Graceland "Goodbye High" Review: Home Is Where the Heat Is

By MaryAnn Sleasman

Jul 26, 2013

Graceland S01E07: "Goodbye High"

As a residence, Graceland is different things to different occupants. For Charlie and Johnny, the house represents family. For Briggs, it's his castle. For DJ, it's "just a damn house." However, the jury is still out on what Graceland means to Mike. Graceland takes a mini-hiatus next week, but I think it's clear that when the show returns, Mike's going to have to take a stance sooner rather than later. We can even argue that Mike has taken a stance by going to Juan and sharing Briggs' story about that time he was totally Starsky & Hutch-ed by a Mexican drug cartel. His addiction, as it turns out (if we buy Briggs' story) was thrust upon him against his will. But even though he's coming off as an innocent party so far, he chose not to go to the bureau about it because it would have been a huge win for the bad guys to reveal that the FBI's best and brightest was now a junkie. Or something. IDK, that's some weak logic on Briggs' part. I'd have rather he'd just gone the Charlie route and argued that he probably would've lost his assignment if his superiors found out. Briggs just isn't that altruistic. 

Neither is Mike, we're slowly finding out. He may be the FBI's latest and greatest rising star, and he may be a generally well-meaning guy, but he's not going to let anything get in the way of his pathological need to go back to the East Coast—especially not the "damn house." His ladyfriend is negotiable. 

I'm not going to accuse the guy of being selfish or anything. Graceland might be home to Johnny or Charlie, but it's not home to Mike and that's fine. Like DJ said, Mike will leave eventually. They're all going to leave someday. When you strip away all the romanticism and emotion, Graceland really is just a house, an assignment, a job. It's easy to get caught up in the sentimentalism some of the house's occupants tend to exhibit, but it's precisely that blurred line between Graceland and real life that's contributed to some of the problems we've seen develop. 

So, Mike wasn't being selfish when he tattled to Juan—who readily exploited Mike's otherness in the house with that emotionally charged present—but he was definitely wearing blinders and showing an impressive inability to think critically, examine all sides of a situation, and acknowledge that many of his housemates operate within gray areas and that doesn't necessarily make them villains. You know, unless Briggs was telling the truth about being Odin, but even then, with that story about his superior being so frighteningly deeply undercover, if Briggs really is the mysterious and apparently invisible Odin, I don't think it would be outlandish to entertain the theory that it's a very, very deep cover. 

I get the feeling that by the end of the season, Mike's sentiments will probably shift—maybe Juan will be outed for the sleezeball he seems to be—and that he'll see the house the way many of his roommates do: as something sacred and precious, and worthy of their protection. But for now, Graceland is very comfortable keeping Mike out in the cold. For every baby step he takes toward calling it "home"—refusing to dump his girlfriend, vouching for Briggs even as he gives Juan the whole story—Mike inevitably falls back on his career goals, his desire to return to D.C., and his staunch adherence to the rulebook. Juan gets this, and I'm willing to bet that it's exactly why Mike was chosen for the assignment. The gift, a photograph taken by Mike's grandfather that happened to catch the crime scene photographer himself in a reflection, was a touching gesture, sure, but it was also very manipulative. Mike is slowly becoming more comfortable with Graceland and the way in which it operates, maybe even working his way toward contentment. The photo was a framed reminder meant to play on Mike's alienation. Just in case Mike starts to feel like he's part of a family, he now has a friendly reminder on his wall that Graceland and its residents are not his family. 

But that's not to say that the clear best option then is to get all warm and fuzzy about the house and its occupants. DJ's B-story—which revealed that he has a son whose life he can't be a part of due to the job—illustrated why sometimes, distancing oneself from the house is a good thing. Even Charlie's story raised some concern about the emotional investment a few of the Gracelanders have when it comes to the house. It's great that she chose to be honest with her roommates—that she respects and trusts them enough to share her drug-dabbling experience—but the lines that were drawn to keep work and life separate and safe have never been so blurred, and Briggs made a good point when he said that now Charlie's career is compromised, as are those of everyone in the house. 

Graceland has certainly hit its groove as of late with a string of consistently strong episodes. Here's hoping it continues when we return in two weeks! See you then!


– The Charlie-has-a-drug-problem story seems to have been avoided. For now. *high five*

– Do we buy Briggs' story? What's his angle?

– Is Juan a total skeeve?

– Johnny always wondered whether, if he tried heroin, he'd understand why his friends back home couldn't their shit together. STOP IT, STOP BREAKING MY HEART EVERY TIME HE OPENS HIS MOUTH.

– Bello considered cutting his dwindling heroin supply with fentanyl, which would've resulted in a lot of dead junkies and a probable lack of repeat customers. Didn't think that one through, did you, boo? Also LOL at Mike constantly making the situation worse. For being the best agent everrr, he's actually kind of bad at it.

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  • angelpix24 Aug 09, 2013

    You know, unless Briggs was telling the truth about being Odin, but even then, with that story about his superior being so frighteningly deeply undercover, if Briggs really is the mysterious and apparently invisible Odin, I don't think it would be outlandish to entertain the theory that it's a very, very deep cover.

