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Review: NCISLA “Payback” (S8E15)

Going into this week’s climax of the mole storyline, I found myself wishing that “Payback” had been penned by ever-reliable showrunner R. Scott Gemmill. But I have to say that Jordana Lewis Jaffe outdid herself, giving us an episode with suspense, intensity, emotion, and well-placed humor. Director Terrence O’Hara also contributed to the ep’s success with well done action and pacing throughout.

Full disclosure: I’m just starting to write this at 11:00 pm Monday night (thank you flight delays!), having returned from a weekend trip and finally watching the episode. To make this doable, I’m going to keep things on the short side and stick with what we most like to talk about here at wikiDeeks- how the story impacts our favorite character and his ladybird. I know you all are anxious to discuss!

Violence Solving Violence

Aside from knowing Joelle was back, I had somehow successfully avoided all spoilers over the last couple of weeks. The scene where Deeks barged into Sabatino’s interrogation and started beating on him utterly shocked me. The intensity of the violence had me literally gasping as my hand went to cover my mouth. Deeks was like a runaway freight train in his forward momentum, while also being so serious and focused on the task at hand. If I were Sabatino I’d have been pretty scared.

Not for the first time, we got a very clear window onto Deeks’ dark side, the part of him that learned at a very early age that violence stops the bad guys and gets results. As Eric Christian Olsen has said, “This character obviously has issues of violence solving violence, especially when it comes to women that he cares about.” While Deeks normally represses his violent urges, here he unleashed them in full force in an effort to get information that will save Kensi. It was basically a repeat of “Spoils of War,” only his team was there to witness it, and to keep him from going too far. (It could also have potentially been a glimpse of an enraged Deeks out to protect Tiffany from Frances Boyle.)

It also made me think about the first time Deeks witnessed Kensi being abducted, in “Deliverance.” At that point in their partnership, they were barely friendly. Kensi wasn’t anywhere close to the one person Deeks cared about the most in the world. In that episode, Deeks felt horrible about what had happened but he remained so self-contained. He blamed himself but expressed no anger. No chairs were thrown. In “Payback” he is absolutely frantic, desperate to save Kensi. He simply couldn’t survive losing her.

What was great about this scene was that it managed to be simultaneously shocking (nicely directed by Mr. O’Hara) and yet unsurprising, since it sprung from what we already know and understand about Deeks’ character and motivations. On a shallower note, Deeks slamming the door open and hurling the chair out of his way was, umm, attention grabbing, as was his roar of anger right before Sam stopped him. Speaking of hurling, it was impressive and somehow amusing how easily Sam picked Deeks up and hurled him to the side. The man is strong! And even as Sam and Callen tried to keep Deeks under control throughout the episode, they kept their efforts as low key as possible and never threatened to pull him from the case.

Callen: So what’d I miss?
Sam: Not much. Sabatino says he doesn’t know where Ferris has Kensi and he’s been working against these people.
Deeks: Which is a big fat post-truth.
Sam: Deeks tried to break his face.
Callen: Goin’ off book for this one, huh?
Sam: There is no book for this one.

Too Close to be Partners?

When Sam, Callen and Deeks had arrived at the church I was already beginning to wonder if they should pull Deeks from the case (not that he’d have let them). And then when they were back in the boatshed after Deeks punched Sabatino and hurled a second chair across the room in front of Joelle and Hetty, the concerns only increased. It made me think back to Hetty’s conversation with Nate in “Impact,” when she asked him if Deeks and Kensi were too close to continue working as partners. I do hope that’s something the showrunners continue to explore. I’m not so sure myself that they should be working together.

But then Deeks focused his anger on one person who definitely deserves it- Hetty. Words cannot express how thrilling it was to hear Deeks let Hetty have it for putting Kensi at risk. Again, there were great parallels to an earlier episode, this time with Kensi’s admonishment of Hetty in “Internal Affairs.” If only Hetty had taken his words to heart rather than responding with sarcasm. Oh, Hetty, how much I simultaneously enjoy your attitude in one scene and then despise it in another. Despite Hetty’s annoying response, Deeks’ standing up to her was one of my favorite moments of the season.

Deeks: [Roars and throws chair]
Hetty: You feel better?
Deeks: I can’t do this. I can’t do this, he’s not giving us anything.
Hetty: He may not have anything to give us.
Deeks: No. No, I can’t live with that.
Hetty: You might not have a choice, Mr. Deeks.
Deeks: That is awful rich, Hetty, considering you’re the person that put her in this position in the first place. It’s not enough to get your whole team locked up, now you go and kill every single person who might know where she’s being held?… Let me be perfectly clear about this. If Sabatino doesn’t know where she is, that means she’s in this all by herself. You understand what that means, right? If anything happens to her… that’s on you.
Hetty: Now, do you feel any better?

Whether or not they address this confrontation in the future remains to be seen. I don’t think they need to, but it sure would be interesting.

Taking the Shot

On the other hand, I was disappointed when Deeks told Hetty that Kensi wasn’t ready. He’s usually not over-protective in that way, always respecting Kensi’s abilities. It’s a sign that he’s lashing out about anything he can think of, but also of how all that Kensi’s been through has impacted him. I think it would only be natural if he continues to feel overly protective when Kensi and he are finally back in the field together, and I hope the show will explore that dynamic.

But then we got that awesome rescue scene. Once more, huge echoes of the past rang through my mind. This time it was “The Frozen Lake” and Deeks’ hesitation to take the shot. Here there was no hesitation whatsoever. In fact, I don’t think Deeks could have taken the shot any faster! Sullivan/Ferris didn’t even get to finish his threat. So even as Deeks may worry about Kensi’s abilities, and even as their closeness stopped Deeks from functioning at a fully professional level, at least he’s able to perform his duties when the moment calls for it.

Then he could finally check on Kensi and talk to her, and their reunion couldn’t have been any cuter. Kensi actually looked both relieved and happy. As in happy with herself that she had held her own with Sullivan; the silver lining here is that she’s proven to herself and everyone else that she’s more than ready to be back in the field. Kensi also seemed happy that Deeks had taken the shot. “Double tap to the head? You must really love me.” What a classic Densi line. It reminded me so much of my #1 Sexiest Scene, when Deeks threatened Michael Saleh, who was pointing a gun at Kensi, in “Greed” (“Let me make this perfectly clear. If you harm her…”). Kensi looked about as turned on in this scene as she did in that one. Their words to Sam and Callen couldn’t have been more perfect…

Callen: Kens, you OK?
Deeks: Dad, get out of the room!
Sam: Kensi, you alright?
Kensi: He said get out of the room!

The End of the Mole(s)?

In the end, I don’t know what to think of the mole storyline. There were so many moles! I wish Joelle had been a little more evil rather than turning into a somewhat hapless CIA agent who somehow got to get out of her assignment tracking Callen when she decided she felt bad about it. Or was that just a line? I mean, didn’t she have to be in on Kensi’s kidnapping since she swapped places with her at the church? It was creepy to think of her sitting at the boatshed gathering intel, all the while pretending to be so sweet and innocent. I only wish we’d had a more calculating turn for her character.

Also, I wish that Sullivan developing feelings for Kensi could have been handled with a bit more finesse, as it could have been interesting rather than kind of awkward (and was she “a job” or did he want revenge?). I have no idea how Sharov was ever involved in both Russia and Afghanistan. But I do like that Sabatino got away. He is so slimy, and hopefully he’ll be back in the future to cause more mayhem for the team.

Memorable Moments

  • What in the heck was the point of Callen phoning Sullivan/Ferris at the beginning? They had to assume he’d move locations and leave his phone behind. That was the weakest point of the episode, as it seemed like a very stupid move on Callen’s part. How did they know Sullivan was about to cut off Kensi’s leg? “Forcing him to change his plans” meant that they had no chance of rescuing Kensi. Oh, right, but then the episode would have ended after only 10 minutes, hee hee.
  • Dare I say that if The Top 3 Sexiest Moments hadn’t already run, some of Deeks’, shall we say, determined behavior to find Kensi might have made the list?
  • Nutella? That’s mighty sweet Callen, although a questionable use of NCIS resources to send someone out to the store for a snack.
  • Deeks may have doubted Kensi, but I loved how confident Sam was. Kensi is as tough as nails. You’ll see. She’s gonna make the bastard pay. Overall Sam couldn’t have been more supportive of Deeks, both last episode and this one. Just beautiful to see.
  • More nice callbacks to the past with the reminders that Sabatino and Michelle had been friendly co-workers.
  • Finally, someone was able to write a very funny Eric who didn’t seem completely ridiculous. I loved his scene with Admiral Chegwidden. Speaking of the admiral, he seems pretty funny. I’m unfamiliar with his character from previous appearances on JAG or NCIS, but he was instantly likeable, so him sticking around might be a good thing for the show. (I do feel compelled to mention though that it wouldn’t have killed the showrunners to bring in a new character of color to up the cast’s diversity level a bit.)
  • Under pressure, Deeks doesn’t simply take the shot. He first makes sure he has Callen’s back before he goes to help Kensi. Maybe he can keep working with her after all.
  • I assume Kensi’s happiness in the final scene was possible because she knew that Granger and Hetty were really alive? After all, she had seen those horrible photos on the bad guys’ phones.
  • Also adorable was Deeks carrying Kensi over the threshold. It reminded me of “Raven & The Swans” but might it also be foreshadowing? Let’s hope so!
  • Callen razzing Sam for introducing him to Joelle was classic bromance. Callen chopping his Joelle-gifted dining table was hilarious. And also very much in character, much more so than had he talked about his feelings.
  • Oh, Granger. I’m glad he got to shoot the bad gal and share a few words with Nell and Hetty. That’s a much better way to go out than simply never regaining consciousness. (By the way, what kind of badge did that would-be assassin flash?)
  • I’m still rooting for Detective Whiting to pull through. No news is good news?

