Graceland Season Finale Review: Is Mike In Or Out?

by Shelli / September 13, 2013

Ensemble acting at its best – with a hotness factor that’s off the charts!!  Sexy, exciting, best show on tv!

I’ve never screamed at a television screen until I started watching Graceland.

These are only two of the many, many tweets sent out about last night’s season finale of Graceland.

And I must say, the episode ranks pretty high up there on my list of favorite season finales.  Event though there were a couple of moments that I knew were coming, the show did an excellent job of maintaining suspense and keeping me sucked in.

“Pawn” picked up exactly where last week’s episode left off, with Mike calling in a a detainment order for Briggs who had gone missing.  The first blow came immediately after when Johnny let Briggs walk away after he said the warrant was part of his cover with Caza.  Even though Johnny felt that something was off – as we’ve seen before, he trusts everyone and believed him, allowing Jakes to help him leave.

While Briggs was off on his own – getting Quinn a new identity because Jangles is after him, and digging up Juan’s body to find a certain key – the rest of his Graceland roommates went through the process of being questioned by the Bureau and having their rooms searched for evidence that they helped Briggs run.  Jakes and Johnny are mad at Mike, Paige is trying to help, and Charlie seems to be in her own world – her mind on the investigation still running with Cortez (who we now know is the real Jangles).  Just as we saw last week, the house is divided.

Everyone seemed to go off on their own tangents in attempts to keep themselves on track.  Mike tried to piece together the truth about The Estate, the house that existed before Graceland and wound up kissing Paige, while Jakes was intercepted by Briggs, who thinks he knows that Cortez is Jangles and is worried for Charlie, while Charlie got caught up in the faux Federale’s story of having to leave and accepted an invitation back to his rented beach house.

At which point, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one yelling at the screen: “Charlie, don’t do it!”

While she was back at Graceland getting ready for the evening, Briggs snuck into the aforementioned beach house to plant Juan’s apartment key with Cortez/Jangles, only to be caught.  The two men fought until Charlie walked in and broke them up – though they both ended up knocked out and trapped anyway.

Tied to one of the beds in the house, the two were forced to watch as Jangles proceeded with a mildly disturbing dance, and then suffered as he used his knife to torture Charlie – for the second time giving Briggs the chance to watch a friend die.  Outside however,  Mike was just pulling up after finding a number on a scrap of paper that had fallen from Jakes’ pocket back on the beach.  The sound of the car drew Jangles away from his little game and he left Charlie and Briggs with his music on max volume while he went looking for the next intruder.

I’ll admit, while a very powerful moment, the stand-off between Jangles and Mike and the subsequent take down seemed somewhat anti-climactic.   In fact, while I was jotting down notes for the episode I had written: “SO NOW FREAKING WHAT?” at this point.  That’s verbatim.

Little did I know that the final minutes of the episode would be that much more telling.

Briggs finally revealed to Mike what really happened at The Estate – that he had been driven to the point of confession while a hostage, and had given up his training officer to Jangles as the Caza mole, pushing Jangles to burn down the hosue and everyone inside it, including his love, Lisa.

Mike was also given the chance he had been hoping for all season – a way back to DC.  Offered the position of Special Assistant to the Deputy Director, Mike looked conflicted after making sure that Graceland wasn’t in danger, and looked in on Briggs’ debriefing.  The whole situation seemed rather up in the air, as we were left with the photo from the Bureau of Quinn-now-Tony walking in Ecuador, where Briggs had sent him with his new identity.

Just as the gang was relaxing around a bonfire with Briggs telling them the “truth” about his past, and toasting Mike’s return to the East Coast, it looked as if everything had been resolved and everyone had forgiven each other.  However the obvious question still hangs in the air – “but where is the recording?!”

Well, as we watched Mike take part in a meeting back in DC – now clean cut but still reflecting on his time in Graceland with an apparent longing – back in Martin Del Rey, California a couple of kids were messing around in a pawn shop.  And kids being kids, pressing buttons, just so happened to stumble across the recorder and tape of Juan’s murder on the beach.

But the ultimate cliffhanger – Briggs call to Mike, that ended with the mysterious “I haven’t told anyone else about this…”

All I can say is thank goodness we will be getting a Season 2!

I thought this episode was a fantastic way to end a great season.

First, let’s talk character development.  Mike, at the top was so obviously different in last night’s episode than back in the pilot, and I have to give Jeff Eastin and the writers applause for making that transition natural and seamless.  No longer was Mike the nervous rookie trying to figure out why he was placed at Graceland and how he fit in.  He took charge last night, even standing up to his roommates about what the “right” thing to do would be.  Despite the fact that he left to go back to DC, clearly Graceland was still calling to Mike, and surely he will be hopping coasts again when Season 2 eventually premieres.

But perhaps my favorite is Charlie – I never expected to enjoy her character so much way back when the show premiered.  She’s tough, and very dedicated to her job, but as we quickly got to see, she takes personal issues very seriously and was moved to seek vengeance after Whistler’s death episodes ago.  It’s that drive that, at least in my mind, explains why she apparently didn’t suspect Cortez at all.  I loved how the episode also brought that heart back to the surface after Briggs’ debriefing by showing how distraught she was over what she did – not even able to look at the man she was supposed to trust.   Not only were Charlie’s storylines enticing season-long, but Vanessa Ferlito defines “scene-stealer.”

The episode interestingly gave light to everyone in the house, including Johnny, Jakes, and Paige, who for a good chunk of the season seemed to be mere support characters.  In “Pawn” they bolstered the storyline, and added another layer to what Briggs, Mike, and Charlie were all up to.  The pain on Johnny’s face alone at realizing that Briggs had been lying to him was crippling.  I can’t wait to see how storylines for these three characters play out in Season 2.

I could go on and on about the show.  I so enjoyed spending the summer with Graceland, and cannot wait for what Eastin has in store next.  To quickly recap the cliffhangers “Pawn” left us:

– What does Briggs mean by “vacation,” and what hasn’t he told anyone else before but is telling Mike?

– The lingering attraction between Paige and Mike that came to a head with a kiss and a confession that Paige isn’t against it.

– Johnny’s hurt at being left out of everyone’s plans.

– Charlie’s fear that she can’t trust herself.

And it goes without saying, but:

– How did the recording end up in a pawn shop, and what will happen next?

Thanks for sticking with me this summer everyone!  Let me know what you thought of the season finale of Graceland!


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