Warning: Spoiler Alert
Mike Warren’s Task-Force made progress in the third episode of this season’s edition of “Graceland,” however it came with great cost, including one member of the house moving on, one member seriously wounded and a third member coming close to getting shot to death. It also featured a lot of frayed tempers and hurt feelings, as some of the housemates personal demons come to the surface. However by the end of the episode, they confirmed they had found the bus-line that Warren had searched in vain for months, the one that smuggles large quantities of heroin from Mexico into the United States.
The episode opens the morning after Jakes learns from his former lover Cassie, that she has decided against the Federal Agent having a relationship with their son Daniel. Jakes has done his best to climb inside a bottle of alcohol, but has had to settle for pouring its contents down his throat. He is back at the house, trying to pour himself another drink when he pushes a bottle off of the cart and it smashes on the floor. After he fills a glass, he mutters to himself and pushes the drink away.
He then heads upstairs and tries to get into his room, only to find that the door’s locked. The agent had moved out to an apartment in the previous episode and the new guy Wayne Zelanski (Deniz Akdeniz) aka “Bates” got his room, but of course Jakes was unaware. He’s banging on the door and yelling, until Johnny comes out into the hall surprised to see him and realizes his friend’s loaded. He explains that since he moved out, Zelanski took over the room, which gets Jakes more frustrated. He yells for the new guy to vacate his room and “Bates” responds that he’s armed and ready.
Johnny asks Jakes if everything went alright with Daniel and the agent head butts Johnny in the nose and screams to him to never utter his name again. Johnny is ready to throw down when Charlie comes out of her room and tries to calm things down, Paige comes out of her room in an effort to keep the two guys from fighting. Briggs shows up next and convinces them to take it downstairs which they do, Paul tells Zelanski all is clear and he walks out of his room carrying a service revolver. Briggs asks Paige why she thinks Mike didn’t join them and she shrugs off the question, as he had spent the night in her room.
Warren joins the group downstairs and Jakes explains that he is going to ask for his transfer to desk-duty be stopped and he wants to remain on his beat and in the house. After a bunch of back and forth discussion, Paige announces that it is Mike’s decision since he heads the Task-Force. Mike decides that since Jakes’ status is in limbo, that Zelanski temporarily gets the room and a permanent decision will come down when everything shakes out. Jakes never hears the ruling as he has passed out in a chair. Briggs and Warren set up three office chairs with wheels in a row and deposit the sleeping Jakes on the chairs.
Mike walks into Charlie’s room and asks how her meet with Carlito Solano the night before and Charlie tells him it never took place. Warren’s shocked and asked what happened and she replies that Johnny has some ideas but that he and Zelanski are out of the house right then. Johnny and Wayne soon enter the house carrying a box and talking about how they don’t want Warren to find out about it, but Mike overhears them and asks what’s in the box. Zelanski tries to lie his way out of it by saying its a backgammon set, then Warren asks Johnny whom he realizes can’t lie.
Johnny opens the box and reveals two antique dueling pistols and tells Mike that he had contacted Carlito’s right-hand man instead of Charlie and found out that Salana is a big fan of antique Mexican pistols. He then tells him and Charlie that he has a meet set up for the next day with Carlito, when he will present the pistols as a gift. Charlie points out a flaw in his plan, the pistols are not from Mexico, but France.
Mike heads downstairs and encounters Paige wearing a very sultry white dress. They have some flirtatious banter and are about to kiss when Briggs walks in the front door, calling Paige by one of her undercover aliases, “The Lady In White.” She is heading to score some cocaine from a dealer they believe works for Salana, known as Li’l Top or Top. Warren tells Paige he wants her to try to buy more than the dealer has on hand, such as a kilo, so they can determine when the shipment arrives by the bus-line. Paige tells Mike that it would scare the dealer off as she always buys just a gram or two. However Mike suggests that Briggs goes with her along with a huge bankroll.
Mike wakes Jakes from his drunken stupor and tells him he has work for him. He has a box of VHS tapes that contain surveillance footage from Cal-Coast bus-lines, the line owned by the Solano family and the line they believe smuggles heroin over the border. He tells Jakes he needs to watch all the tapes and look out for suspicious activity.
Paige and Paul arrive at Top’s house, he’s pleased to see “The Lady In White,” but suspicious of Briggs. Paul tries to win his trust by making up a story that his parents are from the Dominican Republic and although he was born in the States, his family would spend winters in their native land. They come inside the house and start talking with the dealer, Paige then tells Top that Briggs had recently won a pick-five lottery and won an enormous amount of money.
Briggs then asks the dealer if he can buy a kilo from him and Top gets suspicious when Paul pulls out the bankroll. Paige tells the dealer if he has problems they will go elsewhere and grabs for the money, but the dealer pins her hand to the table as he stuck a knife right through it. He then pulls out a pistol and points it at Briggs and asks him what was the name of the lake that his family stayed at in the Dominican. Paul comes up with a satisfactory answer so Top puts down his gun and pulls the blade from Paige’s hand. He tells the pair that he can’t acquire a kilo until Sunday, but he will hold onto their money for safe keeping.
