‘Walker’ Boss Previews Take on ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ — Watch Sneak Peeks (VIDEO)

‘Walker’ Boss Previews Take on ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ — Watch Sneak Peeks (VIDEO)

‘Walker’ Boss Previews Take on ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ — Watch Sneak Peeks (VIDEO)

As Walker winds its way toward the series finale, one thing is certain: This show has pulled off some major moves. Not only did it take a musty old series and give it a nice coat of new saddle polish, it also gave The CW some of its best ratings and granted series star Jared Padalecki and showrunner Anna Fricke the chance to assemble a cast that has won the hearts of #WalkerFam fans across the planet.

And now, Fricke—in her directorial debut—gets to reconvene some of those actors who have come and gone from the show for an unconventional, deeply emotional, and ultimately pivotal episode that’s like no Walker we’ve ever seen. Picking up on last week’s cliffhanger, which saw Padalecki’s Cordi awakening from being abducted by the Jackal and seeing his late wife Emily (Genevieve Padalecki), “Let’s Go, Let’s Go” offers us a peek at a life possibly unlived…or possibly the one that could still be. Here Fricke shares her experience crafting this creative and often heartbreaking episode and why it is so close to heart. Plus, watch exclusive sneak peeks above and below.

Congratulations. How is this your director debut? How did this just happen?

Anna Fricke: How did it just happen? How did it take this long? You know what, I have no good answer for that, aside from for years, I was always like, “Oh no, I could never do that!” “I don’t know how to do that!” and “I couldn’t do that.” It wasn’t until actually a friend of mine, a fellow female writer and showrunner was like, “Well, why not?!”


And she’s like, “Guys go in all the time and dunno what they’re doing. They do it!”

Actors do it all the time.

[Laughs] I know! And I think when she said that, it was just such a wake-up call that I decided to do it. And it was very scary, but I decided I just wanted to put myself out there and do hard things. But it took me this long, so thank God I did it.

And you not only did it, you literally picked probably the hardest episode to do because this is so outside of the box from every episode of Walker.

Yes. Yeah. It’s a weird one, right?

I’m getting shades of a little bit of It’s a Wonderful Life and also Our Town, Act 3.

Yes, yes. It’s all those things! It’s all those things. It is, on the one hand, very outside of the Walker box, but I think because I also wrote it, I was just very connected to it and I knew exactly how I wanted it to be and the feeling I was going for. And everyone was just so incredibly supportive. They really helped me get there, which was amazing. I love those references though.

Since you wrote and directed it, what do you want viewers to know about the episode going in, so we don’t spoil anything?

Wow, that’s rough. Well, I think it’s no secret coming off of Episode 10 that Walker has been taken. That second when he says, “Emily,” it’s like, well, Emily’s dead, so what’s going on? And I think that the peril is really, “Are they going to save him?” But I think that this episode is sort of a culmination of everything Walker has been running from mentally, not only this season, but I’d say for the duration of the series, since the loss of his wife. This is the episode that’s dealing with a lot of those feelings that he’s been stuffing down as he throws himself into work, which was always his fatal flaw.

To get to play in that kind of emotional sandbox, to bring back Matt Barr as Hoyt, to bring back Gen Padalecki as Emily, to get to flesh out “what could have been” must been so exciting.

I have to say, it was a ton of fun, and I felt almost guilty even in the writing process of this, because I gave myself all the toys. [Laughs] And while I learned so much and had such a blast directing, I did feel sometimes I was getting away with something. When you put those people on the screen, it’s just kind of magical. And especially with Matt and Jared, it was very easy in a way to just be like, “Well, what are the conversations they never got to have?” And to watch that bromance and to have moments…just also to show moments between characters who never got to be together, it was really exciting and that sort of made the whole process easy. Because just seeing two characters hug each other who had never been able to touch before on the show, that was exciting.

Jared Padalecki as Cordell Walker and Genevieve Padalecki as Emily Walker in Walker

Rebecca Brenneman/The CW

Aside from a few flashbacks, we never got to see much of Emily and Geri (Odette Annable) as friends, on their own. Here, we do get to see what their friendship would’ve been going forward and it is so interesting because you feel, even in just 42 minutes, that they would have aged into that place of ease and comfort of just knowing each other like sisters.

Yes! I really wanted to show that because we did never get to see that. It was always the four of them—Emily and Walker and Hoyt and Geri—and I think it’s something people forget, that there was this great friendship between the two women, which was really important to me. There’s this small moment where everyone’s greeting each other and Geri says “I never get to say how much I miss you,” which was supposed to obviously have kind of a double meeting. But it was really important to me to show that bond between them and also the ease that they have. A lot of that is just because of how this cast gets along. These are people who actually enjoy each other outside of work and do hang out and do have that bond. So again, easy. I didn’t have to do anything.

When you wrote and directed this, was the fate of the show already decided?

No, it wasn’t. We didn’t know. I mean, I will say on a very personal note, I was grieving at the time of writing this…I lost a parent. And honestly, this episode was my process, and really, I worked through a lot just going through it. And so it’s super personal and that kind of opened up a lot of the episode for me.

I am so sorry to hear that. That explains why what this episode so sensitively handles certain themes from a lot of different angles…as a child, as a parent, as a friend, all of those things.

Yes, exactly. Yeah, it was very therapeutic, I have to say.

Now, on top of all of this, you have “the Stetson friends,” as Hoyt calls them. And that storyline is extremely tense because they’re racing the clock to find Walker, and we have no idea where he could be.

Yes. That was fun. When we were designing the look of the episode with the lighting, we called that “Ranger reality” versus “Walker’s Dream.” We really wanted them to look different and feel different. And so yeah, the Stetson friends, everything was very frantic and tense in those sequences.

 Jeff Pierre as Trey Barnett in 'Walker' Season 4 Episode 11 "Let's Go, Lets Go"

Rebecca Brenneman/The CW

I am so glad you were able to get Justin Johnson Cortez on the show. He was so damn good on Independence.

Yes, yes. He really has an incredible presence. And I don’t let go of people very easily.

So where do you see this episode spinning the rest of this crew forward? Because you do have to tie some things up and this episode shakes things up for various characters.

We do. This episode is really about Walker. I mean, it is It’s a Wonderful Life. It is exactly that. It’s sort of George Bailey having his realizations about everything he’s been missing out on and what he needs to do moving forward. So by the end of this episode for everyone…just starting with Walker, it’s the realizations he has coming out of this, “I have to say this to this person,”  “I need to make this connection,” and “I can’t waste any more time.” So it’s really about that for him. And then what it sets off with everyone else in the family is a sort of closure, too, because some people have just been waiting around for Walker to wake up and to have those realizations.

You have the line “Don’t be sad, it’s over. Be glad it happened” in this hour and honestly, that applies to the show, too. You had four great seasons, great characters—you basically reinvented a show that I don’t think anyone would’ve touched—and it’s been a beautiful, beautiful ride. You did what you set out to do. You told a great family story with a lot of adventure.

Yes. That is what I wanted to do. And the connection that this cast and crew and this group of writers have made is forever. We had a gathering the other night, saying exactly that. And like I just said about Justin, it’s like, I don’t let go of people. These are all people who will work together again and keep collaborating and the friendships are forever, and we feel really proud of what we’ve done.

Walker, Wednesdays, 8/7c, The CW

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