The first season of The CW drama has met its awaited conclusion with Walker finally bringing justice to his late wife’s killer only to leave the series on an eerie cliffhanger.
From the pilot, Walker establishes its own foundation. At no point does the show feel like it is trying to replicate the original in any way; Padalecki, who additionally serves as executive producer, completely reinvents the story and the character of Cordell, introducing a horde of new fans to the premise without the shadow of Chuck Norris casting over him.
Every episode takes on the classic ‘case of the week’ trope. It’s not a personal favourite but they’re also never the point of focus, which works out in the show’s favour because it offers a better insight to Walker’s healing process as he channels his emotion into bettering himself as a ranger and a father. The central pull lies within the relationships between the family and supporting characters as well as Walker aiming to solve his wife’s murder.
Episode one through to thirteen are built upon Walker’s reintroduction back into the service, the mysterious death of Emily and Cordell’s concern that his past will catch up to him – eventually culminating in a fatal shootout at the ranch that costs one favourable character their life. The show incorporates comedy and drama throughout; it goes into the development of Walker’s companions, and expresses diversity and tackles ongoing political crisis’ such as gender and racial inequality.
The final five (which were green-lit amidst filming) are more standalone and character driven whilst wrapping up – or expanding on – some minor arcs. Overall, the initial concept of the story plays out strongly, although, one of the weaker aspects revolves around Emily’s shooting. For being a major part of the narrative, it could have been explored deeper than it is. Instead, we are offered little clues to keep us engaged, it isn’t well balanced out – sometimes feeling rushed but simultaneously dragging on – and the penultimate episode’s twist could have held a slightly bigger impact had the tension been building.
Padalecki gives a solid performance as he breaks down Walker’s harrowing journey. Key players, Keegan Allen and Lindsey Morgan, standout in their roles as Liam Walker and Micki Ramirez respectively. Morgan brings an abundance of life to her character; she and Padalecki make a formidable duo, exposing the other’s strengths as performers – episode five emphasises how well matched the pair are. To see a show acknowledge that the wholesome friendship between a man and a woman is exactly that is refreshing for the genre.
Walker is a lot of fun to watch. It has humour, action, romance, mystery, and most importantly, complex characters with realistic backgrounds that viewers will find all too easy to connect to. There’s nothing overly complicated about the show, getting from A to B without procrastination – something we need more of in television.