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Review: NCISLA “Uncaged” (S8E23)


With “Uncaged,” NCIS: Los Angeles writer Frank Military (or as I like to call him, The Prince of Darkness), showed us what happens when he doesn’t get a chance to let that darkness loose for an entire season. Having written only a single light-hearted episode until now clearly has its consequences. Bottling up the darkness for so long can only lead to pain, and that’s exactly what we got big time in a tense episode that was beautifully directed by the very same Mr. Military. Beautifully directed, but tough to watch.

A Nemesis Returns

Let’s start with some easier topics, like the plot and the bad guy. The episode marked the return of Sam’s old enemy, Tahir Khaled. Khaled has never been one of my favorite villains. While I enjoyed the journey his sister Jada took to find her independence, I’ve always found the clashes between him and Sam a bit forced, a little over the top. I know we’ve all asked for recurring bad guys, but Khaled has always felt more cartoonish than actually menacing. In short, he’s no Sidarov.

Nevertheless, Khaled is back and he’s out to gain his freedom with an elaborate and apparently well thought out plan involving using Zirov as a distraction, kidnapping Michelle Hanna, and employing a whole lotta Toyotas. All in all, the plot here worked well. Military the director moved things along at such a breakneck pace that I never had time to breath, let alone look for holes in the story. On top of that, the show is always scarier when Military has written the episode because he really is capable of anything. His name alone automatically ups the suspense. This episode was reminiscent of his other strong writing/directing work with “The Seventh Child” and “Spoils of War,” which both involved the team racing to save someone with limited time.

No Happy Endings

Unfortunately, this time there was no happy ending. I allowed myself to hope when Deeks noticed the light coming through the boarded up wall, actually thinking they’d get to Michelle in time. For a moment I forgot who we were dealing with. Not Khaled, that is, but Military. The ending sequence was beautifully directed and edited and felt quite cinematic.

Unfortunately that ending also felt, for lack of a better word, cruel. Cruel because we had come to love Michelle and her family. Because we had watched her struggle for the entire hour. Because our hearts broke for Sam and especially for her children. Up until the final sequence, I was riveted to the story. I teared up when Michelle told Callen to take care of her husband. I keenly felt Sam’s desperation. But once the outcome became clear, I moved from sad to a little angry, and then went into immediate analytical mode to try to figure out why.

I think the reason is that it was just a little too dark for me. I didn’t think it possible- you all know I love the angst! Yet having to watch Michelle struggle for the entire hour, to watch Sam’s pain, and to know what’s in store for Kamran and Aiden was too hard. I think the flashback to Michelle with Kamran might have been what pushed me over the edge from feeling sad to feeling a little manipulated.

I asked myself how I’d have felt if Deeks were the one who had lost someone close to him. (Of course, I’m not sure who that would be if not Kensi- Ray might be the only comparable candidate.) In that situation, I might be eating up the angst and planning on enjoying a summer’s worth of angst-filled fan fiction. I’m honestly not sure. All I do know is I didn’t enjoy how this episode made me feel.

The episode reminded me of “Descent” for its darkness and pacing. Yet as much as “Descent” caused a summer-long obsession, I never doubted that Sam and Deeks and Kensi would survive. (I did wonder a little about Michelle.) The suspense wasn’t whether they’d die (no one did), it was how damaged they might be by their experience. Military has been super hard on this cast in the past (heck, he buried Sam alive in “Little Angels”!) but I don’t think he’s ever quite pushed things this far in the direction of tragedy. Again for me, the presence of those kids makes a real difference in my reaction.

