Graceland: Magic Number

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Episode recaps
Photo Courtesy Of USA Network

Warning: Spoiler Alert

After a one-week hiatus, USA Network summertime hit “Graceland,” returned to the airwaves Wednesday night, with each member of the house involved in individual projects, most relating to trying to take down Cal-Coast Bus-Lines and it’s operators the Solano family, by FBI Agent Mike Warren and his task-force. The agent believes that the family is smuggling heroin from Mexico via the buses and has convinced Bureau Headquarters to assign his housemates as the task-force that will prove his theory correct.

The dynamic in the house has changed dramatically in the second season, as Warren has evolved from an agent sent to California, fresh out of the academy. Last season he was the Eagle Scout younger brother of the group, watching out for his team and empathetic to each member of the house’s problems. However the rookie achieved rock-star-status with Bureau Headquarters for his part in killing serial-killer/Mexican Federale Jangles and got his ticket punched to head to his dream assignment, working in the upper-echelon of Headquarters.

Although we saw signs throughout the first three episodes of the current season, any thoughts that Warren’s still everyone’s pal “Mikey,” vanished in this installment, as he is through with diplomacy and will be as blunt as he has to, no matter who’s offended. We have witnessed him treating Johnny callously at times and this time Jakes would feel the lion’s share of his dissatisfaction. Dale’s dealing badly with the no-contact order imposed on him by his son’s mother and once gain fed his demons with vast quantities of alcohol. The problem however, was Jakes scheduled interview the following morning with Cal-Coast for a mechanic position to get an agent inside the company.

Warren blew up at his housemate when he saw his condition and told Briggs to get him in the shower to sober him up. Paul also suggested that he travel with the pair to Cal-Coast and play the buffer. Warren’s worst fears appear to becoming reality as the supervisor, a recovering alcoholic picks up immediately that Dale’s coming off a bender.

He sends him away due to lack of reliability and it looks like the plan failed. However when Jakes gets to the parking lot, Briggs hands him a six-month sobriety pin from Alcoholics Anonymous. Dale walks back in, shows the man the pin and told him he’s getting his act together, but needs structure in his life. After telling the supervisor he had one bad night, the man decides to bring him on board.

The reason Paul had that sobriety pin was from going to meetings with Kelly Badillo, widow of slain FBI agent Juan Badillo, whom Briggs accidentally killed in a scuffle as Badillo was pretending he was Jangles to try to prove that Briggs and the Federale were allies and pulled a gun and in the ensuing struggle went off killing the agent. Although the Bureau cleared Briggs of any wrongdoing as they believed Jangles killed Badillo, he’s struggling with the guilt as is Charlie, who had worked with Jangles as a Federale and blames herself for Badillo’s death.

Kelly tells Paul after the meeting that she’s financially struggling due to the Bureau refusing to pay off Juan’s death benefits as his body’s still missing. The pair exchange their disdain  of the situation, but Kelly realizes she has no recourse. When Biggs gets back to the house he shares the news with Charlie who’s now more distraught than ever.

Paige has convinced Warren that the Ukrainian girl, used as a drug-mule to smuggle drugs over the border was kidnapped by the ones who arranged her passage into America to sell into prostitution. Mike asks her if she believes the Solano family is behind the operation and she responds that she does. He assigns her a SWAT team and Johnny to head to the town where the girl disappeared. Johnny goes into an “Asian Massage Parlor,” and after arranging a deal, the place’s busted by the SWAT team. Paige talks to the madam of the parlor and explains she’s not interested in her operation but instead about any knowledge of the “Tinkerbell Girls.” The madam responds she wants to “lawyer up,” and brought to the local police station.

When they arrive, Paige questions the woman again and tells her because of her frequent contact with mainland China, Homeland Security will not allow her a lawyer as she’s a possible terrorist threat. The woman’s explanation that the calls were to the nurse taking care of her elderly parents, receives no sympathy from Paige, pressing for details about the girls. After being assured of anonymity, she talks about a girl who came to her parlor about a year before, who said she escaped sexual slavery. The girl’s face was severely scarred on one side, so the woman told her she couldn’t use her, but that’s all she knows.

