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Review: NCISLA “The Frozen Lake” (S5E10)


Deeks and Densi lovers always look forward to a new Dave Kalstein NCIS: Los Angeles script with great anticipation. Although there have been some great Densi episodes produced by other writers in the past, nobody writes for Deeks as well as Kalstein does. He knows the man and he is able to do justice to the character. This is a story about a struggle fought on two different battlefields: love and war. Although Callen and Sam have their challenges in this episode, it's the aftermath of Densi's unique date night that we want to see played out. How will Kensi and Deeks make this partnership work now that they have taken their relationship to the next level or are we headed for a great, big tsunami? Dave's script is complemented by the technical expertise of John P. Kousakis behind the camera and Rafael Kayanan, the show's fight director. Not a bad creative duo to have your six, I’d say.

Deeks Not Talking… Interesting

Nothing like a beheading to start the show off with a bang but even better was the awkward pas de deux between Kensi and Deeks as they greet each other the day after. Leave it to Callen and Sam to rub it in too! The banter was gleefully flying, making the newly-cast lovers wish they were anywhere but in the same room. (Sam:  No, no, no!) Luckily they don’t have to suffer the embarrassment any longer as a new case presents itself and the team is off to recover a missing thumb drive. The information was stolen from a dead Naval consultant and it laid out a plan to seize Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal in case of an emergency. The base in Bahrain is secured by Gurkha commandos who are now suspect in the murder due to their ability to handle a knife like the one used in the killing.

The thumb drives makes its way back to Los Angeles and the team sets out to retrieve the missing device. Here's our first clue that all is not right between Kensi and Deeks as she brutally slugs him for not taking the shot during their confrontation with the killers. He’s unsure and decides to protect her instead of following protocol. Kensi is not happy if their new found relationship means that she is going to be treated differently by her partner and now her lover. It’s not yesterday anymore and Hetty is now wondering if the team is mission ready.

I’m Standing on My Frozen Lake

Finally, we understand the meaning behind the title of this episode. Kensi explains to Deeks that she feels their relationship is not going to work because she is standing on her frozen lake. Sayoc training teaches that the frozen lake is something that you want most in the world and you will do anything so bad to get it but your heart takes over and it winds up destroying you in the end. Pretty heady stuff here. Deeks understands the metaphor and realizes that the ice is cracking quickly all around them. Olsen and Ruah knocked this one out of the park….so beautifully played between the two of them.

Watch for the Blade!

Once Pakistan rebels have been identified in the theft, another one of the suspects is found murdered and Callen surmises the Gurkha could be behind the ambush and out for revenge to clear the Gurkha name. Once they identify a possible suspect in the crowd, Sam and Callen decide to take on the commando together! Rafael Kayanan was correct when he tweeted this was some of the best action work performed by the cast as a whole. Kayanan, a Sayoc Combat specialist, planned the intricate fight sequences down to the last detail. I enjoyed watching how the scene was choreographed and you could tell nothing was left to chance.

Clearing the Gurkha name was not only the reason to find the thumb drive, the intel could help India protect themselves and gain a step up on their crumbling relationship with Pakistan. This Gurkha could come back a hero. With orders from SecNav, the team recruits the Gurkha soldier to help recover the missing thumb drive. (Deeks:  It’s never easy when you start to care. I guess this makes this his Frozen Lake.) Callen also decides as leader that Kensi and Deeks need to be separated which lead to a different kind of awkward silence.

It was a great move in the storyline to have Deeks work alongside the Gurkha. The detective has to trust in the man because he knows if the Gurkha can control his emotions so can Deeks. (Brother, I got to believe that because if you can do that so can I.) I love the way he teaches Deeks about honor and discipline. (Thapa: The heart needs discipline.) It was an uplifting moment until the Gurkha goes rogue and takes off with the thumb drive.

You Are Not in This Alone….

There was a lot of coming clean by Deeks and Sam in this segment. Sam tries to pound it into Deeks’ head that he’s not alone but Deeks feels he’s at fault for Thapa’s disappearance and blames what happen earlier between him and Kensi. Deeks knows how to make things right again and goes off in search of Hetty.

Kalstein uses his creative radar and takes the subtle events in the real world and perhaps even in his own life and sends us on a journey of some honest and authentic storytelling. He has obviously listened to how people speak, act and react which makes for some fantastic television and not just the same old regurgitation of shows we are used to watching. Dave takes what he knows and what he has observed and uses it effectively, particularly in the Fern and Max scene. At that one point in time, they are just a boy and girl asking each other to love and accept each other… pure and simple! With so much simplicity comes the stripped down truth… and that’s a beautiful thing. Whether they are official or not is still an unknown at this point.

