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Duke is the fifth episode of the first season of The CW series Walker. It premiered on February 18, 2021.

Synopsis

WALKER’S PAST COMES BACK TO HAUNT HIM – When his past unexpectedly collides with his present life, Walker is forced to resume his undercover identity to keep his family safe. Micki gets caught up in Walker’s old case while August threatens to blow his father’s cover. Trey starts his new job.

Plot

SPOILERS AHEAD:

Four months earlier, a rodeo took place in Texas. Two cowboys compete to capture a bull, while two of his friends cheer him on. Cordell cleans up the bull pens but keeps an eye on the group. A man and woman, Jaxon and Crystal, approach one of the riders, Clint, with Jaxon reminding Clint that he has to be fresh and limber for gameday. Twyla strikes up a conversation with Cordell who has been working there for months. She’s a banker that’s a regular at the rodeo and he loudly boasts that he could beat Clint’s time. Clint accepts the challenge but raises that Cordell should ride the bull for ten seconds or go home, to which he up's it to eleven and accepts the challenge. Twyla quietly whispers to him that the bull has a cracked rib so clamping his knees against the sides of the bull won’t work. He thanks her for her tip and mounts the bull.

In the present day, Cordell panics as he looks at the text that Twyla sent in response to August’s. He goes in the bathroom and submerges his head in a sink full of water, as Stella shouts for him to hurry as her team match for soccer is later that day. He passes his kids in the kitchen and lies that there’s a prison break so he has to leave town, with Stella asking if he’s still going to come to her game. He promises he will be but asks Stella to watch August who is grounded after the stunt he pulled, which confuses Stella. Cordell leaves for work.

Micki asks Trey if he’s ready for the game and he is, having prepared with the games, run and cleats. He had convinced Sacred Heart to give him the Director of Sports Medicine job. As they talk he admits to having looked into Vegas flights as he wants Micki to meet his mom, who wants to know the “particulars” of his life. Micki is on edge about meeting his mother as her relationship with her mother, a doctor Adriana Ramirez, isn’t keen. They argue for a moment but she stops herself from leaving, and apologizes for snapping at him as she just needs more time to process which he’s okay with.

Cordell stops in the middle of the road to change out of his Ranger attire and into “Duke Culpepper”, reminding himself of the undercover rules. At the Ranger station, Micki meets with Captain James, Liam, and FBI agent Tessa Graves. The meeting is in regards to Walker’s undercover assignment, “Operation: Watch the Throne”. Agent Graves is disgruntled that the op took him 10-months to complete. Larry explains that out of a 92-person traveling rodeo, Walker was tasked with identifying who was connected to the Rodeo Kings operation. He successfully identified four people, Clint West the show horse, Crystal West the wheelwoman, Jaxon Davis who had broken his leg which Walker used as his in, and Twyla Jean.

Cordell had an intimate relationship with Twyla, who worked at the banks which were robbed. Liam didn’t want to put Cordell on the stand to testify against her, as that would put the entire Walker family at risk, so Twyla was released. On the last Rodeo Kings job, 300K disappeared with Graves implying that Walker stole it as he was the last to see it. Micki and James try to defend Walker, but Graves retorts that Walker went dark for long periods of time and recently contacted Twyla. She thinks the pair are making a run for the missing money. She pulls up the CCTV footage of the motel, which shows Walker pulling into the parking lot.

He takes a swig of alcohol, spins a revolver shut, and heads into the motel. Micki wonders if anyone asked Walker about the situation, but Liam reminds her that Twyla is in the same town as Walker’s family and his kids would be at risk if they approached him. He thinks Walker is trying to get Twyla out of Austin, as he would never return to be Duke as he hated who had to be. Graves isn’t convinced which leads to bickering between Liam and Graves, as Graves is certain that Walker is dirty. Micki doesn’t like that their only options are to wait for the footage to free him or indict him, so she proposes a different idea. At the motel, Twyla greets Walker and pulls him into the room seductively.

