Moment of Goodness / Recaps

Two Takes: Graceland Finale “No Old Tigers”

Photo Credit: Jeff Daly/USA Network

Photo Credit: Jeff Daly/USA Network

The Graceland finale started off with a Jakes voiceover and ended with Jakes gone from the house completely. Everything in between was painful, intense and emotional. Was “No Old Tigers” a satisfying season closer? It’s time for Cortney and Tina to unload one final Two Takes to end this third season of Graceland.

Tina: A fabricated HSI report, one more Briggs/Ari Adamian “adventure,” roommates fiercely debating ethics and morality and Jakes shaving his head. Cortney. I’m really not sure where to start. What was your overall feeling about the finale? For me, even though what everyone was going through was nine kinds of messed up, “No Old Tigers” is easily my favorite of the three Graceland finales. Once the credits hit, I wanted to fast forward to Season 4. That’s a good thing, right?

Cortney: Definitely a good thing. And I am going to be on pins and needles until they announce the official Season 4 pick up — I need to see where this goes! Will they spend the whole season chasing Jakes? As Johnny said, he will have every agency on his tail and that is no joke. No matter how good you are. I have to admit, with everything going on with the Sarkissians and Briggs and Mike, I didn’t expect this to be such a Jakes-heavy episode when it started, but I loved it. It was exceptionally executed and I feel like it did a phenomenal job of wrapping up major storylines while also unraveling more. And the balance was near perfect. I felt like we got everything we needed and wanted — action, emotion, flashbacks and character development.

Tina: Okay, so let’s break things down by roommate.

Jakes

Photo Credit: Jeff Daly/USA Network

Photo Credit: Jeff Daly/USA Network

Cortney: Since he was easily the MVP of this episode, we obviously have to start with Jakes. What did you think about his “big secret?” Finding out why he “owes Briggs” has been a long time coming….

Tina: A long time coming. I don’t know if that sexual predator was building up to doing something to his son or not, but I understand why Jakes was so afraid by his very presence next door. Looking at Graceland history, it’s never a good thing when Jakes adds alcohol to a situation. Things tend to escalate. Seeing him drive after that man and beat him to death was scary. Who did he call for help? Paul. And Paul is the one that buried the body. I wonder if this is a skill he has included on his resume. Because he’s good at it. So it’s understandable why Briggs called in the favor.

Cortney: Bahaha! Paul Briggs — Professional Body Disposer. Love it.

Tina: We should redo his resume. But first he needs to recognize he made Jakes do a bad thing. He stole nine million dollars for Briggs! I think that makes them even. That’s an enormous amount of money. Money Paul didn’t get to spend in the end. But before all hell broke loose, I liked seeing Courtney meet the friends. I liked Jakes remembering Charlie’s birthday. It’s when Mike announced he wasn’t going to file the HSI report that’s full of lies — and told them all to lawyer up — that triggered Jakes’ survival instincts. No going to prison for him.

Cortney: Nope, no prison, but a life on the run, constantly having to look over your shoulder, isn’t exactly living the dream either. And I love that they tied back in his past drinking problems, as well as his relationship with his son, which seems to have fallen by the wayside lately. However, I found it fascinating that it was Jakes doing something bad for Briggs (stealing the money) that actually led him to do something even worse (taking the money and going on the run). So is Briggs to blame, too? I think Mike will see it that way. That being said, I’m with you, it was Mike’s announcement that triggered something that was clearly already brewing inside of Jakes. A fact that he revealed to Johnny in what I found to be one of the toughest scenes of the episode.

Johnny: Look around you, man, you got a good life.
Jakes: Where, man? Where is this good life, Johnny? I don’t got a good life. I haven’t been happy in years, man. It’s been years! I came out here to raise my kid, I can’t even see my kid. I haven’t got a good life, I got no life.
Johnny: You got us. You got us, you got me, you got the house.
Jakes: This house is for the backstabbers and liars. We’re all going to prison because of the people in this goddamn house.
Johnny: No, we’re not. Mike is going to sign off on the HSI report and it’s going to go back to the way it was.
Jakes: I don’t want it to be back to the way it was. Man, I want her. That’s what I want.

And then things got physical. Ugh! Maybe it’s because I’m a girl and I don’t understand beating up your friends. Or maybe it’s because I really loved watching their friendship deepen and grow this season and hated to see it end this way. But either way, that was brutal for me. Especially Jakes’ parting line as he walked away beaten and bloody, leaving Johnny laid out on the floor.

