NCIS: Los Angeles’ fifth offering of the season, “Ghost Gun”, written by Kyle Harimoto and directed by the perfectly named Benny Boom, opened and closed with a pair of perfectly written and acted scenes. In between it gave us some silliness and perhaps a little too much change, leaving me feeling overall just a bit disoriented.
The Hetty I Remember
We opened with one of the most heartwarming and emotional scenes between Deeks and Hetty ever. I can’t believe my Top 3 Deeks/Hetty Talks article posted Sunday morning- I may have to go back and edit it already. Eric Christian Olsen gave us a vulnerable and emotional Deeks doubting his ability to be there for Kensi. His doubts seemed only human- what a scary place to be, not knowing what the future holds or how Kensi’s- and therefore his- life might change forever. (Of course we all know he’s so loyal and loving that Kensi couldn’t possibly be in better hands no matter what her special needs might be.) Deeks seemed so lost, and it moved me when he shared his doubts with Hetty. He broke my heart. But that was no surprise.
The huge and very pleasant surprise for me was the kindness exhibited by Linda Hunt’s Hetty. I read a double message in her words, that she had absolute confidence in him while at the same time implying he didn’t have a choice, he simply had to do whatever was necessary to care for Kensi. It was a vintage Hetty message of tough love, but there was definitely love there, and that’s something I haven’t seen in a long time. While Hetty has a ways to go to win back my affection and trust, if she continues with scenes like this, it may be possible. Thank you R. Scott Gemmill and Kyle Harimoto!
Deeks: She thinks that Kensi’s gonna wake up and everything’s gonna be fine, so…
Hetty: But you don’t?
Deeks: No, I do, you know, but I’m also a realist and I understand there’s a possibility that she doesn’t wake up. Or what if she does- when she does wake up, what if she needs help? You know, like what if she needs a lot of help, and I don’t, I don’t know how to help her? I wanna be that guy. I wanna be that guy, but what if I can’t do it?
Hetty: No, that won’t happen. Because you’re going to give her everything she needs to get better. Everything!
I am curious how those of you who saw this entire scene on the sneak peek felt about it. I managed to avoid it (barely) and I’m so glad. For me, watching it ahead of time would have reduced my enjoyment of the actual episode since the pleasant surprise would have been spoiled.
ECO as Emotional Center
Eric Christian Olsen has always been great as Deeks, but the scenes he’s getting at the start of this season have really given him a chance to shine. He conveys so much without any words at all- ironic considering Rambling Deeks is an actual variety of Deeks (stay tuned for a Top 3 on this very subject). His character has so many layers, many of which have been on display this year. ECO has carried the emotional weight of Season 8 so far, and it’s been elevated by his presence and his performance. I think it’s given him a chance to demonstrate why he’s not only comic relief, but real leading man material.
Ready for Their Spinoff
Of course, if he doesn’t get a spin-off for a new drama, he’s obviously ready for a sitcom with Pamela Reed. I can see it now: a long suffering son and his new bride think they’re going to live happily ever after when mom comes to live with them. Hilarity ensues.
Deeks: You’re smoking? What are you doing?
Roberta: I’m dying. From being worried sick. That’s what I’m doing… I just can’t take this anymore. You and Kensi, and this whole secret agent thing. It’s just too much.
Deeks: No, no, we’re not secret-
Roberta [to strangers]: My son and his fiancée are secret agents.
Deeks: Wow, no, Kensi is a special agent, not a secret agent, which is fortunate considering you just told a group of strangers. Also, technically I am a cop.
Roberta: Well technically, you could still get shot every time you step out the door.
Deeks: Well people die stepping in the shower.
Roberta: Not from people shooting at them.
Deeks: Actually I’ve seen a couple of those too.
Roberta: Martin! Really???
(Nice touch having Momma use Deeks’ signature line at the end there.) This duo’s chemistry is pretty impressive, and it feels like in Reed, ECO has a partner who might equal his improv skills. I have no actual evidence of this, but their dialog has a wonderfully fresh quality to it that makes it feel unrehearsed. Like her son, Roberta can be downright hilarious, like with her spectacular mash-up of medical movies.
But did they have to make her sexist and rude? I cringed at her comments about the male nurse. It all struck me as a little over the top and immature, but I will have to take ECO’s interpretation that this is how she’s dealing (not all that well) with what’s happened to Kensi, and with the constant worry that something just as bad could happen to her son at any time:
People handle these types of catastrophic events differently. To complicate things further, his mom… is kind of a belligerent 4-year-old in her inability to accept the circumstances…
Roberta is certainly making a strong case for not being named as Deeks’ next of kin. She would bring more distraction and stress to everyone involved, rather than providing any stability or support. And while I did appreciate her optimism when she insisted to Deeks, “You’ve gotta be here when she comes out of her coma,” it’s no wonder Deeks unburdened himself to Hetty instead. The contrast between the two women in the opening sequence gave us a much clearer understanding of what an important and special role Hetty has played in his life.