Death is a Part of Life. Killing is a Part of NCIS:LA

So that got me to thinking about the showrunners’ decision to kill Michelle. Was it good drama? Was it necessary to further the plot, other characters’ development, or one or more longer running storylines? I’m really looking forward to hearing all of your thoughts on this topic. But first, for what they’re worth, here are mine…

First I tried to put this death into the context of the show’s history. (Disclaimer: I’ve never watched any other NCIS programs so can’t comment on anything beyond NCIS: Los Angeles itself.) This show has killed off other recurring characters- Dom, Renko, and Hunter come immediately to mind. Dom died because his character wasn’t working and the showrunners needed room to bring in Deeks (may I say, Best Decision Ever). Hunter and Renko died to give Hetty a dramatic story arc and to make Janvier even more worthy to be Callen’s arch enemy. Michelle seems to have died for a similar purpose.

There have been other deaths, such as everyone’s favorite Ghurka. His death truly served little purpose other than to make Deeks sad for one scene- what a waste of a great character. And that’s not even counting the random friends from their pasts who’ve encountered tragic endings, even if we never got to know them very well. I’m thinking of characters like Moe and Michael Saleh. (Moe was killed by Military and Saleh got radiation poisoning from him- Sam should always be afraid of Military!)

The fact that a good chunk of these deaths are clustered in Sam’s direction may not be an accident. It may be because Sam is the most well-adjusted of all these characters. He doesn’t have a dark alter ego or a questionable cop killing in his past. He doesn’t have a troubled childhood with a mysterious family of spies and gypsies. He doesn’t have any murdered family members whose death he’s trying to investigate. Could his character’s lack of dysfunction actually cause the showrunners to feel the need to hurt people he cares about as a way to generate drama for him?

While I’m on the general topic of death, let’s acknowledge that every week this show begins with at least one murder to open the episode. Military even blew up a young boy at the beginning of “The Seventh Child.” So we can’t pretend to be surprised to see people killed here. Michelle’s death only drives home for me how unaffected we are by those characters we haven’t gotten to know.

A Necessary Death?

Thinking about that carnage we witness every week that generally leaves us unaffected helps me understand why the showrunners would see it as both powerful and necessary to occasionally kill off characters we have met and liked.

One reason that killing such a character is important is the show’s unbelievable weekly body count. How often have we expressed disbelief at the number of bullets that fly past the cast’s heads as they rather easily pick off the bad guys with precision aim? It verges on the cartoonish, as if they were actually a team of superheroes. It’s important for the writers to keep us believing that these are real flesh and blood people who can be hurt. Otherwise they’d become less interesting, we’d stop caring so much about them, and we’d definitely stop worrying about their safety. There’d be absolutely no suspense to the stories unless we see occasional consequences.

It would appear, for the moment anyway, that the core cast isn’t going anywhere, meaning they can’t actually be killed. So if you can’t always hurt these characters physically, you have to hurt them emotionally. We experience the show through their eyes. If they’re unaffected, we will be too. How often have I commented in a review that the best episodes are the ones where one or more team members are personally involved in the story?

And if you want to personally affect one of these people in the harshest way possible, whether it be for sweeps month ratings, a season finale, or just because you want the most drama possible, killing someone close to them is sure to accomplish that. For what could be worse?

Killing people is kinda integral to this entire show, so the fact that they’d kill off characters we know shouldn’t be a surprise. On the other hand, it’s not like this show has a lot of great spare characters they can afford to lose. If we don’t count the main cast, who else’s death might we even be affected by? Talia? Anna? Arkady even? Roberta? Michelle was really the only effective option, particularly if they were looking for someone close to Sam. (Thank goodness they didn’t take out one of the kids!) It just feels frustrating because Michelle was such a truly great character. She was so strong and funny and felt so real. She had such great chemistry with Sam. At the beginning of the episode I found myself hoping she really would go back to fieldwork so we could see more of her. There’s a big price to be paid to lose someone like her, because great characters like this aren’t easily created.

This episode was gripping from the start and didn’t need Michelle’s death to be great. She also didn’t need to die in order to send Sam off on a spree of vengeance. Some of the most gripping episodes of NCIS: Los Angeles haven’t involved the death, or even the feared death, of a character. I’m thinking of “Spoils of War,” where the suspense revolved around how far Deeks would go with torturing the cleric, or “Descent”/”Ascension,” where the suspense revolved around how affected Sam and Deeks would be by being tortured.

