The dynamic duo of Kalstein and Teng are at the helm of this week’s NCIS: Los Angeles episode and there is excitement in the air if for no other reason to find out what was in Kensi’s mysterious box. Whether there was a method to all the madness or no reason at all, diehard fans were still expecting another stellar offering from this extremely talented team. I’m happy to say they didn’t let us down! Although Teng is a regular directing such hit shows as Hawaii Five-0 and Criminal Minds, this is his first time behind the camera for NCIS: Los Angeles and if his tweets were any indication, it looks like he had a great time with his first NCISLA assignment.
The theme of tonight’s episode is team work and why teams succeed or fail despite all odds. Hence the amusing opening scene with Sam’s come to Jesus lecture on getting back to basics… no more secrets… no more hidden agendas….just acceptance. The Musketeers’ motto lives on as the NCISLA team learns what it takes to make a good team into a really exceptional team.
The episode begins as Special Ops Command sends an elite group to take out the Molina Cartel. But they are ambushed and NCIS is called into pinpoint where the breach took place. The team goes up against a group of tactical role players (TRPs) who mimic the bad guys within their own theater or ‘kill house’. Callen and the team are going to go undercover as a new spec ops unit. Although it’s a game of simulation, this group can be pretty nasty. Even Sam is sweating bullets. The team is all nervous because there is no room for error. (When Hetty shows them the Heckler & Koch 416 assault rifle, there was only one production crew up to that point that was allowed access to the gun that took out Osama bin Laden.)
The actual kill house scene was one of the most suspenseful scenes filmed to date and Teng does a great job creating that tension inside the building. By the end, the team realizes they are not the best of the best and it’s a shock. According to the TRPs, NCIS was dead the moment they split up. Was the drill fair, or was the team set up to learn? The operation brings the team to question how well they have worked together throughout the years. Are they really a team or four separate units?
When their main suspect, Parish, dies after the second kill house training mission, the team now has to find another suspect. Parish may have known where the leak was coming from making his death a murder. But wait…the plot thickens! Inman and Granger are colleagues and have worked together before in the past. Callen is not a happy camper but Granger shows them he still has a few tricks up his sleeve even if it’s not always to the team’s liking. Ferrer is brilliant in his role as Granger, and if he’s not making me laugh, then he’s making me roll my hands into a fist Callen is right. Granger is a son of a bitch!
The whole mission turns on a dime when Cisneros arrives in LA and the team realizes that Nell is captured by Inman and his men. It’s not a game anymore. The team has got to use everything they learned up to this point to save Nell. When all odds are against them this team does what it does best….they trusted their training.
Tonight’s episode came from Dave Kalstein’s real life experience training against real TRPs and in a real kill house setting used by Navy Seals. It was an emotional rollercoaster ride and I’m glad I went along for the ride. Congrats also goes out to Rafael Kayanan, combat choreographer, for his invaluable work on this episode. It’s not easy making those fight scenes look so easy. It was a great episode.
Highlights from the Show:
- Got a kick out of Sam taking over the work space and claiming Deeks’ desk. (Getting a fresh perspective!)
- Interesting that Callen is worried about Deeks being invited to the big boy table. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them so worried about a mission.
- Sam’s story about Hetty bring in a Kalinga Head Hunter to train the team was brilliant. It was Nell’s grasshopper moment (Ok…look it up if you never watched Kung Fu with David Carradine!)
- I’m not sure who the bigger drama queen was here but the whole Eric and Nell interlude at the end was sweet….come on …you got to admit it! Although the verdict is out on whether Nell will make a good NCIS agent. Who knows…we may have another Hetty in the making. She’s got the Gorgon stare!
- We get some great insight into Granger’s personality by Hetty at the end. Even Callen has to think about that one.
Best Lines from the Show:
Deeks: What the hell is that?
Sam: It looks like a box full of mind your own damn business.
Deeks: That’s clever…know what else is clever? Me…Googling the return address… Watch and learn.
Callen: Isn’t that against the law, Deeks?
Deeks: We are the law….besides we’re a team. All for one…one for all.
Granger: Maybe one day I won’t be the rain on your parade, but today’s not it.
Deeks: Rain on our parade? More like a frickin’ tsunami.
Deeks: If you hear me yell noodles, I’m in trouble.
Callen: If I hear you yell noodles, I’m going to shoot you myself.
Deeks: Conan the Barbarian? What? The three of you don’t have a monopoly on kicking ass. (ECO did his German/Jamaican accent again!)
Granger: Are you going ask or are you just going to wait for me to melt under your Gorgon stare? (Granger is on a role this week!)
Callen: It’s hard to find good friends in our line of work.
Hetty: It’s hard to find them anywhere. (Amen!)
Loved how Deeks comes to Kensi’s defense after being grilled by Parish. What part are you role-playing now? Team super douche? How’s that working out for ya?
Despite coming to her defense, we still get Kensi punching Deeks! All the guy wanted was a little tender loving care. Was that too much to ask?
Deeks is still curious as to what’s in the box….And what does he mean it’s not going to change anything….not even Kensi’s sure. Will we ever find out what’s in that damn box! Jeez!
Deeks: Ok, you guys couldn’t see it from up there but she definitely had a twinkle in her eye when she said that. (I think there was a bit of twinkle in Deeks’ eye when he was staring back at Kensi in admiration.)
Come back next week for my review of Iron Curtain Rising.
This review was originally posted on February 6, 2013 in NCISLA Magazine.
Title: “Kill House”
Writer: Dave Kalstein
Director: Larry Teng
Original Air Date: February 5, 2013
Diane Volpe is Contributing Editor at wikiDeeks.com. Follow her on Twitter: @phillydi