    Umm Briggs is Odin. That's why he steals heroin. So he can be a supplier. Why don't you buy that??

  • efonsecajr Aug 06, 2013

    Juan doesn't give me the skeeve vibe.
    I'm only half buying Briggs' story. The cartel if its as crazy as he described it would have executed him publicly. (see Breaking Bad)
    Johnny. Not enough Johnny in this ep. Paige!
    Charlie did something stupid. She needs to do the chore wheel for at least a month.

  • thelovelymissck Aug 06, 2013

    Is it just me or will anyone else throw something at their TV if we find out that Abby is really just supposed to be as sticky sweet and naive as the writers are making her? I really want her to be bad or something she can't JUST be a boring love interest the "oh my god, you're lying to me mike? i can't believe it, i trusted you"...she just can't i mean for godsakes she goes to Georgetown law and you mean to tell me that she can't spot when someone's lying or withholding information from her? if so then that's money wasted. I really just want her to be some kind of spy, something that gives her character some substance other than just being mike's naive arm candy I just want more from her. Am I wrong for thinking like this?

  • angelpix24 Aug 09, 2013

    Nope..cause that's exactly where her character is going...

    Said.. a wishful me.. lol

  • efonsecajr Aug 06, 2013

    You should definitely write her character. I'd be so down for this story angle.

  • marcusj1973 Jul 31, 2013

    Sounds to me like somebody's got a Crush on Briggs and can't imagine him actually being the villain on the story...even though, with each passing episode, it's becomming clearer that he is.

    Graceland has pulled the "bait and switch" on Briggs a couple of times now. From a bad guy to hero who saved Mike. From good guy to bad guy who pulled a gun on him. From bad guy to good guy with a tragic past. From good guy to bad guy who's the Keyser Soze of the west coast heroine trade.

    A long time good undercover agent who has blurred the lines between cop and criminal is too easy and cliche for me to swallow. That the FBI was right that Briggs has gone bad, has every reason to investigate him and the tight rope he has to walk to keep his two personas intact seems like a far more interesting plot line. A tight rope that's starting to wobble.

    If it wasn't clear last week that Briggs' CI's apartment was his, it is now. As are the steps taken to make sure Charlie was safe. After all, since he's Odin, he knew full well that the only reason Charlie shot up was to buy time waiting for a top level dealer he knew was never coming. Her honesty with the house just cemented how deep his in and that elements of Odin are now public knowledge...hense, his dramatic reaction to her confession.

    The only question is how far to they string the narative? If I'm laying bets, Charlie figures out the truth first, and while confirming, takes a bullet from Briggs in the finale. Even odds on it being Dale, Johnny or Paige who puts the pieces together. Either way, Mike had better grab a snickers, he's not leaving Graceland any time soon.

  • IzzieOKeeffe Jul 30, 2013

    Did Briggs make up Odin to take down Bello?

  • efonsecajr Aug 06, 2013

    Ep made it seem like Odin is a top level drug dealer. Who until now had never been seen. I'm not sure if Briggs really is Odin or called an audible and assumed the Odin identity.

  • Shauny89 Jul 28, 2013

    Didn't trust Brigg's story the moment he spouted it and saw the Odin reveal coming a mile off unfortunately. Show had promise, still has a little but it's fast becoming a little too predictable.

  • CrazyAsian1080 Jul 28, 2013

    1. How did no one question what happened to Brigg's... He was gone for two weeks and no one cares/it's never mentioned? Mike even says they studied him because he was such a legend.
    2. How else thinks Brigg's TO (or please be Juan somehow) is Jangles?
    3. Does anyone else get the feel that Brigg's became a drug lord because he is in love with someone from the cartel and this is the only way they can be together if he destroys them in this really messed up way?

  • bkto Jul 28, 2013

    Sure it's been mentioned already, but the big FU to the FBI isn't so much why Briggs didn't come out with his addiction, it was because immediately EVERY case he worked will be reopened, bad guys out of jail, etc, so on and so forth..

    so altruistic.. or continuing to do his job, better than most people can do theirs?

  • Joker62002 Jul 27, 2013

    Just a great show

  • safibwana Jul 27, 2013

    I just sort of assume he steals drugs to use in off book operations. How else would his stats be so high. So? Also, Mike's a dick for risking reopening all those cases. Also, cut your heroin with something fairly inert like chloroquine or any number of other fairly inert and safe things then add exactly enough fentanyl to make up the dilution. Fentanyl is minimum 50-300+ times stronger than heroin, that's why it could kill people. That's also why you wouldn't do it. The fentanyl is more valuable than the heroin. Just get the mix right, protect your profits and your customer base. There's nothing inherently deadly about mixing things with heroin or fentanyl as the show implied, just consult your black market pharmacist or amoral MD first. Yes, people have OD'd on the mixture and died. It's strong, so it's easy to do. Just mix it precisely to the same strength as your usual product. Don't feel qualified? Hire a high school chemist.

  • angelpix24 Aug 09, 2013

    Are you a high school chemist? lol

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