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Review: NCISLA “Tuhon” (S5E15)


After another long hiatus we are left wondering what’s been going on with the NCISLA team... it seems so long ago since the last episode and we have all been grasping at any spoilers or news to stop our unquenchable thirst for more information. Thankfully, the team is back tonight and we get a buddy episode with Callen and Sam heading to Mexico on a mission which relives memories of their first case together. We also have a temporary buddy team with Deeks and Nate effectively hunting down bad guys in their own amusing way. Tonight is Christine Moore’s first time behind the camera for the franchise as well.  But the really big question is:  Can Dave Kalstein match or come close to his earlier masterpiece this season:  "The Frozen Lake"? Will lightning strike again? Let’s see…

Headshrink On Deck!

Out the gate we have an exciting start with three dead Ecuadorian diplomats and the first mention of the Tuhon. Good to see Nate is back again and making more appearances at the Mission. I don’t know why they just don’t bring Cambor back permanently. His absence has always left a big hole in the show for me and I’m always glad to see his return. Nate brings news of the diplomatic killing and Callen and Sam are concerned when they hear the name Tuhon. (Sam: Saying that name has consequences.) Callen and Sam think the killer may be connected with the Tuhon and Hetty is sending them to Mexico to find out. It seems Hetty has had a history of working with the Tuhon during the Cold War. He is an enigma, no photos, no files and totally off the grid. Now the team is afraid he may have evolved into a different kind of killing machine who’s out for revenge. Callen and Sam rescued the Tahon seven years ago and Hetty wants them to find him again… dead or alive.

Courtesy of CBS Press

Courtesy of CBS Press

Trust Our Training

The catch phrase from Kill House is back. Hetty knows who she’s up against and we’re going to get to find out why. The Tuhon’s men are out in force once Callen and Sam get to Mexico and they are immediately on the defensive. The scene with the crazy hairdressing sisters was a hoot. Wouldn’t you love to see the partners in action like that more often? Back at the Mission… There is also an interesting dynamic going when Deeks is paired up with Nate to visit the Ecuadorian consulate. Deeks plays the curmudgeon every time he is assigned a new partner. The man is just not happy without his girl.

No One Can be a Tribe of One

We get a few pivotal scenes with Kensi and Sabatino. No surprise that she is getting more and more suspicious of her colleague (Bite me!) since his strange actions are making Kensi more and more uneasy. It was only a matter of time before he called her on her insubordination. Despite Granger’s insistence that Sabatino is not the White Ghost, I have to go with Kensi’s intuition here. Let’s hope the girl knows what she’s doing because right now she is definitely a tribe of one!

When Callen and Sam finally meet up with the Tuhon, they are not real sure whose side he’s on. He insists he was set up and gives up the location of the killer but the two agents remain on guard. Nate and Deeks are sent to bring in the assassin (Gotta love Deek’s underwear references!), vindicating the Tuhon who was telling the truth. Callen wants him to prove he kept his promise of retirement and work together with NCIS to bring down the mastermind behind the mission. The Tuhon is full of interesting sayings and mind games (A man with no friends doesn’t have to worry about them turning into enemies). The final showdown was a wonderful show of force masterminded by Callen and Sam. It was an exciting ending to the episode.

Dave Kalstein delivers once again. You know when you get one of his scripts you are going to look at the world in a different way. Sure, the entertainment factor is there, but he wants to be sure he leaves the viewer with something to ponder about long after the show is over. In this episode, it’s all about working together as a family or a tribe which is a favorite Kalstein theme in the past. As Hetty said, you can’t have a tribe of one and the Tuhon forces Callen and Sam to think about what will happen after Hetty is gone. How will they keep the tribe together? It’s a daunting task for sure to have to even think about replacing the enigmatic Hetty. But the two friends and partners have come a long way in seven years. If anybody can do it… our boys can!

Memorable Moments

  • It was fun to listen to Callen and Sam relive their early days working together as partners and trying to figure out each other’s name. I can’t imagine calling Sam ‘Teddy’ and getting away with it!
  • So Deeks knows what’s going on in Afghanistan! It must be all those late night secret calls between the partners. And he’s not too happy about it either.
  • Ok, this is a first!  Callen is getting some action! That was some kiss for Señor Carl! Wow! Señor Carl’s always trying to make it a party, baby!
  • The fight in the bar was a rip roaring slug fest… but that was nothing compared to the safe house battle. Now that was a tribal war! I enjoyed watching the choreography of the fight.  Really nice work. Kudos Rafael Kayanan!
  • So when did Deeks become so concerned about what other people are wearing? Just being crotchety I guess. Although I have to admit the Downton Abbey reference made me giggle.
  • Don’t you love how the Tuhon bowed down to Hetty like she was the Queen of England? The lady is a tour de force and I think the Tuhon is certainly a match for Her Highness.