Well so much for keeping things short, LOL. At least I set a personal speed record of two hours to get the review done. I’m sorry I don’t have more time to ponder this episode. We got a lot of interesting Deeks material to go along with his confession to Whiting in the last ep. I also appreciate how in character everyone was throughout, and how many previous episodes Jaffe managed to summon up in my thoughts. I am looking forward to her next outing. And finally, I’d be remiss to not point out how fantastic Eric Christian Olsen was in every scene, showing us a Dark Deeks who’s desperate to save the woman he loves.

What did you think? Are you happy with the resolution of the mole storyline? Do you think it’s even resolved? What did you think of Dark, Determined, and Desperate Deeks? And did you love the Densi reunion at the end?

About Karen P (223 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.

100 Comments on Review: NCISLA “Payback” (S8E15)

  1. Thank you for the great review Karen!
    There were things I loved: Kurt Yaeger was a great villain, loved Densi (acting from Eric and Daniela has been amazing whole season and they deserve much more credit than they get), I loved that Deeks/Hetty scene (all of it wasn’t Hetty’s fault, but her manipulations played a big part and yes she deserved it in my opinion too) and I loved kickass Kensi. I was so happy that Deeks saved Kensi and not Sam/Callen. Kensi joking when they saved him puzzled me too, how did she know the photos were fake? (they have used faked photos before, but Kensi knows Granger is in hospital in serious conditon and Hetty left, so in my opinion Kensi couldn’t be so sure photos were fake and she never asks anything to confirm they are fake).

    I was very disappointed with the mole storyline, I was expecting so much more after all this time (Especially after ep13 was a great start). Some scenes in last two episodes have been way too similar for me compared to season 5 and those moments you mentioned in your review: Hetty manipulations, Kensi kidnapped, Deeks interrogation scene, Sabatino friend/enemy, faked death photos etc.. too much for me. I want to see more reaction from Callen, not apologizing, but some moment where he acknowledges that he isn’t perfect and makes mistakes too or something like that (I can imagine Callen’s reaction if Joelle was a friend of Deeks). About
    I , too, am so happy that Granger still got to be a badass, he really will be missed . I wanted to know more about that stabbing (who did it and was that Granger in jail also Hetty’s plan?) and I want to know about Whiting too. I think some of the questions had been answered if only one writer had written all three parts, but maybe the questions will be answered in the future, I have a feeling this wasn’t the end of this mole storyline (Never thought I would say this, but I hope this wasn’t the end and I hope we get a full conclusion).

    I liked Joelle and she was an interesting character and Elizabeth Bogush is talented, I feel really bad that this is what they did to the character. It was completely unbelievable in my opinion, especially after “Humbug” (for example: even if she was a mole, why didn’t she defend herself when the guy grabbed her at the mall? and there hasn’t been any hints of that case being a plot/fake and later she picks a vase for protection, no knife, gun or anything else). Joelle had a lot of opportunities to easily hurt Callen and Sam, but she never hurt them. I personally don’t believe at all that this was the original plan for Joelle, but I guess tptb really wanted to get Joelle out of (Call)Anna’s way. If the only result of this Joelle thing is one broken table (have to admit I didn’t like that scene at all), I find it completely unnecessary to make her a part of the mole storyline. (The could have used that time to answer some questions, maybe for example show what happened to Whiting). I haven’t been a fan of how show has handled female characters this season and Joelle is an addition to that list. (Kensi’s behaviour earlier, Hetty had only very few scenes in the first half of the season and now those manipulations are getting even worse and I am starting to really hate them, Anna’s character hasn’t been very well written and now Joelle).

    There has been some very good episodes this season, but I am still waiting for that mindblowing and addictive episode that I just have to watch over and over again, like there has been in previous seasons (complete episode from start to finish, not just some scenes, for example in season 7 there were several episodes that I watch again and again ( seventh child, command & control, unlocked mind, internal affairs etc..) .

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoyed the episode although I feel like the whole mole or moles hasn’t been totally resolved.
    As a teacher in real life, the Joelle storyline was very unrealistic to myself as well. I enjoyed her character and calmness around Callen.
    ECO did a great job as an actor in this episode! As a #Densi Fan loved their ending scenes together, especially the framing of their faces in a heart- shaped form that has been on Instagram a lot. Hopefully I can print out a copy of that in the future. Kudos To Whoever Created That Shot! ❤


    • Just want to piggyback on your teacher comment. I’m a teacher too and I hardly have time to eat my lunch. Joelle must be a better multitasker than me because she masquerades as a CIA agent and mole, at the same time.


      • Well…Diane…
        Maybe that is because she actually works more than 6 hours a day or puts in some time during the 47 school holidays and 75 minimum days that teachers get…
        A part time job at best…

        I cant believe I even typed that, trust me , I am laughing so hard I am crying.
        we have several teachers in the family, all in public schools, so it was a HUGE joke.
        …and thank you for all your hard work.


  3. Again, I think the whole mole storyline was a bad deal that R. Scott Gemmill inherited from Shane Brennan. Even Brennan bailed on it and walked away from the show. But Gemmill had to wind it up somehow. So kudos to him for having episodes that resolved it instead of just ignoring the whole mess. I’m glad they didn’t involve Nate; I’d have hated to see such a nice character be thrown away like that. I imagine the writers and Gemmill in a room going over their past guest cast list “… what about him?” “Nope, we killed him off in episode blah blah blah.” “Damn.” “We’re down to Joelle. She’s not dead and not a romantic figure anymore. Let’s make her bad.” “We didn’t set it up.” “Doesn’t matter, let’s just get this over with and then get drunk.” “Good idea.” “Here’s to season nine!”


    • I agree that what Gemmill was left with was a steaming pile of… was a bad hand, for sure.
      dig out of the mess and move on…
      a good plan


  4. Great review, Karen! And good point about whether or not Deeks and Kensi should still be partners anymore given his difficulty controlling his frantic/angry impulses because she was in danger. I’ll argue that any time any member of the team’s family has been in jeopardy, they’ve responded similarly. I can’t remember all the details, but during Internal Affairs, it was clear Kensi wanted to do things that weren’t the most well-thought out, and the team had to correct her. Last year when Sam wanted to storm into Keating he went immediately into protective Papa Bear mode, and Callen had to keep a close eye on him. Callen, well, Callen just goes rogue when things get too personal, it seems.

    I’m sure all the good people here can come up with more specific examples, but my point is that I think they’ve all acted/reacted/overreacted emotionally at times when things have hit too close to home, so I’m not sure separating Densi as partners would help. In fact, now that I think about it, it wouldn’t help at all, since the same problems would arise just by virtue of them working at OSP, whether they are partnered together or not. When one of them is in major danger, it tends to become an all-hands-on-deck, whole team is involved situation, so this could happen again anyway.

    I do agree that it would be interesting to see Deeks continue to be somewhat overprotective of Kensi once she’s back in the field. Since the next case they work on seems kind of “light” I actually have wondered if that was intentional on Hetty’s part, to sort of ease Kensi’s way back into things. There’s also history of this the overprotection in the other direction, when Kensi was concerned about Deeks and PTSD/whether he was ready to be back in the field (in Omni and Unwritten Rule).


    • I agree totally with the point that they ALL act out of control when it gets personal.
      Sam and Callen tend to treat Deeks like an undisciplined and inferior co worker, so we begin to believe it as well.
      But if you take a hard look, it is just not true…
      Callen and his “father”, sam and his kids, Sam and Jada, Sam and Kaled in Africa, Sam and that little girl…Kensi and her fathers case. Hetty going to Russia, Callen and Hetty both going to Romania anf dragging the team along , Kensi trying to help Deeks with internal affairs. Callen forcing Hetty to tase him…
      …just how long of a list do we actually need to make for it to sink in…
      except for the fact that Deeks is not really one of them and most people expect less skill and discipline from him…what makes him any different…
      if we are going to nitpick or throw stones, then every single one of these people should be fired or in jail for their insubordination, participating in unsanctioned operations,cyber crimes, hacking federal agencies, false imprisonment, misuse of federal funds and resources, abuse of power and authority, and outright crimes….
      so how about we give Deeks a little break here..
      it just seems fair.


