Graceland 3×05 “Piñon Tree” Recap

Spoilers Ahead

When one door closes …

Episode Summary: The team’s disappointed in themselves when they hear Colby’s lost his life due to their plans. Mike’s continuing to chase his visions all while his addiction worsens. Charlie’s still searching for Germaine. And after saving Lucia’s life, Johnny finally puts Carlito behind bars.

Review | Analysis: “Piñon Tree” featured my favorite moment thus far in season three, however, I found myself wanting a lot more than what we were given. I’m so pleased with the fact that this episode focused less on Ari and more on our agents. As I’ve said before, I have no problems with guest stars, but I do have issues with them taking up too much screen time while the main characters get sidelined – that said, I’m glad we got the focus back this week because it gives me plenty to talk about.

First things first, let’s talk about Briggs. I have to hand it to Eastin and co. because he’s one of the only complex characters on television that I love but I’m also incredibly frustrated with. He’s so well written that even though he’s ridiculously problematic, the good and bad qualities in him are always intriguing. Thereby, I completely understand his need to carry on with the case because men like Martun and Ari don’t deserve to be out on the streets where they can harm people. It’s tragic that an innocent and loyal agent lost his life because of their plans, but at the end of the day, they cannot stop now or else the lives of civilians are at risk. However, while his decision in regards to the case is understandable, his negligence towards Mike’s condition is beyond frustrating. I’m not saying visions and perhaps prophecies in this case aren’t plausible, but Mike’s taken it so far where if I were a member of that house, I’d worry. It’s great that his research led him somewhere, but as the sort of father figure in the house, and the only person who knows what it’s like to have lived through an addiction, he should pay more attention to the “glitches” in Mike’s behavior.

Speaking of Mike, good Lord dude, stealing pills from Charlie and going through her personal safe? Young man, who on earth are you? What I always find so disappointing in television is when the one character who’s always been most noble does a complete 180. While Mike’s not the same guy we met in the Pilot, everything he does lately just feels forced and difficult to watch. Lay off the Oxy and get your life together, son (said entirely in Ron Swanson’s voice). I’m thrilled with the fact that he’s finally got a case on his hands because that’ll maybe remind him of why he joined the Bureau in the first place. One of my favorite moments throughout the entire episode was when he mentioned that nothing they’ve done so far has resulted in them getting justice. At the rate they were going, more people were getting killed than saved, and as FBI agents, instead of protecting, they were becoming the problem. It’s good to know his moral compass hasn’t skewed too far from North; therefore, here’s to hoping that this case with Gusti (Mahedi Rakib) doesn’t end with someone’s death. Also, irrelevant to the case but c’mon writers, let’s not show a woman in her undergarments when it doesn’t fit with the storyline. At this point, we’re just objectifying a woman and that’s a big no no in my book. When it happened with Paige in season 2, it fit with the storyline, it was a deliberate choice by the woman because the man she admired was standing right in front of her. I found the scene with Gusti’s wife and Mike to be so extraneous – all it did was make Mike look bad. Newsflash, a woman doesn’t need to be in her undergarments for people to be drawn into a series. Sigh.

And now that we’ve got Mike covered, let’s talk about Charlie and the fact that I’m absolutely loving her arc this season. We need more. It’s given Paige the opportunity to showcase what a great friend she is (Yay! Lady friendships!) and it further proves that Charlie’s a badass/awesome human being. I only wish we were given more moments with her, but as the case with Germaine goes further, I’m sure we’ll see a lot of her.

Paige is constantly fueled with guilt and I wonder where it could possibly take her if she continues to throw her life into the middle of the road. While it appeared she was finally beginning to forgive herself for what had happened with Mike, she now feels responsible for Colby’s death because she lit the wrong finger. In a sense it’s admirable that she immediately wants to take action and make amends for the mistakes she’s made, but in the past we’ve seen that she’s been careless towards her own life. I’m all for her helping Briggs take down Ari and the Sarkissians, but here’s to hoping she takes care of herself in the process.