Classic Densi

Deeks: So why does everyone assume I’m always thinking about Kensi.
Nate: You’re fondling her knife.


Tuhon: Nice knife, kid.
Deeks: Oh, yeah? You like it?
Tuhon: I made it, a long time ago for a friend.
Deeks: You made it? It’s not mine, I just, ah, I’m just taking care of it for somebody.
Tuhon: Maybe it’s taking care of you. Friend had a daughter, don’t know her name… sweetest little girl I ever met.

Classic Deeks

Sam: Don’t think, just react. On a scale of 1 to 10. Go!
Deeks: Eight! Nine!
Sam: Look closely.
Deeks: Ten! Ten, she’s a ten. She’s hot. It’s a ten.All day.
Sam: I know!
Deeks: That’s a stone cold fox right there.
Sam: Yeah.
Callen: Yeah, yeah, yeah. (Sam’s phone pings)
Sam: That’s interesting. It’s Joelle. 
Callen: She’s texting you?
Sam: I asked her to rate you last night on a scale of one to ten….
Callen: And…..? Shrill whistle
Eric: Am I interrupting something? That was of course a rhetorical question.
Sam: Let’s go to Ops, lover boy.


Deeks: And you thought Cononel Mustard in the study with a candlestick was a badass.


Nate: You are not going alone, my friend.
Deeks: Wow! That is a lot of plaid. 
Nate: Houndstooth. It’s houndstooth!
Deeks: It’s enough to give me a seizure. What’s you plan here?  You going to blind security while I sprint past them?


Santos: What’s this?
Deeks: I’ve heard of Obama care? This is we don’t care.

Classic Hetty & Deeks

Deeks: I feel like I’m going to be swallowed by a giant kilt.
Hetty: Drop the fabric phobia, Mr. Deeks and find out why Atuga was killed.
Deeks: With Downton Abbey over here?
Nate: You watch it too! Come on.

I have to admit, I didn’t know much about Danny Trejo, until everybody was making such a big fuss that he was coming on the show. But after watching his performance, I will definitely be checking out his body of work. He is an interesting character. We have a new episode next week! Join us here then for our review of “Fish Out of Water.” Also, come back tomorrow to read Deek’s Surf Log and later in the week, Kensi’s Journal. See what’s on their minds about this week’s mission. See you then!


Title: “Tuhon”
Writers: Dave Kalstein
Director: Christine Moore
Original Air Date: February 25, 2014


Diane Volpe is a 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!

10 Comments on Review: NCISLA “Tuhon” (S5E15)

  1. You are the best at reviews. Your comment about Deeks being a curmudgeon whenever he is assigned a new partner was priceless and had me laughing at your insight. I loved Deeks’ comments about Nate’s suit. Looked a little heavy for Los Angeles weather. He must have been sweating during that stakeout. The Downton Abbey line was hilarious and when Nate mentioned that he knew Deeks watched it too made me think they have gotten together a few times over the course of his recovery.

    I was happy that we got another kiss on this show, even if it was Callen. Again, my only complaint is that they don’t stick with it long enough, pulling away just as it got interesting. Mr. Carl had it working.

    Thanks to Dave Kalstein for some funny lines for Deeks in this episode…especially the ones about not wanting to be killed by underwear. His high giggle and tease about Sam being called Teddy was Deeks at his cheekiest and you know he will not let that go unused in future episodes.

    The only scene I had a small problem with was at the end when Tuhon tells Deeks he made Kensi’s knife for her father. I liked the idea, but I thought Deeks looked a little too stunned by the information for some reason and his deer-in-the-headlight look didn’t ring true for a guy with comebacks for everything.


  2. Funny thing I heard last night. Deeks’ comment about the Colonel Mustard in the Library with the Candlestick was also in Season 2 Disorder which played on Aussie TV the same day as Tuhon. Just a little bit of coincidence.

    Loved this review. It explained a few things I hadn’t understood. I can always count on coming here to get the best in depth review. Thank you.


  3. Great review Di!


  4. Great review girl! I have to admit I enjoyed the episode. I had been looking forward to it since Trejo’s name was released.
    Dave Kalstein surely left his mark on this episode his with the fight scenes. I wish he wrote more episodes.
    As expected Callen and Sam didn’t quite get along in the beginning. It’s understandable since they are both strong characters. I’d like to hear more stories about them.

