Previews / Recaps

Two Takes: Graceland “The Wires”

Photo Credit: Jeff Daly/USA Network

Photo Credit: Jeff Daly/USA Network

“It’s like one of those shows where you learn how the magicians do their trick. Once you see the wires, the magic is gone.”

Graceland‘s Mike may be trying to figure out how Briggs can pull bunny rabbits out of his hat, make cards disappear and saw a woman in half (although in this case it was a Latino gangster and his head really was in the box), but without the “why” behind it all, this still feels like a game of cat and mouse. Now Johnny is under, Paige is on the hunt, the bad guys are still on the loose and with two gangs about to go head to head, everything is set to explode. However, it wasn’t all bullet holes and battle scars for the team — Charlie finally nabbed Germaine and Jakes nabbed himself some potential lady love. Let’s get to what happened in “The Wires.”

Photo Credit: Jeff Daly/USA Network

Photo Credit: Jeff Daly/USA Network

Cortney: Tina, since I know the one thing on your mind is Jakes, let’s start there. Everyone had their eye on the prize and the mission, but all it took was a classy lady (with an awesome name) in a sexy dress to draw Jakes’ attention away. No, it wasn’t the most professional move to go on the prowl mid-op, but these two are so cute together that I can hardly complain. Courtney gives Jakes a run for his money and Jakes, well we know he’s charming, but who knew he had such skills with the ladies?! And now that I know what we’ve been missing, I want more! You’ve been waiting a long time for Jakes to get a love interest, so how are you feeling about this?

Tina: I wouldn’t say he’s the one thing on my mind. He does take priority, however. Not just because he’s one of my favorites on the show but because I once again need to put off thinking about the whole Briggs vs. Mike situation.

I’m very glad Jakes resurrected his game with Courtney. It was nice to see. He looked good all suited up. She looked amazing. Loved their shrimp and evil villain banter. Annie Ilonzeh is the name of the actress playing Courtney. She’s been on Arrow but I know her best from her recent stint on Person of Interest. She’s good at playing badass so I’m looking forward to see what her character’s up to. Because you know she’s up to something. That’s my feeling anyway.

Since I’m talking guest stars…did you recognize Paolo, the guy Jakes coaxed away from Germaine? (By the way, Jakes didn’t just have game with the ladies. He showed some mad “wooing” skills with this guy, too). Jordi Vilasuso plays him — I know him from his Emmy-winning stint on Guiding Light. He can currently be seen on the very soapy Hulu series South Beach. And it was recently announced he’s headed over to NBC’s Days of our Lives.

Cortney: First off, Courtney is totally up to something. Or connected to something. Or up to something via being connected to something. There is no way a pretty lady just slides in at the end of the season without something more to her storyline…after all, this is Graceland, nothing is ever that simple! And the fact that she is discussing morality and giving bad people a fair shot definitely raises a red flag. As far as Jordi, no, I don’t have the same soap star radar that you do, so he didn’t even make a blip. However, I did love all that went in to Charlie and Jakes’ plan to win him over. Bank building. Fake dragging Germaine out of the event. And the wooing, definitely the wooing. Of all the storylines this episode, this one felt the most coherent and full of the fewest plot holes. I am curious how long Jakes can or is suppose to keep this up, though. I mean, if ATF needs this network to remain live so they can connect all the dots, does that mean Jakes is in this for the long haul? Not to mention, all that money flowing in and out of his hands and ONLY his hands is certainly going to make it harder to get Briggs off his back. Speaking of Briggs…are you ready to tackle this yet or do we want to move on to Johnny’s AWESOME performance first?

Tina: I do now wonder whether this Jakes story will continue in Season 4. If there’s a fourth season. Or should I be optimistic and say when there’s a fourth season? And as much as I would love to talk about Undercover!Johnny and those lovely carnitas, I think it’s time to deal with Briggs vs. Mike/Paige/Johnny. Yes, Mike’s making believers out of almost the entire house. I just wish he didn’t look so smug about it. Don’t get me wrong, the facts are daunting. Briggs is a master manipulator. But even getting caught in the act of picking up the sarin gas, I can’t judge until I know the entire story. The ENTIRE STORY, Cortney. Briggs has always been my favorite character so I can’t quit him just yet. I feel like a broken record here. Does he deserve my loyalty? I don’t know. But he’s getting it.

Photo Credit: Jeff Daly/USA Network

Photo Credit: Jeff Daly/USA Network

Cortney: First of all, do NOT “if” me, Tina Charles! The only thing worse than allowing myself to believe Briggs is dirty is allowing myself to believe that Graceland won’t be around another season for me to question if Briggs is dirty. Its a matter of “when” and I’m sticking to that until I hear otherwise.

As far as Mike getting Johnny and Paige to join his cult (because that is what it’s starting to feel like at this point), I am super grateful that they still have the wherewithal to doubt him at first. You know I had a big issue with him being mad Briggs tricked him in to detoxing last week, so I am so glad Paige called him out on that. And I appreciated Johnny intermittently calling him out and throwing some actual facts in the mix. I think until the end of this episode, these two had a healthy amount of skepticism on both sides. But even I have to admit, loading the sarin gas on the boat doesn’t bode well for Briggs. That being said, how do we actually know it’s sarin gas? Briggs was the one who ID’d it with Mike after all, it could be something else entirely. Or how do we know it’s not just an empty canister? Mike has questioned everything else, why doesn’t he question that? Again, I think his mistrust of Briggs is leading him to see what he wants to see. I, however, like you, still want to give Briggs the benefit of the doubt. After all, he couldn’t have single handedly caused a gang war, there were too many outside factors at play, right? Or am I giving him too much credit here?

