Season 2 | Episode 10 | “The Head of the Pig” | Aired Aug 20, 2014
As Graceland moves into the final episodes of the season, it is starting to pick up its rhythm, just as it did in the second half of season 1. This season has been so plot-heavy that some of the humanity that made Graceland great in season 1 has been pushed aside, but in “The Head of the Pig” and last week’s episode, “Gratis,” we are getting sucked back into the emotion of the show. Johnny’s paid vacation to Mexico offers a respite from the discombobulated nonsense happening in California. With Charlie knocked up the house really needs to come together as a family again.
Johnny brings Jakes down to Mexico to help with the plane-drop demonstration. Carlito immediately makes a racist comment to his father about working with Jakes, so we can add that to the many reasons why Carlito Solano is a truly horrible human being. Unfortunately the plane demo ends with the flour, which they are using to simulate drugs, floating into the wind. Carlos is not happy that Johnny wasted his time, and goes back to Carlito’s cruise ship idea.
Back in Sylmar, Paige is dropping off some chicken for Mike and tells him that Mexico didn’t go so well. She is again adamant about shutting down the house, but without the planes, Sulla is literally their only connection to Solano, and Mike refuses to let that go. Paige suspects Mike isn’t telling the truth about Lena, so she goes behind Mike’s back and seeks out help from Briggs. The plan is easy: Paige saunters into Briggs’ LAPD office, and her va-va-voomness is enough to get Markham’s attention.
Markham wants to know what Paige, who is posing as FBI, was doing with Briggs—so Briggs tells Markham that Paige needed surveillance equipment, and that he heard her talking on the phone about the Solanos. Markham’s crazy mixed-up role with the Solanos is still unclear, but he is definitely in deep. Having feds poking around a Solano business is not what Markham wants. Markham asks Briggs to find out more about the FBI’s involvement.
Briggs goes away and twiddles his thumbs for a bit, then comes back with a story about Sulla and the girls and how the sex trafficking was set up by Carlito. Carlito is about to carve the pig’s head at Johnny’s farewell dinner when Markham calls Carlos to tell him the situation. Carlos is very surprised by the news; apparently the Sulla house is not Carlos Sr.–approved. As Johnny, Lucia and the Solano posse eat their meal, Carlos beats Carlito to a pulp. It doesn’t matter that Carlito is his son; Carlos does not stand for betrayal. Let’s hope Johnny can make it out of there with his FBI head in tact.
With Carlito out of the picture, Carlos gives Johnny a second chance on the planes. Jakes maneuvers his formula and, after Johnny has a sentimental conversation with each of the Solano children, they head out to the wilderness to attempt another drop. The addition of a raft to the device works, and Carlos is satisfied with the product. He tells Johnny and Jakes to head back north and set it up. Johnny makes a plea to stay, but Carlos wants him out of Mexico. Lucia is not going to be happy about Johnny breaking his promise to come back for her.
In a moment of television magic timing, just as Markham and the LAPD are about to take down Sulla, Mike gets a call from Johnny with a Mexico update. Paige and Briggs had maneuvered the Sulla takedown operation so that Mike would be safe and out of the house, but the call from Johnny sends Mike right back inside. He needs to get Sulla out in order to question him. The LAPD storm the house and start shooting pretty much everyone in sight. Paige and her team are a little behind and see the girls running out of the house. Paige is able to calm them down and send them to medics.
Inside Sulla’s house, it’s a blood bath. If you move and don’t have blond hair and a white tank top, you die. Some of the victims pose a legitimate threat to the heavily armed police; some don’t. Since Briggs told Markham that Sulla and Carlito have a cop involved with the sex trafficking operation, Markham needs to completely clean house. Mike is able to get Sulla to a room with roof access and is about to escape when Markham walks in and shoots Sulla. Markham stares down Mike and looks like he’s going to shoot Mike too, despite the fact that Markham knows Mike is FBI. Luckily, Paige walks in and saves Mike’s behind. As Paige does a final sweep of the house, she finds the incinerator where Mike got rid of Lena’s body, all but confirming her suspicions that Lena didn’t escape—she was killed.
The follow-up interviews about the Sulla takedown are a pack of lies. Markham and his team tell the detectives that every kill was 100 percent necessary. Mike tries to plead his case that Markham is working with the Solanos and was sent to kill everyone in that house, not to arrest them, but the detective isn’t buying it. With Sulla dead, everything lies on Johnny and the planes and Charlie busting Markham’s safe-deposit boxes.
Charlie, oh dear, sweet, pregnant Charlie, is having some issues with the bank-robbing business. She is exploding the safe-deposit boxes with a little too much pizzazz, and Amber is starting to get annoyed at the amount of monopoly money Charlie is wasting. Charlie and Amber get into an argument, but it’s not really about the bank; it’s about Charlie’s unresolved baby feels.
To clear her head, Charlie heads back to Graceland, takes a pregnancy test (it’s positive, no surprise there) and hops into the luxurious rain shower. Briggs walks in; seeing the positive test, he immediately wraps Charlie into his arms. For a few minutes, it looks like these crazy kids might actually make a Graceland baby work.
After Briggs helps bust the Sulla house, he heads back to Graceland and finds Charlie making sauce. This isn’t the sauce night of season 1. There is no storytelling and no bickering about who has to do the dishes. The season 2 sauce is about Charlie trying to remind the house that they are family. With Johnny and Jakes coming back from Mexico and Mike out of Sulla’s house, it’s the perfect time for sauce.
Briggs tells Charlie that he wants to have the baby. She smiles and asks him to help cut the peppers. Three seconds of bliss—then Briggs gets a call from a blocked number. He thinks it’s Markham finally letting him into the inner sanctum, but it’s not. It is the tape recording of Briggs killing Juan Badillo. BAM!
As Aaron Tveit said in our interview with him, the tape is about to come back into play in a big way. Just when the house looks to be calming down for a minute and the Solano puzzle pieces start falling into place, the truth about Juan and Paul is going to cause serious issues for everyone on Graceland. Charlie and Briggs’ relationship is definitely in for a bumpy ride, as is Briggs’ standing with the FBI. That phone call is the kind of cliff hanger you yearn for—and also never want to see again. It is going to be a long wait until episode 11 of Graceland airs.
Graceland airs Wednesdays at 10/9C on USA.