Graceland "The Head of the Pig" Review: Baby Boom
Yeah, I think we all saw Charlie's pregnancy coming. Women don't just barf on TV for the lulz of it, you know? However, once you get past the LOLWTF-ery, that scene where Briggs walked in and caught sight of Charlie's pee-stick was actually quite lovely and indicative of how un-ridiculous Graceland can be when it wants to. While I'm not sure how I feel about the baby storyline, the usual outright violent hatred isn't there, which is a good sign—and kudos to the writers for not keeping Briggs in the dark for the rest of the season.
Speaking of keeping people in the dark: Mike's decision to not tell Paige about Lena continues to drive a wedge between the once potential—and probably still eventual—lovebirds. The FBI's former golden boy is eager to get back to the top of the G-man pack, and while ambition is a good thing and difficult choices must sometimes be made, Mike's evolution from eager beaver to conniving, power-hungry douchebag has been delightfully dramatic and a little big tragic in the Shakespearean sense, given that, deep down in the subterranean cockles of his heart, Mike isn't a bad guy. In a perfect world, Mike could end the human-trafficking ring and bring down Carlito's cartel in one big swoop and everyone could live happily ever after except for Lena, but life and television and life-on-television are more complicated than that.
It's easy to judge Mike for letting the slave den stand—I mean, I do it all the time—but it's also not entirely impossible to see things from his point of view. Mike is conflicted. He wants to bring down all the baddies. However, while most of his housemates are acting on the whims of their increasingly erratic emotions, Mike is the calm, detached, and slightly creepy center of the universe, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Mike's current lack of feelings affords him a sense of objectivity that allows him to be pragmatic and strategical in his approach to ridding the world of evil dudes. It's not pretty and it's not pleasant, and it's not an approach that will yield open applause—no one wants to be the person who says, "Nah, I want those women to be enslaved for a little bit longer." But it's certainly not useless.
If you take a look at what else is happening on Graceland, if you survey the various exploits of Mike's housemates and co-workers and consider the craptastic situations of Johnny, Briggs, Charlie, Jakes, and Paige, the answer to the question of which approach is the best isn't so clear. Johnny's undercover-lover routine just keeps getting messier and messier. Charlie, faced with an unplanned pregnancy, has apparently decided that turning to the screwed-up friends of her undercover alias in search of moral support is not a really bad idea. (Something tells me that it is.) Jakes... I mean, it's Jakes. And Briggs is finally feeling the full weight of his involvement with Badillo's death. Acting on pure emotion is what led these folks to their current destinations, and none of them are particularly happy. Charlie herself lamented the old days at Graceland, when it was essentially an undercover frat house and being one of its members was the undisputed best job in the world. You have to wonder how the crew managed to survive for so long before the series picked up with their habitual emo-kid routines—though we certainly saw flashes of that dysfunction in Season 1, especially during the pilot.
The balance between emotional dysfunction and stoic professionalism is the foundation for Graceland's narrative tension and one of the strongest aspects of its story. After all, it's the sort of debate that can be applied to any career on any sort of level; I've spent more time crying in the bathroom at various jobs over the years than I care to admit, and even though I'm mortified by that, at the same time, I'm deeply suspicious of people who don't cry in the bathroom because I think they might be aliens or cyborgs or something. In Mike's case, professionally, he may be the most stable and outwardly professional/successful out of all of them, but even he isn't free from the strain of keeping up the facade. His relationship with Paige is badly damaged—and now, so is his partnership with Briggs. He's practically a pariah in the house, and while he's okay with that on the surface, he clearly isn't actually okay with it, and it's only a matter of time until the stress blows everything to pieces.
– I don't even know what to say about Johnny these days. I miss when he was the house mascot. Yay for Manny Montana getting some juicy storylines though!
– Charlie has great taste in music, you guys.
– Mike's hair is about as unhinged as he is these days, isn't it?
– So I guess we're gearing up for another season of Mike vs. Briggs, assuming Graceland gets renewed for Season 3.
– How do you think the baby plotline is going to play out? How do you want it to go?
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