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Review: NCISLA “The Seventh Child” (S7E19)


NCISLA_THE SEVENTH CHILD_3

Only Prince of Darkness Frank Military would open an episode of NCIS: Los Angeles by blowing up an adorable little boy. Heartbreaking, terrifying, and instantly riveting, “The Seventh Child” was one of the season’s best episodes. Written and directed by Military, it gave all four leads some wonderful moments to shine. Plus OMG a surprise Densi proposal!?! We’ll talk about that…

…But First, The Plot

We open with a young boy in a public restroom, desperately trying to remove the explosives strapped to his chest. He and another identical boy flee from a group of men but- in what might be the saddest boom in the show’s history- one boy is killed. The other takes refuge in a water tank on a nearby roof. The team tracks the boys via facial recognition to a family in Israel, only to find out the parents think they have only one child, who’s safe and sound at home. It turns out that a shady fertility doctor in India implanted extra embryos in the surrogate they used, and then sold the extra babies on the black market to terrorists. Yep, it would be hard to come up with a darker storyline than this.

While Callen tries to keep the boy, named Nadir, from blowing them both up inside the water tank, the team tracks down the bad guys, only to find that Nadir and his brother weren’t the only children turned into bombs. Sam manages to talk a group of them out of blowing themselves up, the bomb squad rescues Nadir, and Callen helps him reunite with the parents he’s never known. And no, those weren’t tears. Just allergies, I swear.

Dark and Intense

The episode exhibited its trademark Military darkness in the first few seconds. As soon as little Nadir opened up his jacket and we saw the bomb, my heart went out to him. Then to see his brother blown up was simply heartbreaking. Has there ever been such a sad opening? But it worked to get me instantly involved in the plot. With most NCIS:LA episodes, I barely pay attention to the story, only waiting for the funny banter and Densi magic. Here I was on the edge of my seat throughout. Every new development just ratcheted up the suspense too: realizing that Nadir was brainwashed and wouldn’t let Callen help him (you just could hear Callen thinking “Oh crap.”); the bomb squad telling Callen they couldn’t defuse the bomb, highly unusual in a world where Sam usually comes in and snips a few wires to end the danger; and all the bomb squad manipulations to fool the bomb into thinking Nadir was still attached. I was completely invested in every turn of events.

Gavin Lewis, the child actor playing Nadir and his two brothers, was fantastic. It must be a crap shoot to choose guest actors, never knowing how well they’ll perform and fit into the show, but here the casting director hit a home run. Nadir might not have known about dinosaurs or DNA (I’ll keep my political jokes to myself), but he was clearly very bright and very afraid. I liked that he was written as smart without being overly precocious. The way Callen used his personal experiences to relate to him felt unforced. I was highly amused when Nadir told him he didn’t care about his name (I may have reached that very same point some time ago). I do have to say though that it felt like I was watching maybe 40% Callen but 60% Chris O’Donnell, father of five.

I was moved when Callen reassured Nadir he wouldn’t leave him alone, and again when Callen talked about the people who come into your life who make you feel safe. We can all probably think of people like that, family or not, who’ve made a difference in our lives. And the final moments in the boathouse, with Nadir repeating those words back to Callen and using his first name. Seriously, show, stop it already! [Sniffle.] My only quibble with that scene was the background music, which belongs with my all-time favorite scene at the end of “Impact,” and should be reserved for special Densi scenes only.

Sam too (Callen’s “partner and friend”) had his moment to shine. In a scene from the promo, we found out why Sam had told Deeks to evacuate the building. I was shocked to see those children. I hadn’t expected it and again, it upped the intensity another notch. I loved Sam’s determination to save them, and how he used his knowledge of Islam to do it. You always have a choice… Feel with the heart that Allah gave you. This scene was as just as emotional for me as Callen’s. And Deeks’ reluctance to leave Sam’s side, staying close enough offer support, was touching. These two seriously need their own adventure together.

Baby Talk 

Deeks and Kensi finally had that long-anticipated discussion about children. Coming after so many apparent hints about kids in so many previous episodes, it was interesting to find out where they both actually stood. They’d clearly each thought about what they might have to give up to become parents. I have to disagree with Deeks- he’d be the most awesome stay-at-home dad ever. And how wonderful is it that they are able to talk about these things now- they’ve come so far! The dialog was beautifully written throughout their scenes (just as it was through the entire episode). The way they discussed their future as a given, both assuming that they would surely be together, warmed my heart. They are so all in.

