Graceland / Screen

Two Is Company: Graceland ‘Happy Endings’ Review

Tonight’s episode of Graceland saw the housemates pairing up and working against each other to accomplish opposing goals.  While Briggs and Mike dive into their separate searches for Juan’s car, Charlie’s fed up with her unhelpful roommates and leans more on Rafael who isn’t what he appears.  Lines were drawn between the roommates, and this episode was a fantastic set-up to what looks to be an exciting finale. 

I’m glad Graceland caught on to the predictability of Rafael turning out to be Jangles.  All the signs were pointing in that direction so it was nice to see the show keeping the reveal simple and fast instead of attempting to draw it out.  Intercut with Charlie’s preparation for her day, we see Rafael toying with sharp knives and a very jangly set of keys, and then we know he’s Jangles, and that’s the end of the mystery.  Making it such a muted reveal allowed for more focus on other aspects but makes me wonder why we had to deal with the question of Jangles’ identity at all if the his unmasking wasn’t going to be a big event.  If this was all we were going to get, we could have learned about it when Rafael first appeared.

Though on the outside, Charlie’s willingness to trust Rafael so completely seems like a dumb move, we’ve know she’s ruled by her emotions, and she’s still reeling from Whistler’s death.  With her housemates unwilling to help her nail Odin, finding an ally in Rafael is a relief.   Less convinced of Rafael’s trustworthiness is Johnny who proves to Charlie she’s not in this alone by leading her to Quinn who may be able to compel Odin to reveal himself.  When Charlie sees him again she gets to let out some of her rage by knocking him around.  Though it was fun to see Charlie getting to kick butt, the choreography of their fight scene left a lot to be desired. Maybe next time they’ll do better.

Though watching Rafael attempt to lure Charlie into a trap was the weakest portion of the episode,  Charlie continues to stand out as a character. Of all the roommates she’s going to have the hardest time coming to grips with Briggs’ identity as Odin.  She suspects him, but is holding off on voicing that until she has more substantial proof.  When it’s confirmed, she’s going to take it hard, but if a dicey situation with Rafael ends with her being saved by Briggs (as I suspect it might) she may be more willing to try and salvage their friendship.

While Jangles is hanging out with Charlie, Briggs can’t spare much thought for him because he’s figuring out how to deal with the Juan debacle and turns to an unlikely source for help: Dale.  This help is only unlikely to us as we’ve seen Dale have little interaction with anyone but Johnny (who he’s still tense with after their fight), but he and Briggs go way back.  It was a joy to see Dale getting to play a part and get some character development, and his importance this episode almost makes up for his absence in earlier ones.  Dale’s long relationship with Briggs has given him knowledge about the Estate, Lisa, and even Jangles which implies he knows Briggs was an addict.  In turn, Briggs knows about Cassandra and Daniel, and I got exactly what I wanted in a conversation in which Dale got to talk, however briefly, about not being with them. 

Since the show’s beginning, we’ve been fooled by Dale’s solitary nature into believing he has no emotional connections with them, but that’s all changed with his and Briggs’ scenes.  They’re so close that Briggs tells Dale the truth about killing Juan when he asks questions (as opposed to coming up with a lie), and once he knows, Dale doesn’t back out of his promise to help find the car.  Furthermore,  Dale agreed to the task without any questions which really drives home just how close he and Briggs must be, though their friendship doesn’t manifest itself as blatantly as those between the other roommates, but it’s in keeping with the rest of Dale’s relationships which are very private.

Despite his declarations about not having a personal stake in the situation, Dale’s insistent on finding the recording. Even when Briggs resigns himself to running when it looks like Mike’s won, Dale wants to try to beat him to it.  The mysterious disappearance of the recorder makes me think Dale was the one who got his hands on it.  Whether or not it was him, his willingness to go to bat for Briggs makes me wonder how he’ll react to learning that he’s Odin. Judging by the finale promo, it doesn’t look like Dale’s going to be cutting him any slack for his transgressions, but he also may be the only one in Briggs’ corner.

Also not cutting Briggs any slack is Mike who’s realized what an excellent liar he is. Everything Briggs says is perfectly logical, so logical it makes one feel stupid to question it.  Even when Mike calls him out on looking for Juan’s car, Briggs has no trouble offering up an explanation: someone’s setting him up.  He even draws on Mike’s uncertainty about the Bureau and his investigation, a strategy which may have worked on Pilot Episode Mike, but this Episode 111 Mike is more privy to Briggs’ manipulation and is better equipped to work around it.

In the third pair of the night, Paige and Mike team up to look for Juan’s car. Though Paige started off with some skepticism about Briggs and his motives, by the episode’s end, she’s been pushed to the “Briggs Is Shady” end of the spectrum.   With the exception of a still optimistic Johnny, the other housemates are leaning that way, too.  Right now Dale’s the only one who knows with certainty the hole Briggs’ has dug himself into (though it’s a only a portion of said hole), but when the truth comes out it’s going to have some real ramifications for the house and its residents.  Graceland’s already unsteady, teetering on the edge of a precipice in this episode in particular.  Next week’s finale may see it falling over the edge as Charlie has a violent encounter with Rafael, Dale’s questioned by his roommates about Briggs’ whereabouts, and the truth apparently comes out about Briggs’ secret identity.  Though there’s been no official word on a season two, the promo did call it the season finale, so that seems like a good sign.

Leave your comments on tonight’s episode, and your expectations for the finale, in the comments.

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3 thoughts on “Two Is Company: Graceland ‘Happy Endings’ Review

  1. JANGLES was revealed before last night.
    a) He was the one who stabbed Mike
    b) And he was the one was shot by Mike. There was a scene where Rafael met Charlie, and the camera showed the bullet hole in his jacket’s shoulder.

    I was wrong about one thing. I expected that Briggs was setting up Jakes. I figured the plan was for Jakes to drive off in the Badillo Crown Victoria car. after Briggs had removed the recorder/recording, Briggs would then kill Jakes. He would then phone it in, and Jakes would be found dead in the car..Briggs would need an unlicensed gun to do that. .

    But that could still happen.

    Another thing that bothered me was Charlie working the phone list in Ep 10. Briggs had to know that his phone would show up in the phone logs of the city jail. So once Briggs knew what Charley was doing he should have been plotting to get rid of Charley – unless he had used a disposable pre-paid cell phone.

    You are definitely right about the house teetering on the edge. Thank you Lauren for your perceptive write up of this episode.

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  2. I totally agree that Charlie stands out as a character. She’s determined and badass–probably shown as the most capable of the agents in the house–but she also has her baggage and flaws. With her heroin experience, Whistler’s death, and the house falling apart, it was good to see her snap and beat up Quinn. Because no one can realistically handle all of that without showing some signs of weakness.

    I also thought the material between Briggs and Jakes was a great development for Jakes, who hasn’t really been connected to anyone in the house so it’s hard to care about him.

    More here: http://imagemoved.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/graceland-episode-11-youre-going-to-get-me-pregnant/

    Like

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