Season 2 | Episode 7 | “Los Malos” | Aired July 30, 2014
Graceland fans are used to being confused, but the triple time jump in the beginning of “Los Malos” left us even more perplexed than usual. The time jump followed scruffy-haired, unkempt LAPD gang detective Markham, a character we care nothing about, through his whereabouts during episode 6.
The episode starts with Mike going to see Detective Markham at a diner and letting him know that he should get his affairs in order because Mike is about to ruin his life. First we jump to 72 hours before the diner, which was the time of the bus bust. Markham calls Carlito to tell him the bust is happening, which we already knew.
Jump #2 is to 24 hours before the diner, when Mike let the bus boss man leave the safe house. Bus boss man goes to collect his leftover ziti from the fridge; but it isn’t ziti, it’s cash. As he is stuffing the ziti money into a duffel, Markham comes in and shoots him. Markham’s sidekick then begins the gruesome decapitation process. This pretty much cements Markham as one of the bad guys unless he is a triple agent with extremely loose morals. Gratefully, this is the end of the time-jumping, and we remain in the present day (post-diner) for the remainder of the episode.
To gain more information on Markham, Mike sends Briggs undercover to the LAPD. An FBI agent going under as a police officer is one sneaky move, but Mike is convinced it’s the best way to get to the bottom of Markham’s involvement with Solano. In season 1, Briggs was constantly challenging Mike, but this season, Briggs has turned into Mike’s lap dog. Briggs is doing whatever Mike asks regardless of the consequences, reducing Briggs from a character to a plot device—which is unfortunate since he was once the most complex character on the series.
After a day hanging with the LAPD Gang Task Force and a sneaker drug-dealer takedown, Briggs reports back to Mike that Markham is running perfectly legit ops. Even though Markham murdered the bus boss man and has been chatting with Carlito Solano, he is also a great dad (he reads his son Neil Gaiman) and is good at taking down bad guys.
Mike’s other lead on Markham is to follow his money. Obviously he wouldn’t be working for the Solanos out of the evilness of his heart, so he must be getting something from them. In an overly calculated and confusing plan, Mike slips a counterfeit bill to Markham’s bank in order to start a federal investigation at the bank and avoid having to get a warrant for Markham’s bank records. Mike and Charlie head to the bank and find Markham’s hidden safety deposit boxes. They could be filled with cash, but they could also be filled with signed limited editions of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman. As of now, all Mike has on Markham are locked boxes.
The time-jump opening did not give much insight into Markham’s mental state. With Paige and Johnny both having significant plot lines and Charlie and Briggs being left out of most of the action this season, what Graceland does not need is a new character’s plot to follow. Hopefully Mike will nab Markham soon and eliminate the time suck that is Markham’s plot line.
With Carlos gone after the bus bust, Mike sends Johnny to see if Lucia has any information. Johnny arrives at Carlito’s house and is accosted by two crazy men with guns, which, to be fair, isn’t uncommon at Carlito’s. But as Lucia is dragged into the room with her hands behind her back, Johnny realizes something is wrong. The men are waiting for a gun shipment they were promised. In an effort to appease them, Johnny gives them Carlito’s cocaine out of his safe, marking the second time Johnny has given random people random drugs this season.
The cocaine does not placate the men with guns (duh, Johnny; if you wanted to placate them, you should have given them marijuana). Instead, they are now crazy high and waving guns around. Lucia admits to Johnny that the gun shipment is not coming, but her father’s man, Simone, is on his way from Mexico to fix everything. Simone does indeed eliminate the threat, but unfortunately he is eliminated in the process. Johnny whisks Lucia out of the house before the cops have a chance to discover the three dead bodies.
With the myriad of people after the Solanos, Lucia has nowhere to go, so Johnny takes her to his mom’s house. Johnny’s mom doesn’t know he is an FBI agent, but the uncover vs. life line is definitely beginning to blur. After a nice family dinner, Jakes stops by to drop off some supplies for Johnny.
When Jakes realizes Johnny is helping Lucia, he explicitly states what we have all been thinking: You cannot get involved with an asset. Johnny’s relationship with Lucia is not only putting the operation in jeopardy, but it’s putting his own mother in danger. This is a television program, though, so there is no room for common sense. There is only room for sexy times! When Carlito finds out about this, things are not going to end well for Johnny or Lucia.
Paige is more determined than ever to help the Tinker Bells. With Mike insistent on keeping the house open, all Paige can do is sit outside and worry about the safety of the girls. Mike is still treating the human trafficking as just a piece of a puzzle, which it rationally is; but like Paige says, this isn’t a gun shipment or drugs sitting in a warehouse. It’s human beings.
A couple of days after Mike rescues Paige, a new buyer is brought into the warehouse and comes out with a girl. Paige and Jakes follow them back to the motel and arrest the buyer. Paige gets a little too into the arrest and smashes the guy’s face in pretty bad. Hopefully this doesn’t affect his arrest or Paige’s job too much. It’s a small victory, but one of the girls no longer has to worry about the creepiest people on the planet.
Has Paige even been home since she escaped from the trafficking house? She looks worn out but determined, and we’re starting to get the feeling that she will do anything to get those girls out. The tap on Sulla proves useful when Carlos calls Sulla to tell him to shut down the trafficking warehouse since Carlos doesn’t want another aspect of his business burned by the FBI.
Paige is not happy about the decision, as it only means the treatment of the girls inside is only going to get worse. Mike is busy with the Markham thing, Johnny is busy with Lucia, and Charlie and Briggs seem less than motivated these days, so that leaves Paige (with minimal help from Dale) to stop the human trafficking.
Everyone is discombobulated on Graceland at the moment, and although Mike keeps saying that all of these things connect back to Solano, it seems further and further from the truth. With Johnny mixed up with Lucia and Paige invested in the girls, the undercover portion of this operation is hanging on by a thread.
Graceland airs Wednesdays at 10/9C on USA.