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Review: NCISLA “Beacon” (S6E21)


Beacon 3

I must admit that I was not particularly looking forward to this week’s episode of NCIS: Los Angeles. I was feeling down about the Callen-centric story and the lack of a much hoped for “Brandel, M.” episode this season. I was very pleasantly surprised by “Beacon,” which is easily my favorite Jordana Lewis Jaffe episode to date. If we can’t have “Deeks, M.,” at least “Beacon” gave us many smaller things fans have been asking for. It accomplished a lot, combining humor, romance, and emotion, all while setting up the final arc of Season 6. We’ll talk about all that…

…But First, The Plot

We open with the infamous Arkady Kolcheck seemingly running for his life, only to fight a gunman and possibly die in an explosion. The team is assigned to investigate, eventually discovering that Arkady faked his death. It turns out he brokered an illegal deal to move $100 million worth of Russian oil in an American supertanker in the face of economic sanctions against Russia. The Americans wanted to pull out of the deal but Arkady moved forward anyway. In the end, the team find the Russian assassin hired to take out the Americans so the tanker could continue its voyage, but the ship disappears. There’s no doubt more to come on this story as we work our way to the season finale.

At Least One Ship is Sailing Smoothly

My mood lifted even with the opening “Previously on NCIS: Los Angeles” scenes, which referenced the LAPD Internal Affairs investigation of Deeks. That told me we might get a little bit of a Deeks storyline, and we did. To start, we find out that Hetty is unconcerned with Deeks and Kensi’s relationship. We had to figure that was the case, for she surely knew all about it, but how refreshing was it to end the mystery?

And then- whoa- does Granger also indicate he isn’t concerned about the Densi ship? He doesn’t want to discuss it, focusing instead on protecting Deeks. He does care! I knew he had a soft spot for the shaggy detective. Maybe that hug and those Swedish nachos wore him down. I only wish Deeks knew how these two felt. To some extent, I think he still feels like the outsider, and it would mean a lot to him that Hetty and Granger want to protect him like one of their own.

How fun is that scene at Arkady’s house? Competent Deeks finds a key clue- very impressive detective work indeed. It’s nice to see Kensi turned on by Competent Deeks, just as Deeks likes to see Kensi kick butt at her job. I like the way they appreciate one another’s skills. Here is something else we’ve all been clamoring to see- Densi physical contact while alone on the job. The flirting is adorable, and the fact that she actually reaches out to touch him just feels natural, unlike so many scenes in previous episodes where the lack of any such contact felt wrong.

Then we get a second wonderful Densi scene, one that shifts us from romantic banter to a much more serious discussion. Kensi finally asks Deeks the question we’ve all wondered about (and wondered about whether she had asked). While I would have loved to hear more details about why Deeks doesn’t know how to answer her (post-ep fan fic please?), the scene is a lovely demonstration of Kensi’s support for him, as well as her willingness to communicate, her desire to help, and her worry for him. Eric Christian Olsen plays the scene beautifully, with so many telling expressions that show the weight of the investigation hanging over Deeks’ head, his sadness and stress, and maybe fear that Kensi might see less than the best part of him. (Deeks: I was just thinking about stakeouts. They’re not as much fun as they used to be… when the cat becomes the mouse.)

Like Grizzly Bear, Nothing Can Take Arkady Down

NCIS:LA has had many memorable guest stars, although few get to stay alive (we miss you Thapa!) and come back in a recurring role. There has been no other recurring character quite like Arkady, so memorably played by Vyto Ruginis. Was anyone really surprised that he is the one who walks away from the explosion in the opening scene? I don’t know if I’d call him a “grizzly bear,” but he is certainly a survivor, maybe more like a cat that always lands on its feet. I mean, he does drive around with his car ready to blow up. (Arkady: It pays to be prepared.)

