Tonight’s episode essentially serves as the thesis for the rest of the season.
Episode Summary: We learned which bus Carlos Solano Sr. uses for the drug transportations. Innocent women are forced to do some of the dirty work. Jakes deals with the aftermaths of the last week’s situation with alcohol. Johnny and Bates attempt to handle things with Carlito by giving him what they believe are Mexican pistols. Mike’s losing the little amount of patience he had. Charlie’s still dealing with guilt. Briggs accompanies Paige to case that later leads to an even bigger case.
Review | Analysis: Yet another in-house argument adds on to the tension that’s already been present since Mike’s returned. While I’m aware that plot holes tend to make way more often than not and there’s probably a legitimate reason for it, it’s a little irritating that we’re supposed to forget that Lauren and Donnie both had their own rooms. Thus, there should be an extra room in the house for Bates as well.
Also, even though I understand the frustration with Jakes’ character because I felt it all of last season, I can see why Mike kept him instead as the mission would call for someone who understands customs more. I do hope this isn’t the end for Bates, especially since his friendship with Johnny is something I wanted to see more of. And from what I can gather with the few episodes we’ve had, he seemed to be the only person to give Johnny the amount of respect he deserves as both a person and an agent. Johnny’s arc this season is without a doubt one of my favorites. In this week’s episode we finally meet Carlos Solano Jr. (Erik Valdez) and is it just me or does he remind anyone else of Bello (Gbenga Akinnagbe)? Similarly, just as Carlito’s right hand man Esteban (G-Rod) is shot right in front of Johnny, last season Eddie (Sheaun McKinney) was shot in front of Mike. It’s been said in interviews and pointed out by everyone in the house lately that Mike’s behavior mirrors Briggs’ from last season. Hence, the parallels in these cases are now highly interesting considering last season’s victories are what helped Mike rise to the top. And hopefully, this case allows everyone else to see Johnny’s worth. It saddening that as an agent, Johnny’s not someone who’s taken as seriously as the others. And if getting to the bottom of this case by growing closer to Carlito is the way to go then I’m all for it as long as his safety isn’t questioned – we all know what would’ve occurred if Lucia (Jamie Gray Hyder) hadn’t stopped them. My heart broke most for Johnny at the end of the episode when there wasn’t anyone for him to lean on with Bates gone. And as much as the loneliness was sad, the unfinished story is sadder.
The most surprising part of this episode was the fact that Briggs actually said something truthful. I’m all for complex and flawed characters – they are the kind I value above all things when it comes to television. However, with Briggs, it’s momentarily too difficult. I understand the fear, but at the same time it upsets me more than anything else. While he may have taken a load off Charlie’s back by telling her he talked to Kelly Badillo and the two of them could try to stop her from spiraling again, I still sat at my screen yelling at him to come forth with the murder. Oh well, it’ll surely come back to bite him hard. Though I dislike Briggs more than I actually respect him right now, I’ve got to commend his means of doing things because his expertise saved both his and Paige’s lives with the drug dealer. Ultimately what gets to me most about Briggs is the amount of wasted potential – not only is he a phenomenal agent, but he’s loyal and he cares deeply. Daniel Sunjata and Vanessa Ferlito have such marvelous chemistry and it’s the one thing that has me hoping most for Briggs’ redemption. Despite all the damage Briggs has done to Charlie’s sanity, Sunjata delivers his lines with prodigious heart – he makes the audience believe that no matter how messed up Briggs is, this is a woman he truly cares for. While we don’t lie to those we care for, Briggs is so lost in his own head that he behaves more like a coward than a man who’s willing to work for trust. And that’s his entire issue – he’s afraid of the ramifications that’ll follow the truth and though he’s brave enough to be a great agent, he isn’t strong enough to deal with the enormous fall out that he’ll experience. I’m holding onto a thin rope with Briggs and I just desperately want to see him rise to his potential.
I’ve stated how much I adore “Momma Bear” Charlie as it’s one of my absolute favorite personas of hers and Ferlito always portrays these scenes with such love and gentleness. Though the entire house wasn’t exactly pleased with Jakes’ drunken state, Charlie’s the only one who took the high road in terms of taking care of him. And that’s just it, Charlie’s selflessness always makes its way onto the screen – it’s effortless. She’s that one person that despite how angry she’s capable of getting, she’ll still be there. Similarly with Paige – the females in this house have the most exquisite hearts and it’s inspiring to watch. They’ll put you in your place when you’re out of line, but they’ll adore and care for you regardless. Moreover, Charlie’s finally decided to quit smoking again and judging by the way the episode concludes it seems she’s on the road to being herself again. After Briggs reveals his plans with Kelly Badillo, she’s filled with the most contentment we’ve seen within her since earlier episodes of season one. I’m excited to see Charlie go back to trusting herself more than anything because she’s a fantastic agent and to have lost that light is the most heartbreaking.
