Walker season 1, episode 2 recap – “Back in the Saddle” taking the reins

January 29, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 0
Weekly TV
3.5

Summary

“Back in the Saddle” doubles down on the family dynamic at the show’s core, to welcome effect.

3.5

Summary

“Back in the Saddle” doubles down on the family dynamic at the show’s core, to welcome effect.

This recap of Walker season 1, episode 2, “Back in the Saddle”, contains spoilers.


Walker episode 2, fittingly titled “Back in the Saddle”, confirms something that the premiere suggested but never doubled-down on – the CW’s reboot of Walker: Texas Ranger is, above all, a family drama. It’s other things besides, obviously, including a crime procedural, but after this sophomore installment, it’s clear that Cordell Walker’s headspace and efforts to reconnect with his fractured family are of paramount importance, much more than, say, a missing prize racehorse. It’s a decision that’ll probably split opinion, but for the most part, it works – or at least it works so far.

A good question would be how long this can be sustained as a theme given how much progress was made in “Back in the Saddle”. Walker is still obviously damaged and grieving, his kids still don’t entirely trust him to stick around, and he’s still dangerously hung-up on the circumstances of his wife’s death, including a poker chip that might be a calling card. There’s a roughly 100% chance that it was, which will give subsequent episodes plenty to dig into, but this one ends with Walker and his kids sitting down together to watch some spliced-together home movies. It’s clear that some wounds are beginning to heal.

But not all, some exacerbated at least in part by circumstance. Walker still has a job to do, and so he still has to navigate both the general public, including its lowlife, and the Rangers’ office, where not everyone sees his obvious damage as charming. That’s where Micki comes in, and Walker episode 2 once again gives her an almost equal share of the runtime. She’s as much the protagonist as Walker is, and we get plenty of time with her and her boyfriend at home to get the message across. She’s the well-adjusted by-the-book counterpart to Walker’s maverick cowboy appeal. But she’s beginning to understand him and to see in him what others might not. Their relationship is strengthening, but not becoming romantic or flirty or anything tired like that. They’re just friends and equal partners. Their relationship remains one of the best things about the show.

I also like, and I almost can’t believe I’m saying this, what Walker is doing with the kids. Stella and August are polar opposites, but they’re also a little bit more than just whiny, petulant brats. Even when the idealistic Stella acts out, it’s in support of her friends or because of a legitimate grievance with her father. Saying that she would have preferred if Walker’s brother Liam took them in was perhaps a bit childish, but it led to a breakthrough between the two men that helped to deepen their relationship, too. Liam was willing to be there for the kids when Walker wasn’t present, and on some level, Walker sees that. It helps to flesh out the entire family dynamic.

Thus far, that family dynamic is keeping everything together. Walker season 1, episode 2 had a case of the week which made for some funny moments and a brief action scene, but it otherwise passed by virtually unnoticed. What lingers is the emotional core, and it’s rare to be able to say that about a network procedural, much less one on the CW. I’m interested to see where things go next.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.