“The Unlucky One” | Graceland
The key to choosing this scene every week comes from one simple thought in all of our minds: what made us feel the most? There were a few of these types of scenes in “The Unlucky One” but the sheer amount of heart the final scene with Jakes and Paige was enriched with is impossible to beat. From the moment Paige walks into the house, you could see the guilt and heartbreak on Jakes’ face as he silently watches from afar. Therefore, when he approaches her later that night, it’s already a given that their scene will break hearts everywhere.
Jakes is one of the most complex characters on this show because while he walks around irritated most of the time, he undoubtedly cares for those around him. I can’t decide what’s more beautiful, the fact that Jakes apologized to someone when it wasn’t his fault or the fact that he went and dug up something that belonged to his mother in order to help Paige feel better. When a person is suffering as much as Paige is in this moment, there truly is nothing one could ever say that’ll make them feel better, but what Jakes does comes pretty close to perfect. Episode writer William L. Rotko should be commended for the idea of giving her a ballerina dancer as it was tastefully reassuring with a hint of childlike encouragement.
Additionally, I love what the scene meant for the two characters as friends and individuals. We’ve seen each of these characters fall at some point, but Paige’s always used her lively persona to hide moments where she’s been in pain. And of all the characters to be by her side when she breaks down, as someone who’s an enormous fan of Mike and Paige as a couple, I’m more than happy it was Jakes this happened with. Jakes is just as tormented and perplexed with their job. It’s been a constant debate with him since last season —are they actually helping? Or are parts of them slowly dying with everything they witness at Graceland? I like to think of this dynamic as Grumpy and Snow White. It’s rarely rainbows and butterflies with the two, but the moment one falls, the other is right there to catch them. While Jakes constantly believes that their job isn’t the most ideal 90% of the time, deep within he knows it’s always about saving others, and this is a moment where it’s all about saving Paige.
In this brief scene, both Serinda Swan and Brandon Jay McLaren floored me their performances — it’s been the most difficult to write about because it’s one of those scenes that allows the audience to feel the exact heartbreak the characters are feeling. McLaren hit more than one home run in this scene: while he took on the role of a guardian angel for Paige, he also posed a heart-breaking question related to almost every soul on the planet. “You ever have to apologize but shit is so messed up, so completely turned upside down that you know there’s just nothing you can to say to make it right.” From the vulnerability in McLaren’s voice to the nervousness in his expression, he made certain the audience could tell that this is the most difficult conversation he’s had to have as an agent so far. As for any human being, I feel one of the worst things we can be faced with is not knowing how to make it right for someone else, not knowing what to do as we watch their hearts shatter and know that words aren’t enough. Jakes has always kept it together when it comes to work. We’ve seen him fall apart because of his personal life, but when it comes to the rest of the agents, he’s always kept a straight face and taken things much lightly than the others. However, this is his breaking point as well, this is a moment he’s never seen coming and one he has absolutely no knowledge of how to handle. It’s an internal struggle where I feel every one faces from time and time thus the scene served a fantastic purpose of revealing imperfection in humans. It highlighted every concern but exhibited the fact that while there may not be loads of comforting words at times, simply holding someone and letting them know you’re there is enough.
Lastly, what made the scene most exquisite in our books – it posed the heart-wrenching question that I’m almost certain all those in law enforcement essentially feel. If innocent people have to suffer for the sake of a bigger case, then what’s the purpose? Who’s the fight for? Hence, the emotional break down on behalf of both parties showcases just how astounding they are as human beings, agents, and friends. It’s an incredibly complex and compelling question that forces even us as viewers to question our moral compasses, theirs, and everyone else’s.
Swan and McLaren’s brilliant performances created a beautifully unforgettable scene that’ll without a doubt remain a top in Graceland’s history.