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Graceland S01E10: "King's Castle"

"King's Castle" was one of the most visually stunning episodes of Graceland we've seen yet, which was nice, because by the end of it, everyone was miserable, Mike was half-dead, and Johnny was like, one spin on the chore wheel away from a nervous breakdown. It's been "getting real" for awhile now on Graceland—to the point that I'm sick of typing that particular string of words—but it's impressive, really, how much the show excels at piling on the crazy. And being pretty. The shots of Briggs burying actually-dead-for-real Juan out in the desert made him look so small under that big ol' sky. DJ's mopey birthday bar scene was elevated by the move to shoot him from behind, so that we were actually focusing on his reflection. It was an apt approach to featuring a character whose primary story often concerns the frustration he experiences when trying to balance his real and cover lives, and how the cover almost always seems to "win."

"King's Castle" was another one of those delightful, bipolar Graceland stories that contrasts some serious darkness with some zany domestic antics. Mike risked his life to go undercover in prison with his gut injury and Briggs totally sold him out, but back at the house, Johnny planned DJ's surprise birthday party—complete with a bouncy castle and strippers. BEST BIRTHDAY EVER. 


DJ responded by punching Johnny in the face. Now no one gets to be happy, which is just as well because the show is taking another hiatus next week and then it's just two more episodes to sort this messy-mess out. How sad. I've enjoyed having my emotions toyed with all summer

The conversation that Mike and Briggs so desperately needed to have finally happened, but potentially too late to make any real difference, plus we still don't know Briggs' actual motivations for being Odin. Dude dipped his toes in the more evil end of the pool this week with his call to Bello about Mike the Marine's real identity, knowing full well how poorly that would turn out for Mike and knowing full well that Mike wasn't even supposed to be out of the hospital, let alone undercover in the field. Briggs himself was the one who pointed out that a punch to the gut could kill Mike on the spot. So of course Mike took several. 

The thing is, though—and I like to think this is intentional, because so far, *everything* Graceland has done has been pretty intentional—despite the increasingly awful tricks Briggs has been pulling behind everyone's back, he still seems fairly conflicted over his actions. For whatever reason, a reason that I hope goes much deeper than simply avoiding prison time, Briggs is willing to sacrifice everything to protect his Odin persona—even the housemates who, at any other time, he'll do anything to protect. 


Briggs got smacked with Mike's truth stick this week when Mike filled him in on all things—even the fact that Juan was gone and the FBI totally thought Briggs was responsible. He pledged his puppy-dog loyalty and assured Briggs that, deep down in his little boy scout heart, he knew Briggs had nothing to do with Juan's disappearance. I think I would have cheered louder at this development if it had happened, say, last week. At this point, Mike just looks a little dense. Same with Charlie. Oh, Charlie. AND SHE POPPED THE BOUNCY STRIPPER CASTLE TOO. Rude. 


So DJ's birthday sucked. Mike's undercover mission sucked. Charlie is making bad decisions. Briggs is making bad decisions. Johnny is trapped in an existential crisis, and Paige really only existed this week to give Mike a way to provide exposition. Why can't we all just get along again???

Because this show is way more interesting when everyone is being awful to each other. #truth

See after Labor Day, darlings! Pesky national holidays messin' with my TV schedule. :(



NOTES

– Charlie threatened Bello with the "rapiest bunkmates" if he didn't help her out. Ugh, Charlie, stop

– Eleven stitches! New house record! Congrats, Mikey!

– Bello's verbal smackdown of Mike was glorious. <3 him. (Please don't kill him!)

– How did the FBI get some random "What I Wanna Do When I Grow Up" paper Mike wrote when he was nine


What'd you think of "King's Castle"?

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 9/17/2015

Season 3 : Episode 13

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Briggs dipped his toes in the more evil end of the pool, huh? Perhaps this is the baby steps in the errosion of your crush on Briggs, but if selling Mike out only counts as a toe dip, then I'm worried that this relationship is much more co-dependant and entirely unhealthy.