Deeks: Yeah, but having kids means the end of a lot of amazing things.

Kensi: Like our partnership?

Deeks: I don’t know if I’d make a very good stay at home dad…

Kensi: So what are you saying, it’s just not going to happen at all?

Deeks: I didn’t say that. Having kids is also the beginning of some amazing things.

I worried that the bullpen conversation might be all we’d get, like in “Exchange Rate” where there was no follow-up about the argument over neatness. But the discussion continued throughout the episode, and even tied into the case. Military very artfully wove it in, so that it felt natural and made sense as the story progressed. It’s an example I wish more writers could follow. Even the way FBI Agent Rand’s and Sam’s parenthood was brought up in the face of the dangerous situation they faced added to the running theme. If I can’t save this child, then why am I doing this job?  What a tough choice to put yourself in harm’s way to protect other people’s children, while you risk abandoning your own if the worst happens. 

Eric Christian Olsen and Daniela Ruah were wonderful in each scene. Deeks’ doing the detecting thing, surmising that bigger house + baby magazine meant that Kensi was pregnant, was perfect. You could just see the wheels spinning in his head. And the seriousness with which he talked about the commitment of parenthood was so appropriate for someone with his childhood experiences. The way they looked at each other as Deeks marveled at how they got to this point- again, perfect. And Kensi’s bravado about home birthing “their” child was adorable. 

Put a Ring on It

I was thrilled with the episode as it was, but to get that final Densi scene as they left the bullpen was icing on the cake. What a wonderful surprise they saved for us! It’s so nice that it had never been offered as a spoiler by TPTB, or included in a sneak peek. I think I did the same double take as Kensi’s “What did you say?” She was delightfully sassy in response to Deeks’ query, and her expression when she turned away was the absolute cutest. These two are so adorable I can barely stand it. I like to think that Deeks has already bought the ring, and that he may have already asked Julia’s permission to pop the question. I feel like his big admission in “Cancel Christmas” was the last hurdle. It was so refreshing to see him taking the lead, after Kensi has seemingly been the one propelling them forward since “Humbug.” In the moment here, he was truly all in and ready to take an official “Yes” from Kensi and run with it.

Deeks: I just wanted to know if you think it’s too crazy for two people to… two people to get married.

Kensi: No, I- I don’t think it’s too crazy for that… no.

Deeks: Sorry, is that- is that.. is, are you saying yes?

Kensi: I’m not going to say yes in the hallway at work without a ring on my finger.

Deeks: Oh so you want me down on one knee?

Kensi: It would be a good start.

Deeks: You want the beach and the sunset with the ring?

Kensi: Yeah… maybe then you’d have a chance.

Deeks: OK… Hey, that’s still a yes, huh? Baby? Uh huh-that’s a yes!

My biggest fear at this point is that we’re not going to get to share in the actual proposal- we’ll just get the scene the next day in Ops when they announce it to the team. We’ve missed out on their first time sleeping together, their first “I love you’s,” and their decision to move in together. Why show, why? At this point I’m kinda convinced that we won’t even get to see the wedding, and we’ll just see them coming back to work after their honeymoon. Come on show, throw us Densi fans a bone!

Memorable Moments

  • Seriously, were Deeks and Kensi saying they only have one bedroom in their (I love saying “their”) house? It sure looks bigger than that to me.
  • Deeks’ “Okay, that’s interesting, because I think we do our best work on top of each other” was hilarious.
  • Granger too was hilarious amid the discussion about where to give birth. I could see Badass Blye- Please, I think I can handle it- toughing it out without drugs or doctors or a hospital. Deeks, not so much. And I’m not even going to touch that circumcision discussion!
  • Hetty on the other hand, only focused on the case and was ever so quick to pronounce the brother dead. She can be so cold.
  • Did Callen go a little Wikipedia on Nadir when he dropped the dinosaur trivia?
  • Has there ever been an episode where not a single shot is fired?
  • On a super shallow note, thumbs up to the form-fitting white shirt.

If the episode hadn’t been so well written, I might have had a very negative reaction to the manipulative nature of putting so many children at risk. But I’m warning you now, Mr. Military- leave the puppies and kittens alone. That’s where I draw the line. As it is, it was tough to rewatch it given the latest horrific news from the real world. This episode was way more emotionally affecting than a normal case, and was well suited to its 10pm time slot. It’s a great example of how well this show can be done.

