Last week’s premiere of Walker started off without a hitch, but now Cordell is yearning for more answers about his wife’s death, while at the same time trying to figure out what happened to a prized racehorse after a fire at an estate. Keep reading to find out what happens in the newest episode of The CW’s Walker, “Back in the Saddle.”
Cordell loads up his truck and sees a saddle, getting a flashback to when Emily got him it. Getting back home, he calls his mother, telling her he noticed a leak the previous week he needs to fix, among some other things. Abeline doesn’t know why he’s bothering with that, there’s plenty of room for them at the ranch. It makes her sad to think of him there. So why doesn’t he just hurry back? So he can hug his kids before they go to school. “I will if they let me.” Cordell hangs up and gets to working.
Cordell gets to the ranch just in time for breakfast and wonders where his coffee mug is. He’s only had the same mug there for 17 years. Abeline tells him he makes a good point, this has always been his home. That’s why she thought he’d be happy out in the farmhouse. It’s great what she’s done but Cordell tells her it’s not their house. She says his children have been there nearly a year. “A little stability. Think about that.” Cordell is thinking, what he’s thinking is that they should ease back into things on their own terms. Back to normal. Stella asks her father if it even matters to him where they want to live. She calls for Uncle Liam, even though Cordell says he can take her to school, and Liam tells Cordell they’ve hit a groove. August says Stella’s just like that lately. She actually goes back to the old house sometimes. Liam leaves to take the kids to school as Cordell gets a call from Micki. “Back to normal.”
Cordell meets Micki at Manchester Fields where there was a fire the previous night, and she tells him that a ranch hand, Matt, died from injuries caused by the fire. “Fire’s no way to go.” It was a targeted fire at a rich guy’s estate — seems like they’re looking for an arsonist. Also, Micki mentions that another casualty from the fire was Texas Nightshade, prized racehorse. Cordell and Micki meet with Manchester, who tells them it makes him sick what happened to Matt. He grew up on the ranch, just pulling things together. Matt was just out of prison, but before Manchester has a chance to continue someone interrupts him and says that he was a good man. He didn’t deserve this, neither did Texas Nightshade.
Cordell, Micki and Captain James walk away. James tells Cordell he doesn’t recall inviting him to join them there. Micki says she called him and James thanks her for being thorough, but unfortunately her partner is not currently a Ranger. They’re going to be making some changes, which means they are going to be following the rules to a T. Which means Cordell is past due on his re-certification. Until he passes all the tests, James has to keep him off the field.
Cordell and Micki begin their tests — a shooting range, driving and horseback riding. Cordell thinks back to Emily again and has a hard time with the horse because of it. He gets off and takes a breather. He gets to the bar and talks to Geri, telling her that it turns out he is no longer a Ranger. He just has to take a test to be re-certified. It’s really standard. “Why are you getting all day drinks about it?” He couldn’t pass a simple test he should’ve been able to do in his sleep. He’s rusty and he knows it and it’s mental, he guesses. James thinks that Cordell might not be quite right in the head. Cordell thought he’d be better off if he buried himself into work but he went off on that case and he couldn’t think straight. Now he’s home and he can’t think about anything else but her and what happened. Geri tells Cordell she can hear her laugh sometimes, hear her changing the stations, second-guessing her directions. She thinks about that night, obviously. Cordell would map out with Emily when she would go down to the border, where the cameras were, how to not get caught when leaving food and water. “And now that’s the same damn reason I don’t know what happened.” The little things, like the way they found her and the way they found her eyes, closed. Geri admits she closed her eyes. She couldn’t leave her like that. Cordell thanks Geri and she knows that he’s turning over questions in his head. But to that, at least he has an answer.
Micki shows up to the Travis County Livestock Welfare and talks to Dr. Jamison. Everybody wants to know what happened to Texas Nightshade, what’s in the autopsy report. The thing is, that autopsy report is not Texas Nightshade. That’s a standard workhorse. Dr. Jamison shows Micki an X-ray he took of Texas Nightshade two weeks prior, some swelling and a possible fracture, she can see his findings in the report.
Micki finds Walker back at the station and he tells her that maybe someone staged a fire to make it look like Texas Nightshade was dead. Micki suggests that maybe he wasn’t going to win, his latest X-rays show he has swelling on his left hind leg, he was injured. Maybe Manchester himself? If the horse was injured, Micki wonders wouldn’t you at least put him out to stud? Why get rid of him? Cordell figures it was too many bets in, wanted to save face, collect insurance, and call the bank. But where would the horse be now? Micki stops herself, telling Cordell he’s not on the case. She thinks he could get into actual trouble if he’s caught working on it, which means she’ll get in trouble. “Then just consider me a consultant.” Cordell begs Micki, telling her he doesn’t know where he fits if it’s not there. This is all he knows how to do now. Off the record, whatever she likes. Why not just finish the test and make it official? Dr. Jamison told Cordell he should carry a sugar cube to gain the horse’s trust. He’s been looking through Matt’s files, he just finished a five-year sentence, girl waiting with a ring on her finger. Didn’t come from the best family and like Manchester said, he grew up on the ranch. Where does one find a prized racehorse? Texas Nightshade, meanwhile, is strolling down the streets of Austin.
