Saddle up Walker fans because last night’s episode was full of bittersweet flashbacks, some rowdy teen rebellion, and a mischievous old friend of Walker’s that ties in to his current case. Let’s jump right into “Bobble Head.”
The episode opens 17 years earlier with Emily and Cordell in her gorgeous red mustang convertible as she teaches him how to drive stick shift. It’s not going great, but Emily continues to encourage him as they banter about his “motor skills.” Emily places a Texas Rangers baseball team bobble head on the dash that Cordell questions immediately. Emily says it’s for good luck, “He’s always smiling, no judgement. Puts your mind at ease.” With the bobble head in place, they head to The Side Step as Cordell gets the hang of driving stick and they cruise down the road.
Flashing forward, Cordell places the same bobble head on the dash of Micki’s new truck while they are on a stake out at a strip club and quotes the same line, “Always smiling, never judging.” Micki want’s to focus on their stakeout to find Torreto, an illegal arms dealer, but Cordell wants them to get to know each other. He tries to guess her middle name — Michelle, Rachelle? Swing and a miss, sir. Micki asks about Stella and Cordell shares that she has a court date soon and she tells him, “No one benefits from the easy route,” advice that will stick with him for the remainder of the episode.
Inside the club, we meet a new character who is moonlighting as a cowboy male dancer covered in glitter and wearing chaps and a cowboy hat, winning him the most unusual character introduction award thus far. He straddles Torreto and quietly tips her off to the Rangers staking out the place, inviting her out back as an escape route.
Outside, Micki talks about a high school friend she had wild times with when they notice everyone is leaving but Torreto’s car is still there. They charge inside to find her, but are too late. As they ask around, tires squeal out front and they discover Torreto and the unknown cowboy escaping in Micki’s truck.
Stella and August wander down the sidewalk as August hilariously narrates the social lives of the gathered teens in a David Attenborough British accent, “The senior herd pay no notice as the sophomores and freshmen evade in the hopes of ensuring their survival for another day.” Stella tells her friends she won’t be at the annual bonfire what with her pending court date and all. She leaves and August runs into Ruby who asks if he’s going. He tries to say no but ends up agreeing to go so he can see her again. This should be fun.
Bonham pulls out the good china as Abby tells him to put it away, it’s just family coming for dinner. However Bonham intends to hide it from whoever their guest is and she scolds him for acting this way. He concedes and sets in on hiding the good alcohol but she takes that back too, much to his dismay. Bonham clearly distrusts whoever is visiting!
At the station, Captain James gives the run down on Torreto to the department. She’s an arms dealer who buys guns all over Texas and then sells them across the border and is expected to be in town for another 36 hours. James plays the security footage of her escape which shows Torreto and the mystery cowboy stealing Micki’s truck. Before he breaks in, the cowboy does a signature jump kick that immediately registers with Cordell. It’s clear he knows exactly who this is.
When he arrives home, Cordell gets the greeting of a lifetime as the stripper cowboy attacks him from behind. They tussle, Cordell pinning him to the truck and eventually throwing him to the ground. Here we discover this mischievous character is Hoyt, an old friend of Cordell’s. That jump kick was his signature touch down move from their high school days! Cordell is angry about the truck, but Hoyt claims he has no idea what he’s talking about. Cordell asks him point blank if he’s in on the Toretto job, and Hoyt again plays dumb but says, “Maybe you just got spotted before this criminal mastermind you speak of got away.” Abby picks this moment to charge out of the house full of excitement at Hoyt’s arrival.
The Walker family and Hoyt settle in for dinner, Wagyu steaks supplied by Hoyt. Liam and Cordell make a few prison references, and Hoyt asks about Stella’s illegal activities. They make it exactly five minutes before Bonham excuses himself to the barn to finish his steak in peace. Hoyt tells Stella that Emily started the bonfire night that high schoolers still go to every year, then switches to court hearing advice to which Liam offers contrasting information.
Micki is driving while talking with a company that has located her truck. She pulls up to the Walker ranch, and calls Cordell when she realizes where she is. As she sneaks around the property looking for her truck, Bonham finds her (shotgun in hand). She fills him in on her truck and he invites her to the barn for steak, “There’s not enough evidence to make an arrest or my son would have already collared him.” She sees the logic and joins him for dinner where Bonham tells her Cordell has a blind spot for old faces and sometimes needs reminding.
Before Hoyt leaves, Cordell suggests they hang out the next day with Hoyt agreeing if they go to the Side Step so he can see his old flame, Geri. Cordell tells Hoyt he’ll arrest him if he’s involved in the arms deal and Hoyt does his jump kick on his way out the door. Subtle, Hoyt. Real subtle.