Back at the house Mike is on the phone with his East-Coast squeeze Jess checking in with him on how the case has progressed. Johnny walks into his room, telling Warren he has an idea about the pistols, but Mike tells him he is on the phone and will speak with him later. Second later there’s another knock at the door and he screams to Johnny he is on the phone, only to find Paige standing there with her hand heavily bandaged. He tells Jess he has to go and asks Paige if she is okay, she puts on a brave face but did get a delivery day of Sunday from Top. Mike’s pumped when he hears the information as now they can estimate a time-line for the buses to arrive.
Warren walks into Wayne’s room and sees the new guy is packing his belongings, as he has figured out Mike was going to stay loyal to Jakes. He tells Mike that he is fine with the decision but asks Warren not to tell Johnny until after his meeting with Carlito, as it will be an unneeded distraction .
We head down to a surveillance van that Johnny, Mike and another agent are in. Mike goes over the code word with Johnny if he needs the backup team. He stresses how much he needs Johnny to come through and the other agent becomes defensive, telling Warren that he has watched Briggs talk his way out of trouble enough times that he’ll be fine. Warren then tells Johnny that he isn’t Briggs and Johnny responds in kind.
Johnny’s ushered into the Solano residence by Carlito’s right-hand man, who tells him to stay there as he talks to his boss. Lucia Solano, Carlito’s sister walks into the room and tells Johnny that he can leave his gift for her brother and vacate the premises. Johnny tries to explain what is going on when Carlito’s aide tells Lucia, that he is a guest of Carlito and she walks away. Johnny sits down in a chair across from Carlito and offers his gift which he tells his host are from the Mexican Revolution. However Solano’s far too knowledgeable and tells Johnny that the guns are French made and belonged to Napoleon. That’s when the agent tells his host his concocted story, that the guns were the property of Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon’s brother who attempted to become King of Mexico and gave the guns to the country as a gift, but it failed as Joseph never became King. Whether Carlito believes the tale or is just amused by it, he lets Johnny off the hook.
Johnny then shows his host how to load the pistols and then Carlito challenges him to a duel. The agent tells him he wants no part of it, but Solano responds that he can either shoot Johnny at point-blank range or they can duel. Carlito and Johnny stand back-to-back and Solano tells him eight paces, turn and fire. Carlito cheats and turns around quickly, but Lucia walks into the room and yells at her brother to stop. She then orders everybody else out of the house, leaving Carlito, his aide, Lucia and Johnny. She then chastises her brother for attempting to shoot his friend in their home, when Carlito tells her he does not know Johnny, which upsets her even more and she swears at her brother in Spanish. The aide laughs and Carlito shoots him in the side of the neck.
Johnny rips off his shirt and tries to stem the bleeding using it as a tourniquet, he yells to the Solanos to call an ambulance. Lucia responds that if they call an ambulance it means cops, so she will have one of their van drivers take the wounded man away. Johnny replies that the man can survive but they have to get him to a hospital, even if they just dump him out front. Lucia takes over putting pressure on the wound and tells Johnny to go home. Carlito asks what his name is and then tells him he will call him. A very angry Johnny goes back into the surveillance van and tells Mike that he didn’t blow it.
Back at the house, Paige and Warren ask Jakes if he found anything on the tapes and he asks them if they would like to see the “Tinker Bells.” He then rolls tape of a bunch of different white young women, all wearing the same Tinker Bell backpack an odd choice for women of that age. Paige immediately concludes the girls are drug mules but Jakes disagrees. Mike then tells the pair to head to the Cal-Coast terminal and see if they can find some evidence.
The pair is sitting in the terminal parking lot, when Jakes tries to drink from a nip-bottle, but Paige grabs it out of his hand, she tells him that if he is going to work this surveillance he has to remain sober. Jakes then recalls a Daffy Duck cartoon, as Daffy is lost in the desert ready to collapse from thirst, when he sees an oasis in the distance. The duck runs to it as fast as he could and starts lapping up the water, only to start coughing and spitting out sand as it’s a mirage. He then tells Paige he knows she feels it to, when the conversation stops as Paige spots a young woman wearing the Tinker Bell backpack. She tells Jakes she has to talk to her and he responds that their mission is the bus she came in on not the girl. Paige disgusted told her housemate that the girl was a human being.
Paige goes into the terminal and spots the young woman, telling her she knows that she’s in trouble but that Paige will help her and then pulls her into the women’s restroom. She finds out the young woman is a refugee from the Ukraine and the people she’s working for promised her American citizenship. She then lapses into her native tongue and displays shock when Paige responds in Ukrainian. She finds out the girl swallowed drug filled balloons in Mexico and she’s supposed to travel on another bus to another town. Paige tells her to follow the instructions, and puts a cell phone into the backpack so she can trace the girl.
Paige and Jakes follow the bus that the girl came in on back to their main terminal, then drops off Jakes and goes in search of the girl. Warren arrives a short while later and finds out this is where they store the bus and likely where they unload the contraband. He asks Jakes where Paige is and he mentions the other town in search of a human being.
The final scene has Paige follow the cellphone signal to a parking lot but sees nobody around. She then calls the cellphone and hears it ringing just feet away. It is still inside the backpack, making Tinker Bell glow with each ring, but the backpack is in a trash can.
Graceland can be seen Wednesday nights on the USA Network.