Dr. Brenda (bpnp) | Karen P. (anonkp)
Welcome to a new wikiDeeks feature we’re calling Debating Deeks, where two fans take on a controversial subject in the NCIS:LA fandom. Today I’m very happy to be joined by new wikiDeeks contributor Dr. Brenda to discuss the question of whether Deeks and Kensi should move their relationship forward. While I’ve been one of the more vocal proponents of just that, for the sake of argument I’ll take the opposing view, while Brenda will support Densi stepping up their relationship. Don’t forget to vote at the end and let us know what side you are on!
Brenda, take it away…
Brenda: It has been a very long time since Deeks has spoken of a girlfriend or Kensi has mentioned a “first date.” Initially this was somewhat of a running joke. That era is history and they are not seeing anyone else, even though their “thing” is not explicitly defined. Deeks makes a reference to their exclusivity (“Does this mean we’re official?”) when Kensi gives him her knife in “Frozen Lake.” Although she brushes him off, they are not seeing others. Since they have been together for almost five years and are clearly exclusive, even if unofficial, isn’t physical intimacy an obvious and logical part of an exclusive relationship?
Karen: You are so right about them being in a monogamous relationship, and a lengthy one at that. To quote Deeks, “who doesn’t love intimacy? Especially the intimate kind of intimacy.” If they were both in the right emotional place to be dating, then I might agree that they should get physical. The problem is that since “Spoils of War,” Deeks has taken a significant step back from this relationship. He still wants it with everything he has (“raccoons do mate for life”), but Afghanistan traumatized him, and by returning that knife, he’s at least temporarily retreated from anything “official.”
In the scene by the Cadillac in “Three Hearts,” Deeks makes a veiled reference to his trip to the dark side in Afghanistan, telling Kensi that his closeness to her caused him to lose his way. He’s struggling with the fact that he tortured the cleric. It’s like the very worst he’s ever feared he’d become (his father) has come true times 100. He probably doesn’t feel worthy of being with Kensi at this point, and may even fear that he could hurt her. Why not give him some time to come to terms with what happened there?
Brenda: You are correct about Deeks’ current state of mind, but concerns about being “too messed up” or “not in the right place” also existed pre “Spoils of War” and are a bit puzzling. How many adults abstain from sex: A) period or B) because they have unresolved issues? In my professional experience and from what my younger/unmarried work colleagues tell me, physical intimacy waits for hardly anything today. I spend a lot of time helping people manage the health consequences of their sexual practices. Those most affected by painful issues in their past seem more likely to engage in early physical intimacy in a new relationship or intimacy with multiple partners.
Kensi & Deeks have shown they do not know how to navigate and tolerate the intensity of their deep emotional connection. As they approach the reality of their intense connection they have alternated with great and various fears. However, the usual response to this is sublimation of the feelings and pursuit of the physical relationship, which is, um– more cut and dried, so to speak, than trying to navigate feelings. Despite their issues, their prolonged celibacy is implausible.
Karen: I will concede that it’s not realistic for these two people to have stayed apart this long. And even though I’m arguing to keep them apart, I cannot contend that they should stay that way until they both work out all their personal issues. It’s not only unrealistic, I’m not even sure it’s healthy. They could both benefit from the comfort and support of being in a loving relationship. Hey, wait a minute, whose side am I on? Right, waiting… So it’s not that Deeks needs to deal with his daddy/rage issues, and Kensi needs to address her abandonment issues. I’m just saying that Deeks needs to get a handle on his Kensi issues, the ones that arose when he not only thought she was dead, but thought he was responsible for her death.
Brenda: True. But post-“Spoils of War” is a different issue. Deeks does not have “Kensi issues” as much as “Hetty issues.” He thinks Hetty sent Kensi to Afghanistan due to their relationship. He crosses the line with the cleric because he thinks Kensi is dead and he/their relationship is to blame. He makes a bad call in acute grief due to multiple deceptions. Angelo then persuades him that there is moral equivalence between his deliberately crossing a line with a target’s wife and Deeks’ actions with the cleric. Clearly no moral equivalence exists, even without Deeks knowledge of Hetty’s deception. Deeks’ thinking is clouded by misplaced guilt, which makes him susceptible to Angelo’s mind games. I will concede this could negatively affect a physical relationship. Where is Nate?!
Karen: Don’t get me started on Hetty’s deceptions! I totally agree with your assessment of Afghanistan and Angelo- Deeks’ is suffering from misplaced guilt. But he also fears future dangers. This is an extremely high stakes world where a single moment of poor judgment could get them killed. And the consequences aren’t limited to their own lives- innocent lives are at stake as well.
