Graceland 2×12 “Echoes” Recap

 Spoilers Ahead

The second to last episode of any season is almost always the craziest, but how far is too far and is any form of happiness possible before we bid the show farewell for a year?!

Episode Summary: Briggs tries to convince Charlie to forgive him. Jakes and Johnny prepare to work with the Solano’s in transporting the drugs. Charlie’s search for Amber gets her kidnapped and alone. Paige meets Lina’s sister and continues to try to figure out the truth regarding her whereabouts. Mike finds out about Juan, continues to lie to Paige, and has the bureau watching him. Sid finds Graceland and learns about everyone’s ties to one another leading him to do what’ll presumably make the finale as insane as the promo shows.

Review | Analysis: As the audience, we’re still unsure of why Briggs was Odin in the first place and we still don’t know just how much he’s kept concealed from the moment he was held captive by the Caza Cartel. The one thing we’re certain of is, the fact that Juan’s murder was purely self defense. And while Briggs’ actions aren’t excusable, Juan was wrong to go out there alone. Additionally, another entity we can be certain of is the fact that Briggs’ adoration for his team, Charlie especially, is genuine. Though their conversation between the door was short, and lacked the truth about Odin, Briggs stating that he lied to protect himself is a bold gesture. Now that he’s down in the dumps, opening up is easiest because there’s nowhere else to go. Also, coming back in the first place because he doesn’t want to abandon his innocent child is one of the most admirable things he can do. Sometimes in the real world, children have an indescribable way of helping their parents become better. Surely you’ve heard some tales before of certain parents quitting unhealthy habits such as smoking because they’re having/or have a child. It doesn’t always happen, but it’s most certainly possible. Because actions speak louder than words, Briggs coming back and fighting for a place in his child’s life shows his will to be a better version of himself. The final piece in Briggs’ puzzle will be learning why he begun posing as Odin in the first place because though he’s trying now, it’s impossible to forget that he’s the same man who allowed Charlie to inject heroin in order to meet him. Perhaps if he’s really done dealing drugs for good then there’s room for redemption.

Charlie’s taking the proper precautions necessary to raise a healthy baby right now. Although in our “finale predictions” we’ll explain why, but there’s probably no way she’s leaving Graceland yet. Charlie’s forgiving – as always she’s the motherly figure in the house and the one who’s always  looked at the bigger picture of things. She trusts her mind, but she also trusts her heart and deep down, she cannot put Briggs behind bars because of the love they share. Furthermore, she continuously tries to understand why things are done the way they are and in the midst of that tries to make sure everyone feels loved. A part of me wonders why she consulted Mike with the tape of all people, but maybe she feels he’s still capable of making rational decisions because he was in fact, the moral compass last season. The brief scene Mike and Charlie share in this week’s episode is a breath of fresh air since both parities haven’t really interacted much lately. To this day, their friendship is one of my favorite dynamics within Graceland because the two not only share solid understanding but a sibling-like love for one another where it’s always about taking care of the other’s needs.

Jakes’ comment about the important thing being to survive got me thinking about his character this season. At the start of the season, he was kinder, livelier, and willing to give up everything for his son. After things didn’t work out, he spiraled and turned to alcohol making him impossible to be around. Essentially, he’s taken what he’s gone through and forced himself to take it day by day. The internal struggles evidently pain him as they would with any normal human, but he’s doing his absolute best not to go back into the darkness he found himself in after Cassandra filed the restraining order against him. McLaren’s subtle but expressive performance served as a distinct reminder of not only what Jakes has gone through, but the concerns those in the field find themselves battling with. Because of the recent chaos that’s erupted on the show, Jakes’ issues have been put aside as he’s done everything in his ability to help everyone else with their problems. And though he’s almost always complaining, the fact that he does it while he himself is breaking is appreciable. He is essentially the only character at the moment whose actions aren’t questionable, and as I’ve said before, it’s great to see this heart in him since we got so little of it last season.

Johnny’s naiveté is one of his most beautiful traits as it gives him a childlike innocence the house needs to be exposed to. However, pursuing Lucia is one of the most thoughtless things he’s done and there doesn’t seem to be a way where it could maybe end well. Carlito’s rebelling against his father and we all know how that’s going to turn out to be no where near okay. However, I can’t help but wonder that one of the things that’ll become a vast issue is Johnny not being able to keep his promises to Lucia. Not to mention the fact that she actually stole the money from her father which if Solano Sr. notices, everyone’s screwed.

Mike’s speech and actions in this week’s episode were an enormous question to me and presumably for a lot of you as well. We’re going to do something different in this week’s recap by taking his words and breaking them down the way we would in a novel. Keep in mind something, when analyzing text, considering word choices are prodigiously vital in understanding the context. And the best part about analyzing text within film, is the fact that the actor’s portrayal and tone of voice always help. Moreover, since this is the internet and things are often misinterpreted, I kindly ask that if you don’t agree with my analysis, don’t send me hate for it. It’ll instantly be erased. Discussions and different perspectives on the other hand are more than welcome.

First of all, let’s look at the fox as an animal on its own and the traits it symbolizes. Foxes possess the ability to be swift in tricky situations, they have extreme awareness along with physical and mental responsiveness. Mike and Paige are both foxes depending on which situations we look at. At Sulla’s they’re both essentially foxes in a way. Paige in the sense that she’s metaphorically had her leg cut off, and Mike having to make the quick decision of what move to take that wouldn’t jeopardize their covers or their lives. When it comes to the truth about Lina’s whereabouts and Sulla’s before Mike’s arrival, Paige is the fox – she’s not only adaptable but she sees through Mike’s deception. Paige is also the fox when we look at what she’s gone through at Sulla’s – the beatings, quickly coming up with ways to save herself and Lina, and all the girls in general when she chose to Anika’s place. She doesn’t ponder, she does.

