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Graceland 2×02 “Connects” Recap

Spoilers Ahead

Graceland has been exceptional so far, and if it continues this way viewers are in for a ride packed with both giddiness and heartbreak.

Episode Summary: Briggs goes to Mexico in order to meet with Caza leader Alfredo Armes to see if he has any information as to who sent the kidnappers after Mike. Charlie’s blaming herself for Juan’s death. Cassandra, the mother of Jakes’ son, gets a restraining order against him. Mike and Paige team up to bring down an N-Bomb lab. Tensions still run high at the house, but they’re now closer to taking down the drugs transporting buses.

Review | Analysis: At this point in the show, I’m concerned for the sanity of all these characters and the amount of lies flowing through their veins – and not even for their jobs, but their personal lives.

Briggs is that character I desperately want to love and respect, but for the time being, I cannot do so. Considering we’ve yet to learn about his motives with the Odin moniker, I would’ve been willing to let that one temporarily slide if he’d come clean about Juan’s murder to Charlie. After leaving her panicked and in the dark about his last minute trip to Mexico, she comes forth about her late night espionages and lets him in on the haunting guilt she’s feeling over not knowing Cortes was Jangles. She’s blaming herself for not seeing behind the façade, and believing that if she’d known, Juan wouldn’t have been killed by “Jangles” in the first place. This was Briggs’ opportune moment to come clean about what he’d done – at least to Charlie. Because this is the first time she’s expressed her guilt to him about the particular matter, his confession would’ve been a selfless form of release for her. At the end of the day, while murder is always awful, Briggs wasn’t aware of who he was killing. Juan shouldn’t have taken up the challenge himself and gone after Briggs without any backup – again, though the murder is inexcusable, seeing as how it was purely self-defense, it’s a tragic misunderstanding. While Charlie would’ve undoubtedly been upset and scarred at the reveal, knowing how ardently loving she is, in time she would’ve seen the reasoning and understood the complicated situation. She would’ve grown to forgive him. However, now that he’s blown that prime opportunity, there’s not an ounce of doubt in my mind that considering the tapes in the custody of an adult rather than children, it’s going to resurface and burn Briggs worse than anything else. While I understand the need for television drama, this is one of those situations that’s more upsetting than others because as I said, I really want to respect Briggs, even a little, but he’s making it extremely difficult with this scenario. And as though the lie wasn’t enough reason to be irritated with Briggs, let’s discuss his blossoming “friendship” with Juan’s widowed-wife Kelly Badillo (Brianna Brown). His intensions with her seem honorable to an extent – it’s entirely understandable that he’s attempting to make amends, but I can’t help but feel wrong about it simply due to the fact that he’s digging himself further into the hole of lies.

Since the pilot, Charlie’s a character I’ve always adored and respected. And so far in season two, she continues to remind me of all the reasons why she’s such an amazing character. The sole fact that she was honest with Briggs, even after she felt betrayed by him, is brilliant. Charlie’s the one character I’m worried most for right now seeing as how she couldn’t get through the mission they’d planned which is presumably a result from the emotional whirlwind she’s gone through. At the end of day I fear mostly for the intense reactions that she’ll have after everything’s out in the open. Additionally, after everything that’s occurred, the changes in her character are stemmed from this need to keep everyone protected from the kind of betrayal she’s gone through – thus Paul’s life possibly being on the line with Caza is a reasonable explanation for her to channel the amount of anger she’s had in her with Mike.

Jakes’ storyline this week has been the most heartbreaking. The sheer excitement in the man as he showed off the room to Briggs is everything I could’ve wanted from someone who rarely projected happiness last season. Jakes is that grumpy, yet adorable teddy bear with a prodigious amount of heart in him whose entire ordeal is realizing his fault and attempting to make amends. Normally, I refrain from judging characters we don’t know much backstory on, but from what we’ve seen there’s no part of me that could understand Cassandra’s doings. Viewers know enough about Jakes to see that above all things, he’s a loyal man who’d do anything to protect those he loves. He’s not a man who’s continuously charged with drunken or disorderly conducts, but a good man whose entire job is based on protecting others. While Jakes has never expressed loving Graceland like the others have, he certainly still does, but the realization that he needs to be in a better position for his son is enough for him to put everything aside and get a job that’s less dangerous. The way Cassandra and her boyfriend reacted to Jakes’ proposal with cops on the ready to force him to leave is the most disheartening thing one can do to their child’s father – especially if the man is perfectly capable of making a deal for joint custody or at least visitation hours once a week. However, it’s the pure look of anguish Brandon McLaren wore in his expression as Jakes walked into the room he’d set up for his son. To have him destroy the room with a baseball bat then sit in it and sob was enough to break every single heart on the planet. McLaren’s performance was fully packed with the right amount of emotions that made the scene physically and emotionally moving without doing too much to throw off what the scene visually represented. Jakes destroying the last bit of happiness he had left in him – the last bit of hope. And for a such a strong scene one can only imagine the kind of inner turmoil he’ll have within himself after tonight.

