The answers to our long-running mole mystery finally started arriving with “Under Siege,” written by R. Scott Gemmill and directed by Ruba Nadda. The episode had Gemmill’s usual spot-on team depictions and humor. It also had plenty of twists and reveals that left my head spinning. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, and I may not know until the storyline ends in a few weeks with the next episode, “Payback.”
Something Reeks of Munchkin
I enjoy a good plot twist, such as Deeks not really being fired in “The Debt.” We had a doozy of a twist this week, with Hetty being responsible for the previous episode’s arrests of three team members. (I’m assuming she didn’t have anything to do with Granger and Heather.) She was also responsible for breaking Carl Brown out of custody as this episode opened. The idea of diminutive Hetty as an all-powerful manipulator is a fun one to see play out, and I particularly enjoyed her scenes with Carl. Her disgust with him and her ability to toy with him provided some solid humor.
But that Hetty purposefully had Sam, Callen and Deeks arrested in order to keep them safe didn’t sit as well with me. The whole “going rogue” thing with these people has got to stop. When does it ever end well? I was in total agreement with Eric’s horror movie-inspired advice to stick together. I’m afraid I’m coming back around to there being a huge need for these people to question Hetty’s judgment. Sure, she got the bad guys (at least some of them- we may not know everything quite yet). But couldn’t she have brought the team in on her machinations? How easily might they have taken Sabatino and Sharov into custody? No need to blow up entire buildings! (Not to mention the whole keeping Kensi from being kidnapped thing, plus maybe she could have actually gone to the hospital to watch over Granger, the poor guy.) Did she really give Tiffany up to Whiting in order to keep Deeks “safe”? Seems like a pretty risky strategy. Or maybe my expectations for common sense are just too high?
The Big Reveal
Like a good plot twist, I also appreciate when long-running story threads come together in an exciting climax, such as in “Descent.” This week’s episode may have had a very “Descent”-like ending, what with the power tools and all, but the story threads felt a bit more cobbled together. Granted, I’ve put no effort into trying to remember all the previous clues we’ve gotten about the mole, so I’m going to rely on you all to tell me if what we learned made sense. I was left with many questions…
Assuming Hetty wasn’t in cahoots with Heather, then did she and the bad guys just coincidentally employ the same strategy of getting people arrested? If the bad guys just wanted to kill Granger, why didn’t they do it when he was drugged at Heather’s house? When did Sharov meet Sabatino? Wasn’t he in a Russian prison? Were they trying to eliminate Hetty herself because of her constant meddling in CIA affairs, or was this revenge for her interference in a specific operation? Why are these two men so extraordinarily angry at her and her team that they’d go to such lengths, that they’d plot for so long (back to Season 5)? It sounded like Sabatino supposedly included the spyware in an email he sent to Kensi when they were both in Afganistan (?)- does that mean they were already mad about previous operations, or were they angry just by Granger and Kensi showing up there? Was there more to the CIA’s White Ghost plotting than just trying to take out Jack? Was Jack more dangerous than we’ve been told? Or, are they out to get all of NCIS, and that’s why they took out Duggan? I’m just not sure I’m understanding their motivations. Maybe there’s more going on, like perhaps Sabatino’s blames the team for his partner Snyder getting killed in “Wanted.”
I’d love to believe that Gemmill planted those seeds about the mole back in Season 5’s “Merry Evasion” with a plan to complete the storyline three seasons later. I appreciate the effort to bring it all to a satisfying conclusion; I’m just not sure yet that it’s all making sense. I think I need someone to make me a timeline!
The Old Ball and Chain
Scott Gemmill writes the whole team well (with the possible exception of his insistence on making gung-ho “Bulletproof Beale” into comic relief). But I thought Deeks provided the most interesting scenes of the episode. First he managed to foil Whiting’s efforts at intimidation by befriending all the tough guys she put into his cell. I loved how he used his smarts and his charm (and his ability to talk) to win them all over. Unlike “Rambeale’s” scenes, these provided humor that felt organic and made me smile.
Then there was Deeks’ desperation to get out of jail to save Kensi. His distress and his promise to tell Whiting the truth about Boyle made quite the convincing argument for release. He seemed pretty sincere when he made that promise, and I wonder if at the time, he truly intended to keep it. (I know he’s a great liar, so that sincerity may have been completely fake.) I’ve long seen Whiting as an Inspector Javert-type character, so obsessed with convicting Deeks of the crime she’s certain he committed that she can’t see the bigger picture. Deeks smartly used her obsessive drive to know the truth to his advantage here.
Only too bad for Detective Whiting, she’s apparently better off back in the Internal Affairs office than she is at a crime scene. She lacked enough situational awareness to watch out for the bad guys and got shot in the throat. Yikes. I was disappointed by this turn of events, and I hope she survives. I’d love to see what she decides to do with the information Deeks shared with her. That would make for a much more interesting end to the Boyle storyline than her death. Plus I wouldn’t mind seeing her return from time to time. She’s an interesting character whose interactions with Deeks have always made for a compelling clash of personalities.
