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USA (ended 2015)

Graceland S02E01: "The Line"


Another season, another beer on the beach—or not so much. Graceland's sophomore season picked up roughly where its freshman year left off: with the trust among agents in the house shattered, Briggs on the run and out for revenge, Mike slowly but steadily climbing the FBI career ladder, Charlie trying to rebuild her career and her confidence, and everyone else just trying to stay out of the way. 

Just to review, here's the state of the beach house following the crazypants Season 1 finale

– DJ had helped Briggs hide evidence of Juan's unfortunate demise, but some kids in a pawn shop found the snuff tape.

– Mike is the big man on campus after his big undercover operation.

– DJ pretty much hates everyone.

– Johnny just wants to make a big cake out of rainbows and love, and then eat it with his friends.

Season 2's debut found the housemates no less paranoid and crabby, with Briggs vowing to exact revenge on the cartel that brought us "Jangles" (possibly television's cutest name for a torturer and enforcer) and Charlie trying to get her post-junkie life together while making sure that Briggs didn't get himself killed. She had/has her hands full. 


Graceland was launched as the flagship drama of USA Network's darker side, so it seems a little "missing the point" to complain about the premiere's lack of feel-good moments, but even though Graceland's first season was heavy on the darkness and turmoil, it always managed to save a scrap of sunshine to brighten things up at least a little. The scales were still lopsided—and that was okay—because Graceland isn't meant to be White Collar or Psych. However, it can get tiresome when, week in and week out, only terrible things happen to a show's characters, and then those characters, in turn, spend an entire episode (or longer) just casually despising one another. Sure, we've got Johnny, but his blind determination to turn the beach house into a frat house again kind of reeks of naivety. Graceland is the sort of series that could benefit from humor with a darker slant. Johnny can't be the single positive presence. His desperate optimism seems out of place in a group of undercover agents who weathered some pretty rough seas last season. 

The events of the Season 1 finale—as well as the actions of various characters that resulted in the events of the Season 1 finale—resonated loudly in the Season 2 premiere. Charlie feels guilty for blindly allying with the Mexican federale who, in fact, turned out to be Jangles himself. She's desperate to leave the entire experience behind, and flagellating herself by keeping tabs on the Badillo's lapsed-alcoholic widow and criticizing Briggs' refusal to let the past stay in the past. 


For his part, Briggs sees an opportunity to avenge all the friends he's lost—in the original Graceland prototype, and then his forced addiction and subsequent fall from FBI grace. His inability to move forward is further complicated by the knowledge that he mistakenly killed Juan Badillo, and that evidence of that accident still exists in some form. For now, the damning tape has been dismissed as a prank, but it's only a matter of time before someone realizes what they have in their possession because otherwise what's the point of focusing on it?

As usual, Mike is kind of clueless and plagued by career tunnel-vision when it comes to whatever else is going on inside his sweet, sweet beach pad. He still has his boring girlfriend, but his chemistry with Paige is simmering like a science-fair volcano in the early stages of making a very vinegary mess. I'm sure we'll get more on that later. 


All in all, "The Line" wasn't a bad start to Graceland's sophomore season. The episode wasted no time in diving back into the thick of the action, which is a good thing because Graceland is at its best when the stakes are high. The concept of Graceland—a swanky beach house full of federal agents living the SoCal life when they're not backstabbing their way to the top of the food chain—is inherently kind of goofy, despite the show's "inspired by a true story" claims. It wouldn't've been too difficult to make Graceland as "blue sky" as its network predecessors, nor would it've been hard for the show to inadvertently slip into familiar network patterns. Graceland needs its darkness and angst. However, it also needs to do something to counter—at least a little—all that trauma. At the end of the day, the denizens of Graceland are co-workers. They don't have to like each other. But the nature of their jobs dictates that they at least have to be able to fake it, and as it stands, I'm not convinced they can even do that.


What'd you think of the premiere? What are your hopes and dreams for Season 2?