      • Totally agree with you Ed… Well said!!! 😉


      • I have to disagree about Callen and especially Sam treating Deeks like an inferior member of the team. I think they have been supportive since he was tortured by Sidarov. And in this episode they had his back and tried to keep him under control, not out of disrespect, but because they understood where he was coming from. To quote Sam…”There is no book on this one.”


        • Sam in particular has been more supportive recently, that is true,
          however, each and every one of them are all driven by emotions when things get personal.
          …yet it seems to get held against Deeks far more than it is the others.
          there is a definite double standard at play, even though Deeks follows them loyally whenever they do it.

          Has Hetty ever said about Kensi, Callen or Sam, that she didn’t want them back if they weren’t 100%…
          even Nate said he didn’t know how much more Sam could take, yet Hetty had no problems.

          Deeks is constantly treated to a different set of standards.
          they all get out of control at times and the should all look out for each other.
          my only issue is with the whole Deeks is too emotional and should have a different partner thing…he is no worse than any of the others.
          so all I am saying is to support him, don’t try to fix him or split him up from Kensi “for his own good” or some crap.
          keep an eye on him, support him as best as you can, and reel him in when needed.
          that should apply to all of them though, right?

          Sam actually did a pretty good job of keeping Deeks on track this time.


        • as far as being too personal to be part of the opp, that holds true for more than partners.
          there is a reason they don’t let these guys investigate or work on cases involving family.
          Sam would never have been allowed to. go after Tahir. investigate his old partner, go to his kids school to rescue him, work with Michelle on the Siderov case…and so on.
          Kensi would not have been allowed on her dads old case,
          Callen and his family, Romania, what they thought was his dad at the time…the list is endless.
          other than his mother, the only person that Deeks really cares about is Kensi…and they should be split up for their own good in spite of a precedent like this….really.
          not a chance.


          • This is why they call it fiction. However, I’m not sure it’s possible for even a seasoned police officer or federal agent or military person to keep all emotion under control, especially when a person they care about is involved. As for adding drama to a story…stress under fire brings out all sorts of reactions and that’s why we watch. At least that’s why I watch.


            • perfectly agree, I love when it is personal.
              watching Deeks try to keep his emotions in check , when it was obvious just how badly he wanted to get to Kensi, and to see just what he was willing to do to help her, was fantastic.
              watching Sam give him some rope, but try to keep him in check was nice to see.
              in the same manor, I enjoyed watching Sam come unhinged while trying to rescue his kid at school. and everyone had his back as well.
              I enjoy it and want it to continue,…for all of them. it makes it interesting.
              I just don’t want to see Deeks singled out because he is too emotional to be partnered with Kensi.


    • Sam is a hypocrite. When Sabatino hugged Michelle (I forgot what episode) and Sam rushed him and tackled him to the ground. It’s the same emotion Deeks displayed.


  5. I have a screen shot of Deeks’ face when he bursts in the door right before he shoots Sullivan in mid-sentence. The man is serious, pissed off, and on a mission. I can’t figure out how to post it here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • he was sure on a mission.
      lets see if this works…
      Now that the whole rehab and mole arc is over, I would like to share with you some of my favorite moments of Sullivan’s time on the show. He did an outstanding job…
      The wrath of a pissed off Kensi.

      Sorry , were you saying something?

      …Nope, I didn’t think so.

      Come on buddy, strike the pose…hey, bleed on the drop cloth will ya. That’s what it is there for,…jerk.

      I might even print one of them on a T-Shirt…
      Just sayin’


  6. I think the whole Joelle being a bad person is the shows way to booster Anna. The show wanted to make sure that people weren’t wanting Callen and Joelle as a couple so what better way than to make her part of the mole story. It really made no sense!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Let’s say it all together:

      Die Anna, die!


      • I said the same thing about Laurel on Arrow … look what happened to her. It works. 🙂


        • So, next is Ouija Boards, Tarot Cards and those dolls you stick with pins?

          hey, I am getting desperate, not ready to rule anything out at this point.

          I saw a Magic 8 Ball at the neighbors garage sale on Sunday…I’ll run over there and see if he still has it if you think it might help…


          Liked by 1 person

      • Totally agree, Anna seriously needs to leave the show, she doesn’t fit, and callen definitely wouldn’t even look in her direction, he’s way to good for her. Kensi and deeks are so made for Each other, a great couple.


  7. Great review, especially given your timeframe!

    There are a couple things that bothered me, or left me wondering. For starters, at the end of the last episode we see Kensi screaming “Nooo!” as Sullivan leans down to cut her leg off. This episode, we see Sullivan obviously sawing SOMETHING, and then the camera pulls back and it’s some piece of children’s furniture? How did we get from Kensi pleading (seemingly genuinely) for him not to cut her leg off, to him standing across the room from her as he cuts up a piece of furniture? And Kensi is no longer afraid at all, but actually mocking him. It would have been interesting to see how that transpired. Or was Sullivan bluffing the whole time? Maybe he really did have feelings for her and never intended to harm her?

    The other thing I took issue with was Deeks. It completely caught me off guard how quickly he derailed. To me, his reactions were way over the top. I understood where he was coming from, but I never would have guessed he’d be throwing chairs and carrying on like he did. I did enjoy the exchange with Hetty. That was warranted, in my opinion. It will be interesting to see if his outbursts play out later.

    This may be nitpicky of me, but Kensi commented about a “double tap to the head”, which would mean two shots, correct? I watched that scene a couple times to see if he really did get two shots off. I didn’t see it. The result was still satisfying, though!

    I didn’t have a problem with Joelle turning out to be part of it. As mentioned by peakae, I think Gemmill did the best he could with what he had.

    Loved Granger’s scenes.

    I’m glad Sabatino was not killed off, and was happy, too, that he got away.

    I think Admiral Chegwidden would make an admirable (no pun intended) recurring character. He was a breath of fresh air and I enjoyed his scenes with both Eric and Hetty.

    I agree that Callen chopping up his table was hilarious. So awesome, and probably something I would do in the same situation. Ha!

    Overall a great episode, aside from the aforementioned issues I had with it. I’ll watch it again. So how many weeks do we have before the next new episode???


  8. There may have been mediocre episodes in some seasons, there may have been some predictable plots and storylines together with more than one authors’ choice I didn’t quite understand, but I’m glad to realize this show for me is still alive as long as it has the amazing power to give me emotions. If it doesn’t lose its touch, the special gift to make the viewers invested and moved, I’ll never stop watching it.
    I know I’ll have to be ready to forgive something here and there, to accept some flaws, as with old friends. I’ll certainly do it if this means I can get to follow the lives of all the characters I wouldn’t have thought to love so much back in early NCIS:LA seasons.
    There were some scenes/moments in this week’s episode that didn’t totally convince me though (like some plot twists or some unanswered questions: I think the mole arc is far from being over), but I think in general the tone and pace worked well and the episode was good. The Densi hug and threshold scenes were great at the end (even if in my heart the Spoils of War hugs remain unparalleled, on another level) and I’ll be forever grateful to JLJ for letting Deeks take the shot without thinking twice.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. After so much waiting time I was really starving to see this episode. Like a real junky, I was fighting with withdrawal the last two/three weeks (who knows, I stopped counting), but I didn’t know if I had great expectations from this episode or not. I kinda hoped but I was somehow frightened of disappointment. But I shouldn’t have. This episode was void of everything that I resented in the “Sirens” – it was dramatic, tense, action packed, passionate, dark and serious. No misplaced humour here and no lovey-dovey Sullivan (he is much better as a villain). Since we had so much of pissed off and focused and dangerous and direct and dark Deeks, I was openly and shamelessly cheering from my couch for him throughout the whole episode (at the total astonishment of my husband who commented that he didn’t know he had married teenage girl).
    I understand your concerns about Deeks and Kensi working together but they do make each other better and stronger and they belong together in the field and outside. I agree with Psyched that separating them in the field would bring nothing since Deeks would go into rampage even if he works for LAPD or teach surfing or works at DA office if Kensi would be in serious danger. And he showed that he could be pissed off and dangerous and focused and dark at the same time when he sent two I-do-not-have-time-for-this-shit bullets into Sullivan’s forehead (me cheering and dancing on the said couch and yelling GO DEEKS GO).
    The whole team was supportive to each other and that was so good to see. I honestly enjoyed this episode from the start to the very end.
    The conclusion of the mole story was surprising and it is good that we do not know if Sabatino is a good or bad guy. But I am sorry that Joelle is bad girl in the end although (and this is, together with sending Nell to the basement alone, the only weak point for me) it wasn’t clear if she was actively working with Sullivan or found herself in that church basement against her will. I liked Callen with Joelle and I always considered that they had huge chemistry (as opposed to Callen and Anna – zero chemistry here) together and was genuinely sad when Joelle broke up.
    Kensi was great showing courage and brain while in custody of crazy Sullivan playing him and trying to buy some time to escape. Not to mention horse joke – that was brilliant and surprisingly direct.
    Hetty did what she usually does so no surprises there, but I loved how Deeks confronted her. Sseeing Miguel Ferrer in the hospital bad was really poignant – I guess we will see soon Granger’s destiny.
    I do not know what to say more about Densi scene except finally!
    And the last but not the least great review of the great episode Karen.