There She Is
ECO and Daniela Ruah were both perfect in the final scene, ECO giving us a Rambling Deeks at his best, simultaneously so excited and happy and yet so concerned and desperate to reassure Kensi. His “There she is” line took me back to a somewhat similar situation in Season 5 when Kensi returned to work post-Afghanistan. And Daniela was spectacular, letting a single tear and her facial expressions communicate her confusion, frustration and fear. The final shot of her seeking comfort by turning her face into his hand was a perfect little moment. Great stuff.
There she is… You don’t have to cry. Baby this is beautiful, this is good, this is a big, this is a big deal. You’re OK. Hey, hey, look at me. I love you. I love you. Welcome back.
I believe credit for all these great Deeks/Kensi scenes so far goes to R. Scott Gemmill, having written all the Densi scenes that were shot before Daniela’s maternity leave, with the other writers filling in the rest of the stories. (Let me know if I’m mistaken on that.) I do like the way he writes Densi.
On the other hand, it killed me to have to cut away there, knowing that Kensi was still upset. I desperately needed to stick around with them a little while longer, to watch Deeks explain to her more about what was happening, and to see her at least calm down some. I need all the comfort that’s a key element of the hurt/comfort genre, and leaving Kensi in a bad place like that frustrated me. I suppose that was intended, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it! Plus, I know that we’re not going to get to see the rest of that scene continue next week. Instead we’re likely to cut ahead a day or more. Post-ep fan fic writers, please help me?
Back on the Hunt
There were a few other things happening this episode between the first and last scenes. One was the mole hunt. I was confused about this, but I must admit to not taking the time to go back and rewatch any of the original storyline to try to make more sense of it. Didn’t we more or less know that Carl was working for someone else all along? I thought what took them a little time to figure out was that there was still someone with access to NCIS info (such as Sam’s address)?
Either way, I’m not following why they waited until now to get information out of Carl. Sam was able to read him quickly and easily figured out that he had fallen for a woman who talked him into betraying NCIS. The interrogation scenes were well done but I’m confused about why they hadn’t happened already. Not to mention the fact that the bad guys (or gal) really took their time trying to eliminate loose ends. I guess I was expecting instead some super clever plot to lay a trap for the mole, not a basic- albeit intimidating- interrogation that should have happened two years ago.
Oh and There Was a Case
Right, the actual case of the week. I may have paid less attention to it than ever before (something about manufacturing parts for automatic weapons, right?). I think there were a couple of reasons for this. One was that the initial set-up of the case in Ops followed that very emotional Deeks/Hetty scene, which really affected me and had me waiting impatiently for Deeks to get to the hospital. I kinda missed all the initial case details and never quite caught up.
The other was the partner switch-ups, plural. Before this episode, I would have told you that I’d welcome any and all substitute partners because they freshen things up and give the actors new people to play off of. But in this episode, I found it a little too much. Taking Deeks out of the field, as much as I wanted him with Kensi, left a big hole to fill in terms of charisma and humor. Granger, as hilarious as he can be, didn’t quite make up for it. Add on top of that splitting up the Sam-Callen bromance to give us Anna, and my head was spinning a bit. It was just too much change.
The best I can say for Anna is that I found her slightly less annoying than previous appearances, primarily because she wasn’t drooling all over Callen. But of course, they have clearly been spending some time together outside of work. I appreciated that she kept it professional, although I felt no chemistry between them. Unfortunately, she still does not strike me as a real person. She seemed to maintain the exact same attitude when she was chatting with Callen as she did when the bad guys were pointing guns at her. It actually reminded me of smirky Callen, who sometimes plays things a little too cool for my taste. Maybe that’s why they like each other. For me, I need to see more vulnerability and a wider range of emotion before I can care about a character.
- I wasn’t sold on the model’s scream in the opening- seemed a little hokey.
- Definitely Magnum, P.I. over The A-Team. That’s the exact kind of show I dream that ECO would land, where he’s in almost every scene, surfing, solving crimes…
- How sweet that the whole team is getting to know Roberta- Hetty, Sam and Callen (although Sam and Callen were already acquainted from Christmas dinner). Love it.
- Eric wishing for someone to hold a syringe to Carl’s neck was appropriate and funny.
- Granger Danger was adorable running interference for Nell with the bike store guy, as if he’s her father. Her first name is Special.
- For a moment there, I thought Carl just might say that his girlfriend was Nell Jones, which would have been a pretty spectacular twist. They seemed to be leading up to a dramatic reveal. But no, we got the name of a random stranger (Natalie Grant). Kinda disappointing.
- I liked imagining that Kensi finally woke up because she didn’t agree with any of Deeks’ plans for the garage, or that the idea that he had been dating other women was so objectionable.
- How about that “Stay Tuned for Scenes” shot of Deeks moving and shooting? Just, wow. Of course, he should be planted at Kensi’s side until she recovers instead of out in the field, but still, wow.
Come back later this week for another Surf Log, Drabble, and Edit. (I’m not sure whether Kensi will be up to any Journal entries- hopefully next week!) This weekend we’ll have a new Top 3 and don’t miss the Classified Preview for “Home is Where the Heart Is.”
In the meantime, what did you think of “Ghost Gun”? Is Hetty getting more likeable? What about Anna? Are you pro-sneak peek, or do you prefer to avoid the spoilers? And how much did you love the final scene?