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Review: NCISLA “Angels & Daemons” (S7E13)


NCISLA_ANGELS&DAEMONS_2

Ah, the filler episode. It’s the building block of a season, on top of which sit the episodes we look forward to the most, the ones where our favorite characters are personally impacted by the case. Not so for the filler episode. Instead it contains the same elements from week to week, the DNA that gives a show its personality. For NCIS: Los Angeles, that means bromance, banter, and action, oftentimes in the form of a boom (or at least multiple people getting killed). This week’s episode was classic filler. Writer Andrew Bartels and director James Hanlon checked all the boxes, and I felt adequately entertained as I await what looks like a hugely important Densi episode next week. We’ll talk about all that…

But First, The Plot

This story definitely took quite a few twists and turns as our team tried to find the killer of a tech billionaire named Larry Overson, an “angel investor” who seeded start-up companies. He had also worked for the National Security Agency where he developed a daemon, an undetectable software program that runs silently in the background collecting data on its users. Overson and his co-worker Mark Powell left the NSA and took their daemon with them, not wanting anyone, including the government, to be able to spy so easily. Powell’s falling out with Overson over money along with his presence at the crime scene make him suspect #1, but he diverts the team’s attention to a group of start-ups including Flibbit, which had the opportunity to find out about the program through Overson. Callen and Sam go undercover as angels to try to learn more. Eventually we find out that Powell’s attorney sold the daemon to a Pakistani ISI agent who infiltrated said start-up in order to deploy the program, even as he’s pursued by an Israeli Mossad agent undercover as the security guard. In a final twist, we learn that Powell did actually kill Overson when they fought over what to do with the daemon. That is a lot of story to tell, but Bartels efficiently squeezed it all into 42 minutes with time leftover for the banter.

Banter, Check

Deeks and Kensi were plenty cute in this episode, with their discussion of Deeks being Monty’s “muttler,” (is that one “t” or two?) and Deeks’ flirty reaction to Kensi’s math skills. He definitely appreciates her intelligence as well as her strength, one of the characteristics I love most about him. But I think the best banter of the night might have been between Deeks and Nell. These two have always been great together; Nell’s sassiness plays off of Deeks’ playfulness so beautifully. I wish we could have more scenes with them together. (Of course, I think Eric Christian Olsen has tremendous chemistry with every single member of the cast.)

Action, Check

OK, there were no explosions. But Sam’s hand-to-hand with the Mossad agent on the roof was well choreographed. And we got a nice shoot-out at the end. While the woman Kensi took out didn’t seem worried enough about taking cover, I did think that Deeks’ shooting of the suspect was quite well staged. Deeks shot him so quickly after he started to pull out his weapon, I wasn’t entirely sure he had been armed at first. It gave me a momentary flashback to “The Debt”.

Bromance, Check?

Sometimes the banter works, as it did with Densi in this episode, and sometimes things just feel a little off. To me, Sam and Callen’s discussions felt a bit strained. Even Granger noticed it. Perhaps that was intended. After all, Callen didn’t want Sam second-guessing his stalking protecting Joelle, and Sam didn’t want to see yet another appearance of Lone Wolf Callen. Count on Deeks to defuse the tension with humor: Can I shadow you? It’s the only way I’ll learn. (But seriously, who lets their carpool partner drive to their house for nothing? I’d have been annoyed too!) The repartee was still there, but I didn’t feel it had its usual relaxed, effortless flow. It’s not the first time this season I’ve felt that way with these two, and I wonder if it’s been intentional on the part of the writers. Might they be setting up some sort of more serious rift between the two? Or maybe I’m over-thinking things (it definitely wouldn’t be the first time!).

Classic Deeks

Nell: Guys, I don’t do so well with boats. It’s the rocking and then the stomach, it’s not the best combination.

Deeks: You do realize that you are an NCIS agent, where the “N” stands for Naval? I don’t mean like a belly button kind.

Nell: Huh, thanks Captain Obvious. I think Navy ships are a little bit bigger.

Deeks: Where you going Gilligan?

Nell: I’m pretty sure marina security isn’t as cautious with their cameras… The “I” is for Investigative.

Deeks: Wow, and “S” stands for Show-off. Well played.

