By now, everyone is familiar with Chuck Norris as the infamous ranger, Cordell Walker, roundhouse kicking his way through his Texas one criminal at a time. Almost three decades later, the popular series has been revived, making its debut in January 2021 with CW royalty, Jared Padalecki, donning the ranger uniform alongside fellow CW alum, Lindsey Morgan, Pretty Little Liars’ Keegan Allen, and veteran star, Mitch Pileggi.
If the spectacular cast alone isn’t enough of an eye-opener, here’s why Walker should be added to everyone’s weekly viewing:
Jared Padalecki is Reforming the Role
A major difference between the original and the reboot is Cordell’s seemingly lack of martial arts training, which really made Norris’ rendition iconic – but what is Walker without the roundhouses? Well, that’s actually what’s so great about Padalecki’s portrayal; it doesn’t feel like a cheap knockoff reboot nor is he a replica of Norris’ beloved depiction. Instead, audiences are treated to a modernised perspective of the show and are introduced to a reformed Cordell Walker.
Padalecki is excelling in making the role his own. The humanity he brings to the character is magnified by his relationships with his family and co-workers – which the narrative is primarily built upon. It is a little strange to see him undertake the role of the older brother having played the younger one for so long on Supernatural but the change is welcome and he has a promising bond with Keegan Allen.
The Characters Are Compelling
Whether it’s the leading man or Odette Annable’s Geri, everyone has a story to tell and it’s gripping to watch how the plot is unfolding, delving deeper into the connections between the characters whilst evolving them as individuals in an impressively small timeframe. There is still much to be uncovered. The show has only recently began to explore backstories but the enigmas just keep viewers wanting more!
One character arc that still remains a mystery is Coby Bell’s Captain James – particularly his evolution during Walker’s absence prior to the pilot as well as his bond with Micki (Lindsey Morgan). Then there is Keegan Allen’s Liam, Walker’s younger brother and doting uncle, who uproots his entire future to step in for Cordell. Already, there is clear underlying tension amongst the brothers – how much is Liam willing to sacrifice to protect his family?
It Tackles Gender and Racial Inequality
In a show about the law system, it would be appropriate to reiterate the racial and gender inequalities shown on either side of the force. This is becoming a very significant development in many shows these days and it’s rightfully here to stay. Introducing the deprivations and stigmas forced upon minority communities – LGBTQ+, Latinx, female suppression – grounds the show with harrowing realism that far too many can identify with.
It also sends a powerful message on how differently these groups are treated in the workplace – which isn’t represented in many shows and movies. Take Micki for example, she has expressed the difficulties she faces as a Latina woman working in a male-orientated field, suggesting that she isn’t taken nearly as seriously as her male colleagues. As a result, the characters feel much more dimensional and realistic, whilst amplifying the voices of those who remain unheard.
There Are Twists Everywhere
The initial premise of the show involves Walker returning home from an undercover job following his wife’s murder – Emily is played by Padalecki’s real life wife, Genevieve Padalecki – but that’s only the beginning for the ranger. Whilst there is still plenty ambiguity around the characters, it is apparent that everything during and prior (flashbacks are key!!) to the show hold a deeper meaning to the unfolding narrative.
The story keeps the audience guessing and even when they think they’ve figured it out, something else is thrown into the mix and it’s back to square one! As much as everyone loves a good twist, the show is cleverly balanced out and places a lot of focus on developing the characters amidst the drama and action. There is a heavily enigmatic tone present. Nothing is as it seems, raising the question: who and what can Walker truly trust?
Micki Ramirez… That’s All
From the get-go, Micki (Lindsey Morgan) is without a doubt the show’s most endearing character with her quick-wit and undeniable charm – and because Lindsey Morgan is a pure ray of sunshine. Micki is a complex individual who viewers can’t help but empathise and associate with from the second she makes her appearance. Her charisma is captivating. Out of all of the characters, Micki is remarkably authentic and brings a great deal of truth to the show by calling out cultural hypocrisy.
Micki is also adept in martial arts – homage is paid to the mighty roundhouse kicks at last! Plus, her relationship with Walker is hilariously delightful; their partnership is already the heart of series. The pair have established a sweet brother/sister dynamic with an equal share of tender moments and playful banter. The show is as much about Micki as it is her partner and who doesn’t love to see her thrive?
Walker airs on Thursdays 8/7c on The CW.
You can stream Walker on The CW app for free!