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Graceland 1×04 Eli Has Two and He's Younger

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First off, the title of this recap has little to do with the episode, but I always love a little plug for my G-men, so thank you Charlie for that 🙂

With an ensemble show, it always takes a little while to get to know some of the supporting players. The first few episodes have to be devoted to laying down the groundwork for the major story arc of the season. In its first three weeks, Graceland has mostly been about Mike and Briggs and the tensions that exist between old school and new school. We learned about Mike’s secret assignment to investigate Briggs and we understand how lies and mistrust are going to play into every aspect of their relationship. The

So now, in week 4, it’s time to really dive in to some of the other characters.  Paige is trying to set up a bust involving a woman, Ashika, who Jakes has a history with. Paige’s plan is to go in undercover as a buyer, but Jakes informs her that this connection only works with Mexicans. Enter Johnny. After letting Charlie fake-tat him up from head-to-toe, Johnny is ready for the meet. Jakes makes the introduction and Johnny brings some serious attitude. It’s clear from Paige’s face as she listens to the interaction from the truck that this was not how Johnny was supposed to play it, and she and Jakes give him hell when the meeting is over. Johnny defends himself saying he was just playing the part accurately. Luckily, his behavior doesn’t interfere with the plans and a follow up meeting is set up for the following day, this time at the farm where Ashika allegedly grows her weed.

graceland1x4aJakes and Johnny arrive at the farm and Johnny immediately begins making up for his earlier bad behavior. I don’t know much about being an undercover agent, and they have certainly made it clear that having a personal life can be a bit tricky, but I was somewhat alarmed at the eagerness with which Johnny approached this as an opportunity to get laid. It seemed obvious to Paige from her surveillance perch that the buy wasn’t going to happen. She instructed them to abort their mission, but Johnny decided to stay to hook up with their potential perp, and presumably get more intel as well. The genius didn’t think through the fact that his spray-on tattoos would start to come off after he sweated through the sheets. He woke up early and snuck into the shed to get photos of the weed overgrowth, leaving Ashika behind to discover ink all over her bed. Just as Johnny was nabbing the evidence he needed, Ashika and her muscle busted in wielding very large and scary-looking weaponry. Things did not look too good for a while, but lucky for Johnny, this is TV, where people don’t shoot you right away. Jakes and Paige showed up shortly thereafter and the three of them were able to remedy the situation.

I found the Ashika story line to be a bit dull, maybe because as Johnny says ‘weed is practically legal,’ or maybe because of my discomfort with the sexual situation, but it didn’t really matter. It was incredibly enjoyable to watch anyway. We haven’t gotten a chance to watch Manny Montana or Brandon Jay McLaren really shine, so this week was a real treat. I love the way these characters are developing and I’m really hoping we get more ofGraceland - Season 1 both of them as the weeks go on. Serinda Swan was pretty great, too, though I still feel like we haven’t really gotten to know Paige.

While these three guys were heading up to the farm, Briggs was setting up a meeting with Bello, the biggest heroin distributor in all of Southern California. Briggs has been working on creating a relationship with this guy for years and it has finally happened. He requests that Mike come too, and then when they show up, explains that he’d like to meet with Mike alone. Bello’s employee, Eddie, is also present, sporting an eye patch covering a recent injury inflicted by Bello as punishment for Eddie’s alleged betrayal. Eddie is certain that it is Mike is who betraying Bello, as things started to go wrong for them only after he showed up. Truthfully, I’m not entirely sure why Bello doesn’t follow the same logic. I get that Mike is great with a gun and that he brought them the bullets, but Eddie has been loyal to him for years, and the trouble did start when Mike arrived. Anyway, Bello enlists Mike’s help in teaching his men how to shoot. Mike’s panicked because it is clearly not a good idea for him to help drug dealers improve their marksmanship. Briggs advises him to take things slow. Mike arrives at the first lesson and explains that they won’t be shooting. Rather, they’ll be learning how to take apart their weapons, clean them, and put them back together.

The fact that Mike doesn’t actually teach them shooting is another red flag to Eddie who follows Mike and assaults him with a gun. Mike is able to quickly turn the table and tells Eddie to never follow him again. Back at the house, Briggs and Charlie agree that the right move is to bring Eddie in. They’ll offer him a chance at protection and make Bello even more convinced that Eddie is his leak. Mike doesn’t love the plan because he thinks it puts Eddie in more danger, but Briggs assures him it’s the only chance Eddie has to get away. He also reminds Mike that Eddie got himself in danger when he made the decision to go work for Bello.

The plan works and Bello is increasingly more suspicious of Eddie. Eddie tells Bello exactly how things went down. He explains that he is certain that Mike is working for the Feds. He recounts how he followed Mike and attacked him and was almost immediately detained by the FBI. He points out that this is not a coincidence and that Mike was behind the whole thing. Bello is skeptical, particularly because Bello had intercepted a phone conversation where Eddie said he was relocating to Arizona. Bello has Mike hand over his gun and gives it to Eddie. He tells him he has two choices, and then whispers them in his ear. Mike is standing there, not knowing what Bello has just said. Eddie points the gun at Mike for a moment, before turning it on himself. Again, I am not sure why Eddie didn’t kill Mike. Even if he knew his own life was probably over anyway, I’d think someone like Eddie, being as sure as he was that Mike had set him up, would’ve gone for the kill. What do you think?

Fortunately for us, Mike Warren lives to see another day. He leaves the scene with Eddie and heads to meet Abby, the girl he met out last week, for a drink. He is visibly shaken when he arrives and makes up a story (kinda) about witnesses an accident where a person died. Abby, televisions most understanding woman, tells him he should go home and rest. He wouldn’t be good company anyway. He takes her up on it, and heads back to Graceland.

Back at the ranch, Mike is left with the dishes after the house has enjoyed Charlie’s famous three-day sauce. There was much anticipation about eating it and then Mike had to miss it so he could be there to watch Eddie off himself. As he stands there, washing dishes, reflecting on how he didn’t get to partake in this meal and where he spent his evening instead, he is clearly having a hard time with the turn this investigation has taken. Does he blame Briggs? Does he believe Eddie’s death was avoidable? Is this going to somehow play a role in his investigation of Briggs?

Scenes for next week’s episode look exciting – and sexy. Looking forward to seeing you back here. As always, leave your thoughts and comments for me below!

 

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