'Graceland' Recap: How to Self-Destruct in Four Easy Steps
'Graceland' Recap: How to Self-Destruct in Four Easy Steps
M.K. Costigan
M.K. Costigan
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Over the past season of recapping Graceland, I've written a veritable novel about how none of these characters are capable of making good choices. Last week seemed like a possible turning point on this front, since Charlie finally kicked Briggs to the curb for all the crap he did last season. But as we find out in this week's episode, "Echoes," the curb is really just the couch of the mansion they share. Not the biggest move she could have made.

Step 1: Be as Self-Centered as Possible

Though "Echoes" does feature some bad decisions from everyone in the cast, it's primarily about mirroring Mike and Briggs' experiences and what that means for the characters. With Briggs, we see the end result of allowing selfish ends to justify all of one's actions. Though Charlie tells him to leave her alone, she hasn't turned him in yet, so he decides to act as if he will have full parenting rights and responsibilities for their child. Is he concerned about the emotional toll this is taking on her? Not really, but the entire season has proved that Charlie's emotional wellbeing is not the biggest priority for him.

Speaking of Charlie's emotional wellbeing, her OBGYN informs her not to become too distressed, as this can harm the baby. This does not bode well for the baby. 

For his part, Mike is in a downward spiral of self-destructive obsession, not unlike the one Briggs was caught in last year. To recap, he's recently hit himself in the head with a tire iron, burned an innocent woman's body, taunted a dangerous criminal multiple times, performed a possibly unsanctioned bank robbery, and generally thrown away all his ambitions from the first season. Paige is also not into him anymore. She tries to see if there's any of the old Mike left in him by asking how he felt when Sulla hit her. He employs a metaphor about a fox chewing off its own leg, which she rightly calls out for being insanely self-centered and just plain weird. 

Step 2: Make Enemies of Major Government Organizations

In a refreshing continuation of last week's theme, Mike has to deal with actual consequences when Markham drops by the FBI offices and says that he's bringing charges against Mike for unlawful search, which is essentially what the bank robbery was. Mike continues to exude the false bravado that comes with never being punished for breaking the rules, but his handler tells him that the FBI is already doing their best to distance themselves from him and his crazy actions.

Markham meets Mike after this berating and goads him into starting a fight. They both beat the crap out of each other in the middle of the FBI offices and Markham manages to slip a bug into Mike's pocket in the process. At this point I'm almost rooting for Mike to be fired.

Later, Mike and Briggs bond over having government bureaus hate them. Briggs gives Mike the worst pep talk ever, explaining how unorthodox and even unethical methods are A-OK as long as you're less awful than the person you're pursuing. So long as he's not in jail, it seems that Briggs doesn't really regret his past actions.

Mike seems to think this is good advice, and puts on his tough guy face when Charlie comes to talk to him later that night. Realizing this psychological damage is Briggs' handiwork, Charlie makes Mike listen to the tape of Juan Badillo being murdered. Mike's immediate reaction is to defend Briggs, since he's just adopted the man's life philosophy and Badillo's death really was an accident. But Charlie brings up the fact that Badillo never would have come after Briggs if he wasn't Odin Rossi. 

Time out. That's it?! That's the big Odin Rossi reveal? I've waited all season for someone to find out about it and Charlie just guesses? And Mike doesn't even seem to care? Does no one remember how pathologically obsessed they were with Odin Rossi last season? Is Charlie going to so much as say, "oh by the way Mike, Briggs tried to kill you yesterday, so there's another reason not to listen to his crap"? Is anyone going to say "hey, we all seem fundamentally incapable of discerning right from wrong, maybe we shouldn't be officers of the law"? I am more disappointed than that fox when it realized its options were chewing off its own leg or death.

Step 3: Leave Incriminating Evidence Lying Around

Anyway, Charlie completely puts the decision of what to do with the tape on Mike's shoulders, because she just can't deal right now. Mike rightly points out that this isn't fair, but she pulls the pregnancy card so he doesn't have much of a choice. Mike goes off to run the cargo plane mission at the border, and Charlie goes off to try and arrest Amber. This does not go well for either of them. Charlie's allegedly friendly mission ends up being an ambush, with Amber hitting her car and abducting her. That poor baby is in for a lot of distress.

Mike's mission is equally screwed in a variety of ways. First, Markham tracks the bug to Graceland and is appropriately amazed at the government-provided luxury. He sees a picture of the entire house, including Briggs, and realizes that Briggs is working with Mike. Before he leaves to go with Briggs and his team to the border, he steals a gun from Mike's desk. I smell a frame job!

Step 4: Be an Idiot

The rest of the team make brief but significant appearances in this episode as well. Paige, who is completely convinced that Mike covered up Lena's murder, gets a call from immigration saying that Lena is in custody. When she gets there she finds out that the girl in question is not Lena but her younger sister Irena. Irena has been sent by her father to find Lena after they received a letter detailing the horrors Lena experienced in America. This initially gives Paige hope, since the letter was clearly sent after Lena was with Sulla, but she soon realizes that Mike likely sent the letter to further cover the truth. She sends Irena back to Ukraine without so much as a "your sister's dead, have some closure."

Jakes continues to be fabulously angry at everything. This is valid, as he spends most of his time with Johnny. They've organized the plane drop for Carlos Solano and arrive in Mexico for the job. Jakes quickly realizes that Johnny still plans to run away with Lucia, and decides to emotionally check out of his friend's existence. A wise choice. If I could reach through my television screen and slap one character, it would be Johnny.

Jakes and Johnny go to the Solano palace/ranch/gardens/monastery/obnoxious display of wealth to slip some marked bills into the drug money. Carlito introduces himself to Jakes with a gun, which is his way of trying to start a business relationship. But the only commodity Jakes' deals in is disdain, and he blows Carlito off. Johnny and Lucia meet up and talk about constellations while standing near a horse like they're in a damn Nicholas Sparks novel. The end of the episode sees Lucia meeting Johnny in his motel room as planned, but with a little surprise added; she's stolen the marked bills from her father. Johnny freaks out, since this completely derails the mission. Little does he know how derailed it already is. 

Graceland's season finale airs on USA next Tuesday, September 10th at 10pm.

(Image courtesy of USA)