Hallmark’s new family drama finished its first season run, and it was a season full of ups and downs.
Ride Season 1 delivered dramatic television due to emotional storylines, character arcs, and dynamic relationships.
While the series quickly became a favorite, it still had some flaws, and in our report card, we examine some of its strengths and how it can improve if it gets a Season 2.
Best Episode: Ride Season 1 Episode 9, "Truths Laid Bare"
While several episodes showcased the theme of family and unconditional love, none featured it better than “Truths Laid Bare.”
After her mom died, Valeria felt unsafe at home, and Isabel and the rest of the McMurrays provided her with a safety net.
Learning the truth about Valeria was just the beginning.
The McMurrays were shocked to learn that Austin had a gambling problem and that Tucker blackmailed him into throwing races right before he died.
Learning all this information was enough for Cash to spiral emotionally, and when he did that, he often thought with his fists first and his brain second.
Worst Episode: Ride Season 1 Episode 6, "Your Cheating Heart"
During “Your Cheating Heart,” it seemed like Missy shared with everyone how she met the mysterious Polly, leading to repetitive scenes.
It would have been more dramatic if they focused on how Missy processed the information better. Show us versus telling us.
The best part of this episode was seeing everyone perform at a mini-rodeo at the ranch. We hadn’t seen Valeria do any barrel racing before that.
It was disappointing that the McMurrays had to show Daniel Booker that ranching and rodeo were more about making money and it was a way of life.
Best Character Development: Valeria Galindo
Valeria was the most layered and complex character of the series. Viewers were guessing why she helped Austin since Ride Season 1 Episode 1 and what secrets she was hiding.
No one would have guessed that her father owned some expensive hotels or why she ran away from her dad and stepmom. Valeria had been running since she was a teenager, so she hadn’t learned to trust people.
However, Valeria wanted to repay the McMurrays for taking her in, so she was willing to risk everything and pay off Austin’s debts. She let people think she was the troublemaker instead.
Most Frustrating Character Development: Missy McMurray
Missy was the least dramatic person on the show. She’s always helping people instead of thinking of her dreams and needs. Her mother, Connie, hit the nail on the head with that one.
Missy was painted as naïve most of the season since she constantly defended Austin and his love for her until she learned he cheated at bull riding. It hit her like a ton of bricks when she realized how little she knew about him.
Missy gave up trick riding to help coach Austin and be a dutiful wife. After he died, she coached Cash to a win. It’s time for Missy to focus on herself and not just be an extension of a man.
Most Inspirational Character: Isabel McMurray
Isabel McMurray believed she could do it all – run the ranch and raise a family. If anyone got in her way, they better watch out. She was a force to be reckoned with. She was tough and fierce.
From the end of Ride Season 1 Episode 1, Isabel was determined to save the ranch with Missy and Valeria’s help.
Isabel was often too proud to ask for help, and in many ways, Missy and Tuff took after her since they also helped everyone else without thinking of themselves.
It was sweet remembering Dusty and Austin through McMurray Stadium, though I wished it had been Isabel’s idea to honor her family. The locals respected the McMurray name and would have backed her.
Best Storyline: Finding Answers to Austin’s Past
It was a stroke of genius killing off the eldest son within the first ten minutes of Ride Season 1 Episode 1, making it seem like he had skeletons in his closet. It even seemed he had disappeared instead of died for a while.
Austin had so many secrets, like why Valeria was the only one who could help him and how he knew Polly. Did Polly and his secret son Wyatt play into why he needed money desperately?
This story worked because the series sprinkled hints about Austin’s past or relationships throughout the episodes to keep us guessing. Hopefully, Marcus Rosner will return for more flashbacks of Austin if Ride is renewed for a Season 2.
The storyline that Dragged on Too Long: McMurray Stadium
In theory, Isabel creating a rodeo stadium in Canyon and showcasing Dusty’s and Austin’s memorabilia to honor them sounded like a good idea.
However, Hank bringing it up, always reeked that he had a hidden agenda, especially asking the Bookers for funding. The locals wanted nothing to do with Daniel Booker and only trusted Isabel’s word.
That was the time to raise the money as a community, especially when he wanted to name the stadium after himself, not the legendary McMurrays.
Hopefully, if they continue this storyline, the community will work together to raise the money, and we don’t have to see Daniel Booker again.
Best Couple: Cash and Missy
Cash and Missy had an undeniable connection with a forbidden love aspect since she was his brother’s widow.
In Ride Season 1 Episode 2, flashbacks showed that Cash was interested in Missy before Austin, but he stepped aside.
Both tried to date other people, but you could sense their connection when they sneaked smoldering looks at each other.
The two tried to fight their attraction but finally gave in to an angsty kiss in the Ride Season 1 finale. Missy was so confused because Cash had hidden his feelings for so long, and that upset her that he hadn’t been honest.
Most Surprising Dynamic: Tuff and Janine
Initially, Janine Hickson seemed like a snobby rich girl who tormented Tuff. However, in Ride Season 1 Episode 7, when she practiced with Tuff’s band, she found lyrics to an original song of his.
Ironically, she was the one to that pushed Tuff to sing his song, but they became more like family since Hank was an old family friend.
It was good for Tuff to have a fierce outspoken friend like Janine since she reminded his family that he had dreams and goals too. Besides Julian, she was the only one that recognized that.
Overall, Ride Season 1 was off to a great start and entertained us with dramatic storylines for most of the season.
Isabel, Valeria, and Missy dominated most of the season, showing their inner strength as they tackled some emotional material.
Both Beau Mirchoff and Jake Foy also tackled some tough topics as they learned some of the secrets of the past. The main lesson the McMurrays showed us was that love was unconditional, and once you’ve been accepted into it, you’ll always be family.
Why Ride Needs a Season 2
During Ride Season 1, the series developed the characters’ backstories and relationships well. Ride Season 1 Episode 9 and Ride Season 1 Episode 10 ended on several cliffhangers, including the McMurrays learning that Travis blackmailed Austin before he died and Cash faced a similar fate.
We need a Season 2 to learn why Austin struggled with gambling and what secrets Travis had over his head. The series needs to delve more into Austin’s history with Polly and see how the rest of the McMurrays react to learning that Wyatt is Austin’s son.
Every one of the main characters has more stories looming. Hopefully, Cash will get the upper hand and beat Travis at his own game. It’s time someone finally did after he threatened Austin, Valeria, and Cash.
While it’ll be interesting to meet Val’s family, hopefully, she’ll return to McMurray Ranch, knowing they love her unconditionally.
Lastly, we’d love to see Missy get more in-depth character analysis since most of Ride Season 1, she was stuck as Austin’s dutiful widow and Cash’s coach.
Let’s see her accomplish her own dreams as a trick rider.
Hopefully, Isabel and Hank find a different investor for McMurray Ranch since she’s one of the most respected people in the community.
Over to you, Ride Fanatics. What were your favorite moments of Season 1?
Why do you think Ride needs a Season 2?
We love to hear readers’ feedback, so comment below.
Laura Nowak is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on X.