Graceland – Episode 5 – Recap – O-Mouth
The previews for this week’s episode of USA Network‘s Graceland promised shocking revelations, and the reveal of the true reason that our lead character, FBI Agent Mike Warren (Aaron Tveit), is investigating his superior at the eponymous undercover home, Agent Paul Briggs (Daniel Sunjata). While we do learn the reason in this episode, it’s not nearly the center of the happenings, nor the most interesting development of the hour.
Mike makes some moves on two of the season-long arcs; he finds out that the FBI suspects Briggs of stealing drugs, and he’s getting closer to Belo, the big time Nigerian gangster. After the dramatic death of Belo’s right-hand man Eddie last episode, Mike wants to position himself to become the new go-to guy. Always the researcher, Mike picks up on a peculiar line Belo says, a line that turns out to be an old movie quote. That’s when Mike finds his in; Belo’s a nerd for cowboys. the two bond over some old westerns. After Mike stands up for Belo against a fearsome electronics store clerk, he wins Belo’s trust and becomes his new bodyguard. Back at Belo’s pad, Mike peeps the druglord’s calendar and notices a word: “Bigfoot”. Later, Paul informs Mike that this is the codename for a gigantic smuggling operation, where the heroin in brought into the US by submarine.
Mike walks in to Charlie with rubber tubing around her bicep and a needle in her elbow, confused. She reveals the ruse: undercover agents can cook and shoot hemoglobin without raising suspicion. Charlie and Paul are running a heroin deal (undercover with fake first names as “Catie” and “Eric”, an unorthodox move). When Charlie’s former informant Whistler shows his dumb junkie face, the two have to pull a fake-out make-out to keep from being spotted. Once the pair get back to Graceland, the fake-out looks ready to turn into a real smoochfest, so Paige and Johnny place bets on whether they’ll hook up (again, as they have once in the past). Charlie follows up with Whistler to learn if he’d spotted her; he had not, but he is using again (and lying about it), which saddens Charlie. She eventually hooks him up with another informant gig, but it spells his end; Whistler ODs in the bathroom at the deal he set up for Paul and Charlie. On top of this, the dealer they’re meeting with develops a sudden mistrust. He pulls a gun on the pair and demands they shoot up from his supply in front of him (since he’s found out that undercover cops can’t use drugs). Paul gets mad, but as he’s ready to leave, a distraught Charlie grabs the needle and the rubber tubing and goes for it.
Through the episode, the tension builds with the will-they-won’t-they hookup plot, hilariously following Charlie and Paul undercover to a hotel where Johnny keeps an eye (and a radio-linked ear) out as the valet. They get started, but stop once they remember themselves. Charlie and Paul laugh, put their clothes back on, and put their radio receivers near some pay-per-view porn on the TV to make Johnny think he lost the bet. The next day, back at base, they toy with him a bit more, but don’t reveal the dupe.
Mike’s dimly lit romantic flame is stoked further by Johnny, but Johnny and Paige both caution Mike not to get too deeply attached to this woman; his first duty must always be to Graceland. She and Mike bond over their beach pet, a stray dog that the Graceland folks call BD (“Beach Dog”). She’s trying to keep the dog as a new pet, and after Paige and Johnny convince Mike that the dog is a metaphor, Mike convinces her to let the dog go free again.
This episode (and the dramatic end to the last) is the one that’s got me hooked (augh, drug pun). The tension! The acting! The camera work! Certainly the strongest of the young series. If you’re on the fence, this is the one that’ll get you. If the recap seems dull (and I sincerely hope that it doesn’t!), it’s only because the show has finally injected (sorry, the drug puns aren’t on purpose) some much-needed subtlety into its proceedings. If you’re looking to get in on the ground floor with a smart, complex basic cable crime drama, this is the one. Watch the preview for this week’s episode below!