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USA (ended 2015)

Graceland S01E07: "Goodbye High"

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!



NOTES

– 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.

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 9/17/2015

Season 3 : Episode 13

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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.


Umm Briggs is Odin. That's why he steals heroin. So he can be a supplier. Why don't you buy that??
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Juan doesn't give me the skeeve vibe.
I'm only half buying Briggs' story. The cartel if its as crazy as he described it would have executed him publicly. (see Breaking Bad)
Johnny. Not enough Johnny in this ep. Paige!
Charlie did something stupid. She needs to do the chore wheel for at least a month.
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Is it just me or will anyone else throw something at their TV if we find out that Abby is really just supposed to be as sticky sweet and naive as the writers are making her? I really want her to be bad or something she can't JUST be a boring love interest the "oh my god, you're lying to me mike? i can't believe it, i trusted you"...she just can't i mean for godsakes she goes to Georgetown law and you mean to tell me that she can't spot when someone's lying or withholding information from her? if so then that's money wasted. I really just want her to be some kind of spy, something that gives her character some substance other than just being mike's naive arm candy I just want more from her. Am I wrong for thinking like this?
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Nope..cause that's exactly where her character is going...

Said.. a wishful me.. lol
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You should definitely write her character. I'd be so down for this story angle.
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Sounds to me like somebody's got a Crush on Briggs and can't imagine him actually being the villain on the story...even though, with each passing episode, it's becomming clearer that he is.

Graceland has pulled the "bait and switch" on Briggs a couple of times now. From a bad guy to hero who saved Mike. From good guy to bad guy who pulled a gun on him. From bad guy to good guy with a tragic past. From good guy to bad guy who's the Keyser Soze of the west coast heroine trade.

A long time good undercover agent who has blurred the lines between cop and criminal is too easy and cliche for me to swallow. That the FBI was right that Briggs has gone bad, has every reason to investigate him and the tight rope he has to walk to keep his two personas intact seems like a far more interesting plot line. A tight rope that's starting to wobble.

If it wasn't clear last week that Briggs' CI's apartment was his, it is now. As are the steps taken to make sure Charlie was safe. After all, since he's Odin, he knew full well that the only reason Charlie shot up was to buy time waiting for a top level dealer he knew was never coming. Her honesty with the house just cemented how deep his in and that elements of Odin are now public knowledge...hense, his dramatic reaction to her confession.

The only question is how far to they string the narative? If I'm laying bets, Charlie figures out the truth first, and while confirming, takes a bullet from Briggs in the finale. Even odds on it being Dale, Johnny or Paige who puts the pieces together. Either way, Mike had better grab a snickers, he's not leaving Graceland any time soon.
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Did Briggs make up Odin to take down Bello?
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Ep made it seem like Odin is a top level drug dealer. Who until now had never been seen. I'm not sure if Briggs really is Odin or called an audible and assumed the Odin identity.
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Didn't trust Brigg's story the moment he spouted it and saw the Odin reveal coming a mile off unfortunately. Show had promise, still has a little but it's fast becoming a little too predictable.
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1. How did no one question what happened to Brigg's... He was gone for two weeks and no one cares/it's never mentioned? Mike even says they studied him because he was such a legend.
2. How else thinks Brigg's TO (or please be Juan somehow) is Jangles?
3. Does anyone else get the feel that Brigg's became a drug lord because he is in love with someone from the cartel and this is the only way they can be together if he destroys them in this really messed up way?
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Sure it's been mentioned already, but the big FU to the FBI isn't so much why Briggs didn't come out with his addiction, it was because immediately EVERY case he worked will be reopened, bad guys out of jail, etc, so on and so forth..

so altruistic.. or continuing to do his job, better than most people can do theirs?
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Just a great show
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I just sort of assume he steals drugs to use in off book operations. How else would his stats be so high. So? Also, Mike's a dick for risking reopening all those cases. Also, cut your heroin with something fairly inert like chloroquine or any number of other fairly inert and safe things then add exactly enough fentanyl to make up the dilution. Fentanyl is minimum 50-300+ times stronger than heroin, that's why it could kill people. That's also why you wouldn't do it. The fentanyl is more valuable than the heroin. Just get the mix right, protect your profits and your customer base. There's nothing inherently deadly about mixing things with heroin or fentanyl as the show implied, just consult your black market pharmacist or amoral MD first. Yes, people have OD'd on the mixture and died. It's strong, so it's easy to do. Just mix it precisely to the same strength as your usual product. Don't feel qualified? Hire a high school chemist.
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Are you a high school chemist? lol
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I'm always pessimistic about USA having a protagonist go "dark," so even though Graceland was/is being touted as the USA-gamechanger, I still can't help but think that Briggs either lied about being Odin (it was a plan B in case Odin didn't really show) or he is Odin but is deeeeeep undercover to catch other bad guys. Frankly, it might be quite awesome and so much more interesting if Briggs really is this big bad guy, but unfortunately for me, I'm a pessimist.
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I didn't see the Briggs being Odin thing coming, I wonder if it's actually true or if he's just playing some sort of angle.. it would kind of make sense given his story and I don't think anybody thought that CI apartment actually belonged to a CI..

