Mid-Season 6 Roundtable Part 1
The gang at wikiDeeks came together once again for our semi-annual roundtable discussion to talk about Deeks, Densi and how the new season is shaping up so far. The reviews are mixed yet we all agreed we’re excited but a little bit anxious about Densi’s future. Our contributors are looking forward to seeing what the rest of the year will bring, so let’s listen in to what they have to say…
Diane: We’re halfway through the season, and if we were rating the season so far on a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the best, 1 being terrible, where would you put Season 6 so far and why?
Randy: Well I would have to say, for me personally, things have just kind of started off for me kind of on a blah note. We had Sam and Callen on a sub. That was an interesting episode but it just didn’t really seem to be a season finale on the high note that they had done before, especially with the emotional part of Deeks’ torture that one year. I mean, that was just so powerful, and you’re kind of anticipating what they’re going to do in Season 6, and it felt like it took them a little while to find their groove. But the last 3 episodes, not including “Humbug” because it was such a strong Densi episode, but the other ones felt like they were building toward another emotional season finale. But this season, I’m kind of hedging my bets, I’m going to say a 3.
Karen P: For me, I think I’m with Randy on the scoring. I felt like the showrunners made a conscious decision to start out the season to try to attract new viewers in their new timeslot, so they sort of went back to the basics of what made the show what it is. So they focused on the bromance and the banter and the booms. What’s been missing for me so far this year has been any sort of a Deeks-focused storyline. And I think it was a huge contrast with Season 5, where Deeks was at the center of so much of the storytelling. He had so many great scenes where he showed emotion, where he showed vulnerability. So to me Season 6 has been a little bit of a letdown in comparison. I think the closest we’ve gotten to any sort of emotional Deeks scene was that scene in the boathouse in “Praesidium” where we only saw the back of his head. I would say “Humbug” has gone a long way to improving my overall attitude about things. We’ll see what hopefully the second half of the season will bring us- maybe a lot more in terms of Deeks.
Gayle: As my university students know, I’m a fairly tough grader, so I would probably say 3.5 to a 4. Somewhere we’ve seen I think a return to what we all have enjoyed with regard to insights into some of the characters. There’s Sam’s family, seeing how Nell’s trying to grow into an agent, and really, Kensi softening without losing her really badass persona as an agent, and of course Deeks still trying to find his footing with her and them. And so for me I guess the thing that I’m a little, I’m not sure if disappointed is the right word… but I’ll go with that, is not having what we presumed was going to be all of this fall-out from Afghanistan. And the storyline with the mole, has that really come to closure or not? And all of those things lead me to, are we going to have a threaded season arc or not, because right now I’m not seeing it. Granted we’re only half-way through and they’re really good about planting these seeds that they’re going to bring back later, so I really hope that that’s what they have in store for us for the rest of Season 6.
Diane: That’s a good point about the arc.
Lindy: Mel and I were talking before, and I think one of the things that stands out to me and I agree with Gayle about the story arcs, is that they’re missing a villain this year. What I seem to be missing is not only the story arc, but a really good villain. Somebody like Janvier or Sidorov that you can really hate, and is just a contrast to our hero guys. I really miss that. I miss that conflict with somebody else. This mole thing was supposed to be a big deal, but it just seemed like that one guy that they caught as the mole was not very- I mean he was creepy but he wasn’t scary- and I just wonder if they aren’t going to bring somebody out that’s a little more frightening than that guy was. I’d say that my score for this season would be more almost a 2.
Mel: I agree that there hasn’t been some follow through on a few things like the Afghanistan storyline and I totally agree that there’s been a lot of episodes where they’re kind of standalone and they’re good, they’re entertaining, there’s good interaction, there’s good episode story but they don’t really progress the storyline, stories for characters, or any kind of over-arching story as much, and I think that’s what’s been missing in my opinion. I would probably rate it about a 3 with hopes that maybe they’ll get to some of those characters or stories that they’ve been neglecting in the last couple of episodes.
Allie: I think that along the same lines as what everyone else has been saying, it’s like they had all these things they were building up to and all this chaos that was pretty much all of Season 5, and I feel like Season 6 was kind of like a restart somehow, and you could almost pick up from, if you dropped somewhere at the beginning of Season 4 and just picked up again in Season 6, then maybe the momentum would make more sense that way, if you didn’t have all this in the middle. The momentum of the show doesn’t follow any logical… it doesn’t feel satisfying to me. It feels like there are a lot of dropped things, and we’re going up and down and all around. I think in Season 2 and Season 3 there was this very logical progression and it was a very easy to follow arc and they were building towards something. I don’t feel that we’ve had that for a while. And I think that maybe we’re starting to have that again if you just ignore Season 5 and half of Season 4.
Diane: I understand what you’re saying.
Lindy: I guess I’m one of the few people that actually liked Season 5. We can’t deny that the end was an incredible way to end a season. Maybe I’m forgetting all the things that came before, and I’m sure there were some good episodes and bad. I don’t think Season 6 lives up to it.