Tina: 1. I do like Mike and Paige working together again even though I’m not totally believing what Mike’s trying to sell. 2. I’m glad you’re questioning the presence of sarin gas because now I am. I’m so going to hang my hat on your theory.

Photo Credit: Jeff Daly/USA Network

Photo Credit: Jeff Daly/USA Network

However, even though my loyalty remains steadfast, Briggs does seem to be playing with people’s lives here. Javi’s girl that he slept with? His scary mom called for her murder. Not Briggs’ death because boys do this kind of thing. She put the whole blame on the woman. Wow. Harsh, much? Thankfully Johnny was in place to get wind of this execution order and alerted Paul who got his buddy Ari in on the action.

And at the end of it all, it resulted in the escalation of the gang war. The gang war that at the beginning of the episode, had been put on hold. Briggs is good. But, seriously, after this is all over, will he be able to live with himself?

And I know you want to talk Ari, Cortney. Once again, how amazing was Rhys Coiro in this episode? I think my favorite part was him faking grief over Tev’s death. That was hilarious. Part of me is going to be sad once he goes down one way or another for his crimes. I’m enjoying the sadistic bromance he and Briggs have going on. And since I can’t enjoy the Mike and Briggs bromance — because it’s non-existent right now — this is all I’m left with. I can’t believe I just said that. haha

Photo Credit: Jeff Daly/USA Network

Photo Credit: Jeff Daly/USA Network

Cortney: We’ll take what we can get! And to go one step further, I may actually like the Briggs/Ari bromance MORE than the Briggs/Mike bromance! But that could just be because I’m frustrated with Mike right now…we’ll see. And yes, I do want to talk Ari!! Rhys is not just amazing in this episode, he is amazing in every scene in every episode and that’s why I honestly don’t think I can pick a favorite part. The fake grief was amazing, but so was his bizarre conversation with Ava and dead-Javi right after he shot Javi.

Ari: Ooh, aha, that felt good. That felt really good. Okay, stop screaming, I just saved you {points the gun at Ava}. Hey, stop screaming! You sound like a car alarm, you’re giving me a headache!!…{To Javi}  Yea, buddy, you’re dead. Buddy, you’re leaking. You’re soaking wet, you got something right here {points to chest where bullet-hole is}.

Okay, so reading this in written form, I realize it doesn’t come across as funny, but to hear him deliver it absolutely cracked me up. I am totally with you, I am seriously going to miss him once he goes down. But in the meantime, I am going to enjoy every last second of his screen time.

As far as the Sotos, that Mama Soto is one bada$$ lady. And her boys know better than to question her. It definitely shocked me a little that Javi went to kill Ava without hesitation. That being said, I really liked Mama’s relationship with Johnny and her crew. She is tough, but also loving and maternal, which is the complete opposite of how Martun Sarkissian (Peter Stormare) handles his family. I can’t imagine the Sarkissians having a weekend BBQ with piñatas and chowing down on carnitas! And until Briggs got involved, whatever she was doing clearly worked. Then Javi’s head arrived and now all bets are off.

But before we get to the on-again, off-again, on-again gang war, we have to talk Johnny. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed watching Johnny undercover.  Undercover Johnny (aka Jose) is subdued, quiet, often looks downward and is tough but also a bit broken, which is so different than the Johnny we know. The Johnny we’re use to is animated, has a lot of intonation in his voice and his face is extremely expressive and reflective of his thoughts and emotions. It almost felt like we were watching a different person, which is I guess is what you need to do to get in to a gang, but is also something we’ve rarely seen when the other agents go undercover…they all tend to be more or less “themselves” just in different circumstances. Anyways, serious kudos to Manny Montana on his performance. So, gang war….can I ask, how did the Sotos get the sarin gas? Or supposed sarin gas? Are we just supposes to assume Vin gave it to Briggs (in exchange for the rat) and Briggs gave it to them?

Photo Credit: Jeff Daly/USA Network

Photo Credit: Jeff Daly/USA Network

Tina: Please don’t ask questions I cannot answer. I think this show has me so confused on one hand and suffering from anxiety on the other. This Briggs vs. Mike scenario has me so messed up I can’t be expected to remember every single detail. I agree with you on Manny. Johnny’s beat down successfully signaled his entrance into this “family.” And now he’s on the scary end of a gang war. He took a couple of risks getting on the phone to call Briggs. I hope he’s okay from here on out. I hope everyone is okay from here on out. There’s only two episodes left and it seems like we’re about to get some Briggs-related answers next week. I’m dying to find out what his story is. DYING.

Preview for “Dog Catches Car”

Photo Credit: Jeff Daly/USA Network

Photo Credit: Jeff Daly/USA Network

Synopsis for “Dog Catches Car”: As the feud between the Sarkissians and a local gang escalates to uncharted heights, Briggs’ (Daniel Sunjata) motives are finally revealed, and Mike’s (Aaron Tveit) hunt for the Sarin gas holds hundreds of lives in the balance. The series also stars Serinda Swan, Brandon Jay McLaren, Manny Montana and Vanessa Ferlito.Guest Stars: Peter Stormare, Maryam Cne, Jordi Vilasuso, Terri Hoyos, Rhys Coiro, Mahedi Rakib, Annie Ilonzeh

Graceland airs Thursdays @ 10/9c on USA Network.

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