Graceland 3×13 “No Old Tigers” Recap

Spoilers Ahead

“No Old Tigers” should proudly wear a headline that reads: “there will be tears.”

Episode Summary: Briggs takes Ari’s life into his own hands. Jakes leaves Graceland. Mike signs off on the Sarkissian report and allows Gusti to go free. Everyone’s torn up by their actions but at the end of the day, if there’s a season four, we can be certain the house will have a lot of talking to do.

Review | Analysis: Presumably we were all to be extremely shocked by the finale; however, I didn’t find myself gasping one bit. I suppose this is largely due to the fact that I’ve seen way too many TV series dealing with similar storylines. That said, while I’m slightly underwhelmed with the turn of events, “No Old Tigers” was an exceptional episode featuring some of the most jaw dropping performances. Where’s Brandon Jay McLaren’s Emmy?!

I wasn’t a fan of Ari and surely that’s not a shock to anybody at this point; however, I believe a life sentence in prison would’ve been a much more gruesome form of punishment for a man who’s done so many terrible things. It’s baffling how often Briggs gets away with murder at this point and it’s partly one of the reasons why he’s so untrustworthy. While Juan’s death was entirely self defense, had the tape not existed, he would’ve gotten away with it. And now we have Ari’s blood who’s not only on Briggs’ hands but Charlie’s and Paige’s for they know what he’s done. If the series resumes for a fourth season, I propose the entire house visit a psychiatrist because for a very long time, their jobs haven’t been done properly.

Because this is a finale and there’s a lot that went down which I feel needs to be covered, I’m going to break it down between characters in order to fully explore their entire growth throughout the season.

Briggs’ journey this season has without a doubt been the most shocking, for it was during the season two finale where I was finally able to see that he’s indeed trustworthy. Everything was out in the open with him, he was no longer hanging onto any secrets and it appeared as though he was truly willing to be an honorable agent. (LOL) And perhaps that’s the thing with Briggs, we’ll never fully trust him — it’s what I’ve chosen to accept but that doesn’t mean he’s an unlikeable character. Part of the reasons why I’ve actually stuck around with the series in the midst of all the ridiculous plots is because the characters are so well written. Paul Briggs isn’t your everyday villain, but if it weren’t for his complexities, he just wouldn’t be as fascinating. He hasn’t grown at all this season which is essentially disappointing, but if there’s one thing we’ve come to realize it’s that apart from sharing his plans, he does actually care about his teammates. He does have their back. He has the most ridiculous way of showing it though. He doesn’t even know how to show it and that’s the issue, he’s grown into this alpha male figure who’s so used to doing everything on his own but he doesn’t know how to properly take care of everyone around him.

Charlie’s storyline this season has been the most heartbreaking. It would honestly baffle me if there’s a person out there who watches this series that doesn’t love Charlie. I just honestly can’t see how that’s possible. Every single person in Graceland has suffered this season, but it was Charlie’s loss that went overlooked. It was Charlie’s loss that only Jakes knew about. And for someone who takes care of everyone else, it would’ve been nice to know she was taken care of as well. As I’ve said before, while I’m thankful Jakes was always there, I wish the rest of the house was too. She’s the kindest and warmest of the agents and I wish we were given more opportunities to watch her be acknowledged. Additionally, with everything she’s gone through, now that she knows what Paul’s done and how Jakes has left, I don’t doubt that these things will affect her tremendously. However, the love she continues to show her fellow agents floors me and that’s one of the biggest reasons why her character’s so astounding to watch.

