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Two Takes: Graceland “Sidewinder” 

Two Takes: Graceland “Sidewinder”
Photo Credit: Jeff Daly/USA Network
Photo Credit: Jeff Daly/USA Network
Photo Credit: Jeff Daly/USA Network

Carlito Solano is finally behind bars. But there are still more bad guys the Graceland roommates need to apprehend. In “Sidewinder,” three cases are dealt with: the Armenian posse that includes Martun Sarkissian, Ari Adamian and Martun’s very handsome right hand guy, Toros. Then there’s Charlie’s undercover oxy operation that keeps taking her to the swamps of Miami. And finally, there’s Mike’s dream-to-reality investigation that involves Gusti, his wife Madison, at least one WMD and a set of villains we don’t think we have met yet.

Tina: Cortney, before we get into each of these cases, there are some things I want to talk about first. Let’s start with Johnny. He’s clearly trying too hard to move on from Lucia. He hooked up with the daughter of the guy who owns Hector’s Tacos. The woman looks like a Lucia doppelganger! She made breakfast for the crew, which I think everyone appreciated? But at the same time, it was all very awkward. Oh and can we talk about the Shallow TV Alert that happened? I wasn’t expecting to see more of Johnny than we’ve ever seen before. And why is he the only one we’re seeing with some sort of love life?

Cortney: Haha! Of course we have to start there! You know how much I love it when all the roommates are together, especially when it’s non-case related, so obviously I loved this scene MUCHO. And watching them give each other sh*t is like icing on the cake. That being said, I did not see the blanket reveal coming! Poor Johnny, but I’m totally with Charlie, that couch needs a steam cleaning! However, Johnny’s affectionate cuddling with Lucia 2.0 and calling her “babe” definitely felt a little too real for me. Also, can we mention how Jennie thought they were all in porn?!

Jennie: What exactly do you guys do?

Paige: If you had to guess, what would you say?

Charlie: Do what?

Jennie: Pornographers? [Everyone laughs] You’re attractive, you do business in Miami and he wants to know if they can handle a black man.

Jakes: She makes a good point.

So good! She kind of won me over with this. Speaking of love lives, I agree, but I definitely saw a hint of longing and affection when Briggs saw Charlie in the hallway, which is something that’s been missing the past few weeks. And let’s not forget, Paige almost got some undercover action, does that count?

Tina: Yeah, Undercover!Paige got a little too close for comfort with Toros. And it was all because she needed to save Briggs from getting killed. While there was some chemistry there, that’s not what this scene was about. Rough sex, much? In order to avoid actually having sex with the man, she broke his nose. And he didn’t care all that much. All’s fair in lust and sex games, I guess. Paige continues to be a badass in the best sense of the word. Toros encouraged her to hit him harder. And it ended up with him having to go to the ER. I approve.

Cortney: Right?! When was the last time you broke a guy’s nose and he called it “cute”?! Only Paige can get away with that.

Tina: Is it wrong that one of my other favorite moments of the episode was a fancy shmancy-looking Jakes saving the bad dudes from the gator? I feel guilty saying that considering everything that’s been going on as of late in the news and the senseless killing of animals. This show has no problem being inappropriate.

Cortney: I agree, the timing of this episode is a bit unfortunate and to be honest, I kind of would’ve been okay with those guys being eaten by the alligator. However, I do have to say that my favorite part of the whole storyline was Jakes’ over-the-top wardrobe…who knew he owned a purple shirt?! And that he looked so good in it?! And I loved how Charlie told him he looked like he was going to the Grammys! I can’t argue with her, it was totally inappropriate for swamp land, but fortunately he also brought along the necessary swagger (although in a suit like that, I don’t know how you don’t have swagger) and totally made it work. Speaking of which, those Miami guys are such buffoons, I’m ready for someone to take them down. Unfortunately, this deal also requires Oxy, which inspired Charlie to take inventory of hers and we both know where that led….Mike is in such trouble.

Tina: As far as those Miami buffoons, you’re right — it feels like they should have been dealt with by now. Those guys aren’t smart. At least it doesn’t seem like it. Yeah, I’m kind of ready for this story arc to be over.

