through the event hall when he starts to feel a bit nauseous. He asks Cassie to get him a drink just before collapsing onto the floor. Cassie kneels next to him, asking what’s wrong, and Trey comes over to assist. He quickly tells Cassie to call 911 while he takes care of getting Kevin comfortable.

Later, the event has been cleared out, leaving Cassie, Trey, and Layla to watch over Kevin. He’s not doing too well and Trey’s not sure what’s wrong with him. When the EMTs arrive, Trey gives them some instructions but confesses to Cassie that he’s not sure what to do. The last time he saw symptoms like what Kevin is experiencing is when he was treating soldiers in Afghanistan that were exposed to a nerve agent. But that couldn’t possibly happen here, could it? Cassie’s not so sure they should discount the thought. It would explain why Kevin is the only one being affected if there was a delayed reaction and the men who took Walker were planning to distribute a similar biohazard material. Trey still isn’t sure. They arrested all the terrorists, didn’t they? Cassie thinks it’s possible some may have been missed and she calls Cordell to ask for more info.

Cordell agrees with Cassie that it’s a possibility and asks if Kevin had come into contact with anything that may have contained a liquid or air distributor. Cassie explains that Kevin handles pretty much everything for the Mayor, including his letters. Then she remembers that there had been an uptick in threats recently so she asks Kevin if they’d gotten any today. Kevin confirms that they had and he’s the one who opened it. The letter only said: “Your time is up and you don’t even know it.” Cordell hears this and thinks that sounds like a taunt.

Layla, who was on the phone with the APD to figure out where the threatening letter came from, informs everyone that it came from Eastvale, which is near the Westvale Psychiatric hospital where the brothers were held. Cassie remembers reading about Eastvale, how it had become a ghost town after the coal mining production went down. It sounds like the perfect place to hide biohazard material and extra terrorists!

Later, after the bad guy is handled, Cassie informs Trey of the Walker brother’s success while Kevin is tended to by the EMTs. Now that Cassie and Trey are reasonably assured that all the terrorists have been caught, Kevin is "Beckoning" Cassie to his side in the ambulance.

She walks over and asks him how he’s feeling. He’s certainly looking a lot better. Kevin happily informs her that his soul is returning to his body. Shame that politicians don’t have souls.

Kevin then thanks her for being there for him, even if this gala wasn’t how she normally spends her days. There were probably serial killers and gang members she could’ve been chasing down. Cassie tells him that her job is really mostly paperwork but she takes the thanks with grace. Regardless, she saved his life today and it may not be the last time she does so. When Cassie makes to leave, Kevin informs her that she’s still technically a part of his security detail and gestures for her to get in the ambulance with him. She’s surprised but agrees and helps the EMTs load up his stretcher.

On the next rung of this angst ladder, let’s discuss Liam and Cordell.

This one starts off at the breakfast table. Cordell is making himself some coffee after his sleepless night while Liam is practically bouncing with energy. He’s curious about why the kitchen is empty but he doesn’t mind too much because this is a great time for them to talk about "It". He starts talking about some advice he got from his new therapist, Donna, about revisiting and facing your trauma head on and how that can help. Cordell has to interrupt him before he gets too far though. As bad as he feels about it, he’s going to need Liam to wait. He hasn’t slept at all and he has a mess to sort out since both of his kids got arrested last night and there’s some bad optics with that. Liam is disappointed but understanding and leaves the kitchen so he can deal with All That.

When Cassie calls and offers him the day off, Cordell decides to take it and, after a rough interaction with Abeline and Stella, he decides to spend that day with his brother instead of listening to Stella’s lies. Because, respectfully, there’s only one person in this family that he really needs to hear out.

Later, we see them arriving in the room that holds their old cage. As much as Liam is leading the charge on revisiting this nightmarish place, he’s a little hesitant to full step back into the memories. But Cordell has his back and they push onward together.

As soon as they step in, Liam is assaulted with memories of the physical torture he went through. He wasn’t prepared for this at all. Cordell isn’t doing much better but he’s got Liam’s back on this. This is an important step in the healing process and Liam should be proud of himself for making it this far. The memories of the pain that they endured are terrible but it’s okay. They’ll get through this.

Side note: I love that they both have bad flashbacks. Just a reminder that Cordell is Not Over This.

Liam then tells him that it’s not the physical pain that’s getting to him, as bad as all that is. It’s remembering the mind games they played on him.

Cordell is confused by this. What mind games? When did they do that to him?