It Took You Long Enough…

Deeks realizes that even a Gurkha can have a hard time controlling his emotions and decides to go easy on himself for his past indiscretion. He’s going to go back to being Deeks and trusting his instincts. If he is going to have a relationship with Kensi, he’s not going to let it rule his emotions any longer. And so he takes the shot! The final scene between the partners was beautiful. Kensi takes the first steps in communicating about their ‘thing,’ to Deeks’ amusement and asks for his patience. I just loved seeing this interaction between the two and want to believe with all my heart that they are on the right track… perhaps if they can follow the Gurkha’s advice this relationship might have a chance. Unfortunately for the star crossed lovers, Hetty has other plans for them. We have to trust and hope that they will wait for each other.

Bravo Zulu’s all around for this wonderful episode. What I enjoyed the most was how it pushed us out of our comfort zone, keeping us on edge and definitely wanting more… and that’s damn good storytelling. The writing was clear and vibrant and I will go so far as to say it’s the best work Kalstein has done on the show by far. The labor behind the camera was also brilliantly brought forth on the screen making it, for me, the most enjoyable episode of the season as well. I really can’t ask for anything more. Great collaborative effort from the entire NCISLA team!

Memorable Moments

  • Hetty had a different banter going on with Granger after witnessing the dance between Kensi and Deeks. Interesting that Hetty was willing to express her concern to Granger and knew he would understand. Looking forward to that backstory.
  • I was stunned at how quickly Kensi gave up on the relationship but then that’s Kensi… the glass is always half empty. This was probably one of the most heartbreaking moments the two have ever had… trying to face their love head on but not knowing how to make it work.
  • When Deeks states he’ll do the right thing…is he talking about the Gurkha or himself?
  • This is the first time we get to watch Deeks go undercover as a lawyer. It was really interesting to watch how secure and comfortable he was with his real life persona.

Deeks and Kensi Face to Face

Deeks: Can you for a second just pretend that I’m not Deeks and for a second pretend that you’re not Kensi…and we’re not partners, and no one’s trying to save the planet? Can we pretend for a second that we are just a boy and a girl that are hanging out?  We can drive around in my pickup truck, go get ice cream, go bowling? But that’s the thing because the possibilities are endless. We’re young and we have all the time in the world.
Kensi: My name is Fern, hi.
Deeks:  You’re Fern? Well, it’s so nice, so nice to meet you, Fern. I’m Max.
Kensi: Nice to meet you.
Deeks: You have any plans for tonight?
Kensi:  I don’t know. It’s complicated.
Deeks: Not from where I’m standing it’s not.
Kensi:  I have a boyfriend.
Deeks:  So does my girlfriend.
Kens: That’s a nice suit.


Deeks: Wow, nothing brings out your inner fan girl like a guy with a knife.


Kensi: We’re going to figure this out. All we got to do is talk about it.
Deeks: Ok, but you don’t really like the talking about it.
Deeks: Yeah, but I promise I’ll be better talking about this.
Deeks: What do you mean by ‘this’?
Kensi: This… you know.
Deeks: This thing?
Kensi: Yes, our thing.
Deeks: Sorry I didn’t hear you because there were so many people walking by, maybe you can just say it louder? Just for me, just once, just say it…
Kensi: I hate you!
Deeks: You don’t, you don’t, you don’t hate me.
Kensi: Our thing.
Deeks: Wow

See, here’s the paradox… just because two people love one another, it doesn’t mean that they’re meant to be together. It’s easy to say they just need to fight for their love and work it out but sometimes love shouldn’t have to be this hard either and it fails. There is so much unopened baggage between these two, personally and professionally. Until they (Kensi) can learn to accept each other AND, they (Deeks) understand what the other needs, then it’s doomed to failure unless they can adapt and change. With Kensi’s reassignment there’s going to be a lot of that going on too.  But this also makes for great drama and the reason I have come back again and again for the last 4 years just to watch the Densi waltz. I want to see these two together and I will cheer with every positive step they take and cry when they stumble and take two steps back. Kensi and Deeks had me at hello. I’m strapped in my seat and ready to see where the rest of the journey takes us.

Classic Deeks

Callen: What the… anomaly in the room?
Sam:  Deeks hard at work?
Callen:  Deeks not talking.
Sam:  Interesting.
Callen:  Very interesting.
Deeks:  Interesting?  But no. Not interesting.
Sam:  Now that’s interesting.
Callen:  Don’t mind us, Deeks.
Sam:  No eye contact.
Callen:  Elevated heart rate.
Sam:  Not from the coffee.
Callen:  Sweaty, and it’s not from the climate.
Deeks:  Come on guys!  I think that maybe the coffee is strong today.
Callen:  Changing the subject and he’s got some dark rings under his eyes.