I’m thoroughly pleased with the amount of backstory we’ve gotten on Jakes. I wish instead of resorting to murder, he would’ve done something to get the creep arrested, but now that it’s happened, it’s entirely understandable why he’d feel the need to pay Briggs back. Again it’s amazing how much these guys get away with — it’s bound to blow up one day right? Also, when I said I wanted Jakes to have a love interest, I most definitely didn’t want something rushed. Either I missed like ten episodes unknowingly or the series just decided ‘naw people can fall in love in two minutes’. They’re acting as though they’ve known each other for 64 years and it’s a bit ridiculous to watch. I want to like Courtney, I really do, but something’s off about this entire situation. I can’t say I’m surprised that Jakes chose to leave Graceland behind, but it’s so heartbreaking that he wouldn’t say goodbye. Brandon Jay McLaren did a phenomenal job showcasing the cathartic essence of making our own choices. Interestingly, while McLaren actually shaved his head for the series (props), it wasn’t the act that was so defining but the tears — Jakes in tears is truly what reveals just how difficult and exhausting their lives have gotten. McLaren’s expressiveness in the goodbye scene with Johnny was by far the most heartbreaking moment on the series. Jakes and Johnny have had one of the most interesting relationships thus far, complete opposites who’ve constantly been at each other’s throats because they’ve always said the one thing they’ve never wanted to hear. It’s been incredible to watch them development, but oh my it hurt to see Jakes tell Johnny he loved him while Johnny pleaded for him to stay. Talk about exceptional performances.

This season, Johnny went from blindly following a girl to finding his voice and in the subtlest way, his character’s grown the most this year and it’s been lovely to watch. It wasn’t easy to watch him make dangerous decisions for Lucia, but in the long run, what we’ve actually seen is that while his heart’s still the same, he is beginning to look at the world differently. Johnny still continues to see the world as it can be, but rather now, it appears he’s really learning the importance of trust and how it shouldn’t be given away so freely. And despite everything that’s happened, it was so nice of him to try to bring Christmas in order to make Charlie happy. And that’s exactly who Johnny is, if he loves you, he’s always willing to do good for you — even if you betray him, he’s willing to forgive you. That goodness is a breath of fresh air in a series that’s now so dark and twisted.

It’s nice to see that Mike’s no longer as naïve as he used to be, and it’s also interesting to see that his decision is making is now based on how many people he benefits. I love the fact that even though he signed off on the case report, he made sure Gusti was given an opportunity to go free. And how gorgeous is the fact that he actually saw birds in the sky after he left the office? Perhaps that was his calling all along, do what you need to do in order to put the bad guys behind bars without punishing the innocent. Last year he was so caught up in putting bad guys behind bars, he’d lost himself in the process. And this year when he continued to lose himself, after finding a way back he took matters into his own hands honorably. Briggs put too many people at risk, and it was Mike’s job to clean up that mess without putting anyone else’s life in danger. It was Mike’s job to be the agent he was trained for in Quantico.

I wanted a different redemption arc for Paige, but I am pleased with what we’ve been given. By telling Mike that she’ll go with whatever decision he makes because it’s about time they pay for their actions, she essentially states not only how sorry she is but the fact that she realizes decisions must be made as a group. Choosing to trust Mike reveals the fact that she’s no longer depending on her emotions but rather true justice and from the very beginning that’s been her issue. If she hadn’t been so emotionally invested in the case, none of the events in season two would’ve occurred — so kudos for coming this far and understanding what truly needs to be.

If the series resumes, the house is divided. At this point, it’s not going to be easy to resume playing their cards the way they always have and it’ll become an ongoing battle of trusting one another. However, it’ll be incredibly interesting to see them really fight this time. It would be excellent if instead of having a guest star all season, we focused on smaller cases while focusing on strengthening the core bonds in the house.

Before I conclude this review, I need to talk about the stunning montage in the end with everyone realizing just how bad things have gotten. No one, especially not Charlie and Johnny could ever imagine Jakes leaving. The entire scene was filmed so wonderfully with Mike sitting next to Johnny then rising up to meet the others, followed by Charlie comforting Johnny while everyone backed away to mend on their own.

What are your thoughts on this season? What do you hope to see when the series resumes? Is there anything you noticed that you’d like us to discuss? Let us know in the comments below.



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