I'm just going to put it out there, could Mike's therapist handler guy be Jangles? his eyes looked awfully familiar, and that'd explain why he's so fixated on him.
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Hehe, I had the same thought about Juan being Jangles. The part of the face we saw of Jangles made me think of Juan... since you mentioned it, I guess it was the eyes.
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That is a good point. I did also wonder if Juan was jangles. Conceivably it could happen. I mean if Briggs' training officer was in so deep someone that knew he was FBI had to have tipped off the cartel. And the only people that could have been in the position to do so was someone in the FBI.

I like this idea Kevin, this could keep Juan in the skeevy side of things. This could set up Briggs as the good guy. He could have claimed to be Odin to draw Juan into making a mistake and coming after him. I don't know, but great idea.
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I cannot take credit for this, but my sister believes that the apartment Charlie was holed up in is secretly Briggs's place. I totally agree with her.
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Yep. This ep definitely confirmed this to me.
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I believe Briggs genuinely is Odin Rossi, although the reasons behind the secretive persona might remain equivocal for a while (probably up until the season finale, if I had to guess). I don't know whether to trust Briggs' story detailing his addiction (assuming even that is true), but it could have been the driving force for his creation of the Odin "alter ego." That is, Briggs was turned into a junkie by the Caza cartel, so he's wanted revenge against them, ever since.

I agree with Mate and others who desire to see/enjoy seeing Briggs become a villain, but given the nature of USA shows, I doubt it will be fully implemented. Briggs' motivating factor, in my view, was simple vengeance: the Caza cartel wrecked his body, placed his entire career into jeopardy, and basically told him they could ruin his life at any moment, so he spent years devising an intricate, yet foolproof scheme to take down the Caza.

I would say the one flaw in all of this is that Briggs essentially sacrificed Charlie - and by extension, the rest of Graceland (which is likely the reason he didn't want Charlie spilling the beans to Mike, Paige and DJ) - just to maintain his deep cover as Odin. I do hope I'm wrong about USA pulling a last-minute switch by turning Briggs back into a "good guy," but I don't see him developing anywhere beyond "blurs the line between anti-hero and anti-villain."

It's worth remembering that this is still USA, and not AMC, Showtime, or HBO. Chances are, you won't find a Walter White- or Dexter Morgan-type main character/protagonist on this network. Anyway, enjoyable episode all-around, and I can only envision the writing becoming even more complex. It just sucks to have another one-week hiatus after the July 4th break.

Notes:

--- *high-fives back* I seriously hope the writers are either savvy enough to avoid such a stereotypical subplot, and/or they read the comments section on this site.

--- The Odin story? Yes, I think it's legit. As for the account of how Briggs became addicted to heroin, that may be a bit suspect.

--- There's definitely something more to Juan, but I don't think it's the obvious, "He has it out for Briggs because of ___" answer that some of the fans might be contemplating. I can't put my finger on it, but Juan's hidden agenda seems to involve something larger than just taking down Briggs.

--- Haha, Johnny is a great character and all, but the only reason he's not my favorite is because Charlie is more compelling and literally exudes chemistry with everyone. <3

--- Mike's screw-ups don't appear to be completely his fault. I mean, if there's an ulterior motive to Briggs' and Juan's respective actions, then Mike was merely a pawn (to an extent, anyway).
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I think something more is going on with Juan. Something larger could be he's working for the cartel embedded in the FBI.
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Another very good episode. I also think Briggs is Odin, which is a huge surprise to me given how I've been on his side this whole time. Mike definitely seemed like Benedict Arnold at first, blabbing to that rat bastard Juan, but Briggs totally changed the game revealing himself as Odin. His story actually makes sense, including the flashbacks, and the fact that his roommates had no idea: Perfect!!! At this point, I don't know what to think of Briggs now. If he's REALLY DEEP undercover, then WOW cause he's quite the master. However, a big part of me feels he's dirty. Why wouldn't he include everyone else in the house on this?

Good observation of Mike with the house. He's looking at this more as a stepping stone than a second home. DC is his ultimate goal, and that picture supremely bolstered that notion.

I also like that Charlie the junkie storyline was avoided. Given what happened in this episode, Graceland is gonna need all hands on deck since Briggs is Odin.

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They have really gotten me with the endings of the last three episodes: Charlie doing drugs, Briggs at the meeting, Briggs as Odin. I can't wait to see what they pull out for the season finale.
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"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."
This is ALL you have to say???? BRIGGS IS ODIN.........! We know he must be telling the truth because why would he hide it from the rest of the house if it wasn't true? If he is deep cover, the FBI sure doesn't know about it because why would they be investigating him if he was stealing and selling drugs as an undercover assignment? I get that they don't read their bosses in on everything, but this seems like a kind of big thing to not mention.
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MaryAnne, I think you're spot-on with Briggs being in very deep cover.
I suspect too that it'll unfold that way.

