Recap: Cordell Walker, Texas Ranger Is Back in Action in ‘Walker’ Season 1, Episode 1 “Pilot”


Walker is finally here! After months of being bombarded with promos, The CW’s newest show has finally debuted on the big screen. Starring Jared Padalecki, Lindsey Morgan, Keegan Allen, Odette Annable, Mitch Pileggi, and more, this episode was jam-packed with information introducing you to the Walker universe. Without further ado, let’s jump right into what happened in “Pilot.”

We open with Walker driving down a dusty road in his truck. He gets out to meet Emily, his wife, who is preparing to go drop food and water at stations in the desert with her friend, Geri. The pair fuss over each other and tell each other to be safe before Emily leaves for her errand and Cordell goes to a family game night with his parents and kids, Stella and August (Auggie).

Image Courtesy The CW.

Cutting to game night, the Walker clan is seen rowdily playing board games. Cordell gets an SOS text from Emily and answers her call. She tells him something isn’t right while running from someone before two gunshots ring out. Excusing himself from the game, Cordell tries to get her back on the phone with little success — shortly after, we see why; Emily is on the ground bleeding out. At the realization that Emily is gone, Cordell lets loose an agonized cry of anguish before sinking to the ground.

Eleven months later, Auggie, Stella, Liam, and Walker’s old partner-turned-captain Larry James are waiting on a porch for Walker’s grand homecoming. However, no one’s heard from him. Larry sends out a patrol car to search for him at Ladybird Lookout, “Emily and Cordell’s place.”

Image Courtesy The CW.

Walker is drinking and remembering Emily when DPS Trooper Ramirez comes to take him home in his inebriated state. On the ride home, Ramirez questions why Walker was out there. He tells her that he’s been on assignment for 10 months and is just getting home and didn’t want to bring the stink of the job home with him. Ramirez questions if he’s law enforcement, to which Cordell responds,

Cordell Walker, Texas Ranger.

Courtesy of The CW.

The morning after he’s dropped off by Ramirez, Cordell goes to visit his family at his parents’ ranch house. He’s greeted first by his dad, Bonham, who’s training colts. Cordell enters the house and is greeted by his mother, August, and Liam and shares hugs with all three, wrestling with Liam who’s been helping out in his absence.

Image Courtesy The CW.

Next, Cordell is on the scene where he’s greeted by Captain James on the scene of his first case back where an officer was assaulted offering roadside assistance when who else but newly promoted Ranger Micki Ramirez sidles up — uh oh.

Micki and Cordell enjoy some food truck delights while discussing their awkward encounter the night before, the case ahead of them, and Micki’s motivations for becoming a ranger. They make a plan to tackle the case.

Cordell attends a family dinner from which Stella is absent, hanging out with Isabel, a friend from school. During the conversation, he learns a lot has changed in his time away: his kids are enrolled at Sacred Heart, Stella now plays soccer, and Auggie has taken up Emily’s photography hobby. Dinner is interrupted by Walker getting a call to pick Stella up from the police station.

When he arrives, he learns that Stella and Isabel were busted for possession at a party. Stella is upset at Cordell when he arrives. When Cordell tries to speak to Bel’s parents (visibly nervous) about the incident, Stella becomes more upset. When they arrive home, Cordell confronts her about her behavior and Stella reveals she is acting out due to Walker’s long absence and silence. Cordell further upsets her when he says they both need to stop acting like Emily is going to come home and make things right.

Micki comes home and discovers Trey, her significant other, is home. He inquires about her first day on the job and she expresses some reservations about Cordell.

Liam and Cordell go to Geraldine (Geri) Broussard’s bar where Geri and Cordell catch up. They have a somewhat stilted conversation as Geri wonders if she drove him away. Walker says he was just tired of not getting any closer to understanding what happened that night with Emily. The two shake off the awkwardness to dance the two-step before Walker is called back to work.

Micki has ascertained that the crime vehicle leads back to Green Thumb & Grace, a local shop started to help rehab criminals. The partners arrive and Walker snags a plaster cross off the shelf and sarcastically starts asking “J.C.” if he wants his kids to go to Sacred Heart. Milo Clark, the owner, and his sister Cheryl come out to speak to them and confirm the truck from the crime was theirs.

The pair points the Rangers towards employees Jordan and Alex who were driving it at the time. Jordan immediately antagonizes Walker, having heard about his “dead wife,” provoking him further by swinging at him and spitting on him. Cordell subdues him, slamming him on a crate a couple of times before Micki steps in and cuffs him.

