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Home TV REVIEW: Graceland’s “Gratis” Shows Mike Sinking to New Lows

TV REVIEW: Graceland’s “Gratis” Shows Mike Sinking to New Lows

BY Lisa Casas

Published 7 years ago

Last week the wheels were set in motion for a whole bunch of stuff to go down and go down it did. In “Gratis” Johnny and Lucia traveled south of the border to meet with Papa Solano, Mike tried to make good on his purchase of the girls being sold as sex slaves, Charlie continued to bond with bank robber Amber who had her Jennifer Beals moment (think welding), and the pesky Briggs-incriminating tape made a guest appearance. Our Gracelandians also continued to make bad decisions while still looking good… a basic tenet of the series.


A Game of Keep Away

Graceland’s latest offering opens with Johnny and Solano sister, Lucia, making it to the Solano Mexican pad. Baby gangster is more than enthused to see his little spit swapping compadre show up. “How was I supposed to sleep when I knew you were coming.” He leads him to a bedroom ready to make good use of that bed. Johnny plays keep away with Lucia barging in the for the save.


Mike Loses His Mind

Mike’s still rooming at the compound with the young girls who will be sex traded. A new shipment of girls is arriving any day, then Mike can take his purchased items. He meets up with Paige to give her the news that Carlito re-opened the girl pipeline and it has something to do with cruise ships. It’s more than frosty with these two. Paige doesn’t buy the “I want this over as much as you do” line. Mike is saying all the right words, but actions speak louder and every act of Mike Warren points to his lust for Solano blood as being a top priority.

Sex trafficker Sulla wants to sample the goods, namely Lena, Paige’s pet Tinker Bell project. Mike says hands off and Sulla punches him in the eye. Later, Mike is ready to head out with Lena in tow. Sulla says Lena’s not for sale “You arrogant little prick.” Mike leaves anyway with Sulla freaking out, stabbing Lena over and over before she can escape. She dies in Mike’s arms, sending Warren into a rage, choking Sulla. The bad guy’s thugs stop him and let him live because of the million dollar purchase order he’s put in for the girls.

Pictured: (l-r) Jamie Gray Hyder as Lucia, Manny Montana as Johnny Tuturro -- (Photo by: Jeff Daly/USA Network)

Pictured: (l-r) Jamie Gray Hyder as Lucia, Manny Montana as Johnny Tuturro — (Photo by: Jeff Daly/USA Network)

Mike calls Paige saying he’s leaving with Lena in the trunk… alive. He pulls off the road and, in the most bizarre scene of the night, hits himself in the head with a tire iron. When Paige arrives, he says Lena overpowered him and “escaped.” Every ridiculous thing Mike’s done in the past has now been trumped by this bonehead, I mean tire-iron-head move. You really think Paige is going to believe this? Say goodbye to the blonde one now, Mr. Warren. You just cashed in all your chips.

Mike has apparently gone completely crazy (remember the tire iron). He takes Lena’s sheet-covered body to an incinerator. Meanwhile, a Dad drops off the long and not lost enough Juan-Badillo-being-killed tape to a detective at the police station. While we hear the Badillo/Briggs tape roll, we see Warren roll Tinker Bell’s body into the chute. The shot is a thing of beauty… It’s from overhead and as Lena’s body slides forward, the camera slides forward to another overhead shot of a young detective listening to the Badillo tape. What an effective way to show Mike’s parallel descent to the level of Paul’s shaky morals.

The tape-holding cop calls someone asking the mystery person if the names Paul Briggs and Juan Badillo mean anything to him. He plays the tape. You knew this thing was going to rise up out of the ashes like a Phoenix. it’ll be interesting to see where it all leads and if Briggs will get the comeuppance he deserves but we don’t want to see happen.


Johnny’s Movin’ on Up

Johnny meets Papa Solano who wants him gone. Both Carlito and Lucia defend him saying they need to protect him. Johnny turns the conversation to cruise ships and brags that his family took a bunch of cruises when he was young. Carlos takes a liking to JT now, seeing an in with the possibility of cruise ships transporting young girls or drugs or something illegal.

Lucia takes Johnny to the church on the Solano estate. Doesn’t everyone have a church on their estate? She says she doesn’t believe anymore. “One day I looked around and thought if I made it to heaven, I wouldn’t know anyone there.” “You’d know me,” says Johnny. Oh, these two. Drug lord daddy and hot for Johnny brother… can you say doomed?

Johnny heads back to his room and Carlito is waiting in the dark. Johnny says we can’t when your father is so close and Baby Solano is furious. Not about the Lucia love fest but because Johnny moved in on Dad with the cruise knowledge. He pulls a gun and shoves it in Johnny’s neck. Carlito leaves without making JT consummate the deal.

Later, Carlos meets with Johnny wondering which Solano kid he’s interested in. JT says neither; he just wants to do business with the older man. Papa warns him to keep his distance from his son.

Carlito is back in Johnny’s room again and says come with me. They go to Papa Solano’s office where Johnny argues they don’t need Carlito; he can do the job better than him. Choose me.


Pictured: Manny Montana as Johnny Tuturro -- (Photo by: Jeff Daly/USA Network)

Pictured: Manny Montana as Johnny Tuturro — (Photo by: Jeff Daly/USA Network)

Charlie and Amber Bond over Banks

Charlie continues to bond with her bank robbing gal pal, Amber who’s welding the frame of a vault. The two share stories of Dads being in jail. “Men or women?” Amber asks Charlie cutting to the chase. She does an about face and acts like she’s not interested, saying she’s just worried that their hottie wheelman, Greg, might be a distraction.

Charlie calls Briggs. They’ve got a big uh oh. She knows Greg and he’ll make her at the bank heist. Paul says he’ll take care of it. He runs into Greg on the streets and after an exciting chase, the hot driver is out. Charlie says she’s got a guy to fill in for missing wheel guy. It’s the equally gorgeous Dale Jakes. He talks cars, speed, getaways, and the cool vault Amber’s welding. Charlie rattles off that his last job was “Driving Miss Daisy” and Jakes pulls the race card. They argue like brother and sister with Amber impressed. He’s in.

Later, we see Charlie violently throwing up. Please tell me it’s a little food poisoning and not a little Briggs in the oven. She looks in the mirror and smiles slightly. Charlie decides to crash with Amber that night. “This is something I have to do.” Briggs doesn’t get it but lets her go.

Graceland’s “Gratis” was a satisfying ride where it appears the characters may face the consequences of their actions. The damning Briggs tape is back in play, Mike does something so dark there’s no way he will escape unscathed, and Johnny plays both sides of a very dangerous fence.

What did you think of Graceland’s latest? Will all of our heroes take a big fall?

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