I don’t welcome Arkady’s appearance because it might bring more of Callen’s backstory, I welcome it because the guy is hilarious. From the moment he strolls into the restaurant, mimes the bagpipes, and starts eating Sam’s fries, he just takes over the scene. He really is like an incorrigible child, and I also enjoyed Sam’s annoyance with him, wonderfully played by LL Cool J. (He is so good playing the straight man to silliness, like he did with ECO’s undercover Sven in “Allegiance.”) But does Arkady have an endless supply of Get Out of Jail Free cards? Anyone else would have been arrested or deported multiple times by now, but his charm seems to work wonders on the NCIS team. He and Hetty together are fantastic. I liked the feeling that he was giving her patience a workout, and that absolutely nothing that comes out of his mouth is the entire truth. One of my two favorite lines of the night was Sam commenting to Callen, “I swear you two sound like an old married couple.” The irony is amazing: doesn’t Sam see that Callen’s true bromantic OTP is Sam himself?

My other favorite lines involved Callen telling Sam that OSP is like a cult, with Hetty the cult leader. He’s joking, but there’s always a bit of the truth in any good joke. I definitely see the team as having followed Hetty without questioning her nearly as much as they should, particularly in Season 5. Don’t worry, I’ll not go on another S5 Hetty rant, but the analogy to a cult leader and her followers did seem rather apt.

Memorable Moments 

  • Densi is even starting to dress alike, with Kensi in a simple black t-shirt and green jacket, Deeks in the same but with a white t-shirt. Adorable.
  • In the scene at Arkady’s house, Kensi’s “Moment’s gone” line was a nice callback to the boatshed scene in “Praesidium.” Deeks did have more moments, didn’t he?
  • What’s Eric’s problem with Deeks? His sarcasm and disrespect for Competent Deeks seemed out of left field. Does he have hair envy? Speaking of which, is it just me, or is Deeks’ hair actually getting even longer?
  • Granger’s exasperation with Eric’s inability to provide straightforward information (“Why is your team so hell-bent on finding the drama in everything?”) cracked me up. I love to see him getting a little discombobulated.
  • Unfortunately Deeks and Kensi seemed less than competent during the closing action, where they should have been able to stop the bad guy before he even left the apartment complex. And then their questionable decision to take the stairs kept them completely unable to back up Sam and Callen in the rooftop shoot-out.
  • But of course, that shoot-out was meant to be a Sam/Callen scene. Diana Valentine did a fine job with the entire episode, although I could have lived without the slow motion.

Classic Deeks

Deeks: Note to self… severed and amputated pinkies- too far. Who would have thought?

 

Classic Densi

Deeks: Oh yeah? You like that, don’t you?

Kensi: I do, I do love when you talk detective.

Deeks: Oh yeah? Well I can talk detective to you all night long.

Kensi: Oh, I know you can.

Deeks: I can talk search warrants…

Kensi: Mmm hmmm.

Deeks: … chain of custody…

Kensi: Mmm hmmm.

Deeks: …forensic DNA evidence…

Kensi: Mmm hmmm.

Deeks: I can talk about some severed pinkies.

Kensi: Mmm nmmm. No. Moment’s gone.

 

This was one of the best written episodes of the season, with a high degree of difficulty in needing to make so many tonal shifts, from romantic Densi to serious Densi, from Callen & Joelle to assumed dead Arkady to alive & hilarious Arkady. Then throw in some classically awkward Neric, plus set up the storyline for the final arc of the season (who’s that mysterious Anna?). It left me with a sense of foreboding of things to come, for both Callen and Deeks. How great would it be if they could successfully weave both men’s stories through to the finale? We’ll find out soon enough.

Tune in later this week for Deeks’ Surf Log and Kensi’s Journal, plus the latest Writing Deeks. In the meantime, join me in big happy birthday wishes to the awesome wikiDeeks contributor hermionesmydawg!


EPISODE INFO
Title: “Beacon”
Writer: Jordana Lewis Jaffe
Director: Diana C. Valentine
Original Air Date: April 20, 2015


Karen P.