The next day, Hoyt takes Cordell to a storage facility in the middle of nowhere where Hoyt is storing Emily’s red mustang. With a flashback, it’s revealed that Cordell gambled the titled away to Hoyt. Emily tells him they’re pregnant and broke, and the car is their only option to win any money. It’s also a tender scene as Cordell named the car Stella, the first name that came to mind, and we learn the origin of teenage Stella’s name.
Micki checks in with James about the fact that Hoyt, Cordell’s friend, is the suspect. She’s worried about his conflict of interest in the case, and James tells her he probably thinks he’s gathering intel by hanging out with Hoyt. We also discover a meat delivery truck was stolen, likely what Toretto will use to traffic the guns. Hoyt’s stealing Micki’s truck was his “audition” to join Toretto.
Hoyt and Cordell take the mustang for a ride to the Side Step where they play cards, a chance for Cordell to win it back. Geri has mixed feelings about seeing Hoyt again as he fake proposes to her with a plastic ring. Their game of cards gets interrupted though when Micki comes in and tricks Hoyt into attempting to bribe her with a drink so she can arrest him. Cordell is angry, but Micki tells him she’s covering his blindspot. At the station Micki shows him the stolen meat truck which was carrying Wagyu beef, the very brand Hoyt brought to dinner. They’ll hold Hoyt for 24 hours to try and get information on Toretto. Micki interrogates Hoyt who surprisingly gives up the location of the gun pick up.
At the bonfire, Stella and her friends visit when one suddenly points out August. Stella watches in disbelief as he dances to the music, clearly drunk and unaware that several bystanders are laughing at him. He attempts to break dance as Stella narrates it like a wildlife documentary, “And the meerkat peers out from his cavernous hidey-hole only to risk possible extinction.”
The Rangers, SWAT, and local police all stake out the location Hoyt specified. When there’s no movement, Cordell and Micki go in to investigate only to find an empty unit. Well, almost empty. Inside is the mustang with Emily’s bobble head and a note from Hoyt saying Team Sassy Boots (we’re so stealing that) suck and he’s giving Cordell the car back. Cordell pieces together that the original storage unit where Hoyt kept the car is the new pick up location and they roll out.
Later that night at the bonfire, a very drunk August prepares to walk barefoot over hot coals to impress Ruby. Thankfully she stops him and Stella steps in, dragging him away to a nearby truck. He asks why Stella is acting out, if she wants to drive Cordell away again, but he throws up before she can answer. Stella calls Cordell for a ride, but he doesn’t answer so she tries Liam. Liam and Bret are picking up wedding cake samples from a bakery when he gets her call. Bret is a little irritated until Liam tells him August got drunk, “August drunk? Are you kidding me, I’m not missing that for the world. Get in the car.”
Hoyt calls Abby as the gun drop happens to tell her he isn’t making their planned mushroom hunt the next day. She gives him some sage advice, “Hoyt, just because your family is bad does not mean that you are. You saved my boy, and I’ll never forget that.” Seems there’s even more to Cordell and Hoyt’s past than we thought!
Liam and Bret pick up the teens where August is thrilled to find cake in the backseat and Liam tells Stella he won’t be there for her court hearing. They all load into the car and August cranks up the music, Fleetwood Mac of course, and the whole crew sings along as they leave the bonfire.
The Rangers pull up to the gun drop and the criminals scatter as a big gunfight ensues. Toretto and her accomplices are arrested, but Hoyt sneaks out and into Micki’s truck again. However, Micki activated her security features and uses it to shut the truck off allowing the officers to arrest him at last. Cordell asks about Micki’s rough high school friend and she tells him Garrison never got the tough love he needed and “skated right off the edge.” That hits Cordell hard and he takes the tough love comment to heart.
Early the next morning, a nervous Stella is disappointed to find Cordell isn’t wearing his uniform to her court hearing. He’s going only as her father, and swats August with a pillow while screaming “Let’s go frat boy!” to wake up the hungover teenager. They pile into the mustang as he tells them it was Emily’s car and head to the courthouse.
Inside, Bonham and Abby seem to be having some marital problems as she packs her bag to go mushroom hunting alone. He offers to go with her, but she turns him down as she’s still upset about Hoyt. She throws her bag over her shoulder and he says softly, “I miss you Abby” as she leaves.
At the Side Step, Micki orders a shot of tequila from Geri and gives her the plastic ring Hoyt left for her. Geri pours Micki another shot (along with one for herself), and dare we say they might strike up a friendship?
After her hearing, Stella apologizes to Cordell for her behavior and we discover she’s been charged a fine and 100 hours of community service and her license is suspended. They pile in the car and Cordell takes them to an empty back road and forces everyone out of the car. He puts Stella in the driver’s seat so she can learn to drive a stick shift and makes August run off his hangover along side the car. Seems like he’s spreading the tough love message to both his kids.
Cowboy Hat Count: 6
Walker airs on Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on The CW, streaming free the next day on The CW app!