While I certainly don’t condone using alcohol as a way of forgetting a problem, this storyline has given Jakes more heart than we’ve seen him with. The grump is still there, but the vulnerability he’s engulfed with allows the audience to understand him even more. When it comes to Jakes, I want him to fight. I don’t want him to give up fighting for custody because the behavior we’ve seen from Cassandra isn’t okay. And I want Jakes to prove that though he currently doesn’t have custody, he’s deserving of it – but alcoholism doesn’t exactly deem him responsible. We saw him succeed last season with his bird cases, and it’d be great to watch him actually work with the entire team while putting his expertise to use and succeeding this time, too.
Paige’s storyline this season is the one I’m looking forward to most and though we’ve only gotten a glimpse into it, it’s pretty evident that it’s going to be an encouraging one. Just as Charlie’s, Paige’s heart often speaks before her and if I had to chose the best line in this week’s episode, ”she’s a human being” takes the crown. Human Trafficking is an unfortunate tragedy that’s occurring in our world as we speak and it’s not something everyone knows about or fights for. For those who aren’t aware, Serinda Swan is one of the many public figures who’s continuously spoken and taken action towards putting an end to Human Trafficking. And prior to viewers even seeing the storyline begin as it did in “Tinker Bell” Swan has mentioned the amount of gratitude she’s felt in being able to spread awareness through the show. Swan’s passionate attachment and profound understanding of the vital cause undoubtedly make it’s way onto the screen even for the briefest moment when she speaks the line above and delivers her scenes with Lina (Marina Shtelen). Swan’s performance this week was nothing short of impressive, and while this is only the beginning of the storyline, from the moment the women converse in the bathroom, you could instantly pinpoint the moment Paige dives heart first into making sure she gives her all to this case. Serinda Swan is undeniably talented, and this is a storyline that I feel is going to showcase her abilities as a person and actress in ways not many have seen.
When it comes to this season’s Mike, I go from wanting to pat him on the back to making him go sit in the corner in order to silently think about his absurd behavior. As I’ve said in pervious recaps, Mike’s more conflicted than not this season. Last season Mike felt as though he couldn’t be himself in Graceland and he was constantly searching for ways to feel closer to the east coast. While homesickness is natural and adjusting to time/climate/aura changes is difficult, Mike’s entire journey isn’t about the place but the people. Additionally, his newfound attitude is both understandable and irritating, but there’s a part of me that wonders whether or not he realizes what he’s doing. We saw a glimpse of that old Mike resurface as he noticed that Paige was hurt and though it quickly and momentarily turned into discussing the case, Tveit’s voice broke in a way where the audience could feel the genuine care within him. What Mike needs to realize however, is that for starters, he’s no longer in Washington, and he’s someone who values people more than anything – that’s essentially why he joined the bureau in the first place. And surely the grandfather that inspired him wouldn’t condone the kind of rudeness he’s projecting to his housemates. Again, Mike’s journey is about understanding that it’s not about the place, but the people. Moreover, Jessica’s relationship with him is also something I feel has a negative affect on him solely from the way she speaks. Also, I still feel as though she’s the one who may have scheduled for the attacks because who else knew about the bus cases in California? I don’t often get disappointed when my predictions don’t occur, but I feel this is one thing that’ll probably irritate me unless it’s executed really well. At the moment, she’s suspicious and I’m hoping she is actually ‘team bad guys’. Speaking of women in Mike’s life –though it certainly didn’t seem as though he and Jessica were exclusive– Paige is the only person who I feel grounds him most effortlessly. And what I love most about this particular relationship as opposed to others, is the sole fact that it’s simple. Mike and Paige’s chemistry is natural – they each have a specific way of bringing out the best in each other. They’re amusing, their bond is raw, carefree, and genuine – those are combinations that make for an amazing romance and team. What do you guys think of Mike and Paige?
Graceland resumes with a new episode July 9th.
Apologies in advance for how late this is – very rarely vacation time interferes with reviewing schedules. What’d you all think of this episode!? Is there anything you don’t like? And what did you love most? What are you hoping for when it comes to the rest of the season?