Karen P. is a contributor at wikiDeeks.com. Follow her on Twitter: @anonklp

About Karen P (159 Articles)
wikiDeeks Writer & Assistant Editor. I never wrote for fun before... until my ECO-obsession. Now I love to analyze any and all aspects of the best character on television.

16 Comments on Review: NCISLA “Beacon” (S6E21)

  1. Thanks for great review!

    I liked this episode, a lot. This was absolutely best of JLJ’s episode so far. It was pleasant surprise that they brought IA investigation to surface again, even though I believe that the final solution will not happen until the 7th season.

    Detective talk. That was hilarious. Who wouldn’t like Deeks to talk “detective” to her? And the chemistry between them! Wow!

    There’s lots of speculations about what Deeks is hiding. I think he doesn’t know which is the particular thing IA is investigating, but knows that there are some things which may be near grey area if someone wants to see it from that kind of aspect. I think he really wants to give Kensi the answers, but doesn’t know which one is the right. The scene in the car was beautiful, it was nice to see how much Kensi wants to be there for him. And once again, ECO needs award for the best “sad face”, you definitely were right about how fantastic he plays out sadness.

    Like

    • I agree with you, Fin, that Deeks probably doesn’t know exactly what they’re looking at or what they will find, but he knows there are things that they could twist and manipulate to make him look bad – I mean he spent years being horrible aliases and we don’t know anything about his time as a public defender (which likely includes dealing with more scum) – there’s bound to be a few things that could be brought up against him.

      And yes, ECO’s sad puppy face is so amazing. He nails it every time and it makes me want to give him a hug.

      Like

  2. I was so incredibly and wonderfully surprised by this episode. Like you, I wasn’t really looking forward to it all that much. I was feeling bummed that they seemed to be ignoring the IA investigation and disappointed with the upcoming episode press releases mostly looking Callen-centric. This episode basically came out of no where and is absolutely in my top 5 for this season. JLJ did a wonderful job with the script (something I don’t typically say of her eps).

    Arkady was GOLD. I had almost forgotten how much I love him and seeing so much of him this week was fantastic, and I’m glad it seems we will see more of him before the season ends.

    I’m wondering if that’s the last we’ll see of Joelle and if we’ll hear in the next ep or so that she and Callen broke up. COD still mentions a “new love interest” for Callen this season and with only 3 episodes left, there isn’t much time for the turnover. I’m sad about it – I really like Joelle.

    That Densi scene in his house was amazing. Hilarious, a little sexy, and exactly what I’ve been waiting to see since Humbug! And the way ECO/Deeks closed it out with his frustrations with himself was so funny.

    I also think they played the scene in the car perfectly. Kensi’s concern for Deeks and his sadness over the whole thing was so emotional. ECO plays those emotions so so well – I’m always glad to see him with scenes like this one. And I *love* that Kensi isn’t pushing him, I think although she’s not as patient as he is, it would also be a bit out of character for her to make him talk. As long as she keeps showing him that she supports him and is there for him, I have to believe that he will talk to her when he’s ready to.

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  3. Reader1976 // April 22, 2015 at 7:21 AM // Reply

    Awesome review, Karen! You nailed all the high points that I enjoyed in this episode. I love when Arkady appears. His scenes are hilarious even when they are supposed to be serious. I loved that he refused to go into the interrogation room and Callen and Sam can’t seem to control him. Seeing him quake when they sent in the big gun, Hetty to get the truth out of him was awesome.

    Starting off the episode with Hetty defending Densi working together and the revelation that Granger does indeed know and was not concerned about the relationship was awesome. And to find that Granger wants to protect Deeks….wow that made me happy. And when Hetty tapped/slapped Granger on his arm..is that a habit that Hetty is forming? I enjoyed Hetty voicing her concern for Callen when it seemed that Arkady was dead and to see Sam also in sync, voicing his concern to G was heartwarming.

