“In a place like ‘Graceland,’ sometimes it’s good to keep secrets,” Paige (Serinda Swan) says in the opening moments of “Smoke Alarm,” an episode that aired on August 15. She may be talking about Mike’s mis-steps with ex-gal pal Abby, but secrets are a recurrent theme in this world of undercover agents. And in the latest show twists, secrets turn out to be deadly.
Mike (Aaron Tveit) is ready to go to the FBI and end the investigation into Bello (Gbenga Akinnagbe) once and for all on the USA Network. After all, don’t they have plenty on him, between the drugs and the guns? But it was never Bello that Briggs (Daniel Sunjata) was really after; rather, he wants justice for -- and vengeance against -- Jangles for what he did to him so many years ago. “Sometimes it’s all about using one monster to get the others,” Briggs claims.
But really that’s only part of the story on the always-dramatic “Graceland.” Mike confronts his FBI manager, Juan Badillo (Pedro Pascal), who is finally copping to the rest of it: there used to be another undercover agent house, called the Estate, until it burned down, killing all the agents, except Briggs. But was Briggs at fault? Did he light the match? Or did he tell the Coza cartel where the house was? Either way, Juan places the blame squarely on Briggs, but Mike thinks he’s just paranoid.
Yet, Juan isn’t the only one suspicious of Briggs. Charlie (Vanessa Ferlito) is determined to find a connection between Briggs and Odin, so much so that she’s blinded by an offer of help from a Mexican cop named Rafael Cortez (Vincent Laresca). And now, to top things off, Briggs knows that Charlie is on to him, because she finds the smoke alarm video recorder in the motel room.
This is all just lead up though. The pieces are slowly falling into place.
Briggs sees one of Bello’s men chatting up some of the Coza cartel. Bullets start flying at Bello’s safe house. Bello is being tortured by Jangles, but Mike is able to stop it -- although he gets stabbed. And Briggs makes a startlingly choice: he stays with a bleeding Mike rather than chase Jangles.
And then things get a tad confusing. FBI Agent Juan puts a bandana over his face, and it sure makes him look like Jangles. But there’s blood on Mexican cop Rafael’s suit jacket.
So which is it? Well, Juan is just a desperate man, and he goes “undercover” as Jangles to get the truth out of a drunken Briggs, who is sitting at the location of the old Estate house. This is the most unbelievable that “Graceland” has ever been, and that’s only because they didn’t give much time and attention to how desperate Juan was to find out the truth about what happened to his agent friends.
Because Juan’s idea was stupid. Right after Briggs mentions that it was him -- Jangles -- who lit the match, in his angry, drunken stupor, he shoots Juan on the beach. So much for being smart as Odin.
And the real Jangles? It’s Rafael, the guy chatting up Charlie and making a deal that they’ll share intel with one another.
So, Briggs’s plan of vengeance? It's just going to get a whole lot more people killed, people that Briggs cares about, like Charlie and Mike. And the rest of the house isn’t safe either, not with Charlie trusting the guy who is trying to take them all down.
"Smoke Alarm" had it all: crazy, dramatic set-up for the last few episodes of the season; action with bullets flying; and big reveals, like the identity of Jangles and Mike admitting to Paige that he's investigating Briggs.
“Graceland” airs on USA Network Thursdays at 10 p.m. EDT.
© Elizabeth SanFilippo 2013
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