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Lies and Audiotape: Graceland ‘Pawn’ Review

Graceland’s finale wrapped up the season’s most pressing arcs, but definitely didn’t tie it all into a neat little bow. It revealed everything (mostly everything) to the agents of Graceland, putting them on even footing regarding Briggs.  His disappearance immediately puts everyone at odds and puts Graceland, and a number of its residents, in jeopardy both professionally and physically. 

The assistance Dale provides to Briggs, including driving him to the pier where Briggs is supposed to take a boat somewhere far away, gets him suspended and possibly facing criminal charges.   Despite his anger with Briggs over the trouble he’s causing Graceland (which Dale takes a turn in wanting to see survive) he’s still keeping quiet about Briggs’ confession about killing Juan and doesn’t bat an eye at it being pinned on Jangles. The best thing about Dale is his ability to speak his mind freely, even if it’s going to hurt someone’s feelings.  His prickly personality doesn’t detract from his loyalty, and even when he’s telling Briggs exactly what he thinks, he’s still in Briggs’ corner.  Since he was watching Daniel’s soccer game it’s safe to say that storyline is going to be revisited next season, and I’m looking forward to seeing it progress.

Johnny was just as surprised as the audience to learn that Briggs turned to Jakes for help, especially when he could have gone to Johnny instead.  His disappointment at not being asked may look silly on the surface, but he’s been the most consistent in believing in Briggs’ innocence. Johnny obviously has a lot of faith in him, so much so that even when his instincts are telling him something’s wrong as Briggs is leaving with a notice to detain being put out, he still lets him go.  Despite the mounds of evidence that Briggs is sketchy, Johnny can’t set aside mounds of equally substantial evidence that Briggs is a decent guy and a great agent.  After believing so fully in him, knowing that trust isn’t mutual is hurtful for him, as well as being singled out as being too immature to handle the kind of help that Briggs required. If this prompts a change in our happy-go-lucky, sunshine and rainbows Johnny it won’t be seen until seen next summer.

Dealing with a complex and emotional fallout is Charlie who learns about Rafael’s identity as Jangles.  Because she did place so much trust in him, she’s an emotional wreck when she learns the truth, reeling from her decision to turn against Briggs and leaving her unsure of her ability to trust herself.  Though she did make a mistake in trusting Rafael, she wasn’t wrong to distrusting Briggs, and if the truth comes out in season two I can’t see how Charlie and Briggs can recover from the emotional rollercoaster he’s put her on.  Between Whistler dying, her experience with heroin and this Jangles situation, she’s struggling to keep it together.  If she can ever return to her earlier confidence, it’s going to take some time, and I hope when the show returns it won’t gloss over the effects all of this has had on her. 

The escalation of Paige and Mike’s relationship into something romantic was both expected and surprising.  There’s always been an undercurrent of flirtation in their interactions with one another, but it hasn’t been overwhelming.  If their kiss hadn’t happened, it wouldn’t have felt like a missed opportunity, but it does provide for some interpersonal drama for when the show returns.   I was glad to see Paige drawing a line, especially since the motivator behind their lip-lock was Mike’s frustration at being unable to effectively handle the Briggs situation, and it would have been a discredit to both characters to have their budding relationship start off as a solvent for Mike’s insecurities.  When the show returns I hope Paige is allowed some leeway and character development outside of Mike and we get to see her back in action.

Speaking of Mike, though he played a vital role in this episode, he wasn’t really in it.  With the exception of the kiss with Paige, the most substantial development for him was his promotion to assistant to the deputy director and his placement back in D.C.  It was nice to see him get what he’s been striving for all season, and even if he has fond memories for Graceland and the people he left behind, he isn’t questioning the decision.   It would have been cheap for Mike to pass on the position, and it’s more in character and interesting to have Briggs suck him back into Graceland.   However it plays out, it’s going to be interesting to see Mike, with a new title and new responsibilities, interacting with the people of Graceland again especially Briggs. We know Mike remains focused on extraneous details, even if they’ve been forgotten by everyone else, such as missing audio recordings of Juan being killed (which later turn up in pawn shops).  And I suspect Mike isn’t one hundred percent certain of Briggs’s innocence anyway.

Even though this episode didn’t belong to Mike, it definitely belonged to Briggs who proved that he’s always got a plan in deftly maneuvering his way out of suspicion.  Planting Juan’s key on Jangles’ chain ensures he’ll be cleared of that charge, and sending Quinn out of the country implicates him as Odin. And just like that Briggs is back in Graceland.  Though he’s certainly invested in the house, and the people in it, he didn’t really consider how they’d be affected in his pursuit for vengeance. He was truly distraught by Charlie’s involvement with Jangles and her distress in the aftermath, but he’s not about to make up for it by confessing to all of his deeds.  Whatever’s next for Briggs it’s going to require some real work on his part to mend the fractures in Graceland.

Not only are everyone’s relationships with Briggs in need of some reparation but so are those between everyone else.  There was hardly any time for everyone to come to terms with the truth behind Mike’s placement in Graceland, and they all had some choice words for each other as well.  It’ll be interesting to see how everyone’s doing both personally and professionally, which are very entwined in the house, when the show comes back.

Leave your thoughts in the comments.


One thought on “Lies and Audiotape: Graceland ‘Pawn’ Review

  1. I think Mike gets reassigned back to Graceland, or at least to LA for oversight.

    The fact is that Briggs is as smart as Mike is not newsworthy, but I was still troubled by the fact that Briggs killed Badillo in what could be argued self defense and didn’t phone it in. Briggs could claim that he was in mortal fear for his life as Badillo went out of his way to pose as the killer Jangles.

    Now Badillo may be have in the FBI and was Mike’s handler, but Briggs could not have known who he was. He only looked him up after the killing.

    Since Briggs was driven to the boat by Jakes, where he met Quinn, the drug dealer and sent him off to Ecuador, who’s car was Briggs driving when he trailed Charlie to her meet with Rafael. Then out to the beach house.

    I guess it was Quinns.

    I also believe that next season could or will open with a death of one of the agents in Graceland which will get MIke out of DC and back to Graceland.

    Finally, like you wrote about Mike, I don’t believe that Briggs is 100% innocent either. Thanks for this good read.


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