Graceland Season 3 Episode 1 Review: “B-Positive”

Graceland

They are baaaack! All of them, as predicted. Graceland fans can now breathe a sigh. Officially.

The Graceland Season 3 opener starts 10 days after Mike flatlined, courtesy of dirty cop Sid and a spiraling out of control Paige. Briggs is at a cemetery, where he stands before a gravestone when Sid approaches him reeking of cockiness and with a warning  for the FBI agent to skip town. Words and testosterone play ping pong for a bit, while Johnny is strategically hidden, pointing his riffle at Sid, who he can’t shoot until they get him to confess his attempt (at least) to terminate Agent Warren or his ties to the Solano Cartel. The corrupt law enforcer, however, leaves unharmed, without giving away a thing. As he exits, the identity of the person resting six feet under is revealed, and at that point the one thing that truly matters is that it is not Mike. Instead, it’s Det. Archie Garrett, Sid’s former right hand.

In the meantime, Paige is shot at by a biker, while driving. She makes it out alive, though wounded. Clearly, as he promised, Sid is trying to clean house; however, he made the mistake of underestimating how lethal Miss DEA is. Let’s be real here: he sent ONE man to kill her? Just one? Sid didn’t do his homework here.

Fortunately, the show tackled the fate of Mike within the first ten minutes of the installment, as he is seen alive (but well?) at the hospital with Briggs. The two discuss the fact that as far as Sid knows, Warren is dead, as the newspaper says. Then there is the inevitable debate as to whether to tell the Bureau, Charlie, Johnny, and Jakes what Paige did. and surprisingly enough, Mike wants to protect his ex. In every relationship, there is one person that falls faster and harder; I guess we know who that is when it comes to Pike.

Additionally, we learn, via dialogue, that Mike coded for six minutes, while we see that he’s been sketching creepy things, and that his pain is causing him to be morphine-button happy. Given showrunner, Jeff Eastin’s remarks about an upcoming arc for Mike regarding an addiction to narcotics, the pieces fit quite well.

Moving on, Briggs can’t catch a break during the entirety of the episode. As soon as he’s making his way out of the hospital, two Feds take him to the Bureau, where Deputy Agent Sean Logan is waiting for him. Cutting to the chase, Logan informs him that the infamous tape recording of Badillo’s bloody demise is in his possession. In other words, the only way the Gracelander can dodge an indictment and a world of trouble is by taking on a mission. Cornered, Briggs agrees to infiltrate the Armenian mob, all while  Mike is in the hospital, Sid and Carlitos roam free, Paige grows unpredictable, AND Charlie expects his child. As I’ve said in previous articles, I hope Paul has an efficient espresso machine. 

Later that day, Paige manages to push Sid’s buttons by waiting for him at his residence, where he finds her chitchatting with his wife. Suddenly, the cop’s usual poise at being a psycho vanishes, and he pushes the DEA agent against the wall and starts choking her. He stops only because good girl gone dark manages to communicate that Mike’s death unfolded an inquiry, and they need to align their stories. As Paige leaves Sid’s house, there is a grin on her face. Girlfriend has a plan. That is the kind of scene that makes one question as to who is the better actress: Serinda Swan or Paige Arkin.

Back at the Bureau, Paul gets the deets on the mob family he needs to gain access to: the Sarkissians. As it turns out, one of the godfathers needs a new kidney, which creates a back door for the agent to infiltrate the international gun runners’ operation. Therefore, the dad-to-be goes undercover as a man for hire to help Ari Adamain (the nephew of the man with renal failure), who, as Logan informs Paul, is about to get a kidney.

Briggs meets up with Ari, who from the first frame on, fits with the rest of charming sociopaths that Graceland always has for villains. Right after smashing Briggs phone and claiming that he “does not look like a Paul,” the new big bad takes his new sidekick on a ride to get their kidney. Contrary to what Logan and the Bureau expected, there is no transplant team or transport protocol in store, just a targeted donor called Sammy, whose blood type is B-positive and a match to uncle mobster. Ari takes poor Sammy hostage at gunpoint, from his apartment building, and then pushes him into his car’s trunk, all of this with no attempt of being discrete. It all happens in broad daylight, and with Briggs in tow, though Adamain could have taken Sammy singlehandedly. It’s guerrilla kidnapping, and it’s glorious. I’m already loving Ari, played impeccably by Rhys Coiro.

Briggs sits in Ari’s car, looking concerned. Once again, a few minutes into a mission, he is deep in trouble. Yet the agent’s nightmare has just begun as Ari and him get pulled over by a cop. Paul gets out of the car to try to limit the body count Ari has started, and also tries to tell the police officer that he is an agent, but the blue uniform does not believe him, especially as a terrified Sammy makes a ruckus from the trunk; it does not help the Gracelander’s case. As a result, Briggs kisses the pavement after being tasered while the cop gets hit by a truck. Sammy is, clearly, the unluckiest man on earth.

