Secrets and betrayals shattered the team last season, and in Graceland Season 3 Episode 1 they face the consequences for their actions.
The team learns putting the broken pieces together again is not as simple as a puzzle. Real atonement requires sacrifice and, for some, risking their lives.
The finale left so many hanging threads it was difficult to know where things would begin. The simple answer? Right where they left off. The season opens at a funeral with the clear implication Briggs is trading threats with Sid Markham over Mike Warren's grave.
Graceland's pickup was uncertain last year (unbelievable, I know), and Mike's death could easily be a series finale. Now that Graceland Season 3 is under way the logical question is...can Graceland exist without Mike Warren?
Absolutely not! I cheered when Mike rolled out from the MRI machine. Graceland just isn't Graceland without Mike Warren and Aaron Tveit. I am thrilled the writers agree.
More importantly, they are not shying away from the consequences of Mike's near death experience. While defibrillators explain his survival, Mike's journal is filled with erratic sketches; meaning a darker psychological impact lingers.
Even more concerning is Warren's dependence on narcotics. Did you see the look Briggs gave him? I sure did. Gulp. If there's one thing Paul Briggs understands, it's addiction. If he's worried, we should be too.
Speaking of Briggs, the noose around his neck, otherwise known as the Juan Badillo murder, finally tightened. The infamous tape found its way into the Bureau's hands, specifically Special Agent In Charge, Shawn Logan.
I admire Paul Briggs' survival instinct. He does the math and decides infiltrating an Armenian mob is preferable over prison. Personally, I think it's six of one, half dozen of the other, but Logan's grip on the Badillo noose is tight. Briggs is certainly the beggar in this scenario, so I found it almost magnanimous Logan gave him a choice. That is until I met Ari Adamain.
Graceland constructs some spectacularly evil bad guys so our team's sins appear lesser in comparison. Sid puts a hit on Paige and nearly chokes her to death. Carlito continues his sickening psychological torture on Johnny and, I'm pretty sure, physical torture on his sister Lucia. What is up with her dress? If it's meant to be reminiscent of a creepy antique doll collection, congratulations Carlito. Mission accomplished.
Tonight, the rookie villain stole the show. Ari Adamain kidnaps a man and harvests his kidneys. Considering Ari knew about the FBI transport, one can infer he simply wants to harvest the kidneys himself. It skyrockets the creep factor to serial killer level.
After waking up in a pool of blood next to a dead body minus two kidneys, Briggs quickly deduces Ari is a straight up psycho. Right there with ya buddy. Sufficiently freaked over the kidney, let's just call it an incident, and furious over the lack of back up, Briggs confronts Logan.
Badillo's death was an accident, but Briggs covered it up. His punishment is to be the FBI's fall guy for the Sarkissian case. His career will be destroyed, but he'll avoid jail. If he makes it out alive. Nobody said atonement is easy. Briggs isn't walking away, though, and his desire to atone is commendable.
Paige also seeks atonement for betraying Mike and nearly getting him killed. However, Paige is less concerned about survival than Briggs.
Of all the storylines last year, I had the most difficulty with Paige's. Yes, covering up Lena's death was wrong, but did Mike deserve to die for it? No. Revealing Mike's location to Sid seemed like a gross overreaction.
Paige agrees and is hell bent on making amends. Even if the cost is her life. The only person on the team to pick up on Paige's suicidal plan is Mike.
Hey, I get it but I can't let you do this.Mike
No matter what transpired between them, they do know one another.
You have to stop trying to save me!Paige
Deep down, Paige isn't angry Mike blew the operation.
I'm sorry and I forgive you.Mike
She's angry because he forgives her. Forgiveness is her salvation, but she rejects Mike's offer. She cannot conceive of it. It sets the stage for their emotional gauntlet this year. Mike's mercy may seem implausible, but forgiveness is given because it's needed...not deserved.
Every time we go under guys we are holding hands with the devil. Thankfully, there's always five people pulling the other way.Paul
Penance and atonement won't add up to much without change. Briggs sets an example and discusses the Sarkissian case honestly. Rather than keeping secrets, Briggs leans on the team. The only way they'll survive the moral ambiguity of their jobs is if they help one another toe the line between right and wrong.
At the end of the day it's just walls. What gives it its value are the people inside. That's us.Paul
The team cleans up the house together, but they are equally focused on cleaning up their souls. It is a surprisingly hopeful conclusion for Graceland.
Right up until Johnny leaves the house to pick up Sid, a fugitive on the run. Johnny's reasons for helping Sid must have something to do with saving Lucia. It's the only thing that makes sense.
Still, more secrets, lies and betrayals. You can watch Graceland online and discover how some things never change.