Graceland’s anticipated season return was solid – though it’s still the whimsical and dark show it started off as, numerous differences leave viewers pondering left and right.
Episode Summary: There’s a new roommate at the house, Bates (Deniz Akdeniz) or “better Mike” according to the chore wheel. Guns are allowed downstairs. Jake doesn’t label his things anymore. Johnny’s still Johnny with a bit more fight in him. Charlie and Briggs are more than just friends. Paige’s still a badass sweetheart. And Mike’s a conflicted kid.
Back at DC Mike’s undercover in a case where he’s certain buses are smuggling heroin; however, he’s pulled out of the operation when he fails to obtain the drugs. He then receives a call from Briggs who tells him Caza has a hit on Mike the Marine, and he should take a mini vacation to handle the situation. Unfortunately, things spiral backwards, verbal shots are fired, disagreements are expressed, and Mike’s captured by a group of men pretending to be Caza Cartel members. Upon realization that his theory on the Buses still stands, he asks Jess (Emily Rose) to speak to the director and get him a team in California to finally settle matters for good. As it turns out, his team is the group at Graceland and things quickly become awkward as no one seems thrilled to be working for him.
Review | Analysis: As far as the rest of the season goes, I’m mostly excited to see how much further we explore these characters and their distinct personas. The changes they’ve gone through are understandable and they’ve each made sense; however, what I’m hoping we’ll get to see more in the next few episodes is the gradual processes in which they occurred. Graceland doesn’t have flashbacks often, but they’d make sense this season as the audience could get a glimpse of the little things that have caused their growth throughout the last year.
This episode’s analyses is going to be a bit different than usual as we’re going to be taking a closer look into the characters as opposed to the story.
Briggs isn’t “partying” with the group when Mike returns and that’s the exact opposite of the rum drinking surf riding man he was. He’s having nightmares about Juan’s murder, and he’s not pushing cases as often. Briggs’ change is fathomable, with Jangles dead and Lisa “avenged”, there’s no purpose for him to be on edge as often as he used to. But this season premiere is too soon to tell whether he still plans on using Odin as an alter ego again. On a show like Graceland however, viewers could never be certain of what’ll occur, and with Briggs especially, it may seem as though he’s trying and is better, but the reality is, it’s somewhat expected for him to go back to his old ways. And that doesn’t mean he’s not capable of changing for good, but there needs to be more work done in order for him to achieve the kind of forgiveness he deserves – coming clean about everything, at least to his roommates would be the ideal start. Additionally, now that he and Charlie are a couple, and they’re without a doubt two adorable peas in a pod, the distrust in Briggs is making it difficult for me to fully be on board with them. They’re two people who are both capable of greatness with one another, however in order for me to fully trust him with Charlie, the truth must be revealed.
Speaking of Charlie, she’s still momma bear of the group and it’s one of my absolute favorite things about this show. Vanessa Ferlito is superb when she’s bringing that side of Charlie to life as she makes certain the audience can see the faithful care within her for the entire house. Charlie’s also taken up smoking – something Briggs wants her to quit doing, and he’s entirely right in wanting it because she shouldn’t ruin her precious lungs. She’s also spying on Juan’s wife. I’ve tried coming up with possible theories as to why she’d be tempted to do so, and it’s making me wonder whether she’s still distrustful over Briggs. Surely we’ll get to the bottom of this in later episodes, but as of now, that’s the only plausible explanation I can come up with.
If I had to choose favorite moment of the entire episode, Jakes hugging Mike is it. From the little backstory we have on Jakes it’s always been evident that not being able to see his son has been the core reasoning behind his lack of faith of Graceland being a “family”. I have no doubt that we’ll find out what went down in order for him to be able to see his son again and move in with him, and that’s entirely exciting because I’ve who doesn’t want more story lines with Jakes?! There’s been tremendous growth with his character especially, and McLaren made that reunion scene glorious on all grounds. He always manages to play Jakes with astounding stamina and warmth – even in the scenes where he’s mad at everyone, he projects a fantastic kind of loyalty that’s only visible if one looks closely.
I’ve said it once, and I’ll probably say it every single time as long as this show’s on air then I’ll say it after that as well: Johnny is the heart of Graceland. During the last few episodes of Season 1 we watched him slowly lose his sunshine and the changes in his character right now make the most sense. Since last season Johnny’s found out that a man he’s viewed as an incredibly honorable figure has gone through hell and back and come out with a heroin addiction. He’s learned that people don’t exactly appreciate him the way he appreciates them, and while we left him at a happy place, the little attitude he’s throwing around right now is most certainly in character for him. I love how layered he is becoming, and the fact that he’s now at a place where he’s not going to let anyone tell him otherwise. I wanted him to fight for his respect and while the tension between him and Mike is breaking my heart, it’s exactly what’s necessary for the two of them to grow as better beings.
In a season where so much is different and everyone’s changed here and there, it’s comforting that Paige has remained the same. She’s still the warm spirited badass who’ll get shit done, but reach out to anyone in need at the same time. Paige has spent a good portion of last season trying to convince Mike that he does belong in Graceland, that he’s got people he can talk to, people who understand him, and now that he’s in a position where he’s pretty much left out, she’s doing the same thing. It’s admirable how she keeps subtly showing Mike that she’s there by reaching out to him in ways she knows he’ll understand. And that’s exactly what’s so adorable about their bond – they share a kind of consideration for one another that’s yet to be seen in the house. This season we’ll be getting more backstory on Paige as well, and it’ll undoubtedly be great to see because she’s one of the core characters on the show, and we don’t see as much of her as I and I’m sure most of you would like.
Next up is Wayne “Bates” Zelanski. Seemingly a collected, kind, cool and friendly DEA agent. There’s not much to say about him from this episode as we got very little about his character, but it’ll be exciting to see what we learn about him and the little things that make him unique.
I purposely left Mike to the end because I was still trying to figure out how I felt about his character since the response from a number of you have been frustration. However to me, it felt natural. There’s not a need for him to allow his previous position to get to his head, but it’s also normal in these kinds of situations. Mike’s lost and he has been since he was in Graceland. He’s the kind of character who’s wanted to leave Graceland so bad that when he actually did and got the job of his dreams, it wasn’t exactly ideal. And now that he’s back in Graceland, missed it dearly, the differences are forcing these frustrations to arise out of him. And what I’m hoping for is not his overruling of the group, but actual team work, the realization that it’s not about one leader, but about everyone bringing in their expertise in order to do good. And lastly on Mike, I don’t like or trust his new lady friend Jess. You know those weird inklings you get about a TV character where you’re certain they’re going to do something shady? That’s how I feel. And a part of me feels as though she’s the one who’s led the kidnappers to Mike as who else in California knew about what he was doing? She’s the only one who’s known about the bus line and well, she didn’t seem to pleased with him going back to Graceland in the first place.
Next week Briggs goes to Mexico and things get even crazier. What’d you all think of this week’s episode!? What do you want to see more and which questions are you itching to have answered? Tell us in our inbox and we can discuss it.