Sure, they've played the "is he/isn't he?" card a few times over the course of the season, but since playing the "he definitely is!" card...4 episodes ago, I'm having a really hard time understanding how Briggs could be considered anything but a bad guy. Sure, he's pretty and charasmatic, but so is Bello. Let's recap just a little, shall we? Thus far Briggs has...

- Stolen millions of dollars of heroin from multiple FBI seisures
- Got Charlie (briefly) hooked on heroin, something he knows first hand and wouldn't wish on anybody but his worst enemies
- Indirectly put Mike's life in dangers by putting him in situations with only half the information
- Sold Mike out to Bello with the real expectation he'd be killed in prison
- Killed Agent Juan
- Gotten a few other "innocent" people killed like Whistler, bloody stump feet shoe guy, etc

And none of that includes what he might have done that hasn't been confirmed yet, namely, kill (or be responsible for killing) every agent in Graceland v.1.0. I'm not convinced his, "You lit the match" comment to who he thought was Jangles wasn't figurative. That match could have been kidnapping him in the first place and "forcing" him into selling out his friends.

The best villains are ones you actually like, and Briggs is definitely likeable. But c'mon MaryAnn, I'm starting to worry that your bad boy love affair might be getting just a little too deep. It's okay, you can say it, "Briggs is a bad guy" ;)

I'm also not quite understanding the seeming dislike of Charlie...but that's a different topic entirely.
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What exactly did Charlie do that was so problematic? Occasionally, I feel like she's the only focused and "job-oriented" member of that household, with everyone else possessing some ulterior motive: Briggs and his Odin persona, DJ and his past family, Mike being a kiss-up to Briggs, Johnny being too laid-back (not that I'm complaining in the larger picture of things), and Paige... well, Paige just existing without a lot of relevance.

Charlie has been busting her ass nonstop in an attempt to get to the bottom of the Odin/Jangles dilemma, part of which involved shooting-up genuine, hardcore heroin just to sell her cover and as a means to encounter Odin. Charlie felt disappointed at the lack of assistance on Briggs' part, while Mike (Mr. Noob) had done everything she asked of him (with Briggs even undermining her efforts whenever he could).
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Yeah the nine year old paper complete with pictures to accentuate a point. This and the Grandpa photo, is the FBI this manipulative of their agents? Have they got a special behavioural sciences division or task force headed by guilt-trip dispensing mothers just for this specific purpose? Honestly, this show takes it up a notch every single episode, I can't regret finding this gem. Initially the trailer and artwork screamed police procedural trying too hard to be hip but I'm going to go nuts waiting so long for the next episode.

Loved Briggs looking the centre of Zen cool amidst all the chaos especially having just buried a guy, Mikes admission and Charlie tugging every loose thread taking a metaphorical stab at Brigg's big bouncy castle of lies.

Having just watched Under the Dome suck Natalie Zea into it's vortex of surreal mediocrity I am relieved to see a production of this calibre not only running but can hook me every episode, like a junkie waiting for his next Odin quality fix. Advertisers and Networks take note; I'll try and purchase any soft drink or junk advertised during this show because I want it so badly to continue :-)
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I just want to call it out loud. The federali Charlie is working with is Djangles(spelling?)
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LOL, as in Djangles Unchained?
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Really good episode this week. Johnny was breaking my heart 1000x over with his speech.

And I don't think Mike was being dense "pledging" his loyalties. He was being a good little detective and looking at Briggs' reactions. At the end of the episode, I think it's clear that Mike wants to trust Briggs but knows he can't.

Charlie's reckless.

Paige is hot.

DJ's being a jerk. I mean it's strippers. And a bouncy castle!!
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I love how much plot development there has been in the episodes so far. Makes me wonder how they can keep the quality up, but I have faith :)
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This episode was so gritty I loved it they're all really falling apart and it makes for good tv.
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Since this is basically "The Real World: Three Letter Acronym", they should probably all die or get fired, allowing them to start off with a new cast next season. They can bring back one of them for Graceland: All Stars. I vote Briggs.
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Actually I think it was a pretty good episode.

