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Review: NCISLA “Rage” (S6E20)

Rage 02 review

Looks like it’s going to be the Callen (and Sam) show over the next couple of weeks where we may find out more about the senior partners and this week a new Callen reveal. Showrunners promised a little more insight about the first time Callen meets Hetty, which may shed new light on the relationship between the show’s iconic figures.  Frank Military has written this script and was the man behind the camera as well, which hasn’t happened since he wrote and directed “Spoils of War”. Military’s episodes are always intense and a bit dark, but they are usually a nice contrast to some of the lighter, unrealistic superhero episodes that we have been served up in the past.

This week Callen and Sam go undercover as a prisoner and guard to infiltrate a white supremacist group in possession of stolen nuclear material. We immediately get a flashback from Callen’s past as he relives time spent in the prison system as a juvie. Once out of the ‘shoe’, the team is able to help Callen break out of prison in order to infiltrate the band of thugs who may be planning on carrying out a terrorist attack. We find out in the end this was just a ruse to cover up an elaborate bank heist and then flee the country. But this episode is about so much more than prison breaks and bank robberies.

Densi fans on social media had a field day with the romantic pairing of Kensi and Callen as the two agents share a sexy undercover kiss and bed scene together. (Callen: Hope you boys don’t mind a little noise.) It seems these moments were a little too hot for Densi devotees who were wondering if Deeks was going to be privy to these private moment and what, if any, his reaction would be. I was hoping for a “Plan B” scenario when Kensi got to watch Deeks kissing Nicole but alas, it was not to be. Instead we are treated to Callen and Kensi, naked (?) in bed and interrupted by one of the gang members. Can you say awkward? Perhaps that’s why Deeks was imploring his partner to be safe? My only complaint with this scene was Kensi was a bit too beautiful and sexy to be hanging around with the likes of the type of criminal Callen portrayed. I think her whole biker chick persona should have been toned down a bit to fit in with the group.

But I was truly impressed that the showrunners took the episode’s subject matter further than I expected they would ever go. Military’s script and directorial vision effectively explored the white supremacy culture and wasteland. It was a hard episode to watch for so many reasons and I’m sure that was the author’s intent. (Sam: I want you to hold on to the hate, because that’s all you got.) Sam’s words to Jimmy Ray summed up this group’s philosophy. It’s all about the hate. Not surprisingly, Sam’s got some of his own too (San: Go ahead move. I’ll sleep great tonight.) Of course, you can’t blame him. Sam’s a good man but I’m sure it would have also been satisfying to just blow Jimmy Ray away with one bullet. That’s the dichotomy. How do you make the hatred on both sides stop and the healing begin? Callen may best understand the madness. It only takes one person to help turn another person’s life around. Maybe that’s how the healing begins and the hatred stops… one person at a time.

The final scene between Hetty and the young Callen was heartwarming. Another beautiful glimpse into a complex relationship that surprisingly has stood the test of time. Maybe it had to do with the content of Callen’s character or maybe it just had to do with one human being caring about another and wanting to do something about it. This may be Hetty’s greatest legacy and one that Callen has deeply embodied. It’s been noted that some fans are complaining that this is not how Callen and Hetty’s first meeting actually went according to the last scene in “Fame”. Perhaps they have decided to take Callen on a different journey? What do you think?

Memorable Moments

  • It was a sad conversation that Kensi had with Jenny. A lost life caught up in hatred and despair. Hard to comprehend how much hate there is still in the world. Kensi’s imploring Jenny to “value herself” was a powerful scene.
  • With every blow to Callen I had to look away. Boy that was hard to watch.
  • The only light moment in the entire show was Sam’s enjoyment of how they were going to blackmail Jimmy Ray. Nice legs!
  • Wow! So cool to see a younger Hetty! She almost looks sexy! Almost….

Deeks Moments

  • I, for one, prefer a serious Deeks and there wasn’t one barb, joke or silly moment in the entire hour. It was kind of refreshing.

Densi Moments

  • It’s rare to have the show start with a serious Densi talk. Sam is worried about Callen, Kensi is worried about Sam, and Deeks is worried about his partner. No banter here but a very poignant scene about two people who care and worry about each other for all the right reasons.

