Roundtable Discussion Part One: wikiDeeks talks Season Five Highs & Lows!
Lindy: You liked the raccoons?
Gayle: I’m anti-raccoon but otherwise I’m pro-metaphor!
Karen S: I’m pro-metaphor but it seems there were so many at the same time, we had the raccoons, the knives and the boxes and it was kind of confusing.
Gayle: It was a lot but I think the great thing about metaphorical story telling is that it makes us stand back and think about it. If they were just being very obvious and blatant about things, then it would be just shallow storytelling and I think it takes the characters and the show to a deeper level.
Karen P: What I liked the best about Season 5 was that ECO’s acting was amazing all the way through. He was heartbreaking when Kensi went away, and I agree that “Spoils of War” was the best episode they have done. I feel that Deeks was the emotional center of the show this year and in past seasons, it’s been Callen looking for his past or Sam with Moe and Kensi looking for her father’s killer, and this was the first season where Deeks carried that emotional load, and how he was doing was really the question that carried forward from episode to episode and I liked that a lot.
Brenda: I totally agree. I feel Eric did a great job of displaying a great range of emotion with what he was given. I felt the season on a whole was uneven, where I thought there were some episodes that were awesome and others were not. I thought there was more uneven writing this year than in the past. I absolutely loved “Spoils of War” and because so much of it revolved around Deeks, I thought that could easily have been the season finale. It really showcased the struggle Deeks went through, and he saved everyone else’s butt as they were pinned down and he rescued them, and that could have been a great season finale.
Karen P: I felt that “The Livelong Day” where he was a nerd was great and he was terrific in that. It was a team episode and not necessarily the ‘we saved the world episode.’ But overall the season, with jumping from episode to episode, didn’t have enough continuity, I think.
Diane: Lowlights? Where do we start?
Brenda: How about Hetty? I know people have varying opinions about Hetty and I have been a friend of Hetty up until partway through the season, and I can’t remember what episode it was where she just made me irrevocably mad and I was sure I was never going to like her again. I had softened off a bit but I think it was with that whole Kensi and Jack thing where she knew full well who this guy is and she doesn’t say anything to anybody, and it wasn’t even addressed. To me that was just over the top even though she has done a lot of crazy things.
Lindy: I have a feeling they are going to pick this up for next season and this isn’t done yet, the whole thing with Jack and Kensi and Hetty. It’s going to be a beginning part of another arc because they just left that too abruptly and here she goes flying off to Washington DC. I think they are going to pick that thread up again.
Karen P: I hope you are right Lindy, because otherwise I don’t know how I’m going to deal with the frustration. It was unclear to me at the end whether Kensi and Deeks didn’t question the insane coincidence of Kensi running into Jack again in Afghanistan, which makes them really naïve, or did they understand what Hetty had known and were OK with it? I don’t even understand how that could be, and if the writers aren’t able to address it I think I will be forever angry.
Karen S: I’m wondering if they are going to take this thing to Washington and Hetty will get into trouble for what she did in Afghanistan, and perhaps Densi will come in and have her back and help save her despite how they were the ones who were hurt in the process.
Lindy: I also think they had ample time where they had at least two episodes at the end where they could have dealt with all that and I was really surprised when they didn’t, which makes me think they will pick it up again and start it over and maybe we will get some clarification and maybe a confrontation between Deeks and Hetty. Kensi has got to be pissed when she finds out too.
Brenda: There were a lot of inconsistencies this season. I mean the last time we see Sabatino, he’s totally hitting on Kensi and all over her, and now he’s totally angry and hostile. Are we supposed to believe that Afghanistan changed him, or what happened? To me that was another one of those implausible things like Hetty, where you’re not sure what’s going on with these characters here. I also thought it was very implausible that Nate was there when Deeks was recovering , but then Kensi comes back from her ordeal and he’s (Nate) not around to make sure that she is OK? I would imagine that there would have had to have been some kind of mandatory debrief. Did we just miss all that? Because to me that was just a huge omission.
Lindy: I agree. I think they really dropped the ball after “Spoils of War.” I think they had a chance with the last two episodes to address all these things and they didn’t do it, and I don’t understand why.