Military (with Chad Mazero) actually already gave us the Sam storyline equivalent to “Spoils of War” with “Revenge Deferred,” where Sam tortured Khaled to get him to reveal the source of his intel on Sam’s family. It would appear that the showrunners felt the need to up the ante from mere threats against the family all the way to kidnapping and murder in order to make this episode feel less repetitive. I do wonder if there might have been a happy medium.

One thing Michelle’s death ensures is that we will never feel truly safe in the presence of a Frank Military script.

Repercussions and Reverberations

Something else Michelle’s death ensures is big change for Sam’s character over the course of Season 9. Had she been rescued, we’d have expected Sam to return to being Sam, just as he did after “Revenge Deferred” and after the Season 7 finale at Aiden’s school, “Talion.” Instead we’re likely to see a very different man, for how could Sam not be dramatically affected by this tragedy? And in the long-term, how can he even continue this dangerous job when he’s the only parent his kids have left?

For that matter, her death is bound to reverberate through the entire team. Deeks and Kensi came so close to saving Michelle but failed. Plus, they must have looked at Sam and Michelle’s marriage as a model, something they could strive towards. How will this tragedy affect their wedding plans and even their thoughts on having kids someday? Hetty pulled all the strings but couldn’t come through. Callen could do little to rescue a woman he must have seen as family. The entire team dynamics may change as a result. It may not be pretty, but it is likely to be interesting. Going into the show’s ninth(!) season, that type of shake-up is important to keeping things feeling fresh.

Next week we’ll start to see how Sam’s character is changed by this tragedy, which is potentially interesting and likely depressing, given that he’s apparently going to start by being “Unleashed” on Khaled. I kinda feel like I’ve seen this story between Khaled and him already, maybe even more than once. It will be interesting to see if R. Scott Gemmill can bring anything new to it. Will Callen be able to keep his partner from pulling a Callen and going rogue? Will Sam really cross the line and kill Khaled? (And did someone take a minute to use some Overwatch spray on the guy before they let him go? If not, that’s really poor planning!)

Or, as many clever people have suggested on social media, might some or all of this be a ruse? Is there reason to think Michelle isn’t really dead? The use of the flashback scenes at the end communicates to me that Sam fully believes she is. I’d sure hate to see Sam confront anyone (Hetty I’m looking at you) who’d use him like that. As happy as I might be to see Michelle revived, I don’t think I’d handle the trickery all that well either. On the other hand, I could see Hetty and Callen working out some Khaled-related plan, perhaps to finally track down the One True Mole, the person who leaked Sam’s information to Khaled in the first place. It would explain why they allowed him to escape so easily. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Memorable Moments

  • Yay for another appearance by David Paul Olsen, playing Sam’s “brother.” I hope we see more of him in the future.
  • I did not appreciate Sabatino shooting Zirov to make him talk. All of sudden I felt like I was watching an episode of 24. I’d much prefer seeing them use their smarts to convince him to give them information.
  • I also didn’t appreciate that they did let Khaled out of prison. That didn’t feel realistic and definitely goes against the whole reasoning behind why we don’t negotiate with terrorists. For me it’s the main reason to think Hetty and Callen are up to something.
  • I did appreciate Nell’s risking her career to guarantee safe passage for Khaled and maximize Michelle’s chances for survival (but such credit is unneeded if Nell is in on the plans).
  • Given the stakes of this episode, it didn’t even feel right to change the subject to a Densi proposal. And while I can see shoe-horning it in next week in the context of “let’s not waste another day given what could happen in this job,” it’s hard to imagine it feeling right after such a tragedy. I do think if anyone can pull that magic off, it will be R. Scott Gemmill. We’ll see.

