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Two weeks after it aired, Walker: Independence “Let Him Hang,” 1.13, still demonstrates that the best way to end an amazing season is with a mind blowing,  incredible finale. The relationships built across the season all lead up to this moment, and the characters are perfection. All starting with our central character…


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Always a pillar of strength and tenacity, as Kate later sings in the episode, Abigail once again shows that she has true grit.  After realizing that Tom did have Liam’s journal and all that could mean, she finds Augustus bleeding out in Tom’s torture barn. Though he is clearly almost too heavy for her to move, she grits her teeth and gets him to town. Once there, she rallies everyone to come to his aid. She doesn’t leave his side until he seems better. Then she quickly puts together what happened enough to instruct everyone on how to stop Tom from fleeing. Then there is the showdown. The image of her walking down the Main Street listing his crimes while shooting at his hiding place proves that Kat McNamara was made to be the deceptively delicate looking woman who has a will of steel. She also shows this when Abby discovers Tom knew about her before she knew about him and all that means. She is a woman realizing she has been stalked and lied to, her life destroyed by a man who feels she should be grateful for his devotion to her. The way she is able to shove down her feelings to get the confession from Tom, only to have all the revulsion she pushed down erupt once she’s outside. But, perhaps where she shines the most is when she stands up to him before he’s carted away. Through the whole first season, she remains the strength and the glue of the rag tag group who fall a bit apart without her. This is superbly sung by …


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The one who figured out what happened with Tom faster than Abby, is Kate. One of the many intense scenes in this season finale is Kate’s confrontation with Tom. The way Kate pushes him to the brink, hoping he would cross the line and attack, giving them reason to kill him for all he’d done. Katie always shines as Kate, and they did this episode, too. From the coldness with which Kate sends Tom off, to the cute song that pithily describes each of the characters, to celebrating becoming the owner of Hagan’s, Kate is a force. Then there is the sweetness of the scene as she reconciles and becomes partners with …


In trying to survive, Kai has had to do many unsavory things, but in “Let Him Hang,” he once again proves his heart is made of gold. Over the season he has had to ally himself with the Tong and Tom Davidson, but in this episode, he proves that his loyalty lies with Kate and the people of Independence. He uses his knowledge and skill to help Augustus. Later, when Tom calls upon him for assistance escaping, Kai walks away. But it is the conversation with Kate in which Lawrence truly has Kai shine. The earnestness in which he begs for and offers understanding is incredibly moving. The relationship between the two has been tested and has grown stronger. Another person that has grown when tested is …


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It can be difficult to tell when the lighthearted character grows, but the change in Hoyt is undeniable. He went from a loner who always ran anytime things got tough, to being a person the group could always count on. In "Let Him Hang", he explores the idea of fatherhood, and comes to the conclusion that maybe he’s ready. Matt Barr plays Hoyt Rawlins flawlessly, when he’s the lovable scoundrel, the fast shooting gunman, or the man simply trying to find his way. He is especially great when he told Tom, “When I see you in Hell, I’ll kick your *** there too.” Which is why it’s so wonderful when, across stories and centuries, he’s called on once again to use his skills to stop the bad guy, and his overconfidence lands him in fatal danger. Luckily in Walker: Independence, Hoyt Rawlins is saved from the same fate of his Walker counterpart by …


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A hero who tries to be there for everyone, Calian helps those who risked themselves to help him, even though part of him feels that losing Tom may have cost him a potential ally who was powerful enough to stop the the railroad. For Calian, that doesn’t matter. People matter, justice matters. What happens next is something he may have more clarity on in the future. Instead, he focuses on his friends, especially the ones he almost lost, Hoyt and Augustus. The fact that he might lose one of his oldest and best friends is not lost on him, and he steps in to be Gus’ voice when Augustus can’t speak for himself. Justin, as always, is amazing. The sight of Calian on the roof making sure that Tom doesn’t get away is indelibly ingrained. When Tom shoots him and Calian falls, Hoyt’s scream echoes the audience’s.  Luckily, Calian survives and heroically saves Hoyt. He also notices the absence of and goes to offer support to …


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Though mostly unconscious for half the episode, nevertheless, Augustus is the catalyst for the events of this episode. Augustus clinging to life after Tom left him for dead, is what leads both Kate and Abby to suspect the worst of Tom. Augustus’ possible survival is why Tom decides to run. Those two decisions culminate in the showdown between Tom and everyone else. The shot that ends the showdown is fired by a surprisingly upright Augustus. He definitely deserves to become the new sheriff due to his dedication to the law and protecting the town. The town’s reaction to him being injured proves his words of the previous episode correct, they would protect him, too. Philemon is captivating as he confronts Tom after becoming sheriff. He calmly walks Tom through the gauntlet of the other characters. Augustus deserves to be celebrated, but he foregoes that in favor of watching over his town, joined by his friend, Calian. When asked why he didn’t go to the party, he replies that he had the thought of celebration tainted by …


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If Augustus is the catalyst, then Tom is the focus, the villain finally having to face the consequences of his actions. Not legal justice, Walker: Independence is accurate in that the wealthy find a way to avoid that. But Tom does have to face justice at the hands of those around him. Tom is a complicated villain, a person who perhaps with a different upbringing could be good. He never got that, though, so he acts in ways he feels he has to, that he thinks are right. Only, no matter how much one believes their actions are the only way, that doesn’t make it right. Tom murders the brother who saved him despite being seriously injured. He “puts him out of his misery” because he feels it’s the only way out. Just like he put Liam out of his misery by killing him and finishing what Shane started. He feels he saved Abby by shooting her how he did, because he knew she would survive. He thinks he builds, but as Kate pointedly tells him, no, he just destroys. The intense series of standoffs as people he has hurt face him down is incredible, each bringing their own set of emotions. From insinuating insultingly that Augustus used Tom’s actions as a excuse to seize the sheriff's office that Gus always covered, to trying to shame Abby for wanting to see him squirm - only for her to expertly rebuke him. Perhaps most eerie, though, is the ending meeting with the mysterious figure he calls “Dad.” Tom would not be the incredibly sympathetic antagonist he is without the brilliance of Greg Hovanessian. Throughout Walker: Independence, and especially in "Let Him Hang", Greg imbues Tom with heart and vulnerability that makes the audience love him.

Walker: Independence is such an incredible show that I feel the need to look up “magnificent” in the thesaurus to try to accurately describe it. Not only are all the characters amazing with off the charts chemistry, but the writing and the actors add new dimension to that. The music is expertly used to heighten the impact of already superb scenes, and it is all filmed in such a gorgeous way that every frame is a piece of art.

Much like it’s parent series, Walker: Independence is different than anything else on the network so far. They both deserve to continue to make their mark on the changing landscape of television.

5 out of 5 stars.

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Review illustrated by Nightsky. Images courtesy of The CW.