'Graceland' Season 2 Premiere Recap: Whose Bus Line is it Anyway?
'Graceland' Season 2 Premiere Recap: Whose Bus Line is it Anyway?
M.K. Costigan
M.K. Costigan
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
We begin this season of Graceland where the previous one ended: with violence and semi-nudity. But before we dive into what shenanigans Mike has gotten himself into this time, "The Line" takes us back two weeks into the past. Paul is undercover again, because somehow no one in this area has made the connection that the same three people keep showing up in different situations and are harbingers of mass arrests. Seriously, what is the size of their jurisdiction? Is everyone so incredibly attractive in southern California that the Graceland residents go unnoticed? I have so many questions.

Another Day at the Office

In any case, Paul is undercover as a weapons dealer. Although with him there's always the possibility that he's legitimately dealing weapons, so who knows. The intended target is Leon, but Paul makes an abrupt change of plans when he sees that Leon has a picture of Mike. He explains that the Caza cartel has a hit out on Mike's undercover identity as Bello's right hand man. I guess they didn't get the memo about him being a fed.

For the moment Mike is safely on the other side of the country, working for the man in Washington, D.C. Life is pretty much exactly what he wanted it to be at the start of last season; he's assistant to the deputy director of the FBI, he's banging his hot coworker, and he's running his own bus smuggling investigation. But the investigation hasn't turned up anything and gets shut down, and Mike is generally bored by the lack of mortal peril on the east coast. Luckily Paul calls and offers him the chance to put his life at extreme risk, so it's back to Graceland he goes.

Best Job Ever

A few things have changed since Mike left Graceland. Jakes is fun now, because he's actively trying to leave Graceland and apparently that puts him in a good mood. Paul is less fun. A "better" Mike has taken Mike's room and earned the nickname "Bates", for reasons that I choose not to think about. Oh, and Paul and Charlie are a couple now. I find this a little gross, considering how much Paul manipulated her last season and suffered a total lack of consequences for his actions. But we later see Charlie staking out Juan Badillo's apartment, so it's only a matter of time before that particular sin hits the fan.

Some things, on the other hand, have not changed. As always, nobody works and everybody drinks. Mike returns from a life where he sits a desk all day and can't secure the funds to look at busses to a world where the FBI is magically able to pay for a beachfront mansion and a fully-stocked bar. I can see why he's unsatisfied in D.C. 

The team immediately gets to work using Mike as bait so they can get it over with and go back to not working. When Paul takes Mike to meet Leon, though, Leon pulls a gun on them so that he can turn Mike in himself and cut Paul out of the deal. Paul's forced to blow their cover and calls the hitmen Leon is in contact with. They refuses to let Paul set a time and place for the exchange, so Paul decides to scrap the mission altogether.

This is surprising for Mike, who is used to having Paul put him the in maximum amount of physical danger just for kicks. He calls him and Johnny "beach burnouts" who are unwilling to take risks, which does not go over well despite the fact that 90% of their time in the episode so far has been spent drinking and playing games with guns. Paige later meets up with Mike to have a beach confessional, and he admits that he's restless at his boring job and wants to be a rockstar again. I think the subtext of this conversation is "I want to live on the beach and get paid to surf again", but that's just me.

Mike's Being Tortured. Must Be Wednesday.

Because Mike's a big shot assistant now, he can pull rank over Paul. He does just that and gets the mission operational again. The hitmen contact Paul and give him a location for the meet, but when he and Mike arrive they immediately realize that something is wrong. They've been given the location of a dog fighting ring, which is busted by fake cops. In the ensuing chaos, the two hitmen are able to grab Mike and drive off before the team can do anything about it. They initially trace him using his GPS watch, but the hitmen soon stop and make Mike strip before switching cars.

Which brings us to the violence and semi-nudity from the beginning of the episode. Mike is being tortured, because what's an episode of Graceland without Mike enduring some kind of physical and psychological trauma? The two hitmen ask him over and over again if he's found "the line" yet, and then start suffocating him before he has a chance to answer. Eventually they clarify that they're looking for a bus line, and Mike realizes that this is about his work in D.C., not his time spent with Bello. The cavalry arrives just in time to save Mike from passing out, and they all conclude that the hitmen weren't actually affiliated with Caza.

Because he is psychotic, Mike takes this latest near-death experience as a sign that he's doing something right. He calls his co-worker/booty call back in D.C. and says that he now has proof that there's a smuggling operation using passenger buses. She begrudgingly agrees to help him get the budget and team necessary to work on stopping it.

At the end of the episode, Mike calls everyone in Graceland to a meeting. He tells them that he's been approved to lead a team in investigating the bus smuggling ring. They're all thrilled for him, until they realize that they're his new team, and that they'll be working for him. As happy as they are to have Mike around, none of them seem particularly pleased to be working under the former rookie. Will tensions arise? Will anyone actually listen to Mike? Will they all have to surf out their feelings? We have the rest of the season to find out.

Graceland airs Wednesdays at 10pm on USA.

(Image courtesy of USA)