Courtesy of The CW

Walker (just Walker, as he continues to correct people during introductions) gets dragged back to Micki’s house to clean up his hand which was injured in the scuffle. While Micki chews him out about going rogue, Trey, a Combat Medic (68W), patches up his hand. Walker gets a notification that Stella has run away from school and meets Liam at Sacred Heart to track her down.

Walker goes to the Muñoz household to see if Isabel’s family knows of Stella’s whereabouts. Ms. Muñoz, visible relieved says that they don’t know where she is apologizes for being cagey, having thought he was there to bring them in — they don’t have their papers yet. Any criminal activity will get them deported. Walker promises to see if he can help out with the situation, planning to see if Liam, the A.D.A., can pull some strings.

Back at work, Walker tells Micki about the situation and Micki states that this is why her family disapproves of her career choice — the law doesn’t protect them. Moving on with the case, Micki states that in going through the interview transcripts, she noticed Alex seemed scared of Milo. Remembering that Curtis the officer was dusting himself off at the crime scene, the two deduce that Milo’s business is a front for drug running for the cartel, finding heroin in the plaster cross that Micki had pocketed after Walker was messing around with it.

Image Courtesy The CW.

Micki moves out with backup, pushing Walker to go find Stella. He finds her at Ladybird Lookout on the gazebo that’s been featured so prominently throughout the episode. Walker frustratedly questions why she’s acting out, citing that the family’s been worried. Stella sarcastically comments about him showing up. She feels like he hasn’t been there for her. He wants to fix things, but Stella says Emily is the only one that can.

Ramirez and Walker confront Milo at the shop where Cheryl pulls a gun on the Rangers and tells the innocent Milo to get out of there. Walker draws his gun and Micki roundhouse kicks the gun out of Cheryl’s hand. Cheryl runs to a van to escape and Micki gives chase before Walker domino tips some shelves over, preventing Cheryl’s escape. Cheryl tries to run on foot, but Micki tackles and detains her.

Back at the station, the partners report to Captain James who informs Walker that busting Cheryl opened up a link to a bigger cartel case. Walker is being recommended for a spot in the Special Operations task force to take them down. Before they leave, James berates Walker for his treatment of the suspects earlier in the case.

Image Courtesy The CW.

Back at his parents’ house, Cordell looks for Stella (who’s avoiding him) but finds Liam outside instead. Liam notices him flipping a poker chip, a habit that he’s displayed throughout the episode, and we learn that it’s Cordell’s nervous habit ever since finding it on Emily’s body. He is stuck on the fact that it was found on her body with no apparent purpose, as Emily and Geri were on a routine supply drop. Liam berates him to stop overthinking the details of her case as he spirals, especially since a man, Carlos Mendoza, confessed to the crime. He tells him to be here for his family.

Going inside, Cordell speaks with his mother who tells him he needs to get to know his kids again before he can properly parent. Abilene jokes that it’s just desserts that Cordell has to raise someone who is so feisty and stubborn like he was. She also tells him that August is being so good, overcompensating for Stella’s behavior to relieve the family’s stress. Abilene suggests that Cordell and the kids move into their barn house instead of lingering in the home that holds Emily’s ghost. He tells her about the task force, and Abilene says that he’ll make the right decision.

Image Courtesy The CW.

Auggie shows Cordell the barn house and he sees a vision of Emily again before entering what is to be their new house. Cordell apologizes for making August grow up so fast with everything that’s happened. August asks if they can sleep in the barn house for the night. Stella brings Cordell a blanket at the request of Mawline (Abilene) and tells him she overheard the talk about the task force.

Cordell tells her that he’s not taking the job. She doesn’t believe him, saying, “you might feel different in the morning.” Cordell responds that he’s never going to feel differently about her or being home with his family and that he’s learning now’s all they’ve got. With tension still palpable between the two, the camera pans out as the family sits together.

Courtesy of The CW

Cowboy Hat Count: 10

Image Courtesy of The CW.

If you’re familiar with our Prodigal Son coverage, you are aware of the Malcolm Danger Count, but now, we welcome you to the Walker Cowboy Hat Count!  Every time that Cordell Walker dons a cowboy hat, we will be marking it down. This week, we’re at a solid 10. Got predictions for how many it’ll be next episode? Let us know in the comments!

We can’t wait to see what happens next week on Walker. Make sure to tune in on Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on The CW to see the saga continue!

Kenedi is a college student with her sights set on attending medical school. When she isn't hard at work, Kenedi enjoys reading, watching her favorite shows, and listening to music. Some of her favorite fandoms include Supernatural, One Tree Hill, Bones, Abbott Elementary, Percy Jackson, and Scrubs.

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