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Two Takes: Graceland “Bon Voyage” 

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

Talk about an intense, gut-wrenching episode. Graceland may have the lighthearted fun thing down to a T, but when it comes to emotions, they know how to deliver ten-fold. And “Bon Voyage” was one of those episodes. We saw a painful intervention, a heartbreaking breakdown and a loss that I’m sure will be felt for episodes to come. And yet, the bad guys still live to fight another day. So what does this mean for our Graceland agents? Let’s break it down.

Cortney: Wow, Tina, as promised, this was a crazy episode! I hardly even know where to start. Since the last episode wrapped with everyone learning of Mike’s drug problem, let’s tackle that first. After losing two days in a blissful high with Madison, he returned home to what I thought was a pretty solid, supportive intervention, especially when Briggs took some of the blame for not being there when Mike needed it. But then, things got ugly. Honestly, watching Mike attack everyone definitely made me cringe. Don’t get me wrong, interventions are never smooth or pretty. Mike hit below the belt with every single one of them — Jakes’ family issues, Briggs’ death count, Charlie’s abortion, Paige nearly killing him — and it hurt.

Tina: I’m totally fine starting with Mike’s story because the Charlie portion of the episode was so incredibly painful. I am not quite ready to talk about it. However, I do think that was the biggest story of “Bon Voyage” even more so than Mike’s intervention. Speaking of which, I’m sort of a jaded TV viewer at times even though I’m also a big cheerleader of TV. And when it comes to small screen interventions, I’ve seen a few. The one I always go back to is the Bailey intervention on Party of Five. This one on Graceland seemed a little rushed and not super original. However, like you, I cringed at Mike hitting below the belt, especially bringing up Jakes’ alcohol/family issues and the abortion. But I have to say the scene I enjoyed more was the one-on-one conversation Mike and Charlie had right after the intervention.

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

Cortney: Yes, I completely agree. Something about the relationship those two have is really special. And in a sad twist of irony, Charlie’s mothering/caretaking instinct is spot on. I love that she knows exactly how to approach him, when to push, when to listen and when to relate. That scene was really beautiful.

Charlie: Look at me. Look at me. You’re strong. You never let anything beat you, Mike. What are you doing? This isn’t you. This isn’t what you are.

Mike: Charlie, it hurt so bad, it was like my insides were ripping out and I just, I needed to get back to work, I needed to stay upright so I kept taking the meds. And I don’t know what happened or when, but it was like a switch flipped. It’s like I’ve been living inside somebody else’s body. Every pill I take, I think it’s going to be the last one, but it’s just the last one and the last one and the last one. I’m so sorry.

Charlie: It’s okay. Mike, I’m still pregnant. It was either lose the case or lose the baby, so I did what you did, I split the difference…look, I know what it’s like to want to keep driving, but sometimes you gotta pull over and take a rest.

Unfortunately, her words rang too true, but we’ll get to that later. I honestly don’t think Mike could’ve or would’ve opened up to anyone else like this. But despite admitting he wants to quit, I still don’t know that he’s there yet…and that’s all due to his “friendship” with Madison. I have to admit, something about Madison and Mike’s bond is creeping me out a bit. Him sharing his journal and dreams…this is starting to feel more real than cover to me and we both know that never ends well.

Tina: In this episode we saw more of Madison than we ever have. I actually missed Vin/Gusti. I kept wanting him to interrupt the Mike/Madison scenes. But it was nice to actually hear from his wife for a change. Things quickly turn into this toxic sort of situation for Mike since Madison encourages his addiction and doesn’t really seem like she wants to stop. However, we did get a return appearance of Do Gooder Mike, who claims to be all on board with rehab and wants Madison to be too. He goes into savior mode whether Madison wants it or not. That’s so Mike. Meanwhile, what do you think of Jakes and Johnny being reluctant participators in Briggs’ plan to take down Ari Adamian?

Cortney: Before we get to Jakes and Johnny being reluctant participants in Plan Ari, we have to address Jakes and Johnny being reluctant participants of Plan Hickey! That was honest to goodness one of my favorite scenes ever. I don’t know how or why but between the awkward silences and off-handed one-liners it really got me. I love that Johnny makes the genius suggestion to slut Paige up rather than ugly her down (not that that would even be possible, as they point out) and yet he’s the one who is squirming uncontrollably when Jakes agrees to step up and “do it for the case” to help her sell it. I couldn’t even. I don’t blame them, I was super uncomfortable too, but both Manny Montana and Brandon Jay McLaren totally sold it in this scene and I love that Charlie walked in right in the middle. So so so good!

Tina: I’m digging the Johnny and Jakes show this season. A lot. They are responsible for the bulk of the comedy since there’s no way Briggs, Paige, Charlie and Mike have room for laughs. Johnny just came through this dark period for him so I’m happy he can return to some of his lighter ways. You’re right though. This was such a fun moment. I loved it. Should we be calling Paige and Jakes, Jaige from here on out? Or Pakes? Okay I digress. Back to Plan Ari. I’m curious to know what you think about the whole thing from Jakes and Johnny’s reluctance to the play out of Plan Hickey to the ultimate failure of this operation. Oh and there’s also Johnny’s look. We can’t forget his tough undercover look.

Cortney: I have to admit, I like Johnny and Jakes’ initial hesitation — mostly because it gave us a bit more comedy as they sat there eating grapes and playing off one another but also because it felt real. How many times do you blindly follow someone in to a fire before you start to realize you’re gonna get burned? Ultimately, they had to come around, but I like that it took a minute. That being said, I was none too happy when Jakes was blaming Johnny for it going south at the end. Yes, Johnny was being a tough guy but as a gang member covered in tattoos and preparing to buy RPGs, I wouldn’t expect any less. If he hadn’t been tough, that would’ve been a red flag too. I did love the whole “Same team, same team!” scene when the FBI agents burst in, though. I do have a question about that, but first, I want to hear your thoughts….