They make out but he stops her before things go too far, claiming as he’s out on bail and can’t be seen together. She reminds him that he texted her and he has a tab at the front desk to pay, as he should have enough money to cover it with their missing 300K. He doesn’t have the money even though she thinks he does as he and Crystal were the last to see it. She tells him that the bank did an audit of the Rodeo King jobs, as part of an intel sharing agreement with the feds. She thinks someone has been tailing her lately. She needs to leave but doesn't have money. He tries to convince her that they both need to leave ASAP, but she reminds him that he reached out to her so he must have an idea of where the money is. They hug as he insists that he doesn’t have the money or know where it is. He invites her to have food and drinks.

Ruby stops by the Walker ranch to get August for their project, but he’s preoccupied with his father’s box. He thinks the evidence box is his fathers go-box which is lighter than before. She is confused if this is about the photo, but he thinks the woman is Cordell’s excuse to leave again. Ruby doubts that Cordell would want to leave as he just got back, but August is convinced his father is about to bolt again. Ruby suggests finding answers and confronting Cordell themselves.

Cordell and Twyla have drinks and food at a bar, reminiscing about the old bar the group used to attend. Twyla plays a song on the jukebox and insists Cordell dance with her. She admits to thinking about the first thing she’d say when she heard from him. In a flashback, Twyla and Cordell watch the rodeo practice while sitting on bleachers and drinking. He’s dumbfounded about the way Twyla befriended Clint; he robbed her point blank so she followed him to a bar to become friends with him. She asks about his past to which he explains that he lost someone, his brother, and had to leave Tucson. They were best friends and rode circuits together and wing-manned together. He claims that Twyla and the bull are the only thing that holds a candle to his brother. In the present, they finish dancing and return to a back table while Micki watches while drinking a beer. She tells James and Graves that Jaxon is there with a gun and approaching from behind. She disobeys the order to stand down by following Jaxon and taking his gun from his holster and placing it on the table. She feigns being Duke’s backup, an “old buddy” named Adriana. She insists everyone put their piece on the table which they abide by. She then takes a seat and eats the appetizer on the table much to Cordell’s annoyance.

At Sacred Heart, the soccer team is preparing for their team match with Stella noticing that Cordell still isn’t there. Coach Bobby introduces the team to their new assistant coach, Trey Barnett. Trey introduces himself and his former job in the North Horn of Africa, slyly stating that he expects that kind of excellence from the students. He proceeds to give them a pep talk with a “trample the Titans” chant. Stella wanders to the field distracted, but tells Trey she’ll work out her issue on the field.

In the bar, Cordell covers the guns with a napkin and confronts Twyla about lying that she was the only one involved. Jaxon interjects that it’s an “us” thing and knows that Duke has the 300K as he was the last to be seen with Crystal. He believes that Duke owes them 300K and he’s not leaving until he gets it. He doesn’t care how long he has to stay in Austin. Micki recommends using the crew to pull off a final bank job, with Twyla interjecting that Duke never mentioned Adriana before. Micki brushes it off but Twyla asks who Duke’s best friend is, causing Larry and Graves to panic for a moment. Micki guesses correctly that it's Hoyt Rawlins, who is back in lockup again. Cordell recommends using Adriana as the wheelwoman for The Kyle Job, which Jaxon explains that it’s the last case that Clint prepped and cased before he was popped. They realize that the only option is for them to pull off the Kyle job, though Jaxon insists that Adriana has to do one thing before she can be a Rodeo King.

Graves is impressed by Micki, though James proudly states that is just what she does. They plan to build the rest of their case so they can put away the final two Rodeo Kings, as all they need is for them to step one foot on the bank property. Larry asks a distracted Liam if he’s coming, though the mention of “one foot” triggers a memory for him.