Photo Credit: Jeff Daly/USA Network
Photo Credit: Jeff Daly/USA Network

As far as Mike…I agree. He’s in so much trouble. He gets “arrested” and is able to see that Gusti’s green card wife was going through the same thing as him: withdrawal. While he’s “in jail” he’s able to pop a pill and he’s also able to pass one on to Madison. She ups the ante by the end of the episode. Smoking it instead of popping a pill? Ruh roh. I wonder if there’s going to be an intervention in next week’s episode. (Side note: the promo for the episode looks INTENSE)

Cortney: I’m SO glad you brought that up! By the end of the promo, I was actually ANGRY because I have to wait a whole week for the next episode! We will definitely have lots to talk about next week. But that will have to wait, let’s get back to this episode. I have to admit, I really liked Gusti. He may always talk WAY too loud and he may have a bit too much enthusiasm for everything, but I still get a real kick out of him. He’s almost like a little kid…even during the pseudo-shakedown, he was bubbly and smiling and nearly bouncing off the walls. IN JAIL! Granted, he knew it was just a shakedown, but regardless, his naiveté is endearing and his awe for Mike makes me kind of sad that he’ll eventually have to go down.

Tina: It’s difficult to dislike Gusti even though I want to because I’m not quite sure where he’s coming from. Mahedi Rakib plays him with so much joy which is interesting considering what kind of business his character is doing. Gusti’s passion and excitement is infectious. So I find myself rooting for him to not be a bonafide bad guy.

Cortney: Agreed. I never thought I’d say this about a criminal, but he’s downright delightful. And I kind of like that his marriage isn’t (totally) a sham, he was actually there for Madison when no one else was. Speaking of which, let’s get back to the pseudo-shakedown. Mike was NOT looking good in jail…withdrawal hit him hard and yet he’s a seasoned enough drug addict to know to hide pills in his sock. I don’t know about you, but that spells major trouble to me. And that scene on the rooftop at the end…no bueño.

Photo Credit: Jeff Daly/USA Network
Photo Credit: Jeff Daly/USA Network

If there is an intervention next week, Mike is not going to take to it well and I’m worried that he will continue to fall apart. But as far as his near-death dream goes, that picture is finally coming together. From what I can tell, Gusti is a naive low-level courier just looking to make some money. He doesn’t know who hired him or what’s in the box, but as soon as that phone rings, he’s on the go. So do we think there’s a chance that this somehow related to the Sarkissian clan? Have they amped up their game and are now dealing in WMDs? Or do you think this is a completely separate set of bad guys?

Tina: I don’t really know. I guess from your options I’m going to pull for it being the Sarkissians because I really want all these worlds to connect sooner rather than later. I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon considering the Season 3 finale isn’t until Thursday, Sept. 17. We still have plenty of set-ups, shakedowns and everything in between to experience before then. All I know is Mike better get his act together. He needs to get his act together. Remember at the beginning of the season when I called him a do gooder? That description doesn’t quite fit him anymore. He’s a do badder. At least at the end of “Sidewinder.”

A few quick thoughts/observations: Ari continues to be awesome. He and Briggs make a great team in a weird way. Looks like Charlie’s starting to show. I don’t know how much longer she’s going to be able to get away with everyone in the house being unaware of her condition. And this has already been stated (kinda) but…I love me some Undercover!Jakes. More of that, please.

Cortney: Do badder, I love it. And yes, yes, yes. To everything you said. More undercover Jakes for sure. Charlie is seriously starting to show (although she did look surprisingly slim in Miami by comparison). And oh Briggs. I hardly know what to say. He and Ari do make a great team, even when Briggs doesn’t understand what’s being said (side note: is it just me or did Paige totally jump the gun on that one? Yes, Toros said he was going to kill Briggs, but it was very half-hearted. Briggs has been in far worse situations before. Not to mention, if I had a nickel for every time someone said they were going to kill someone else on this show…well, you know). But part of me worries that Ari is starting to rub off on Briggs a little…I mean, he did actually burn a guy’s face on the jet engine, that’s no joke. I guess we’ll have to wait until next week to see how the whole Sarkissian takedown goes down. My guess is it won’t be without a few glitches, but this is Graceland after all and I wouldn’t hope for anything less.

Graceland airs Thursdays at 10/9c on USA.

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