Not a Bad Guy
But how about that confession? Eric Christian Olsen and Karina Logue were both great in the post-explosion scene, giving it a wonderful intensity. Did we learn any new tidbits about what happened with Boyle? Maybe not. But there was something about Deeks’ description of events that felt slightly new…
Deeks: Stay with me. Otherwise you’re not gonna hear my confession. I killed my ex-partner. I killed Boyle. You were right, okay? You were right all along, he was a dirty cop, and I shot him with his own gun ‘cause he was gonna try to kill that girl. You understand me? You were right.
Whiting: You’re telling me because you think I’m gonna die.
Deeks: You’re not gonna die. Look at me. You’re not gonna die. I’m telling you this because we made a deal, and I’m a man of my word. Okay? I’m not a bad guy. I just did a very bad thing for a very good reason. But you’re gonna be fine.
I may be overanalyzing Deeks’ words – let’s face it, I am definitely overanalyzing Deeks’ words – but I find his phrasing that Boyle “was gonna try to kill” Tiffany interesting. He’s not saying Boyle “was about to kill” her or “was trying to kill” her. It sounds more like Boyle told Deeks he was planning on doing it. That doesn’t mean Deeks killed him in cold blood. They still could have had a struggle with the gun going off accidently. But Deeks telling Whiting that she was right feels a bit more like he believes his actions that night were a little more intentional… potentially even premeditated.
It must have felt cathartic for Deeks to tell the truth (I assume he was completely honest here) to the woman who’s been hunting him. We may never find out the real details of what happened with Boyle, but I’m glad Deeks was able to tell Whiting that he’s “not a bad guy.” I’m not sure he’s always been able to see himself that way.
A Really Bad Guy
The most horrific part of the episode was Kensi’s kidnapping. She seriously did not need this! I found myself wanting Sam or Callen to have been taken rather than Kensi- hasn’t she already been through enough this year? But I suppose we needed to resolve the Sullivan part of the mole storyline. Kudos to everyone who was suspicious of Sullivan from the start! (I wasn’t.)
I’m still a bit unclear on when this post-Christmas shooting occurred. I don’t remember Kensi taking out any Taliban with her rifle. She looked at Jack through her sights but didn’t pull the trigger. Was this some action that she and Granger participated in that we never heard about, or have I just blocked it from my mind? At least I could see a link between Sullivan/Ferris and Sabatino. But why didn’t Ferris take Kensi out earlier, like the afternoon he spent at her house? Was he enjoying the anticipation of getting revenge (creepy!), or was he coordinating his activities with Sharov (he knew Kensi was with Ferris but Sabatino didn’t)? Again, kudos to those of you who were creeped out by his home visit.
I also wasn’t a huge fan of the “eye for an eye” payback that Sullivan has in mind. First because it felt like a repeat of that “Descent” cliff-hanger, and second because it’s just so gruesome. Sullivan came off in this episode as pretty unhinged, and I’m not sure he felt like he belonged in the same storyline as the other moles. Is he out to interrogate Kensi for information or to take her leg for revenge? He talked about the former but seemed on the verge of doing the latter. Perhaps he was bluffing in an effort to frighten her into talking? Either way, let’s hope Kensi finds a way to rescue herself and kick his butt. It would make us all feel better.
- What a nice opening shot of the Point Fermin Lighthouse in my neighborhood in San Pedro. Somehow I always forget that there’s also a federal penitentiary right across the harbor!
- Nell sure didn’t take long getting comfortable at Hetty’s desk, right down to the tea.
- I did enjoy the different approaches the men took to escape custody, Sam with his knowledge of agency budgets just reasoning with the ATF (or was it boring them to death?), and Callen and his “attorney” Nell (“That’s my girl”) pulling an old-fashioned jailbreak.
- Carl’s pointing out that the shooter needed to aim lower because Hetty is “small” made me laugh.
- I gotta say, Sabatino’s mustache did seem like a dead giveaway that he’s a bad guy. Is he auditioning for a villain role in a 1940’s movie?
- The bombed-out set was nicely done, but that explosion was a little disappointing. No competition for “Sans Voir” here.
- No time this week for a send-off for Granger/Miguel Ferrer. I hope next week there’s time to do justice to his sad departure.
The episode overall was well done and exciting, with a nice mix of intrigue and humor. I guess I just spent a lot of it trying to decide if the plot made sense. It’ll be a few more weeks before we get the conclusion of this story arc, so there’s plenty of time for speculation. What did you think of the big reveal? Of Hetty’s plotting? Of Sullivan’s true identity and intentions? And most importantly, did you enjoy “Under Siege”? Tell us in the Comments below, and come back later this week for a new Surf Log and Drabble. (Unfortunately I’m not sure Kensi is going to get a chance to make a journal entry.)