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Review: NCISLA “Spiral” (S6E12)


Welcome back to NCIS:LA as we start the new year with a brand new episode. Humbug” is definitely going to be a tough act to follow for Densi fans, but if anyone is up to the task, I have faith that Dave Kalstein and Larry Teng will be able to bring it home! We’re going back to basics here and as we bask in the warmth of that Densi kiss, we have a team episode we can rally around. Callen has been taken hostage while undercover and the team has to find a way to rescue their leader despite the explosives in and around the building. It’s an exciting opening for the show as the terrorists gather the hostages to relay their demands to the outside world.

God, I Love Your Metaphors So Much.

Romance aside, Densi is back at it again, slinging barbs and using the physical humor that we have come to know and love (at least most of the time). I know Kensi enjoys playing badass Blye but sometimes I think Deeks also enjoys letting her take her best shot. Deeks can be such a drama queen when it suits him! Did Kensi really think she was going to be able to meditate with Deeks egging her on? In Ops, the team finds that Callen is one of the hostages that has been captured during a terrorist takeover of a company operated by the arms dealer being investigated by Callen. The group demands the release of 150 Freedom Fighters, the most dangerous criminals being detained by the US government. This operation is unlike any other Jihad event in the past and Deeks finds it a coincidence that the man being investigated, Thomas Blanchard, didn’t know the terrorists before he was killed. Granger sends Kensi and Deeks to help Sam infiltrate the building. As Callen tries to help some of the hostages, he makes a keen observation that the terrorists may not be who they say they are as they hang a propaganda banner upside down. Outside Sam finds the militants have rigged an elaborate system of explosives that are ready for detonation. He immediately calls off the rescue mission. The team is going to have to find another way to stop this attack…and without backup.

Wolves Never Linger Around Sheep for Long.

Sam sets out to locate Callen because he knows his partner will separate himself from the hostages to pursue the terrorists. Kensi and Deeks inconspicuously join the group of hostages but recognize their rescue plan will also have to wait as one of the terrorists walks around with a dead man switch in his hand. One false move and they are all dead. Kensi and Deeks need help from Ops if they are going to be able disarm the explosives near the hostages but Deeks is having trouble trying to text pictures to Eric and Nell. Sam discovers Callen is in his own pot of hot water, and together they overcome a group of terrorists but not before two of the men get away. After reviewing what was left behind, they realize the whole hostage scheme was a ruse to throw them all off the real reason for their mission. They go in hot pursuit and methodically take down as many of the terrorists as they can.

That’s a Terrible Idea…Let’s Do That.

Deeks doesn’t let a little thing like the fear of heights scare him into finding a way to get his message to Ops. Watching Deeks hanging off the side of that building nearly took my breath away… not that we haven’t seen Deeks in this situation before. It’s just another day at the office for our LAPD Detective. Back at the Mission, Granger finds out Blanchard, who is a known arms dealer, targeted the 19th floor of the Wyatt Tower for a reason… it’s right next door to a storage lab for a pharmaceuticals company. Blanchard was trying to get the bio-weapon they had unwittingly developed while developing a vaccine for a project named Spiral. All the vials of the vaccine were due to be delivered to the CDC the following morning… but the terrorists had other ideas. Meanwhile, Sam and Callen are performing daring acts of their own by hanging in elevator shafts to take out the rest of the rebels. It’s at this time that they discover who they are actually dealing with. Didn’t see this coming… Irish militants? This breakoff group of the Irish Republican Army was working with Blanchard but turned on him instead in the end.