Dale Jakes continues to floor me with his knowledge and I have no idea when he became my favorite character, but I’m immensely thankful he’s on this show. He’s truly a breath of fresh air in the midst of all the chaos everyone else is involved with, and it’s so intriguing that he’s become the voice of reason in the house. #GiveDaleJakesMoreScreenTime2k15 #PleaseAndThankYou

I left Johnny’s storyline to the very end because I’m still not sure how I feel about everything that went down. We’d been waiting since season 2 for Carlito to be brought to justice and while I loved the way it happened, it all seemed a bit rushed. At one point did Mike decide he didn’t care for the case as much? He spent all of last season taking enormous risks and putting lives on the line just to get Carlito behind bars, but he wasn’t even present when it occurred. I understand that Johnny’s involvement became more personal due to the feelings he had developed for Lucia, but it’s still not enough for him to take charge and for Mike to just let go. It doesn’t fit with the storyline we were presented in season 2. And here’s the thing, I’m all for forgetting season 2 ever happened – but if that’s the case, let’s forget the fact that Paige tried to kill Mike and have them get back together. I mean let’s be real, they could’ve been great together. Additionally, I’m so beyond words frustrated with Lucia because Johnny’s the last person who deserves a broken heart. If her feelings for him weren’t as strong as his, she shouldn’t have led him on. It’s fathomable that she’d want to go find herself without her brother and father, but the way she neglected Johnny’s feelings and all that he’s done for her was a huge slap in the face. It’s as though she led him on to believe that in a world where she was free they could’ve been together, but when the time actually came and she was safe, Johnny’s love was no longer as powerful. Personally, I never really saw the two of them as a couple that could last and I never really understand when Johnny fell so hard for her, but because he did, I accepted it. So now my brain’s just dklsfja?!?!

Although the outcome of their fate was disappointing, the scene brought out some excellent performances by Manny Montana and Jamie Gray Hyder – they delivered the right amount of emotions creating a heartfelt and evocative scene. And as someone who was never really attached to them as a couple, I found myself heartbroken. While they were remarkable scene partners in the end, individually Hyder and Montana were at their strongest in this episode. If we weren’t in the process of reconstructing our website, they’d each get this week’s most noteworthy performance shout out.

Hyder delivered the perfect amount of fear, contentment, and sadness over everything that’s occurred. Lucia’s such a broken character and because she’s spent her entire life living in the shadows of a corrupt father and brother, it’s understandable she wouldn’t know herself outside of who they’ve seen her as. Hyder delivered that perplexity and heartbreak so vividly that if you were just flipping through channels and knew nothing about the series, you’d feel for her.

Manny Montana’s been given a lot of great material to work with lately, but Johnny’s choice to turn Carlito in instead of killing him will perpetually be remembered as one of the most powerful scenes on Graceland. The team has indeed lost sight of what’s right and wrong, but this is a moment where one of them finally chooses not to act on their impulses. And that choice alone gave Montana the opportunity to really showcase his gifts as an actor through an emotionally evocative performance. Montana’s poignant expressiveness revealed just how far Johnny’s come as a character, and it’s what made the scene so impactful. In the full range of emotions Montana channeled, we were able to see just how deeply he values justice.

Carlito pissed me off 100% of the time, but Erik Valdez was always so great as an actor it was entertaining to watch him. While I’m glad we’ve wrapped up with everything from season 2, in a way, I’ll miss all this.

After an entire season, we finally get a scene with the agents at The Drop but it was not long enough. (Insert all the sad emojis here). It was a breath of fresh air in such a heavy episode and ultimately reminded me of the show I fell in love with. Graceland isn’t like most cop dramas, there’s a lightness to it that most series don’t have and it comes from the fact that the team is so good together when they’re happy. Almost all cops/agents have a place they like to hang out in after a hard day of fighting crime, but the atmosphere in Graceland is the most gripping. It’s fun, ridiculous, and aesthetically pleasing. We’re finally at that place where even if they disagree by day, at night, they can still come together for a round of drinks. And please for the love of God, let’s keep it this way.

What are your thoughts on this week’s episode?!

@GissaneSophia

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