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"Buffering" was another good Walker episode, with a solid mix of case story and family. Lots of moving parts!

3.09 001 Taco Truck

We start out with Trey and Cassie at the taco truck. They banter comfortably, and also discuss relationships. Cassie says she and Kevin are doing well. Trey is worried about Captain James’ anger and his own future. Their lunch is interrupted by a call from Cordell about a break-in at a government building. I enjoy seeing Trey and Cassie have an evolving friendship and work relationship that is so easy-going and uncomplicated. It’s great to see people working together without there needing to be romantic tension. Friends can be ‘just friends’!

3.09 046 Chess Trio

Liam and Abeline are playing chess, although Liam is missing an important piece (his queen) and not surprisingly is losing. (Is this symbolic of his lack of power within the family and inability to win?) Liam says he wants to step up and do more on the ranch.

3.09 069 august

Auggie has also been doing chores and is contrite about his mistakes. Bonham is dismissive to both Liam and Auggie and goes out of his way to be snide, telling Auggie to do extra shifts at the Side Step ‘for all the liquor you stole’.

3.09 078 chess duo

I’m not sure what’s with Bonham in this episode, because he’s abrasive to both Liam and Auggie when they are trying to help. It’s disappointing after the growth we’ve seen that he’s reverting to being closed off and caustic. Maybe he’s dealing with his worry about Abeline, or perhaps we’ll find out he has other reasons he’s keeping secret, but his grouchiness doesn’t help heal the situation from Thanksgiving.

3.09 091 guns drawn

Cordell and Cassie investigate the break-in and find two people, one using a keyboard to upload or download something and the other holding a knife. I love seeing Cordell and Cassie work together—they are totally in sync!

3.09 098 cordell

When confronted, the man keeps the woman hostage until the program finishes, then takes her and runs.

3.09 106 hostage

Liam goes to the feed store because their deliveries have been late and they’re getting overcharged. He politely confronts the owner about this, but the man is a total jerk and drops their account.

3.09 115 feed store

The man’s hostility struck me as strange, since with that number of horses it would be a sizable ongoing account. He seemed to have no good reason other than taking offense that Liam dared to question him. (Okay, Liam could have started off by asking instead of presenting his ‘case’ but he’s a lawyer, after all.)

3.09 126 Liam

Later, Liam is playing pool with Stella at the Side Step and says ‘every time I try to do the right thing it bites me in the ass.’ Stella is there and they talk about what the family really plans to do with all the horses. (I’ve been wondering this myself). The Walker ranch ‘business’ never seems to actually do anything that would earn money—like sell, breed, or race horses.

3.09 154 pool

Stella and Liam talk about actually putting their horse rescue/therapy idea into motion. For as nasty as Stella was in the Thanksgiving episode (which seemed over the top, as I’ve pointed out), in these last two episodes she’s rational again. Please, writers—give us more consistent characterization instead of having people suddenly go off the rails just to amp up the drama!

3.09 357 colton auggie

Colton and Auggie are working behind the bar. Colton says that Gale Davidson wants him to go visit, but he doesn’t want to see her. He’s uncomfortable with his family after what they did to the Walkers. Auggie says he should at least write back to her and build up to a visit. While he and Colton exchange some tense words at first, they agree they are like brothers and patch things up between them.

3.09 201 cassie cordell

Cassie is nervous because she and Cordell are going to a luncheon with the Mayor and Kevin in recognition of stopping the terrorism cell. Julia the reporter is present, but the mayor is a no-show.

3.09 231 Kevin Julia

Kevin and Julia know each other from other events. Cordell is pleased to see Julia again. Kevin is in full PR mode,

3.09 249 kevin

and asks questions about their kidnapping and the anarchist group that badly trigger Julia and Cordell.

3.09 310 lunch

Both Julia and Cordell walk out, which leaves Cassie and Kevin in an awkward position.

As it turns out, Cassie has come up with this whole list of ‘rules’ to help them keep work and their relationship separate, and it’s cumbersome.

3.09 258 handshake

She’s such an adorable dork! He’s afraid that he’s done something to upset her, and Cassie realizes that she’s made things too complicated and eases up on the rules. It’s sweet to see them actually talk about something and work it out!

3.09 578 kevin cassie

They agree to continue seeing each other and taking it slow. I’m glad this didn’t turn angsty for contrived drama.