Thapa:  The Gurkha’s have a saying:  Better to die, than be a coward.
Deeks:  Wow, I think my regular partner must be a Gurkha in a past life.
Thapa:  He must be brave.
Deeks:  Well she… she’s the bravest.

Classic Deeks and Hetty

Deeks:  Hetty, I can make this thing right.
Hetty:  You have several problems, Mr. Deeks.  What are we talking about?


Deeks:  Anything else I should know, Hetty?
Hetty:  Button up Mr. Deeks, its cold out there.

Stop by tomorrow and take a peek into Deeks’ surf log and find out his thoughts about Kensi and the mission.  We will be back with more fabulous pictures from The Frozen Lake and a special Thanksgiving fan fic from Sweet Lu.  In the meantime, leave your comments below and get the conversation going about tonight’s episode!  We know you have an opinion of what happened, so let’s hear it!


Title: “The Frozen Lake”
Writer: Dave Kalstein
Director: John P. Kousakis
Original Air Date: November 26, 2013


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

About Diane (436 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!

28 Comments on Review: NCISLA “The Frozen Lake” (S5E10)

  1. Oh Diane I’ve missed your reviews. I have to say I enjoyed this episode more than any other this season. Dave Kalstein does wonders indeed. I was on the edge of my sit during the whole time completely unaware of what to expect. It brilliantly combined love, hapiness, drama, sadness, uncertainty…..everything.

    The one thing that broke my shattered heart was the ending. I feared we night not get our goodbye but I truly hope they will make up for it. I’m dying to see Deeks sleeping at her house just to feel close to her! Awwww!

    I have nothing to add. You’ve nailed it once again!!!!


  2. It was…AWESOME! One of the best reviews for one of the best episodes of all seasons! Loved reading it and looking forward to read the log! 🙂


  3. Why Hetty ? why ?
    That ending was so cold. She just broke their hearts and it’s like she doesn’t care at all :c


  4. Not only did Deeks take the shot but he did it left handed! No wonder Kensi was shocked. Loved this episode but I’m definitely in worry mode about where these two are headed. Great review Diane as always!



  5. Your review really helped me come to terms with this episode. Love and War. Is there a difference when it comes to Kensi and Deeks. I was absolutely stunned when she slugged him, but even though it made sense for her character, I was instantly pissed. Out of the bed and into the battle. She wants so much from him that I’m not sure she will ever get it, if she even knows what it is she wants.

    I love how Dave Kalstein writes Deeks. No stupid jokes, just a solid man who’s good at what he does. It was such a showcase for the multi-layered personality of the character. His seemingly instant connection with the Ghurka was surprising, but showed the understanding he has for others and their personal turmoils. This episode showed how competent he was, not only as an undercover, but as a fighter in a tough situation. That scene with him being ordered to shoot the Ghurka and threatened by three armed Armenians, was heart stopping and had me guessing throughout the ad break just how it was going to play out. He saved the day all by himself with a little help from his partner. Loved his strength and commitment and for taking that final shot.

    This time Deeks was the one looking for some comment from Kensi that there was some “thing” between them. Finally a writer gave Kensi something to say and she stuttered out her willingness to work on their relationship and to talk about it. But then came the ending and Hetty, the woman who sent Deeks a note about Sunshine and Gunpowder, the woman who told Deeks she didn’t think he should live out his life alone, and now the woman who separates them, not allowing them to even say goodbye or share a goodbye kiss. We have waited through episode after episode for Kensi and Deeks to have a meaningful conversation only to have the moment gone for the foreseeable future…no touching, no kissing, no closure. Bugger!!

    ECO was so expressive and strong in this ep as was Dani. They are magicians and we love the magic they bring to these roles.

    My only sore point over this episode was that they gave us no loving interaction between Kensi and Deeks at the beginning. Again we have to do the imagining of what happened between them and that is getting old. Come on Dave…Not One Kiss??? You are a cold and heartless man, but one hell of a writer.

    Thanks Di for an excellent review. You are amazing.


    • I loved this espisode but like Sweet Lu..I was also disappointed to see no actual physical displays of affection or contact between Deeks & Kensi…which was odd as they had spent the other night together. The writers & directors of NCIS LA…have had no problems showing people getting tortured, mained. shot, killed,…you name it.. since the show has aired.But showing something as innocent and simple. a genuine PDA moment between Deeks & Kensi..seems out of the question. I understand the powers that be on the show… might want to be taking things slow between the characters…but at this rate…we will see them holding hands & going out on a real date…by season 10! 🙂


  6. Forgot to mention…any ideas what Hetty meant at the end when she told Deeks to “button up, it’s cold out there”? Is that a reference to their Frozen Lake? or What?