Here’s your weekly reminder that Johnny is the heart of Graceland and just when you think you can’t love him anymore than you already, he proves you wrong. His talk with Jakes made for an inspiring scene Graceland has needed since its season premiere. Jakes and Johnny’s dynamic hasn’t exactly been the most stable or friendly, but despite everything they’ve been through it’s always been evident that the men respect one another for who they are and what they individually stand for. Montana and McLaren have sublime chemistry – solo scenes or the ones together are always enjoyable as you could see the two actors make certain their character’s hearts are always bare even when they’re at each other’s throats/someone else’s. Their scene this week held a great amount of depth and even though Jakes was reluctant to receive a hug, he gave into it in a way where his care was evident, but he’s not going to do anything to show that. Which is fine because Grumpy never showed he cared either, but we all know how huge his heart is. Yes, I just compared Jakes to a cartoon character, but he’s most certainly a beloved one – just as I feel Jakes is. Lastly on Johnny, after Charlie was reluctant to pursue Salona Jr.’s assistant, it’s assumed that he went for it himself. And while he certainly won’t be harmed in next week’s episode, all I ask is that the boy be bubble wrapped and kept in a safe zone.

If you don’t want to be Paige Arkin or Charlie DeMarco when you grow up then chances are you’re lying to yourself. I can’t be the only one who’s marveling at how badass these women are after every single episode. Serinda Swan and Vanessa Ferlito are superlative in each scene they have and they must always be commended.

This week Paige got to shine again with her impeccable skillsets and overall strength as she held one man down with a gun and tackled the other. For four months now Paige has been trying to bring down an N-Bomb lab, and as she gets closer to completing her case, with Mike’s help, she’s able to learn that her partner was going to ditch her and sell on his own. Luckily she finds out what’s occurring before it’s too late and meets her partner anyway, threatens him and makes sure he knows he’s messed with the wrong woman. Television female characters today are written so distinctly that each of them bring something special to the shows they’re featured in – one of the many admirable qualities about Paige is the fact that she knows exactly what she wants, and she goes after it. She’s a fiercely compelling woman who goes about doing things with her entire heart on her sleeve – at the end of the day, you know that both  she and Charlie have an immense amount of love for everyone they works with.

Moreover, the lively banter that’s been present with her and Mike since season one quickly makes its way back to the screen and is fully visible for those who’ve probably not been paying attention. The episode ends with Mike and Paige doing what we all know they’re doing. Wink wink. Essentially, these are two adults who’ve without a doubt been attracted to one another since the moment they met, and as they’ve gotten to know each other, there’s been the realization that they’re not only bound by electric chemistry but a distinct understanding. And as viewers know from their first kiss, Paige has stated wanting a version of a relationship with him. As someone who’s wanted their dalliance to be explored further, I was momentarily taken back by how soon it occurred, but it’s actually fantastic. As mentioned above, Paige is someone who goes after what she wants, and she knew exactly what she was doing when she came out of the shower in the moment. I love that their relationship is blossoming in a way where they’re not beating around the bush – while those kinds are great as well, it’s interesting to watch this one unfold like this. They’re not ignoring their feelings for one another, but giving in to what they’ve felt since day one. My hopes for upcoming episodes is that while I’m certain we’ll get more of the physical stuff, we also get the emotional. Mike and Paige can be both strong around each other and completely vulnerable – thus to have each of those emotions followed by their inner longings for the other’s presence to be explored will definitely be great to watch.

And as far as Mike’s DC girl goes, although it’s implied that they’re not exclusive, I want closure with her. Asides from the fact that there’s no ounce of me that actually trusts her because of my rising suspicions since last week, the control in which she talks to him with is something that I feel at the moment can be seen reflected in Mike towards his roommates. While that’s no excuse, it’s a plausible explanation. It may have been Mike’s jealousy talking when he attempted to kick Bates out, but it wasn’t one of his finest moments. Quite frankly one of the most frustrating because I kept questioning how he’s even authorized to kick someone out. Additionally, for Mike’s case, I hope this closeness to Paige helps him see that Graceland is exactly where he belongs and takes his head out of the clouds.

What did you think of this week’s episode?

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