Deeks Doesn’t Even Show Up Until Game Day

Deeks failed the EOD course? Oh boy… but you got to love his attitude when he tells Kensi that he’s got this one! Red, yellow or black? Kensi encourages him to trust his training (Kalstein’s original words of wisdom from “Kill House”) as Deeks desperately tries to remember which wire to cut. When Hetty returns from her lunch, Granger is ready to call in the DOD Special Forces to destroy Spiral which would mean huge collateral damages and loss of life, including all the members of her team. Hetty insists that she is the only one who will make that decision when it comes to her team. You go, girl! While Deeks is disarming the bomb, Callen and Sam are busy destroying the vials of vaccine before the terrorists can get to it. But the plot takes a new twist as the real mastermind of the operation is revealed. Dr. Ward has no intention of destroying the vaccine but to use it as a means of escape… but not before she infects Callen. Sam is not going to let Callen’s possible death go unavenged and takes out the last standing conspirator on the roof top of the tower. It was a very touching scene with Hetty and the team as they watch the medical unit try and save Callen’s life. When he wakes up in Georgia two weeks later, we’re all relieved to find him alive and well. Doesn’t look like the virus took away any of his bantering skills though, as Sam and Callen continue their bromance where they left off. Nice scene between the two partners.

Speaking of partners…. We end the show with a wonderfully written epilogue for Kensi and Deeks who are attempting to become one with the Universe as they try to meditate together. The innuendos are flying, courtesy of Mr. Deeks but I love how effortlessly this scene flows between the two. The fun continues as Eric and Nell join in the Zen fest too. Even though this was a Densi-light episode, I was happy to see the couple enjoying their new found romance. Even though Kensi is still trying to hide the relationship, I think the jig is up.   Great ending to another first rate episode from Dave Kalstein and the rest of the NCIS:LA crew.

Memorable Moments

  • It seems Deeks is the only fan of Dave’s metaphors these days but I loved the dig by Mr. Kalstein. I’m glad he has a sense of humor regarding his writing. It’s all that Sayoc training probably? LOL!
  • Hetty is having lunch in Nicaragua? Of course she is.
  • Eric and Nell seem to have a different demeanor about them after their trip to visit Nell’s parents for the holiday. Maybe one day we will find out what happened on that romantic holiday??

Deeks Moments

  • Is it me? But I just love how Deeks covers his mouth when he’s upset or trying to think things through. It’s such an endearing trait. More likely an ECO trait… but whatever.
  • Somehow I have a problem with Deeks failing the EOD course. Probably got bored. You know how he hates taking all those training courses!
  • Did you notice Deeks has been cursing more lately?  Could it be the new time slot?

Densi Moments

Deeks: Alright, that’s a human resources’ violation. I’m going to fill out some forms. There’s going to be consequences.

Kensi: You were in my energy sphere.

Deeks: God, I love your metaphors so much.

Kensi: It’s an allegory, actually.  

Deeks: Crush Crew on Deck? Rock and Roll.  

Kensi: Why do you have to bring sex into everything?

Deeks: I don’t know what you’re talking about sex? I’m talking about Zen. I’m talking about being one with the universe here.

Kensi: Zen, he says. Zen?? I know a metaphor when I hear one.

Deeks: Oh, you’ll love my metaphor when I whip it out.

Kensi: And there it is again.

Deeks: I don’t know what you’re talking about.  


It’s always great to see a Dave Kalstein script hit the screens and he never disappoints for me. We have another two week hiatus in front of us so we will have to wait patiently for a new episode. Make sure you check out a new Deeks’ Surf Log and Kensi’s Journal. We also have a new Writing Deeks this week as well. Happy Birthday, Marty Deeks! We have a special birthday fan fic on Thursday from hermoinesmydawg. So stay calm and wait for a new NCISLA coming your way soon!



Title: “Spiral”

Writer: Dave Kalstein

Director: Larry Teng

Original Air Date: January 5, 2015


Diane Volpe is a Contributing Editor at Follow her on Twitter: @phillydi

About Diane (428 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!

17 Comments on Review: NCISLA “Spiral” (S6E12)

  1. I Feel Possessed // January 6, 2015 at 2:01 PM // Reply

    It wasn’t a vaccine but a virus/bio weapon that had inadvertently been developed. Lucky for Callen that a vaccine had subsequently been created!

    It was a great episode, loved it!