In a flashback, Liam receives an urgent text from Cordell who is still undercover with the Rodeo Kings. He requests to meet in the back room of a bar, Annuziata’s. Crystal is on-stage singing while Cordell, Twyla, Clint, and Jaxon watch from a table up-front. Cordell and Twyla appear intimately attached. Clint joins Twyla on-stage to sing. Liam waits in the backroom when a flustered Cordell suddenly appears, locks the door, and slides a table in front of it. Liam tries to talk to Cordell but he’s side-tracked. He takes off his hat, out his gun, puts his drink down, and plunges his face into a sink full of water, claiming that it helps him transition from one persona to another. He doesn’t have much time to explain, so he begs Liam to tell James to make the arrests tonight because Clint and Crystal will go down shooting. He tries to leave but Liam stops him, reminding his brother that arresting them tonight won’t be worth it. He needs them to step one foot on marble so they can put them away, labelling them as murderers. He assures Cordell that Graves and James have his back, then picks up Cordell’s revolver. He notices that there is only one bullet in the chamber, but before giving it back, reminds his brother that he needs one day and one foot. In the present, Graves asks Liam if he’s coming or not to which Liam shakily follows them out.

Micki and Walker arrive at an abandoned lot where she confronts him about going back undercover without telling her. He knows that Graves is involved in the investigation and speaks into Micki’s earpiece, wondering if Graves still thinks he’s dirty. The partners continue to talk until they reach the interior of the lot, where Twyla and Jaxon are waiting for them. In order for Micki to take part in the operation, she has to ride a bull for ten seconds. She successfully rides the mechanical bull for just over fifteen seconds, beating Walker’s time. Walker notices an unfamiliar car that Twyla tells Walker isn’t with them, but she’s paranoid it’s an FBI tail. Walker approaches the car with his revolver drawn behind his back, only to be stunned when the passengers are August and Ruby.

Cordell anxiously tells August to leave with Ruby interjecting that August just wants to talk. Twyla asks from afar what’s going on. Cordell quickly tries to convince August to leave but the boy won't’ see reason, as he believes Cordell is going to leave town with Twyla Jean. Despite Cordell’s protests for August to go home, the boy tries to push that he will confront Twyla about what his father is leaving behind. Twyla begins to approach them, making Cordell yell at August to leave. The boy tearfully admits that if he ever sees this man again it’ll be too soon. The teens leave with Cordell lying to Twyla that they were just random kids trespassing.

Stella runs sprints on the field after their loss, with Trey knowing that her heart wasn’t on the field. He tries to get her to open up but she only has sarcasm for him. He offers to run sprints with her, but before they can start she tells him that her mom was a big deal in college soccer. Her dad never missed a game at U.T., but he was gone last year which is why Stella started playing soccer. She thought it would bring her dad back, but it didn’t. Trey is sorry her father is absent, but advises that she figure out who she's playing for - her dad or herself.

The crew goes to Jaxon’s weapons cache where Walker sees the large amounts of bullets and weaponry. Jaxon reminds Walker of what Clint used to say about going big or going home. In a flashback, Clint and the Rodeo Kings rob their final bank. Things quickly get out of hand as Clint shoots at the police and feds who fire back, successfully wounding Clint who hides. Crystal is wounded badly but he still wants her to make the drive but Walker warns that she’s already lost a lot of blood. Clint and Crystal refuse to leave without the money, with Clint ready to go out in a blaze of glory. Walker helps Crystal to the car where he tries to convince her to wave a white flag but she refuses, but tells him that she and Clint will always have one last dance. The Rangers and feds arrive as Crystal speeds off, leaving “Duke” to be arrested by Agent Grave and Larry James.

In the present, Walker realizes what Crystal’s parting words mean, piecing together that the money is stashed in the jukebox at Annunziata’s bar. He is happy they don’t need to rob the bank since the bar is closed today. Twyla knocks Jaxon out with the blunt of her weapon, then instructs Walker and Micki to get on the ground after kicking their weapons away. She tells them to count down from 50 while she leaves to get the money. When Twyla leaves, Micki expresses her absolute annoyance that Walker has to talk even when he doesn’t have too. He got excited about having an out but she reminds him that they just got robbed by robbers. He realizes that August never wanted to see Duke again so he’s going to give his boy what he wants. They gather their weapons and leave.