In regards to the question Paige asked, she’s the fox and Mike is himself.

“And I always felt so bad for that poor hobbled fox. And I thought about how horrible it must feel. But now I know that that part, the after, that’s the easy part. The hard part is when you willow it down to two options. You can either wait it out and die, or you can take this piece of yourself and you can mutilate it, destroy it, and maybe live.

Mike’s expression as Paige is hit wouldn’t have been presented to the audience if it wasn’t meant to illuminate both his feelings for Paige, and the ache of someone being beaten in his presence while he must carry on his stance and do nothing about it. At the time, if he’d in anyway tried to harm Sulla, he probably wouldn’t be able to take Paige home and something more terrible could’ve happened to her. It was a chance he couldn’t take because it was something he essentially felt she could handle. And as viewers, what we have to understand is that even though no one should ever suffer a beating, Paige’s physically trained to handle certain situations. Mike’s analogy of the fox dives into the idea of man’s moral compass. Because this is a TV show and not an actual novel, we cannot disregard facial expressions – words are empty without actions. Mike’s story showcases the idea that sometimes emotional ache is much greater than physical. Attempting to put myself in both shoes, I would rather have been Paige because the idea of watching someone you care for being beaten while you cannot do anything about it, sounds worse. It’s the kind of emotional trauma that triggers self hatred and guilt even though Mike wasn’t the one hurting Paige. Again, Mike knows Paige is adaptable, and even though he wouldn’t want her to suffer (hence, the reason he didn’t leave her there in the first place), he also knows she’ll rise above this. He didn’t hesitate to fight against Sulla when Lina’s life was in danger and in that moment it was because Lina’s much more defenseless. She’s not a trained agent and though Paige is, it’s evident that if Sulla did anything Mike felt Paige couldn’t handle, the man would be dead in an instant.

“The hard part is when you willow it down to two options, you can wait it out and die, or you can take this piece of yourself and you can mutilate it, destroy it, and maybe live.”

What stands out most from this particular passage is the word maybe – it implies uncertainties. As much as Mike’s different, defending his sentimental nature to Charlie is the very moment it’s authenticated. He is sentimental. He does care. Paige is very much a part of Mike. The final part of his speech is what works towards both what he’s done to Lina and Paige. Just as Briggs is too afraid of himself and the demons in his closet, coming forward with an act that wasn’t purposely done is difficult. Paige’s heart is too invested on Lina, and Mike’s fears of disappointing her cloud his rightful judgment and force him into going further and further with the lie. Additionally, it’s necessary to address the fact that through his actions Mike’s also the reason why Paige feels strong emotional guilt he does, as agents, these are things that are inevitable in their careers. The heartbreaking truth is that sometimes they have be swallowed up. A doctor can’t save every patient, but it doesn’t mean that they didn’t try – the effort is a vast gesture thus, eventually the emotional and physical aches don’t haunt as much.

Paige’s frustration is also understandable. At the end of the day, Swan’s expressions tell a bigger story – Paige forgives and understands everything that’s occurred but she want’s the truth in bold letters. She cares far too deeply to turn her back on anyone in the house and that includes Mike. There wouldn’t be tears if she didn’t understand what he meant by the story of the fox. However, let’s be real for a moment, as much as I love metaphors and all that jazz (I wouldn’t have a degree in English if I didn’t), if I posed such a question, and got a response like Mike’s I’d be downright frustrated as well.

The most disappointing part of this situation is the fact that Lina’s family is hopeful they’ll see her again. That’s something that’ll perpetually ride on Mike’s conscious – you cannot destroy guilt. However, what’s also irritating about this particular issue is the fact that Paige confronted Mike last week during the dinner thus making her go backwards is exhausting. In regards to Lina’s letter all we can do is merely hope that he had honorable intentions in doing so. Perhaps this was sent while Mike was in there as a favor to Lina?

Undoubtedly however, one of the reasons Mike and Paige’s scenes are so incredibly enjoyable is majorly due to Tveit’s and Swan’s chemistry. They both play their scenes with such expressiveness in their eyes that viewers could instantly see just how difficult the situations are for both characters.

Finale Predictions: Spoilers tell us that the season two finale includes a twist not even the actors saw coming. One of the heartbreaking things we feel will occur will be Charlie losing the baby – she was in a car accident already and not to mention the amount of torture she’ll probably go through in Amber’s custody. Also, now that Sid’s got the key to Graceland and Mike’s in possession of the tape, something similar to the estate burning down could probably happen – however not as dramatic hopefully. We’ve been after the Solano Cartel for an entire season now and either it’ll all lead to one takedown, or the case will linger because we all know what Carlito’s got up his sleeve can’t end well. I was having a discussion with killianthehero earlier today about the finale’s title. “Faith 7” – to which spoilers indicate that someone will pull a Judas on the rest of the house. In the bible 7 is the number of completion and perfection essentially. However, there are 6 roommates at Graceland, 6 people who we can’t see as betraying anyone in the house to the extent of which Judas betrayed Jesus. Perhaps we’ll be seeing an old roommate back in the picture? Or maybe Sid has some ties to Graceland we never even knew about before?

Hopes: Happiness. A single moment of it is ultimately all I’m hoping for. But above all things, I want every single secret that they’re each carrying to be exposed – that includes everyone (in the house) finding out about Briggs being Odin plus Juan’s murder and what Mike’s done to Lina.

What are your thoughts on “Echoes”? What do you hope we’ll see in the finale?

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