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Review: NCISLA “Ascension” (S5E1)


The spoilers have been excruciating. The rumors were agonizing and the wait….unbearable. The fans of NCIS Los Angeles have endured a rough summer waiting for the exciting conclusion to last season’s closing episode Decent. From the title of this opening episode, we can only hope that the team will emerge victorious like the phoenix rising or ascending, in this case. Yet, if we can believe all the spoilers, there’s going to be some painful times ahead for this team in order to return to normal, if ever again. We can only assume that the recovery time will be a long one. On top of all that, the team still has to recover the missing nuclear weapons that were left in the hands of Sidorov. So much to mend, so little time!

We pick up where we left off last season with Kensi trying to save Michelle from the Russian Bond girls. Once Michelle is safe and on her way back to Sidorov, it was satisfying to see Kensi and Granger working in tandem in order to find Sam and Deeks’ tortured bodies in Sidorov’s hideout. When Kensi finds Deeks I just couldn’t stand to watch the sad, imploring look in his eyes when she tells him she has to leave him there for a bit longer. It’s distressing to see Deeks’ face particularly disfigured and not surprisingly both Sam and Deeks are physically hurt, disoriented and dazed.

Michelle Hanna…Hide your Barbie Dolls!

Once Michelle finds Sidorov, she has to convincingly prove to him that she didn’t know Sam was a federal agent. You think Michelle was badass before all this? Well now she doesn’t blink an eye when she shoots Sam and Deeks at point blank. Talk about insult to injury. But she proves to Sidorov she is for real and even Sidorov is a bit scared of her now. Aunjanue Ellis was brilliant in that scene. No Barbie dolls for her!

When the team finally comes back for Sam and Deeks, Sam is still demanding from Deeks if he gave Michelle up. Sam is not sure about his partner. The hospital scene was gruesome and brutal. Deeks couldn’t stand to be touched by the doctors or look into Kensi eyes. He was already suffering from the stress of being brutally tortured. He was still searching for Sam’s approval, even after all he went through.

Callen, Janvier and Revenge!

In the mean time Callen and his team are using Janvier to complete the arms deal to the Iranians. The gold is exchanged for the bombs and all parties go their separate ways including Janvier, who escapes in the most disgusting way possible….he cuts the patch of tracking spray off his own neck! Janvier is still playing chess with Callen and lives to get his revenge against the agent even if it comes at Callen’s own hands.

Heartbreak and Atonement

Sam….Deeks…. hospital room. Probably the most poignant conversation I have heard between any two characters on this show….ever. Watching Deeks begin to cry as Sam leaves his room just broke my heart in two. For Deeks to say he didn’t want to be a cop… well you know he was suffering and in a very bad way.

At the Mission, Eric and Nell are tracking down the bombs and discover that the devices are bound on a ship to Iran. The team splits up to follow the dealers to see which one will lead them to the ship first. When Sam finds out that Michele is still in Sidorov’s grip, he doesn’t waste any time tracking her down even if it means discharging himself out of the hospital. First a cop….always a cop!

Sidorov is on his way to San Diego where a plane will take both him and Michelle away to spend his millions in luxury. But Michelle has been made after Sidorov realizes she lifted his phone to get a text back to NCIS. Luckily, Sam never follows orders when it comes to the safety of his family and colleagues. With Michele’s life hanging in the balance again….Sam goes in with Kensi to save his wife and kill Sidorov once and for all. The dance with all parties on top of the helopad was wonderfully choreographed. With everyone circling the black top, Sirorov is threatening to kill Michelle if Sam and Kensi don’t lay down their weapons. But like the great first responder that he is….Deeks comes in to save the day! Amazing. Our LAPD Detective is back! He may be beaten but he’s not down! Everyone’s good. Right?

In the end, Callen never gets to give Janvier his wish for revenge and an easy death but knowing that Janvier gets a triple life sentence will have to be enough. As Janvier says to Callen they consume each other and so the feast continues. The game is not over.