Throughout this episode, LL Cool J was stellar. And let’s not forget Aunjanue Ellis’s performance as Michelle. What a great presence she brought to the show, even as only a rarely recurring character. Even in episodes where Sam merely mentioned her, I could vividly picture her in whatever activity he was describing. She’ll be sorely missed. This episode was very well written, directed and acted. But it was so dark and sad (and lacking in Deeks) that I’m not sure I’ll ever rewatch it. As it is, I didn’t even give it my usual second go for fact-checking, so apologies for any errors.

Still, I can’t wait to hear what you all thought! Tell us in the Comments.

About Karen P (159 Articles)
wikiDeeks Writer & Assistant Editor. I never wrote for fun before... until my ECO-obsession. Now I love to analyze any and all aspects of the best character on television.

86 Comments on Review: NCISLA “Uncaged” (S8E23)

  1. A team is only as good as their foundation, together and individually. Sam’s personal foundation was Michelle. I hope we do see recurring issues for him other than revenge because of this or it won’t mean anything.

    I liked how when Sam and Callen were driving to the warehouse knowing Michelle had been found and why Callen was looking at him so strangely: Sam wasn’t racing to get there. He was going the speed limit. He knew time had run out. We don’t know how long past the oxygen deadline it was but he knew; he wasn’t in a rush – he held off the truth for as long as possible. It was also the reason for his slow walk – not a run — into the warehouse. Heartbreaking.

    I really loved how Deeks and Kensi tried SO HARD to get there in time. The slow motion running toward the refrigerator was the best and I watched it many times. I hope they, too, have an upcoming scene acknowledging that they have some feelings of residual guilt because that would be a real thing to deal with. (It doesn’t compare to Sam’s emotions of course.)

    My only complaint of the episode is that Eric seemed to be pretty slow on the uptake to see that the team didn’t show up on the cameras, the van never showed up beyond that warehouse on any cameras, and so forth. What else were he and Nell doing in Ops? And I don’t mean that in a flirty way – they had eight hours with two people who specialize in analysis and tech and pretty much no holds barred for the crisis. I also really want to see Deeks being a comfort to Sam now that they have a better relationship.

    Glad to be Anna free again this week! Woot! Have they finally heard us? Please?

    Liked by 2 people

    • They had no choice, they needed that cause”Michelle” had to leave NCIS L.A. because she has an important role in Quantico and in her contract ABC demanded that she resign from NCIS L.A.

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      • hoopsdiva // May 10, 2017 at 4:42 PM // Reply

        Quantico has gotten really bad ratings this year. Hasn’t it been cancelled?

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        • to the best of my knowledge, most sites have it listed as likely to be canceled.
          it is rated well below many shows that have been scrapped already.
          I think it pulls in about 2.5M or so in viewership.
          signing up and changing networks for that just may be like jumping ONTO a sinking ship…
          Ed

          Like

  2. hoopsdiva // May 9, 2017 at 7:09 AM // Reply

    An excellent review (as always), and far more thoughtful and reflective than I am capable of being at this moment. I do hope that all those speculating that Michele might still be alive are right, and not just in denial like me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lindy D. // May 9, 2017 at 7:28 AM // Reply

    I am not one to shy away from darkness, but I was truly saddened by Michelle’s death. It wasn’t a quick death either. It was long, and slow and heartbreaking. It was a cruel death, and I was right there with Sam as he tried to keep her calm until the end. I wanted to look away, but I couldn’t…it was if I could help her stay alive if I continued to watch. That’s why Military episodes grab you by the throat and you can’t breathe till the end. It was one of the most emotional episodes the show has ever done and you could see the changes happening already in the faces of the team.

    Sam has always been the strongest member of the team. The rock. Callen asking if he even has a blood pressure. Like you, Karen, I wonder about the after effects on the team. How will Callen help his partner get through this? Will he now become the strong one? Will this affect Deeks and Kensi? And how? Is this the end for Hetty?