Classic Densi

Deeks: See, you know what? If Silicon Beach was around when I was younger, I’m pretty sure I would have crushed it.

Kensi: Eh, I’m pretty sure you would have crashed it.

Deeks: But I am an idea man, you know this about me.

Kensi: I do, but not necessarily for complex computer programming.

Deeks: But I’d just hire those people. I’d have like an army of Beales toiling away in the data mine.

Kensi: And what are you doing in the meantime, just surfing?

Deeks: Yeah, it’s called a board meeting and it’s very professional. Kensi: Wow, three more stops, let’s go.

Deeks: You know what? I’m thinking about getting Monty a butler.

Kensi: You are Monty’s butler.

Deeks: Oh, yeah.

Memorable Moments

  • So apparently The Thing seems to have been transferred from Densi to Sallen. Kensi is right, they sure do sound like an old married couple. (But haven’t they always?)
  • I loved the plethora of nicknames: Kensalina, Nellosaurus, Captain Obvious, Gilligan, Macgyver. They convey how close-knit this group is.
  • Deeks wasn’t being literal when he told Kensi, “This is not the Venice I grew up in,” right? We all know he went to high school in the Valley. There’s no canon inconsistency, he just meant that he spent a lot of time at the beach there, right?
  • Poor Eric, so anxious to put his training into practice (Put me in coach) and try out the slide. It would have shown him a glimpse of everything he’s given up by working for the government. But hey, at least he still gets to wear shorts.
  • I liked Callen’s excellent undercover work on the hoverboard, and Sam’s sensitive way of winning over Jessica. Good work boys!
  • Ah, I love it when they go tactical. Could they walk around wearing that gear all the time? I mean, better safe than sorry, right?
  • I laughed when Jessica used the slide to evacuate during the fire alarm. Maybe all offices should have slides for that very purpose. (Apparently it’s also useful for dead body disposal.)
  • I guess the sitar case held both a dismantled rifle and a machine gun? Or maybe the female baddie had smuggled them in separately.
  • Nice job Granger, calling Hetty on enjoying the never-ending fight against the bad guys. She is definitely devoted to her job.

Next week’s episode looks to be an emotional one for Kensi- and us- as her ex-fiancé Jack enters the picture. I know we’re all excited to see how she and Deeks deal with this difficult situation (and why Hetty has yet again sprung Jack on her unannounced). In the meantime, check out Deeks’ Surf Log and Kensi’s Journal, as well as the Edit of the Week. And tell us what you thought of “Angels & Daemons” in the Comments below!


EPISODE INFO
Title: “Angels & Daemons”
Writer: Andrew Bartels
Director: James Hanlon
Original Air Date: January 18, 2016


Karen P.

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

About Karen P (161 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.

14 Comments on Review: NCISLA “Angels & Daemons” (S7E13)

  1. Excellent review once more, Karen. I think you squarely caught the sense of this filler show. Good episode, viewable and enjoyable, but nothing to add to the all-time favorites list. I hope they have dropped Joelle for good now. I really did like the character but not for someone like Callen. He needs someone more like Tracy – good looking (natch, I’m still male), smart, tough enough to deal with his issues (and he has a lot of them). The Densi banter was enjoyable – at least Deeks still has Monty (or is he both their dog by now?). The Flibbit office reminded me a lot of the old days in Silicon Valley, but not so much in today’s world of venture/vulture capitalists running start ups. I also enjoyed the back and forth between Deeks and Nell. So now we add ISI and Pakistan to our enemies list… at least in LA they haven’t added MI-6 to the mix.

    Was it coincidence that Kensi shot the female agent? I don’t recall any of the guys killing a female during the series… bad guys shooting them, yes.. but not our white hats.

    I don’t know what to expect from “Come Back”. I hope (pray, plead, beg, whatever) that Hetty is doing this to make sure Densi is committed as well as to protect the “list”. I have that hope due to the hug scene… Kensi would not be hugging her if she were being a pint sized Machiavelli again. I would like to see the last scene be Densi moving her stuff from her apartment into the house, not moving her stuff out of the house!