Liam explains that they made him bury Cordell. He says that after Cordell was taken to his dinner with Sean, three men wearing masks and reeking of sulfur took him out of the cage and to somewhere outside. They showed him a body covered in a cloth and said it was Cordell, that Sean had killed him, and that Liam needed to bury him. He was forced to dig a grave for his brother. Except…it wasn’t for Cordell. When he was allowed to look under the sheet, he saw that it was Neo, not Cordell.

Side note: How did he know about Neo? Wasn’t Neo dead before he got there?

Even now, after all this time, after all the work he's done in therapy, even after knowing that Cordell was never dead, the pain of having lost his brother like that and having to bury him is with Liam. And it’s been so hard because he’s had to keep it inside, because he wasn’t even able to tell Cordell about it, and it just hurts so damn much.

Side note: I honestly feel like Keegan is at his best when Liam is in pain. I hate thinking that but it’s kind of true.

Cordell is horrified by this story and gives Liam the biggest bro hug of their lives. He’s so sorry that Liam had to deal with that, especially alone.

Later, after Cordell gets off the phone with Cassie, Liam asks him if it’s possible that any of the men who hurt him are still alive. Cordell doesn’t have an answer but they do have a job to do.

The Walker brothers head for Eastvale to check out the situation. Liam says that there are no signs of life, not even a car or a truck, but Cordell is ever cautious. He reaches into the back to grab a bullet proof vest, a gas mask, and a gun. Liam is very much not on board with this idea and reminds Cordell that Cassie was sending backup. Cordell replies that with a nerve gas on the line, he doesn’t think they can afford to wait at all. He gets out and heads inside, putting on his gear as he goes, while Liam watches nervously from the truck.

Cordell stealthy moves through the facility, watching and listening for any signs of life. He hears a noise off to the side and goes to investigate, only to find a group of crows. But they knock over a barrel and crack a window, which gets Liam worried.

As Cordell moves about, an unknown man watches and sets off the steam valves to give Walker yet another obstacle. In the truck, Liam is trying to call for help but is getting no answer. Not wanting to risk losing his brother for real, he reaches into the back and pulls out the spare gear.

Cordell finally finds the man behind all this and tells him to back away and get on his knees. Not receiving an answer, Cordell moves closer and continues telling the man to put his hands behind his back and get down. Eventually, he reaches out to manhandle the guy into submission. This seems to work….right until the mystery man has some leverage and he goes on the attack. Cordell and the man struggle for a bit until the man grabs a syringe and jabs it in Cordell’s leg. Cordell goes down, but not without a fight. Unfortunately, there’s only so much he can do. But, just as it seems the bad guy has won, Liam shoots him and sends him sprawling. As a bonus, Liam recognizes the mystery man as one of the men that forced him to dig a grave.

But he has other things to worry about at the moment, such as Cordell laying a little too still on the floor. He tries to wake Cordell up, then he sees the syringe in the corner. He gets up and starts looking for a solution, when he sees a first aid kit on the wall. Luckily, it’s fully stocked and has exactly what he needs! He puts the adrenaline shot right into Cordell’s heart and saves his life, much to all our relief.

Liam and Cordell leave the abandoned building and rip off their masks, basking in the fresh air. Cordell assures Liam that he’s okay, then double checks that Liam is okay. Everyone is A-Okay.

Later, after the backup has arrived, Cordell and Liam sit on some old boxes while the professionals handle the site. Cordell confesses that he’s still in pain from the poison shot he was given and Liam tells him the EMTs said he was lucky to have made it. Cordell thanks Liam for saving his life. Liam says that it’s nothing, but it’s not nothing. Far from it.

Cordell then starts apologizing for making Liam shoulder all his pain alone for so long. He admits that he feels ashamed of himself. He then launches into a further explanation, how when he first heard Emily was pregnant with Stella, he quit the Marines so that he wouldn’t miss any more milestones. But, after Emily died, he ran away and missed so much of their lives while Liam held everything together. And he feels that, even now that he’s back, he’s missed out on so much.

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Liam rushes to assure him that he hasn’t missed anything, that he’s back and present for them. Cordell retorts that when he was kidnapped, he missed Stella’s graduation and threw her whole life off course, not to mention Liam’s kidnapping. He says that he feels “It’s always my family that suffers because of me.” Liam tells him that that’s not true. He’s not responsible for Stella’s decision not to go to college or even for Sean kidnapping him. The only thing he’s responsible for his how he acts and reacts to situations.

Liam then thanks him for taking the leap and doing this with him. He knows they both still have a long way to go but this was a big help. He was able to face his worst trauma and move forward from it. He also feels a lot better walking down this road now that he knows Cordell will be there with him and listen to him. Cordell promises that he will and Liam reiterates, saying that sometimes all people need is to be heard. The sooner the better, really.

