wikiDeeks News Ticker

Review: NCISLA “Exposure” (S5E23)

NCISLA - Exposure - Deeks - Kensi

As we ramp up to the Season 5 finale next week, Joseph C. Wilson and Jordana Lewis Jaffe teamed up to give us this week’s serious but nicely written and very team-centered episode. After a season filled with partner swaps and separations, the focus has returned to our four original pairings, complete with solid teamwork, and team spirit, from all the teammates. But first, the plot…

The Story This Week

We open with a classic Joey Wilson “BOOM!” Unfortunately the explosion at a charity Marine Corps event at the beach results in a number of casualties, and the team sets out to find the culprits responsible. Their initial lead, courtesy of an ambitious news reporter, sets them on the trail of an Iranian Islamic militant group. While Kensi and Deeks track a dead end lead provided by said reporter, Sam and Callen witness her death at the hands of the real bad guy, a South Sudanese immigrant named Bakri Deng. Deng, driven to terror after his family was killed, was acting in a twisted attempt to bring attention to the plight of his homeland. Did I mention that his name is Bakri Deng, that he is from South Sudan, and that he detonated the bomb? Anyhow, they also learn that Deng has two roommates who are out to set off a much larger explosion, one that could take out an entire city block. As time ticks down, the four agents converge on the targeted building and successfully stop the attack.

Hitting Close to Home

Since the episode centered around a deadly terrorist attack, it carried an appropriately serious tone throughout. We see each set of partners respond to the events in their own way. Family man Sam sees a child’s shoe in the wreckage and realizes how easily his own family could have been victims. Callen keeps him focused on the mission to find those responsible. Kensi, who grew up “a Marine brat,” also identifies with the victims. Deeks does his best to lighten her mood, joking about crazy house colors, while also reassuring her that they would find the bad guys.Eric seems shaken watching the footage on the giant screen in Ops and Nell commiserates. Even Hetty seems more rattled than usual. She comments to Granger about the never-ending stream of violence they face and Granger makes a sobering reference to September 11th. But they encourage each other to continue to fight. Each team member is able to show a moment of sadness or vulnerability because they know their partner is there to support them. Callen summed it up beautifully at the end in an atypical display of team spirit, telling the other five, “When everything’s on the line like it was today, there’s no one I’d rather have by my side.” It’s no wonder that Hetty considers them her ’27 Yankees, a reference to the championship baseball team famous for its spectacular line-up, the first six of which were famously coined a “Murderers’ Row.”

A Lingering Mystery for Neric Shippers

Oh Neric shippers we feel your pain! The terrorist attack makes Eric realize that there is no time like the present to say what he really means, so he does just that to Nell, in the form of a written communication. She reciprocates. We get to see their reactions (adorable) but we can only guess at the notes’ contents. It seems the writers have decided that if they can have fun torturing us Densi fans with not knowing what’s really going on between our favorite couple, they might as well do the same to Neric shippers. Now, it’s no secret that I want Densi together already, but I can understand the opposing arguments in favor of keeping them apart for awhile longer. What I cannot understand is why the writers seem to take such joy in keeping viewers from simply understanding what is actually happening between these characters. Either put them together or keep them apart, but why do we have to play guessing games?

Harbingers of Doom

It may have just been the serious tone of the episode, but it really felt that the writers were planting hints about the dangers awaiting the team next week as the season draws to an end. The emphasis was on how closely knit the team has become, ending with them walking out together for drinks. Granger notes that it is never easy sending them into harm’s way, not knowing if they’ll return safely. Hetty responds, “They always come back Owen. Until one day they don’t.” Cue the dramatic music!

Memorable Moments

  • Call me shallow, but I shall never complain about any reference to my favorite Deeks, Surfer Deeks, especially if he comes dressed in beachwear. And I feel nearly as strongly that any episode with Deeks in a white v-neck or a black t-shirt, let alone both, definitely has its highlights.
  • The attack seemed to weigh heavily on Hetty, along with the pressures of her responsibilities to send her team into danger. But she was as determined as ever to complete her mission. Who wouldn’t want someone like her watching over their hometown? I loved this line: “One thing’s for certain. Foreign, domestic, they picked the wrong city to mess with.”
  • During the Neric note exchange, it would have been poetic justice for Kensi or Deeks to be the one to interrupt, given the number of times Nell or Eric has interrupted a key Densi conversation.
  • The scene with the kooky alien conspiracy guy provided the night’s best moment of lightness. You could tell something was off about him right away. The guest actor (Ivar Brogger) delivered his lines wonderfully. Leave it to New Age Deeks to catch on to his craziness first. It’s a shame the case was so serious or Deeks could have really had fun sharing his Area 51 theories.
  • The serious case kept the banter to a minimum, but I loved Sam and Callen’s exchange about Waldo, which ended with Sam’s musing that, “You know 17th century French poets, but you don’t know Waldo.”
  • Ouch! I wouldn’t want Sam (or LL Cool J or his stunt double) to land on me the way he dove on Deng.
  • Does anyone else think Deeks may have been thinking about more than just packing boxes when he mentioned boxes to Kensi?
  • One of my favorite moments was when Callen repeated to Kensi and Deeks what Hetty had told him: “Come back in one piece, alright?” Bad-ass Blye, whose middle name might as well be Danger, just looked at him like he was crazy. Deeks’ smile of appreciation was sweet though. Deeks is always so happy when anyone shows they care about him.
  • Did Neric look a little frustrated when Callen invited them for drinks? Somehow I got the feeling they wanted to be someplace else.