  10. Amazing review Karen, as usual. What an episode… I loved every moment of it… Specially the Deeks part. ECO is really incredible. I have to say I was a little worried about his outburst with Sabatino… It reminds me that scene in Spoil of war and I was afraid it means our favorite couple will have to deal with his anger again (like Three hearts). But even if it was inappropriate, to act like that when he’s on the job, it was great to see some action, combined with his angst…
    And what about this scene with Hetty… I was glad to see Kensi yelled at her in Internal Affair, but Deeks… Sure, she’s his boss but I was looking forward to see someone put her in her place after all this mess… I agree with him, it’s her fault if Kensi was alone in the field… She put him in jail, damn it… And I’m not so sure he’s safe for now… I mean, we don’t know if Whiting is still alive yet… I supposed we’ve gonna see her soon.
    Sam, I love him so much… his support, he understood Deeks like no one… I must say, I love Sam more and more this season!!!
    Sabatino… I’m glad he escaped… Because I’m not so sure the Mole Story is over… And I don’t know if he a vilain or not… I want to have my answers!!! lol
    Joelle… I don’t know what to think… I found this storyline so out of character… She’s gone for so long, and I missed her (but maybe because I can’t stand Anna and I would have prefer to see Joelle with Callen instead of the smily blonde…) as Callen’s girlfriend but it was not shoking like I hoped so…
    Anyway… To many questions unresolved after this episode… But it was still so great… Because of Densi!!! I’m going to ask your forgiveness now, because FINALLY, We have our Densi back!!! I missed them so much… I have to say, I probably watch this show because of Deeks but, without Kensi, I’m not so sure I would be so invested in it… I’m just an hopeless romantic girl… My bad… 😉 Those last 5 minutes were perfect to me… Even if I would have loved to see à little kiss… But it was perfect nonetheless!!! Sullivan took this 2 bullets perfectly, may I say? And those 2 “Get out of the room” This two lovers are perfection!!!
    And of course,” Chiche Kebab, once upon a time… there was a Sabatino… ” I love you so much Deeks, ECO, Deeks… whoever say those line… lol


    • I forgot… Granger… So sad to know it was the last time we saw him… I’m gonna miss him… But I liked his last scenes… I was afraid to see him leave the show without “panache” as we say in French!!!
      And Chegwidden… Loved him, so refreshing, and funny… I hope we’ll see him again on the show!!!


  11. This has been a great week.
    Full of major milestones.

    First…all about me…

    I have tried out a new tag line/ signature.

    The unfortunate (for us) person task with playing Plastic Anna has been dubbed “Par whatever her name is” by one of our own.
    Priceless. I just love it…

    And most importantly, for the first time ever, I have been called a Gem and a precious jewel. By somebody here…yep…really, no kidding… All kidding aside, it means something to me. Thank you.
    I have been called many hundreds of things over the years, but never that.
    Ed The Gem
    Ed The Precious Jewel
    It is such a tough choice…
    Decisions, decisions…

    Anyhoo…back to the show folks. What? Isn’t this Ed’s Journal ( Kensi says I can’t call it a diary)

    Another fantastic review, thank you so much, you do a wonderful job.
    (should I have said that first, instead of talking about yours truly?… Meh…
    Still the mole thing does not feel quite complete yet. Does it?

    Although I could nitpick the episode, as it had some flaws…
    Nitpick? Is that too strong?… Maybe I should have said analyze with a critical eye…yeah, that sounds better…
    Although I could analyze this episode with a critical eye…yep, that’s better…
    It did a pretty good job of checking things off my wish list.

    Wrapping up the mole arc- check
    Get Kensi back in the field- check
    Get Kensi and Deeks back on solid ground- check
    Get a nice Densi moment- check
    Have Kensi show some affection or appreciation for Deeks- check
    Have Kensi hurt Sullivan- check
    Have Deeks be the one to rescue Kensi- check
    Have Deeks hurt Sullivan- check, check, check
    Get rid of Sullivan for good- check
    Let Deeks punch Sabatino for making passes at Kensi- check
    Good or bad, he had one coming…
    Have most of this be Hetty’s fault
    Have someone tell off Hetty for her constant manipulation- check
    Have one of the moles be right under Sam and or Callens nose (because of their often-condescending attitude about tradecraft and judge of character towards the rest). check

    Not a bad start, put a big dent in the old list.
    Now, if we can just do half that good next week we will be on a roll…

    Thank you again for all the hard work you put into this.
    I know you say it is fun and you enjoy it, but I still realize it is a big commitment in both time and effort. It does not go unnoticed.
    Appreciative as always.
    Ed The Gem


    • To Ed the Gem;
      Ed you are a Gem! And, I thank you for taking my request and making it different but still meaningful. Hey! What’s with the thumb down on you? You’ll always get a thumbs up from me. I’m laid up a bit so being on the computer is a no, no for now but did want to acknowledge you! I’ll hopefully comment on the EP as soon as I’m physically able.
      You’re Ed the Gem (as in jewel) because you took a request from a stranger and made a change; I thank you for that — you are a Gem! :-)!!


      • you’re welcome
        I am not always an obnoxious, opinionated ass… but don’t tell anybody.
        I have a certain image to uphold around here…
        and I am glad to take a thumbing down for you any time…
        wait…does that sound weird or inappropriate to anybody else???
        hope you feel better,


  12. Some light housekeeping.
    I hope that we a nice long entry in Kensi’s journal this week
    We have been missing them as they have been few and far between this season.
    Yes, I know that Kensi will blame it on being stuck under a helicopter, unconscious in Syria and Germany, in a coma for a while, kidnapped and tied up to a wheelchair…blah, blah, blah…
    Excuses, excuses…stop being lazy and get on it girl
    Somebody get Kensi a Pen…
    Kidding, obviously.
    Now where were we…


  13. A near proposal…not quite yet.
    Not that I wanted or needed it right then, but I thought for a second that when Deeks told Callen to leave the room would get a proposal. We would hear Deeks say something like “that’s it, I can’t wait any longer, we are getting married, I want to spend the rest of my life with you…the rest we will figure out.”
    Not a perfect setting, I get that…but for a second, I thought it might come.


  14. I thought it was interesting to see Deeks carry Kensi out of the house.
    Across the threshold, as he said…
    When Deeks made that comment, I thought Kensi might just “Yes”…at which point Deeks might look at her and almost drop her in surprise…
    Still, not the right time.


  15. Kensi,

    We always knew she was tough.
    It was nice to see her get loose and fight back. Love to see that fighting spirit return after her troubles. It will be nice to move past all of that.
    Will her and Deeks have a discussion about Sullivan or will she get down on herself for letting him in?
    Maybe they will just blame Hetty…
    I will be glad to get Kensi back in the field full time.
    Does she feel enough like her old self now to move forward with Deeks?
    Lets hope.


  16. Deeks,

    Is there a limit to what he will do for Kensi?
    I don’t think so, and if there is, that line is a long way out there.
    Glad he got ahold of Sabatino, it is about time. The guy is a sleaze that made several passes at Kensi.

    Glad to see Deeks confront Hetty, She has had that coming for a long time.

    I don’t think that Deeks was any more out of control than Sam was at his kid’s school.
    He better get that darn ring out soon, that’s all I have to say.


  17. Densi, Finally…

    A really nice Densi scene…2 actually.
    Although complaining a little, Kensi did allow Deeks to carry her out of the house. That would never have happened just a little while ago.
    Very nice to see.

    Kensi calling for Deeks instead of telling the team “in Here” was a nice touch, like she trusted him to save her. Perfect.

    The smile, the dialogue, the hug, running fingers through the hair, touching foreheads…
    So intimate and personal, without even a kiss. Nicely done.
    Kensi, holding on, not breaking contact with Deeks, and even telling the team to give them some time (leave the room). Not caring what the team saw or thinks, a very nice progression in her maturity and the relationship.
    The show of affection is nice to see from her.


  18. Whack a mole

    I do not think the whole mole thing is finished. There are too many unanswered questions and loose ends. This may be the end of the immediate threat and retaliation, but there has to be more to it.
    Will Anna and Nate returning, will something else come to light? Not likely. Or is that it???
    I hope not, because that would mean there was a huge case of over-hype.

    Is this a case where the writers overplayed their hand and drug it out too long in an attempt to create suspense? They had a great story or plot point and let it slip away. Did they write themselves into a no win situation like “THE BOX” where there was no way to deliver what all the hype and anticipation promised???
    If Carl was the only real inside guy within the organization, then it is truly disappointing.
    I don’t really want the mole hunt to continue…I really just wanted it over with…
    But if this is the end, it still needs some closure.


