The best part of this week’s episode was the small in-house moments where the team were acting like bickering, but loving family family members.
Episode Summary: Briggs goes under cover with the LAPD gang task force. Charlie and Mike investigate Sid Markham’s (Carmine Giovinazzo) bank account. Paige and Jakes stake out near the trafficking headquarters and save one of girls – progress. Johnny and Lucia deal with the mess Carlito’s made then have dinner with Mrs. Tuturro.
Review | Analysis: I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I feel as though there’s not much to say regarding this episode. In its entirety, I wouldn’t say it’s one Graceland’s best, and while the action was great, it felt as though this served as filler episode more than anything else. And that’s something I usually never say because I firmly believe every episode is great in its own way, but this one felt as though it lacked the substance Graceland is usually full of.
Briggs goes undercover in a case with Markham and manages to successfully take down the man they were after – earning his trust and a spot on the team for further investigation. As it turns out, he and another man are in fact working for Carlito and they’re the one’s who called the shot. On a completely random note, it’s not that I find it unbelievable that they couldn’t recognize Briggs, but it’s the fact that he’s Paul Briggs. Mike Warren knew about Paul Briggs way before even coming into Graceland and either these cops are playing dumb or they’re truly oblivious to anyone outside their team. I also understand that while they may know of him, they wouldn’t know what he looks like, but I still feel as though local downtown cops would in someway know. Someone would’ve recognized him. But oh well, at least he got in and as promised to Charlie, didn’t get harmed in the process. And I still haven’t warmed up to the idea of them as a couple because even though they’re adorable beyond words, he’s still sitting on a throne of lies and this is the only thing I’m certain will blow up in his face like a grenade.
I’d like to commend Charlie for calling people out on their crap this week – starting from Mike and ending with Briggs. She’s always served as the motherly figure in the house and I feel as though all of these boys need to be reminded to get their heads out of the clouds. Ferlito’s use of expressions is genius as she accurately represents what I’m assuming the audience collectively feels in regards to this bus case. If not most of the audience, then me for sure. It’s nice to see her and Mike working together again because their dynamic was a favorite of mine last season; thus, Charlie telling him he used to be a “good little boy scout” is brilliant. The females in this house are completely and utterly exceptional – in terms of representation, I feel they’re some of the most well written, strong, vulnerable, and complex characters on television. Normally as a woman, I always want a bunch of female characters on a series, but Graceland is the only where I don’t mind the fact that there are only two regulars because Paige and Charlie are such incredible and diverse representations that they add layers to the show no other characters would be capable of doing. Additionally, I’m thrilled to see her shine next week as she goes back to working outside of the house.
Jakes’ character development is my absolute favorite right now. I’m excited that they’re not only giving the man more cases outside of his usual solo customs assignments, but Eastin’s writing him with emotionally moving and light-hearted story lines that bring charm back in the show. It’s as though he and Johnny have swapped places because he’s the one attempting to make everyone feel better now that Johnny’s been out of the house more often. And I love that he got to accompany Paige and managed to make her smile even for a little – their friendship is unfolding in front of us wonderfully.
Furthermore, when it comes to story telling this week, it’s phenomenal that we got to meet a parent and it wasn’t in flashback form. Johnny’s mom is precisely how I pictured her – sweet, open, and the kind of woman who’s done everything to make sure her sons have the good life. I am very curious however as to what she thinks Johnny does for a living. Introducing an actual parental figure allows the audience to understand the character more, and I’m looking forward to than us finding out more about Johnny. In this episode especially, we got to see where the heart and sunshine come from. He seems to have lived in an environment where he’s always attempted to do good and that’s just how I imagined he would’ve grown up. It would be nice to get more insight on his brothers and father, but that’s probably that’ll come in later seasons.
Just when I think I cannot dislike Carlito more as a character, he does something as twisted as bolting the city leaving his sister to pick up his mess. I hate to think of what could’ve happened to Lucia if Johnny hadn’t somewhat stalled until Simon finally made an appearance. While I completely understand Jakes’ concern as it’s mine, too, something tells me Johnny’s mom will be just fine. It’s Johnny’s safety I’m worried about because there’s no way Carlito’s not going to find about his feelings for his sister. I’m just hoping he’s at least behind bars then. I can’t exactly support Lucia and Johnny as a couple either because I’m very hesitant when it comes to trusting a Solano; however, I suppose if this does ever escalate into something more than what it already is, I want to be confident in the fact that Johnny’s ties with her won’t get him killed. Note, it isn’t Lucia I have a problem with, but the family she’s associated with. If we can get her a new identity then I’m all for her and Johnny’s relationship blossoming into something more. Fundamentally, Montana played Johnny with such grace and heart this week. I loved the genuineness and gentleness when it came to both his mother and Lucia – that’s the Johnny we know, and it’s always great to see these sides of him.
Lastly, I’m disappointed with the lack of Paige’s presence in this episode because as I’ve said in previous recaps, I feel this human trafficking case is one of the most significant things the show’s done and I’d much rather see more of it than the buses. However, again, I do understand where Mike’s coming from and I’m glad he got to word that a little bit better this week than last. Contrary to what seems to be popular belief, the complexity in his character this season is well written and I love that he’s much more layered now. I understand the longing for the old agent, as Charlie pointed out, but at the end of the day, Mike’s focus isn’t merely on him getting credit, but about doing good. He’s always been the kind of agent who’s believed in honor above all things and knowing there’s a mole in the operation isn’t something he could stand as a person. It compromises this entire operation and eventually it’ll do the same for another one; therefore, eliminating this will allow them to get some justice.
If they could get reliable eyes on the inside of the sex trafficking headquarters at least the girls will be a bit more safe. And though Paige was the eyes for a while, not knowing exactly what’s going on outside of wasn’t exactly safe for her. I feel as though they’re safer getting someone who’s secretly wired in case something happens – they need to have means of communicating back and forth with the person if they want to get things done sooner than later. Ultimately, I cannot wait for the Solanos to be stopped as the moment they’re exposed, more than one life can be saved when it comes to sex trafficking. All this case does is break my heart further with the knowledge that this is happening in the world as we speak. Don’t ever stop spreading awareness and doing what you can to help.
What are your thoughts on this week’s episode? What are you looking forward to seeing most next week?