    I have a theory…about happiness on this show. In your review you touched on the teams’ rough childhoods and how Sam was the one character who had a stable childhood and happy home life. This season has seen Densi flourish, seen Callen happier then he’s ever been, and liking it, while Eric and Nell are getting all snugglely, and Sam was living happily ever after. That’s a lot of warm puppies. With Granger getting soft and finally gone, the edgeiness left with him. It was if the show was settling into a warm puddle of bliss, except for the mole and internal affairs. All the drama came from the outside. This episode and its aftermath will upset the “business as usual” vibe one gets with older shows. Gemmill just threw cold water all over the happiness we thought we had and the OSP won’t be the same now…not on the inside. As much as we want all of them to be happy, it doesn’t always make for good drama. I loved Michelle. She was a great kick ass woman. She was Sam’s rock and now she’s gone. Her death is a game changer…and as much as I wanted her to survive, to be rescued by Deeks and Kensi at the last moment, to see the joy and relief it would bring to Sam, and ultimately to Callen…I must admit it makes me intrigued by what her absence might bring to next season.

    Great insight in your review Karen. I tried not to think about this ep too much until I read what you thought. Still, after all is written, examined, complained about and posted, digested and finally come to terms with…in the end, we lost a wonderful character and I can’t help but mourn her loss.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not really down with the elimination of Michelle.
      I don’t like the decision.
      They could have had an effective impact with it being Nate or Anna as well. All without crippling Sam’s family in the process. It is such a big part of who he is, it is difficult to see how he makes it through this.

      Ed

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  4. I`m coming with my poor english. First you once again made a wonderful summary of this dramatic and very dark ep. We can not change Military, he`sa good writer ok but so dark, it makes me think of someone who has been frustrated all his life and that today he runs away where he can, by his too dark writing .

    Concerning Michelle, I think you’re right. Military wanted to shock (and it was successful) by killing a known character but hardly ever seen but heard of it via Sam.

    What I thought when seeing Sam kneeling and tears holding in his arms the woman he loves, I thought that it had to make Deeks think strongly, he must surely think that it could have happened to him also lose The woman he loves when she was in a coma, not knowing if she would recover or if he was going to lose her. Then he will see the urgency of making the proposal and maybe not wait too long before marrying him. All I’m asking Mr. Gemmill is that we were present at the proposal and that it is longer than a minute and a half, since the time we wait, we deserve that.

    I reproach Deeks for leaving the scene leaving Kensi in tears. I’d rather leave with her with his arm passed on the shoulders to comfort each other.

    Sam the stronger in the team won`t be the same anymore.

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  5. I was very disappointed by the rating of this episode 8.9 is the lowest of the season, how to explain it.

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    • being wrong has never stopped me from enthusiastically explaining things in a high level of detail completely wrongly…
      so here I go…
      the last part of the season has gone to angsty and dark.
      the numbers are down and I personally are not a fan of some of the recent events.
      this has always been a balanced family show.
      they never really embraced the move to 10pm (2200) with the added level of sex language and violence that is allowed in that time slot. they always said they wee a family show..
      it is just too dark right now in my opinion. especially with the move to Sunday 8 pm (2000).
      it is in a very family and kid friendly time slot.
      this is something the show has always welcomed and prided themselves on.
      A show for the whole family. you can watch with you grandmother as well as your kids…something for everyone…

      Okay, sit your kids down and lets see what we have.
      our fun loving hero is a murdered, killed a cop and has gotten away with it…nice
      Whiting, a police officer in charge of making sure the cops do things right is a corrupt blackmailer…cant trust the cops, that’s for sure… we watched Sams wife get captured in her own home with a security system. we have sen Kensi make a friend she trusted , let him into her home and have him turn on her later. we watched a disabled soldier kidnap torture and threaten Kensi.
      we watched someone strapped to a wheelchair get punched in the face.
      we watched people lie to their superiors constantly. we watched a federal agent shoot a man in the leg that was helplessly tied to a chair, we watched bad guys get out of jail and escape. we watched people more focused on revenge than proper justice… I am not sure this is such a great message to send for a family friendly show…
      this stuff is always there, it is the nature of the show…but it has been well balanced and in moderation. mixed with romance, humor and all the other things…
      this isn’t to say that there is not a big group of dark angst fans out there, just that I would assume that some adults with a family of 4 just grabbed the remote and started punching buttons.
      with Kensi’s rehab, Granger, and now this…I am sure some kids lost interest and some parents made the decision for them.