  19. As granger once said, this fish stinks from the head…

    I was very glad to see Deeks confront Hetty.
    She has had that and more coming for a long time.
    Hetty has lost that unconditional trust that the team used to have for her.
    She gets questioned more and more lately.
    There has to be a tipping point in her ability to effectively lead.
    I think that time has already come, from my perspective.
    TPTB don’t seem to agree, yet…
    But, it does appear that there are some cracks in the armor….


  20. Chegwidden

    The scenes with him in the boatshed had a good chemistry and he would seem to fit in with the cast very well.
    Hetty’s comment about needing a good lawyer was interesting.
    Maybe we get another addition of “Hetty goes to Washington”…with a different result.
    Maybe her troubles are not over quite yet.
    I do think that at some point Chegwidden would be a good fit.
    The banter in the boatshed was well done, I think…
    After AJ hits Joelle in the back of the head with an oar…
    AJ- Henrietta. Who’s the redhead?
    Hetty- Callen’s ex-girlfriend.
    AJ- You really are in trouble.
    Hetty- Is she dead?
    AJ- Well, I didn’t hit her that hard. Go either way.
    Hetty- A.J., I had questions I needed to ask her.
    AJ -What, did you want me to let her shoot you first? She’ll be fine.

    The character portrayed in JAG would blend in well with the group and he is a very good actor.

    The character is already fleshed out and John M. Jackson does a very good job with the portrayal. Very believable.
    I think they set the stage for it, but will wait a while and not just plop in a replacement for Granger.
    They will allow the Granger character, and more importantly the fantastic person to sail off into the sunset without the distraction or clutter created by having the new guy already around…

    Once we get past the loss, I think Chegwidden would make a good addition to the team…not a replacement, because that can’t be done.
    As long as he doesn’t get treated like Deeks did when he filled in for Dom, it could work out well.
    It would also give them a strong lead to take over for if/ when they push Hetty out the door.


  21. Granger

    I loved Granger getting in one last shot. ( no pun intended…)
    It was nice to see, and very fitting.
    As incredibly difficult as it was to watch his scenes with the gauntness of his physique, I am very grateful to get a few more chances to see this fantastic actor do what he loved.
    I hope that is not it, and we get another scene or two.
    I really do.
    It must be incredibly conflicting emotionally for the cast to go through this.
    I personally would feel grateful and blessed that this great man chose to spend some of his final days on set with us. It would be so inspiring. It would also be heartbreaking to see him deteriorate in front of us.
    And when the chapter is finally closed, it leaves a void that can never be filled.
    Rest in Peace.


  22. The rescue.

    I loved that Kensi defended herself and fought back… and that Deeks got to be the one to find her. Very fitting and the only really acceptable way for it to happen.


  23. The bromance.

    I am glad that Callen reminded Sam that he had been the one to bring Joelle into the group once it became clear she was not who she pretended to be.
    They both need to appear more human and less perfect, especially with the way they lecture Kensi and Deeks.
    A little humility, humble pie and maybe a small amount of tension between the two of them would not be a bad thing.
    Let’s get Densi on solid ground and rock the bromance boat just a little.


  24. Sabatino,

    Sabatino is still floating around out there,
    I am still not sure about him.
    Regardless, I am still glad that Deeks got to express his displeasure to him personally.
    Even if Sabatino is one of the good guys…he is still a jackass that has made passes at Kensi…probably had is coming.


  25. Joelle,

    Her comments to Callen are so true and to the point.
    The lying is part of the job. Callen talking about betrayal, is really rather rich coming from him. He has no room to talk what so ever.
    For crying out loud…they are already broke up and he is bouncing around with Anna…what is he upset about.
    …unless he still cares about her and wants her, he did stalk her a little after all…
    Maybe Anna is just a roll in the hay, let’s hope, because I really don’t like her.
    Maybe the legendary G Callen is upset at himself because he was completely fooled for many months.

    Do we think that Joelle was actually kidnapped and left there, or was she actually part of the plot, used as a delaying tactic, and hopefully avoiding suspicion by appearing to be grabbed as well.?


  26. Can I get a definition please???

    It seems to me that I must have a misunderstanding as to what a mole actually is.
    Having another agency spy on you doesn’t meet the definition of a mole.
    Having people lie to you doesn’t make them a mole.
    Having a group of people try to take down your organization doesn’t make them all moles.
    A mole is someone that is part of your organization that is working for the other team.
    Anna doesn’t work for NCIS, Joelle doesn’t work for NCIS. Neither does Sabatino, Sullivan, or any of the others…with the exception of Carl.
    Really, Is Carl the only real mole…is he the only leak and the source of all the intel??? Not likely.
    The others may have been spying or working against NCIS, but they were not actually working for the organization.
    Most of these people, while using the information they obtained for their own devices, did not have the inside access to obtain it in the first place.
    There were very few that could have known about the helo in Syria and had the ability to report out in time to get someone there with a rocket launcher in time to shoot them down.
    Covert meetings, dead drops…none of that would have worked in time.
    There was someone inside of OSP with the ability to pass along info almost immediately without being detected by the techs.
    How the heck does that happen?
    If the only inside man is Carl, and he was in jail at the time…it is just not even close to being believable.
    OPPS is bugged, or there is someone else involved in leaking intel.
    Eric, Nell, Nate… who else could be the inside man that would need to exist.
    If it is just surveillance, then why did the techs not find it by now? Disappointing.
    I hope this is not over yet, if it is, then I am very unsatisfied with the result.
    If after all the hype…this is what we end up with…
    Well, hmmm, I expected more.


    • I thought that the whole point of Eric and Nell finding the virus attached to Kensi’s email from Sabatino explained all this. They had insider knowledge, not through a person working within OPS (after carl was gone), but through bugging their system and implanting a virus into the OPS servers.
      I agree that it doesn’t fit the description of a mole. It must’ve been their way of explaining who Carl was working for, and it does make the storyline more interesting that it was so complex with many people… but they really should not have been advertising it as a mole reveal this whole time, because it’s just not.
      I just wish this hadn’t been advertised as a mole plot because it really is a good plot when we aren’t focusing on how the ending doesn’t answer the original question of who is the mole? No one! they were just spies who spied on our team and used it against them…. soooo better off asking the question:: who has it out for NCIS that they hired Carl as a mole? so much simpler

      Personally I think that the original plan was to write off a main cast member, maybe one of the wonder twins and have a crazy reveal… but then Miguel was sick and they knew they would be losing him eventually, and Dani was pregnant and so the major recovery storyline put the mole on hold… until they finally needed to just sum up this story, and they couldn’t afford another loss to the main cast.


      • I feel the same way, this was not how things were originally set up to end.
        I think Dani and Miguel created a need for a change of plans.
        I mean, think about it, there is no way that LL would have gone on camera and said “someone s gotta die.”…or whatever the exact words were. right?
        but everyone was led to believe it was a major character..
        I thought originally it would have been Nell, Eric, or Nate.
        Then again if Miguel had stayed healthy, Linda Hunt might have gone out in a blaze of glory shootout saving the team in the process.

        This isn’t really a horrible story line by any means. It is actually pretty good at cleaning up a lot of loose ends.
        The problem is the way it was portrayed. It was way over hyped and was misrepresented to a fault.

        I am not disappointed or frustrated because it sucked, because it wasn’t bad at all.
        I feel that way because they did not give us what they said they would. and it is a let down.

        I feel like I was told I won a trip to Hawaii, and then when the tickets showed up they were to Iowa. Heck, it is still a free trip, right, pretty cool… but you still can’t help but feel disapointed.


  27. An episode full of clarity and perspective
    It was nice to see and long overdue.

    Hetty being told by Deeks that this was on her. (about time)

    Sam and Callen being told by Sabatino that this was all Hetty’s fault due to her meddling in things outside her purview. (…no kidding).

    …Hetty having been told the same thing in a previous episode.

    Callen being told by Joelle that he was full of lies and betrayals and to look in the mirror. ( yep, a perfect point, exactly the same….where is that kid of his anyway… )
    Sam being reminded that Joelle being around was his fault. ( what , the perfect judge of character…say it isn’t so about damn time)

    Unfortunately, all of these generally arrogant and condescending people, when presented with the statements and facts, were either dismissive, deflecting, or obliviously in denial.
    These people’s huge egos don’t seem to allow them to assume blame, take responsibility, or even admit that they aren’t perfect. They appear blinded by their own self-importance.
    It really pisses me off.


  28. Sam Hanna, the king of the double standard.

    Watching Sam continue to lecture Deeks was tough to watch.
    I know he had his best interest in mind, but it was a little rich coming from Sam. From Sam running around Africa after Khaled and Jada, to his behavior at his kid’s school, Sam has no room to talk about letting things get personal.

    If I was prone to holding a grudge…any more of that and he wouldn’t be invited to the wedding
    Just sayin’


  29. Is Hetty oblivious???
    Her lecture to Joelle is rather interesting.
    Her entire team does the same thing undercover all the time.
    Is it only different because it suits her needs?
    She never said that Sam needed to be punished for his betrayal of Jada…
    There is a long list.
    She really needs to just shut up and look in the mirror.