  2. Not knowing what to expect after Humbug, I should have known that Kalstein wouldn’t disappoint! I was on he edge of my seat through practically the whole episode! And I loved the sweet scene in the hospital with Sam and Callen. Their partnership is something special and COD and LL are so great together.

    I paid close attention to Densi related things, just to see how they played it post-Humbug, and I liked what I saw. Did anyone else notice when Deeks went to go take pics of the bomb how Kensi gave him a couple pats on the back? I don’t think that’s something she would have done before and it was nice to see, as well as her encouragement when he was unsure about which wire to cut.

    And that end scene. I was dying. One of the funniest they’ve done. I loved the innuendos and cracked up when Neric joined them. And one of my favorite Densi exchanges to date;
    Deeks – How ya feelin’, Kens?
    Kensi – I hate you a lot.
    Deeks – Yeah, but it’s Opposite Day, so you love me. Oommmmmm.


  3. I enjoyed this episode right up to where my local CBS affiliate had “technical difficulties” and I missed the last 20 minutes. Needless to say I was not a happy camper. I finished watching it online this morning.

    This was a great episode. I loved almost everything about it. The banter between Kensi and Deeks, Sam and Callen – even Eric and Nell, especially at the end. I, too, have an issue with Deeks failing his EOD course. He attended college, passed the bar, is/was a lawyer, etc… I don’t buy it. What would have been more believable is that he let the team THINK he failed it – but maybe that’s just me.

    Another great review by the way. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, and I agree that it seems out of character that Deeks would fail an EOD course. That was surprising to hear them say.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for the great recap. I agree with many of the comments, loved the banter, bromance, and team work. Densi worked for me. It felt natural and the last scene was great. I agee about Deeks failing the EOD training seemed out of character. I wonder if it is a set up comment for a future plot line. I doubt major agencies keep people who fail trainings. Trainings are usually set up to pass. I don’t think I like Deeks being portrayed as not competent. It added to the tension. I wonder if training is about him becoming an agent. He can hang out of a building but gets unnerved by the bomb? It was the only off note. I thought it was such a vulnerable moment for Callen to admit he regrets not looking for his father. I hope they follow up on this.


  6. Well, you can make a correction to your list of people liking D.K. written metaphors, because there is at least one more person (besides the fictional Deeks), who likes the metaphors. Me. I find these “metaphors” to be like great “code words” for all things Densi. I do not take the metaphor thing so seriously anyway, and I think those “metaphors” are fun. Like this weeks episode proved with those “innuendo” (metaphors) in the end. And I just love metaphors. Saying things without saying them. Its like a “inside joke” … a way of communicating and saying things in a way that only these two know. Like with opening the box Kensi opens her heart to Deeks (this is my interpretation of the scene, and I choose to believe in this), and how they know what it means, when others do not. And that makes it more special,. because it is “their thing” and theirs alone. I like the idea of this.

    Of course Hetty has lunch in Nicaragua! She does have a special connection to that country. She did rule it once…for 72 hours. 😉

    As for Deeks failing his course. It makes sense. He is more street smart than anything else. Even if he is the only one in the team who ahs passed the bar exam (lawyer). I do not think him failing has anything to do with his intelligence, because he is very smart. I believe it has more to do with him preferring other learning methods than “boring” courses. Plus, even though he was really well trained even before joining ncis and he has been trained and improved his skills ever since, he is still kind of the “least trained” person in the team for all the “special skills”. It does not make him incompetent. He just leans differently. It is like he has said – he might fail missing a mark in the shooting range, but he does not miss the moving target when in the field, chasing bad guys. Also, he “did trust his training” and he did pass the test…in the field during this case…even if he failed a month ago in the classroom. I would never think that them writing Deeks failing the ncis training courses would mean him being incompetent if I would not read about this once in a while online. He is nothing but competent. He is amazing “actor” (all the undercover work, and aliases he does), and he can shoot well, climb well, do all other stuff,… and now also disarm bombs…

    Another thing I noticed is how for the second week/case already Callen has been asked “Who (the hell) are you (really)?” This, together with his comment about his father from this episode is, I believe, a hint for the future Callen story line waiting for us. later this season.

