Walker “The Deserters,” 3.13, explores the idea of desertion in many ways. There are the actual deserters and those who feel they have deserted that which is important to them. And then there are those who don’t quite yet realize they may be doing that, like …
Ever since the case of energy drinks showed up on his porch, Cordell has been focused on nothing else but solving mystery after mystery about Grey Flag, his old Marine unit, and then Cooper. His drive to find out the truth is understandable, especially after discovering that the death for which he has blamed himself for 20 years was a hoax, and the person is actually still alive. However, it’s causing Cordell to not think properly and shut out those closest to him. He doesn’t mean to desert them, and he probably doesn’t realize that’s what he is doing. But after having vowed to Ranger Perez to work together as one Ranger last episode, this episode he lies to ditch his partner, and goes after Cooper alone. This leads to some amazing scenes between the two that Jared and David Meadows elevate with their talent and chemistry. Watching former mentor and student face off is mesmerizing, and the highlight of the episode for many. But, in the end, Cordell’s choices leave him chained up in a cabin in the middle of nowhere, vulnerable to lurking danger …
August, Stella, Liam, Abeline & Bonham
After some disagreements at the beginning, the rest of the Walker family are working as one to get the horse rescue business up and running. But they feel deserted by Cordell who has been off busy elsewhere. His place is filled, worryingly considering the reveal at the end of the episode, by Kevin. The Walkers work their magic by coming together to build a place for the horses, creating that warm feeling the show often engenders. Kevin works his magical charm on everyone, except Stella and Bonham. Abeline seems like she isn’t going to fall for it, until August begs her to be nice. Then the chilling in hindsight confession that August considers Kevin a mentor. As always, Molly, Mitch, Keegan, Violet, & Kale are magnificent. Even Jake is great as he gives a subtle ominous edge to his charm, especially when he runs into …
Poor Cassie. She not only has her partner lie to her to ditch her, but she also discovers that her ex-boyfriend is the head of an “anarchist” organization, leaving her feeling double deserted. There is a high probability that he was just using her, though she may not have thought past the shock of the reveal. Ashley plays the quirky Ranger to perfection again, especially the shock when she sees Kevin through the scope, as she realizes he’s in a position to endanger …
Walker repeatedly shows working undercover as an often negatively transformative experience. The first season dealt with the aftermath of Cordell’s time undercover. In the second season, her time undercover led Micki to leave. Now Trey is undergoing the same transformation. A medic that is no stranger to taking down an enemy combatant, he usually strives to save those around him. He almost sacrificed the mission to save Lana last episode, and his caution not to hurt her almost cost him his space on the Elite Team this episode. When she calls him on not being as cutthroat as the others in her speech about how she doesn’t fit in, but can’t leave for fear of repercussions, he begins to understand how he’s going to have to pretend to be. But it’s when he lets Eichmann die that the transformation takes place. Perhaps Eichmann was too far gone, and definitely he would have ruined the mission and even have gotten Trey killed. But in helping the actual deserter, Trey deserts his pledge to help those he can. One wonders if this will have a lasting effect. Regardless, there is no denying the powerful imagery of Trey shaking Kevin’s hand still stained with the blood of the man Trey let die.
Overall, "The Deserters" is a well crafted and evocative episode, even if one of the emotions elicited is confusion as to why the Walker clan couldn’t see what was going to happen. There were many powerful, amazing scenes. The theme of desertion, of leaving what one cares about behind with the excuse it’s better this way, is thoroughly explored in various ways from multiple angles, with the people either being the deserters or the ones deserted.
4.92 out of 5 stars.
Photos Courtesy of The CW. Screencaps by Raloria on LJ. Illustrated by Nightsky.
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