      Ed

      Like

    • the actors always seem to love and rave about these kinds of episodes…but they have a dramatically different perspective from many fans

      Ed

      Like

  6. Brenda (@bpnp) // May 9, 2017 at 9:52 AM // Reply

    Good job on the review Karen. I’m so glad I didn’t volunteer for this one – not sure what I would have said. Let me start by saying I’m probably the minority here and I’m OK with that.
    I couldn’t watch live and then saw online that Michelle was dead so wasn’t going to bother watching it. I ended up watching on fast forward until the last 7 minutes. There was nothing about the plot or the episode that was lost by watching it without sound while zipping through with 4xFF on the PVR, I guess aside from some personal cortisol exposure and emotional angst. Despite the manner in which I watched the show, I don’t feel “out of the loop” reading your review. I think it calls into question the way the story is told if that is the case. I will agree the acting and cinematography was stunning, but that was not enough to win me over on this episode.

    I do watch all the NCIS shows and have the same reaction to these types of situations – Leon’s wife, Ziva’s father, Ziva, Christopher’s girlfriend – I’m interested in the main characters as storytellers, but not interested when they become the story by making them mercilessly twist in the wind with grief. (I have never watched “Descent” either, for similar reasons.). To me the point of a procedural is to solve the “case of the week.” If I wanted this style of drama I would watch movies. I appreciate your comment that perhaps this is to enhance connection to the story because of desensitization to the comically high body count each week, but I guess I’m different there too in that I’m not unaffected by that body count. I privately question whether that many deaths are necessary to tell a story. I feel like if this is your “go to” – killing in high volume or dearly beloved characters – then perhaps you are reaching the bottom of the story-telling barrel and it’s time to move on.

    I also appreciate that this sort of thing is sometimes also to advance a storyline, and I will concede that in NCIS (the mothership) that has been the case with the deaths I found unnecessary and annoying, but I would argue against that being the case on NCIS:NOLA with Christopher’s girlfriend. There were repercussions but not ones essential to the advancement of the story. My concern is the main implication of this on NCIS:LA will be to give Deeks and Kensi one more reason not to get engaged, stacking faux drama upon needless, cruel death.

    And before you jump in with “tell us how you really feel Brenda” 🙂 – please know that my tone/tenor is an intentional literary device in my review. I think it only fitting that a dark, morbid, tortuous episode have a commensurate review.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are so many unfinished plot lines in play right now, and so many attention grabbing stories, I don’t really think it was necessary to do something like this.
      Callen and his family, his dad, the mole issue, Sabatino, weather Eric or Nell was the inside man, Granger, Hetty hinting that she may move on, the Densi engagement…I just don’t see the need for this as well at this time…
      Ed

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  7. Laurel Van Horn // May 9, 2017 at 9:53 AM // Reply

