Graceland "Connects" Review: Once More, With Feeling
Yeah, so, I don't actually know what I watched a week—actually, two weeks—ago. My press screener of "The Line" had a lot of the action from "Connects," but "Connects" as it aired this week had enough stuff I hadn't seen that I don't think it was actually the same episode. My best guess is that USA sent out a super old version that was extensively edited later on. It was definitely a rough copy, with unfinished effects and some of the other weird stuff we sometimes see on screeners, so I apologize for any confusion the review might've caused. I was—and still am—super confused about the whole thing. I was also busy getting hitched and yelling at video blackjack dealers all over the Vegas strip on the classiest and not-at-all-tackiest honeymoon ever, so I was kind of hard to get a hold of when the WTF-ery was discovered. My apologies.
In "Connects," Briggs went to Mexico to rain some hurt on the cartels, leaving Mike to play den mom to their angst-ridden, gun-toting pack. Ugh. He's so insufferable when he's in charge. Paige's difficulties in pursuing her own criminals resulted in a brief flicker of resentment toward the FBI-sponsored The Mike Show. However, Mike ultimately helped the lady out and then they made googly eyes at each other and, well, it's not like we haven't seen that coming since Season 1.
The revisited Charlie/Briggs romance has once again found itself threatened by the job and by Charlie and Briggs' own inherent batshit insanity when it comes to not only the job, but also interpersonal relations and, well, life in general. She was understandably pissed about the whole "BRB going to Mexico to have tea with a drug lord" thing, and he was just kind of like, "Deal with it, boo."
Charlie has also been stalking Badillo's alcoholic widow Kelly because of her great and terrible guilt, and Briggs has been fretting about whether Charlie stalking Kelly will somehow lead to her discovering that he was the one who wasted Juan. That's one of DJ's big concerns as well, mostly because he is so over this B.S. and only took the Graceland gig to be near his kid—whose mom wants DJ to go away forever. Why is he never allowed to be happy, you guys? Why? It's actually getting painful to watch, and we've had months to get over the fact that DJ is the saddest dudebro in the frat house.
However, even when times in the house were good, DJ was sort of a loner among his peers. While the isolation seems to be largely of his own making, we've seen that it's often beneficial for Graceland's residents to be in-the-know when it comes to what the DEA/FBI/customs agent down the hall is doing in the middle of the night, and with the new guy being brought into the house after Paige and Mike's big bust (does New Guy have a name yet?) DJ's reluctance to stay on top of things could become a key point later on.
The change that rocked Graceland and its inhabitants last season is still altering the landscape of their respective realities. After all, what an individual perceives based on his or her own experience is the most readily available truth, regardless of whether it's the actual truth. As an audience, we're often more privy to the facts than Graceland's characters are, and on a show where those who know the most about a given situation tend to be the ones who live until the end of the episode, ongoing secrecy is going to be a major factor as the season develops.
That an emotionally compromised DJ is currently at the center of things almost makes up for what an underused character he ultimately was in Season 1. He's also the character who, as far as we know, has people he cares about outside the life and the house, and whose safety and happiness he has often put before his own.
The baddies on this show have taken advantage of the Graceland residents' emotions time and again, be it in exploiting Briggs' thirst for vengeance, Charlie's guilt, or Mike's ambition. Johnny, Paige, and DJ have now been established as having their own sets of vulnerabilities, and while steps have been taken to restore Graceland to its former glory, the reality is that these agents are still vulnerable, hurting, and primed to be turned against one another once again.
Graceland's second season already feels more immediate, now that the show is free of the world-building burden that any freshman season must carry. We (mostly) know who these characters are and what makes them tick. We don't need introductions, and Graceland isn't bothering with them, instead, tossing its sexy, emotionally scarred agents right back into the frying pan—assuming they were ever permitted to leave it to begin with. I think I'm already more excited for this season than I ever was for last season... and I loved last season.
NOTES FROM THE CHORE WHEEL
– "YOU DC SUCKIN' SON OF A BITCH." Preach, Charlie! Preach!
– OMG Johnny and his kicked-puppy routine. I can't. Somebody help.
– Plz no Kelly/Briggs/Charlie triangle.
– Look, I want to support DJ and his determination to be with his son, but at the end of the day, he's in a field where sometimes the work comes home with you and tries to murder your family. Admirable though his plan was, I'm just saying, it didn't really sound like a great idea to begin with.
– How are you feeling about Season 2 so far?
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