Warning: Spoiler Alert
Many years ago I worked for an older man originally from Germany, who used an interesting analogy in discussing management skills: When there’s hay in the barn, it’s easy to keep the horses happy, but what do you do when the hay runs out? Due to a lack of people skills and an obsessive desire to emerge as the Golden Boy from all the smoke and rubble, FBI agent Mike Warren finds himself dealing with a group of out of sorts steeds, in the eighth episode of the USA Network Original Series “Graceland.” The housemates battling on three different fronts, against the bad guys, themselves and with their inner demons.
The Solano Cartel’s sitting tight on all its operations due to the increased surveillance of the FBI, after the Bureau discovered them smuggling heroin over the border with Mexico, which makes it that much tougher for Warren and the rest of his housemates to bust the family and the variety of illegal businesses under their umbrella. However the FBI agent and his team, hope to put the family and their associates into positions, requiring the self-imposed moratorium to end sooner than planned.
Johnny’s allowed his emotions to overcome his judgment as he’s romantically involved with Lucia Solano, who he has hidden in his mother’s house, while her father and brother Carlito are in Mexico. She’s emphatically against turning to her family, telling the undercover agent that she hates their criminal activities and can’t turn a blind-eye to that any longer. However Warren wants the couple to head to Mexico and Johnny to meet with the father to offer alternative ways for the cartel to ship heroin across the border now that the Bureau have closed down Cal-Coast Bus Lines. When Johnny refuses to pressure into heading to her family, Warren makes Lucia a material witness in the triple-homicide in last week’s episode, forcing them to flee.
Briggs is working undercover for the LAPD Gang Task-Force, as the crew try finding proof that its chief Lieutenant Sid Markham’s been the inside source for Solano. Briggs, under the alias of Paul West has begun bonding with Markham and tells Warren that the detective does everything on the job by the book and quite effectively. Markham and his second in command have decided to cut ties with the cartel and walk away with their winnings.
Paul arouses suspicion however as he walks out of a strategic meeting of the task-force, to answer a cell phone call from a familiar voice. Kelly Badillo, widow of slain FBI Agent Juan Badillo’s attempting suicide and is at the gravesite she has for the agent’s missing body. Briggs jumps into his car attempting to stop her and Markham sends his second in command to follow him. Paul finds Kelly nearly comatose on the gravesite’s grass, with a bottle of whiskey and a bottle of prescription pills. He gets her to stand up, then helps her to the car and drives to the apartment he used last season to use as Odin.
Briggs gets the widow to ingest something to make her vomit up everything. She’s afraid to go to a hospital, as she could lose custody of her daughter as a result of the suicide attempt. As she gets sick in the toilet, there’s a knock on the door, it’s Markham telling him to open the door. Before he does, he coaches Kelly to tell Markham, that he’s a cop from El Paso, named Paul West. The detective comes in and after ascertaining the situation he makes a call and leaves the apartment. Shortly after he leaves, there’s another knock on the door and a doctor introduces himself to Paul as a friend of Markham’s and he’s arrived to care for Kelly.
Charlie’s in charge of separating Markham from his nest egg, as the team’s decided to rob the bank where the detectives safety-deposit boxes holding the cash are held, then arrest the crooks and the money tied up as evidence and unavailable to Markham. She meets with a guy that she and Briggs know from the past named Billy at a bar, so he can introduce her to whom she thinks is a logistics guy. She soon meets a hurricane disguised as a young attractive woman name Amber, who proceeds to rip apart the criminal team Billy’s set-up and then blow Charlie away with her plan to rob the bank.
The safety-deposit boxes are right above ancient sewer tunnels and Amber tells her they can easily dig down to the tunnel from an area nearby, then access the tunnel and follow it to the vault, then break in from underneath. She gives Charlie a package of schematics and diagrams with her number on the back and leaves as quickly as she arrived. A while later Charlie knocks on Amber’s door and suggests that they head up a crew to rob the bank, with each of them receiving 40% and the two others getting just ten percent apiece. Amber tells her she’ll meet her at a bar at 6:00pm with her decision and for Charlie to take a cab.
Paige’s minimal patience with Warren’s decision to keep open the sex-slave operation until they can connect it to the Solano family, has long since evaporated. She however gives Mike an alternative, keep the operation open but have the Bureau requisition $1.5 million to buy all the girls from the operator Sulla.
Warren sets up a meet with him, but Sulla tells him his employers fear of the FBI, prevents him from selling the young women. He then pulls back a hospital curtain and reveals a comatose man lying in a hospital bed, he’s Sulla’s younger brother, now lying in a vegetative state as a result of Sulla upsetting his employer. The brother got beaten with a rifle-butt handle expertly, keeping him alive but brain-dead and he infers that if Warren refuses to back off he could suffer the same fate. Paige’s not satisfied with the explanation when Warren returns to the house, so he reconnects with Sulla and offers to allow him to hold a briefcase with $250 thousand and Mike stays in the facility to protect his clients property.
Charlie meets Amber at the bar and tells her that she’s in on the robbery, but only if it’s just the two of them and a driver for the getaway car. She then tells Charlie that the reason she chose to meet there, was the place had surveillance cameras all around, but none of them are operating. She then gives Charlie a sawed-off shotgun and tells he to go into the bar and bring back the contents of the register and a cheeseburger. The agent walks in the bar like the Terminator, with a bandanna around her face and tells the bartender to open the register with one hand. The customers are a bunch of old bikers and when one attempts to move toward Charlie, she tells him his next step will be her last and then tells the bartender she wants a cheeseburger.
Amber’s waiting with a motorcycle and the two drive off into the night with Amber whooping from joy and excitement. She’s still in that good a mood when she heads into her bedroom, that she shares with Billy, as the two have sex. Charlie now has her partner to rob the bank, another piece of the trap to ensnare the Solanos in place.
Briggs heads back to the precinct to talk with Markham and he assures him that nothing like this will occur in the future. The detective tells him that everyone deserves one mistake, he was given a second chance and made the most of the opportunity. He then tells Paul, that all’s good between them and to head back and check on Kelly.
Badillo’s awake when Paul gets back to the apartment and she tells him that she spoke with her mother and her daughter will stay with her for the rest of the week. She then asks Briggs, what the coaching was about and who Paul really is. She tells him that she knows he at least met her husband and asks if Juan’s truly dead and Briggs responds he is. She asks how he died and Briggs’ stammers and stutters and Kelly socks him in the mouth, telling him to leave and never contact her again. Paul of course feels terrible as Badillo died as a result of a struggle over a gun, when Badillo masqueraded as Jangles in trying to ensnare Briggs last season.
Paul heads back to the house and Charlie asks him how he got the busted lip and he blames it on an incident on his assignment. He then tells her he’s going to shower and asks her to join him in bed when he gets out. As they make love, his mind wanders and suddenly sees Kelly’s face instead of Charlie’s and he gets startled. She asks him if everything’s alright and he lies to her telling her all’s fine.
Graceland can be seen Wednesday nights on the USA Network.