The final scene between Deeks and Kensi was probably their first genuine talk ever. Even though both of them were still holding back for different reasons, it was beautiful music to my ears. Did you see the infamous box in the background? A talisman that will always stand for their relationship. Nice touch.

I, for one, am happy to see this episode come and go. The spoilers and pictures of all the pain and carnage the whole group goes through weighed heavily on the entire fandom for months. Awaiting the fate of all these beloved characters was enough to give anyone who cares about the show an ulcer. Now we can all take a big breath and watch how friends like Nate and Hetty come in and work their magic and hopefully try and put Humpty Dumpty together again. They certainly have their work cut out for them.

Show Highlights:

It was hard to pick out just one or two because everyone one gave such great performances. It was a first class episode all around. Bravo to Frank Military and Terrence O’Hara as well. But if I had to pick the most gut wrenching moment it would be in Deeks’ hospital room with Sam. That scene will always make me cry.

Best Lines of the Show:
Michelle: You sent Barbies after me? I hate Barbies! I use to pull their heads off when I was a kid?
Sidorov: How did you find me?
Michelle: A Barbie told me right before I pulled her head off.

Bromance Moments:

This week Deeks and Sam are in the spotlight as they are forced to take their past relationship into account particularly after Deeks proves that Sam’s prejudices in regards to his character was all wrong. Deeks will have Sam’s thanks and Sam may owe him one but will he ever get his respect? I think there is still more to come on the future of this relationship.

Deeks: I think I’m done being a cop.
Sam: That would be a huge mistake. You’re a great cop and you’re going to make a great agent.
Deeks: I never thought I’d hear that coming from you.
Sam: Yeah, that was my mistake. I won’t make it again.

Densi Moments:

Poor Densi. The heartbreak is just beginning in this relationship and as Shane Brennan has promised… don’t expect a happy ending…at least not yet. So many areas threaten to rip these two apart now and it will be interesting to see how and IF they can fight their way back to each other despite all they have been through. After witnessing the kiss between Deeks and Kensi, fans have had a hard summer speculating on what it all means for the endearing couple. Our heart breaks along with theirs as we watched their conversation at the end…… It’s going to be a bumpy ride this year and all Densi fans should be prepared.

Kensi: Listen, I know what you’re going through.
Deeks: I really hope that you never do.
Deeks: Kens, I just want you to know that the place I went to in my head to stop the pain was you. I just kept thinking about your smile and your laugh…everything. That’s the only thing that got me through for whatever it’s worth.


Title: “Ascension”
Writer: Frank Military
Director: Terrence O’Hara
Original Air Date: September 24, 2013


Diane Volpe is Contributing Editor at Follow her on Twitter: @phillydi

About Diane (422 Articles)
Founder, Writer and Contributing Editor of wikiDeeks. Always wanted to put together a talented team of writers and graphic designers who loved NCISLA and Marty Deeks in particular! My dream came true! Hope you enjoy what we have created!

2 Comments on Review: NCISLA “Ascension” (S5E1)

  1. Talk about crushing it! ECO was brilliant in this episode. Overall, the emotions conveyed, both with words and without… definitely his best performance to date! The last scene between Deeks and Kensi was heartbreaking.


  2. I agree with DeeksFreak, ECO was breathtakingly good. I am still angry at the way Kensi literally abandoned him in three different scenes: in the garage, at the hospital, and walking away in the bullpen. Reading the script that we got at the Meet-Up actually made me feel a little better about her behavior, since there were mentions of how much she wanted to go to him, for example on the helipad. I was desperate for someone to give the poor guy a hug.

    And as angry as I was at Sam all summer, that darn charming LL Cool J nearly had me completely forgiving him with that hospital scene. (And I’m happy to say he’s continued to make it up to Deeks as the season has progressed.)

    And the final scene with Kensi and Deeks was an all-time favorite. His vulnerability and honesty there was stunning. Why oh why must they always be interrupted?


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