Karen S: I think a couple of those episodes were written before all that and they aired them later, and that could be a part of the inconsistency. But I didn’t like the way they were treating Deeks again like he was a doofus. That was annoying to me too.
Brenda: I was kind of pleased with how accommodating they were with Daniela’s pregnancy, but I felt that that may have somewhat thrown their story planning for a loop and may have been some of the reason behind some of the inconsistency this season.
Lindy: No, I don’t buy it. I think they knew a long time before and I don’t think she sprung it on them, and I couldn’t think why they couldn’t encapsulate it all and deal with it. I don’t think they are that stupid. I just don’t understand why they did what they did. Part of me thinks that Shane Brennan has dropped the ball for the series because he’s concentrating on the New Orleans show, and that really bothers me because they are taking it to a new time period and that makes me very nervous.
Gayle: I’m with Brenda on this that to me they had so many things planned but because of Daniela they tried to make some adjustments, and a couple of the pieces didn’t fit together like we’re accustomed to. So I’m trying to set all of that aside and go into Season 6 with an open mind.
Brenda: I think that was a key phrase- “like we were accustomed to”- because when I look back at some of the old episodes, why didn’t I like it (this season)? Was it because I am pro Densi and there was just not enough of that, or were the past seasons at such a high level that you almost shoot yourself in the foot when you are always producing stuff that is really awesome all the time, because if it’s only slightly off of that, even if it is still just really good, but it feels like it is sort of a drop off in quality?
Diane: Karen P, I know you have expressed certain objections to “Three Hearts?”
Karen P: I know we touched on the metaphors… the many, many metaphors. I really liked “The Frozen Lake’s” metaphor- I thought the whole martial arts angle was a legitimate way for Kensi to communicate what she was feeling, and I think it worked really well. But by the time we got to “Three Hearts,” Dave Kalstein just went around the bend with layers and layers of metaphors, not to mention the structure of that story, which was the third episode in a row that he wrote with a was-he-a-good-guy-or-a-bad-guy stranger that was thrown into the team. You had the Gurkha, Tuhon, and Angelo. It started to feel formulaic by that time, that this was a Dave Kalstein script and this is what he is doing and it was very frustrating.
Join us next week as we discuss “Spoils of War”, all those metaphors and spoilers that never came to pass. Next time… only on wikiDeeks!
I agree with Lindy, the season started out with so much strength and fizzled off. The finale didn’t seem like a finale and honestly I have little worry over Sam and Callen’s peril.
It seemed as there were so many underlying storylines that I had trouble following what story they were trying to tell us. We didn’t really have a bad guy persay and was it just me or were there a lot more failed missions this season?
And maybe my opinion won’t be well received, but I felt as though sending Kensi to Afghanistan to be tortured herself was sort of a slap in the face of Deek’s torture. Don’t get me wrong the rescue mission to Afghanistan was one of my favorite episodes and it allowed us a glimpse into Deeks mentality…
I am however looking forward to the new season and seeing Deeks and Kensi come to Sam and Callen’s rescue. I also think we should spam the NCIS LA writers and see if they can write in a Callen/Deeks partners during a case episode!!
I am definitely anti-metaphor, and Karen’s right. The Frozen Lake (metaphor-wise) was okay, even though in my opinion it seemed a little OOC for Kensi to randomly spew out a metaphor, but then again, who am I (a viewer) to decide what’s OOC? But Three Hearts was ridiculous. When it first aired I just laughed. And laughed. Because they could not have just had a serious conversation involving their relationship in a secret code that included boxes, raccoons, and knifes. Nobody watching understood. Reading the comments on the NCIS: LA facebook page was actually pretty comical at the time. Did Kensi and Deeks even understand what they were trying to say?
The bit in the discussion about the progressive downfall in quality was spot on. The peaks were great (Ascension, Spoils of War), and the falls were hard. I too hope that Brennan hasn’t begun neglecting LA for New Orleans, even though that’s kind of what it feels like.
