Through changes in network ownership and various entertainment industry strikes, it’s been some time since Walker was on the air with new episodes on The CW, but the wait is finally over. The reimagining of Chuck Norris’ 1993 series, Walker, Texas Ranger, returns for its fourth season this April. It ups the ante for veteran Texas Ranger Cordell Walker (Jared Padalecki) while keeping sight of its growing ensemble cast, and the family drama they regularly face. Season 4’s premiere episode, “The Quiet,” is a good example of what the show does overall. Its focus on family to wacky action beats that keep the audience invested.

With its larger episode orders where not every subplot or installment deals with the overarching narrative, Walker exemplifies an era of television that feels like it’s rapidly disappearing from the American broadcast landscape. This isn’t to say that the Season 4 premiere is flawless, but it’s perfect for what Walker usually does and aims for. The show finally found its voice, and is confidently striding forward. Walker fans will find plenty to like in Season 4’s premiere and Walker’s long-awaited return from an 11-month hiatus.

The Quiet Hints at Darker Things To Come

Walker Season 4 might be the series’ darkest arc yet

Walker appears to have finally moved past the murder of his wife, Emily, at the start of the series. This, unsurprisingly, intensified his serious romance with his longtime friend, Geri Broussard, while also taking care of his family. Walker’s eldest child, Stella, is haunted by the shooting incident she was involved in during the Season 3 finale. She’s guided by Walker’s younger brother, Liam, on the legal issues surrounding it. Despite this, the future is looking bright for the Walker family. They narrowly regained their family ranch from their bitter rivals, the Davidson family, and resolved the long-standing feud between them for good.

However, there are signs that things will get darker and deadlier for the Walker family and the Texas Rangers in Season 4 — especially for Walker’s superior officer, Captain Larry James. The Season 3 finale revealed that The Jackal, a serial killer who deeply traumatized James and caused the initial implosion of his marriage, was back on the loose. This, despite the fact that The Jackal was supposedly killed years ago.

The Jackal’s return will be further explored in Season 4 and signals that things won’t be all sunshine and family fun nights for the Walker family. It also gives the rest of the Rangers an especially twisted test of their skills.

The Quiet Gave Walker’s Cast Their Time To Shine

Walker Season 4 focused more on human drama than high stakes and crime

Jared Padalecki started his run as Walker on the worst day of the Texas Ranger’s life. Specifically, with Emily’s murder. This was an incident that haunted him for most of the first season. The series delved into the trauma Walker endured while serving as a U.S. Marine in Afghanistan 20 years prior to the series’ start, along with the torture he endured in Season 3.

Suffice to say, Walker was a conflicted individual throughout most of the series’ run. It’s nice to see a more lighthearted and recklessly fun Walker in “The Quiet,” even if audiences know that he can get serious again at the turn of a dime when needed.

The Season 4 premiere focused on Walker and the Texas Rangers. Jeff Pierre and Coby Bell shined as an effective law enforcement team alongside Walker on the job. Ashley Reyes stepped up in a big way as Walker’s partner, Cassie Perez. The rest of the cast, including Violet Brinson as Stella and Keegan Allen as Liam, get more material to work with than they did before. However, Walker’s family drama is largely relegated to the sidelines, at least for Season 4’s opening.

Still, it’s good to see the Walker family together again. Seeing them have fun or be emotional together felt like reuniting with old friends, and Season 4 will likely incorporate them more into its story as it progresses.

The Quiet Spiced up the Series’ Visual Formula

Walker Season 4 takes more creative risks than previous seasons did

Walker leaned heavier on the action in Season 4’s premiere than in most episodes, with the set pieces veering more towards freewheeling fun than the intensity that defined much of Season 3. This fits in with the underlying tone throughout “The Quiet,” and the main cast is visibly having fun dispatching the bad guys with perfunctory choreography without much by way of excessive brutality.

It’s in these sequences that Walker reminds savvy audiences that it’s still a CW show at heart. This, of course, means that it boasts family-friendly licensed music and villains’ conveniently empty warehouse hideouts.

“The Quiet” also experimented with its cinematography in ways that Walker didn’t in seasons past. The premiere employed different visuals to demarcate flashbacks and other breaks from the norm. The season premiere still plays it safe for the most part, but these brief visual quirks give it personality and perhaps signal a willingness to mix things up stylistically in the future.

To be clear, these moments aren’t huge deviations from The CW’s usual in-house style, but they do add some flair and are a welcome change of pace for the normally straightforward drama. Hopefully, Walker will lean into these creative flourishes more as Season 4 progresses.

The Quiet Never Lost Sight of the Series’ Best Aspects

Walker Season 4 continues to focus on Walker and his family

Ever since its first season, Walker was fueled by a roller coaster of changing tones and stakes. Its plot twists often came out of nowhere and gave viewers severe tonal whiplash. That remains true in “The Quiet,” which has the characters embroiled in tense and emotional conversations regarding serial killers before suddenly segueing into jovial family eating contests. This certainly isn’t unprecedented for Walker, but it remains a somewhat amusing mishmash of moods. The Season 4 premiere also tried to cram as much narrative as it could within its 42-minute runtime.

What’s interesting about Walker is how it handles its large ensemble cast which, apart from the departure of Micki Ramirez in the middle of Season 2, hasn’t seen an enormous amount of turnover going into Season 4. Most of Season 3’s principal actors are back for the latest batch of episodes. There are several exceptions, at least as far as “The Quiet” is concerned. The episode also kept most of the show’s supporting players on the periphery for now.

Walker’s core strength was always Walker and his family. Hopefully, Season 4 won’t lose sight of this, especially with the ongoing serial killer storyline. But given the show’s history and how it always kept the Walker family’s dynamic front and center, this is a mistake that Season 4 is unlikely to make.

The Quiet Is a Warm & Welcome Return to Walker’s Comforts

Walker Season 4 is just as good and consistent as the previous seasons

Walker Season 4 is a welcome return for the series, especially given the amount of turnover in programming The CW has been experiencing since Season 3. This, unfortunately, includes the cancelation of the planned prequel, Walker: Independence. Because of this, Walker is now something of a happy constant on the network, along with All-American and the upcoming final season of Superman and Lois.

As The CW continues to change its business strategy for television and streaming, playing it safe is a smart move for Walker. “The Quiet” maintained the series’ warm and inviting quality rather than straying too far from its comfort zone. Although there are some thrills to be had, it doesn’t keep viewers waiting tensely on their toes the way other similar shows do.

As Western family dramas go, Walker stands as the anti-Yellowstone. It celebrates the family unit and possibilities of the American West rather than the more mature and violent sensibilities that carry Yellowstone. Walker and his family and friends finally have a bright, happy start after starting the series with so much tragedy. With this season premiere, their happiness definitely feels earned. Simply put, it’s great to see Walker back in the saddle again and ready to take on whatever challenges come to him and fellow Rangers next as Season 4 begins.


By Ivaylo Angelov

Ivaylo Angelov born in Bulgaria, Varna graduated School Geo Milev is Tvserieswelove's Soaps Editor and oversees all of the section's news, features, spoilers and interviews.