Friday, June 21, 2013

Graceland 1.03: "Heat Run"

“Ilina no longer exists. This is life or death now. You choose.”
- Briggs

Episode 3 picks up right where the last episode ended. Mike and Briggs walk into the warehouse and Briggs pulls his gun on Mike, demanding to know who he’s been talking to. Mike says he’s been talking to no one but then Briggs relieves him of his gun. Mike is obviously starting to panic a little until the lights turn on and Bello and his boys appear, guns drawn. Briggs starts feeding the guy a line about how the only new face is Mike and so he must have tipped the other gang off about the ammo exchange. Mike runs with it and gets Bello to believe it wasn’t him and it looks like Eddie is going to take the fall. As Mike and Briggs drive off, Briggs is pretty impressed with Mike’s skills. Mike is still panicking. And he has to continue to lie when Briggs starts to probe about what Mike was really going to say.

That night, Charlie brings out something called Zombie drink which sounds just awful. But they’re celebrating Mike’s latest accomplishment and supposedly it mellows you out, too. The party doesn’t get far because Charlie gets an urgent text from one of her CIs, Whistler. He’s a meth head and she thinks he’s okay. Paige isn’t too fond of him, though. Upstairs, Lauren still isn’t letting Donnie go, even though he’s been reassigned to Miami. She thinks that it’s only the one guy in the Russian mob who wants him dead so if she nails him, then maybe Donnie can come back. Yeah, she’s definitely got more than just partner feelings for this guy. Briggs agrees to help and recruits Johnny and Mike for the op the following morning. Supposedly the Russians are high jacking some stolen cars. Mike meets up with Juan before the op and Juan isn’t too happy with the lack of detail in Mike’s latest report. Mike has a point though. He’s trying to investigate his roommate undercover and he doesn’t know why. Juan explains that Briggs doesn’t make much and they want to know how he lives to see if he’s skimming. I’m guessing that’s not all they’re concerned about with Briggs’ activities.

Charlie heads off to meet Whistler and she finds him in his garage carving a doll house for his niece. He’s visibly jumpy and shaky but he denies being on anything. He tells Charlie that a big drug guy is looking for some product and Whistler can convince him that he and Charlie can hook him up so that the government can take this guy down,. The truck op goes horribly awry however. They spot the truck coming up the road and they’ve got spikes to cut the tires but based on the speed and position of the chasse, it’s clear the truck isn’t carrying anything as heavy as cars. Unfortunately, Laruen, single minded as she is, busts out in her DEA Flak jacket with her badge and gun and stops the truck. Yeah, I’m thinking if you’re trying to catch the Russians, letting them know you’re DEA is not the best way to do that.

Not surprising, Lauren doesn’t listen when Briggs tells her that her cover is done and that she can’t go back to the Russians now because the driver saw her face and her badge. She really just isn’t thinking straight. But she gets in and out with the Russians fast enough not to be spotted by the driver and the find out where they’re keeping the cars. It seems the Russians are going forward with the plan regardless of the fact the FBI and DEA are now trying to stop them.

Johnny, Paige, Jakes and Mike are out at the bar and they’re explaining the finer points of picking up dates while undercover. The key is apparently to pick something they know nothing about so they won’t ask too many questions and find out too much info. Mike tries picking up a woman but his in about being a golfer doesn’t go well because her dad was a golfer. And it turns out she sort of dated Briggs at point (he’s just showed up at the bar). So Mike’s first attempt goes south and Briggs (who has been off meditating) is covering Mike’s tab. This sets off some alarm bells in Mike’s head and he’s going to keep a close eye on his mentor. Meanwhile, Charlie’s bust is going down. Things start going sideways when Whistler starts trying to negotiate a higher price (so he gets a bigger cut). Charlie barely saves it and Jakes and company bust them.

The next day, Charlie goes back to see Whistler and cuts him loose as her CI. His whole trying to up the price thing nearly blew the operation and her bosses can’t have that anymore. She tells him to go to rehab but he’s resistant. Guess he can always spend his $100,000 on more meth. Meanwhile, Lauren comes home with a black eye courtesy of the Russian mob guy (or so she says). Briggs is kind of in big brother mode now and he saddles up with the rest of the gang to hit the warehouse. Lauren tells the guys that there are only 4 men inside but there are way more and Johnny ends up getting cut. But they take the crew down and Briggs has a little convo with the Russian. He’s about to beat the crap out of him when he notices there’s no bruises or broken skin on the guy’s hands as one would expect if you punched someone in the face. So Briggs backs down.

The Graceland gang, minus Lauren, is at the bar chilling and celebrating when Briggs flips out on a guy for trying to hit on Charlie and she tells him to back off. After playing matchmaker with a cute brunette and Mike, Paige drags Briggs home and they have a chat about why the Russian didn’t kill Lauren if he found out she was a fed. They come to the conclusion that they used the lo jacks that had been on the cars on Lauren. Now they’re worried that she’s going to lead them straight back to Graceland. Frankly, my first thought was she somehow punched herself in the eye to convince Briggs to let the operation continue so she could nail the guy. My second thought was the Russians somehow turned her.

It seems at least Mike had a nice night with the cute brunette. They spend some time walking on the beach and something tells me we haven’t seen the last of her. Things go downhill for the rest of the episode, however. Paige drags Mike the beach with the pretense of playing Frisbee. They find a GPS tracker under Lauren’s car. She gets pulled from Graceland and it turns out I was partly right. She had someone hit her so that Briggs would act. He’s pissed about that but he tells that she might get lucky and be reassigned to Miami. Charlie brings Whistler to a house that can be his (and he can work on it and stay clean). All he has to do is call the realtor, pay the fee (aka the $100,000 check). She drives by the next day and sees a different family has bought the house. Mike does a search for the credit card number he got off Briggs’s card the night at the bar and goes to an auto supply store and finds out that Briggs bought the GPS unit. He set up Lauren because she’d nearly burnt the house and he’d do it again to any of the other agents to keep the house safe.

I have to say, I like this show more when it focuses on other people instead of just Mike and Briggs. I really like Charlie and Johnny and Paige is growing on me, too. I’m not that sad to see Lauren go. She was too obsessed with Donnie. I hope that the tension with Briggs and Mike doesn’t too long. If they draw it out all season (even if that is only 13 episodes) it will get kind of boring.

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