Jakes: I love you, Johnny. Always will.

He doesn’t want to be the tiger who gets old and ends up never getting to live the life he truly wants. And apparently all he wants is Courtney. But does that really warrant a life on the run?!

Mike

Photo Credit: Jeff Daly/USA Network

Photo Credit: Jeff Daly/USA Network

Tina: Mike decided to protect everyone. He decided to go with the flow so to speak. He filed the report and got some good digs in on Logan. He also made some demands. Well, at least one that we know of. He made sure Gusti went free. I was really happy about that because, I hate to say it, he was ultimately collateral damage in Briggs’ grand scheme of things. Now Gusti’s got some money, a passport and a way out of dodge. I did like something that he said to Mike before learning about his freedom, however:

Gusti: You know…you were a better person when you believed in something.

I don’t know. I feel like every roommate took a dark turn this season at a certain point. Yes, some were shadier than others. We know Briggs was the biggest offender with all his scheming and manipulating. But life is better whenever Paul and Mike are on the same page. It’s like Mike only thinks of Paul as a bad guy now. I can’t quite reconcile that.

Cortney: I completely agree with both you and Gusti. That quote is so spot on. Mike and Briggs are always better together and the fact that Mike only sees Briggs as a bad guy doesn’t sit well with me either. I get wanting to do good and be, as Logan said, “a boy scout” but not everything is black and white and I feel like Mike has blinders on sometimes. Until he finally signed the report, it felt like Mike was more focused on “winning” and taking down Briggs than he was about keeping a major criminal off the streets. Or his roommates out of prison so that they can keep more major criminals off the street. I hate to say it, but it felt selfish. I’m glad he finally conceded and when he marched in to Logan’s office and put the blame on him, I thought he had finally started to come to his senses. Honestly, I was hoping blaming Logan (since he instigated the whole thing) would alleviate some of his focus on Briggs, but no such luck.

However, I did love the Gusti part and that Mike used his favor with Logan to set Gusti free. Let’s be honest, Gusti was a criminal, but ultimately, he wasn’t a bad guy, he was just doing bad things to achieve a better outcome. Which, in a twist of irony, is also what Briggs is doing, even though Mike fails to see it with him. But I also found it interesting that Gusti was a very different person this episode. His movement, his mannerisms, even the cadence to his voice has changed now that he’s seen the truth. It was sad in a way, but also made him feel less naive and gave me hope that he will use this realization to live a better life moving forward.

Briggs

Photo Credit: Jeff Daly/USA Network

Photo Credit: Jeff Daly/USA Network

Tina: I hope bringing down the Sarkissians was worth everything that it’s cost him. Sure, he’s still free. And that’s awesome. But he doesn’t really have his friends’ trust or respect anymore. In this episode, Jakes had his turn at confronting Briggs. I don’t know how the guy withstands all the vitriol he’s had to take over all of this. He did manage to go after Ari, on his bum leg and everything. Ari’s apparently on the same wavelength everybody else in the free world is: he puts the blame for his sad state of existence on Briggs, too. And you know what? He’s kind of right. Technically he only has himself to blame for being a criminal but his downfall came courtesy of Briggs.

Cortney: Poor Briggs. I mean, yes, he sets himself up a lot of the time, but he also doesn’t have it easy. Not only did he go after Ari, the Sotos came after him. And in a BIG way! That being said, even when he was being shot at and seriously outnumbered, he seemed relatively calm. I almost wondered, as they were running through the warehouse, if it was a set up and he had agents dressed to look like Sotos just to spook Ari. Obviously, that wasn’t the case. Briggs gave his own version of the “I’m too old for this s–t” speech and it was clear that he would be okay with dying, which kind of broke my heart.

Tina: Right? I watched him say all this and ended up asking myself, is he really ready to die? I couldn’t believe he’s reached that point. Neither could Ari.

GRACELAND -- "No Old Tigers" Episode 313 -- Pictured: Rhys Coiro as Ari -- (Photo by: Jeff Daly/USA Network)

Photo Credit: Jeff Daly/USA Network

Cortney: It was tough, luckily we had Ari there to lighten the mood, as always. I have to admit, I’m really gonna miss that guy and his quirky crassness. That being said, I’m glad Paige and Charlie swept in to save the day…or at least I was until Charlie started pleading with Briggs to not kill Ari. That literally broke my heart. I mean, I know Briggs was right (or at least not wrong) about Ari’s imprisonment unraveling the whole HSI report, but Tina, I also know that you and I want these two back together and after that, I’m a little nervous that we may never get that! Charlie knows Briggs ain’t no saint, but shooting someone in the a$$ and then executing them…that’s tough to come back from.

