Cordell Walker is about to get a visit from his childhood bestie in this week’s episode of Walker. The tricky part is that said bestie, Hoyt Rawlins (Matt Barr), isn’t exactly going to make Walker’s life easier.

“What Hoyt Rawlins brings out is one of the themes that we’re trying to work with in Walker, which is: What does somebody do when they’re stuck between a rock and a hard place?” series star and executive producer Jared Padalecki tells EW. “Walker has known Hoyt for decades, they grew up together. Then Walker went his way and decided to be a lawman and Hoyt broke bad a little bit, so Walker’s in this position where there’s somebody that he loves and that he knows is a really good person, but he might be on the wrong side of the law.”

Thanks to Hoyt, Walker, who has already been given a warning on the job by his captain, will find himself in yet another tough spot. “Walker finds himself in a position of loving somebody like a brother, but his job would require him to punish him severely,” Padalecki says. “It’s a theme we keep going throughout the season and throughout the show, ultimately.”

One upside to Hoyt bringing a little drama to Walker’s life is maybe it will distract Walker from thinking about the death of his wife, Emily (Genevieve Padalecki). Last week, Walker’s two biggest questions — who closed Emily’s eyes and why she had a poker chip on her — were answered. So will he start to let that mystery go? “I think you could show Walker footage of Emily being shot and who shot her and he would still have questions,” Padalecki says. “Walker thinks he’s after vengeance, but I think he’s really after closure. He just doesn’t know it yet. He doesn’t know how to put it. Even if he gets the answers, it won’t really give him closure until he decides that it’s time to move forward and understand that something really awful happened and it’s okay to grieve. He was harping on certain little things, but the bigger issue is that Walker needs to learn that you don’t always have all the answers — and even if you do, it’s not going to make it go away. He will always be after more. They answered a few questions [last week] but they posed a few more.”

One thing we know for sure? Walker took a big step forward with his kids in the last episode, not only choosing where to live but finally reconnecting with Stella (Violet Brinson). “They are a little bit on the mend,” Padalecki says of the father-daughter relationship. “Anna [Fricke, the showrunner] and the writers have done such a wonderful job of making it feel real and heartfelt. You feel the love from Stella and you feel the love from Cordell, but you also feel like they’re grieving in parallel. They haven’t figured out just yet how to grieve together and how to support each other. He can’t see past his own pain just yet and she can’t see past her own pain just yet, so there’s another arc where they’re going to have to figure out how to grieve together and how to accept that they don’t grieve the same way.”

Walker airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT