Graceland / Screen

Graceland: Episode 108 “Bag Man” Review

On the heels of the revelation that Briggs is Odin, I was excited to see that this episode took us into his life as the mysterious heroin dealer, a life that includes a closet full of heroin and a neat little process for passing the drugs to Bello.

This episode gave us insight into Briggs’ one-man operation, his methods in working with Bello while avoiding the notice of his housemates, and it showcased the lengths to which he’s willing to go.  His attack of Mike, hiding his face the whole time and his faux-concern in the aftermath,  was my favorite part of the episode.    He’s obviously competent in his operation, but now he’s required to step it up if he’s going to maintain it underneath the noses of his housemates.  His injured ribs at the episode’s end, courtesy of his struggle with Mike, will just be the beginning. 

Though I have no doubt that Briggs is Odin, I’m still questioning why he’s Odin. At one point it was suggested that Odin may not care about the money, and maybe he doesn’t.  A business deal with Bello links Briggs to the Caza cartel and the faceless Jangles. If the story Briggs gave to Mike was semi-truthful then Briggs may be looking for answers of his own, answers more important than drawing in cash.  He gives Bello the key to the heroin stocked apartment and allows him to pay in his usual installments.  I doubt any other drug dealers would be so willing to put their faith in their clients and hand over two months worth of product without being certain of payment.

Whatever his reasons, it’s really exciting to see a man of color who gets to be a complex and layered villain (if we can even call Briggs a villain).  Too often villains who are intelligent, formidable and complicated are only played by white actors, while people of color are relegated to one-dimensional thugs who aren’t allowed to have depth.  To see Briggs praised as an FBI agent for being ingenious and capable and to employ those same traits in his work as Odin, gets me really excited to see what unfolds and to get answers to the many questions surrounding him and his motives.

Graceland really is full of lies, but Briggs is telling the biggest one.  With the exception of Mike, the other roommates have accepted the sacrifice they have to make in the name of Graceland.  They’re okay with telling lies, but they live by a certain honor code within the house.  The only people they can be really honest with all reside within Graceland. Though they’re willing to keep secret from people outside the house, keeping secrets from each other is another matter, and Briggs’ secret is huge and has a direct effect on the others in the house.

Mike, on the other hand is dealing with his discomfort with the double life.  His relationship with Abby gets complicated as she notes how little she knows about him.  The more we see of Abby the more I like her and how perceptive she is.  After identifying Paige’s date a couple episodes back as a drug dealer, seeing her and Mike with guns probably got her thinking that they’re not really safe people.   Where she and Mike go from here is up in the air, but I’m sure it’s not the last we’ll be seeing of Abby as she is, as Mike said, the only person he can be himself around.

Even though Mike’s been embraced by everyone in Graceland, he’s still isolated.  His investigation into Briggs plus his desire to be in D.C keep him from connecting fully with the others.  He can’t even tell his housemates that he may be leaving Graceland now that the investigation into Briggs seems to have ended. Like Briggs, Mike is forced to keep secrets from his roommates, the only people who know the truth about his job there.

Graceland excels in connections between characters, and it’s fun to see how everyone fits together.  Dale’s place in the house is especially interesting when compared to the others.  While Briggs keeps secrets to protect his operation, Dale keeps secrets because he prefers being private.  While Johnny and Charlie are trying to get to the bottom of Briggs’ weird behavior, and Paige is helping Mike with Abby, Dale is out of the mix.  He may like his roommates, but he likes to mind his own business, and he expects the same from them. This is why he keeps Charlie’s secret and why he doesn’t tell anyone about his son. Charlie’s heroin use is her business, and Dale’s family is his.

Minding their business doesn’t work for Charlie and Johnny who get very close to discovering Briggs’ secret.  Johnny’s optimism and total faith in Graceland and the people in it is compelling (especially when juxtaposed with Dale’s practicality and realism).  On the other hand is Charlie’s suspicion of Briggs and her being adamant that something’s off.  Her sense of justice and the sacredness she places in Graceland and being honest with her roommates is going to make the inevitable reveal of Briggs’ activities very interesting, especially if she continues her pursuit and is the one who learns the truth.   From the beginning we were led to believe it would be Mike, but it could end up being Charlie which is more complicated because we’ve been led to believe that of the other housemates, Briggs has the best relationship with her.

Next week there’s some serious stuff going down as Briggs continues to work against his housemates, and Johnny lets the cat out of the bag regarding Charlie’s suspicions.  Mike’s also bleeding for some reason, and I’m really, really excited.

If you’ve got any thoughts, leave them in the comments.



One thought on “Graceland: Episode 108 “Bag Man” Review

  1. your assessment is dead on….thank you!
    and a huge thank you for acknowledging daniel sunjatas role in this show, you were so right about the character he is playing and how great it is to see two men of color in key roles (bello/briggs) on the show.
    this show just keeps getting better and better every week and i really look forward to what new secret will be revealed or kept.
    i also think that briggs is in this 100% for personal reasons having to do with the caza cartel, whether it be for the heroine addiction or something else, there is a grander reason that has yet to be revealed, his reasons might also be tied to the mystery woman he touched on before, no? 😉


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