To me this episode at least felt real. I complain a lot about the comic book quality of this show sometimes but not this time. They weren’t out there saving the world because the subject matter would never have lent itself to that kind of ending. They tackled a very hard topic with no easy answers. It may not have been a very entertaining episode but leave it to Military to give us another script that leaves us searching for those answers.

Come back next week as we get another Sam/Callen-centric episode to talk about. Also if you haven’t voted yet for the episode you think should be chosen as the Olsen/Ruah annual commentary episode, be sure to vote by this Thursday when we will publish the results and share it with the showrunners. There is a new Deeks’ Surf Log and Kensi’s Journal as well to enjoy and another edition of Writing Deeks coming your way this week too! See you soon….

Episode: “Rage”
Writer: Frank Military
Director: Frank Military
Original Air Date: April 13th, 2015


Diane Volpe is a Contributing Editor at

Follow her on Twitter: @phillydi

About Diane (427 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!

9 Comments on Review: NCISLA “Rage” (S6E20)

  1. Natalie Ryan // April 14, 2015 at 5:00 PM // Reply

    Great review Di.
    First of all I’d like to say I love all of the episodes of NCISLA even the ones with Dom.
    Now, let’s get to the point. I loved this episode very much and it felt heartbreaking. I mean, the last scene with young Callen and Hetty, it broke my heart completely. I am still devastated from it, emotionally.
    The beginning was sad when Callen remembered about his time spent in jail as a juvie. I think that this episode was very sad and very serious.
    I can tell you that when the guy started beating Callen I stopped breathing for a moment. It was like they were beating me. It felt so real.
    And there was some serious Deeks, no jokes and smiles, just a plain serious face. I got the impression that he was about to cry when he told Callen to stop with CPR and thst the guy had already died. It was tough, since Callen bonded with the young man.
    I don’t know about the dates when this episodes were filmed, but these episode felt like it was filmed right after Fighting Shadows. I don’t know, it just felt very coincidental we’ve got serious Deeks in 6×18 and now in 6×20. It broke my heart to watch them in such a sadness and seriousness both Deeks and Callen.
    What Deeks said to Kensi at the beginning of the episode it just confirmed his feelings and the fear he feels when he is not there to help her on the field. Ever since Afghanistan, he as that sad puppy look on his face when he is not her partner in the field.
    The scene in the bus was hillarious. When the camera gave us a closer shot of the driver I almost dropped off my chair when I saw it was Granger. And the guard was Sam.
    Kensi and Jenny had a powerful talk and it was interesting to watch this actress on NCISLA since she played an UnSub in Criminal Minds. I felt sorry for her then, I felt sorry for her now.
    I’m glad it all ended well.
    Another heartbreaking moment was when Callen told Sam about the place where he asked him to come, why it was special to him.
    And it confirmed the theory that Hetty watched all of her team members before she asked them to come to work for the NCIS.

    I don’t know if anyone noticed, but when they were talking about the strategy and how they should play it out, Deeks said that he could drive the bus, and both him and Callen would be on the inside.
    I imagined how would it be for Deeks to be a bus driver just for one round? I mean, I spent four years in a bus coming and going from high school and now I’m first year faculty (college) and I miss those times. My point is, we need to have Deeks as our bus driver. At least I need him.
    Great episode overall.
    I can’t wait for Beacon, though, since Vyto Ruginis will be back as my favorite recurring character Arkady Kolchek.


    • Natalie Ryan // April 15, 2015 at 5:01 AM // Reply

      And I’m confused too, now after I reviewed the ep in my mind. A little gap between episodes. In Fame he was naming places where he worked for the CIA and asked Hetty when she noticed him, and in another episde he said in three years you never called me G, and she said, that’s not a name that’s a letter.
      Anyway I liked the flashback


  2. Great review, as always, Di!

    I agree with all your memorable moments. I especially loved out everyone was on their A game. Competent, smart, serious Deeks in tactical gear? He’s my favorite Deeks. That moment with Kensi in the firing range was so sweet – I am SO grateful that Military left it a non-issue with Densi about the undercover assignment for Kensi and Callen. I think it was great that Deeks was the one to tell her that she was up, clearly knowing the plan and his only concern was her safety – I would expect nothing less from him.

    If I hadn’t seen the last few minutes, this would rank as one of my favorite overall episodes (it’s still up on the list). But I have a huge beef with the flashback with Young Callen and Hetty. Mainly that it makes ZERO sense with anything else we’ve been told about their background with each other.