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 9/17/2015

Season 3 : Episode 13

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I'm 3 seasons in and this show is starting to get old. Its funny how Johnny (the big mouth) is probably the least annoying character on the show. Briggs is alright and I dont mind Dale at all. Charlie and Paige were good in season 1 but it seems almost every scene they are appear in season 2 they are either crying or complaining about some dumb shit they just did, I can forgive Charlie but Paige really took it far when she sold out Mike to be killed in the last episode of season 2. And if you think Mike was annoying in season 2, wait till you watch season 3.
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I like Graceland all of the characters and the plots...I especially like the character of Paul Briggs...the cat and mouse game between Mike and Briggs with one of the those lovely ladies Catherine was truly intense...first seasons ending with Mike saving Paul and Catherine from Jingles was vintage T.V. drama....I just saw the previews for next weeks show and I hope and pray that they don't turn Paul into a bad guy .... that would be unfortunate....
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Finally forced myself to watch it during the Sunday morning Rerun. My one question was why everybody was calling DJ, Jake. It made me feel like I had screwed up in remembering his name as DJ... Thankfully this review assuaged that guilt.

If I had one big complaint its that the house didn't feel as different as Mike insisted it did. One of the reasons I tuned in was because the promos and log line made it sound like in the wake of last seasons tragedy the status quo had been disrupted at Graceland, but as even you said everything felt the same. Lesser complaints include a severe lack of any kind of character development for "Bates" making him feel more like a featured extra than a new member of the house and the fact that his presence raises the question as to why a new DEA agent was never sent out to the campus since that was the agency that lost an agent in the pilot.

While I vowed I wouldn't watch this season after the nose dive the first season took around episode seven. I think I'm going to be forcing myself to watch if I'm up at 9:00 AM on Sunday. Stupid engaging Graceland!
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DJ was always called Jakes. They used that name many times in season 1
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Of that I am aware, but I always spoke of him as DJ as does MaryAnn in her reviews... My one hope for season two is that he wouldn't have been dropped in a network mandated change, so I kept saying I just hope DJ is still there, so when he showed up and everybody was calling him Jakes, I had that secret freak out moment that maybe I was giving him a different name in my mind or confusing him with a character on a different TV show. Thankfully I had my conscience cleared once I came and read the review
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I watched the episode twice. And I'm still not sure what if anything really happened in the episode. It was a rather lackluster premiere to me. Maybe I needed to rewatch the finale again. But, meh. The kid's on the powertrip. The new kid barely stood out. "Mom" and "Dad" aren't exactly fit to keep the "kids" in line, Johnny is still Johnny though he isn't as happy, and DJ is inexplicably happy...because he might by planning to move out and fight for custody (or just take becuase I don't sense a reunion with his ex) his kid.
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I'm so glad this show is back and I love how they didn't make everybody the same they've all changed in some way and after last seasons finally so they should. It was great to see Mike and Briggs back in the field together I just hope mike doesn't become to much of an ass and step over the mark he needs to treed lightly when being their 'boss'. Overall a good episode and start to the season.
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Totally unrelated, and still quite related -- Is Haven going to be over with this season (maybe a short season). ????? I rarely see a lead of one series getting a recurring/lead(ish) role in another series....
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A lot of people are guessing that since it got renewed for a super sized season that it will likely be its last.
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Not exactly great drama, but it sure is chaming.
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Mike is on such a power trip that I almost hoped that the guys that took him will keep him for a few episodes - just so that he stop being that annoying. It was actually a pretty good start of the season - as dark as Graceland can get, it is a summer show in its heart and this episode played nice on that.

I hope they do something with the new guy - either kill him or kick him out or give him something to do - because for all we saw so far, he could have been a cuddly teddy bear and have the same impact on the action.
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Okay, so I've scrolled through the comments thinking it might have alreayd happened but it's really starting to infuriate me that TV.com editorial (or MaryAnn herself) haven't commented on the huge discrepancies between the review and the actual episode. I really hope that this is from an early review copy that got changed prior to airing - but update the damn article it's been almost 2 days - plenty of time to edit. If this "review" is mixing up multiple episodes, as someone suggested is a possibility in the comments, than we REALLY deserve an explanation and more importantly an apology for massive plot line spoilers. If neither of the aforementioned happened and this truly was MaryAnn's take on the actual episode that aired than please hand me a TV.com application as I will gladly take over reviewing. This is nothing personal against the author - but this is a job, technically a "review" article is considered journalism and should be at the very least factual. Add in all the bias you want (I'm looking at you Tim - whom I adore) but come on ...
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This actually sounds more like a review of a season or episode preview than the episode... Or a review by someone that really does not care for the show and was keeping half an eye on the screen... Oh well...
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I must say I agree. As I was reading the review I kept thinking "did we watch the same show?" Briggs is no longer obsessed with revenge, and not on the run. DJ doesn't hate everybody, he seems in a better mood than we'd ever seen him. Mike's girlfriend is a new character. And there has been not a word about the new Graceland occupant, the DEA agent Z.
In fact, I got the impression that the house enjoyed a generally good mood before Mike showed up.
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Staff
Hey guys, couple things—MaryAnn reviewed this episode based on the screener that USA sent to us. In some cases, we're wondering the same thing you are: Did the network change the episode before airing it? We didn't receive notice from the network that that's the case, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen.