Jakes and the supervisor at Cal-Coast start building a bond between them and Dale volunteers for any overtime that comes around. The supervisor tells him he will put him on the list and walks towards one of the bus bays. It’s the only bay that’s door’s shut and the man opens it with a magnetic swipe-card and out rolls bus number 118, the vehicle the task-force thinks is smuggling heroin from Mexico. Dale lets Mike know the info and Warren asks him to get close enough to the supervisor to copy his swipe-card and he will set up a team to disassemble the vehicle in 20-minutes.

Charlie tells Briggs she knows how to get the Bureau to pay Kelly the money she’s owed at her cover at the tattoo parlor. A guy she inked up that afternoon told her that he was sitting on $2.3 million in heroin and looking for a buyer. If they bust the guy and give Kelly credit as the informant, she’ll receive a ten percent reward, exactly the amount she’s due on her husband’s death benefits. Paul tells Charlie it’s far too dangerous, but she replies he’s not involved. He responds that he won’t allow her to go it alone and they should sleep on it.

Johnny’s out with new friend Carlito Solano at a club that he has a private booth at, Solano walks through like royalty even causing a girl to spill a drink on herself, because he can. When they reach the booth, Solano tells the employees to take good care of Johnny and then puts two tabs of ecstasy in the agent’s hand. Johnny faked swallowed while stashing the pills in his pocket. Later when Johnny uses the facilities and heads back to the booth Solano won’t let him back until he’s earned the privilege. He then tells the agent to bring the girl who spilled her drink, back to the booth. Johnny chats up the pair but they refuse until he gives them each one hit of the ecstasy.

Jakes walks into the supervisor’s office and asks about how important goals are to maintaining sobriety and the man attempts to get Jakes to open up to him. Dale tells him that his goal’s reuniting with his son and the supervisor says that will help him achieve long-term sobriety, then pulls out his wallet, hands it to Jakes showing him the picture of a girl. She was his niece, killed in a drunken crash he caused on St. Patrick’s Day, he went to prison and cleaned up his life for the last 16-years. While Dale holds the wallet he copies the card that opens the bus bay door.

Briggs agrees to help Charlie with the bust and they head to the source’s girlfriend’s house with a SWAT Team at the ready. Paul and the guy are cool with each other and get down to business. Paul’s ready to make the deal sending the team into the house when Charlie asks to talk to him; she notices a lot more bricks of heroin and if the team comes in then, Kelly will get far more money than the policy is for.

Briggs tells the guy he needs to take a taste before he buys and Charlie and the guy go to another room to count the money. Paul starts slicing the bricks and flushes them down the sink, but it’s too slow so he chooses the washing machine instead. When he turns it on the source gets suspicious and gets up to investigate and Charlie knocks him cold smashing a bottle over his head. The girlfriend sunbathing in the front yard comes in gripping a pistol and demanding an explanation. The SWAT Team enter at that moment, eliminating the need for the explanation.

Carlito, Johnny and the two girls are back at Carlito’s place each making out with one of the women. Solano pulls out some cocaine and pours it on his chest, telling the other girl to come to him. As the girls start to snort it off his chest he insists they kiss each other first, which they do and then start fondling Solano. Johnny starts to get up from his chair but Carlito orders him to stay seated and watch.

Immigration and Custom agents head to Cal-Coast the next morning demanding that nobody moves until they see proof of identity from all employees. It’s in fact a diversion for Mike, Jakes and the team to tear apart the bus, all the agents are wearing coveralls including Warren who’s just supervising. They come up empty-handed and Warren snaps, whacking the bus with a tire iron, as the crew reassembles the bus.

Briggs drops by Kelly’s to see how she’s doing and while they talk she shuffles through the mail and then suddenly stops looking shocked. Paul asks what’s wrong and she tells him one of the letters is from the Bureau and she’s afraid to open it, but Briggs convinces her to. She sees the check along with the letter Charlie forged stating that this closes the case. Kelly then breaks into tears when she realizes this confirms her husband died, she’s inconsolable and weeps into Briggs chest while he hugs her. When he gets back to the house, he fibs to Charlie saying that Kelly’s overjoyed and Charlie fixed everything.

Jakes request for overtime payoff as his supervisor substitutes him for an employee that’s out sick. He brings him over to the closed bay, swipes the card and opens the door and bus number 118 drives out of the bay and onto the road. He then tells Dale that his job is to put barrels of waste on a rig in the bay. When the supervisor leaves Jakes pulls off the lid and along with the waste he sees multiple bags of heroin, he’s found the stash.

Graceland can be seen Wednesday nights on the USA Network.

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