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Graceland - Season 2

'Graceland' recap: Taking drugs from strangers

Season 2 | Episode 4 | “Magic Number” | Aired July 9, 2014

You can learn a lot of lessons from Graceland, like: Don’t take Dale’s OJ, and make sure you have a solid backstory before you hit on a girl. But in this episode, Graceland turned the PSA on its head. “Magic Number” was packed with twisty, turny plots, as all Graceland episodes are—but Johnny’s new undercover assignment with Carlito stood out in its absolute insanity. When it comes to Carlito Solano, we ain’t seen nothing yet.

Shooting his friend in the neck and having a duel in his living room was just an average day for Carlito. Somehow all of that wasn’t nearly as far-fetched as this week’s antics. Here’s the beginning of a joke: Two girls are dancing in a bar, a guy purposely spills drinks on them, they call him an asshole and he walks away. The girls continue dancing and the guy sends his cohort over to make nice with them. The cohort offers the girls drugs and they TAKE THEM. Sorry, the joke doesn’t have a punch line. Ladies, men, human beings in general: Please tell me you haven’t taken drugs from a random stranger in a bar.

Yes, these girls are in a trashy club, but at first glance they seem to be fairly intelligent people. They call Carlito an asshole when he spills his drink on them, and when Johnny clumsily attempts to pick them up, the brunette tells Johnny she doesn’t need another jerk in her life. For a second we’re like, “You go, girl! Don’t let the crazy man take you home.” Then Johnny offers them the drugs and they are immediately swayed. Pretty sure that an FBI agent shouldn’t be offering drugs to “innocent” civilians (or anyone). The girls help his cover stay intact and head back to Carlito’s with Carlito and Johnny.

Johnny is enjoying himself with the blonde while Carlito takes the brunette. It’s about to get real Game of Thrones in there when Carlito calls the blonde over to him. The girls are instructed to make out with each other before they’re allowed to have the cocaine lying on Carlito’s bare chest. Johnny makes a move to leave the room, but Carlito isn’t having that and instructs Johnny to sit down.

Johnny looks uncomfortable, but obeys. And finally we cut away and don’t have to be watching this anymore. Please let the Carlito connection be valuable later on, because those were the most cringey five minutes of television Graceland has ever provided. People do horrible things on Graceland all the time, but somehow the way Johnny acted with those girls was the first time the show was sending a blatantly negative message. Was that really the only option? Couldn’t Johnny have persuaded them in a different way? Forgetting the moral implications of the situation, it was also just plain icky.

Graceland - Season 2

Johnny is not the only member of the Graceland household who seems to have completely lost it. Jakes’ drinking has only gotten worse, but with a little help from Briggs he’s able to remain on point. In hope of figuring out what’s happening with bus 118, Mike sends Jakes under to the bus depot as a mechanic. The boss doesn’t want to hire Jakes when he smells alcohol on him, but Briggs lends Jakes a chip from his last AA meeting with Kelly Badillo, and Jakes sweet-talks the formerly alcoholic boss man into hiring him.

The plan is to get into Bay #5 and take apart the 118 bus to find the drugs, but first they need a copy of the boss man’s key card. On the pretense of advise from a fellow alcoholic, Jakes successfully mirrors the key card, revealing how he feels about Cassandra taking Daniel away in the process. It’s another rare moment of true emotion from Jakes, which is nice to see.

Using ICE as a distraction, Mike brings in his team to strip 118. Not surprisingly, there is nothing there. Mike just can’t find any solid evidence to send back to D.C., where Jess has now taken full responsibility for the operation. In his frustration, Mike smashes a dent into the side of the bus; desperate for some catharsis, Jakes does too.

Jakes has put in a hard day’s work and deserves some fun. With Briggs and Charlie (and Paige and Mike) canoodling, he knocks on Johnny’s door. Are we finally going to The Drop? No, it’s Johnny’s turn to clean the toilets that Jakes has been throwing up in all week. A lonely Jakes drives to a bad neighborhood with a six-pack to unwind. He is approached by a woman on the street who is obviously selling herself and, after some hesitation, he invites her to give him some company. So not only do these government agents give drugs to strangers, but they now sleep with prostitutes. Things are getting completely mental in Graceland.

Now on his boss’s good side, Jakes is granted overtime to help get rid of the waste from 118. When Jakes watches the 118 bus come out of the depot, he notices the dents have miraculously disappeared. It’s not the same bus that went in. Jakes walks into the bay to find a bunch of barrels that definitely weren’t on the 118 bus that Mike stripped down. Inside the barrels are Mike’s drugs. Did they come from somewhere other than the 118 bus? Is the boss man or the bus depot involved? It’s all rather confusing, but at least they have the drugs.

Graceland - Season 2

Mistakes are a staple on Graceland, but sometimes they work out on the surface. Charlie is still hell-bent on helping Kelly. When Briggs finds out Kelly hasn’t received Juan’s death benefits from the FBI yet since Juan’s body wasn’t found, Charlie concocts an elaborate plan to get Kelly the money. Charlie finds out about a man with a stable of horses (aka heroine) he needs to offload, and sets up a buy with Briggs. Kelly will be listed on the case as Charlie’s informant and therefore get a 10 percent cut of the profits. Listing Kelly as an informant when she isn’t is a felony, but it doesn’t matter to Charlie. She needs to make things right.

Briggs and Charlie make the buy at $2.3 million so that Kelly will get the exact amount owed to her by the FBI. Easy, except when they arrive at the dealer’s house, he has much more heroine than expected, meaning Kelly would get more money than Juan’s benefits. Briggs quickly tries to get rid of the extra so the FBI team doesn’t find it, but doesn’t quite finish before they bust in.

Charlie forges a letter and attaches the check for $260,000 to send to Kelly. Briggs stops by and Kelly finds the letter in the mail. Kelly should be happy, but getting the check just means that the investigation is closed and Juan is really dead, and she breaks down. Charlie is so happy about the good deed that Briggs doesn’t have the heart to tell Charlie that everything isn’t OK with Kelly. It was a good plan, but all of the subterfuge is undoubtably going to cause issues down the line for Charlie and Briggs.

Graceland - Season 2

In Tinker Bell news, Mike gives Paige permission to knock on some doors in Sylmar. She takes down a brothel with Johnny’s help. The madam (are they still called that?) gives Paige a tidbit of insight into her girls. One of the Eastern European girls came to the brothel for refuge after escaping from an auction, but she was scarred (her captor had abused her), so the madam turned her away. While it’s not enough information to connect the sex trafficking to the Solanos, the testimony does provide Paige with evidence that these girls really are being sold. Mike promises Paige they will get to the bottom of this and find the girls.

With Johnny, Charlie, Briggs, and Jakes all blatantly breaking the law, the line between right and wrong was even more blurred than usual on this episode of Graceland. The team seems to be running rampant, and although they technically accomplished something this week, watching the housemates is starting to feel like waiting for a bomb to go off. Someone, somewhere (D.C., maybe?) is going to eventually realize what’s been going on and call them out on their crap. Hopefully the entire house isn’t caught in the crossfire.

Graceland airs Wednesdays at 10/9C on USA.

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