Now when the heck are we getting the official proposal? While we wait, join us for another new episode next week, plus Deeks’ Surf Log and Kensi’s Journal (I can’t wait to hear what they both thought about that last discussion!) and the Edit of the Week. In the meantime, tell us what you thought of “The Seventh Child.”


EPISODE INFO
Title: “The Seventh Child”
Writer: Frank Military
Director: Frank Military
Original Air Date: March 21, 2016


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.

21 Comments on Review: NCISLA “The Seventh Child” (S7E19)

  1. I am in Australia so haven’t seen the whole episode yet. However, I have watched the Densi scenes. I really hope that they let us see Deeks propose to Kensi because I will feel so ripped off otherwise. I have loved watching them become a couple and I want to see their relationship through everything. We missed them saying I love to you each other the first time and their first night together. So Please writers give us what the fans want!! The episode sounded very intense so will look forward to seeing it.

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  2. Great review, Karen! You hit on all my thoughts.

    I could not find a single thing to fault. I choked up when the bomb exploded in the opening scene but as you say, something that horrific grabbed my attention and I too, was riveted to the screen for the entire episode.. And in between all the action and suspense, there was Densi. I agree, the Densi storyline was artfully woven throughout the episode. Bravo, Frank Military, Bravo!

    The ending was awesome, it really was a bonus…so unexpected to have that conversation. It made me one happy camper.

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  3. Well-scripted, well-acted, well-directed amazing episode. Some scenes were so intense that I held my breath almost the entire time. This is how you write a case of the week that gives everybody a moment to shine and at the same time you make other storylines progress.
    All the characters were completely in character, no weird behavior, no odd conversation, no silly banter at someone else’s expenses.
    They were all competent, smart, cooperative and also greatly understanding and full of humanity. What you would expect from agents who risk their lives for the others on a daily basis.

    All the scenes with Callen were either breathtaking or emotional. I think COD this season is extraordinary and he did an awesome job in this episode with Nadir. And the child calling him “Grisha”, I think was one of the most moving moments of all the series.
    Sam was great too in his scenes, especially the one with the bomb-children he had to convince not to explode and die.

    Also the Densi kid talk was brilliantly fused and blended with the rest of the scenes, so much that it sounded natural and not forced to fit into the rest of the episode at all costs.
    The Densi ending “pre-proposal” scene (I hope this is what it will turn out to be) was a gem in its own, where both ECO and DR perfectly conveyed all their emotions: the initial disappointment (Kensi’s) soon and unexpectedly turned into surprise, hope, happiness, excitement.
    I liked how Deeks knew it was the right time to reassure Kensi that he does see her in his future even if the conversation about having a baby seemed far from being over. And I liked how both these characters who, for different reasons, have had commitment issues all their life, deliberately talked about getting married. Not a dream anymore, but a possible reality.
    I love how their relationship is becoming something more and more tangible from episode to episode. This is the realistic, adult progression we had been asking for.

    In my opinion if the showrunners were able to create this kind of episodes a little more often, the show would be safe and sound for many more seasons. And so would we 🙂

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    • „In my opinion if the showrunners were able to create this kind of episodes a little more often, the show would be safe and sound for many more seasons.„

      My thoughts exactly, finally an episod worth seeing.

