‘Graceland’ season 2, episode 1 review: Mike makes his move

Tonight, “Graceland” returned to USA with an episode that was bold, controversial, and also perfect for setting the stage for the rest of the season. There was a certain arc in here that felt almost like a pilot, especially when you made it to the point where Mike decided that he was moving back in, and that everyone within Graceland was suddenly going to be working for him for a change.

One of the things that the show did so effectively beyond what we just mentioned was knowing how to use a flash-forward right. Starting out in a bad place framed the story properly, and let you know that there was no reason to worry about whether or not there was going to be action in the premiere. You didn’t have to wait that long at all.

Even with the news about Mike at the end, this episode was more about Charlie and Briggs, and was for the most part standard “Graceland” fare. There was plenty of action, some drama, and a little bit of romance. There were also a few of the show’s lingering problems from the first season, starting with the idea that sometimes the show tries a little too hard to play up the “gritty” angle. The dogfighting scene is a good example of that. It was definitely shocking and uncomfortable for USA to air it, though at the same time “Sons of Anarchy” has already traveled down that road and arguably more effectively.

Also, there are still some characters we enjoy more than others, and while we don’t want to pigeonhole the series into conforming to the USA stereotype, we do wish sometimes that it would have a little more fun with itself. Right now it feels like a combination of CBS and FX, and not having some of that USA identity may cause it to lose some of this audience. Grade: B-.

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