If last week was the set up to this season's mythology, this episode is all about tearing the characters down hopefully to build them back up. Graceland continues to spotlight the aftereffects of season 1 on the characters, showcasing Charlie and Jakes this time as one tries to move on and the other can't let go. They both have powerful scenes because of it. Paige, on the other hand, still gets shafted. She's the lead of the B plot but in many ways she's treated more as eye candy than any real character growth. Her character is still a mystery to me. I like that she's shown kicking butt twice but anyone hoping that Serinda Swan gets much to do this episode will be disappointed. Besides Zeke who continues to be completely pointless (as in "perhaps the actor's related to the showrunnner and needs a job" pointless), Johnny gets the least screen time. However what he has is dynamic. His scene with Jakes is particularly poignant, but it's the final cliffhanger which makes me suspect that Johnny is about to take a leap forward as a character. It's what I am most looking forward to next week in all honesty. Definitely more than anything with Mike, who remains a self-involved schmuck who only increases his douchiness as the episode progresses. At this point, I'm kind of hoping he gets kidnapped again but the others can't rescue him until the 8th episode. They have to make him less annoying soon, or beat the tar out of him. Either one. Briggs, as usual, gets the lion's share of the character interaction, including a surprise new subplot I did not suspect. While I am all for sharing screen time more evenly among the characters, he is the catalyst to much of the drama and best scenes and as such, none of them feel like filler. Sadly, that cannot be said of the whole episode.
As the episode starts, the case is at a standstill. No one can determine who Mike's kidnappers were and therefore there are no leads on who they worked for. Briggs, in a desperate move to get back into the FBI's good graces, gambles by having his former contacts get him in touch with the Caza cartel in hopes of meeting with their higher ups. He wants to trade information for getting the FBI to back off their all out attack on the cartel. It's a bad plan made worse when it actually works. He decides to meet with the cartel leaders in Mexico. While Briggs informs Mike, who is all for anything that will help him score a win, they don't tell Charlie. Another bad plan. Trust me. The secret doesn't stay hidden for long and she is in fine form to ream them both for being reckless. I don't blame her. Meanwhile Mike's announcement that all the Graceland occupants must stop what they are doing immediately to help him leaves Paige in a bind. She's in the middle of a 4 month sting that is finally making progress and she's not handing it over. Mike is not the least bit sympathetic but he does agree to help over her protests. Luckily he's got resources she does not. It leads to one of the funnier moments of the episode, but other than that, there's not much meat on this case. It's your standard buy takedown. Overall this episode focuses on the characters and has very little forward movement on the plot, even less action. It does however have the trademark twists, some seen from miles away but others very much a surprise. While I liked much of the episode, it did drag a bit in the middle for me, mostly because I am a plot-driven viewer. If you are more into characters, you'll probably like this one better than the premiere.
Best Scene - As far as most plot intense, Briggs's conversation with the Caza leader. As far as character growth, either Jakes or Charlie's big scene
Best Quote - Johnny: "You want a hug?"
Best Reason to Watch - character development
Biggest Shock - Charlie
Least Shocking - Jakes, but it doesn't make it any less painful
Best Character Interaction - Johnny and Jakes
Biggest Risk - Briggs goes to meet with the Caza cartel leadership by himself to get answers about the hit on Mike. I know Briggs thinks he's invincible but this is not a good plan.
Best Death Stare - Charlie and she wields it liberally this episode.
Weirdest Line Possibly in the History of TV - "Now I'm frisking goats." What?
Most Angsty - Charlie, who has a major scene with Briggs
Biggest Douche - Mike. Still.
Biggest Screw You - Jakes to Briggs
Biggest Disappointment / Most Likely to be Labeled Eye Candy - Paige. They have her undressed several times this episode and we still get no character motivation or growth for her. Right now she's as useless as Zeke and this was her big episode.
Least Sympathetic - Charlie: "You're fine. You've been stabbed 5 times. You'll live. Sonya, give this man a tampon and uh, I don't know…hold his hand."
Worst Subplot - the freaking tape. Until it becomes an issue for Briggs, I don't care what's going on with it.
Most Surprising Subplot - Kelly, who could be great character growth or a predictable plot device
The "Oh Poor Baby" Award - Jakes, who gets hit hard this episode
Best New Character - Caza cartel boss
Most Disgusting - Gum sharing. Yuck!
Other Quotes -
"I'd like to do more background." "You've got this face. What more do you need?"
"I'm starting to realize that there's no such as a do-over. Not for you, me, or anybody."
"Is the door still on its hinges?" "More or less."
"Jangles, Cortes, whatever his name is, he didn't kill Juan. I did."
"…listen to me okay? As your friend, huh? You've got to let this go. It's going to drag you down. Trust me; I know."
"Oh, oh, we're talking about trust now. Really? You?......."
"Remember, Francis looks hungry." "Zelanski's hungry."
"What? When did this happen?" "Probably when none of you were looking."
"What the hell is this?" "A messed up sense of humor."
"Yeah, I pretty much keep to myself. I don't really talk much you know. They say your heart will tell you when the time is right. I've been listening to mine but so far, crickets."
"You got a plan? Well that's a first…."
"…your man held a gun to my head, hooked me on heroin, forced me to give up my friends and then killed them." "There was that."
"You're wasting yourself with Finch. You know that right?" "My mom said it takes all kinds." "She was an idiot too."