Side note: Anyone else get the sense that Liam was low-key telling Cordell to listen to Stella? There’s no way he didn’t overhear that whole conversation in the kitchen.

Before I dive into the big angst for this episode, I want to talk about what happened between Abeline and Cordell.

Just as Cordell is about to get ready for a day of dealing with his kids on zero sleep and too much coffee, Abeline comes bursting into the kitchen with Stella in tow and berating him for leaving her there overnight. Before she can get too far, he asks her why she bailed Stella out. Is she aware of how this looks? Stella would’ve been let out in 24 hours regardless. Abeline insists that he shouldn’t have left her at all because she’s his daughter, regardless of if she’s 18 or not. Cordell proceeds to talk about Stella as if she isn’t there and says that she needs a wakeup call. She can’t keep going on like this and expecting Cordell to clean up after her. Abeline insists that he should at least listen to her side of the story, but Cordell isn’t in the mood to listen to her lies, not anymore.

Side note: I know Stella didn’t technically do anything wrong this time, but this reaction from Cordell was a long time coming and I’m glad to see Cordell standing up for himself.

Cordell is also pissed because Abeline getting Stella out early has probably caused more issues for him to deal with at work. And, speaking of, Cassie is calling to tell him that since it’s a slow day, he can take time off to handle family issues. Cordell accepts her offer but is angry at his mother for calling into work for him about this. Is she aware of how this makes him look? What gave her the right to do that? Before she can berate him any further for not treating Stella like a 12 year-old, he tells her he has someone else he needs to hear out today, and goes to have a trauma-reliving day with Liam.

Now, for the final rung on our angst ladder: Stella, August, and Cordell.

Following the confrontation in the kitchen, Stella is furious to find a list of chores from her father. It’s bad enough that she had to face adult consequences for something she didn’t even do; now she’s being punished like a child at home for it too? Abeline tries to justify it, since Stella did do something wrong, but Stella takes the chance to finally tell someone that she wasn’t even the one to throw the party, it was all August and she only showed up at the end because he got locked in a supply closet.

Abby understands Stella’s frustration but admits that Cordell is having a rough time too; he’s not sure what to do with an 18 year-old.

Stella feels confused and neglected by Cordell. She says she wishes that her dad would just listen to her and hear her out like he used to. She feels like Cordell doesn’t know what to do with her anymore now that she’s gone off the path that he and Mom planned for her. Abeline listens to her and says that they can sort that out later, but for now, she and August need to get down to the Side Step and get to work on that list. Stella agrees, but says that she can’t guarantee her rap sheet won’t get longer if she’s left alone with August. Abby agrees to go with them and yells for August to come downstairs.

August tells her to use her inside voice and stumbles down the stairs in his pajamas, earning a Look from both Walker women. Abby tells him that he needs to get dressed and get moving right now because they have to clean up the mess from the Side Step. August says he can’t go do that today because he has dance set up. He is on the Homecoming Committee and he can’t go back on his word. Abby is taken aback but recovers and tells him to tell his ride to just pick him up there.

Following the title card, we get a shot of August recording a video of the damage done to the Side Step and looking awfully proud of himself. Abby comes up and tells him to stop recording and get to work, which he does, briefly.

Stella is not impressed with how he’s been acting. She says that she can’t believe he threw this party, got both of them arrested, and didn’t even bother telling Dad the truth. August counters that Dad never even gave him the chance to tell the truth. If anything, she should be mad at him. Stella is mad at Cordell, but she thinks August needs to apologize for his actions too. When August doesn’t offer one, she says that she doesn’t know “who you’re turning into but it’s not a good person and I don’t like it.”

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August says that he thinks he’s just becoming his own person, stepping out of her shadow, and she’s mad that she doesn’t have a sidekick anymore. Stella has no idea where his attitude is coming from so August elaborates while Abby listens from the sidelines. Simply put, Stella was supposed to go to college this year. But she didn’t and now everyone is hyperfocused on her and what she wants to do. She is, as he puts it “holding everyone hostage with [her] indecision.” Stella argues that that’s not what she’s doing at all, or at least, not what she’s trying to do.

But that doesn’t matter to August. Whether she means to or not, she’s hogging the limelight. If she’s going to keep doing so, he may as well just keep doing whatever he wants. Who knows, he may even start to shine? He then starts leaving because his friend is here to pick him up, ignoring Stella’s cries that she’s not stopping him from shining.

Side note: If August can throw a rager for his entire class at school and get away with it by virtue of being The Ignorable Child, it’s only natural he’d keep acting out like this until he gets the attention he craves. It’s not smart or the right thing to do, but it’s the natural course of action. I’m here for Augie’s asshole arc.