    • I so agree about your thoughts on Hetty… I don’t understand at all what is up with her. I am hoping that its something brewing and will ultimately be revealed later. She has been so hot and cold this season concerning Deeks…

      Maybe her and Granger had a thing years ago that ended badly and she is trying to prevent that? or maybe she knows sending Kensi on this will potentially have her run into Jack?

      I am good either way honestly with Densi… as long as Deeks is on my screen and being treated as a respectable human being, a capable one at that I am good 🙂


  7. Sweet Lum I was wondering the same thing. Sometimes Hetty is so enigmatic.
    I loved this episode, probably the best so far. Deni and ECO were amazing. Kensi was so sweet when she “expressed” her feelings. The ending was really sad but at least they were on good terms before she left. I’m a bit worried about ep18. What will be that shocking thing that changes their relationship again?


  8. Thanks for all your great comments! Glad to see Evi back and Lumi! Welcome andjaly to wikiDeeks!

    Yes Dave writes good Deeks doesn’t he?

    Karen: I never even realized Deeks took that shot with his left hand! Now that scene is even more amazing! Thanks for pointing that out!

    Lindy: As always you bring out some great points which compliments my review so well. I’m not sure what is up with Hetty. Maybe she wanted to put to test the partnership to be sure they know what they are doing. I think these kinds of romances are hard to endure and if you aren’t prepared to go thru the worse you will never survive. She alluded to hardships that Granger must have gone through too.

    I loved the whole Frozen Lake metaphor. It was beautiful and I’m sure Hetty was alluding to it in her farewell to Deeks!


    • Oh, Diane you know me. Always eager to talk NCISLA!!!!
      I understand that Hetty always has a reason for making specific choices, but last night it was just cruel. She should have provided them some farewell time. She should have demanded it from Granger.
      I also read the script that Dave Kalstein posted and it killed me. “Deeks studies this totem. This last piece of her.” Awwwww!!!!!!!

      I hope Kensi managed to text him and I would really like to see Deeks reading that text again and again. Or even better….I hope she left a voice mail. That would be priceless!

      As far as the “It’s cold outside” line at first I though it was short of a warning. Like it’s dangerous outside, you are alone, but don’t worry, take care of yourself and you’ll be fine. But now that you mention it it could absolutely be a metaphor for the Frozen Lake.


      • I have to believe there is a method to her madness. I can’t believe she would be that cruel especially after giving them her blessing. It doesn’t make sense. And especially after Deeks’ trauma! Could this send him spiraling back into depression? She’s got to know how this will affect him.


      • Oh Diane I really hope she has plan. She surely should expect that Kensi’s absence will have negative consequences on Deeks. Who knows maybe his insomnia will come back and PTSD will crawl back into his mind.

        I don’t want to believe that Hetty would send Kensi there knowing that Jack will be present. I understand she needs closure on that matter, but this is the worst timing. under the worst circumstances.

        I don’t know what to assume or expect…..


  9. Also to add that blue pullover hoodie Deeks wore… he can wear anytime! yum…


  10. Fantastic review, Di. I thought this was one of the best written and acted episodes not just this season, but ever. I was amazed at how quickly I moved past the disappointment of not getting any solid evidence of what apparently happened after the end of Recovery, no sexytimes whatsoever, because what was happening on screen just grabbed my attention. Sam and Callen were so funny at the beginning, and so supportive throughout. Given Hetty’s horribleness, I really appreciated them having Deeks’ back. (I did very much enjoy Deeks’ little sarcastic comment at the airport about knowing something they didn’t (“Crazy, right?”), and I think the way he turned to look directly at Sam when he said it was telling.)

    As for that punch, it was definitely disturbing in the context of a romantic relationship. Obviously Deeks could never behave that way towards Kensi. I chose to take it as more of a partner action. She was clearly livid that Deeks hadn’t done his job and she didn’t seem close to being able to express that anger in any more constructive ways. Of course, her anger was because this had proved to her that their thing would ruin their partnership. But taken as work partners, if one guy had punched another, it wouldn’t have had to be a big deal, so that’s the way I’m choosing to interpret it.