Briggs still has to protect the persona of Odin. Because even if he did kill Jangles and Odin was only to bring him out, he still committed crimes and would go to jail for it. So yea, he has to sell out Mike. But Charlie shouldn't have put him in there to begin with. Mike had a seeping wound. They would still likely be careful with him to make sure that nothing else was cut or nicked. And she puts him in there because she has a thing for Odin? I do kind of like the opposite desires and how far both Charlie and Briggs are willing to go in order to achieve their desired goal. However, Mike is unfortunately in the middle of it and he keeps getting the short end of the stick.

Charlie however, I think is starting to expect the federalé otherwise she would have told him that she suspected Briggs. Which honestly considering her willingness to use Mike I am surprised that she didn't name drop Briggs. Because if he is jangles and she says she thinks Briggs is Odin then he is going to go after Briggs and she can wait for them both. So she might be willing to risk the life of Mike. She isn't willing to risk the life of Briggs.

I don't think Mike is dense. At that point Briggs truly did have nothing to do with Juan's disappearance. Because he had no idea that the guy he killed was Juan. He didn't know until he looked him up in the registry. However, saying that. How is it that the FBI can't find the car. All federal cars have GPS in them. Juan might have been dumb, but he didn't disable his GPS. Mike was dense however for going into the Jail. He has put a couple of guys away and they would be right there in that Jail awaiting their court case.

DJ is just kind of a jerk.

Notes;

yea that was silly

That cut would have taken more than 11.

Bello is a fantastic character. I too hope that they keep him around.

With Federal background checks, if you 1st grade teacher is still alive, they will find him or her and talk to them about you. So it is conceivable that they could get that.
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Still don't know what to think of Graceland. There are some lovely scenes and moment there but in all it doesn't add up. Feels like the characters are a bit one-dimensional even though we are ment to believe there's some really big strange yet-unknown storylines going there that we dont know of. It just gets me irritated.

Charlie obviously knows something's wrong with the stupid federale and at some point she's gonna tell Briggs about how she met him in the motel room and Briggs's gonna know thats Jangles. And I'm gonna be really really sad if he is Jangles because they are sure trying to make us believe that. And ofcourse Briggs had to stop Mike and Charlie at the prison because if Bello had said the word about Odin being some federale who looks just like Briggs... this same thing happened when they were trying to bust Odin the first time... Briggs will always save his own skin. And there'll probably be some fancy explanation at the end why he's doing this and it will make him a revenge-driven saint or something else half good half bad / damaged etc.

And the drawing Mike did when he was nine or something... do you really apply to the FBI using drawings you've done as kid..? And then the bureau saves it in case they need to remind you how stupid you were back then..? It felt like an oh-we-need-something-to-make-Mike-reflect-on-why-he-wanted-to-be-an-FBI-agent-and-we-need-it-really-bad-and-it-doesn't-matter-if-it's-a-bit-glued-on -moment. But again the ending of the episode was really great. So I still have hope this will get better as the season wraps up.
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Great episode. Briggs is scum and unless I see other from this season c'Mon man like gonna make an appointment for a visit just to get mike caught be serious then power ranger spd guy just gets shit this whole season. Johnny is cool and so is mami with the long black hair. Watch out Mikey
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I kind of think Charlie still might think the Federale is Odin, but overall, I think she just doesn't want to expose Briggs for whatever game he is playing. Probably just showing the experience she has over Mike in knowing how to play cards close to the vest.

Poor Johnny, but he'll be fine (he did have to lay off Mike though, the man did have a stab wound).

I keep wondering what is Paige's obligation to get wind of all this potential drama going on with the FBI in Graceland since she is a DEA agent and what sort of reports she has to hand in since her two fellow DEA agents sort of flamed out recently (Donnie was DEA, right?)
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I started off liking this show, but the last couple of episodes have really pissed me off.