  30. Michelle… The human lie detector

    For a CIA operative, she wasn’t all that perceptive.
    Good thing she retired, she is lucky to still be alive.
    Sabatino and Joelle…both caught up in this…
    Really, let’s hope she doesn’t have any more friends hanging around L.A.
    Just sayin’


  31. Outstanding items
    Some remaining items from Ed’s wish list…
    Get rid of Anna
    See a ring on Kensi’s finger
    Have Kensi show a real appreciation for Deeks abilities.
    Have Hetty pay a real price for her actions
    Keep the geeks in opps
    Have Kensi tell Deeks about her time on the street.
    Kensi and Deeks undercover as a couple.

    I would settle for ½ of them for starters…
    I’m not greedy.


  32. Does anybody else think that Whiting is still alive and Deeks’ confession will come back into plat at the worst time possible.?
    What are the options…
    Whiting dies and things end
    Whiting dies and IA carries on investigating, maybe with Tiffany
    Whiting lives and forgives the whole thing
    Whiting lives and agrees to drop it if Deeks leaves the LAPD
    Whiting lives and continues with the investigation.

    Any thoughts or more options.?
    After all of this, Deeks is still at risk regardless if whiting lives or not, depending on what Whiting had for information on Tiffany. Don’t you think if Whiting is dead it will raise concerns. She is investigating Deeks, lets him out, and then dies in a shootout when he and his NCIS team are there and no witnesses from another agency???
    Still Hetty’s fault for stirring this up again.


    • I would like to see Whiting come back and understand why Deeks did what he did , so we can hear a discussion between them and she becomes a confidant of his at LAPD. I thought she and ECO had some great scenes, and I think she would be a great recurring character, a professional woman who is a friend of his and separate from NCIS. It would also be great to add a recurring actress to the show who can really act.


    • Here’s another possible Whiting option: She lives but doesn’t remember Deeks’ confession due to blood loss/trauma. She does remember he said he would “tell you what you want to hear” but that’s lawyer-speak in my mind, for saying, “but what you want to hear ain’t the truth.”


    • both of you make great points and either scenario would work.
      my thought, in part because I am not very trusting,…is that whiting lives, that way there is something being held over Deeks head. even if Whiting agrees to sit on it or cant remember, it is an issue than can re-emerge to throw a wrench into Deeks relationship and career at the most inopportune time. it provides a believable, easy way to put some tension into the Densi relationship with out needing much extra effort or creativity…
      I think the group steering this ship would jump all over that…
      unfortunately I have a hard time believing that Kensi and Deeks will be allowed be happy for long.


      • I am beginning to think, we will get the engagement and then they will just put the characters on the back burner so they can concentrate on the new romance they are trying poorly to manufacture.. The promo pics are out for 8X17, no Kensi, no Deeks, tons of Anna. I am so tired of Anna and her zero chemistry with anyone on the cast, I do not even know what to say anymore.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Never have I thought about an actor or actress and thought …” break a leg ” and meant is so literally…
          she needs to go.


        • I thought the same when I saw the pictures you mention: no Deeks, no Kensi, an unbearable dose of Anna. Keep calm, breathe in, breathe out (this I said to myself while closing the page).
          I would be so glad to find a way to like Anna’s character, her scenes, her lack of chemistry with the others and, most of all, her forced relationship with Callen, really, I would, but I can’t, I simply can’t.


          • Bar Paly attempting to make Anna come to life…
            it really is horrible to watch.
            drop back and punt
            change of plans
            lets go a different direction
            time for plan B….
            and so on.
            just do something
            how did she ever get through the chemistry reads?
            there are some rather smart people involved with this show.
            So. is there some kind of pressure to cast her, or are they blinded by the way she looks in a bikini.
            I have to assume there was not a new casting director and that was his first day on the job…
            There has to be something, because there are lots of good actresses out there that are far more skilled.
            Was there a lack of people auditioning because of all the cancellation talk rumors that were circling around? Not likely.
            As someone once said…”IS THAT THE BEST THEY COULD DO”
            I really doubt it.

            swing and a miss.

            Liked by 1 person

  33. Kensi’s reflective comments…
    I realize completely that Kensi was gaming Sullivan and playing with his emotions to buy herself some time. But did the statements made trigger something in Kensi as well. Her comments about having someone that makes you feel like losing a leg didn’t matter… isn’t that what Deeks was trying to do this entire time. Letting Kensi know that he loved her no matter what, that his love wasn’t contingent on her ability to walk…only thing was, Kensi pushed him away and would not accept it.
    Hmmm, I wonder if it dawned on her at all.
    The irony is ironic.


  34. Karen thanks for the review and for providing a platform for discussion of the episode.I thought Scott Gemill did a great job on this arc . The mole has been kicked around for so many seasons,has seemed inconsistently written, and I think not really thought out. I think Gemmill did a great job with pulling together an exciting and fast paced story . This story involved the characters we love and ended up with a great Densi reunion , Kensi ready for the field, and an incredible performance by Eric Christian Olsen. So all and all a win for Gemmill in my book.

    I saw something different from what you saw regarding Kensi being ready to back in the field and it seemed seemed like a crucial part of the story for me and how I interpreted this arc. I agree with Deeks, Kensi was not completely ready to be back, Kensi is one smart, trained, agent. In a mole situation, you can only trust those closest to you. She already knew from her briefing that she could not trust Sabatino , someone she knew and worked with. She did not know Sullivan well at all, as far as I am concerned he was sort of a passing acquaintance she met at rehab. So we have a senior , well trained agent, who has all of her team mates in jail, and she sees Sullivan on the the street, looking different ( with beard) when he was supposed to be overseas . So here he is in LA, in a wheelchair with a beard, this would have raised a huge red flag to Kensi,the fact that he got up close and she let her guard down indicates she was not ready to be back. If Kensi had been truly ready to be back, she never would have been taken by surprise by Sullivan . I believe that Deeks , who knows her best , knew she was not ready to be back.

    I thought the Deeks/Kensi arc in this episode was about the fact that Kensi was physically ready to be back to work, but not mentally ready, and the person who knows that best is Deeks. So for me the way I see this episode is this knowledge of Deeks is what drives his behavior in this episode , it is not just that she is the woman he loves but he knows that both Hetty and Nate, have said, she is not ready and yet Hetty has propelled her into this situation , alone, without a partner. His fears are in overdrive .

    To me that explains all of his behavior and it also nicely ties together their arc, she has gone from being not ready to return as his partner and lover at the beginning of the arc, to being ready to return as his work and love partner by the end of this episode. I thought Densi was beautifully done and Eric Christian Olsen once again delivered an incredible performance this time as as an angry , distraught Deeks. This seemed like a really important episode for both Deeks and Kensi.


  35. You covered so many of the bases in your review Karen and it was superb as usual. You fly by the seat of your pants quite well, just like Deeks.

    I think we became conditioned by the use of the word mole…singular…throughout this story arc to assume the team was dealing with one person…a dark overlord controlling everything. That may end up being true in the long run, but right now I was pleased to see they they weren’t dealing with one person, but one gang of rogue CIA agents profiting from their positions in Afghanistan. That is much more interesting to me. We have come to think of our heroes as consumate professionals, unable to be fooled by the bad guys, but that turned out not to be true. Kensi might have been fooled by Sullivan, but her lapse is more understandable. Callen on the other hand was fooled completely by Joelle and that was a shocker. It makes her a much more interesting character and damn good at her job. She turned out to be conniving and cruel, claiming she broke it off because she just couldn’t lie to him anymore. Not sure I believe that. I would love to see those two go up against each other some time in the future. They would make great adversaries. She was up to her eyeballs in that rogue group and worked to throw the team off Kensi’s trail. Kensi was the bait this time, and Joelle was helping them set it all up. The only thing I found missing was just when or how Hetty found out she was CIA. A scene or an explanation would have been nice.

    And finally, I absolutely loved Deeks in this episode…charging through anyone who tried to stop him from finding Kensi. Loved him at the church door. All business. Not taking no for an answer and taking charge and not really caring what Callen and Sam had to say. No question about his character there. Seems Sam forgot he had done the same thing when Michelle was in trouble and when his son was as well. Still, I felt he was looking out for Deeks. I think they all were and understood. They know how much he loves her. No question there either. And that wasn’t hard to see when he went after Sabatino. Best. Scene. All year. ECO at his best, strong and emotional…giving us a powerful look into the depths of his character. Decisive too. I don’t think he took more than two seconds before killing Sullivan. And then…”Dad, get out of the room.” Perfect and heartwarming.


  36. I agree with you,
    I think that what you just stated with Deeks behavior is the very thing that makes me sure that letting Densi get together is a good thing.
    we have played the whole will they , wont they dance to the point of tedium.
    much longer and it stops being believable.
    they were pretty happy in season 7 and there was still a lot going on.
    I think that if they are allowed to develop a strong and solid relationship… and remain partners,
    that there is so much to explore.
    look at Deeks reaction to all this. Imagine the attempts to stay in character during under cover opps when one is in danger or has to push that line a little past flirting.
    the making up or talking it out afterwards. bringing personal issues into work.
    It just seems that there is a lot to work with with them as a solid couple.
    once the relationship is solid, it doesn’t need to be front and center in every episode.
    there was very little Densi in this ep, but you could feel the connection run deep
    I would like to see jealously or protectiveness come up in an op from time to time, instead of them fighting with each other or drifting apart due to issues in their relationship.


