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'Graceland' recap: Goat meat, anyone?

Season 2 | Episode 2 | “Connects” | Aired June 18, 2014

With the season premiere behind us, Graceland season 2 is quickly becoming an emotional, plot-heavy bonanza. “Connects” jumps right past the pleasant surf-establishing episodes we had in the beginning of season 1, and gets straight to the incredibly confusing task of taking down huge drug organizations. When, oh when, do we get to go for margaritas at The Drop?

After years of chasing Caza to no avail, the bus bust boys give Briggs an opportunity to make contact with Caza. It would benefit Caza for the FBI to take down the bus boys since they are in direct competition. Besides, no self-respecting drug cartel would allow people to impersonate their assassins. With a deal in mind, Briggs hightails it to Mexico to meet with the people who locked him up, forced him to shoot heroine, and burned all of his friends up in a house fire.

Naturally, Briggs is happy-go-lucky about the situation — anything for the job — but asks Mike not to tell Charlie. Why should you tell the girl you’re sleeping with that you’re about to hand yourself over to sociopathic drug lords? It’s pretty hard to conceal someone’s disappearance to Mexico, and Charlie easily figures it out and flips out at Mike. It is ridiculous that Mike let Briggs go to Mexico, but Charlie is delusional if she thinks he went down there just to help Mike. The lure of finally getting face time with Caza is what drew Briggs to Mexico.

Down in the Mexican dessert, Briggs is passed off from one car without air-conditioning to another, working up a nice sweat on his way to meet Caza. Alone in the heat, he finds a house being guarded by an unassuming goat wearing a cowbell. As Briggs contemplates whether the goat is hiding any sensitive information, a car (this one with air-conditioning) pulls up, and Alfredo Armas (Benito Martinez) the head of the Caza cartel, steps out. After sacrificing the goat, Armas and Briggs sit down with a cigar and some roasted goat to discuss business. Armas is willing to help Briggs find the bus boys, and wants the FBI to continue to investigate Caza to keep from alerting the bus boys that the Feds are on to them. Easy. Too easy? Something else is definitely up here. Briggs heads back to California unscathed by Caza, to await Armas’ envelope with the bus info.

Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 9.22.58 AM

Back at Graceland, Johnny figures out that Jakes is moving out, and Jakes finally comes clean to Johnny about his son. Remember when Paige said there are no secrets in Graceland? Yeah, that’s not even a little bit true. Jakes moves into his new apartment and decks out what he hopes will be his son Daniel’s room in classic little-boy décor. He heads over to his baby mama Cassandra’s (Ciera Payton) place, hoping to work out visitation rights, but is met with a nasty surprise: Cassandra’s boyfriend Derek (Raheem Babalola) and a restraining order. Jakes is unceremoniously thrown down, handcuffed and dragged away from Cassandra and Daniel. He left his undercover assignment for a desk job, left his friends and PUT ON A SUIT, but still Cassandra wants nothing to do with him.

Rounding out the house drama is Paige, who will not give up her current DEA mission to help Mike with the buses. After a few batted eyelashes, Mike caves and agrees to help Paige finish up her assignment. The result: Paige wearing scandalously sexy “undercover” outfits and catching the eyes of not only the guys she is trying to lock up, but Mike and Zelanski. She is trying to bust some guys for sale of illegal chemicals or something. Whatever — the point is, she looks hot doing it. Paige easily take down the bad guys, and as Mike is cuffing her, he gets a call from Jess back in D.C. Jess has news of an envelope from Caza, and they now have a location for the bus boys.

Graceland - Season 2

Briggs’ and Charlie’s post-Mexico reunion is not a towel-dropping affair. Instead, Charlie reveals to Briggs why she’s been so uptight and going out at night: She’s going to stalk the Badillos. The only person who knows Briggs killed Juan is Jakes, but when Briggs turns to Jakes for advice, Jakes throws him out. In an effort to find out how much Charlie knows, Briggs follows her to the Badillos’ house. Sitting next to the man who actually killed Juan, Charlie feels guilty because she didn’t realize her Federale friend (who didn’t kill Juan) was Jangles sooner. Here’s where Briggs could come clean to Charlie and actually have an honest relationship with her, but this is Paul Briggs we’re talking about.

Instead of honesty, Briggs opts for subterfuge, and takes on the stalking mission himself. Nothing good can come of Charlie or Briggs following the Badillos. Briggs has messed up their lives enough. It would be much better for all concerned if he just left Mrs. Badillo and her daughter alone. Since Graceland is a television program, that’s not going to happen anytime soon, so Briggs follows recently off-the-wagon Mrs. Badillo (Brianna Brown) into a liquor store, where she is contemplating a purchase.

Using complex AA tactics, Briggs convinces Mrs. Badillo that he’s seen her at meetings and is also recently off the wagon. The encounter prompts Mrs. Badillo to put down the liquor and take Briggs out for coffee instead. Putting Mrs. Badillo on the right path alleviates way more of Briggs’ guilt for killing her husband than it should. Also, that cassette tape with Briggs and Badillo from the murder night is still out there. Those kids from the pawn shop haven’t turned it into the police, but eventually it will find its target.

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Mike’s bus bust team heads over to the address Caza provided to find another goat and a picture of Carlos Solano, Sr. — the alleged man behind whatever is going on with those buses. We still have no idea what the buses are carrying, but that seems to be of less importance than infiltrating Solano’s regime and inherently trusting that Caza is providing correct information. Solano, Sr. is going to be hard to get to, but his son Carlos Solano, Jr. (aka Carlito) is easily swayed by a pretty face — and no one’s face beats Charlie’s.

Johnny and Charlie head to a club where Carlito hangs out, ready to send Charlie under to become Carlito’s new girlfriend. But all the Badillo and Jangles stuff has really screwed with Charlie’s head. She is not ready to go headfirst into the fire, and backs out of the meet with Carlito, leaving Mike without a solid connection to the Solanos and Johnny wondering what’s up with Chuck.

With everyone home from a hard day’s work, Jess calls with an update on the Caza situation and some heavy phone flirting with Mike. While Jessica (the person Mike is currently sleeping with) is telling Mike that he has two weeks before the FBI pulls back on the Caza investigation, Paige saunters by in a towel, which she drops on the floor, blatantly inviting Mike to come and get it. Mike goes to get it right after hanging up with Jess. Jess did make it clear that she and Mike were “just having fun,” but still, it’s a bit too creepy for comfort.

The team is putting a lot of trust in Caza’s intel. It is quite possible that Armas is using the bus boys impersonating Caza as an excuse to send the FBI to fight the Solanos and take down Caza’s competition. The buses could have nothing to do with the Solanos at all. It is just too easy for Briggs to waltz into Mexico and come out with the name of Mike’s would-be killers. If anyone should know this, it’s the Gracelanders: Never trust a drug lord.

Graceland airs Wednesdays at 10/9 C on USA.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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