Previously on Graceland, Charlie seduced a crazy criminal who double crossed her, Johnny seduced a crazy criminal who double crossed him, and Jakes somehow emerged from this wasteland of insanity as the most sensible person in the house. In this week’s episode, “Chester Cheeto,” everyone is still dealing with flirty felons and Jakes exists only as an occasional messenger of sense. Who would have thought it would come to this?

Graceland Creator Discusses What Happened To Mike >>>

Mike’s Life is Terrible

The episode begins with Paige getting a very public award for being an undercover agent. She’s not thrilled about it, because she still feels guilty about having Mike killed. This incredibly valid and intense guilt is quickly eased when Mike describes Lena’s death to her and tells her to turn her frown upside down. I’m paraphrasing a bit, but that’s essentially how it went. 

The whole “Mike is becoming Briggs” arc from last season seems to be continuing, as Mike will probably become a heroin addict at some point in the near future. He’s becoming increasingly dependent on prescription painkillers, but has to cut off his supply in order to get back into the field. I give it half a season before he starts sampling from their drug busts.

Mike also has his ass emotionally handed to him by Logan, who points out that he’s no longer the shining pupil that he was in Quantico, but is instead a battered field agent whose record is littered with screw-ups. This seems to be the first time Mike has really had to stop thinking about himself as a prodigy who commanded respect and start thinking of himself as someone more like Briggs.

Hopefully this inevitable storyline will put more emphasis on the relationship between Mike and Briggs. It wasn’t focused on much last season but is really the cornerstone of Graceland. We see in this episode that they have developed understanding without judgment. Briggs’ warning to Mike about his use of painkillers never feels like chastisement, and Mike is more concerned with Briggs getting arrested than he is with his friend’s plan to commit murder. Though to be fair, he’s probably desensitized to Briggs killing people by now.

Vintage Briggs

Briggs very nearly adds to his body count several times throughout the course of this episode. First, he and Ari drop a fat man named Chester Cheeto off of an overpass. The guy’s broken back was worth Brigg’s total horror at being told to hold him by himself, though. Fed up with Ari’s cruelty and the FBI’s complete disregard, Briggs decides to just kill him and get it over with. It’s risky, because Logan is still blackmailing him, but watching a man’s organs get harvested will drive you to desperate actions.

Luckily, Ari’s been sleeping with someone he’s possibly related to. Layla is the daughter of a higher up in the Sarkissian crime family, which I think makes her his cousin. I could be wrong, though. This show is so oversaturated with villains that I can’t keep track. Incest or no, he would be in big trouble if Layla’s father learned of their relationship. Briggs takes this opportunity to kidnap Layla and frame Ari.

FBI Agent or Single Mom?

Speaking of an overabundance of villains, Charlie has to meet with Amber. If you don’t remember Amber, that’s okay. I forgot about her too. She needs Amber to find Germaine, who I remember even less than Amber. Google tells me that he’s the person who beat Charlie within an inch of her life in last season’s finale. Amber doesn’t know where he is, but she thinks she can track him down if she’s allowed to go to Miami.

Charlie is ready to go when Briggs reminds her that she’s pregnant and needs to stop putting herself in dangerous situations. Problem is, Charlie can’t really do her job without dangerous situations. For all her undercover work, Charlie has never been anyone but herself. Being an agent is a huge part of who she is, and she just isn’t willing to compromise that. The only option she sees is to end her pregnancy, even though that’s clearly not what she wants.

In the end, Charlie can’t make herself give up anything. She lets Briggs think that she’s had an abortion (and rightfully calls him out for being relieved), but doesn’t actually have the procedure. For a little while longer, she won’t have to redefine herself.

Writing for Women: You’re Doing it Wrong

Finally, Johnny actually does something interesting! Carlito is making him escort Sid into Mexico. Sid wants a payout before he goes on the run with his family and Carlito has arranged for a friend to drop off the money. Johnny uses his brain for a change and makes it look like Carlito has double crossed Sid and sent someone to kill him rather than pay him. Since Sid is desperate for cash and Johnny is desperate for Lucia, they make a deal to take Carlito down together.

I would like to point out that Lucia is the embodiment of every female character stereotype. Graceland does have some awesome female characters, but that doesn’t erase the egregiousness of having a woman whose entire purpose is to be scared and physically harmed to further a male character’s storyline. She has, at no point since her debut, had any agency of her own. The character and her relationship with Johnny have always lacked development, but she’s also just plain offensive.

Johnny finds Lucia, who begs him to kill her brother. Carlito, (who is of course naked), tells Sid that Johnny lied to him, but at this point it doesn’t matter. They all openly hate and distrust each other and Sid just wants some money. Unfortunately for him, Carlito is the kind of crazy who keeps a knife in this bathrobe. The two get into a fight, and just as Johnny is about to shoot Carlito, he sees Carlito’s men kidnapping Lucia. Making the only choice he has, he kills Sid instead.

Graceland airs Thursdays at 10pm on USA.

(Image courtesy of USA)

Mary Kate Costigan

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV