Graceland Season 3 Episode 8 Review: “Savior Complex”

Graceland

This week’s episode of Graceland, “Savior Complex,” opens with Ari on the phone with Tevan, whom he informs about the police bust and how Briggs saved them. He also mentions that Paul is an FBI informant to which Sarkissian tells Ari to spare Briggs’s life. This, of course, doesn’t please Toros, who has hated Paul since the two met. Now, having established himself as a loyal accomplice, the agent shares that the Bureau has been after the Armenian for almost two years and that he suspects that there is a mole within them. Toros claims that if there is one, it has to be Paul; however, Ari wants to know who they need to ask. Briggs suggests to kidnap an agent, and make him disclose the identity of this alleged inside man.

The power ping-pong of sorts that takes place in the first scene is somewhat magnetic; however, it makes me nervous for three reasons: Paul betrayed Paige, Jonny, and Jakes; he is putting Paige in danger since now she is forced to remain under cover; rogue Briggs is highly entertaining yet dangerous to himself and others.

Later on, Briggs meets Logan and tells him about the latest development, while insisting that now he needs to really sell his CI persona. While discussing that he gave the idea to torture an agent to Toros and Ari, Logan is not happy. However, Paul promises to be in control. As I said, I am nervous.

Meanwhile, in Florida, Charlie and Amber have a meaningful exchange of words before Jakes meets them.  The agent tells her provisory partner in crime that her roommate did not know that she was (still) pregnant, and Amber promises to keep her secret.  Since Rodney and the swamp guys believe the agent to be dead, DJ will have to be undercover with Amber, who now cannot be pulled out to be sent back to jail. Jakes could not be less thrilled about the prospect of spending time with the blonde, and at the same time is slightly taken by surprise when Charlie announces that she hopes to cut a deal with the DA to make Amber a CI permanently. When it is clarified that Amber saved Charlie’s life, he gets it, but is still not excited about having to work with the former criminal.

In parallel, Mike, who is crashing on Maddison’s bed, gets a call from Logan who summons him and asks to keep their meeting a secret. Afterwards, the agent tries to find oxi in the bedroom, but is unsuccessful. When he walks into the living room, Gusti, who has outsmarted Mike, tells him that he is fired as his sidekick because being under the influence of narcotics makes him useless. Mike promises that he will remain an asset to Gusti and gets a second chance. The two then head to meet a couple of meth-heads who sell hot electronics. Basically, the couple tries to scam Gusti, but Mike notices that boxes that were supposed to have computers inside actually have paper. Gusti and Agent Blue Eyes confront the addicts, only to be robbed and kidnapped by them. Oh, and did I mention that the sarin gas that was inexplicably (national security would always trump an undercover mission) still in Gusti’s truck is taken with them as well? Fun.

Later on, the couple beats Gusti up, while they keep Mike tied up. The junkies demand him to tell them what is inside the container (that has the sarin inside), but he does not know, which results in more violence. Mike finally has a good idea (it’s been a while!!!!) and says that the container is Odin Rossi’s.

Meanwhile, Briggs, Johnny, and Paige talk about what to do about Toros. Johnny suggests that Miss DEA to get intimate with him if she has to, which leads to feminist moment of the episode when Paige replies that she won’t because he is crazy, and also because she does not want to. Before a plan can be concocted, Briggs gets a call from Mike’s phone. It’s Lady Meth Head. She tells Briggs/Odin that she wants $100k and two pounds of meth in exchange for Mike, Gusti, and the lethal container. Paul agrees and asks where the exchange should take place, and that is where he, Johnny, and Paige head to.

What happened next is my favorite part of the episode. The agents are about to rescue Mike, which we know they will accomplish (come on, it’s half the Gracelanders against two druggies!), yet they can’t get back up or arrest the pair because otherwise Mike would be exposed. In other words, they are all going rogue for a bit. The second problem is that they cannot fulfill the demands in exchange for Mike, Gusti, and the gas. However, Briggs knocks on the meth heads’ house door and, like a boss, barges in and takes the container with the gas while announcing he is empty handed. Miss Meth points her gun at Gusti and threatens to shoot, and in another moment of brilliance, Briggs casually lets out that she is pointing at the wrong hostage. As he finishes the sentence, Johnny and Paige are in, and Mike takes the other gun form Mr. Meth. But his vision is blurry from his drug withdrawal, so instead of shooting at Miss Meth to free Gusti, he hits his friend. Paige ends up being the one to take down the woman, which, again, is interesting since lately she has been saving Mike A LOT.