    Deeks sure does love teasing Kensi. First with holding his hand in front of her face while she meditates. He is so asking for her to “attack him”! And later making everything sound so “dirty” while using “metaphors” (innuendo). I choose to think that this is kind of “foreplay” for them or a way to say things without saying them, because they are at work, and must use “code words”

    This was another strong episode. I love how this show does use their strengths, and teams-of-two Sam/Callen, Deeks/Kensi, Nell/Eric, Hetty/Granger…even if the do mix it up at times and that works, too. But these duos work so well together, and it is joy to watch them in action…or sharing witty lines or special moments.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. One more comment, loved, loved, loved that the episode kept us guessing. I hope this is the sign of great cases to come where they integrate the characters into them.


  8. Another terrific review. You hit all the scenes that I liked. The most touching one for me was when Callen is infected and shuts himself inside that glass room to protect everyone else and I think especially Sam. The look the two men exchange is heartrending. They know what it means and their brotherly love for each other is on display for all to see. The look on Sam’s face is so moving and so perfect and made me believe wholeheartedly that Callen could possibly die, even though we knew he wouldn’t.

    Kalstein’ writing, as usual, was splendid. Loved that he took a shot at all of us for questioning his use of metaphors, and just maybe he was poking a little fun at himself too. Having Deeks say a line about “whipping out his metaphor”…well that was just hilarious.

    Deeks…always nice to see some skin, even if it’s just his arms. Do we know if ECO really hung out that window that high off the ground??? I got sick to my stomach just watching that scene, even though I’d seen the promo pics.

    So nice to see another team episode. Not enough episodes of them all working together to save the world, or at least a building in the heart of Los Angeles. Thanks for such a comprehensive review, Di. Always helps me before I rewatch.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great recap and review! I thoroughly enjoyed this episode and can’t wait to re-watch. Kalstein’s writing and Teng’s action sequences did not disappoint. Loved all of the action scenes, the elevator scene was fantastic and Deeks hanging out the window made me dizzy nauseous. I thought Sam’s reaction to Callen locking himself down in isolation was amazing. My heart melted when Callen came to and said that the last thing he remembered was seeing Hetty and then he thanked Sam for being there when he came to. It really brought home how the team is G’s family.
    And I am most happy that the Densi buzz from the Humbug episode is still intact. Loved all the Densi exchanges…”you’ll love my metaphor when I whip it out”…indeed!!


  10. Thanks for another great review Di. I liked the episode but I’m not overly enthusiastic. I suppose it’s hard to follow Humbug. Or maybe it’s that the opening scene in the gym with Deeks’ sleeveless shirt left my mind too mushy to focus for the next 55 minutes. (I try to avoid sneak peeks so hadn’t been able to fully prepare.) I was definitely thanking Dave Kalstein for writing that into the script. I did like the references to metaphors. I’m not sure exactly what point Kalstein was trying to make there, but at least it shows that he has seen and acknowledges some people’s criticisms.

    The plot- and the bad guys- weren’t the best. Die Hard is one of my all-time favorite movies, so I have mixed feelings about doing such a blatant copy. I guess I should think of it as a tribute. At least it was acknowledged by Deeks early on. I loved the fight scene with Deeks, Kensi and Don taking out the bad guy- nicely choreographed and shot. For the scene where he hung out of the building, I would have really liked a shot taken from far below or from above (we got both I think in The Debt). Here you couldn’t tell for sure whether there might have been a ledge or a balcony just below him, so for me it took away a bit from the stunt.

    I was definitely unhappy with Deeks failing his course. It felt like it was done soley to set up the “Trust your training” line. And while I liked that line, and that moment between them, I wish it could have been said without Deeks looking totally confused. I really can’t imagine him not taking such a class seriously. I would think he’d be anxious to impress his classmates, teammates, and bosses with his performance.


  11. Loved & enjoyed the review Di…..and Karen I felt the same way as you did about that scene with Deeks hanging outside the building.