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    • I am with you Norm I want the same last scene as you for next weeks episode. I really cant see Deeks & Kensi splitting up over Jack’s return. They cant make Kensi fall out of love with Deeks in one episode. These two have been through so much together but I am more worried about this episode than Internal Affairs. Besides the fans would revolt if something happened to derail their relationship. Deeks has stood by Kensi through everything where as Jack left her when things became difficult

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      • I hope the writers haven’t forgotten that Jack converted to Islam while in Afghanistan, that he was married and had a daughter, and that he now has Khatira… plus the CIA was still after him at the end of SOW. IMO (note; all my comments where other than directly from an episode are IMO) Kensi should be upset at his appearing, have some nostalgia for them before his PTSD, and then move on. They were engaged 13 years ago (19 at the time, now she is 31-32), and she should realize the strength of her relationship with Deeks and his love for her.

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        • I don’t think the authors will mess with Densi in “Come back” for two main very practical reasons:
          1. First, as the old saying wisely suggests, they would never “kill the goose that lays the golden egg” and they are smart enough to understand that Jensi wouldn’t have the same fans and support as Densi.
          2. Second, ECO is a regular, Matthew Del Negro is a guest star.
          Anyway, I am really looking forward to seeing how Jack showing up in LA will affect the episode.
          Hopefully Kensi will have some closure with him, more than they had when both prisoners in Afghanistan. I hope his sudden appearance has only this purpose, nothing more.

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  2. Great review! I, too, really really enjoyed the banter the most between Deeks and Nell. I know Callen’s undercover on the hover will be the star but that’s the way my vote would go for best scene. Throughout my viewing of this ep I kept making a note to myself to check again who wrote it — the wittiness without losing too much plot was fantastic. It just looked like they were having fun.

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  3. Thanks for your review which covered the most important moments of the episode.
    Speaking of which, I think we have seen better and we have seen worse.
    I quite enjoyed the case and also the team action and banter. It seemed that everybody knew what to do and most of the interactions flowed quite natural. But for Sam and Callen’s: those were the moments I found most forced, so that I am wondering, just like you Karen, if the writers intentionally are planning some specific storyline that involves the two of them and a kind of partnership that’s different from the one we are used to.

    I liked Deeks and Kensi together a lot this time and this is for me the best evidence that we don’t need a fluffy, romantic scene every time they are on screen to say an episode was alright.
    In their scenes I enjoyed the good blend of dialogues, banter, solid partnership and action. They are so beautiful together, competent, smart, badass. And in love. Even if it’s not always declared, it’s always implied. And I find this extremely captivating.

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  4. Excellent review, KP. I actually liked this one. It was fun to see Callen playing a rather goofy undercover part. He does have a great smile and good hover board skills, not to mention a gift for sliding. Looked like COD was having lots of fun.

    But, the big question I have is why are the writers dragging out the breakup between Callen and Joelle??? Enough already. Why break up if he really likes her and if he made up his mind she wasn’t for him then walk away, don’t stalk the new man in her life. I found that weird and slightly creepy. And why is Sam pushing so hard for him to end it? They’ve been bantering about the subject since Christmas. Surely they can come up with a decent storyline for the lead character instead of making him seem like a sore loser.

    You know I love Deeks and I loved him here, especially the look on his face when Kensi started calculating in her head. The only problem I had was that I kept staring at his hair. It was perfect. We could actually see his left eye all night. Points to whoever did his trim.

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  5. The review is so good there’s not much for me to add; except that I also enjoyed this episode. Yes, it is a filler episode but I really enjoyed it; especially the banter. COD really had a handle on that hoover board; he just nailed that crazy investor. I always love Densi banter; you’re correct that math banter was so cute; Nell and Deeks though was golden. My favorite episodes typical are of the team working a case/problem as a team; makes the show great. Each character has their own strength and bring uniqueness to their character. Don’t know what to make of Sam and Callen; I liked Callen and Jolle together; I guess the writers have other plans.
    Next week should be interesting; I just hope they, TPTB, don’t mess it up — cough, cough (Talia).
    Again, thanks for the wonderful review!

