Graceland "Connects" Review: Once More, With Feeling

By MaryAnn Sleasman

Jun 19, 2014

Graceland S02E02: "Connects"


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.

Anyway. 

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 ShowHowever, 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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  • littlebitliz Jul 08, 2014

    Just watched the last couple of episodes yesterday. I wish we had a slightly fuller picture of what went down with DJ's situation. He seemed very confident he'd be spending time with his kid - what with getting the apartment and all, and he talked about it like it was a done deal. So I couldn't figure out if he'd just been kidding himself - like maybe his kid's mother said something like 'We'll talk about it' and then he just took that and ran with it - or if she actually had agreed that he could see the kid, but then went changed her mind. I'm leaning towards the former, but I wish it was a little clearer.

  • KevinG87 Jun 20, 2014

    I loved season 1 too, and I do like this season so far but just something hasn't been clicking with me.. maybe it's how in season 1, Mike was everybody's favorite it seemed but now it's like they don't fully trust him or something, I don't know.

    and why did Mike try to kick the new guy out? I mean, it's obvious he was feeling threatened about the whole Paige thing because of the way new guy was staring at her before she went in on that bust.. but his reason was total BS.. because did they all just forget there is another room? when the show started, Donnie had just left so Mike got his room, but Lauren was still living there.. so there's a free room somewhere in the house. this seemed weird to me last week too when he was sleeping on the couch, I just kept thinking "dude, use the room Lauren lived in before she left."

    I feel like if they're doing to do this stuff with DJ's storyline and have it seem like he's harrasing them, they should've shown some more of him trying to force his way into their lives, because there was maybe 2 or 3 times he went to their house in season 1, and this was the first time I remember from this season..

  • thelovelymissck Jun 20, 2014

    i couldn't agree with this more! I was just saying that about the room situation, i mean did they forget how to count or does continuity mean nothing. I also agree with you about Mike. I thought that he was feeling threatened by Bates because of the kind of flirtation that was going on btw the two. That and Mike's becoming the leader of the douche parade isn't making the house all rainbows and sunflowers. Hopefully in later episodes Mike will slow his role a little.

  • peterspoor33 Jul 05, 2014

    Pack up your toy robots Zelanski, you're too much of a threat with your vague Richard Grieco looks to occupy a house that's already dude heavy [even with it's spare room]. :-)

  • jacobwright984 Jun 20, 2014

    The tape of Briggs killing bladio has bladio stating his name and other info so why didnt the kids here that and why was Paige so turned on by mike with a gun it seems like a cheap distraction. so Dj's baby mama was just waiting for him to show up to make it look like he was violating the restraining order (by the way when a restraining order is issued your are notified) damn these women are vindictive their kids will resent her when he develops and learns his surrogate dad and bio mom kept him from his bio dad lol

  • jacobwright984 Jun 20, 2014

    so the caza cartel MAN knows Briggs is undercover isnt the entire purpose of graceland to create a cover and appear normal

  • KevinG87 Jun 20, 2014

    Caza knew he was undercover for a while, that's why they took him out to that little shed out in the middle of nowhere and Jangles shot him up for so long so he would give up the people he worked/lived with.

  • MarlboroMagpi Jun 19, 2014

    Congrats and thank you for explaining last week.

    I am liking this season so far more than season one. DJ was trying to push a desk job to make things stable for his kid. It is sad it turn out this way.

    I am still trying to understand why Briggs was dealing drugs last season and still hoping for an explanation. I want to know what makes him turn or break bad.

    Kelly looks very familiar. I have seen her recently on some other show.

    Serinda Swan and Marie Avgeropoulos are the new hot girls !

  • P3TE Jun 20, 2014

    Her name is Brianna Brown. You might recognize her from Devious Maids. She also appeared on an episode of The Mentalist.

  • MarlboroMagpi Jun 20, 2014

    You are right. She was in Season one of Devious Maids. I do not watch Mentalist !

  • jacobwright984 Jun 20, 2014

    he was addicted to drugs after ''jangles captured and interrogated him and released him so that his previous cases would be called into question but briggs being the master manipulator he is just created an alter ego cover to get drugs and eventually find jangles.

  • MarlboroMagpi Jun 20, 2014

    I think he was actually selling drugs. He does not need to sell them even if he was addicted. He is killed a cop and now made her a widow with a kid. I cannot believe he can even go talk to the wife after murdering her husband.

  • jacobwright984 Jun 20, 2014

    yes he was a distributer because he had that revered reputation on the streets I think it is helping him by speaking with the widow because he has displayed guilt and the others in the house have said he has not been himself

  • MathieasMcNau Jun 19, 2014

    Getting handcuffed is a good look for Serenda Swan. They should handcuff her more often.

  • markus432 Jun 19, 2014

    Still love the show and cant wait for new episodes

  • safibwana Jun 19, 2014

    Honestly, I find it hard to pay attention during this show sometimes, so I think trying to watch to see which parts of this episode were from the screener made it a lot more engaging. There's always a silver lining around a steaming pile of cloud.

    How many times in the last two weeks has someone asked when you'll start dropping babies?

    S2 Feels: Mike sucks. Triangles suck. Concerned.

  • jjafargi Jun 19, 2014

    Btw, congrats on the wedding, MaryAnn!

  • jjafargi Jun 19, 2014

    New Guy's name is Zelansk(i/y) . It was dropped a few times between these first two episodes.

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