    • I look forward to the time that Kensi has to go undercover again. once they are engaged officially I wonder how Deeks will react. I would like to see the transition…
      From Deeks ogling Kensi and making comments and innuendos about how well her skirt is working…to going the other way where he follows her around wardrobe with shorter heels, longer skirts, and tops with a high neckline…or maybe pants and a sweatshirt.

      We have seen Kensi jealous personally at the beach and during an opp with Monica…
      It will be interesting to see how she handles a similar situation once she is wearing his ring…
      …there may be a bimbo headed for a beat down…
      Just sayin’

      it would be funny to see them go undercover as a couple and have the mark not really believe them and think they are cops. could be cute.
      …what do you mean we aren’t believable…huh,


    • We did see Kensi almost break cover (at least she got so upset she was asked if she knew Deeks) in the pool scene in An Unlocked Mind. I think that made a lot of sense, and I agree, it would be interesting to see how something similar plays out on another undercover assignment. Or the ultimate issue: what happens if one of them must choose between saving the other’s life or someone else’s (or getting the bad guy, or keeping the nukes from getting out, etc. you get the point). There’s still plenty of good drama to be had with them in a solid relationship.


      • exactly,
        there is a lot to explore
        the stress and conflict during the opp and the re connection afterward.
        whether they are in danger, or receiving a generous amount of affection from the opposite sex.
        The afterward can be as interesting as the action as they work to confirm their devotion.
        How do you tell someone that they are the most important person in your life and then watch as they get beaten or groped knowing you could stop it. How do they believe you, do you both put the line where you would step in at the same point. How do you navagate the conflict of saying that the person and relationship is more important than the job, but still maintain cover and put the job first to complete the opp.
        We have seen Kensi react during an opp with Monica an well as going after Deeks when he went in as a lawyer after Thapa. Knowing what the Siderov incident did to him emotionally, would she leave Deeks there again. would she demand to stay at the hospital?
        how would deeks handle something like the Crimeleon bar or the King case.

        then again, maybe I am looking at this all wrong…
        how about another shot at Neighborhood Watch…. he gets to check out her cut foot this time…
        just sayin’


  37. We all trust the network, right?…

    Is seems like such a mixed bag.
    After this last time change for the greater good, I got to thinking, ( which is usually a bad thing)
    Then it went downhill from there…

    It appears the network has huge amounts of faith in the show, and yet at times doesn’t seem to do anything to help it out.

    It was in a sweet spot with the NCIS lead in on Tuesdays
    They pushed it out of the way to make room for nola, stuck it on Monday nights,
    Moved it to 10 pm although it did not take advantage of the late tome slot with a more mature or liberal story like most late shows do. They stuck it up against an established castle.
    Then they move it to Sundays, that starts off great, but the constant interruptions to the schedule are starting to catch up with them. Then a move back an hour for a streaming premier…really? Is that the only place to put it…oh come on.
    This would all be a little less impactful if we ever saw a promo or advertisement for the show.
    They kind of just leave it out there swinging in the wind.
    Now, if they are that confident and supportive of the show and feel the need to help out less solid shows, I can get that. Spend the money where it is needed.

    The problem is that in order to be fair, this tactic requires an open mind and good memories from the network executives.
    They need to look at their portfolio as a whole. Taking one for the team is a fantastic thing, and their faith in the show is commendable.
    Let’s assume the show is on solid ground and is a sure renewal, which I believe.
    …but what about the ratings? They drive advertising rates, which in turn drive profits. Let’s not forget that the show was trimmed down from 8 shooting days per episode to just 7 now and started off the season with only 22 episodes instead of the usual 24.
    In spite of what they say about being a sure bet, their past decisions don’t quite match up.
    In addition, the show’s ratings and therefore its profitability come into play during contract discussions as well. it needs to remain profitable.

    So, unless the network does the right thing and steps in or at least grants some leeway, this whole taking one for the team thing can cost the actors money and the show the ability to resign their cast.

    It is one thing to be a workhorse and rock solid.
    It is quite another to become a sacrificial lamb.

    Somebody straighten me out and talk some sense into me.
    I am not standing on the edge ready to jump, but it does worry me.



  38. Long time lurker and Densi lover here posting for the first time. I only began watching NCIS LA early last year while on sick leave. Needless to say I was hooked, bought all the DVD’s that were available at that time in Australia and marathoned out on them. I became a Densi convert very early on in the piece and have lurked online since then. I have watched and rewatched several times and still pop back to an episode here and there when I need a Deeks/Densi top up!

    I’ve really liked almost every episode. I tend to overlook a lot of the story that doesn’t make sense or fit with what has gone before. It comes from having so many writers but someone really should be overseeing the whole progression to make sure it all fits. I have enjoyed this particular storyline and am glad it has finally come to some sort of semi conclusion. I don’t believe we’ve seen the end of this yet. There seems to be too many unanswered questions yet and with Sabatino escaping it gives them room to return to it in the future. Someone else must be behind all of this because if Joelle was with Hetty and (at the time) Sabatino was with Deeks, Callen and Sam, then who sent the photographs to the two extras with Sullivan. They had to come from someone but who? And I keep coming back to Nell downloading/uploading something in Ops when the Undersecretary was in the building. That has still not been explained and I am highly suspicious about it.

    I for one am ready for the proposal and for Pete’s sake could we have a decent kiss that lasts longer than 3 seconds. Callen and Anna have had at least two, one undercover and one not. What is the problem? The only really passionate moment has been at the end of An Unlocked Mind and then it was interrupted by Hetty. Come on, writers. Give us poor fans a break! A thorough kissing and no interruptions please.

    I can’t believe there are only 7 episodes left to go in this season. It’s flying by and I’m ever hopeful we get some great Densi scenes in every episode to come.

    Liked by 1 person

    • welcome, welcome, welcome
      Don’t pay any attention to me, I am borderline unstable, moderately irrational and possibly obsessed…not to mention a highly suspicious nut job…
      but other than me…everybody else is really nice.
      Have a nice day…


      • Thanks Ed. I love reading your thoughts. It really shows how invested in the show you are. I’m with you on Anna. She is difficult to like but I think she’s probably here to stay. I just hope we see as little of her as possible.


        • Anna should get about the same air time as Michelle…i.e…not much
          in fact, she might already be ahead.
          oops, better park her character on the bench until next year.
          I know…not likely, but we can hope.
          there are real actresses out there looking for work, and yet we are stuck with her…
          what did we do wrong to deserve this…


        • Dianne,
          That’s fantastic news…
          And the best part about reading my thoughts is that I am 100% right at least 94.1% of the time
          or was it 41.9%
          or maybe it was 19.4%… 1.49%???
          doesn’t matter.
          The important thing to remember it that I am right occasionally…at least 194% of the time…
          give or take.
          Guaranteed to be partially right or at least close from time to time.
          Wild guesses and speculation are my specialty, I don’t have a clue..


    • Dianne, I believe the pictures of the supposedly dead Granger and Hetty were sent by the team. When Nell checked in on Granger after his near-assassination, she unlocked the would-be killer’s cell phone (with the woman’s ring finger–“who uses the ring finger?”). I assumed they sent the pics the red-shirts who had just shown up to back Sullivan/Ferris up (obviously their numbers were in the dead woman’s phone) in order to let S/F believe his plans were coming along as expected. Wouldn’t do to have him worried something had gone wrong and move Kensi again. Callen made that mistake in the beginning and it cost them a chunk of the day (and the entire episode).


      • You make a good point about the photos. I hadn’t thought of that. Thanks for the insight.

        Is no one else bothered by Nell’s mystery download/upload though?


  39. Karen,
    Thank you for an excellent and heartfelt review as usual.
    Contrary to you, I have some reservations after watching
    “Payback” and hesitated at first about posting my comment.
    Because I feel extremely uncomfortable with how Joelle as a
    character was forced into the storyarc of the moles and rogue
    CIA agents. It just jars with what was established for Joelle
    as a character and her previous relationship with Callen. They
    had a natural chemistry while their relationship was still going
    on, and she was a sensitive, lovely and intelligent person. In
    my opinion by making Joelle betray Callen, they have damaged
    her character and her previous history with Callen. As I noticed
    how during those first moments when they found Joelle how
    tender Callen was with her. I think he still had feelings for Joelle
    and the chemistry between Joelle and Callen was still there.
    I think that by making Joelle a traitor, the writers just eradicated/
    destroyed any feelings Callen still may have had for her to clear the
    way entirely for Anna and Callen. And I hate it!