We see this in “The Frozen Lake” when Deeks fails to take the shot. His judgment call to protect Kensi allows the bad guy to get away with information that could have made all of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons vulnerable to terrorists. In “Ascension,” what would have happened if Kensi cut Deeks loose in that garage? If he were her lover, could she have stayed on mission? What if he were her husband, or the father of her children? Might their personal relationship have allowed Sidorov to escape with his weapons? I’m not saying Deeks and Kensi can never be together, just that they should take the Ghurka’s advice and move forward cautiously. Even if it’s not the norm, that’s OK because their work circumstances are far from normal.
Brenda: That is an excellent point and one I have considered a lot. Densi has echoes of my own relationship with my husband whom I met in a high-stakes, life/death work environment. We were friends, dated, engaged and eventually married while working there– so I know it is possible to overcome those obstacles. I will concede that our own lives were not at stake, but I did have to make life/death judgment calls about someone else’s life based on advice given to me by my husband. I did so not based on our relationship but on my trust in his prior experience and training. That is what happens in high risk occupations– you are extensively trained to be a professional first and “trust your training.”
Karen: Something tells me that you and your husband were better prepared to “navigate and tolerate the intensity” of your “deep emotional connection,” as you described above, than Kensi and Deeks currently are. And while I would agree that training could do nothing but help, wouldn’t Densi be better served working on their infamous communication skills before they raise the stakes even higher? Imagine these two in the midst of a lovers’ quarrel while taking on a risky undercover operation. If they can’t talk about their relationship without calling it a “thing” or using layers of metaphors, what chance do they really have to succeed, especially given the high stress and dangers of their job?
Brenda: True, we’ve been married for 18 years so we clearly did work things out. I love metaphors, but agree they could speak more frankly. Maybe it would be better to express themselves non-verbally.
Deeks’ ability to manage emotions at work showed in his willingness to endure torture to keep Sam’s wife safe in “Descent.” This despite the sometimes-rocky relationship he has had with Sam. Even when Deeks thinks Kensi is dead and he is to blame in “Spoils of War,” he still has a limit to how far he can go with the cleric. That is a far better test of his focus than any lovers’ quarrel.
The emotions are already there for Kensi & Deeks so those variables are present, irrespective of their physical relationship. Partner relationships are inherently close: Kensi was very affected by Dom’s death. In “One More Chance” Deeks says he was fearless when he worked alone. Kensi counters with the reminder that no one is watching your back. Since they are deeply connected partners, why not be scared but happy and know the back you’re covering really, really well?
Karen: As much as I’d love to see some “non-verbal expression,” Sabatino’s words from “Wanted” are worth considering here. He told Kensi that if he fell for her, he wouldn’t be able to handle seeing her in danger, so she couldn’t be his partner. We need look no further than Sam and Michelle in that same episode for an example of this dilemma. Sam defied Hetty’s orders and broke out of jail to protect his wife. His single-minded focus on Michelle’s safety prevented him from staying on mission. Deeks and Kensi may fear the same thing- they each desperately want to have their partner’s back but could become too close to do so, and will have to choose between a work partnership and a private one. That’s a huge looming decision, and another reason to take things slowly.
Brenda: But it is different for Sam because Michelle is not just his wife, but the mother of his child(ren?). When you have a high-stakes job it is very difficult to be in a relationship with a person who has a “normal” job because they just don’t get it. Even if they eventually chose not to work together, Kensi & Deeks would still have that deep understanding about the incredibly difficult nature of their work, which allows for a smoother home life. Despite their issues, they do value communication and honesty and neither one would want a relationship like Callen & Joelle, where she is oblivious to his work. They both need to be with someone who understands and can tolerate their intense and unpredictable occupation. What better way to celebrate surviving a harrowing experience or relieve the stress of a difficult case than to go home together?
Karen: You’re right that their work history would help their relationship even if they stopped working together. But all this talk of discontinuing their partnership, and having kids, just points out how much is at stake for them personally. You’ve painted a nice picture of how it could work out well, but let’s consider for a moment what happens if it doesn’t. They won’t just lose their girlfriend/boyfriend, their best friend, and their work partner, but at least one of them will have to leave the team. And that means losing their family. For Deeks, it’s the only family he has. No wonder he wants to take it slow.
Brenda: True, but they have already passed the point where all of that could occur. I would be happy to meet with Kensi and Deeks to offer advice on how to have a long and happy relationship with a colleague. Or Nate and I could partner up to offer relationship counseling! Seriously though, I realized a long time ago that part of why I root for these characters to be together is because their story resonates with my own life. The engaging authenticity of the Densi story clearly draws the passion of an ever-growing audience. Go Densi!
Karen: Well said. I couldn’t agree more!
Brenda and I had a great time with our debate. What do you think Kensi and Deeks should do? Vote below and tell us in the comments if we missed any good arguments!