Photo Credit: Jeff Daly/USA Network

Photo Credit: Jeff Daly/USA Network

Tina: And other than this part of the episode, we didn’t really have any other Charlie/Briggs moments, which is sad to me. I had hoped for more. Briggs really doesn’t have anyone to turn to now. I can’t even begin to think how he’s going to repair his relationships should this show get a fourth season. Will this experience leave a permanent mark on him? Will he continue to have that fatalistic view Ari talked about? The way Mike looked at him during the last scene at the house — they were all there without Jakes and it was sad to see our team so broken.

Johnny/Paige/Charlie

Photo Credit: Jeff Daly/USA Network

Photo Credit: Jeff Daly/USA Network

Cortney: I agree. Next season will (because I refuse to be a fatalist like Briggs on the subject of a fourth season) be rough for Briggs. But I also think it’ll be rough on the rest of the team. Chasing down one of your own isn’t easy. I mean, they’ve kind of done it with Briggs this season, but I can see an official Operation Hunt Jakes being a whole different scenario. We mentioned these three meeting Courtney earlier (which I loved, by the way), but they also warned Jakes about getting involved and about being careful…advice he clearly didn’t heed. I know I already mentioned it with Johnny, but watching Charlie try to reason with Jakes as he insisted on leaving was just as brutal for me. These two have become so close this season that I know this is going to hit her hard, especially since she really does need to “mother” and take care of everyone.

Tina: This hit me hard, too. Charlie and Jakes were one of my favorite relationships of the season.

Cortney: As far as Paige, I was a little conflicted since she started by fully supporting Mike and being all pro-truth-telling then once it came to the Ari situation, she was all for killing, lying and looking the other way to protect Briggs and the false report. The sudden change of heart felt inconsistent to me. Either way, I think all of the roommates are going to have their own issues to deal with as they come to terms with what they drove Jakes to do. Because while it’s easy to point the finger, the truth is that they’ve all done things they shouldn’t and they’ve all contributed to this mess. How did you feel about that final shot? I have to admit, I was kind of baffled when the episode ended because I’m used to finales having a big BAM! cliffhanger, but something about this eerie silence and the looks of contemplation on all of their faces really worked for me.

Tina: I loved this quiet ending that was set to the song “Wild” by Adam Jones & K.S. Rhoads. Take a listen:

I’ve never heard the song before but now I love it. It just added to the loneliness. Sometimes you don’t need to go big to close out a season. There was an emotional devastation to the song and the characters involved in the scene that was just as powerful.

Moment of Goodness from “No Such Tigers”

Tina: As much as I loved the presence of Rhys Coiro and I’m sad to say goodbye to him, I think the Moment of Goodness from the episode is non-Ari related. I think it’s going to have to be Jakes systematically cutting his dreads and then shaving his head. To me, it symbolized his present baggage and everything he had been through from murdering that predator all the way to stealing the money for Briggs. He unloaded it all with that one act. He said goodbye to his old life. And he prepared himself for the new one he was about to create with Courtney. Sure, it’s going to be difficult. They’re on the run now. But they have each other. I think a scene like that is brave and Brandon Jay McLaren brought it. Jakes was somebody else after he got rid of that no longer needed baggage. He’s the money launderer in love with his lady. I wonder if he’s told her the truth about himself. Cortney, what did you think?

Cortney: I completely agree. I think the tears in his eyes said it all. It wasn’t just his hair that he was cutting, it was the ties to his current life. He was deliberate, methodical and despite the obvious pain, he did it with conviction and certainty. It was a beautifully symbolic moment that had the proper amount of ceremony around it and I think Brandon did a phenomenal job conveying so much without ever having to utter a word. And despite my hesitations about her in the beginning, I do like how much Courtney supports him and has his back regardless of what she does or doesn’t know. Jakes deserves to be happy. Like Charlie said two weeks ago, he’s the best of them. I don’t know that a life on the run will provide that, but if he really truly believes it will get him closer to the life he desires, I have to commend him for trying.

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