As for updates/responses: I'm speaking on MaryAnn's behalf because she's been on her honeymoon for the last week. She filed the review before she left. That's why you haven't heard anything. She'll be back for this week's second episode, which we'll make a point to watch live...

—Jen
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I would also recommend that MayAnn sees the first episode as it was broadcasted as well. I believe it was much better than MayAnn seemed to think the screener was. :)
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I find the show average in the first season. The thing that got me hook is Briggs and the question of whether "is he actually odin for real or another undercover" sort of like a Homeland question.

Now that it had been sort of answered, I am a bit disappointed they did not really reveal his motivations. Is he the villain?

Still I guess the reviewer had spoil it for us and perhaps in the next two episodes they will focus on that. I really hope they will explore Briggs more and let us into his mind, that is the most interesting thing about the show.
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I have found that, in the past 6-&12 months, the reviewing dynamics amongst the TV.com staff, have changed to polar opposites: Timothy 'Nitpicky' Surette is now reviewing episodes without bias, and in a fair and balanced manner, whilst inserting his personal views where it is appropriate, whereas reviewers such as Mary-Ann and Kaitlin, have switched from the previously fair and balanced style, to highly opinionated, incorrect, and, in THIS SPECIFIC CASE , so incredibly wrong, that it brings 'questionable doubt' to every other review that she has ever done!

There are many comments, below, that question exactly what content she based her review on, and at the VERY LEAST I agree with those comments.

The time has come for the owner of TV.com to take action, because this is NOT the first time that the tv.com staff have posted a review that was not only drastically different from what the viewers saw, but also the reviews contained references to scenes that didn't even appear in the episode that we normal people saw.

MaryAnn Sleasman: If you are going to be continuing to reCAP (review isn't an appropriate term to use, for you, I, or the general public based on the above!) season 2 of Graceland, The EXPECTATION is that you do so, by reviewing the same content that the average joe or josephine viewer sees, and not some early 'leak' that is highly likely to change before it airs.

And don't panic, I'm only singling you out because this is the most recent case of what is a continual problem with the TV.com staff...Rest assured, they will all receive the same scrutiny in due course.
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I was kind of wandering if I indeed miss something as I cannot recall some of things she mentioned.
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Staff
Hey guys, couple things—MaryAnn reviewed this episode based on the screener that USA sent to us. In some cases, we're wondering the same thing you are: Did the network change the episode before airing it? We didn't receive notice from the network that that's the case, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen. However, it was not an 'early leak.'

As for updates/responses: I'm speaking on MaryAnn's behalf because she's been on her honeymoon for the last week. She filed the review before she left. That's why you haven't heard anything. She'll be back for this week's second episode, which we'll make a point to watch live...

—Jen
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Thanks for the reply
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I found it so boring, I stopped halfway and removed it from my watch list. Wondering if I should give it another chance or wait for other series?

