Graceland Season 2 Premiere Review: Do You Know the Line?

by Shelli / June 13, 2014

Graceland - Season 2After a twisty-turney freshman season, Graceland returned last night with a whole new series of questions to be answered.

When the series bowed last summer, Mike (Aaron Tveit) found himself back in D.C. as a special assistant to the Deputy Director of the FBI, while Briggs (Daniel Sunjata) settled back into life at Graceland after being mis-labeled as a drug kingpin and murderer, and ultimately cleared.  Remember, the duo spent the whole season chasing the Caza cartel and Jangles, their hitman who was responsible for a fire at The Estate and death of Briggs’s girlfriend.

Now, Mike is having a rough time in D.C. hunting down smuggling lines via bus routes.  Unsatistifed with the lack of progress being made, the director shuts the investigation.  Meanwhile, back in California, Briggs is delivering a load of fish to his buddy Leon, rather, a load of military assault weapons.  But fresh off of his take-down by the bureau, Briggs is playing the right side of the law this time – he has Johnny and Charlie lying in wait.  In scoping out Leon’s boat, he notices a photo on the counter…of Mike.  Turns out, the Caza cartel has a hit out for the mysterious Marine who ruined their business after taking out Bello and Jangles.

Briggs then makes a quick call to his friend in D.C., posing the opportunity to act as bait to finally take down Caza.  Miffed about his current situation, Mike agrees.

He arrives back at Graceland to find Paige, Johnny, and Jakes taking part in a competition created by new resident Wayne Zelanski, involving disassembling their handguns, placing their heads on the butt of a rifle, spinning around 10 times, and reassembling their handguns – while blindfolded.  Jakes wins, in case you were wondering, because he didn’t stop playing when the other two quit to greet Mike, a.k.a. “Levi.”  But this new breaking of the rules – there used to be no guns downstairs – isn’t the only surprise.  Jakes greets Mike with a big hug and smile, and later, doesn’t care about Mike drinking his juice.

And who could overlook the awkward reunion between Mike and Paige.

Briggs’s plan moves forward and he brings MIke to see Leon, so that the fisherman can make the call to Caza about “Mike the Marine”‘s whereabouts, but things take a turn when Leon makes a last minute decision not to give Briggs a cut of the finder’s fee.  He pulls out a gun, leaving Johnny with a tight enough shot to shoot Leon in the hand.  Instead, Briggs snaggs the Caza contact information to set up his own meet, but when Caza says that they will dictate time and place, he decides to drop the op.  Mike, unhappy, calls the Graceland residents out as being a bunch of burnouts playing around.  His true feelings come through when Paige finds him sulking, and he confesses to missing that rockstar feeling he had after leaving Graceland and arriving in D.C.

Despite the unsettling feeling, Briggs sets up a meeting with Caza, only to have them not show up on time.  As he and Mike are waiting around, a patrol car drives by to bust a dog fight going on nearby.  In the middle of the mayhem, Briggs realizes that this is no concidence…MIke has been taken.

Down the road the kidnappers force Mike to strip and get in a trunk of a different car, while Briggs and Johnny frantically chase after.  As they search for Mike, his kidnappers use the age-old bag-over-the-head torture technique, continusously asking him if he knows “the line.”  A question that makes no sense to poor Mike, deprived of air, until one specifies “the bus line.”  Just as he begins to slip away Briggs comes in firing and takes out both kidnappers.

It’s when Charlie and Paige are checking in on everyone that Charlie notices something.  The ink of the kidnappers’ Caza tattoos is new – and everyone knows that the cartel isn’t going to send in newbies to torture “Mike the Marine.”  Then it all comes together for Mike – whoever the kidnappers were, they knew about Mike’s bus smuggling investigation.  He was right all along.

With a quick call back to his new girlfriend Jessica in D.C., Mike gets his investigation reinstated.  Instead of getting a whole new team, his Graceland buddies are assigned to work for him for the next eight weeks.  The once jubilant house closes the episode less than pleased.

Overall, “The Line” was a fantastic way to ring in the new season.  Yet again, the show poses more questions than answers, with little to no background with which to draw intel.  Why is Briggs so suddenly calm and okay with sleeping with Charlie?  What has happened to push Jakes into buying a house for he and his estranged son?  And who’s the new guy?

By opening with a Caza storyline, the show offers a nice bridge from last season while at the same time completely opening up a new avenue of storytelling.  Now I’m intrigued as to what prompted Mike’s bus theory, and of course, who the kidnappers are and how they know about him.  Aaron Tveit has built upon his portrayal of Mike as a rookie.  He’s no longer seeking recoginition as a tough agent, now he knows what he’s capable of and is afraid of losing his credibility.  Meanwhile, with Sunjata’s effortless charisma, I still don’t know if I can trust a word his character says.  For the entire first season Paul Briggs was a mystery – and I’m not sure that has changed at all.  This is a character with a lot of dark places to explore.

As we dive into a second season at Graceland, I’m interested in what the show has to offer in the way of secondary characters and their backstories and places in the house.  The first season well balanced Charlie, Paige, and Johnny’s presence with Jakes’ past, and Briggs and Mike’s A storylines.  Now I’d like to see the gaps shrink and roles shuffle around a bit.

But oh, one more question…the tape from Juan Badillo’s car – the recording of Briggs killing him in a drunken stupor – was found in a Pawn shop.  How will that play into Graceland Season 2?

What were your thoughts on “The Line”?  What do you want to see in Season 2 of Graceland?

 

   
Gator. Telecommunications Management student. Writer, reader, TV lover. Find me @shellidw or on tumblr @ fortheloveoftelevision.tumblr.com to talk TV.