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Another solid episode, with some twists and things that made me say, “hmmm”. I have theories….

We start with breakfast at the ranch, where Abeline, Bonham and Auggie are talking about playing chess. (Is chess a metaphor? It’s been coming up a lot lately.) Liam shows up with paperwork for the horse therapy non-profit. Bonham is grouchy but says he’s okay with the nonprofit plan. Cordell is meeting with Julia. Bonham says he wants a family meeting. 

Cordell shows the box with the unusual cans of water to Julia, and says it’s classic psy-ops to psych him out. She says it means that Gray Flag is coming after Cordell. Julia also thinks there’s a mole in the Rangers. 

Capt. James calls in Cassie, Trey and Cordell. He’s pissed and rants about why everyone fails to follow orders. He accuses Trey of being insubordinate and sets him up for a DPS hearing. He says he knows Cordell and Cassie lied about looking in the evidence box. It didn’t compromise the evidence. Cordell doesn’t tell him about the package of water and note. 

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Later at the taco truck, Cordell says he’s never seen James like this. He tells Trey to talk to Liam about the DPS hearing, and they both tell Cassie not to cancel her date with Kevin.

Hmmm…Either this is really bad writing, or Capt. James has something up his sleeve. He’s behaving in a very out of character way, and after all the strings he pulled to get Trey into the Rangers and his talk about what Trey’s representation means, it seems very strange for him to be so quick to throw the book at him. Is this an elaborate set-up for the benefit of the mole? Or has Capt. James lost his mind?

Cordell meets with Julia at the Side Step. He hasn’t sent the box to the crime lab or told Trey or Cassie because he isn’t sure about the lab and doesn’t want anyone else to get hurt. He’s handling it off the books, so no one knows about it except them. 

I hope Julia is what she appears to be, but I don’t trust her. Could her captivity have been a plant to create a bond with Cordell when she’s really working for Gray Flag? I think there’s a long game being played and we don’t know all the players. (And I really hope she and Cordell don’t get romantically involved.)

Abeline and Bonham are doing dishes and talking. Bonham lists off everything that’s wrong. Abeline is angry that Bonham is pushing Cordell to move out, and says to leave the timing up to Cordell. I’ve got to wonder what Bonham’s hurry is, too. Hmmm…He’s more curmudgeonly than usual. Is he spooked about Abeline’s health, or are we going to find out his cancer is back? He sure isn’t doing a good job of bonding with either son, or the grandkids. 

Kevin and Cassie are on a date. He admits that he asked Ben for ideas she might like. Cassie wants to talk about Kevin—she researched him online and found nothing except a highly ‘curated’ Instagram. He said he had his internet history scrubbed like most people in politics, but that his life is an ‘open book’. Hmm….is he telling the truth? This could be a red herring to raise suspicion, or a clue that things aren’t what they seem. Cassie and Kevin talk about being workaholics, with single mothers who worked all the time to support them.

Julia tells Cordell that Gray Flag hasn’t been shut down—there is chatter on the Dark Web. Cordell accuses her of trying to drive a wedge between him and James. She says it’s clear that Gray Flag is regrouping and targeting Cordell in particular. She says that Gray Flag is obsessed with his time in the Marines. Cordell says that type of water was limited production, only given to Marines in their MREs during a short period of time. Julia thinks Gray Flag is run by a Marine, maybe one from his unit. Cordell says that the five of them were ‘like brothers’ and she reminds him that Cain and Abel were brothers, too. He gets angry and leaves.

Later, Julia comes to the house with donuts. Cordell says he’s trying to wrap his mind around being targeted by someone he formerly trusted from his old Special Ops Raider Team #3.

Cassie is at work and Kevin drops in. He says he heard a rumor about James being ‘on the warpath’. Trey told him about the DPS review. Kevin says that the mayor wants to honor them, but can’t do medals if they’re under review. Kevin can make it go away. He pulled strings to make it better. Cassie is angry that he meddled. Hmm…it does seem high-handed of Kevin, but he could be clueless. For a slick PR person, he doesn’t seem to understand relationships. Is he on the level, or playing games? 

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Trey comes by the ranch to talk to Liam. Bonham says he heard about the ‘tiff’ and Trey tells him that he loves being a Ranger, it’s where he belongs. Bonham says he has faith in him and believes it will turn out ok.

Julia and Cordell take a hard look at Cordell’s old Special Ops team. Two are dead. Of the three remaining, they all re-upped and Cordell lost touch with them. Turns out two more of those are also dead and one (Adams) is ‘location unknown’. 

No one shows up for the ‘family meeting’. Abeline asks Bonham what’s really wrong. Bonham says it’s not the ‘pretty picture’ he imagined. Hmmm….why is Bonham so understanding with Trey and so hard on his own sons? What was the big topic for the meeting? And why is he surprised no one wants to come and be yelled at? There’s something weird going on.

Liam and Stella are at the SideStep. He’s excited that getting the ranch reclassified for the horse rescue will save them big on taxes, which they can reinvest to make improvements, hire a therapist. He wants Stella to come in as a partner officially. 

Cordell and Julia find a link between Adams and an abandoned house. He fits the profile to have gone into an extremist group. Cordell wants to get backup, or a warrant, or probably cause, but Julia barges in. Adams jumps Cordell, but doesn’t try to hurt them. He calls Cordell ‘war hero’ and says he sent the drink package to warn him. Adams is trying to stay off the grid. He believes the others in their unit were killed despite other official explanations for their deaths. He says they were the victims of professional hits and that someone is hunting them.

Hmmm….I didn’t expect that twist. Is Adams telling the truth? Who can Cordell trust? And if there is someone from the past hunting them, have we had any clues as to why, or is this a completely new enemy? (Was there a link to North Side Nation? Or something linked back to Stan?)

Cordell is late to the DPS hearing, but Cassie is confident it will be okay. Instead, the review board votes to terminate Trey immediately. 

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Hmmm…How did Trey get cut after two reports of insubordination and Cordell didn’t? Why would James go hard against Trey after all he did to recruit him? Could it be that James is setting Trey up to be recruited by Gray Flag so they can get someone on the inside? If so, is Trey in on the set-up? Is there a mole, and is it Kevin? (There aren’t many other named characters for it to be, unless it’s someone we haven’t met yet.)

I’m going to give the writers the benefit of the doubt for now and believe this is all nefarious plotting and not bad writing. I hope I’m right! What do you think?

Find more of Gail's commentaries on her Writer's Page.

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