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Had you watched the first season? Most of that first episode played on the remaining dynamics from the previous season - and without the backstory, it may look a bit boring at the beginning I guess.
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yes i saw the first season.
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They better not be using Emily Rose as boring girlfriend #1.
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oh no i think she's is like a breath of fresh air compared to last season's Abby. I found myself not rolling my eyes every time she opened her mouth so she's already leaps and bounds above her. I think Emily Rose will definitely hold her own as Jessica and it's nice to see her not playing the doe eyed "i just don't want to be the other girl" type. I think this will be a very interesting Mike, Jessica, Paige triangle indeed.
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She's capable of so much more. The idea of her character and Swan's Paige squaring off over Mike is quite interesting, however.
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On an unrelated note, what's with all the fairly short reviews on the site this past week from all the staff writers? :-(
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It's summer, there's hardly anything on anyways, maybe they went out and got lives.
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The fact that there are so few shows on now should be all the more reason for full-length reviews of the ones that are.....
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Holy shit, I just realized that whoever is running the tour bus smuggling operation is either high-level FBI or has a high-level informant. Think about it, they knew Mike was refusing to drop the case, they knew his past relations with Caza and his cover as a rogue marine, and they used all that information to their advantage by getting him out of DC and into a position of vulnerability for them to capture and interrogate him. This show, man!
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Yea that link caught my attention immediately. Short of the villain being high level FBI pulling major strings, what are the chances of Briggs just HAPPENING to see Mike's photo on a random target's counter? Seems an odd plan though, I imagine Mike would have been easier to grab/interrogate in D.C when he wouldn't have a support team.
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Because then it would be obvious to the rest of the bureau who grabbed Mike and why.
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Though now that he's got the and survived his ordeal the best thing would be for the Cartel to cease using the bus lines at all but I guess greed will always have them push their luck.
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Was this review based on the actual episode or on some trailer? The author got EVERYTHING wrong.
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Staff
Reposting my comment from above to trigger a notification...

Couple things—MaryAnn reviewed this episode based on the screener that USA sent to us. In some cases, we're wondering the same thing you are: Did the network change the episode before airing it? We didn't receive notice from the network that that's the case, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen.

As for updates/responses: I'm speaking on MaryAnn's behalf because she's been on her honeymoon for the last week. She filed the review before she left. That's why you haven't heard anything. She'll be back for this week's second episode, which we'll make a point to watch live...

—Jen
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Thanks for taking the time to respond. I was very surprised to read the review as Mary-Ann is one of my fav tv.com writers. Thanks for clearing thing up! :)
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Just when I thought that Mike cpouldn't get any more annoying they made him the boss. Geez, this will be hard to watch.
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I was slightly surprised that all the Graceland agents, that are supposed to be doing such an important job, can be pulled off whatever it is they are doing for Mike's mission.
It will be good for the plot, but just seemed odd.
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Well Briggs caseload got lighter after a bullet went through it's hand :-) Johnny had nothing running and as for "bates" well I think Mike can argue with the bureau that his case is more important than shotgun spins :-)
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Great season premier. Emily Rose is a welcoming addition, I hope she has a recurring role. Serinda Swan somehow looking yummier and that is always welcome.

The new cartel angle is going to be fun.
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The biggest problem with fall television is no Serinda Swan, it's like not seeing a rainbow for nine months of the year.
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She did guest star on The Tomorrow People recently.
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It failed my '4 Episode Test', but if I'd known Serinda was going to be guest starring in it...
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I think she would do well in a superhero show.
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Granted, it took me a little bit to catch up since since I'd apparently forgotten that Briggs managed to dodge the whole Odin thing (though I can't remember how, so I'll have to rewatch finale). That said, I've got to ask the question as to whether or not we were watching the same episode???

"Season 2's debut found the housemates no less paranoid and crabby"

What part of the introduction did you find crabby? Gun assembly party games with DJ as the happiest guy in the house...I see no paranoia or crabbiness

"Briggs vowing to exact revenge on the cartel that brought us "Jangles"

Huh? When did that happen? The cartel came up because he saw that they'd (or, as it turns out, people posing as the cartel) put a hit out on Mike. Sure, he's haunted by killing Badillo, but I saw no revenge of any kind.

"Charlie trying to get her post-junkie life together while making sure that Briggs didn't get himself killed."

She seemed pretty clean to me and any attention she paid Briggs didn't seem to be the kind that was worried about his safety. Worried that she might get caught in his bed? Perhaps. Worried that she might not be getting enough of that sweet sweet Briggs lovin'? Maybe. Safety? Nope, not seeing it.

"For his part, Briggs sees an opportunity to avenge all the friends he's lost—in the original Graceland prototype, and then his forced addiction and subsequent fall from FBI grace."

Again, did I miss a scene (or scenes) entirely???

"Mike is kind of clueless and plagued by career tunnel-vision when it comes to whatever else is going on inside his sweet, sweet beach pad. He still has his boring girlfriend"

Clueless to what exactly? Sure, he's ambitious, but he's also very clearly missing the thrill of being under cover. Not so that he can get ahead, but because he misses it. And his new girlfriend isn't his old girlfriend. I also don't know how boring she is.