It really feels like the writers are dumbing-down the other agents in the house to make Briggs look smarter.
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Good episode. Loved Johnny's speech at the house - both heartbreaking and real. Hated that Charlie busted the castle, whats not to love about strippers in scantily clad lingerie jumping around (and yes I am a woman who happens to like strip clubs/strippers), they were just having a good time, and Johnny was REALLY enjoying it. I loved the way he was standing back and admiring the sights, HILARIOUS. Glad Mike told Briggs the truth, and I like Briggs reaction, basically brusing it off cause he already had a feeling. Sucked that he set Mike up, but there has to be some purpose to what he is doing, he CAN'T be a bad guy (RIGHT?). I don't know what they are doing with DJ, he seems so excluded from everyone else in the house. His storyline doesn't really feel like it belongs.
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Yeah, Johnny's speech was great. I felt so bad for him. Also, I thought it was really sad that none of those people were sleeping lol. They were all too messed up to sleep.
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The boss FBI man using Mike's childhood picture and essay was a low blow.

Other then that I loved this episode, I love how the show keeps twisting and turing, I can not wait for the next few weeks.
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Okay, stop bitchin' on Charlie. She's *the* smartest person in the house (well, maybe right along with Briggs). She's totally onto Briggs. She's suspicious of the Federale and is trying to keep him close. But she has no way of jumping to the conclusion that the Mexican is Jangles. Remember, she didn't see Jangles at Bello's and didn't see the wound. Remember MaryAnn how you didn't catch on about the Federale right away last week? And so many other people here as well. And Charlie has waaaay less info than we, as viewers, do. So stop ya bitchin', Charlie's the best. :P
(Just so everybody's clear, I'm writing all of this with a smile on my yapper and no malice in my ticker.)
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Although, she has worked out that the hotel room was there to lure Jangles and she knows that Federale arrived there soon after her. So, she does have a way of jumping to the conclusion that Jangles is either Cortes or her.
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Another fantastic episode. This show just gets better. It was nice to finally see some real emotion from Johnny instead of the normal happy go lucky comic relief guy. Kudos to Manny Montana. Everyone got some good screen time this week. Any word on a season 2 renewal yet?
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I liked the flashback right at the beginning of the episode. It was a really good transition to the present too.
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In the last scene Charlie had with the Federale, I was actually wondering if she was hip to him. Maybe she doesn't realize he's Jangles, but it almost seemed to me like maybe she found him a little suspicious. Maybe it's just wishful thinking on my part, tho, because otherwise, she is being really dumb. I just feel like, once she "found out" that Odin is an FBI agent, she should have really made sure to handle the matter internally, within the FBI. So the fact that she actually told him that made me wonder if she suspects this guy already. I hope so, anyway.

I really liked the episode. I thought it was funny that Johnny assumed Paige and Mike had had some lovers' quarrel, because honestly, if I didn't know any better, I would've thought that too :P I was also glad that he and Paige were pretty much able to talk it out by the end of the episode, because I was really going to be upset with her if she continued to hold this against him. When she was the one who kept demanding he tell her what he was keeping from them.
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Loved the episode, too. But I'm also getting the feeling of being strung along a bit. I am pretty dang sure that the "Federale" Charlie's working with is the key guy (really don't know how to spell his nickname). He showed up at the hotel room at an awfully suspicious time and, this episode, I could swear I saw him relieved when Charlie pointed out that she took out the camera just before he came in. Isn't he also always wearing the same suit as the key guy did when he attacked Bello and Mike?
I don't know about you, but I'm feeling a little patronized here and like it's going to be a very disappointing reveal.
So far, the twists and turns Graceland has taken were entertaining and even somewhat bold on occasion. But in order for the show to live up to its full potential (at least for a freshman season) and get me excited for season two they will have to step it up a notch.
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Yes, it was made reasonably clear last week that the Federale, Rafael Cortes, is Jangles (key man).
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