I can’t say I was looking forward to this episode. Bar Paly’s last visit to the show was so painful I could barely watch her performance. But, she’s back again and mysteriously helping Cuban spies escape U.S. custody. I’ve always enjoyed the return of her father, Arkady but sometimes absence makes the heart grow fonder too. I guess we’re stuck with the Arkadys for now but something seems to be brewing regarding their return so soon after their last appearance. I don’t think her reappearance has anything to do with fleeing Cuban spies either. But more on that later. This week we have an all-female team overseeing the episode with a new Jordana Lewis Jaffe script and a new (to NCISLA) director in the chair, Tawnia McKiernan.
Uh, oh. Has the bloom fallen from the rose? Obviously Deeks is feeling much more secure in his relationship with Kensi and despite some water torture from his partner, he feels he just has to express his concern about her ‘neatness aversion’. Not that this is new; Deeks has always been able to get a few barbs in about her lack of housekeeping skills, and even Deeks’ mom mentioned it was not one of Kensi’s finer qualities. But Deeks has finally had enough and leaves early to sneak away to take a shower at the boat shed instead of competing with all the hair products littering the shower floor. Kensi is hurt but I’m not exactly sure why. Except that I think she’s oblivious to her Pigpen persona. Either that or she thinks it’s cute and she can get away with it. I don’t envy Deeks. It’s going to be a hard habit to break. But looking at the bright side of their little tiff, anytime we can start the show off with a Deeks’ shower scene I’m a happy camper.
Getting back to the storyline, Anna Kolcheck has returned and the team discovers right off the bat that she is the one responsible for helping Pena escape before he was scheduled to be taken back to Cuba in exchange for an American detainee. But the spy isn’t the only one missing. Hetty has gone off the grid as well and given her mysterious past with Anna she may be involved in this whole mess along with the DOJ. After chasing down Anna through the streets of LA, the team discovers Pena is not Cuban but Russian and that Hetty has been pulling the strings all along regarding his abduction. While Russia manipulated Cuba into bring their KGB comrade back, Hetty wasn’t going to let that happen. She suspected all along he was a Russian agent and hired Anna to capture Pena and keep him from absconding back to Russia with American tech secrets. I’m a little concerned after listening to Hetty’s one-on-one with Anna towards the end. Could she be setting her up to join the team at some point? Someone please tell me this is not going to happen! Bar Paly’s acting skills haven’t gotten much better, and I can’t even say I like her character all that much either. It’s going to be hard enough to imagine her as a regular if she and Callen hook up as lovers. But as a member of the team? Oh, hell no! Maybe I’m just reading more into this than I should but I think this episode was a set up to introduce Anna’s possible induction into the team. (It reminds me a bit of how they integrated Deeks into the team.) Last night’s storyline was marginal or secondary as to why she was actually called on by Hetty to lead this mission. She could have recruited any number of people to capture this man. Let’s just hope Callen takes Sam’s good nature ribbing to heart and we won’t see her listed as a new member of the cast next year!
•Can you blame Sam for not wanting to use a bean bag? Just the thought of him trying to wiggle his way out of one makes me want to giggle.
•As Eric and Nell are discussing ‘Densi’, we get more insight into their relationship that seems to be further along than I suspected. The question is who else knows or is this all under the radar for now? It seems Granger suspects more than he’s letting on.
•While I enjoy Arkady in small doses, I have to admit he always makes me smile whenever he’s in a scene with Callen and Sam. It’s like a bizarre version of the Three Stooges. (Sam: One day I’m going to kill him. Callen: One of these days, I’m going to help you.)
•Here’s Granger always being so warm and fuzzy: Henretta it’s Owen, again. If you are lying in a ditch and can’t get to a phone, my apologies. Otherwise, call me the hell back.
•It seems our lone wolf, Callen has reached out to Anna since their return from Russia. I doubt if he wanted to share pictures regarding their vacation together in the Motherland. (Callen: Anna works alone, she doesn’t want a partner, she doesn’t trust a team, she doesn’t need anyone’s help.) Takes one to know one, Callen. Sounds like a match made in heaven. Ugh.
•Did anyone else find Deeks’ whistling in the shower endearing? I could listen to him whistle like a little kid all day long.
•Deeks loves his dentist. Why does that not surprise me? Got to keep those beautiful pearly whites clean.
•Despite being right, Deeks feels guilty for offending Kensi and offers her a cup of coffee to placate his hurt partner. Nice try but it looks like it’s going to take a lot more to get back into her good graces. But you have to admit he looked so cute trying.
•Two words: Shower scene. My first inclination was to do a 2000 word fanfic on the beauty that is Marty Deeks instead of writing this review. Actually that may not have been a bad idea after watching such a lack luster episode. But we will always have the shower scene, won’t we? Sigh. (Deeks: Kensi! That’s fine I’m just going to air dry. Just going to air dry!) Sigh, again.
•Wait! Is this the first time the writers have used the names Densi/Keeks? I was surprised at how casually Eric and Nell threw out the monikers as they were discussing Kensi and Deeks relationship problems. It sort of sounded out of context and jarring to hear. I’m not sure the characters are allowed to come into our domain!
•I tend to agree with Sam on his request for discretion. I’m not sure I wanted to know about Densi’s choice of role play in the bedroom either. A robot, really Deeks?
We’re on a roll here because there is a new episode next week. So be sure to return but in the meantime check out Deeks’ Surf Log and Kensi’s Journal later this week and of course our Edit of the Week. See you then!
Episode: “Exchange Rate”
Writer: Jordana Lewis Jaffe
Director: Tawnia McKiernan
Original Air Date: March 14, 2016
Diane Volpe is a Contributing Editor at wikiDeeks.com
Follow her on Twitter: @phillydi