"At the end of the day, the denizens of Graceland are co-workers. They don't have to like each other. But the nature of their jobs dictates that they at least have to be able to fake it, and as it stands, I'm not convinced they can even do that."

Okay, seriously. Is there an entire episode that I've missed that shows something other than the tension I saw? There was A LOT of hugging it out for a group of people who apparently don't like each other.
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My guess is either

1) the reviewer saw an early tape from the network that makes some slight changes when it was actually aired and she did not watch the actually episode aired.

2) She actually watched 2-3 episodes and got the scenes mixed up.

I would say option two is even worse for a paid reviewer.

Actually I am a fan of TV.com and it is sad that this happened.
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"Briggs on the run and out for revenge"
???
If Briggs version of "on the run" is staying put then I suppose so... or not.
I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks the episode reviews have been poor lately.
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Yeah, and Mary didn't even talk about any of the actual plot, which was pretty damn interesting if you take a second to consider the implications of what happened towards the end of the episode (see my other comment above). Maybe this review was based on a rough screener that was released to reviewers and wasn't as polished as the episode that aired? /shrug
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I'm with you... don't know what episode this review was about, but it wasn't the same one I saw
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Staff
Reposting my comment from above to trigger a notification...

Couple things—MaryAnn reviewed this episode based on the screener that USA sent to us. In some cases, we're wondering the same thing you are: Did the network change the episode before airing it? We didn't receive notice from the network that that's the case, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen.

As for updates/responses: I'm speaking on MaryAnn's behalf because she's been on her honeymoon for the last week. She filed the review before she left. That's why you haven't heard anything. She'll be back for this week's second episode, which we'll make a point to watch live...

—Jen
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Good do know that some shows you love will come back :) ,cant wait for more and more
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I liked it, I am looking forward to seeing where it goes. Also can't wait for for of the consequences of last season to come back
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For some reason I just love this show.
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They don't have to like each other. ... they at least have to be able to fake it, and as it stands, I'm not convinced they can even do that.

OK, huh?

Sure, the episode ended with everyone a little annoyed that they were under Mike's leadership.

But for the most part they still seem like a tight and friendly group that care about each other.

Individually: Johnny is depressed, Briggs is freaking out, and Charlie is going through stuff. But they still like and support each other. They're just not happy Mike's in charge.
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DJ pretty much hates everyone.

Where do you get that vibe? Am I missing something?

DJ is actually like super happy now, at least in front of his pals. He's not labeling food/drink in the fridge and acting more mellow in front of them. he used to be a sad sack but now he's at least acting nicer.

Meanwhile he's renting a (cruddy) apartment and tells the agent it will be for him and his son. Presumably he's getting joint custody now.
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I hope Emily Rose has a recurring role !!
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Yeh, it took me a while to remember who she was.

I'm like... I KNOW her, what's she from. I had to do a quick google and sure enough, Emily Rose... aka Audrey Parker from Haven.

My guess is she's going to turn out to be an antagonist... like she's working with some cartel and helping to hide the buses.
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I Love Graceland and all the characters are interesting except for Paige because we haven't seen anything about Paige, but the second season looks as if it's going to be darker and more interesting than the last one and i'm looking forward to that.
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They've said in the promotional videos that were released On Demand a few days ago that this season will be focusing a lot more on the other agents in the house, Paige especially, rather than just Mike, Briggs, and Charlie, like the first season mostly did.
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What? When the heck did Jakes get arrested, did I miss something?
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I was asking myself the exact same question.
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he didn't get arrested, he was looking to buy a house and he was looking out a window that happened to look like bars so it looked like he was in jail. He never got arrested.
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Agreed. He said it was going to be him and his son. I guess he's getting joint custody now.
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Or he isn't and he is going to kidnap his son.
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Dude, DARK. LOL
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If so, I missed it too.......



DID I JUST GET SPOILED FOR THE NEXT EPISODE????
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I sense the new guy might be joining Johnny in the happy mode. But yeah I hope that Johnny can lose the desperation stink.

I do keep wondering when Paige will yell at all of them for just being all so emotionally damaged that they can't see beyond their own noses. I mean like all of them. But hey..I'm going to take it as a good sign for Haven that Aubrey Rose is Audrey blonde.

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I was thinking the same thing about Emily Rose's blonde locks :-) that show can't come back soon enough.
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I know, I mean, I know they can add the brown extensions to incorporate Mila, but that was so totally Audrey Parker hair.
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