Cordell tells Micki that Manchester’s private jet is said to be wheels-up in an hour and on a separate but related note, a horse was spotted wandering around downtown. They’ve got no case until they find Texas Nightshade. They stop him or they’ll lose their window; guy’s a billionaire, they let him fly off and he’ll have time to lawyer up. Or worse, just disappear to Belize, Micki says. If they don’t have the proof that Texas Nightshade isn’t dead, they don’t have the case. Cordell may not be a Ranger but he’s still a cowboy. Micki finds Manchester, he’ll get Texas Nightshade.
Cordell gets to a park, grabs some rope and starts following some tracks that are the size of horse hooves. He soon hears a horse whinny and sure enough, he finds Texas Nightshade, calming it down with a sugar cube. Meanwhile, Micki and James are trying to stop Manchester from leaving and soon, Cordell rides through on Texas Nightshade. James tells Cordell he’s certified and Cordell helps Micki get up on the horse. Cordell manages to get to Manchester’s car and Micki jumps in, punching out all three guys and stopping the car before it gets to the plane.
Cordell and Micki find Stella back at the old house, at a party. She tells her father maybe it shouldn’t be so easy to get a second chance, like him. “It’s not like I stopped being your father.” He’s here now, he’s trying to fix things, literally. Whatever Stella and her friends did to this house… Stella tells him that it’s not even their home anymore but she’s supposed to treat it like it’s a museum? It is a home, it could be a home, Cordell says. He knows Mawline tried to create a space for them but this is theirs. What makes it theirs? Is he cooking the Sunday supper? Oven on all day, singing in the kitchen? Is he leaving books on her bed that are important to read and then making time with her to talk about them? Or is he just gone? Like always. “Being back doesn’t make it normal.” Stella tells her father he shouldn’t get a second chance because he wasn’t there the first time around. She wishes Uncle Liam had gotten custody of them when he tried.
Cordell finds his brother and immediately pushes him, and they start fighting. Cordell tells Liam he had no right but Liam says their mother is dead and they don’t hear from him for three months at the end? He knows it was rough, it was rough for everybody but Cordell went dark. That is negligence. Or worse, their mom and dad agreed. Liam didn’t want the kids to be orphans. He would never take them. He wanted to protect them, for them to be with family. Because they are all that they’ve got. “Tell me that you wouldn’t want that.” Even now he’s not here, they need him. He is chasing ghosts. Cordell tells Liam that some things don’t add up about his wife. Was she a target, was the poker chip a calling card? But what answer could possibly satisfy him? It’s never going to make any kind of sense that she is gone. “The damn poker chip is not gonna bring back your wife.” Cordell will lose everything, all of that, if he doesn’t stop searching for something that’s not there.
Walker sits down next to August outside the farmhouse and August gives him something from Emily, she was going to give him it on Father’s Day. He opens it and it has poker chips and playing cards. August says she kept a few of the chips so she could show people. Cordell puts the poker chip back in its rightful place and tells August he’s turned around about a lot of things right now. August knows, telling his dad they’ll figure this out.
The following morning, Cordell asks Stella if she’s seen his mug. After having a texting conversation with him, Stella gets up and grabs it from a drawer, telling him that it just reminded her that he was gone. One day she just put it away. Cordell tells her that he has an idea and the two drive to the old house, and they grab some shovels. They go over to the cement step that Stella and August had handprinted when they were younger and try to break it off the ground. Stella accidentally breaks the step and she starts crying. “Just because it’s broken, doesn’t mean we can’t take it with us.” Cordell grabs Stella in a hug. The two get back to the ranch and Cordell’s father shows him a new saddle, the old one was collecting dust on his truck, seemed like it was from a different life. Sometimes going back to normal means starting fresh.
In the farmhouse, August and Stella are watching August’s unfinished “What Texas Means to Me” project for school, which includes home movies. Cordell comes in and August invites him to watch, saying he was thinking about Mom, she was just starting to teach him. So he wanted to start with what she saw. Cordell sits down and watches along with them, the three of them crying and smiling over seeing Emily once again. Getting flashbacks of creating the cement step, Emily capturing it on her camera.
Walker Cowboy Hat Count: 11
Catch Walker every Thursday at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on The CW, streaming free the next day on The CW app!