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  4. Ah, Frank Military is awesome! (I kept changing that word). What a wonderful episode – the story was intriguing, terrifying, multi-layered, and completely understandable yet still unpredictable! Utilized all the characters so well! So well directed! Gavin was Great! If only Military could write the show all the time like Julian Fellowes did Downton Abbey it would send the ratings reeling!
    Densi: what can you say – the kid dialog…from Kensi being sucked into the typical Deek’s debate practice of making her declare “I’ve got it covered” like she planned on home births all along, to the however many unparalled seconds of “how did we get to this conversation now” dialogue between DR and ECO (could anyone have done it better?)? I think I agree Deeks would end up being the stay-at-home-dad and be the best at it while spoiling the kid(s) wonderfully rotten 🙂 ! Just another example of how well Frank knows these characters!
    And then the Proposal !!! I’ve read many lovely, romantic, cute fanfic versions of this event, but where else could it have happened than in the Alleyway of OPS??? I mean really, the sight of the loneliest-most dejected solo exit walk ever, the Bulgogi Dance, the hip bumps, the … (not to mention the Neric Elf Dance and Nell’s “boyfriend” declaration). And there It was, a typical Deeks Challenge to Kensi’s wall-building logic argument, but this time she takes it! And then with that smile dares him to follow her out and make good on his challenge. Have we ever seen a scene shot from that direction in the Alley before? I don’t remember ever. Perfect! I don’t know if I want to see “the actual” – this was so good. I kinda missed Hetty (and maybe Granger) standing on the balcony behind them watching with a cup of tea in her hands and a smirk as she mumbled “took you both long enough!” or something.
    Loved Callen giving this new young friend his name which his own team/family will probably never call him. And, I think one of the best moments for me was Sam – he orders everyone out of the house – Deeks “seems” to obey the order with his we’ll be close comment, Sam sees that Kensi is outside, safe, (and alone) and then – – he calls out to Deeks who he just knows is still right outside the door, waiting to back him up, for assistance. That was not a request “through the coms” in my opinion. Military tore them apart in Spoils, I don’t know if it was his intent, but I felt like he put them back together totally here! I just HOPE it’s not a pre-cursor to Deeks (or Kensi) becoming Sam’s partner while Callen gets Anna!! (But after this episode I’d probably still watch, despite having to endure Anne, just for moments like these).
    My only problem now is I’m a little afraid to watch the remaining 4 episodes? How do you compete with this? But I do want to know What’s In The Box?!

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  5. Great Review. On tumblr, I agreed with a comment that the episode had a high level of creepiness that is often on Criminal Minds except the last few scenes. I know of at least two episodes where I’m pretty sure no one fired their gun: Honor & History.

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  6. I agree this is how it is done. More please! I was so surprised and over the moon with the proposal.

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  7. Great review!

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  8. Great job Karen! Not sure how you were able to summarize all the incredibleness of this episode. It’s been quite a while since I watched every single scene of an episode with such bated breath. Completely agree that the end was SO much better since they didn’t sneak any of it in advance!

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  9. Writing, directing, acting were top notch. Story premise made me ill… episode had a lot of pain, with some soft and appropriate humor. COD’s interaction with the boy was real and painful… as was Sam’s in trying to talk down the other 4 kids. The bomb techs, the FBI agent and the triplet’s parents all made seamless story… and for once the story was important!

    Well, Gayle, SB did come through on his “Are you pregnant” moment promise…. and went way past it! The honest, serious dialogue between Kensi and Deeks about kids was wonderful. I thought she had him going in circles – he has been the one pushing for kids and she suddenly turned the cart around on him and he had no idea what had happened, but he quickly picked up on it and ran with it. I did not think his “kids mean the end of something” meant their partnership; I interpreted it as the end of the running around at all hours, partying, etc.And the beginning of something amazing – a new life to be responsible for, a new partnership in family.

    The final Densi scene caught me totally by surprise, I had no clue he was going to propose and I don’t think he planned it that way… Kensi just seemed so lost after the case and the kids discussion that I think he didn’t know he vocalized the question – but for once he didn’t do the “No, No, I just…” line he has used so often. And he was shocked that she agreed, subject to certain formalities (ring, beach, kneel, sunset) being met. The expression on Kensi’s face as they left the mission was priceless. I saw laughter, surprise, joy but no doubts. I was reminded of the old line ” A boy chases a girl until she catches him”! I hope we see the formal proposal, but doubt it. I would be satisfied if she is just wearing the ring next week.

    OK, FM: with this fantastic episode I forgive you for “Rage”.

    Like

    • Deeks said “having kids means the end of a lot of amazing things”, not just “something”. So I don’t think partying etc. is one of them. I think, like Kensi said, their partnership at work and their life together at home are what he loves a lot and he’s not sure he can give it up rigtht now. But I agree with you, he knows that a new partnership in family, their life with someone who they love together, is also amazing.

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      • Good catch, Patty. I don’t believe the partnership is at risk, although some things will change. The closeness of the team, for instance, will change if they have to factor in a child. From experience, having a child also changes the way they relate to each other; spouse/parent/lover is different from boyfriend/girlfriend,

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  10. Great review as always Karen!