Diane: One of the things about Season 5 that I did like was that there was a lot more emotional side to it, whereas I’m finding Season 6 very flat in terms of emotion and angst.
Karen P: I agree.
Diane: I’ve been watching the mothership, NCIS, and there’s been a couple of episodes where I ended the show actually crying. There were some really good emotionally, tear your heart out type stories, that were just really very sweet and just full of emotion. I’m not getting that at all with NCIS:LA. So I don’t know if it’s, what’s going on with the writers and if that’s where they’re trying to steer it or what? I just feel like they’re all being portrayed as superheroes, and it doesn’t feel real. Well, there’s been some emotions, but not a whole lot.
Randy: Part of Season 5’s power was, we got to see these characters, we got to see them vulnerable, we got to see Sam and Deeks and Kensi in those confused moments and those moments where they didn’t know what to do, when they were presented with a situation and it was, “Wow, I’m stuck here, what have I got to do?” And then the ending with Deeks and the chair and Sam being tortured, I mean, that was powerful. I remember watching that episode and Deeks’ screams are fading out on the TV and I’m stunned to silence, and I was like, “Wow.” That was powerful. And I think that’s what we’re missing. I think we’re seeing the show is focusing on the action and the explosions and the gunfights and stuff, and it’s not showing these people as people. It’s showing them as, like you said, as superheroes. Like hey, we’ve got a biological terrorist here but we’re not worried because we know we always win. We’re not seeing where they’re losing or where there’s a cost to our freedom. And I think that’s what was so powerful about Season 5. We got to see the pain that these people go through, the anguish, and sometimes the indecisiveness, and I think that’s something that’s just missing. And like you said, that arc of a story that goes through a few episodes, several episodes, or even an entire season, and carries on to the next one. I don’t know if they’re floundering or if they’re just not sure where to carry us, or if they’re just waiting until the last part of the season to start it, I don’t know.
Allie: I agree that there were lots of highs and really emotional powerful things in Season 5, and I think that part of what was a problem with Season 5 for me was that they didn’t seem to go anywhere and they didn’t necessarily have consequences and they were so significant and so powerful and then come back the next episode and it doesn’t seem like they have as much of an impact. And I think maybe that’s the problem with Season 6 again. Like I said we start off and we could be in Season 4 right now for all the progress that anybody’s made. It’s like they haven’t changed and they haven’t grown as much as I would have hoped and the impact of things hasn’t really continued to build.
Lindy: It seems to me that in Season 6, like somebody said earlier, they’re getting back to the basics of Callen and Sam. And we all know from Shane Brennan talking that this is Callen’s story, and everybody else is a satellite to him. And I think that’s what they’re trying to get back to this year, because that’s the only consistency that I see is that most of the storylines revolve around Callen, and to some extent Sam. Whether we get, in the second half where they switch over to Deeks, I’m not sure. I hope so. I mean, I’ve been hoping that for a couple of seasons. I just think that it seems like it’s more Callen-centric this year than I thought it would be.
Diane: I was thinking other day about how in “Spiral,” you knew that Callen was infected, and you knew of course, that he was going to survive the infection, but I then thought “Wouldn’t it have been interesting if they had killed Callen off ?” Now that would have been a shocker! Of course, that would never happen because like you said Lindy, it is Callen’s story and I don’t want to see anybody die, but I do want to be shocked. I want something to happen that really kicks me in the butt and says “Wow, something big just happened here!”
Lindy: I think about what Randy said about consequences, and there are consequences in any war. And we have seen a lot of nuclear weapons and bio-threats, and all these different things, but our guys come out unscathed every single time, they don’t get hit by flying bullets. I mean I can’t even imagine how many automatic weapons fire has gone their way and nobody’s even slightly scratched. They’re starting to defy reason.
Diane: And that’s why we maybe need to put a tag after the show’s name that says “Marvel Superheroes,” because that’s what they have become. They’re just not vulnerable- that’s the word- they’re not vulnerable. They’re just out there and they’re saving the world every storyline and it’s just not realistic.
Mel: When you’re talking about the consequence of somebody being killed, it’s not that I want to see any of them go, but I always thought, in the first season when they killed off Dom, for a brand new television show, that was an incredibly brave thing to do, in the sense of showing that not really anyone was safe, and part of recognizing that they maybe needed to shake things up and change things, and that’s eventually what brought Deeks to the show. That’s the kind of big change that can have a ripple effect through all the characters, all the stories, and take it in a different direction. I think it’d be fascinating if they did something along the same lines. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a death, but something that’s a big move that could bring on all sorts of interesting possibilities.
Randy: Go back to NCIS, the mothership. How many characters in that series have they killed off through the seasons? You lose count. When they killed Kate, that was just a stunning shot- you didn’t see that coming. They killed off Jenny Shepard, they killed off all the side ones, some characters that were there for a couple of seasons or even just a few episodes to establish them as a character and then kill them off, that established that vulnerability, that emotional aspect of it.