Twyla pries open the jukebox and finds the duffel of money just as Walker arrives. He invites her to dance to the rest of the song, though she holds a gun to his ribs as they dance. She tells him that she thought it would be them splitting Jaxon’s share, but it’s too late as she can’t shake the feeling that he’s never going to let her in. The song ends just as Captain James arrives and together, the two Ranges and Walker chase Twyla out of the bar. The feds arrive with Graves cutting off Twyla for James to arrest her. Walker continues to run despite the feds and Rangers having guns pointed at him. Walker calls to Twyla that they have to go big, and points a gun at Graves who shoots him twice in the chest. Walker falls face-first into the pool while Twyla is taken into arrest. Liam rushes over to the pool side as Walker emerges from the water with Liam helping him recover from the incident. He tells Walker that it’s over as Duke is dead.

The Rangers and FBI convene in the motel parking lot with Graves walking over Walker. She thinks he’s clean in this case but is glad they were able to get the money and arrest the rest of the Rodeo Kings. She doesn’t plan to arrest him tonight. Liam walks over as she leaves and apologizes for not arresting the crew when Walker told him. He blames himself for the deaths of the people in the bank, but Walker reminds him that the bodies are on Clint and not Liam. He never wants his brother to forget that, and Walker hugs his brother.

Liam visits James in his office to confront him about the drone footage from the night Emily died. They both know something is off with her murder.

Trey comes home to find her still dressed as Adriana. He tells her that his new job is weird as it’s more meaningful than he thought it would be. She gives him a sketch she made of him on the soccer field, telling him that she would like to meet his mother. She associates mothers with feeling small as that’s how her mother, Adriana, made her feel. Trey holds Micki’s waist assuring her that his mother, Tina, doesn’t make her feel that way. They continue to flirt happily.

Walker comes back to the ranch house to find his evidence box and August at the table. He tells his father that if he’s leaving he needs to tell Stella himself. She emerges with Emily’s jersey as she plans to change her jersey number to hers. He apologizes to both of them but assures August that he isn’t leaving and it breaks his heart that he thinks it would. He explains to Stella that August followed him which was impressive as a recon op but dangerous. He yelled at August to get him away but didn’t mean a word of it, though August presses that he meant what he said. Cordell assures him that it’s over and that Duke is over because of August. Nothing will ever keep him away again. He wants to cremate Duke by burning all of Duke’s belongings. He tosses the matches to August and the family goes outside. August asks what Duke was like, to which Cordell explains that he pretended a lot to be happy, to feel whole, and to be in love. Stella relates to the feeling of pretending and Cordell hugs her. August burns the box of Duke’s belongings in the fire pit, with Cordell putting his arms around his kids as they watch the box burn.

Cast

Starring

Guest Starring

  • Austin Nichols as Clint West
  • Karissa Lee Staples as Twyla Jean
  • Madelyn Kientz as Ruby
  • Rebekah Graf as Crystal West
  • Blythe Howard as Tessa Graves
  • Clayton Froning as Jaxon Davis

Co-Starring

  • Andre Martin as Coach Bobby
  • Nicolas Garza as Karaoke Singer

Trivia

  • A two-week hiatus takes place between Duke and "Bar None".
  • The episode title "Duke" refers to Cordell's undercover alias Duke Culpepper.

Quotes

Micki: "So, you know. Has anyone asked Walker his side of things?"
Liam: "His side? This woman is in the town where his family lives, where someone can make him at any moment and his kids would be at risk. He's trying to get her out of Austin. You know, if he's gone back under, it's as a last resort because Cordell hated who he had to become as Duke."
Twyla to Walker: "What about you? Why is it the only time I've ever seen you happy is when you're on top of a bull?"
Twyla: "It's every girl's dream to be compared to a dead guy and a bull."

Gallery

Promotional

Videos

Screencaps


Behind the Scenes

References

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