What’s happened with Hetty is disappointing to say the least. The writers either (a) wanted us to stop liking her or (b) didn’t think the Afghanistan arc through. I personally don’t want Deeks to easily forgive her and have her back when the time comes that she’s held accountable for her mistakes. It was because of Hetty that he felt awful for finally crossing the line with Kensi, it was because of Hetty he tortured a man, and it was because of Hetty that he almost lost his partner. Kensi and Deeks should both be pissed.
Calling out the fact that Hetty called in Nate for Deeks but not for Kensi was a good catch. A psych follow-up after what Kensi went through is most likely mandatory, even if she wasn’t displaying signs of PTSD when she returned to Los Angeles. Even if Hetty thinks that she did Kensi a favor by not making her go to a therapist since Kensi isn’t the Spill Your Guts to a Stranger Type, it was probably hurting her in the long run. Kensi went through a lot of physical and mental turmoil on the mission, from getting beat by terrorists in a cave to meeting her ex-fiance. I wish they would’ve brought Nate back, or at least mentioned him being in town so that he could talk to Kensi.
I agree with Lindy that this season started out with a bang and with some notable episodes such as Frozen Lake, Three Hearts, Spoils of War, the rest of the season ended with a “putt putt”. In past seasons, I have re-watched almost all of the episodes multiple times. This season, all are recorded yet I have only watched 8 or 9 of the episodes multiple times. I think it has more to do with the continuity policy of the writing pool. It appears that all the writers are given a broad outline of the season arcs and each writing team goes off into their separate corners and writes for their assigned episodes without connecting the dots to episodes that come before or after it. It would make sense (maybe just to me) that the stories should be written well in advance so that the writers can meet and discuss whether an event, issue or conversation in their episode should be moved forward in a subsequent episode. Particularly in episodes that have huge emotional or physical trauma, it would make sense that there would be some continuity or resolution. I am still left wondering if Deeks truly recovered from his ordeal or if Sam will have a PTSD episode.
As for Hetty, I am still a fan although there were a few moments that made me pause. Some of the criticism such as her harshness with not wanting Deeks back if he is not the old Deeks didn’t bother me. I see Hetty as the ultimate “buck stops here” leader. If Deeks is not ready, why put the rest of her elite team at risk of failure or possibly death? Hetty is savvy; she knows what it takes to get Deeks to move towards recovery when she materialized in his home. Her mixture of concern and dropping the boom on Deeks made him open to the possibility of moving on. Although she did not inform Kensi that the white ghost was Jack (top secret is top secret), she knew that Kensi would not take the shot and she was right. However, she did miscalculate how Kensi would handle the revelation and hearing of her capture sent the team to the rescue. It made for a great “must re-watch” episode and the best acting in all the seasons by ECO. And upon Kensi’s return, she was reluctant to send her out into the field because of a similar yet disastrous past experience with another agent going back into the field. We are, after all, a product of our past experiences and Hetty has a wealth of experience to draw from and her decisions although unpopular, I can understand. Although Hetty was skittish, in the end, her gut told her Kensi belongs in the field. All is forgiven.
I personally love metaphors. I love how sometimes they are instantly crystal clear and sometimes, it makes me think before the light bulb comes on. I also like how “my take” on some of the metaphors have been different from other viewers and that’s fun to read too. I personally liked the raccoon metaphor. We all know that Angelo was just spinning stories to keep Densi off balance and to avoid interrogation. I thought Angelo made up the raccoon metaphor because of Kensi’s mismatched eyes and he was trying to get into their heads. I floated that idea after the episode aired but not sure anyone agreed. I have to say that I loved all of Dave Kalstein’s episodes and his episodes left subsequent episodes somewhat lacking.
There were many opportunities in all of the episodes to insert some back story (a soundbite, if you will) on Callen, Sam, Hetty and even Granger to further our interest. By doing so, I would likely be more concerned about Callen and Sam gliding out to Deep Sea than I am. And that’s not to say that I do love Callen and Sam, I still do, but the connection felt in previous seasons seemed to have diminished.
Love these roundtables! All of you bring something to think about. Keep it up 😊