Last week’s Graceland left us on a cliffhanger that looked like it would accelerate the plot of the story dramatically. As we find out quickly in this week’s “Heat Run”, that was an empty threat. Briggs is not suspicious of newbie Mike – at least not yet, anyway. For now, Mike remains in the clear, though he’s sure juggling a lot at once.
Despite leading a double life – in more ways than one – Mike remains pretty calm. For someone with an incredible knack for lying, he comes across as quite wholesome. Between his desire to rid the world of evil, and the fact that he actually smiles during his morning run (seriously, who does that?), Mike remains very likable. He is also demonstrating that underneath that sharp exterior, he’s human. After escaping a particularly harrowing scenario, he has to fight the urge to vomit. It’s good to see the show acknowledging that these agents are dealing with extremely stressful situations, even if there is a beach in the background.
In the first couple episodes, the women of Graceland were essentially interchangeable (and a little boring). This episode brings a change, particularly with Charlie’s character. As suspected, she is not as firmly fierce as her tough attitude often portrays. When her informant nearly botches her operation, her supervisor demands she cut the addict loose.
Since Charlie clearly has a soft spot for the guy, she pulls some strings to keep a certain house off the market. Her advice for him is to get clean and work on the house, because he is a talented carpenter. Even as they walk around the house, she has a sad expression on her face, as if she knows the guy is never going to buy the place. Sure enough, when she drives by later, someone else has bought it. It’s a nice, subtle way of showing us some of Charlie’s depth, and really helps to paint a better picture of her as a person.
Another female character with considerable screen time is Lauren, but unfortunately she exhibits terribly stereotypical, over-emotional behaviour. After ignoring orders and blowing her cover, she manipulates Briggs’ affection by faking that she was assaulted. Considering the vast amount of training someone in her position would have, it is a little far-fetched that she would behave in this way. In the name of love, I guess?
We receive some blatant foreshadowing to future romantic turmoil, particularly when Mike’s one-night (or maybe longer) stand sweetly asks him if he’s “real”. Maintaining a relationship with someone you cannot be remotely honest with seems rather challenging. It also seems inevitable that Mike’s erratic, unpredictable schedule will lead to some friction with any prospective girlfriend.
Briggs is on the receiving end of Mike’s disapproving stare after planting a GPS tracker on Lauren’s car. Briggs does this to protect Graceland after Lauren deceives him. When Mike figures out what Briggs has done, Briggs admits it pretty quickly. He defends his actions, saying that kind of thing is required when doing their job. Mike walks away looking unimpressed, but doesn’t keep arguing it. The two of them have a good, angsty chemistry going on. Half the time we’re not sure if they’re about to attack each other or go grab a beer.
Graceland looks more and more promising after each episode, though it still feels like it’s trying to get its footing. We’re only three episodes in, and it’s worth sticking around to see how it progresses. A large part of that quality is courtesy of Aaron Tveit, who is close to flawless as Mike. It has a large cast, but it revolves around Mike, so his portrayal is crucial to the show’s success.
What did you think of the episode, and the series so far in general? Tune in next Thursday to catch Graceland on USA.