This week’s installment of Graceland, “Bon Voyage,” opens with Charlie (Vanessa Ferlito) meeting Amber (Brit Morgan) to discuss the next steps of their joint mission. It is palpable that the once nemeses have now grown closer. In fact, they talk more like friends than like handler and informant, which, I might add, was lovely to watch. The dynamic works so well that when Amber pleads her case to Charlie to stay out of jail and make her informant gig a permanent one. One can’t help but smile and be on board. Sadly, Charlie explains that she has to send the former criminal back to incarceration, which she does in the most considerate of ways: by revealing to her that she sold out her mafioso father, who is now serving a 25 to life sentence, to the FBI to save him from being killed. The scene had the perfect balance of sweetness and seriousness.
At Graceland, Paige (Serinda Swan) and Briggs (Daniel Sunjate) discuss the Sarkissians potential takedown. Both agents know that Paul’s life is on the line, while Paige’s leverage with Toros will run out soon, unless she becomes intimate with him. Since they both appreciate their pulse and current sleeping arrangements, Paige suggests to execute a bust and take everyone down at once, which makes complete sense. The only problem is that they need Johnny (Manny Montana) and Dale Jakes (Brandon Jay McLaren) to help them, and both of them have already walked out of Briggs’s mission. However, Paige proves to be persuasive enough.
Once Johnny and DJ agree to help, Paul meets with Ari (Rhys Coiro) and Toros (Val Lauren), who hold him hostage. In spite of his precarious situation, Briggs is convincing with his story about having a buyer (Johnny boy), and the men take the bait. Later on, a heavily tattooed Johnny meets with them asking to purchase heavy artillery, and after a tense confrontation, a deal is made. It’s a good plan, yet it worked out a little too well. With Briggs’s front of the plan covered, now the only problem that remains is Paige, who will have to turn off Toros. In a hilarious turn, Johnny and Jakes suggest that Paige adds layers to her undercover persona, one of them being that she has multiple romantic partners. To sell it, Jakes takes one for the team and gives Miss DEA a hickey. It works like a charm; Toros is very put off by Paige’s allegedly promiscuous tendencies.
Meanwhile, in Florida, Amber and Chuck have closed their Oxy deal. However, Rodney, who Charlie told the cover story of Jakes not wanting so many people in on the transaction, is not pleased with the prospect of Amber leaving.
In the meantime, Mike (Aaron Tveit) has bonded with Maddison, who, as it seems, gets her bras at the same place where Paige does. The two have shacked up in her room, discussed her past as a model, the accident that cost her her leg, AND Mike’s missions, all of that in the midst of their Oxy-fest, which ends when the FBI agent realizes how long he has been MIA. When he returns to Graceland, his roommates are holding an intervention for him, which goes as terribly wrong as it could have. Defensive, Agent Warren first denies his drug problem, then he turns against everyone in the house and calls them out for their own mistakes. Mike is smart and hits where it hurts, especially when he brings up Briggs’ addiction, Paige’s involvement with his near-death experience, and Charlie’s pregnancy. As a side note, the fact that Paige was the one delivering the line “We love you” was a brilliant touch, and Mike threatening her to tell the truth about what she did, and flat out admitting that he blames her was necessary. This is the sort of blow up I have been expecting since the season kicked off. It was well worth the wait.
Later on, Charlie tries to calm Mike down; she tells him that she is still pregnant and implores he doesn’t leave Graceland. Mike FINALLY admits that he is in pain and not ready to quit Oxy. Both Vanessa Ferlito and Aaron Tveit nail the scene and excel at showing their characters’ vulnerability.
Back in Miami, Amber and Charlie have a campfire with Rodney and the swamp guys. Upset about Amber leaving, Rodney spiked Charlie’s drink and renders her unable to even stand. He plans to shoot her but Amber and Team Swamp stop him. However, while Amber suggests to take the FBI agent to a hospital, Team Swamp decide to throw Charlie into the swamp. The scene where she is discarded into the muddy waters is both heartbreaking and beautifully shot. Charlie hallucinates with her and Briggs’ child holding her hand, then letting go, as Amber rescues her. Albeit excruciating, it was an effective and poetic way to hint at her pregnancy ending. Later on, Charlie mourns a loss that she simply feels and blames herself for being on the field. Amber comforts her. Again, I loved thoroughly the interaction between the two women and I cannot stress enough how much of an MVP Vanessa Ferlito was in this episode. She has always been great, but this time around, her acting was exploited to the fullest. I hope to see more of that in upcoming episodes.
Back in Cali, Jakes is in charge of the tac team, while Paul and Johnny are ready to go through with their mission and take the Sarkissians and Co. The problem is they are set up. Someone called the cops on them, and as a result, there is a standoff where multiple agents and police officers yell their ranks and agency of precedence to each other. Now Paul is back to square one, while Paige is still under, and Toros and Ari seem very likely to get away with everything. To make matters worse, when Briggs decides to walk his frustration off, he is approached by a car, which Toros and Ari are in. They tell him to join them and he does. Everything about that scene raised a red flag.
Speaking of the color red, Mike decides to have a one-guy intervention and tells Maddison that they both need to stop using. She agrees for a hot second and then offers him one more pill, the sight of Oxy is enough to make Agent Blue Eyes decide to stay a junkie.
“Bon Voyage” was, without any shred of doubt, my favorite episode this season so far. Not only did every agent have something to do that was relevant, but also, the teams efforts, from Briggs’s plan to executing a hickey, were well done. Mike’s storyline is still worrisome and, in my opinion, a bit dull, especially considering that there is sarin gas somewhere in the proximity (!!). However, the intervention bit added to Mike’s arc. At the risk of sounding redundant, Charlie’s portion of the episode is what took the cake. The stakes were high, she paid a terrible price, and, in the end, Amber showed who she truly is, and that she is that way because of Charlie as well. If this installment is any indication of what the rest of the season has in store, Graceland fans, myself included, are in for a treat. However, “Bon Voyage” has set the bar pretty high.
[Photo via USA Network]