Graceland S01E08: "Bag Man"
Maybe it's the random break Graceland took last week, but did anyone else think that the massive shift in our tale of espionage and surfing seemed kind of... sudden? We puttered along for seven episodes with Briggs' good guy/bad guy status being all ambiguous and fun and BOOM. NO HE'S TOTES A DRUG DEALER OR SOMETHING AND HE EVEN KNOCKED OUT MIKE-THE-BOY-SCOUT TO KEEP HIS SECRET.
Honestly, right up until the sleeper hold—and beyond—Briggs was being pretty ridiculously shady and obvious this week. Charlie is super suspicious. DJ is probably suspicious of everybody on principle. Johnny would probably be more suspicious if he wasn't drinking the "family" Kool-Aid, and maybe Paige would be too if she was ever around anymore. But Mike was so oblivious it hurt a little bit.
There was some good in "Bag Man," though, and that smooth switch-a-roo scene with Mike and the bag and the locker was actually kind of great in how it was shot and made everyone look like total badasses—including and especially Mike (for once). Also, while I'm a little bit whiplashed from the haste with which Graceland cranked it up to 11 this week, at least we're moving things along? The show can only get so much mileage out of Ambiguous Briggs, and if we really want to make the argument that he's still more gray than black, I think there's a mound of evidence we can point to (albeit a steadily eroding one). We still don't know what his motives are, whether it's to straight-up make a buck or something weirdly altruistic, like, idk, selling heroin to pay for a comatose mom's hospital bills? And a super-dooper-off-the-books deep cover isn't off the table yet, either.
One thing is clear, though: The fractures in Graceland's foundation that have been growing all season long are starting to threaten the stability of the house. Mike may've been a dum-dum this week, but Charlie, without a hint of the dreaded "drug problem" story—okay, maybe a hint, seeing as her suspicion is entirely based on what she experienced while getting clean—is on to Briggs, and one conveniently clean closet paired with Johnny's hero worship aren't about to deter her.
Elsewhere, Mike's closeness to Bello is starting to become more of a hindrance to Briggs' dealings as Odin. Briggs' usual caretaker-of-all role was noticeably reduced this week, as he seemed more interested in being the "bad guy." In the past, his reluctance to blur those lines between his real life, his Graceland life, and his Odin life almost seemed to stem from a desire to protect his housemates, which contributed to that delightful gray area he was so comfy hanging out in for the longest time. But in "Bag Man" he showed an almost frantic drive to unload his stash at any cost. That moment where he appeared to be prepping to shoot up also didn't do much to strengthen his claims of not having a problem anymore—though to be fair, he did admit to slipping up from time to time.
"Bag Man" also contrasted the lives—both secret and not-so-secret—of Mike and Briggs rather nicely, even though the less we see of Abby, the happier a viewer I am. Both men are stuck balancing these existences built upon lie after lie after lie and for whatever reason, they seem to struggle far more than any of their roommates do. Perhaps their stakes are higher or their lies just got too big too fast or, if we consider the fate of Awful Lauren in the pilot, maybe Mike and Briggs are just a part of that special class of agent who is incapable of successfully separating the cover from reality. Just two weeks ago, DJ encouraged Mike to defy Paige and the others and keep dating Abby for as long as he wanted because it's important to have a real life outside of the game. To be fair to Mike, Abby's insistence that she see his house was starting to become a relationship deal-breaker, and it thrust him into absolute damned-if-he-did, damned-if-he-didn't territory. He probably would have gotten dumped if he didn't bring her home. Now he'll probably get dumped because Abby realizes he lives with a bunch of sketchy gun nuts. It happens.
So, Graceland returned after WTF Hiatus to continue its dark-and-dreary game of cat and mouse with Mike and Briggs. DJ was grumpy, as DJ is. Charlie was smarter than everyone else. Paige was just kind of there. And Johnny got his hopes and dreams crushed for like the third episode in a row. Welcome back!
– BUT WHY DID THE UNDERWEAR LADIES HAVE TO DIE?
– "When's the last time a CI told you to watch his stash?" Charlie has a point, Johnny-boo.
– LOL abandoned bank, what? Yeah, those big, uncovered windows are totally not a security concern, B. It was a random location, sure, but a nice change from all the dank warehouses regardless.
– Did "Bag Man" force you to revise any of your theories?