    Awww Deeks. Poor guy is so lonely. I was surprised that he got so defensive when Nate asked him about Kensi in the car, but the knife thing just gave him away. Great scene. Although, I expected a bit more from Nate. I thought he would try to get into Deeks mind and maybe we could get a hint of PTSD mention. But anyway….
    I don’t think Sabatino is the Ghost. Yes, he is hiding something but he is surely not the bad guy. I bet there is some tragic story hiding behind the murder of his partner. I hate to admit it, but Kensi might be wrong here. I understand that she is out there in the war zone,alone and not trusting anyone. Everyone looks suspicious. I hope she doesn’t end up losing her mind over this Ghost mission. I wander why Granger trusts Sabatino THAT much. What does he know more? And how did Sabatino find out Kensi was checking his backround and bank accounts?

    At least we now know for a fact that Kensi and Deeks keep in touch. But why would the producers keep such vital scenes away from us. It’s been too long and we want to see our beloved couple communicate at last.

    The big surprise here was the fact that Tuhon made the knife. Beautiful scene and I loved ECO’s reaction. I bet the knife will come in handy at some point and actually save Deeks life.


  5. Wonderful effort here Di! I struggled to keep up with this case, probably because I’m more invested in the interactions among the team.

    Nate frustrated me yet again. I like the concept of him being there for the team more than for a case. I felt his lines in “Impact” were off-base bordering on unprofessional. Thus, I was hoping this episode would right that wrong, but nope. No mention of the PTSD at all? So disappointing.

    Will we ever know how Joelle rated Callen? Hee hee! Also loved getting to add “Teddy” to our teams nicknames – & definitely approve. Who doesn’t think Mr. Smith looks like a gigantic teddy bear?!

    I appreciate the extra work Daniela put into filming all these scenes in advance and had prepared myself for the separation. However, my patience has come to an end. Our team needs to be back together! I did like the start of this storyline of Kensi possibly losing her grip on things abroad, an easy thing to happen when you feel completely alone.

    I knew the knife would come back and believe the “best of the knife” is still yet to come. My gut tells me it will play a major role in Kensi’s rescue/return – and perhaps not in the most positive way? Just my opinion!

    Deeks’ lines are always the highlight. (I was surprised at the recycling of the one from “Clue” though.) The fabric, the underwear (?!), the knife, and so on. As usual, he can’t hide his concern for and longing for his partner. The revelation about the creation of the knife was brilliant writing by Kalstein and I felt, portrayed perfectly by ECO. Clearly, a knife is sometimes more than just a simple knife. (And huge kudos to the lighting folks in that scene as well!) And the bonus in this episode? ECO’s giggle…. 😀


  6. Loved that giggle!


  7. Reader1976 // March 1, 2014 at 12:07 AM // Reply

    Great review! Loved all of the insights and the recap of all the funny lines..hehe.😊 Some of the lines were hilarious which made for an entertaining episode. I always enjoy Nate when he returns, although I too, wished that he had stretched that moment when he asked Deeks how Kensi was doing; to also check Deeks’s temperature as to any PTSD or his take on being apart from Kensi. Although (maybe just in my head) I came away with the thought that Deeks was regularly communicating with Kensi (otherwise, how would he know that Kensi doesn’t trust anyone over there). Hooray for that 😃
    I liked that this episode focused on Hetty and Tuhon’s relationship and I was mesmerized by the interplay of the past story with the present. After Hetty explained the meaning of when Tuhon would smile, G asked Hetty if he ever smiled at her and her smirk and reply was priceless.
    The theme of tribes throughout was a bit unsettling. Tuhon called Callen a tribe of one, Hetty told Nate that she brought him back for Deeks because no one can be a tribe of one, “not even me”. Tuhon asking who would take over for Hetty and so on. The talk about seeing “fear” seven years earlier when two men did not trust their training. And now he sees the change in them and the question, who takes over after? Your flame can be whatever you want it to be. Heavy thoughts. .. And then an imperceptible passing of the torch when Hetty credited the plan to Callen and Sam with Tuhon acknowledging that today, they were more Tuhon than him. At the end, when Hetty left early to spend time with an old friend, it seemed to foreshadow a future when Hetty would really retire, but not just yet.
    Best part of the episode for me was when Tuhon noticed Deek’s knife. Tuhon’s smile at the memory of his friend and little girl who was “the sweetest little girl he had ever met”. The look on Deek’s face…Sweet!


  8. Such a great review. I think Tuhon will be back, we still have a knife story which needs to be told.


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