    All of the Densi scenes were perfect, the double entendres with the “search” warrants, “chain of command” made me smile. And the grinding halt when “severed pinkies” came up and the “moments gone” comment reminded me of the promised many moments by Deeks to Kensi in the boatshed. The car scene was hands down the best part of the entire episode. Kensi’s support was perfectly played against Deeks’s conflict when Kensi asked if IA would find anything. Deeks’s expression when he responded with “I honestly don’t know how to answer that” has to be the setup for the “Brandel, M” that is certain to come {fingers crossed}. I totally felt his conflict in wanting to confide in Kensi and his resignation that things were coming to a head with LAPD’s IA and all will have to be revealed. Well played, ECO and DR.

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  4. Natalie Ryan // April 22, 2015 at 8:21 AM // Reply

    Happy birthday to hermionesmydawg, I wish her a very great b-day.
    I knew this would be great episode. Beacon is one of my fav so far, and thanks to Jordana Lewis Jaffe for this amazing episode. She is the mastermind.
    This episode was funny and emotional all in one. And we got both Deeks and Callen moments.
    First, the opening scene was wow. You see Arkady running for his ife, then the car goes BOOM and someone walks away. I knew it from moment one that he was the one that got out of the explosion. Arkady does have his moments.
    Then, the scene of Joelle and Callen in the car. I ship Jallen so much.
    I like the friendship between Callen and Arkady. They do sound like a married couple in times, like Sam said. Callen’s mixed feelings about Arkady show us that he is deeply concerned for one of his friends and even Callen doesn’t want to admit it, he needs Arkady for more than just a source to his past and possible knowledge of his father’s identity. Watching Callen and Arkady is like watching a sitcom crime drama.
    I’m glad that they didn’t forgot Deeks’ storyline and the minute I saw Previously on NCISLA and saw the end scene of 6×18, I knew they’ll give us something, even a tidbit as to where the story is going.
    The Densi scene in the house of Arkady was just hillarious. Kensi takes some actions after last week’s undercover assignment. I wonder, where would’ve this scene ended if it wasn’t for Deeks’ severed pinkies. However, there is nothing more plain than their love. (“I love when you talk detective. I could talk detective to you all night long.”)
    Hetty with her comment “extraccurical activities” made me smile. She ships Densi, too.
    Even Granger knows and yay he is not against it. It seems like his only concern is Deeks. I never thought I would see that out of Granger, but I did. (“We need to make sure that he is protected”)
    I ask myself isn’t he getting softer and softer as the season comes to an end? I knew that Deeks would come through his hard-ass persona and it did. He is worried about Deeks and he doesn’t like him being hurt. I wonder if he knows everything that Deeks went through childhood. If Hetty doesn’t keep that redacted (by herself), too. I see that the hug earlier this season (6×14) does wonders.
    Eric’s reaction about competent Deeks solving the mystery was just funny. Nell – “The man does love his hair”.
    Another funny moment was when Eric ran into Granger (“Wow, wow, easy tiger”) and then Granger’s hillarious remark “Why is your team so hell-bent on finding the drama in everything?”. Hetty’s answer, though “Lighten up Owen” while she slapped him on the hand. They two work well together.
    Callen almost choking on his food when he saw Arkady very much alive was just awesome. In one moment he eats his food in the other he is choking on it. When Arkady.
    Arkady ate Sam’s fries with tons of salt. I wanted to be him in that moment. I was hungry and those fries looked good.
    Arkady’s pronouncication of the word “couch” it’s the same as we Macedonians say it. That hit close to home.
    The comparation that Arkady made about the interogation room with a coffin because of Hetty. The fact that such a big man (like a bear) was intimidated by a small tiny woman was impressive. Arkady does have his fears. He maybe isn’t afraid from people that want to kill him, but he is afraid from Hetty.
    Eric’s “I love you” to Nell was stunning. He tried to mask what he just said with a conversation about lobotomy, frontal lobe, picturing brains etc.). I ship Neric, too.
    And Arkady is definitely my favorite reccuring character. He is funny and I’m glad that they didn’t kill him off like they did Thapa. I wasn’t gonna be able to endure that.
    I intentionally left the car scene for last, because it was so emotional and I can’t help but talk about it.
    I mean, ECO’s face expression is priceless. He always knows how to bring up the best in his act, and it seems real. That man has performances worth for “Oscar”.
    For a moment I thought it was Eric that was in that situation not a character he plays. He is that good.
    And there’s is definitely something that Deeks hides from all of them and the fact that he said to Kensi not to ask him about it means he has some ghosts from his past. But the question is, who are those ghosts. It was clearly that he didn’t tell Hetty about it, and he didn’t want to tell Kensi about it. He is kinda loner as Callen when it comes to those kind of stuff and it won’t do him any good. I mean, when you have something that’s bothering you, it’s better if you tell the person you trust the most, it will unburden your shoulders and you’ll feel better.
    I don’t know for how long he thinks to keep it all inside, but sooner or later he needs to let it go out of him, or he’ll become a threat for his colleagues and himself. Because if they don’t know, they can’t help, and they may be caught up in the whirlwind that the LAPD is starting to create. And they’ll use whatever they can find about him. Not good at all.
    At least, that’s what I do when I have problems that aren’t as near as those that Deeks and the crew has, but however, everyone with their own problems and worries.
    I first thought the investigation was about his actions in Afghanistan, but I highly doubt it now. I mean, I don’t know how law enforcement works like in America, but I think that if they were up to bring charges against Deeks, they would’ve done it right after 5×19, not a year later. And I think that the DOJ would’ve handled it, because they handled the “White Ghost” case. The IAB does investigations more in situations like when a police officer or detective or whoever that works in a police station, does something wrong (like not taking the shot when he/she had a chance, hiding evidence, etc.). I don’t know what they have in store for Deeks in the future, but I hope it is a good one because I’m walking on nails literally. I don’t know what to expect, ’cause I don’t know what he might’ve done or didn’t. They are really keeping us in the shadows.
    That’s all for me for this episode, I hope that “Field of Fire” will be good, too since we’ll get to know something about Kensi’s past as a sniper.

