Walker's “Search and Rescue” was a phenomenal episode filled with action and revelations that elicited chills, cheers and gasps. It was brilliantly directed by former Clint West actor, Austin Nichols. The location, shot, and music choices combined to elevate an already exciting episode to the next level. All of this served to accentuate the characters deciding what to do as they reached crossroads. The first character’s crossroads seen belongs to…

Cordell

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Due to external circumstances beyond his control, Jared was recovering and unable to be in this episode much. He was definitely missed. But the writers did an excellent job of making his absence plausible, and every moment he is there is impactful. It starts with him looking to Cassie to help him with his dilemma involving Stella dating Colton while he wants to pursue the investigation on whether his saddle was cut. This is a crossroads where the decision isn’t reached in the episode, but will weigh heavily in the future. The crossroads where he decides what to do is telling Cassie about investigating if Miles is still alive. Cordell, remembering how he felt last year when no one believed him about Emily, then investigated it without telling him, makes sure they’re not going to repeat those mistakes. His quick thinking at Miles’ trailer saves his and Capt. James’ life. True to the promise he invoked earlier, as soon as Walker, Capt. James and Miles get to safety, they bring in…

Cassie

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Cassie had apparently been living in a motel, what Sam Winchester would refer to as not really living in Austin, for motels are never really a part of the place they’re in. And since the motel's shutting down, she has to make a decision. That’s put on hold, because her adopted family, the Walkers, need her. Utilizing another wonderful friendship she has made in Austin, she chooses to overcome her fears to fly to the rescue. Her love of the Walkers and her friendship with Trey convince her to consider the plunge, perhaps becoming roommates with a hilariously resistant Trey.  That is before her world is knocked askew with the return of her former partner she thought was gone, Miles. Ashley nails every note - the comedy, fear, determination and the emotional shock of seeing Miles again. It was especially wonderful seeing her with …

Trey

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Quite possibly the man of the hour, Trey shines in this episode - and it wasn’t just Jeff Pierre’s gigawatt smile. Making the decision to leave the place where he made a home with Micki was painful. Yet, the decision was filled with respect for the past while turning toward the future in a new place. He doesn’t know if he is ready for a new relationship yet, but a new place is a step.

Perhaps Cassie will be a platonic roommate to make the place less lonely. She seems to think so. However, his biggest moment was choosing to repel out of a hovering helicopter to save the day. There is a moment’s hesitation as he seems to remember his life in the army before, but he quickly comes out of it. Underscored by a perfect song choice of Lauren Daigle’s “Rescue,” the moment Stella sees that Trey has come to save them gives one goosebumps. The way he uses his army medic training to make sure Colton is safe to move and he comforts Stella as Colton ascends to the waiting helicopter warms the heart. He reassures that Colton will be okay because of the care by …

Stella (and August)

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Though her choice to go hiking without a fully charged phone and battery pack is the opposite of a good one, her consistent care of Colton is admirable. She never leaves his side and helps him until he’s in the care of medical professionals. Violet is amazing as the 'worried yet forcing herself to be calm' Stella. The reunion between her and Trey when he comes to the rescue is magical; the surprise and utter relief on her face makes the moment. August also has a choice - go be with friends, or go find his sister. He chooses the latter. And though he falls into trouble himself, the information he gives is vital for Stella and Colton to be found by …

Liam

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If Trey was the hero of the hour, Liam definitely had the most eventful episode. His first decision was deciding, at new boyfriend Ben’s urging, to depose the Davidsons. At first, it seemed to do nothing more than bar Bonham from working in his family’s land, however, it actually bears fruit. One is Denise’s slip up, saying “cut the saddle” when Liam said “tamper with” even before the knife was brought up. Two is her trying to cast the suspicion onto Dan, who is angered by this enough to tell the Walkers. Liam also is the first to find Stella and Colton, and has the idea to call in the rescuers. He chooses to put his feelings aside and express regret for punching Dan at their first meeting. He even makes sure to thank Dan for all his help. And when it comes to his love life, he chooses to go farther with Ben, and they kiss. But that gets interrupted by his parents and a major revelation by …

Dan

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His character arc over the course of the episode was nothing short of mesmerizing. Dave Annable plays Dan well as both a maddening jerk and a sympathetic ne’er do well trying his best. The audience went from cursing his name to reluctantly cheering for him at the end of the episode and it’s all because of his choices. When Liam comes to confront them about the saddle, he chooses to be a typical antagonist, goading Liam with his past failures. However, Dan doesn’t even hesitate to jump into rapids to save a drowning August. It doesn’t matter Auggie is a Walker. He’s a kid who needs help and Dan risks himself to come to his aid. He also saves Liam from making an impetuous choice to free-climb down to Stella and Colton. But, it was Dan's choice to confront Denise on her cheating in the race and revealing this to the Walkers that truly revealed his character, a person loyal to the wrong people - people who cast all the blame on him, not valuing all he’s done.  When push comes to shove, Dan longs to do the right thing.

“Search and Rescue” is an amazing episode of television, not just Walker, because it makes one feel. Who hasn’t been forced into a choice they would rather not make? Who doesn’t want to be rescued when their choice was the wrong one? Also? Helicopters are cool.

Austin Nichols makes the best use of his limited budget to provide maximum emotional impact. His choices bring chills and tears to those watching, providing a rare viewing experience.

There is the problem of the rapidly setting sun and nightfall. But let’s just chalk that up to an homage to the Supernatural episode of “Bugs” and forgive the creative license.

This episode also increases excitement for the two remaining episodes of the season. Overall a fantastic episode.

4.98 stars out of 5.

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