Classic Deeks

Kensi: Are you pointing north?
Jarvis: Yes.
Deeks: You mean like North Valley, or north, Canada?… Are we talking about aliens?
Jarvis: Mmm hmm.  They’re everywhere.
Deeks: Alright…  Wow, so that happened.

Classic Densi

Kensi: Maybe I should get an apartment here.
Deeks: You’ll never move. You’d have to pack up all your hoarding things.
Kensi: Oof, that would take an entire week.
Deeks: Weeks, plural. Plus moving takes lots of boxes.
Kensi: Ooh, poor trees.
Deeks: Mmm hmm. We both know that you kill every tree, plant and flower that you touch.
Kensi: OK, I meant in theory. Plus I’ve stopped buying them, OK?… After I kill the next orchid I’ll stop buying them.

Callen may have thought this was a “Hell of a day,” but something tells me there’s worse in store for him next week. We shall see how Hetty’s all-star team fares against the bad guys in the season finale. Be sure to tune in then for PhillyDi’s review of “Deep Trouble.”


Title: “Exposure”
Writers: Joseph C. Wilson, Jordana Lewis Jaffe
Director: Robert Florio
Original Air Date: May 6, 2014

Karen P.

Karen P. is a contributor at Follow her on Twitter: @anonklp

About Karen P (273 Articles)
wikiDeeks Writer & Assistant Editor. I never wrote for fun before... until my ECO-obsession. Now I love to analyze any and all aspects of the best character on television.

7 Comments on Review: NCISLA “Exposure” (S5E23)

  1. Great review!!!! Can’t waitfor the next one!


  2. Natalia Simon // May 8, 2014 at 1:55 PM // Reply

    I think every week I write the same, but: I love reading reviews. It’s like watching the episode together and discuss the impressions at the end of it … without thinking that we are so far (in my case) you all.
    The end of the episode was a farewell (I felt so) to the good times until next season.
    I liked Sam, G, Neric, Kensi, Hetty, even Granger, but Deeks was very serious (I look him sad and thoughtful after 3hearts).


  3. Sweet Lu // May 8, 2014 at 4:15 PM // Reply

    Super job on the review Karen, not that I’m surprised. I agree this had a team atmosphere about it and was on the serious side…seemed a set up for next weeks finale…I think it’s Callen’s turn to be in danger. Was hoping for more Deeks and Kensi, but not expecting there would be…you were right about the black shirt…he looked terrific. Good insight as usual.


  4. mountaingirl89 // May 8, 2014 at 6:47 PM // Reply

    was it me or was the whole “They always come back Owen. Until one day they don’t.” a foreshadow? I mean they’ve been saying that someone will be leaving……Also, everyone seemed more sentimental in this episode than I’ve ever seen them! Especially Granger!

    I loved Kensi’s look when Callen quoted Hetty. That was so not him and I agree with Sam.

    For some reason I thought Deeks said he slept in on Saturdays at first, then I saw his clothing. 😛

    I’ve also wondered about the whole thing with Neric. I mean, they said that the episode with Eric’s gaming friend was going to be a game changer. I think THIS was the game changer. I loved the looks he gave Nell and I loved the fact that it looked like he had his arm around her in that ending scene before they left to go get drinks.

    I loved what Callen said, “When everything’s on the line like it was today, there’s no one I’d rather have by my side.” , Though I thought he was just talking about Eric and Nell at first.

    Great review!

    sadly I won’t be able to watch the finale until the next week! *sniff sniff* :_(


  5. Wendi Pugh // May 9, 2014 at 7:00 AM // Reply

    Great review! Thanks as always….


  6. Reader1976 // May 11, 2014 at 5:08 PM // Reply

    Great review! I always enjoy the reviews and everyone’s comments!


  7. Thanks for the replies everyone. I too enjoy reading all of your thoughts about the episode.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: