In this week’s episode, “Getaway”, Nell and Eric are sent undercover inside a couple’s retreat after the U.S. Treasury Department is hacked and the crime is linked to a local tech savvy husband and wife. Several terabytes of data are stolen and could jeopardize unspecified counter-terrorism operations, so the team from NCIS gets involved.
This particular story was penned by Erin Broadhurst and directed by Tony Wharmby. Erin gave us a view of Nell’s interrogation techniques in “Sirens” and she writes another episode that provides us with another view of the analyst out in the field. Tony is back in the director’s chair after a long absence since last helming “Fighting Shadows” back in Season 6. He gave some wonderful character moments between Kensi and Deeks, as well as Callen and Joelle, in “Humbug”.
In the casting department, Scott Grimes guest stars as Digital Forensics Specialist Dave Flynn who we saw in action back in “Red” and “Red 2” and just when you thought she was voted off the island, Joelle Taylor is back, brought to us by the talented Elizabeth Bogush. The regular crew is all here, joined once again by the beautiful Bar Paly as Anna Kolcheck and Miguel Ferrer’s absence is already causing me to miss Owen’s sly smirk.
Fair winds and following seas, Miguel … you will be missed.
Now, onto this week’s offering.
For the setup, we have an opening in a fancy restaurant, which starts with two fellows enjoying their ‘Captain’s Chair’, watching their meal prepared as they continually toast to apparently anything. When one receives a phone call, there’s a sudden shift, an injection to the neck and the party’s over with a dead guy on the floor.
At the mission, we have Callen and Sam entering with confusing talk about “body day” for someone named Jennifer. Turns out, Sam is referencing his unquenchable love for his 70’s Challenger that gives us the “gut-punch” recovery and a “you gotta move on and get over it”… a little foreshadowing for Hetty’s little side mission for Callen. This is the usual bromance conversation that we get from these two with a perplexed Eric added to get them up to operations and the case at hand.
After the team is briefed, we have Hetty splitting up Sam and Callen, sending the team leader off on a mysterious errand while partnering the former SEAL with Anna. Instead of my favorite couple, Hetty correctly assigns Nell and Eric as the loving duo headed to the retreat to get close to the married computer techs,Tara and Paul Nelson, as Kensi and Deeks are to provide security overwatch.
The case unfolds as both Paul and Tara act pretty normal when they first meet Eric and Nell but it soon becomes apparent that they are hiding something. When Tara chokes up while discussing her sister during the couple’s confession moment, it leads to Nell pushing the issue by mentioning the loss of her sibling. Tara’s reaction was indicative of her own concerns for her sister who we soon learn has been abducted as insurance of compliance from the husband and wife techs.
As the team closes in and the buyer(s) seek to eliminate all of the parties evolved, Eric and Nell find a frightened Tara and a pretty beaten up Paul who are only concerned about saving Tara’s sister. Eric and Nell take off in pursuit but Kensi and Deeks are hampered by the antique RV that Hetty put them in for the mission. With a few well placed shots to the spare gas can strapped to the back of the SUV in which the bad guy is attempting to escape, Eric gives him a fiery send-off.
The previews for this episode probably gave most of us a double-take when Hetty announces that instead of Kensi and Deeks going undercover as couple, it will instead be … drum roll, if you please … Nell and Eric!
Now, before all of you Neric shippers grab your pitchforks and light the torches, I am not trying to down the togetherness that is growing between the two techies from Operations. Eric and Nell’s relationship has been growing in pace with the show itself and the interactions between them, while at times clumsy and awkward, bring some needed levity at some points and are downright adorable at others. Barrett and Renee have great personal chemistry and they infuse that into their characters but not with the smoldering sexual tension that we endured between Kensi and Deeks for far too long that Eric and Daniella bring to life so well.
My concern is that it appears that the Office of Special Projects is slowing morphing into another shade of O.S.P. – the Office of Sexual Partners. We already have Deeks and Kensi, who are well on their way to … hopefully … a ring, “I do’s”, and a happily ever after, Callen and Anna are being thrown together for what I hope is a brief “fling” and not a long term relationship, and now we have Eric and Nell inching their way into something deeper as well. It all has the feel that the show is moving from a dramatic presentation of the war on terrorism to a watered down soap opera where everyone is busy … well … getting “busy”. While romantic aspects can add to the drama, if there are too many couples who live and work together, they may overshadow the main point of the show.
The title is NCIS:LA, that stands for Naval Criminal Investigative Service … which means that the cases should involve the Department of the Navy, have some type of crime going on, a systematic investigation and eventual conclusion to the case. It was fun watching Kensi and Deeks slowly circle each other until they finally went “All in” with an occasional additional relationship thrown into the subplot (think Callen and Joelle … Nate and Rose), but with one more romance between lead characters, it worries me that this may overshadow the core theme which is taking down terrorists and evil masterminds.
I will let this topic go for the time being as I’m confident that it will be hashed out in the comments section at the bottom of the page. So, feel free to express your thoughts and opinions (that’s all I just did) and let us know how you feel about Nell and Eric’s progression as a couple and whether you think it will enhance or be a detriment to the show.
Where’s Callen going all by himself?
We get an awkward meeting between the former CIA operative and Joelle (Beth) with what appear to be her family and then an even harsher face-to-face at the boatshed. This woman, who shouldn’t be trusted as far as she could be thrown, lays it out that while she and Callen were involved with each other, she apparently had a son and a husband waiting for her back at home. Ka-boom! Sam commented about a ‘gut-punch’… this was more like a gut-punch with a head-butt, followed by a kick to the nom de plumes, chased by a poke to the eye and then a pile drive onto a concrete slab. Joelle, or Beth… whoever she is… was both cold and even cruel in her response to Callen; treating him more like something she stepped on on the sidewalk rather than a man she had been in a relationship with.
Callen, revealing that he was indeed truly stunned, looks like he’s been slapped when she confesses to the ‘family’ that is waiting for her at home. Now, even if what she says is total bull, having your emotions played with like that has to have hurt even Callen’s stalwart heart. From what Sam said as they entered the Mission and Hetty’s words at the conclusion, I think that is what has them concerned for their friend and teammate, with even Anna commenting on how Callen seems to be “off”.
I believe Hetty is worried that he may be withdrawing into his familiar lone wolf persona, foregoing any deep personal relations outside of his little family at the OSP. The lack of furniture in his house when she interrupted his and Anna’s moment might have been just another clue as to his state of mind. Sending him off to Joelle’s (Beth’s) home and forcing a confrontation is just Hetty’s way of getting him to face up to the hurt and move on without rebuilding the walls around his heart.
Callen has grown though the course of the show: hunting for the truth about his family, finding out about his family’s violent end, discovering his father is still alive, meeting his father and then unearthing the fact that he now has a sister and a nephew. Retreating now could cost him all that he has longed for his entire life …a real family.
Sam gets a new partner!
Poor Sam… he’s all excited about working on his car and then he finds himself partnered up with Anna. Say what you will (and I agree with most of the critiques about her), Anna seemed to work well with the big guy, giving as good as she got, following his lead at the crime scenes and with the rescue of the missing sister. I really loved the moment when she asks him how he copes with the demands of the job and taking only a moment to think about it, confesses that he talks to his wife, Michelle. Beautifully played there LL Cool J and well written Erin; it is both honest and poignant. The “nothing beats having someone listen to you who gets it” may be a glimpse that Anna is going to be around for Callen to confide in, among other… ahem… activities.
Roughing it in the middle of nowhere
Assigned to security overwatch for this mission, I was expecting a little more in two areas: Deeks and Kensi’s interactions and the RV itself. I’m going to tackle the RV first as it was the most glaring inconsistency in the story. My first impression was that they had disguised a super-d-duper secret agent spy van inside an antique RV so that the bad guys wouldn’t be suspicious. I was expecting a retractable drone launch pad in the roof, super encrypted spyware hidden behind the cabinets, thermal vision windshields and a turbo charged engine that could catch a Formula One racer. Instead, apparently, one of the world’s premiere spy agencies sends out its operatives in Dale’s dilapidated Winnebego from The Walking Dead.
One question though, did Deeks seem a little preoccupied? I figure that he has the IA investigation flittering around in his head but he appeared a little distant at the beginning. His comments about the outdoors came off as a little more apprehensive than his normal fear of being out in the desert too long without the proper moisturizer or enough water. I wonder if there is something from his past that might still haunt him. Hmmm.
While the Densi was fairly light with the two of them left alone out in the middle of the woods with no cameras or adult supervision, there were a few moments they did shine.
Kensi: By the way, your NSA agent friend, Michael, was really, really sweet … I love your ability to just make friends.
Deeks: I have lots of friends because I have a super secret way of making them.
Kensi: Picking up people’s bar tabs is not what I would call a super secret method.
Deeks: How did you know that?
Kensi: Because you did it to me, goofball!
Deeks: Well, picking up somebody’s bar tab is foolproof, but when you’re breaking the ice, never underestimate the strategically placed celebrity impression from a nice ’80s movie.
