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Too many characters are welcome on the 'Graceland' season finale

Season 2 | Episode 13 | “Faith” | Aired Sept 10, 2014

The convoluted, nonsensical plot of season 2 of Graceland has finally come to a close, but we are no closer to understanding the point of the second season of this series than we were at episode 1.

In season 1, Graceland was a surfer show with a side of police work. There were drinking, parties, backstabbing, and overall debauchery, but for the most part, the Gracelanders continued to do their job—taking down bad guys.

In season 2, however, the Gracelanders stretched their morals beyond the realm of belief and the series fell apart. The housemates changed from a group of federal agents with some flaws (who ultimately tried to do the right thing) to a group of misguided, selfish criminals.

Even Paige, who advocated all season to stay on the task of helping others and protecting the public, ended her season by making the most selfish decision she could. Despite being packed to the brim with action scenes and plot, “Faith” is not only confusing, but the slowest episode of the season. There were just too many characters and too many unconnected plot lines in season 2 of Graceland for the series to end with any kind of clarity.

The undeniable winner of the season is Johnny. His plot is the only one directly connected to the Solanos, which gives him room to have fun. While the other characters spend half of their screen time trying to convince the audience that what they’re doing is somehow connected to Carlos Solano, Johnny enjoys family dinners and sexy times. With Carlito running into Dale and the suitcases and Lucia stealing the marked bills, however, Johnny’s life is about to get much more complicated.

Graceland - Season 2

Johnny and Lucia are in the crappy Mexican hotel and Johnny is not happy. Lucia stole Sid’s suitcase to help start her new life with Johnny, not knowing that the suitcase contains marked bills and is the only way to arrest Sid. In a fit, Johnny tells Lucia that he is FBI and that they have to go back to the Solano house and put the suitcase back. To her credit, Lucia keeps her word not to tell anyone that Johnny is a fed, and goes back to the house with the money.

While Johnny waits for her in the car, Carlito comes by and asks for a ride to town. Carlito is not his usual flirty self. He is a man with a mission. Carlito tells Johnny that he saw Jakes handling the money and knows Johnny is FBI. Johnny hopelessly attempts to escape with some swerving, but ends up with a gun on his face in the desert. Carlito calls his boys, and after Johnny has been sweating for a long time in the locked car, Carlito’s men show up with Lucia.

Carlito goes back to his disgustingly insane torture methods, which happen to be the only interesting new character development of the season. Johnny is forced to kiss Lucia with a gun pointed at his head, then Lucia is forced to bite Johnny. It’s repulsive and cringey and wrong, but at least it wakes us up. Carlito says he is now in charge and alludes to a kill order, or some way of getting rid of his father that is already in motion. As long as Johnny can convince the FBI that the investigation is ongoing and not make any arrests, Lucia will live. So congrats, Lucia, on surviving the season. We didn’t see that one coming.

Charlie is taken by Amber to a warehouse and, in the finale of season 2, a new character is introduced. Another new character! In the season finale! As Charlie takes in her surroundings, she realizes that Amber isn’t really pissed at her, this random British dude is. Random British Dude does not care that Charlie is pregnant and begins to torture her for information. Amber mentions that he has something to do with money laundering and Briggs later calls him “Jermaine,” but who cares? This is all useless information and serves no purpose to the poor excuse of a central plot.

Graceland - Season 2

Briggs and Sid are on their way to Mexico to pick up their money. Unbeknownst to Briggs, they are having the most awkward car ride ever. Sid knows that Briggs is friends with Mike, so Sid is eyeing Briggs through the rearview mirror with some crazy eyebrow moves. Sid’s plan is unclear as they drive through the dessert, but with the suitcase and Johnny gone, whatever Sid is planning is far more likely to succeed than what Mike has going on.

Mike and his commanding officer (that guy appeared out of nowhere a few episodes ago) are in a combat tent in the desert when Commanding Officer Man receives a call and has to run back to HQ. Apparently there was a bomb threat, and that means you are allowed to leave your field agents to fend for themselves in a gun-ridden drug cartel estate. At the same time that the bomb is called in, Mike gets the call about Charlie being missing.

Mike relays both messages to Briggs, and Briggs immediately steals Sid’s SUV and heads back to Cali to save Charlie. Lucky he does, too, or Sid would undoubtedly have shot him. With the money switch screwed up and Paul headed back to Charlie, Mike does the only thing he can think of: He walks into Carlos Solano’s house without a cover or a plan. It doesn’t matter that Mike doesn’t have a plan, though, because Sid’s plan is already in play. Pretty much everyone in the complex is dead, including Carlos Solano, and those who aren’t dead, Mike takes care of quickly. Mike then finds Sid shot and bleeding in the dining room with Mike’s gun from Graceland next to him.