    DR was incredible in the scene where she explained her frozen lake. That Kensi would express her truest feelings so clearly, for the first time ever (well maybe the end of Wanted was pretty clear too), was incredible. And in the same instant it was heartbreaking because she was telling him that she could never have what she wanted most, and in fact, she was likely to destroy it in the process of trying to obtain it. I felt like I gained so much understanding of her. I knew of course why she felt that way, but that she finally got to express it helped me to understand some of her behavior from earlier in the season, like when she ran away from the hospital in Ascension. And it made me like her a lot more than I had been lately.

    The scene in wardrobe was also amazing- sweet and sincere, with people saying what they meant, at least in a roundabout way. I think the writers are trying to come up with as many different ways of saying “I love you” as they can without actually ever using those words. Her voluntary use of Fern was as symbolic as her giving Deeks her dad’s knife.

    And the scene by the ambulance was amazing. ECO’s face when she referred to their thing was something I just can’t stop watching. He was so incredibly happy and almost grateful that she was trying to meet him halfway. I don’t think we’ve ever seen a happier Deeks. It was easily my favorite moment of the episode.

    And then to have it all ripped away, wow, and without a good-bye. We all knew how it was going to end, but they totally could have done it without making Hetty responsible. She could have fought Granger to keep Kensi around rather than volunteering her for the mission. I really don’t understand Hetty at all and this week it was her at whom I was hurling nasty words. What was the deal with handing Kensi a clean shirt if not an announcement that she was publicly punishing Kensi for sleeping with her partner? I would love to see a scene where Deeks confronts Hetty about her actions, asking how she could give him the sunshine & gunpowder note and then take Kensi away from him? It seemed incredibly cruel to me and I don’t plan on forgiving her any time soon.

    I’m hoping for a lot of male bonding while Kensi’s away. I like to imagine that Callen and Sam waited for Deeks in the parking lot and then took him out and got him good and drunk. I can’t bear the thought of him going home alone.


    • Thanks Karen. As I said this really has to be my all time favorite episode too as a Densi and Deeks lover. It had it all for me. The script was incredible and the actors just brought it all home. Will it keep getting better or will every thing after this be a let down? Hard act to follow!


  11. Once again, ECO crushed his performance! There was so much going on in this episode, it’s impossible for me to pick a favorite scene. All of them had depth and substance which made for a dynamic television experience. The range of emotions displayed throughout was really amazing to watch. It was also nice to see Sam reinforce the fact that Deeks is part of a team. He’s no longer the odd one everybody jokes about any more. It doesn’t matter if mistakes are made because they’re all in it together.

    I was happy to see an edginess in Deeks towards the end… the tersely delivered “took you long enough” comment to Kensi, followed by his hasty exit from the meat locker. Yes, he was taking Thapa to medical attention, but he seemed to also want to get away from the source of his torment. The one who had the audacity to yell at him for taking a shot – the same kind of shot that earlier in the day she decked him for not taking. [Come on, Kensi. Make up your mind!] Then, after she rushes out to him, he’s dismissive towards her, saying he’s going to the hospital with Thapa and even turns away from her. This forces Kensi to stop him and bring up the topic of their relationship. From the look on Deeks’ face (and the exhalation of the breath he’d seemingly been holding all day) when she finally manages to utter those two words — our thing — it’s clear that up until that point, he thought their relationship was dead in the [frozen] water. Not so, Mr. Deeks. Densi is not dead! That was one fantastic scene!

    The end was, as expected, heartbreaking. The poor man can’t seem to catch a break! Just when he’s finally getting what he wants and is on the road to finding true happiness, it all gets snatched away from him. I can’t help but wonder if over the next several episodes we will see any friction between Deeks and Hetty. After all that he’s been through, and having just taken the first significant steps in his personal relationship with Kensi, I can easily see the possibility of some resentment bubbling under the surface. We haven’t yet had the chance to see a heated scene between Deeks and Hetty, but it would certainly be interesting to watch.


  12. Needless to say that my mind is going buts over the big future complication. The possible scenarios are endless.


  13. Evi, thank you 🙂


  14. The look and feeling on Deeks’ face when he responded to Kensi’s comment, “I hate you” was just so powerful; so beautiful.

    When he said, “You don’t, you don,t you don’t hate me” and Kensi just responded with a shy agreeing type of grin you could see that he was thinking the only logical conclusion if she doesn’t hate me is that she loves me. This was just such a beautiful moment for Deeks and so typical of their relationship.

    Kensi isn’t ready to actually utter the words, “I love you” but she’s ready to let him know that is how she feels. You could see such a sense of relief and happiness come over Deeks. He will at least have this to hold on to and get him through the next few months until he see Kensi again.


  15. I loved that smile too. Finally! Victory! He was so happy!


  16. Best review and Best episode EVER…


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