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  5. Good stuff, Di. You are the best out there at reviews in my humble opinion, and I agree with everything except your disdain for the slow motion scene. I thought it worked because if that scene ran in real time it would have happened too fast and wouldn’t have had the same impact, especially with the way Callen rushed to save Arkady. That was the most revealing to me. He spent most of the episode trying to make everyone believe he hadn’t been affected by Arkady’s “death”, but that slow motion scene showed that he was and was willing to put his own life in jeopardy to save the man. My only other comment about that scene is that Sam looks fantastic in pink…who knew?…and so LA.

    I too was surprised by how much Densi we got, the biggest surprises being Granger’s concern for Deeks, and Eric’s odd comment disparaging him. The stakeout scene in the car was the best. My only question about the IA investigation is why now? He’s been with NCIS a long time, so why look at his past at all? I recall Hetty saying in the earlier episode that there may have been outside influence for them to open an investigation, and I think that may be the key, and a much more interesting one. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see, although I have become very pessimistic that we will find out the whole story this season…maybe the ‘mole’ storyline will come back into play. Whoever it is might be trying to destabilize the Office of Special Projects and wants to start with who they think is the weakest link. it wouldn’t be the first time someone underestimated our Mr. Deeks.

    Like

    • Sorry Karen P…just realized this was your review not Di’s…You know what I think of your analytical powers. Love you both…Guess I shouldn’t read these things so early in the morning before I’ve had my coffee…I may have to switch from decaf.

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  6. Thanks for this great review, I really liked it!

    I can say that this was by far my favourite JLJ episode. The characters seemed to interact better than in other previous episodes by the same writer and I enjoyed the dialogues more.
    This said, there are still things that I can’t quite grasp and appreciate of her “style”. What it is exactly is difficult to tell so I hope JLJ doesn’t mind if I borrow Deeks’ answer to Kensi about the IA investigation, “I honestly don’t know how to answer it”.