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Well, technically, Briggs made the situation worse. Mike's plan was to arrest Bello with the drugs. Briggs changed it to pretend-blow up the drugs so we can get Bello And the cartel.
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Did anyone else try and imagine Juan with a shaved head and wonder is he is Jangles? I was so uncomfortable when Mike was reporting in and then he started staring middle distance over Mike's shoulder.

I kind of equate..and I am going back here Mike with John Carter on ER. He was our intro and he was kind of annoying and goody goody but he was our viewfinder. I am actually most worried about him because I have no idea what Briggs is up to. Other than I like Charlie and DJ seems okay Johnny and Paige are the only ones I think Mike can trust.
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Dammit. I thought Briggs might be Odin but at the same time I thought he was just a good guy and Juan was a giant douche. Well he is a giant douche and there might be some history with him or with Briggs' old training officer, like he perhaps blames Briggs for his death.

But I like that they have kept it this long. Briggs' likely is Odin and it makes sense, even with his story. He could have taken the death of this trainer hard. He could have seen what his future was if he stays in the house. He either burns out or is found dead in a alley in Mexico. So he decides to build himself a nest egg. he understands the desire of Heroin addicts so he picks the drug that he knows to skim from seizures and peddle on the street. He uses his knowledge of the street and the business to create a persona that no one knows about and sets up a distribution network.

In a way it parallels Mike. They, when it all boils down to it are out for themselves. Charlie, Johnny are at it for doing good. DJ is the job, Paige seems to be there for the fun and to wear skimpy outfits. (not that I am complaining. ) But Briggs is there for himself and so is Mike. Mike's ambition is likely going to be his downfall.

I do have to wonder after the revelation if Briggs didn't allow Mike to follow him. Briggs knows that Mike isn't there because they thought he would be good there. He knows Mike is there to get dirt on him. The whole NA thing could have been a long con for someone in the FBI that would inevitably catch on and start investigating him.

I like it though. I kind of like Briggs being the bad guy.

Notes.

Yes, thank goodness that they didn't go down that road. However if Briggs is the bad guy, it gives him a weak point to discredit and turn Charlie into a junkie.

Brigg's is Odin. Whether his story was the reason why or not, I am not sure.

Yea, that was a creepy gift and probably has a device on it somewhere.

I like Johnny.

There is always more customers. Plus drug dealers have surprisingly low morals and don't care about their customers.
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I also like that they kept it from us this long...I at least felt like Mike was being a total jerk for tattling on Briggs, then -wham- as soon as Mike and his handler are convinced that Briggs is on the straight and narrow we find out he's the bad guy. It's such an unexpected plot twist for a TV series...I love it! I have to say, I will be a little dissapointed if we find out later that he is actually a good guy....that is just too cliche and obvious.
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I agree with all of what you said. But I have an odd feeling that we might get that cliché. Briggs is too likable a character for them to go dark on us. I would like it if it turned into a cat and mouse kind of a thing between he and Mike. Mike realizing that the case to make his career is going to be arresting a drug dealing undercover FBI agent. But I am not sure they are going to be able to go that route. They could easily write themselves into a corner with this. But if they do make it that he is really a good guy then they can continue the story.
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Long con: seems too complex, he was clearly a regular at the meetings. But yea, it's not impossible he spotted Mike or figured his deal out early on.

Just seems a tad too much to attend NA meetings Just in case someone from the FBI shows up investigating. Guess it all depends on how long Mike's been around.
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He could actually be an addict and actually be trying to get clean....after all, I would assume leading a triple life is complicated enough when you're NOT high.
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I would think he would go about it like an undercover operation. Which is to say that you build your cover. People have suspected him of being deceitful. What better way to lie about it then by actually being deceitful. So that when they find out about it, they follow him, as Mike did, and find his deceit, only it isn't what they suspect. It is a basic red herring. And then you have a roomful of people that have known you for years to back up your deceit and strengthen the reason as to why you were being deceitful.
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That's the thing. It's not that basic.
It's probably one of the most convoluted red herrings possible. Course, most of Briggs' plans aren't what you'd call basic.
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TV Rule #2 when they bother to show you something in a flashback then it's TRUE so i think Birggs' story is legit
i'm guessing everyone knows TV Rule #1 If you don't see a body.....
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CSI sometimes runs all possible scenarios as flashbacks. It's just a story-telling device.
That being said, could be Briggs' as Odin is also out for revenge against the cartel. I mean, if he's cutting them out like this it might be to draw someone out. Like Jangles? Or maybe his training officer switched sides & sold him out? Soo many theories!
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There are special shows like CSI and HIMYM that break rule #2 but i don't thing Graceland is one of them
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I disagree: I didn't get the feeling that we were supposed to assume that Briggs was telling the truth...why would the producers tell us "Hey, Briggs is totally cool and telling the truth!" and then try to make us think he's lying (the whole "I am Odin" sort of cast some doubt on his earlier story imo).
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They could be doing a HIMYM-esque flashback where the truthfulness of the flashback depends on who's telling the story.
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There are special shows like CSI and HIMYM that break rule #2 but i don't thing Graceland is one of them
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