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Tracker: Off the Books

"Hey, little brother."

Yes, I am reviewing the penultimate episode of a show that has not been covered here before. Trust me, there's a good reason.

Tracker follows Colter Shaw, a “rewardist” who travels the country looking for missing people and living off the reward money posted for their safe return. He only charges for his services if he’s successful, and has a small team to assist him. This includes Velma and Teddy, who send jobs Colter’s way and provides general support; Bobby, responsible for the kind of hacking and tech surveillance only possible in television; and Reenie, a lawyer who often bails Colter out of trouble.

Colter is very, very good at his job, mostly thanks to his upbringing. His parents, respected scientists and professors, suddenly uprooted the entire family (Colter, his sister, and his brother) to live completely off the grid. Basically, if you get lost in the woods, or if you’re running from a hitman hired by the Las Vegas casino that you robbed, he’s the one that you want looking for you.

Yes, that was the plot of one episode. The hitman was played by Peter Stormare. It was a lot of fun.

It’s a highly episodic show with really zero overarching story. Sure, there’s some drama over Colter’s dad and whether or not he was just some paranoid survivalist or if the government really was out to get him, but this was the penultimate episode and there’s really been zero movement or revelations on that front. I’m assuming this won’t change in the finale.

It’s a very fun show that is also one of the very few shows that my mom and I both watch and enjoy. We have very, very different tastes in media (she skews more Ghosts while I’m more From Dusk Till Dawn), so to have this and be able to talk about it together is something I really appreciate and enjoy.

So why am I reviewing this single episode? Simple. It has Jensen Ackles playing Dean Winchester – I mean, playing Russell Shaw, Colter’s older brother.

Okay, fine, I meant Dean Winchester. But in my defense, there were a lot of similarities and easter eggs for the Supernatural fan. Everything from the way he dressed and carried himself, to the conversations with his younger brother about their unconventional upbringing forced upon them by their father, to the attempts of flattery and flirtatious charm to talk his way into a small town morgue, to hearing him mutter “son of a bitch” in response to something that a character named Bobby just said over the phone… It just felt like home. And that’s without even considering what car he has.

Look, I’m not saying that Russell drives a black 1967 Chevy Impala but...

He definitely drives a black 1967 Chevy Impala.

So, honestly this episode was worth the watch just for this shot alone, and that’s probably a good thing considering that the actual missing person plot was one of their weaker ones. Russell asks Colter to help him find one of his old war buddies, Doug, who has mysteriously gone missing. The setup is great. We see Doug running from mysterious people in the cold open, and when the Shaw brothers go to talk to Doug’s wife, they learn that she was just mailed a severed finger.

The finger isn’t Doug’s, though. It belongs to a deceased drug addict, who had all of his fingers cut off pre-mortem. Seeing his hand was a great effect. It made me squirm a little, which isn’t always easy to do. (Although it’s definitely more graphic than this show usually gets.) But I was excited! Alright, we have four more missing fingers! Surely they’re going to be sent to other people! And then Russell mentioned that Doug had been really into blood magic and ritual stuff, which was even more exciting. It was shaping up to be a proper hunt.

Unfortunately, this is where the plot starts to get a little messy. It’s like they realized that they were skewing a bit too strongly into the Supernatural vibes and had to drastically reel it back. Instead of blood rituals and paranoia, it turned into your somewhat standard "Vengeful South American Gang Lord" plot, where Doug is being targeted in retaliation for the assassination of the gang lord's brother. Which is... fine? It led to a decent action scene with the brothers working together to rescue Doug. It just felt like it came out of left field and had very little to do with the preceding 30 minutes.

The ending also fell flat. Russell really just walked off to go kill a gang lord with no backup and a hurt arm? And then when Colter went to the motel, he was told that Russell had checked out a few days ago. But it wasn't clear if Colter went to the motel immediately or if he waited awhile first. It felt clumsy. Tracker isn't the most precise show, but it's usually better than that.

Despite the plot weaknesses, we still got a lot of time with the Shaw brothers interacting with each other. These were always the best scenes. There was an interesting tension between the brothers, given the fact that Colter spent the majority of his life convinced that Russell murdered their father by pushing him off a cliff. (Russell denies this, of course.) But even with that tension, there's still an ease in how they worked together. I also loved how Russell kept trying to flirt with Reenie, only for her to be completely uninterested.

Even if you've never seen it before, this episode is still worth a watch for the Supernatural fan. And hopefully if you enjoy it, you'll check out the others too. Tracker is a lot of fun without demanding too much mental energy. It's a perfect weekly watch. It's definitely my favorite network show that I've seen in awhile.

Random Thoughts

Jensen Ackles and Justin Hartley really do look a lot like brothers. Very good casting there.

Russell mentioned that his exit plan included a brewery. Jensen actually has a brewery himself.

Tracker is based on The Never Game, a book by Jeffery Deaver. I have not read it, or any of the other books in the series, so I can't speak towards its quality or accuracy as an adaptation.

Justin Hartley has already confirmed that Jensen will be back in season two. I can't wait. (And yes! We will get season two!)

I currently have no plans on reviewing any of the other episodes. This was just a special occasion.

An Honest Fangirl loves video games, horror movies, and superheroes, and occasionally manages to put words together in a coherent and pleasing manner.


  1. Fangirl, thanks so much -- this is a lot of fun. I watched it too and it really was like an unexpected Supernatural crossover, up to a point.

    Tracker is a fun show and I've always liked Hartley.

    1. I was not expecting to see Baby! I loved it.

      And yes, Hartley is a great lead! I haven't watched stuff with him, although I know he was on This is Us . He's very charming.

    2. Hartley was also Oliver Queen/Green Arrow for several seasons on Smallville, and of course Jensen was also on Smallville. I saw about half of the run of This Is Us; I'm not sure why I stopped watching.

      I just hope that this guest starring thing on Tracker works out better than Big Sky, a show that sort of fizzled out.

  2. I had considered watching this show anyway... hadn't got around to it yet. But of course, Jensen seals the deal! Although I must say even he couldn't save The Boys for me. I know, I know... so many people love it. I tried. I tried. But, just no.

    1. Heather, I pretty much watch The Boys while actively cringeing. :)


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