Lindy: I’d like to kill Granger. [laughter]
Randy: I’m starting to like Granger.
Lindy: How about Nell?
Karen P: Either of those I’m fine with, and I’m sad to say that I would also put Hetty on the list, because she-
Lindy: Oh no!
Karen P: She’s really changed for me, and I think it’s part of what people were talking about earlier with things from Season 5 not getting addressed. I’m not surprised at all, but I’m still disappointed that she’s not really been held accountable for her decisions last year. She had some line earlier this year about “always being partial to the truth,” and she says things like that, and I just say to the TV, “Really? Really, Hetty?” I’ve lost all of the affection I ever had for her. I was glad to see that, I think it was in “Traitor,” when she was refusing to evacuate the building, I liked that Deeks and Kensi questioned her decision. I would love to see more of that happening, if that’s as far as they’re going to go to even address what happened last year. I would be happy to see more of that.
Gayle: I want to try to come in here, because I wonder what conversation we’re having that you all want to kill these people off- I’m very frightened right now! [laughter] If I have to take over a protective role I will do so! But I want to pick up on what Diane was saying about how in “Spiral,” that we all knew Callen was going to be fine. When I looked at it, I actually was shocked because it wasn’t me questioning, “oh my gosh, is Callen going to get killed?” The question was, “How is he going to get out of this situation that he was in?” And so, that storytelling aspect of the journey versus the destination… I think we want more of that than what I’m hearing, and maybe we’re not feeling it right now. Is that on purpose or not?
Diane: You’re saying, “Are the producers doing this on purpose?”
Gayle: I think a lot of this comes into new day, new time slot, and trying to get back on whatever track they were thinking about for Season 5 before they had to shift it. So a lot of the things we see now, I wonder, was this originally planned for 5 and they couldn’t do it and are we getting it now, or is this all a new concept?
Diane: That’s a good point.
Randy: You might be right.
Diane: Because a lot of these storylines may have been something that they were going to use in Season 5 because of Dani’s pregnancy and they couldn’t, so they’ve saved a lot of these stories for Season 6. You could be right.
Allie: For me, while I loved “Humbug” and I loved that they got together, it just didn’t make sense to me in the through line of their relationship… the way that it progressed. Because if you follow who’s going where and who’s backing up… “Three Hearts” was a mess for me. At the end of it I felt that it was clear that it was Deeks that was pulling back, and he was the one that was scared by what Angelo said, and scared by what he went through in Afghanistan and what he thought would happen if they were together. And then since then, they were just kind of back to friendship, bantering, maybe more flirting, but then in “Humbug” it’s Kensi who says, “I want to do this, let’s do this,” where it felt to me like Deeks had been the one holding back so it should have been him that made the push and him that made the decision, because hadn’t she already made that decision? I’m having trouble following the arc is my point.
Lindy: Maybe they’re trying to rehabilitate her image because she was being a poop.
Diane: Because she was being what?
Lindy: A poop. [laughter] I have a new puppy, you’ll have to excuse me.
Karen P: I think, Allie, you’re totally right, that it’s all super-confusing. What was amazing to me was that I guess the writers made it so ambiguous through the first part of the year that there were many people who- I think some are on this call- who were convinced that they were actually sleeping together, and then there were those of us who refused to believe that could ever happen, that they would do that without sharing it with the fans. So it has been just a big, jumbled, confusing mess, and I’m just happy at this point to take that they’re finally together and to move on from there hopefully in a more coherent fashion.
Diane: We were happy that they finally came together, but were you happy with the way it happened or would you have preferred a different way? Because it did seem like it was like all of a sudden, they’re skating around and she’s saying she wants a relationship. What did you think?
Lindy: You’re asking a bunch of fan fic writers!
Karen P: I was just going to say, there’s so many fan fics that have done it better, so yes, I would have liked it in a different way.
Randy: I watch Castle too. And the way Beckett and Castle ended up together, there was that emotional, near death, I’ve got this great opportunity and I’m letting it slip through my fingers and I need to act on it now before it’s gone, before I lose it. And you didn’t get that in “Humbug.” It was just kind of, hey we beat the bad guys, while they’re skating around having a good time, relaxed, and oh yeah, let’s do this. So yeah, it did feel kind of, I guess you could say forced, and kind of out of the blue. You’re right, it should have been a little more. If in that scene in the tower when they were defusing the bombs and fighting the big, giant terrorist, if there’d had been that moment of clarity where they knew they could have died, and they knew that they had missed opportunities, now is the time to grab what they’ve got and make the most of it, instead of letting it slip away again.
Tomorrow the team takes on what we really liked about the first half of Season 6 and contemplate what we would like to see in a dedicated backstory about our LAPD Detective. What are some of your thoughts on what our contributors had to say? Leave your comments below. See you back here tomorrow for Part Two of the wikiDeeks roundtable discussion!