Saturday, June 15, 2013

Graceland 1.02: “Guadalajara Dog”

“I believe there’s evil in the world and I want to fight it. Win.”
- Mike

So, in week two, Mike is still settling in to his new role as an undercover agent. He and Briggs are walking in an outdoor market and Briggs is explaining that Mike needs to figure out who he is now. Keeping things vague is essential because too many questions lead to the possibility of getting burned. They meet up with Johnny for some tacos from Hector’s food truck (apparently a big deal with the guys) but things go south when a kid on a skateboard nabs a bag of chips and punches Hector to get away. Mike, being the good little FBI agent he is, takes off. Johnny runs after him to stop him. Mike is pissed because the field manual is specific about what they should do if they witness violence. Briggs is of the mind that you don’t’ engage because the book wasn’t written for undercover assignments in mind. The next morning, Mike is up at six. He makes his bed, gets dressed and goes for a run. He sees Charlie doing a walk of shame up the beach and she’s not happy that he’s so happy. He gets back to the house to find Briggs making pancakes. Johnny drops off some mail for the house, including a psych eval for Mike after seeing Briggs shoot the two Russians in the pilot. And the Bureau wants Briggs to put Mike on one of his cases. Briggs doesn’t think Mike is ready for any of his cases yet. Briggs heads up to chat with Lauren while Jakes goes out to close a deal on some birds. He gets the birds and some seriously nasty looking bullets after being locked in a truck. Briggs learns that Lauren is being pulled from the Russian case and that Donnie isn’t coming back. There is definitely something else between her and Donnie.

Mike heads off for his psych evaluation but it quickly becomes clear it’s not an eval. The guy he’s talking to, Agent Juan Badillo, is his contact for his investigation into Briggs. Mike still doesn’t quite know why he’s investigating his training agent but Juan tells him to just get in close and see what he can find. Mike gets home and goes to Charlie for advice. I have to say, I think Charlie is one of my favorite characters, next to Johnny. She’s kind of chill but knowledgeable. And she’s quirky. Mike wants to get in on a case with Briggs and Charlie says that he should char Briggs instead of just asking. He tells her about the case he wants in on, a scummy guy named Bello who has his fingers in tons of pies. In exchange for the advice, Mike gets to pretend to be her boyfriend so she can make a delivery to Paige, the other DEA agent in the house. Jakes pops in to the undercover closet as Charlie is getting Mike into a more “confident, cocky” outfit and he shares the news about the bullets. This gives Mike an idea. They head out to the club where Charlie passes off some crushed up birth control pills to Paige. She’s under as some crime guy’s girlfriend and she’s tired of him trying to sleep with her. Apparently giving a guy birth control makes him unable to get it up. Who knew. It works because that night she shows up at Graceland and bemoans the fact that she hates the case but wants to get the guy so badly. Briggs offers to help. He also ends up thinking Mike’s plan to use the bullets to get Briggs noticed by Bello is great. Now Mike just needs to get Jakes to let them borrow the bullets for the day. Mike manages this with the promise of doing two rounds of chores for Jakes. Hey, it works.

Mike is going under as a reservist out of Camp Pendleton with the ammo and Briggs is hoping to convince Bello’s lieutenant, Eddie, to buy the rounds. Johnny is all dressed in Flack gear. I kind of forget sometimes he’s FBI. I guess that’s a good thing with him being undercover and all. Mike and Briggs head to the meet and Eddie’s guys try the gun with the bullets but they don’t hit anything. Mike shows them how it’s done . He really is a good shot. I guess the rubber band thing he’s always flexing works. It earns him and Briggs a tentative deal to sell the rounds to Bello. I have to say though, I think Mike is sometimes too good for being so new at all of this. Johnny was listening in and kind of starting to panic before Mike saved it. I’m not saying it’s terrible but it’s just a little unrealistic.

That night, around the campfire, Johnny is telling a hyped version of Mike taking out the Teddy Bears wearing vests and it looks like things are all cool among the roommies. The next day, Briggs and Mike make the exchange with Eddie for the bullets and then things start to go sideways from Mike’s perspective. There’s no tracker in the crate of bullets and Briggs stops for hot dogs after Eddie leaves. Mike tries to put a call in to Juan but he’s out of the office. Mike gets back to the jeep with the food and Briggs points out that Eddie takes the same route every time he’s trying to avoid being tailed. And almost like clockwork, Eddie’s van pulls up across the street. Mike and Briggs don’t interfere though because the guy Paige is under with has guys show up and take the bullets. Briggs and Mike go buy them back and Paige’s guy goes down. Everybody wins (unless you’re a criminal). It appears that this isn’t the end of Bello which makes sense since it takes months or even years to cultivate an undercover identity in some organizations. Mike has a meet up with Juan and gets a text from Briggs. He says they’re going to meet Bello but they end up in some crappy docks and Briggs pulls his gun on Mike, demanding to know who he’s been talking to. That does not bode well for building trust.

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