Meanwhile, Johnny visits the Solano siblings in Tecate, Mexico, where Carlito welcomes him to the villa that used to belong to his father. The Cartel prince grins ear to ear as he leads the agent to his sister, who is sitting at a table, dressed like her quinceañera went wrong.

Carlito is, no doubt, enjoying the psychological pain he is inflicting (Eric Valdez shines), while Lucia is breaking down and Johnny tries to remain stoic. Lucia tells her paramore that he needs to eliminate Carlito, who is so thrilled to play charades, that in turn, lays his gun on the table and prompts Johnny to shoot him, but the Gracelander stays still. Insteat, Lucia grabs the weapon and tires to shoot but there are no bullets in the chamber. Her intentions cost the girl to be taken to her room, while her brother informs Johnny that he needs to keep running errands for him if he wants the other Solano to keep breathing. Unable to catch a break, as soon as the agent returns to the house, Paige informs him that she needs him to go with her on the “Let’s catch Sid” mission.

Later on, Charlie visits Mike at the hospital and mentions that his attacker is going to be taken by his ex, which causes the other half of Pike to take himself off every machine he’s plugged into, and rush to the site where the takedown is about to happen. Charlie and Mike arrive in the nick of time, just as Paige’s suicide mission is about to be completed. As a result, the corrupt cop flees, and the DEA agent survives.

Paige, who has not seen Mike since he was bleeding on the floor, letting slip that Lina was dead, pushes him away from her and to the ground. Subsequently, she asks him to stop trying to save her (I got this right from the promo!). Instead of being hurt or angry, Saint Mike retorts that he forgives her. Paige is thrown by his words, and it is hard to say if it is because she feels she does not deserve redemption, or because she did not know if Mike was aware that she played a big role into his close encounter with the Grimm Reaper. Or perhaps it’s simply because it doesn’t matter how we slice it; Mike does know Miss DEA too well, probably better than anyone else. Whatever it is, I’m taking the bait here. With caution. I am not jumping on to the Pike bandwagon just yet. I do have to add that Mike killing Paige with love is an outstanding call.

While Pike shippers try to regain their breaths, Briggs wakes up on a filthy floor, somewhere. There is blood leaking over him, and when Paul looks up, he realizes that Sammy’s kidneys have been harvested, as he stares into the dead man’s eyes. Ari welcomes Briggs back and makes casual comments about taking the organs, while the two throw the involuntary donor’s corpse back into the trunk of the car, which they proceed to burn.

A furious Briggs barges into his new boss’s office, still covered in Sammy’s blood. Paul is outraged that he is in the middle of yet another messy cover-up and fears that he will be the “sin eater” later on. However, Logan tells him to get a therapist or a tissue box. Paul has been out-Briggs-ed.

The whole team FINALLY reunite at the house after a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day for pretty much everyone. Mike asks why Graceland is such a mess, which validates Jakes’ complaint about the chore wheel being neglected, while Paige lets everyone know that she is leaving the mansion as soon as they get Sid.  Amidst Mike clarifying that she doesn’t have to leave, and everyone else asking questions, Briggs placates the situation, and (thank you Eastin!!!!) the gang ends up having a bonfire by the beach, as Paul goes on and on as to why they are all guilty of something, which is why they need each other. His words are great and all; however, the most important part of his speech is that things will only get worse. The assessment is validated seconds later, as Johnny picks up Sid in a seedy alley and drives off.

“B-Positive” had a lot of ground to cover and a multitude of questions to answer, and in my opinion, the episode did that in an effective and rewarding way. Graceland‘s Season 3 opener shows a lot of promise to what it is to come and was worth the (eternal) wait.

Highlights:

– Paige and Charlie’s scene. It worked on many levels. First and foremost because Chuck is the most nurturing character on the show, and her words and actions carry significant weight for everyone, always. Her honesty is refreshing, and it was needed at that time and place. Vanessa Ferlito, who was mostly supporting in this episode, did an incredible job. That said, Paige’s state is concerning; she has been spiraling out of control since last season, and the trend doesn’t seem to be about to stop in the near future. I would really love for the two female Gracelanders to bond. My one complaint about this scene is that Paige doesn’t reply about why she has not visited Mike at the hospital, and Charlie doesn’t pursue the issue any further. Also, as much as I adore Serinda Swan’s new do, it does look like Paige had some time to go to the hair stylist while her ex was bed-ridden.

– Pike. Again, I will be cautious with these two. She did try to have him killed, and I did not hear her say she was sorry. However, the looks that Mike and Paige exchanged were interesting to say the least, and yes, there is something terribly alluring about two lethal people who have lied to and hurt one another trying to share the same space. I want a mother of a talk between the members of Pike. It is needed. Yesterday.

– Jakes’ chore wheel. Even though I wished the character was not as under used, the sole mention of the wheel brought the audience to the pilot episode, which I believe to be a nice gift to loyal fans. Also, DJ copes with everything his own way, and that works. He is the Monica Geller of the group!

[Photo via USA Network]

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