    Definitely one of the best episodes of a really good season I have to say,and-as I always do-I’m gonna focus on Densi.
    I love their humor and the banter and touches’ but nothing in my opinion compares to the way Eric and Dani handle the “difficult/serious” scenes.The way their eyes tear up and their voices crack to me is amazing.And I was relieved and I loved how serious their conversations were throughout the ep.Children,a home,their future together…AND a proposal????I almost fainted.
    I really truly hope you’re mistaken about the proposal(though I think you’re right!).
    Let’s end the season with a Densi blast people!!!

    Like

  11. sassyzazzi // March 23, 2016 at 9:42 AM // Reply

    Karen, thanks for an excellent review. This was such an intense and incredible episode , I cannot find anything I did not think was done perfectly. It was action packed, emotionally draining, well scripted, and well acted by the entire cast. All the guest cast characters were up to their parts, which was really great. It felt like I was watching a short film. The episode was so cohesive and it felt like every detail was planned. When Sam tells Deeks to leave and Deeks does not and is there , in danger, for Sam and the children, it was just done perfectly and clearly the writer thought about how to play that scene.

    I cannot say enough about Deeks and Kensi, the relationship has progressed so much and they are being written as a mature couple who love each other. Both actors delivered an incredible performance. The final scene between Deeks and Kensi was beautifully done and so in character for them.

    I think it would be hard to deliver an episode of this caliber every week, but this show when it delivers at this level, shows you just how good they are. Overall, I think season 7 has been a really good season for this show and us fans.

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  12. Thank you for the review. This episode was great on so many aspects. The kids were sold after they were born, raised just to be human bombs. This is so sad. But FM did it so great. His episodes writing and directing are usually the best. COD with the kid was pretty intense and the acting of both of them just superb. I know all the actors of this show have certain skills but COD is the best in these intense scenes.
    The only complain about this episode is that we didn’t see the funny Deeks, the one I love. The kids talk was wrong in the office and even more so in OPS. I thought these two are professionals and can seperate between private and work life. Obviously not and I fear this will have an effect sooner or later but not in a good way.
    And I thought they moved together and now they talked about your house or mine? One year ago Kensi was so ‘no kids’ and now she practically forces Deeks to have one? Did I miss something?
    I really hope in the future these two are more focussed at work (while at work) and have their private talk outside work. This would be more realistic.

    The propose was sweet though I hope they will marry during the hiatus. Sorry but these things doesn’t belong in a show like this and you can’t show the ceremony in 3 minutes. So better keep it off screen (if they have to marry at all. I still prefer them as partners and NOT lovers. It is just a different genre).

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    • Indeed, I do not believe that Densi is good for this show, too. Why did they have to be so predictible ? Fall inlove, now get married! There love story should be something alog side with the show, it does not have to became so important.

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  13. I agree, Frank Military is one of the best writers of this show, let me mention that he also wrote Spoils of war, Descent, Ascension, Unlocked mind, Rude awakenings, Greed and many more. Multilayered and well directed episode. I was even worried for Sam cause there were rumours going on with him not able to do the show next year and maybe leaving.Frank is also good at keeping the team seperated and in tense moments you keep watching what unravels. That’s why I am worried about the show, its focus has gone over to the character and mostly the storyline isn’t the reason I am watching. I also will be dissapointed if they keep skipping any wedding and proposal ( future ), that would serve them right and for the fans it’s gold Kensi & Deeks moment right there. I am interested if they have guts to have some fresh blood to the show ( not Anna Kolcheck tho )

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  14. Fantastic review. Love, love love the “Prince of Darkness” title.

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  15. Rhonda Lara // March 23, 2016 at 4:57 PM // Reply

    Fantastic Review and Comments from Readers! This episode written by Frank Military was Incredible! So many great moments of clarification for #Densi Fans as well. 💗

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  16. Thanks Karen, your review is very interesting and I think that most of us agree with your opinion.
    I really liked the episode, and I think that densi talk well written, it was real, not forced, and it’s natural for two people like them, with their work, with their life have hesitation before taking such important decision. But the proposal was the confirmation of the stability of their relationship.
    I hope like you do that the writers allow us to see more private Densi!!!! For now this season was the best!!!

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  17. Thanks for all the great comments everyone! I loved reading through them. And Tess, I definitely mean “Prince of Darkness” as a compliment- I love the angst!

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