    The director Larry Teng…bless his heart….went with the most banal & least effective camera angle for that scene…which was doubling disappointing and puzzling..since he had a lot of inventive and cool camera angles..throughout the rest of the episode.

    It would have been way more effective & death defying looking…..if Teng had given us a shot above Deeks head or even below the ledge ECO was standing on…..( as you mentioed in your post)… give us a better idea…and a bird’s eye view….of just how high up & precarious a perch Deeks had

    I thought it was a nice homage to “Die Hard”..and Teng did a really terrfic job…with all of the heavy duty action scenes.

    My fave action moment….was when the bad guy stooped to pick up the ringing cell phone and Callen suddendly popped up and threw him down the elavator shaft ….while Sam hung upside down from the side of the ladder.. and took out his 2 bad guy buddies.

    I like how Sam & Callen… went hunting for the bad guys & did what they had to do… survive and safe the rest of the hostages..

    But my favorite scene of the whole episode was the final one.
    Course…being a true blue Densi fan…I loved all the Densi banter but also when Eric & Nell joined them on the mat.

    I laughed outloud…when Eric did the motorboat sound with his mouth..and Deeks sarcastically says…
    “That’s a weird way to start it”:

    The soothing music at the very end and how the camera panned upwards .added a really nice touch.,…as we saw them sitting around in a circle holding hands..

    It struck me looking at that scene……( more than once ..he typed sheepishly pun intended! lol ) that not only is the team a family…. but they are also good friends and a real life as well.

    After Humbag…I’d rate this show the 2 nd best of the S6.

    The earlier episodes of S6 to me…felt very uneven and pretty ho hum…like they couldn’t find thier footing…pun intented lol…..but the last 2…have the sound & feel of the better episodes from the past seasons…so hopefully..they can keep up the same high quality..from here on out.



  12. Thought it was interesting that someone said they actually filmed this episode before Humbug because the ice rink in LA wasn’t available – thus they had to know “about” the densi shift but hadn’t done it yet. I had this feeling throughout that Deeks was just thoroughly enjoying what we was doing. Those aren’t the right words…just a joy at being who and what he was. I didn’t get the failed the course thing either??? Maybe claim he didn’t know if it stuck or something and then get it done, but Fail? Nah! One thing I thought strange was that none of the hostages ever looked at these two intruders except the guard. They scoot in next to people, climb over them to get to the door, run in and out., etc., and they never look up – look surprised – nothing. Loved the fight scene with the bomber, but wouldn’t a hit like Kensi took in the back have done some damage? These guys sure do get thrown around a lot and walk away unharmed! I have noticed the dialogue “expansion” since the shift to 10:00 pm, although at my house we see it at 9:00 so I don’t have any problems with conflict with Castle :-)!


  13. Thanks for all the kind words! See you back here in two weeks!


  14. Thanks for the review!
    I’m quite late with my comment, but I took it easy since we won’t have any new episode until January 19th *sigh*

    If you were looking for romance after the sweet “Hambug”, you might have had a letdown, but the episode in itself wasn’t disappointing though.

    What I found interesting was the mix between very good action scenes and the usual, almost reassuring (for us fans), Densi banter that this time was even a little “more” (I’m referring to the ending scene in the gym).
    What I especially liked is that we know they are together and see things in this light. It’s what I have always hoped for: to have more insight into Deeks’ and Kensi’s story than the rest of the team (at least so far).
    I also liked that Deeks and Kensi still seem to work very well together so let’s hope they won’t be split for imaginary reasons like they can’t be a team now that they are together.
    They are still the kick-ass partners we met many years ago and have loved ever since!

    What I liked less of the episode was that the writer used his own script to make fun of other previous scenes he had written (we all know what I’m talking about!) and probably mock part of the fandom too. This seemed to be a little “childish” behaviour for a very good writer we know he is (still?) and I am afraid that future episodes written by the same author may have a similar “revenge” attitude towards whoever dared to criticize his past choices of words and images.


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