    All the way back in Fame, when Callen is talking to her about Deeks, he starts asking her when he (Callen) became a blip on her radar and then starts rambling off places he was stationed in the CIA. And at some other point (also in S1 I think), he mentions that they’ve known each other for 3 years. Not 30. Are we supposed to forget that? Or believe that he doesn’t remember meeting Hetty and how she helped him? I find it hard to believe that anyone could forget Hetty.

    I wish they had ironed out those details because it’s putting a damper on the episode for me! I may watch it again and just skip the flashback 🙂


    • I’m still trying to wrap my head around this episode. It seems that this week the entire NCIS franchise seemed to go heavy on the emotional wham bam punch of episodes.

      But Identity was just on Esquire today, and Callen does mention the in 3 years you’ve never called me G. Does this mean he’s only been with NCIS Special Ops for 3 years? Or something else.


      Fantastic review. It was a rough episode to watch, yet the show didn’t shy away from things. Good for them.


  3. Great review like always!
    I’m a fan of Frank Military and he did not let me down this time either. Totally professional and competent Deeks (with thigh holster and tactical gear ;)) is always pleasure to see. I also like the way they worked together with Sam as equals.
    I liked the small sentences in shooting range scene; “all our kids” and “be safe”. Those were discreet enough to the work environment but at the same time very meaningful and sweet.
    Callen storyline was kind of confusing, I don’t really know what to think.


  4. Thanks for this review which is great as always.

    I enjoyed this episode because I found it a good mix of “dark” scenes and good dialogues. I think that, overall, Military signed another very good episode.

    The Callen/Kensi undercover scene didn’t bother me much, we know that it’s part of their job and they were perfect in their roles. The scene shouldn’t annoy us much since the writer chose it shouldn’t bother Deeks either (ignorance is bliss?).

    As others said, I really liked Military decided in his script not to address the kiss in other scenes of the episode. It would have been much worse to see the kiss alive on different monitors in OPS (I still can’t totally forgive Military for the life-sized “dead” Kensi photograph in SoW) while Eric, Nell, Granger and Hetty were voyeuristically watching Deeks’ reaction. Or a scene in which jealous Deeks inquired about how it was kissing his girlfriend.

    Was this kiss better performed than the Densi Humbug one? Yes, I think it was. I said it after just watching the sneak peek and I confirm it after watching the episode. There could be many possible reasons but I don’t think, as I read somewhere yesterday, that there’s more chemistry between Callen and Kensi than between Deeks and Kensi. This has never been and never will be. This, I think, only depends on the actors’ interactions and directors’ requests on set. This, I think, has nothing to do with the characters they are playing.

    The Hetty/Callen storyline left me many doubts and I can’t think why such important backstories aren’t treated by the writers with more respect and accuracy. It’s a little annoying that some die-hard fans of the show would know more of some characters and past episodes than the writers themselves… Can we suggest the writers a summer holiday homework rewatch? Just to avoid similar “shocks” for fans in Season 7. And, by the way, young Hetty was kind of creepy…..


  5. Great review as usual, Di. Every comment has been right on and I agree that the ending was a little weird and slightly creepy and wondered why they decided to actually show Hetty meeting Callen…although I understand the draw to do it. She has always been shown working behind the scenes, so it would have made more sense if she had been his mysterious benefactor. Don’t know if they will address the inconsistency of it or just let it fade into the sunset.

    One complaint…and I realize I am beginning to sound like a broken record…for those who remember records…but Callen is in bed with Kensi and is not wearing an ugly tank top or any top at all…COME ON…( yes…I am whining)…so just for the record: Callen bare chested twice this season…Granger once…and in past seasons of course Sam…but no bare chested Deeks. They are just being mean. They do realize that women watch this show right??


    • Natalie Ryan // April 15, 2015 at 4:27 PM // Reply

      I agree Lindy. We need barechested Deeks. And we need to see an actual couple scene between the two of them. I am born way past the records, but my parents tell me how it was when a record was broken so I can picture it.
      I understand what you are feeling.


  6. One more comment…Callen was kicked and beaten with what appeared to be a lead pipe and came out showing no hint that he was hurting…he did have that small cut on his head, but really…is this believable or is he really a super hero?


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