Season 2 | Episode 9 | “Gratis” | Aired Aug 13, 2014
The Graceland team is more divided than ever right now. Johnny is getting a little rest and relaxation at Daddy Solano’s massive Mexican drug estate, Mike is inside Sulla’s house trying to monitor the girls, Charlie is still working on the bank robbery, and Briggs is chilling out as an LAPD cop.
Johnny is the only person with solid access to the Solanos. Everyone else is just working peripherally to connect the puzzle pieces. When the house became disjointed in season 1, emotions ran high, but this season everyone is so focused on their missions that they’ve barely noticed that Graceland is falling apart.
After a long drive down to Mexico, all Johnny wants is some quality time with his main squeeze, Lucia, but no such luck. He is greeted instead by an eager Carlito, who is also looking for some private time with Johnny. This sibling love triangle is not going to be easy on Johnny. Luckily, Lucia storms into the room, telling Carlito to leave Johnny alone and let him rest. The second Carlito is gone, Johnny tries to jump Lucia’s bones, but apparently she actually wants him to rest.
At breakfast the next morning, Johnny attempts to impress Carlos Sr. with his impeccable pronunciation of “Buenos dias,” but it’s going to take a little more than that to knock Carlos Solano’s socks off. Mike tips off Johnny that the Solanos may be attempting to move girls by cruise ship. On the pretense of taking a vacation to the coast of Mexico, Johnny casually mentions that he used to go on cruises with his family. This makes Carlos and Carlito very jumpy and prompts some tricky questions about customs.
Lucia is, of course, upset at this turn of events, and takes out Johnny to her Gothic cathedral in the backyard for a chat. Johnny admits that he is not there to work with her father or Carlito, but because he wants to be with her. That might be true in Johnny’s heart, but unfortunately, what he is really interested in is the mission. When Johnny gets back to his palatial guest room, Carlito is creepily waiting in the dark corner with a gun. He is not happy about Johnny talking to his father and may very well blow Johnny’s brains out, but Johnny’s adorable face manages to get him out of yet another bind.
Carlos is questioning Carlito’s cruise ship idea and asks Johnny for his input, offering Johnny the perfect moment to lay out Jakes’ and Paige’s plane plan. After some thought, Carlos decides Johnny’s plan is more feasible than Carlito’s. Unlucky Lucia sees Johnny meeting with her father, which confirms her fears that Johnny is more interested in the business than in her.
The bank heist is still in full swing. While we, along with the rest of the Graceland house, have completely forgotten about Sid Markham, Charlie is still determined to break into those safety deposit boxes. Charlie arrives at Amber’s inner sanctum to find Amber hard at work on the set of Ocean’s 14. Amber is constructing a model bank, because that is the first step in robbing a low-security, small, independent bank, apparently. Charlie is scantily clad yet again, and Amber takes the opportunity to ask what we’ve all been thinking: “Men or women?” Instead of answering the question, Charlie just stares Amber down.
Amber says that their wheel man, Greg, is on his way over to meet Charlie. The southern California bank robbery ring is a pretty close-knit group though, and Charlie knows this Greg from a previous assignment. If Greg sees Charlie, her cover will be compromised, so she calls Briggs to take care of the driver. As Briggs is now the official Graceland lapdog, he jumps at the chance to chase the driver down.
With Greg unavailable, Charlie calls Jakes in to pose as a backup wheel man. Jakes is the perfect candidate for the position, as his bickering with Charlie is exactly the energy Amber is looking for. Back at the house, Charlie is getting ready to brush her teeth when she gets nauseous and runs to the bathroom. There is only one reason to feature vomiting on a television program: Charlie must be pregnant. Feeling overwhelmed, Charlie packs up and heads to Amber’s for the night. Her excuse is that everyone else is deep undercover and she wants to be too, but really it seems like she is avoiding Briggs.
Mike is not having an easy time sleeping in Sulla’s house. Instead of the respite he desperately needs, he is using the night hours to install bugs in the building so the FBI can listen in. Sulla is getting a little stir-crazy too and is not so happy with Mike knocking around his place. Mike’s presence is definitely not enough to stop Sulla from being a disgusting crazy person.
In the day, Mike meets Paige to give her an update, but the only useful information he has is about the cruise lines. There’s still no movement in the house, and Mike has no idea how to get the girls out without taking down Sulla in the process and losing his only connection to the Solanos. Back at Sulla’s house, Mike finds Sulla “sampling the merchandise”—in other words trying to rape Lena. Mike tries to get him out of there and receives a finger to the eye instead.
At this point, the whole thing is too much for Mike. He announces to Sulla that he is taking Lena out now. There are a bunch of guards and Sulla to contend with, but Mike just says, “OK, we’re leaving,” and heads for the door. Sulla abandons his dinner and stabs Lena repeatedly with his steak knife. There is nothing Mike can do as Lena bleeds to death on the dirty floor of this awful place.
Mike jumps on top of Sulla, choking him, but is quickly thrown off by one of the guards. Sulla tells Mike to clean up the mess he made. Mike nearly calls Paige, but hangs up. This is a truth he decides he can’t tell. Instead, he tells Paige that he is getting Lena out and to meet him at an abandoned lot. Before Paige gets there, Mike knocks himself out in an attempt to make it look like Lena escaped. Mike tells Paige that Lena jumped out of the truck and ran away. Paige immediately calls for backup to try to find Lena. Paige asks for Mike’s help, but he says he has to head back to the house. This is a big lie for Mike to hold onto, and it doesn’t bode well for any small chance Paige and Mike had of getting back together.
In secondary plot news, the cassette tape is back! Those kids’ dad finally felt compelled to turn over the Juan/Briggs tape to the police. With that reveal on the table, maybe Briggs will come back into play in a bigger role next week. Despite the still-divided plot lines, “Gratis” was one of the most entertaining episodes of the season. The Johnny/Solano plot is ridiculous, but a pleasure to watch, and things inside Sulla’s house are getting pretty intense. It will be interesting to see the cassette-tape secret play out. Who knows how the house will react when Mike’s secret about Lena is inevitably revealed?
Graceland airs Wednesdays at 10/9C on USA.