Here’s where the story gets confusing. OK, it was incredibly confusing before now, so here’s where the story becomes so confusing, you might as well leave it running and go get that ice cream you’ve been craving for the last half-hour, because there is no longer any point in even attempting to follow the plot. Remember when Sid snuck into the Graceland house in episode 12 and took Mike’s gun? Sid’s plan was to kill everyone at the Solano residence with Mike’s gun, then shoot himself to make it look like Mike did it. Instead of running or cutting his losses and continuing to work on the straight and narrow like Jakes suggested, Sid kills his entire team—people he has known for years—and seriously injures himself because he is obsessed with taking down Mike Warren.

Mike is far too dumb to put any trust in the system (the one that signs his paycheck), and figures he’ll run. In a warehouse, bleeding to death, Mike calls Briggs for help. Mike tells Briggs he is planning to run just like Briggs tried with Badillo, but he can’t do it alone. He needs an ID. Briggs is too busy to go himself, so he sends Paige instead.

Graceland - Season 2

Paige comes to visit Mike in his alley with an ID to help him check into the hospital. Paige finally believes that Lena really is alive and well and living in Arizona. After weeks of crazy theorizing, level-headed Jakes, who despite his penchant for booze and prostitutes remains the smartest person on this show, convinces Paige that she is being psycho and should let it go. In the first tender moment they’ve shared in weeks, Paige apologizes to Mike for being wrong.

The moment doesn’t last long though. Mike has lost a lot of blood and isn’t thinking clearly, so when Paige mentions trying to find Lena in Arizona, Mike comments that it’s better Lena’s family believes she is safe, which unintentionally confirms Lena’s death to Paige. Why Paige thinks that Mike had anything to do with the actual murder is a mystery. Paige once thought Mike was the cat’s pajamas, but now she thinks he murdered an innocent girl for no reason.

After watching Mike fall asleep in a pool of his own blood, Paige goes down to LAPD to find Sid. She tells Sid that Mike is in the hospital under the name Mike Richards, which essentially guarantees Mike’s death. Paige doesn’t want to have Mike arrested or let him explain, she wants him dead. Seems a little extreme for a man who is really just trying to help.

In a stream of unbelievable plot turns, this is perhaps the most far-fetched. Paige is supposed to be the selfless one in the house. She’s the person who is trying to uphold the law and protect people … but then she just sends Sid to murder Mike. That is the most selfish thing she could have done in this situation. The revenge fantasies of the Gracelanders are completely dictating their actions, and there is no longer any semblance of the law in Graceland. These are not federal agents anymore; they are selfish criminals trying to make the best of bad situations.

Paul calls a house meeting to figure out how they can help Mike. To everyone’s surprise, Paige storms up the stairs. Briggs follows her and with very little coaxing finds out that Paige sent Sid to kill Mike. Briggs bolts out of the house and heads for the hospital to save Mike. Sid makes it to the hospital first and finds Mike hooked up to a bunch of machines. Mike’s lungs have collapsed, making it that much simpler for Sid to murder him. Mike is wide-eyed as Sid goes on and on about his hatred for Mike and squeezes the life out of him. Briggs dashes through the hospital, but he is too late. When he gets to Mike’s room Sid is gone and Mike is dead.

And that’s it. The end of season 2 of Graceland is the main character dying. To be fair, Mike wasn’t really the main character in season 2, which was a big part of the problem. There was no main character in season 2, making the plot incredibly difficult to follow and ultimately not worth the effort.

Last summer Graceland was an upbeat friend show with the added drama and intrigue of the friends being undercover cops. But this season, it was a plot-heavy mess. We were forced to sit through hours of new characters and unconnected crimes if we wanted even a glimpse of the quirky show Graceland once was.

Without Johnny’s crazy sibling love triangle, this season would be completely unwatchable. Once Carlito took a backseat to his much less insane but no less criminal father, even Johnny’s plotline stalled. Giving the minor characters full plots of their own this season was a bold move, but it didn’t pay off. It was great to see more of Johnny and Jakes, but with the multitude of new characters coming in and no central story to follow, Graceland went from a pleasantly surprising summer hit last year to a complete disaster.

Now that Mike is dead (although Paul could still miraculously bring him back), Graceland probably will be too. Sure, the British dude is still out there, and Johnny has Lucia to worry about. But if the transition from season 1 to season 2 is any indication, even if Graceland does get renewed, those plotlines will be sleeping with the fishes.

Graceland 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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