Heading into Graceland's season 1 finale, the possibilities for our houseful of MTV rejects were delightfully endless, but even given the vast plot potential, resetting the house and its occupants by returning them to their starting positions—sort of—wasn't really on my radar. Admittedly, I've found that the best way to watch Graceland is to just turn off the radar and go with it, but hey, habits.
Graceland wrapped up with a bonfire for reunited besties and Get Out of Jail Free cards for Graceland's occupants, effectively taking us back to the beginning for next summer's sophomore season. However, the reset wasn't without its snags. Mike is on the East Coast, like he wanted sooooo badly all season long, with what appears to be a pretty desirable assignment for people who are allergic to sunlight—like Mikey—but was that a touch of nostalgia for Graceland creeping into the checked-out-of-this-boring-meeting stare? It looked like it. Then Briggs called and was all, "HEY BOO MISS YOU. WANNA PLAY MURDEROUS DRUGLORD PSYCHOPATHS AGAIN?" And Mike was like, "Aw hell naw... maybe kinda."
Briggs managed to come out of the Jangles ordeal looking like a big damn hero, but he's far from being off the hook completely. I can't help but question how happily-ever-after that schmoozy, boozy, BFFs forever bonfire really was, considering how effortlessly Briggs managed to clear his name. Dude made it look easy, but Briggs' maintained innocence wasn't without its price—specifically, DJ's integrity and possibly his career, Johnny's innocence, and Charlie's confidence (and possibly career). There's a good chance that, at least in Johnny and Charlie's cases, they don't entirely know what they're now a part of, or what they've sacrificed. However, Jake has always been a little too-self-aware-for-his-own-good, and I can't wait to see how far down the rabbit hole he's willing to go for Briggs next season. With the discovery of Juan's recording by some punkasses in a pawn shop, the calmness of Graceland's final few minutes were confirmed to be nothing but a lull in the ongoing storm. The FBI excused a lot of Briggs' B.S. this week, but I'm pretty sure he's still going to be in a lot of trouble once his role in Juan's death comes out.
OH, and I totally called it on the recorder being in a pawn shop. BOOSH.
So Jangles is dead (thanks, Mike!), which leaves Briggs pretty much unchallenged, as far as we know, to continue his double-life as both Odin and the FBI's flawed former golden boy. Are we gonna talk about that, Graceland? If I have to whine and gripe about one thing—which I do, because, well, I do—it's that the Briggs-as-Odin storyline just sort of went away. It wasn't a fatal flaw, and it actually leaves us with a nice, juicy Season 2 arc right from the jump, but for being such a huge issue in the first half of the season, it just wasn't an issue in the second half.
Also, for as sadistic and unstoppable as Jangles had been built up to be, Mike just wasting him right there, before anyone even had to turn the lights on, seemed kind of abrupt. Whatevs. The most interesting stories on Graceland, in my humble opinion, are those that keep it in the fam and deal primarily with the occupants of the house.
Graceland is very much an ensemble show and sometimes, on a series with such a large cast, some characters end up more developed than others. Sometimes, it seems, writers just end up with a character or two that they don't know how to use. Graceland has, so far, managed to avoid this problem and its core characters, Briggs, DJ, Johnny, Mike, Paige, and Charlie, are delightfully detailed after just this one season.
Johnny's hero-worship is all cute and sweet, but we saw it put him into some tough positions this season—and yet he seemed more than happy to retreat to his comfort zone of having complete and utter faith in the goodness of everyone as soon as he was given the chance. After cooling his heels for a lot of the early episodes this season, DJ proved to be a fascinating character with a backstory and motivations that are just begging to be dabbled with some more. Charlie has gone from being HBIC to being completely unsure about her own abilities as an agent and as a friend. Mike will return to the beach house. He's too tarnished now to go back to his old aspirations and beliefs.
Whether its characters are working together or against one another, Graceland's greatest strength lies their relationships. The future seems poised to focus more on Briggs' broken legacy and how, even now, after such a sought-after victory for the house, it could still damn them all.
I'll totally be back for season 2. How about you?
– This week in Johnny's ongoing nervous breakdown: puppy was sad that his friendbeast, Briggs, picked DJ and not him, to be an accomplice in his murder cover-up. Aww. That's... sweet?
– What do you hope to see in Season 2?