    Of the episode I really liked the Deeks-Kensi dialogue in the car, a very realistic talk between adults that seem pretty worried about the future (as a couple and individually). Their expressions were priceless and I liked both ECO and DR in this scene very much. So serious was the tone of the conversation that Deeks called Kensi “Kensi” and not “Kens” as he usually does. I liked this detail very much!|
    I didn’t interpret Deeks’ words as his lying deliberately to Kensi about his fears of what they (IA) might find, but more as his concern about something dark of his past that might come back but he doesn’t know exactly what. There may have been more than one case, especially undercover, in which his reputation was not perfect. I think that Deeks doesn’t honestly know the answer and he’s not lying to Kensi, he’s just not mentioning all the ideas he may have on the investigation.

    What left me a little puzzled was the detective-talk scene.
    I know we have asked many times (myself included) for more Densi scenes and touch but I am not sure I meant THIS kind of scene. What I liked was the chemistry between the characters (whoever said it was lost was wrong, I think it was gloriously back here!), what I didn’t like much was that it didn’t seem the perfect timing for touching and talking about their nights (again??).
    Now that we are all relieved that Deeks and Kensi have a very satisfying sex life (“lean, mean sex machine”, “happy memories of your bedroom” and “detective talk all night long”), could we please have a little little more onscreen AFFECTION? I keep on hoping the IA investigation and season finale cliffhanger may bring an emotional Densi scene and then four months of tears (Densi’s and ours!).

    On a very side note: I like Kensi’s new hairstyle but in this episode it made her face look a little fatter if that is even possible for a goddess like DR!

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  7. First of all happy birthday hermionesmydawg. hope you will come soon with your new and undoubtedly excellent story.

    Secondly thank you Karen for the excellent review. I wasn’t also expecting some exciting episode reading the previews, but the moment detective Riviera appears on the screen, the episode got my undivided attention and had it until the very end. Of course all Densi moments were great, Mr. Olsen is remarkable actor and can easily switch from the funniest to the saddest scene in a blink of an eye. Regarding Deeks’ “I honestly don’t know how to answer that” I am at the same page as Fin and Kara – he simply doesn’t know what they are after and how deep they are ready to go. He is aware that all facts from his numerous undercover operations could be easily twisted and used against him, but I hope that truth will prevail as there is no way that Deeks did anything that would require any kind of investigation for any of his actions so far.
    Kolcheck is also always welcome and he indeed brings lots of freshness into serial every time he appears.
    All in all really excellent episode with only ladies steering it.

    Like

  8. I keep wondering about Granger’s comments about Deeks needing to be protected. It sounded to me like he may know what it is all about.

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  9. I agree that this might be bigger than just an IA investigation. I am starting to have hope that these stories will intersect as we head to the of the season. I don’t mind if it moves us into season 7. I don’t like it when they rush the stories. Thank you for the recap. I look forward to them.

    Like

  10. I also really liked the review – agree pretty much…I think ECO’s hair is getting longer as Dani’s is getting shorter! Not sure I like the shorter look on her? The pony tail to long and flowing was so so perfect for her character. This shoulder length thing looks a bit “mature” to me. AND – last week, no way she took that helmet off and had hair like that! No helmet hair, especially at that length? No Way LOL!
    But – loved the ep with the Densi at Work section, while also wondering about the unusual Eric comments? And I especially wanted to comment somewhere how much I liked the Surf Log this time – “Good to know”, “I adore how deep my woman is” and “Motormouth Marty” sections especially – it really did all sound like Mr. Deeks writing. Hoping for a good end to this year (they will someday announce season 7, yes?)?!

    Like

  11. hermionesmydawg // April 23, 2015 at 4:38 PM // Reply

    Great review. As usual, you and I think alike…including the slow motion. It was painfully slow and hokey to me, but the rest of the episode was A+++++.

    Like

  12. Wow, thanks for all the great comments everyone! It will be interesting to see how much of the IA storyline we get in the last three episodes, and how much will be saved for next season. I’m fine with it continuing in S7, but I sure would like it to be part of the cliff-hanger, and I’m not so sure that it will be.

    Like

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