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Walker - Bobble Head - Review

Walker is finding its footing, which is good news because the season order has been expanded by five episodes. This was the most cohesive and balanced episode. There was good character development, they walked back Stella’s stank attitude, and although the crime wasn’t given any more attention than usual, it was well incorporated.

As usual, we start with a flashback. It was my favorite to date. Emily is teaching Walker how to drive a manual transmission Mustang. It’s not going well, but get our first glimpse of the episode’s namesake, a Texas Ranger, baseball not law enforcement, bobble head. The bobble head isn’t just for decoration; it’s a life lesson. Turns out I couldn’t be a bobble head because they are “always smiling, never judging.” My smiles are gifts to be earned, and I am usually judging, but it’s always deserved. I think Emily’s philosophy is slightly better than mine. Slightly.

In the present, we find the bobble head on the dash of Micki’s truck. They’re on a stakeout outside a strip club, looking for an arms dealer named Torreto. Walker wants to take the time to get to know his partner, but Micki turns the tides by asking about Stella’s court date and accusing him of wanting to be everyone’s friend. Micki isn’t wrong.

Inside the club, we’re treated to a faux cowboy stripper working it. He’s focused on a single customer. It must be Torreto. Our stripper friend offers her a little VIP action and a tip about the two white hats outside. I see what you did there, writers. You played on audience assumptions that the strippers would be women—good on you.

The club starts to empty, but there is no sign of Torreto. Micki and Walker head inside. Unfortunately, that was a mistake because Micki’s truck is stolen. No doubt by the stripper and the arms dealer.

Augie and Stella are at school. Augie’s Attenborough impression isn’t too bad. Here comes the girl he likes, Ruby. She wants to know if he’s going to the bonfire. It’s tradition. Stella is trying personal responsibility and tells her friends she won’t be there. One, we know she will be. Two, where is Isabel?

Looks like Abeline is planning a little dinner party. Bonham is not pleased. Is it Bret? Bonham tries to hide his good bourbon. I understand completely. Who wants to share good bourbon with people they don’t like. Abilene talks him off the ledge and sends him to see to the ranch’s needs.

At the department briefing, Captain James is significantly less annoying, but his lines are also limited. He definitely seems less suspicious, but this entire episode has a different feel from the first two.

Is Walker’s friend the naked cowboy? Yes, and his name is Hoyt Rawlins (Matt Barr). He’s the unwanted guest, but it looks like Mawline and the kids love him. Liam and Walker are suspicious of him. Bonham isn’t even pretending and decides to eat in the bunkhouse.

Micki’s stolen truck is parked at the Walker ranch. Hoyt is confident in his criminal activity. Driving a Texas Ranger’s stolen truck to have dinner with a Texas Ranger. Bonham finds Micki snooping, and after holding a rifle on her, he invites her into the bunkhouse for steak and bourbon. It’s here we get a little background on Hoyt. He grew up with Walker and had a rough life. Backstory complete.

The next day we get another flashback. We’re still in the Mustang. Walker and Emily are about to play a little poker with Hoyt. They’re broke, so Emily plans on putting up the car. Walker protests and names the car Stella. It was the first name that came to mind. Emily says betting the car is a good move because they need the money for their family. It’s just a casual pregnancy announcement. Okay, this is cute. Looks like Hoyt won; he’s got the car stashed in a storage unit, but he’s going to give Walker the chance to win it back. He’s a dear.

Next up, the Side Step and Geri. Hoyt and Geri were a thing. Good. Anything to diminish the prospect of Geri and Walker. Although, this is the CW, and they never respect the boundaries of friendship. See Riverdale. See Legacies. See Roswell, New Mexico. See Nancy Drew.

Hoyt is all charm, but Geri pretends she’s not happy to see him. He gets down on one knee and proposes with what appears to be a red piece of plastic turned into a ring. She likes it even if she doesn’t show it.

Elsewhere, Micki is talking to Captain James about Walker and his blindspot when it comes to Hoyt. Like Bonham before him, Captain James suggests that Micki be the one to open Walker’s eyes.
Back at the Side Step, they’ve poured one out for Emily before starting the business of poker. Micki shows to break up the fun. Micki questions Hoyt a bit, but he bobs and weaves. When he offers to buy her a drink, she arrests him for trying to bribe her. The charges are flimsy, but she’s obviously looking out for Walker. Micki has hit her stride.

Stella’s at the bonfire. How shocking. To be fair, once Hoyt told her that Emily was the one that started the bonfire tradition, we knew she wouldn’t be able to resist. Her friends are not impressed with this bit of legend. Augie is there. He is both drunk and sort of breakdancing. I think those things are probably related. Later he’ll decide to walk across hot coals to impress Ruby. Stella stops him, and they have a “Come to Jesus” conversation. He asks her if she’s trying to make Walker leave again with the acting out and bad attitude. She looks genuinely horrified by the idea. I like this no filter Augie.

The Texas Rangers have converged on the spot Hoyt gave up during his interrogation. Not surprisingly, they’ve been played. When they entire the warehouse, they find the Mustang and a note. Luckily, Walker has an epiphany. It looks like his questionable tactics and conflict of interest paid off.

We get another Bret sighting. He’s tasting cake with Liam. When Liam takes a call from Stella, Bret is all of us, tired of Stella’s behavior. When he discovers it’s a drunk Augie, he’s excited. Too bad he missed out on the breakdancing. That was the real treat.

Hoyt calls Mawline to cancel their mushroom hunt. He looked ashen and sad. I thought he’d been shot and was dying. I was waiting for the camera to pan down to a bloody stomach wound. What I thought was imminent death was actually regret. While I was prematurely killing Hoyt, Abby was thanking him for saving Walker. How did he save Walker? When did he save Walker?

Walker’s epiphany? Hoyt is at the other storage unit. The one where he was keeping the Mustang. After a brief shoot out, Torreto and Hoyt are arrested. Micki lets Walker know that it’s what Hoyt needs, tough love.

As usual, we end with some family moments. Micki shows up at the Side Step with the red plastic ring and a message from Hoyt. She also tells Geri she was just doing her job. Geri returns the sentiment when she tricks her into buying expensive shots of tequila. Are they friends now?
On the Stella front, she looks a little worried that Walker will not be going to court as Cordell Walker, Texas Ranger, but as Cordell Walker, her dad. Walker took Micki’s advice. It’s for the best. They do take the Mustang, so we’ve come full circle. After being sentenced, Walker teaches Stella how to drive a manual. Augie gets to run behind the car to cure his hangover.

Then we get to the head-scratching moment in the episode. It would seem that Abilene, Abby, and Bonham are having marital problems. Are we supposed to know this? They’ve disagreed in previous episodes, but nothing that warrants Abby’s attitude and cold shoulder. I think I understand where Stella gets it. Anyway, Abby is packing to go mushroom hunting. Bonham offers to go with her, but she needs some alone time. Bonham says he misses her. Her response is an “I know” tossed over her shoulder. She comes off like an ass because we have no clue why she’s angry. I’m a broken record, but this is a writing problem. A small misstep in the strongest episode yet.

What did you think? Will you keep watching? Am I unfairly judging everyone?