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.
AIRED ON 9/12/2013
Season 1 : Episode 12