Colton arrives, just in time to comfort Stella in her angst. Seeing Abeline and Stella hard at work on the messy bar, he asks either of them if they’ve eaten. They say they haven’t since the kitchen was a bit “hostile” during breakfast time and he offers to make them some Happy Curry, a little recipe he’s been working on. They take him up on the offer and he heads to the kitchen.

Side note: Happy Curry is a good substitute for Sad Cookies

Later, Stella and Abby nom on the fresh Happy Curry. Abby compliments his cooking and asks if he’s considered culinary school. Colton thinks this is just a hobby for now and they’re happy to benefit from it.

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When Colton steps away, Abeline notices that Stella’s mood hasn’t been improved by the food. Stella admits that she feels a bit adrift. Even though she made the choice to stay in Austin, the ranch doesn’t feel like home anymore. Cordell doesn’t know what to do with her, August doesn’t want anything to do with her, and Colton is the only thing that makes her happy here (besides Mawline and Gramps of course).

Abby contemplates this and then tells Stella the story of her and her brother Will. When they were younger, they would fight constantly. She couldn’t say about what now, but she remembers feeling misunderstood and she decided to move out and stay with a friend for a bit. After a few months, she started to miss her brother. Stella asks if the space is what helped them appreciate each other, and Abeline amends that they both had a little bit of growing up to do on top of that. There’s nothing wrong with taking some time apart from your family, but don’t stay gone so long that you can’t come back.

Stella takes this as the blessing it is and later, we see her helping Colton set up residence in Geri’s house while she’s away. Colton feels strange, almost like he’s in a museum and shouldn’t touch anything. Then Stella reminds him that he belongs here and Geri wants him to be there.

Later, back at the ranch house, Cordell walks up to Stella’s room and knocks on the door. Bolstered by his experience with Liam, he starts apologizing to Stella for how he was acting earlier. He apologizes for leaving her behind in the holding tank, for not listening to her side of the story, for all of it. He says that he’s ready to listen to whatever she has to say now, and he waits. When he doesn’t get a response, he cautiously opens the door and sees his mother sitting on Stella’s bed. He’s confused, then he notices that her drawers are empty. Abeline then hands him back the chores list with everything marked off and tells her that Stella is gone.

And with that, our recap comes to a close.

I predicted that the fallout from the end of last week’s episode would be huge, and boy was I right.

I’m not surprised that August took the “Get out of Jail Free” card Cordell accidentally handed him. I’m a little disappointed but not surprised. If he really did try to confess but Cordell wouldn’t let him talk, he wouldn’t see a reason to keep trying. I am a little concerned about his “I’ll just do whatever I want” mentality. It’s natural for a teenager in his position, especially after watching Stella run amok with no consequences for the last two years. But I am worried that he’s going to end up doing something that he can’t come back from. I also do find it a little irritating that the show is framing it like a bad thing that August is getting away with this while continuously not giving Stella any consequences and treating that like it’s fine.

I was very irritated with how Abeline handled things in this episode. I understand her frustration with Cordell but she’s not in a position to be making parenting decisions for him and she was way out of line when she called Cassie to Puppet Master him into taking a day off. Even though Cordell was technically in the wrong with how he was handling things with Stella, she had no right to interfere with his professional life and she made a real mess for him to clean up.

Stella leaving wasn’t surprising and, as sad as it is for Cordell to have come around too late, I think it will end up being a good choice for all of them. I think it will give Stella a little room to grow up and having a break from her drama will hopefully give August a little perspective. I just hope she, August, and Cordell can reconcile after this. I think some apologies are due on both sides.

The best part of this episode was Liam and Cordell for me. Seeing them finally start moving forward on their trauma recovery together was surprisingly heartwarming. And now Liam’s saved Cordell’s life a second time! I hope we get more bonding moments between them.

I also hope that, now that Liam’s feeling better, we can get some time between him and August in the future. I think getting to talk to another overshadowed younger sibling will help August out.

After looking at the episode description and promo for next week’s episode, I fear that this week was the calm before the storm. The fact that there’s an emergency hospital trip AND a hunting trip in the same episode does not give me a lot of confidence.

But what did y’all think of the episode? Was it a good one for you or did the teen melodrama ruin it? How far do you think August will take his new rebellious streak or will Mawline stop him in his tracks? Will Cordell ever get to hear Stella’s side of the story or is she going to stonewall him now? And did Kevin succeed in sweeping Cassie off her feet or does he have some work to do to earn her vote? Let me know what you think in the comments! I’m so curious to read your thoughts.

Catch up on Esther's detailed Walker Recaps and insightful Character Profiles, all found on Esther's Writer's Page

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