Later on, Gusti is alive and well, but with a bullet hole in his torso. He tells a very guilty-feeling Mike that he is great with weapons but not when he is a junkie. He is right: Mike sucks at everything when he is on drugs. At the same time, let’s not forget that Mike is the best shot of all the Gracelanders (though Paige seems to be a very close second), so the fact that his skill was 100% impaired does hit home. After hearing those words, Mike goes to the hallway, where he plans to inject himself with Gusti’s painkillers, but he stops cold at the sight of a flyer with the same red birds he saw when he was in limbo. He calls the number, and it belongs to a rehab center. I enjoyed the circular motion of the arc, while I’d like to highlight that having Odin back into play worked plot-wise and operated as a wink to Season 1.

Back in Miami, Jakes is told by the swamp guys and Rodney that Charlie disappeared one night and that she even took their money. Jakes plays along and uses the opportunity to say that he needs a new money launderer since the person he was using was Charlie’s contact. Reluctantly, the men decide to introduce Jakes to Germaine.

In Graceland, Mike admits to Briggs that he needs help, which leads to Agent Blue Eyes being handcuffed to his bed, while Paul tells him about all the instances where he had to detox, making a point that by hour 72, Mike will say anything to score. Later on, there is a montage of Mike losing it. First, he asks Johnny to cut him lose, but the agent offers to tell him a story instead. Then Paige and Jakes read to him. Mike struggle and screams. Charlie tells him about her CI. Mike goes through a rainbow of emotions, tells Paige not to touch him, says that he can’t breathe; he is clearly on the edge, then he is passed out in bed, when Johnny checks on him and realizes that Mike is burning up. Team Graceland gives Mikey a cold bath that triggers a number of hallucinations that seem to continue the ones that started when Warren died. Finally, he comes back to consciousness to see his relieved roommates.

Jakes and Charlie resume their mission in Miami. While he is set to meet with Germaine, she will monitor their interaction. Germaine shows up to the hotel where the meet was arranged, and his men check out the room. Then Jakes opens a briefcase and says he has $1 million for him to launder. The plan seems to be working until a woman knocks at the room where Charlie and Amber are, asks for agent DeMarco, and flashes a badge.

Meanwhile, Germaine and Jakes discuss the deal, close the case, and are ready to go when they hear yelling coming from the contiguous room. Quick on his feet, the ICE agent offers to grab a drink, but Germaine doesn’t take the bait and leaves, which prompts Jakes to go next door. Charlie tells him that Germaine is an ATF informant; she had been chasing a CI all along. Defeated, the FBI agent announces that they are done: Amber returns to jail and the Gracelanders to work. Hurt that Charlie didn’t keep her out of incarceration, Amber says she tried to save her and her baby. Jakes hears it. Later on, the mission is officially closed. The swamp men and Rodney are apprehended, Amber is put back in her cell, and Jakes comforts Charlie.

Born again, and at Graceland no less, Mike showers, shaves, cleans up his bed, and goes for a run on the beach. It was about time! We have had addict Mike for over half a season now. It is great to see him bounce back. In addition, Mike finally meets Logan, who asks him if he knows what Briggs is planning. Then he sees a family photo of Logan’s and notices the tag number on a car in the picture.

Later, Logan’s car pulls up in a bad neighborhood as Mike watches him approach a fast food counter. In a matter of seconds, a white van drives by the man and he is taken. As the vehicle leaves the scene, Mike sees that Briggs is behind the wheel.

“Savior Complex” was a gripping episode. I commend the way the writers put the Sarkissian storyline in the background for most of the hour, while arcs that needed attention got it. Additionally, Briggs’s new old ways book-ended the installment perfectly.

[Photo credit: Jeff Daly/USA Network]

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