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  6. You did a very good review , so not much to add. I really enjoyed this episode even though it was filler, it was very well done filler. I liked the fact that the writers seem to remember what we knew about the characters. We got to hear about Monty and they remembered Kensi was a slob. I liked that we had a Mossad agent instead of always having the DEA. I certainly enjoyed the Densi chemistry and banter and like the fact that they are in a relationship and it does not impact their jobs. The only part that dragged the episode down was already mentioned , they are dragging this Callen/Joelle breakup out. I sort of liked Callen with Joelle , it provided a change for his character which I think is needed and she played a small part every once in awhile. I would hate for them to develop a relationship for Callen and spend a lot of time on it. I would rather see them concentrate on Densi and maybe more of Sam and Michelle since they seem to also have on screen chemistry.

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  7. Loved your review as usual. I didn’t see any break in canon when Deeks said “growing up in Venice.” He spent a lot of time there at the beach when he was younger. I was born and raised in midtown Kansas City near the Plaza area but I spent an awful lot of time on the Kansas side and I’ve been known to say things like “this is not the Leawood I grew up in” or “this is not the Prairie Village of my childhood.” It means nothing. He was born and raised in Reseda but he lived in L.A. so all the beaches, all the various towns–he grew up there. Just my two cents. I wouldn’t expect him to spend his entire life in a small area in such a big city. But, on the other stuff, you were spot on. I always look forward to the reviews. And Lindy, you are so right. The trim just enhanced his already good-looking self

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  8. Great review, Karen, as usual, you hit all the highlights. I liked this episode. It checked all the boxes for me and l really enjoyed all the high tech intrigue, angel investors and VC talk. The slide was awesome just like the ones at Google. I didn’t realize there was a Silicon beach in LA as we have here in Silicon Valley. I’ll have to fact check that. I enjoyed the case of the week and introducing the Mossad into the high tech espionage intrigue was very interesting.

    I liked the switch up with Callen undercover riding the hover board, although there were brief moments when I pictured Deeks on the board. I enjoyed Callen and Sam working the case. I had the same feeling about Sam and Callen. I agree, Karen..there’s something afoot with the underlying tension between them. And looking on the bright side of the Callen/Joelle sit…we are getting closure on Joelle and Callen instead of Joelle just disappearing, especially after them hooking up in the Xmas episode. It nice to see that it was not just a fling to Callen.

    I found Densi really entertaining as well as all the team exchanges. Nell and Deeks was deinitely the highlight but Densi was just as awesome. The writing was witty and I enjoyed references to what we fans consider canon. Mutler, hehe, “.. thinking of getting Monty a butler…you are Monty’s butler! And weekly board meeting, anyone? Seriously, some really witty exchanges and some really smart dialogue. Loved the look from Deeks when Kensi was figuring out the distance and trajectory of the shot.

    And finally, a shout out to whoever cut Deeks’s hair. I agree with Lindy, through out, I kept thinking how good Deeks’s hair looked. Deeks looked less shaggy, more carefree and relaxed which makes sense now that the IA investigation and his confession to Kensi is over. It points out how makeup and wardrobe plays just as much a part as writers and actors. Deeks looks like his old self.

    Overall, I enjoyed this episode. I can’t wait for next week when Jack shows up again. I’m hoping it’s final closure for Kensi. Even though we’ve heard Kensi’s declaration that she’s all in, she was in a really traumatic and emotional state when she last saw Jack. It woukd be good to meet again under normal circumstances. Herty has a lot of ‘splainin to do….but doubtful that we get any.

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  9. I just remembered something. On one of the commentaries that Renee and Barrett did (I can’t remember which season at the moment), Renee mentioned she grew up on boats, had a license to pilot them, etc. Funny that they made her character not do great on them. 🙂

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  10. Very good review Karen, it was a pleasure to read it! I like this one, It was a filler but was well written and so very well acted (their faces in the “math talk” scene was amazing). I enjoyed all the episode.. so I’m satisfied for now 🙂
    For the next one “Came back”, I think I like to see a real confront between kensi and jack in order to have the final closure of this storyline. It maybe will bring some trouble in densi relationship becouse of the reflections and the thoughts this situation comes to light, but we’ll wait and see if they overtake even this! I support Densi happy ending forever 🙂

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  11. Thanks for the great comments everyone! 🙂

    Like

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