Kensi: Like what?
Deeks: Next time you’re hangin’ out with somebody new, try dropping a quote from Pretty In Pink and see what happens.
Kensi: Okay, I’ll try that.
Deeks (as Arnold Swarzeneggar): Get to the chopper!
Kensi: Predator! I love that movie!
Deeks (as Arnold again): We have to save California.
Kensi is still laughing.
Deeks: See, it’s charming and endearing, a sense memory… you cannot resist my Awrnold.
Kensi: No, I can’t resist… you!
Sweet right? Yeah, I added that last line from Kensi, but her smile was screaming it so loud, you couldn’t miss it. I’m sure the editors accidentally left that part out. I was sad to see another ‘love tap’ earlier when Deeks was playing his miniature violin… I hope that we aren’t headed back toward that thorny issue. They’ve moved so far past that, and it has been awhile since we’ve seen it, so it really felt out of place to me.
And the new Doc Holiday and Wyatt Earp
Their interactions were cute and honest but Eric’s confession about when he first knew he was in love with her… wow, I think that even caught Nell off-guard. “How amazing you are with me” should probably be on a Hallmark card by now and was the perfect statement from the sometimes verbally awkward Eric Beale.
Eric: We were friends before, but… that’s when everything changed… that’s when I knew… that’s when I knew I was in love with you.
Swwwweeeeeeeeettttttttt. Good job Beale!
Like I stated earlier about this particular couple, it’s not the couple themselves, it’s the overabundance of couples we seem to have at this time. I read a comment that said something along the lines that the show may be pushing Eric and Nell because they are going to mess with Densi. (If that’s the case, I’m prepared to riot.) It may also be that, for some unknown reason, happy and contented couples who have moved into the serious-let’s-get-married-and-settle-down may appear boring and in need of replacement by a younger or more exciting pair.
If that’s the level of creativity from the powers that be, then Houston, we have a problem. With the dangerous job that they have, marital stress would be the least of their worries, whether it’s Kensi and Deeks, Nell and Eric, Sam and Michelle, or Callen and <choke … gag> Anna.
This is also where I have to point out that some companies and the Federal Government have strict policies about dating between co-workers, especially in areas of high security or restricted information. If fraternization isn’t controlled, the work place becomes overwhelmed with drama and is ripe for discord and hurt feelings. For that reason, superiors cannot date anyone under their authority and in most agencies, partners are not allowed to date each other. This is one reason I suspect that Deeks hasn’t become an actual Agent, because he fears having his and Kensi’s partnership split up.
While this is a fictional show, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service is an actual organization that investigates criminal activity involving the Department of the Navy, including the United States Marine Corps. When the rules are bent to such a degree for the drama of the show, I sometimes feel like it loses its authenticity. Call me a stickler, but that’s how I call it.
Words of wisdom
“I like to look at something familiar from a new perspective.”
Henrietta says this while perched on the couch in the back of the bullpen, giving her a different view of the room that she doesn’t normally see from her office. Callen picks up on her double meaning instantly; he needed to see Joelle for who she really is and not who she appeared to be to him. Then the comment about facing one’s pain head on and cauterizing the wounds, being truly brave, only made me appreciate the care Hetty has for the team. I know, that at times, her efforts seem off-point or even self-serving, but I do think that deep in her core, she does try to have their best interests at heart. When she tells him that he should be proud of his team, I was hoping he was going to say “I always am”.
Overall, to me this was a decent episode, but I felt like I didn’t get to know the secondary characters well enough to really care what happened to them. I know, that sounds cold, but there was so much time dedicated to the regular crew, that the case and those it involved barely held my attention.
It was one thing I noticed about the last episodes, “Queen Pin” and “Old Tricks”, that they are loading us up with story lines, trying to tell us too many tales at the same time. Usually, we have the main case, the team interactions and one smaller side story. In some episodes, we’ve had the main story, two lesser side bars and two more little tag-alongs that only take away more time that should have gone to better character development. Spreading our attention spans too thin makes it hard to follow any one particular story, and these stories all deserve to be told. Let’s keep it simple folks… big case, partner banter, underlying drama and threat, creative investigation and exciting conclusion (even a sad one from time to time to add realism wouldn’t hurt either).
Well, there’s my take on “Getaway” and please, take it for what it is … rambling thoughts and opinions expressed by someone who loves the show but sometimes feels the need to point out some things that don’t sit right. Let us know what you think; about the episode, the show in general, even the knucklehead who was asked to write a review this week.
I can’t wait to see how you all feel about “Getaway” and the characters we love so much. Let us know.