3.09 431 trey

Back at HQ, Trey is watching the clip of the intruders and sees that the man helps the ‘hostage’ when she slips—they’re acting like they are working together. He goes to talk to the prisoner and finds out he was released on bail already—suspiciously quickly. He’s trying to hard to prove himself. I’m annoyed at Captain James for lashing out at Trey in the previous episode and rocking his confidence.

3.09 447 talk

Cordell and Julia talk, and Cordell ignores Trey’s call. Julia says that she and Cordell ‘symbolize pain’ to each other, which is why she didn’t respond to his attempts to contact her. She says she has been traumatized before when she covered bad things, so the aftermath is familiar. Cordell agrees, and says he wonders whether he’ll ever feel things again, and whether the post-trauma reaction will ever get better.

3.09 513 porch

I’m glad the show isn’t sweeping the effects of trauma under the rug and pretending that everything is fixed. This is something the show has done well all along, and I credit it to Jared’s focus on mental health.

Trey tells Cordell that the break-in perp was released quickly and all charges were dropped. He checks on what servers were accessed, and realized it could have included a credit union’s ATMs. When Trey, Cassie and Cordell show up, the ATMs are spewing money and a crowd is gathering up the bills.

3.09 592 ATM

Cassie calls for backup as Trey and Cordell try to control the mob. Then she spots two people filming the chaos and Cordell chases after them. They have motorcycles, and he follows in his truck, finally capturing them in a garage.

3.09 628 garage

They don’t seem to be very experienced at causing disruption, and seem young and naive.

3.09 629 kids

Although they threaten to trigger more ATMs, he points out that they are actually causing people to steal and fight and get in trouble instead of helping anyone.

This makes me wonder who got the initial charges dropped and arranged for the young man’s release. Are they just misguided activists or do they have other connections?

3.09 692 colton stella

Stella and Colton are still living at what was the old Davidson house. She’s made food and they talk. Colton tells her about the letter and says he’s going to go visit, but he’s conflicted. Stella is very mature about supporting him, and they decide to put the decision off and eat. Of course, Gale Davidson never does anything without an ulterior motive, and I can’t believe the leopard has changed its spots, so what’s she up to? I’ve got to admit that I was glad to see the Davidson story arc run its course, so I’m hoping they don’t come back!

3.09 735 abby auggie

Auggie carved a new queen for the chess board, and asks Abeline to teach him to play. She tells him that she’s forgiven him and that he doesn’t need to make it up to her for what happened.

3.09 743 Bonham listening

Bonham overhears and smiles at their conversation before walking out to the shop.

3.09 748 liam bonham

Liam finds him there and he’s so happy about expediting authorization for the horse rescue/therapy project. He also tells him about the feed store. Bonham lashes out, angry that Liam is ‘making decisions that affect his reputation and land’ and that he should ‘know his place.’

3.09 787 liam bonham

I don’t understand why Liam has consistently been undervalued and treated harshly by his family when he tries so hard to do the right thing (and doesn’t mess up as often or as badly as everyone else). He gets ignored and overlooked, and his opinions aren’t valued. This is the guy who was willing to adopt Auggie and Stella when Cordell was undercover, who got shot and still ended up being a badass to stop the gang that took the family hostage, and who got captured and tortured while looking for Cordell. If the writers are trying to make a point, they’ve gone three seasons without explaining why this keeps happening.

Julia calls Cordell, and he tells her that her advice helped him respond in a better way to the case he’s working.

3.09 808 julia

He finds a delivery on the porch to the house—it’s the same brand of water his captors gave him when he was kidnapped, with a note ‘stay hydrated, war hero’.

3.09 829 water note

Clearly, we haven’t seen the last of the anarchists, and they still have their sights set on Cordell.

3.09 843 cordell pkg

Overall, this was a good episode, despite the questions it raised. I’m intrigued to see what happens with the anarchists and the whole Gray Flag issue, and to find out what’s got Captain James’s knickers in a twist. The same is true for learning what’s up with Bonham and whether he’s going to realize that he is pushing Stella and Liam away. It’ll also be interesting to see if Cordell and Julia strike up a relationship, since Geri is out of the picture. I guess we’ll have to wait and see!

What did you think? Do you have any theories to explain the questions?

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Illustrated by Nightsky. Screencaps by Raloria on LJ. Images courtesy of The CW.