'Graceland' Recap: Has Mike Gone Too Far?
'Graceland' Recap: Has Mike Gone Too Far?
M.K. Costigan
M.K. Costigan
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
The FBI's ethical review board is going to be busy as hell pretty soon. That's because this week's Graceland, "Gratis," has the agents breaking FBI statute, federal law, and several of the Commandments. Let's see what irresponsible deeds were done.


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Thou Shalt Not Dispose of Bodies

When we last left Mike, he had taken up residence in Sulla's den of sexual slavery. He begins the process of wiring the place, but has a lot more work to do before any real progress can be made. The Solano cartel is beginning to reopen its trade, but they must wait until the operation is fully underway before they're able to shut down the trade permanently. 

Unfortunately, soon is not soon enough. While we already knew that anyone heading up a human trafficking ring is by definition terrible, Sulla reveals the depths of his repulsive, sexist nature. Mike finds him watching the girls sleep, which is the least creepy thing he does in this episode, and possibly in his entire life. He later finds him sexually assaulting Lena, to whom he seems to have taken a liking. Lena bites his genitalia when he forces himself on her. Mike attempts to assert dominance, since he's a man and has money, two things that Sulla may actually respect. But Sulla has a pathological need for control and assaults Mike instead of submitting.

Realizing that he can't leave Lena there any longer, Mike tells Sulla that he's buying her outright. Sulla says that Lena will never be for sale, not now, nor ever. But Mike doesn't back down. He greatly underestimates Sulla. Rather than let his personal favorite be taken from him, Sulla stabs Lena to death in front of Mike. Enraged, Mike attacks Sulla, but is quickly subdued by his bodyguard. Sulla would have Mike killed, but Mike promises a million dollar payout for their deal, and Sulla can't refuse.

His operation has been salvaged, but Mike now has a body to deal with. He is, in some way, directly responsible for this death. However wise the decision to try and shut down the entire human trafficking ring may have been, Mike ultimately could have freed Lena and the other girls but chose not to. Had be made a different call, Lena would still be alive. Paige will certainly see it that way.

Mike calls Paige to tell her that he has Lena and to meet him at a construction site nearby. Initially it's assumed that Mike is going to show Paige the body, but when he opens the trunk we see that there is nothing inside. Instead, he knocks himself out and pretends that Lena surprised him and made a run for it. His reasoning is clear; if Paige knew what had happened to Lena, she would immediately go over his head and take Sulla down. Hell, the FBI might order him to scrap the mission now that an innocent life has been lost. Mike still believes that he made the right choice, and is going to try and shut down the entire cartel, no matter what the cost. His time in the episode ends with him incinerating Lena's body in a crematorium in Sulla's warehouse. Perhaps he has the right intentions, but the ends do not seem like they can justify these means.

Thou Shalt Not Sexually Confuse One's Business Partners

Meanwhile, Johnny and Lucia have reached her father's house in Mexico. "House" isn't really the best word to describe it, though. It's more like a palace. The main house is impressive enough, even without the stables and Franciscan monastery in the backyard. Running a drug cartel has its share of drawbacks (constant fear for one's life, one-way tickets to hell, etc), but the living arrangements are not among them.

Another thing the estate comes with? Psychotic, homosexual heirs. Carlito is back, and his interest in Johnny does not seem to have diminished during their time apart. He takes Johnny to a fancy bedroom and starts with the seduction, but Johnny is saved by Carlos Solano Sr.'s homophobia and Lucia's timely entrance. Lucia does not seem at all fazed by the fact that her brother is seducing her boyfriend. I'm not actually sure what she thinks Johnny is doing in her life. She knows he and Carlito have fooled around a little, but she also knows with certainty that Johnny is not gay. She knows that Johnny became associated with her by ingratiating himself into Carlito's social and business circle, yet he insists that he wants nothing to do with her family or their business. Nothing he says makes any sense, yet she goes with it. Maybe all of this behavior seems completely normal in her messed up world, or maybe she just really needs someone to trust. In any case, her critical thinking skills do not seem to be firing on all cylinders.

Johnny is soon introduced to Solano. Having been tipped off by Mike that the cartel is planning on using cruise ships to smuggle their contraband, Johnny brings up having been on a lot of them in his life and successfully convinces Solano that they won't work. This displeases Carlito, as they were his idea. Luckily he's still hot for Johnny and is thus reluctant to kill him, but that can only work for so long. 

Solano and Johnny later meet privately to discuss Solano's belief that his son's homosexuality stems from him being an absent father. Johnny suggests smuggling via planes, as the team had agreed upon last week. He is unsure if Solano likes the idea or not until that night, when Carlito summons him to a meeting with his father. Solano thinks the plane plan could work, but Carlito refuses to work with Johnny. Johnny wastes no time in dismissing Carlito entirely and taking charge of the operation himself. This does not bode well for his future of not being killed by Carlito. Lucia also sees him meeting with her father, meaning she now assumes Johnny's just there for business and not for her. In the span of five minutes, Johnny has earned Solano's trust but alienated his two children.

Thou Shalt Not Kill People on Tape and Then Misplace the Evidence

Though everyone else is busy with the Solano cartel themselves, Charlie has not forgotten about Markham and his ludicrous amount of safety deposit boxes. She and Amber are preparing for the bank heist, flirting as they go. There's a brief moment of panic when Charlie realizes that the guy hired to drive the getaway gar has worked with her before, but Briggs uses his undercover police powers to get him out of the way. Jakes steps in and proves once again that he can be competent when he chooses to be.

While the mission is looking more and more like it may be a success, Charlie and Brigg's personal lives are about to get crazy. Charlie randomly throws up while brushing her teeth, the universal sign for unplanned pregnancy. She does not seem happy about this news, and goes to sleep at Amber's despite Brigg's protests. It's possible that she's just trying to get closer to Amber, but her distress seems genuine.

As for Briggs, remember that time last season when he killed an FBI agent on tape and then proceeded to lose said tape? Yeah, the writers just remembered that too. The man we saw with the tape at the beginning of the season finally gets around to giving it to the police. An officer listens to it, hears the names Paul Briggs and Juan Badillo, and calls someone as yet unknown to share the recording. I half expected him to dismiss it and throw it in his drawer until season 5, so this display of competence is delightful. Let's see how Briggs manages to weasel his way out of this one.

Graceland airs Wednesdays at 10pm on USA.

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(Image courtesy of USA)




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