Tina: This feels like it’s the story that’s going to take us through to the finale. The Solano arc has wrapped up. I am not sure how much longer the Miami part of the equation is going to go on but it doesn’t need to go on that much longer. It really seems like Mike’s and Briggs’ cases are going to be the ones to take us to the end. So I figured this operation wasn’t going to go well but I felt like Toros and Ari are continually making Briggs look stupid. On one hand, I like that these are smart criminals. I like that they’re tough to take down. The challenge makes the drama even more worth it.

At some point, Briggs needs to take a step back and see that this hardcore going after Ari isn’t working. He needs to take more time to come up with a plan. It’s like he’s executing one convoluted plan after the other because he wants to bring down these guys so bad. And that’s why Ari/Toros are able to come out on top. Right now Briggs needs to be happy he’s not dead. Because he came close in this episode. His one ace in the hole is Paige. She’s still undercover and I’m a little scared for her even though she’s capable of taking care of herself.

Cortney: I agree, the whole bear-carving bar scene was a little too close for comfort. Although Briggs didn’t appear to be too worried. And I don’t honestly know that these two are that smart, per se (after all, they do keep trusting Briggs and Toros has no clue about Paige), I just think that they’re wily and have seen enough dark s–t to be able evade capture at the last moment.

Tina: I don’t think they trust Briggs at all. I think we found that out in this episode. Because for a while I was questioning why they did trust him. But, yeah, maybe wily’s a better word for them. But I want them to be smart.

Cortney: My question is how much does Briggs know? Was all that “they reneged” business and anger and needing to “take a walk” all a part of the plan? Honestly, he didn’t seem that shocked when they pulled up behind him in the car and they seemed awfully casual about making him get in…and in the FRONT seat nonetheless. Me thinks something fishy is going on here….or maybe I’ve just seen Briggs go behind the team’s back enough to know that I should be suspicious of everything he does. If there is something more going on, I’d like to think he’d let Paige in on it since she is on the inside, but you never know.

Tina: Interesting…clearly I’m not always a smart TV viewer because I wasn’t skeptical about Ari/Toros picking up Briggs. And I totally should have questioned everything. I think that would be a fantastic twist. And probably explains the fact that in the previews for next week, Briggs is all fine. Nice call, Cortney.

Cortney: Okay, I think we’ve avoided it long enough, is it time we talk about Charlie?

Tina: Do we have to? You start. I don’t want to do it.

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

Cortney: Haha! Not really, but I guess I’ll pull the band-aid off and start with a big UGGGHHH! Everything about her storyline was rough this week, starting with the story about her having to rat out her dad and send him to jail to protect him. Brutal. Then came the buy and ultimately Amber’s “going away” party, during which what seemed to be the most logical and normal of the Miami buffoons, was the one to go off the rails and DRUG her! Obviously, the second he handed her the soda can, I knew something was up. But watching her literally paralyzed on the couch and yet aware of everything that was going on…I have no words. The look in her eyes was true fear, which is something that we don’t often see with these agents. I never thought I’d say this, but I was glad when the other two showed up and appeared to have some common sense and stopped him and said they had to save her. Obviously, that didn’t last long and my jaw about hit the floor when they rolled her over the edge of the boat into the gator-infested swamp. And if that wasn’t hard enough to watch…well, I’ll let you take it from here.

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

Tina: Brutal is the perfect word for what went on with Charlie. First, I did love the insight into her character. Her dad is alive and in jail. I immediately wondered if we could possibly meet him someday. Second, the drink laced with Ibogaine — as soon as they mentioned the drug you just knew it was going to bite someone in the ass. And unfortunately it was Charlie’s. All of it was tough to watch. Realizing the second she took that drink, her pregnancy was over. Being dumped in the middle of the swamp wondering if she was going to drown or a gator was going to deal with her. While she was under water she saw her son slipping away from her. And then the scene with Amber and Charlie in the bathroom. Charlie was beyond vulnerable. She was devastated. It was a very intimate scene between the two. She needed comfort and Amber was there, holding her. There are no words. In the earlier conversation with Mike, she admitted she was still pregnant. And now it’s over. I wonder when Briggs will find out and how he’s going to react.

Cortney: I agree. But I have to say, I loved the scene with her and Amber in the bathroom.

Tina: Just for the record…I really loved this scene, too. It was sad and devastating and brutal but it was compelling to watch.

Cortney: Exactly! These two have had a tempestuous relationship, but it’s also one I’ve always found interesting and somewhat protective. To see Amber tear up at what Charlie was going through, it felt genuine and sobering. Amber’s life of crime is fairly self-centered, so for her to care about someone else and witness the impact that her choices have on others was big. And it was nice to see Charlie allow someone to comfort and “mother” her for once. I’ll admit I was a little confused at first when Charlie was under the water and watching the boy slip away…with all the crime and shady business going on down there, I wouldn’t have been surprised if she happened upon another body in the swamp. However, once I realized the symbolism, it hit me hard. Don’t get me wrong, I had an inkling something like this would happen eventually since I could never really wrap my head around how they would make Charlie both a new mother and an active agent, but that didn’t make it any easier. Ultimately, I worry what this will mean for her moving forward and like you, I am SO curious to see who she tells, when she tells them and ultimately, how Briggs will react.

Tina: Season 3 has been a dark, intense, crazy, complicated, emotional, exhausting road so far. And there’s more headed our way. Number one on the scenes I need in my life right now is Briggs finding out. It’s scaring me something fierce but it’s something I hope we see play out sooner rather than later.

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

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