    Eric was nothing but superb throughout the episode, all that raw emotion,
    and despair to save his lady. An unstoppable force. Not to speak of how
    he called Hetty out. Which was a significant turning point between them,
    In his view Hetty has definitely tumbled from her pedestal. I will be very
    interested how the writers handle this during the remainder of this season.
    Daniela was equally outstanding and after Kensi’s rescue we finally got
    a powerful and deeply heartfelt Kensi and Deeks scene. But I am still
    hoping for a truly passionate kiss which lasts much longer than a few

    Even though the official mole(s) storyarc has been concluded, I suspect
    that there will be an aftermath. As for instance, I am still suspicious of
    Nell, Eric and Nate. And that slimy rat Sabatino is still out somewhere.
    I am also very anxious to know if Ellen Whiting will survive and with her
    how Deeks’s Internal Affairs case will be concluded.
    And I think that after all her manipulations and miscalculations there should
    be irrevocable and severe consequences for Hetty. But I still think that
    Linda is a superb actress.
    Though from this entire mole(s) storyarc I liked “Hot Water” the best.

    As I was not familiar with Admiral Chegwidden because I have only seen
    glimpses of JAG. I appreciated him very much and I hope that he returns
    and becomes a regular character on the show. His appearance was a nice
    tribute to JAG.

    I loved all of Granger’s scenes and I will dearly miss him.



    • the disappointing thing is, there was not a lot of value in making Joelle a spy.
      it feels more like a cop out more than anything else.
      it allowed them to preserve Eric, Nell, Nate and Anna as part of the cast, and in reality, if we had lost one of them it wouldn’t have killed me.
      It did make Sam and Callen look less perfect and more fallible which is really the only good thing about it. the biggest thing it does, which I don’t like, is slam the door closed on Callen’s previous relationships and forces Anna down our throats.
      …which, quite frankly…sucks, pardon my language.
      I’m assuming they feel it will increase the acceptance of Anna if Joelle is out of the way.
      although I liked Joelle, she wasn’t the reason I don’t like Anna.
      I din’t care if Callen’s ex was Talia, Detective Whiting, Tiffany, Monica, or Bozo the Chimp…
      I would take any of them over Anna.
      Heck, he could shack up with circus folk or a ventriloquist for all I care…
      anything but Plastic Anna.

      She is like watching a choir singing with one person just screaming.
      It is glaringly horrible to the point of distraction.
      They detract from the others performances and can ruin the enjoyment of the experience by their mere presence..
      it is truly a shame.


    • I completely agree with you about Joelle.
      Since the moment we knew the actress who plays her was in the guest cast list and we saw photographic evidence that she was in the episode, I had the feeling they would ruin her character and I didn’t like it at all.
      I didn’t say anything in my comment here because I don’t want to sound repetitive, but I have already said in other posts what I think about this authors’ decision.
      I haven’t liked it. Period. I get Gemmill inherited the mole storyline and had to decide how to end it in a way or another, but I’d rather he hadn’t involved Joelle.
      I think Joelle was a great character that worked very well in her scenes with Callen.
      In Humbug she was at her best. I liked how genuinely (pretending, I get it) astonished she looked at Callen after finding out he was not who she thought, how disappointed she sounded when she reminded him of the meaning of “humbug” as something fake.
      I can’t believe she was a trained CIA operative all the time.
      She also had great chemistry with Callen. Even in this week’s episode their moments on screen together were perfect and I guess Callen never looked at Anna (so far, at least) the way he looked at Joelle in the boatshed when he arrived and she was not in her best shape. He was concerned, protective, sweet.
      I’m sure the authors would have never damaged Joelle’s character if it hadn’t been for Anna and the still unexplained urge to push her with Callen.


  40. It did make Callen and Sam look a little less perfect for a moment and it is a very good thing and I wish they would not go straight back to them being all perfect heros (which I am afraid they will do and if the change isn’t longer/bigger it makes even less sense to make Joelle a “mole” ). I wish they would write Callen as more grown up, I don’t him acting like a child throwing a tantrum when things don’t go his way or he doesn’t get what he wants. The double standard is really annoying for example Callen and Kristin Donnelly in “Past Lives” (I still feel like Callen is the father of her son).

    I agree with you that it doesn’t matter who the (ex) girfriend is, it has nothing to do with my dislike of Anna either.

    Really great comments from everyone here, thank you!


  41. I hope Whiting survives which makes another good storyline everybody in the team could be knowing that Deeks killed someone to protect who she needed. Dissapointed with a molet storyline, couldve been season 6 or 7 storyline.


  42. Whiting will live and she will return for the DEEKS, M episode to be aired somewhere between season 10 and 12…

    so be it…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry, every now and then I remember that I don’t actually run the show
      …but if I did, this would be on the agenda for about day 4 of Ed in charge
      We may get a Deeks episode sooner… but 12-15 seasons are a bare minimum.
      The long term plan is that when Gibbs retires, we will take over his time slot.
      By then the Mission will have a daycare called “ninja camp” for 2 little mutant ninja assassins.

      should we put this to a vote, or do I enact my executive powers and just make it happen…


    • My fear is that the Deeks M episode (if we ever get it) will somehow end up being all about Kensi. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      • I would really like to see a discussion between Kensi and Deeks about their past.
        I would like to know how Deeks got from being an abused kid into law school.
        I would like to know how Kensi managed to survive being homeless and then got into NCIS
        who took her and when did she run away after her dad died.
        I would like to know what really happened and the details around the shooting of his partner.


  43. Ed in charge Day 5..
    a script will begin to be drafted in which Hetty will give Kensi and Deeks the beach house (code name Ancora) for their wedding present.
    The air date will likely be early next season, although this year’s season finale has not been ruled out.


  44. Does anyone know about that amazon express delivery thing?… How fast I can get some Tums or Rolaids delivered?
    I have been looking ahead at promo stills and it is just full of Anna. It did not set well.

    My tummy doesn’t feel very good.
    My eyes hurt.
    I have a headache.

    I think I may be allergic to poor acting.



  45. I looked at the press release for the next episode and it struck me odd.
    what a huge contrast we seem to get.
    look at the wonderful actors we will get in this episode…

    Daniel J. Travanti (Garrison)
    Martin Mull (Edward O’Boyle)
    Debra Jo Rupp (Ginger)
    …and that is just a start.
    outstanding, right?

    so why “Par whatever her name is”…as a good friend once said???

    expect greatness from yourself and others… and don’t settle for less



  46. Loved this episode, all the team was fantastic in it. Deeks scenes where perfect, Sam watching Deeks back keeping him in control of some sort was great, Joelle was a liar not Callen, he was keeping her from getting hurt and he really thought she was a teacher, but on the other hand joelle/CIA Officer Taylor knew Callen was a NCIS agent, and Callen really fall for her. Loved how he sawed up the dining room table. Kensi scenes where awesome loved how she tricked him into untieing 1 leg and arm because of the choking wh I Le she was slerping, then she kicked his butt til the other 2 came in. Sabatino not sure on him yet I’m really hoping he was telling the truth about not knowing CIA was going after Hetty and the team but I’m still out on that. How did he open the handcuffs, and will he resurface for the good or evil.


  47. I heart Ed!!

    That is all.


  48. I really like the Admiral and I feel guilty about it because I really liked Granger and always did. I think he would make a great addition to the team. (I didn’t even watch JAG so I was not familiar with the character, though I knew of Harm and Mac.)

    Hope Kensi and Deeks are back on track.

    And I know I’m in the minority, but I really didn’t like the admiral’s scene with Eric. I thought it was misplaced in the episode, while the drama was still going on and they were still looking for Kensi.


  49. I do agree about Eric,
    Although it wasn’t horrible, Eric was still a little over the top. maybe because he was not out in the field it was easier for me to take. Once it deteriorated to the gaming references and such it seemed out of place. After all, Kensi is in mortal danger…A little focus wouldn’t hurt.
    Really, if it had been a bad guy, Eric didn’t stand a chance.
    The weight of the gun would have just slowed him down while he ran zig-zagging for his life.

    I also think AJ would make a good addition. an interesting character and a very good actor.


  50. I think that this NCIA LA unit is a mess: Carl Brown, that german character, Joelle a CIA agent (not liking this), this Sullivan/Ferris guy. They are indeed sloopy. And who’s the mole anyway ?


    • The sensation I have is that the authors have crammed too much into just three episodes. I think the material and possible subplots they had available (Detective Whiting and her thirst for truth, the CIA agent Joelle, the totally-evil-or-not Sabatino, Sullivan/Ferris and his revenge, Kensi held captive, the rescue, angry Deeks, etc…) could have been spread better into more than a three-parter, but that would have meant to go on almost a whole season with this interminable mole hunt. Probably the TPTB wanted to put an end (?) to it as best as they could. In my opinion something was amazing and worked, something didn’t, something could have been planned/explained/developed better, but I also think that it had been a while since we had last had three roller-coaster-ride episodes like these in a row.


      • Agreed. Then the writers should have pulled back a little. No reason to add Joelle to the mix. Revealing she is CIA does not add value to story; it just makes it more convoluted, no shock value since she was in sneak peak. Just waste of character. Hope they don’t drop Whiting story arc.


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