    Hands down, Frank Military is without a doubt one of television’s best writers and directors! ‘Spoils of War’ is a masterpiece in character development, setting, action, storytelling, and theme – so much packed into so little time. ‘Uncaged’ is, yes, a dark, deeply emotional, tour de force that totally engaged me and brought me to tears. LLCool J and Aunjanue Ellis were extraordinary. Their performances were profoundly touching, nuanced, and perfect. Military gave them material that made them authentic human beings meeting their tragedy together as the happily married couple they had been and will always be in memory. Yes, it was harsh for us, but Season 9 should be a whole new reality for our beloved characters. They must all come to terms with their individual and collective failures in this episode and somehow move, painfully, on from there, which will be an incredibly hard thing to do.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Thank you for your great review. This is probably just my wishful thinking, but I do hope Michelle isn’t really dead and this is just Hetty’s plot (like Janvier and Sam doesn’t know about it, like Kensi didn’t know in “Debt”), this is the first time ever for me when I actually would like to have one of those Hetty manipulations. If Michelle is really dead, I am kind of hesitant about that possible Densi proposal/engagement in the season finale and how that would work in the middle of this drama and angst. It is kind of hard for me to imagine happy and excited Densi engaged and planning a wedding when Sam and his children are mourning.

    I try to stay calm and wait for that second part, but whatever happens in that second part it won’t be mediocre or bland for me, it will probably be either one of my favorite or one of my least favorite episodes/storylines (and if it is the latter I may rant a little 😊).

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great review Karen! I really wasn’t expecting anything less and, yet again, you haven’t disappointed. I really don’t envy you for being the one to review one of the most heartrending episodes that I can remember seeing.

    While I tend to embrace the darkness of true drama, this episode actually surprised me with Michelle’s death. While not one of the principle characters, she had become part of the NCIS world, both through her marriage to Sam and also the cases in which she was involved. Aunjanue Ellis, along with LL Cool J, completely blew me away with the portrayal of a husband and wife forced into a situation in which they had no control and then the slow and steady farewell between two people who loved each other. This tragedy will have far reaching consequences, not only to Sam and his family, but also the family at OSP. Not only will a family have to deal with the loss of Michelle, the other members of the team will have to deal with their own relationships in a new light and the guilt that comes with being just a little too late to change the sad outcome.

    Now, for the darker side of my Dark Side (and I’m only saying what others have brought up on social media) … what if this is all some grand scheme put together by Hetty? Now, I know she would NEVER do anything like this … put her agents through the worse possible emotional turmoil imaginable … but for a moment, I had a flash back to when Callen shot a restrained Janvier point blank in the chest and then it all turned out to be a set-up. What if Kensi slips her a shot of 5cc’s of Tetradoxin and the drug merely simulates her death? What if this is some grand illusion to give Sam a plausible reason for going off the rails and eventually turning on the people he once called his family, thereby drawing out the one true mole?

    There were a few other irregularities in the story line that got me thinking in this direction: it took Eric far too ling to notice that Kensi and Deeks were missing from the video footage; the security guard seemed too cold in his response to a possible kidnapping situation; the CIA could get Zirov out of prison but not Khaled; not one thought to tag Khaled before he left the prison; with her oxygen almost gone, Michelle suddenly remembers the fact she only heard the van engine running and this gives them the vital clue to eventually locate her; Hetty spent a lot of time on the phone and we don’t know who she was truly speaking with; Sam starts off telling Michelle to stay calm and save her air but then he carries on a conversation with her that only eats up more of her precious oxygen; the team that pulled off kidnapping a highly trained CIA agent, let Kensi and Deeks take cover outside the building instead of letting them into the kill-zone before opening fire …

    I know, that’s a lot to pick through and I got that from just watching it once … I wonder if there is more to find.

    Now don’t get me wrong … I hope I’m wrong and she truly is dead (sorry Michelle and everyone else) but if this turns out to be a soap-opera type scenario with the dead person not really dead (most writers call that cheating and smacks of lazy story telling), I am going to get really frustrated.

    Let it be real. Let us watch Sam deal with his loss. Let us feel the pain of watching him tell their children that mom isn’t coming home. Let us be party to the shift in the team dynamics that could only come from such a horrible failure on their part. Let us hear the anguish in Callen’s words as he tries to comfort his friend. Let us feel Deeks and Kensi heartache as they struggle to rationalize moving into a committed relationship with someone they could lose just as easily as Sam lost Michelle. Let there be survivors guilt from not putting the clues together quick enough to save Sam’s love.

    If the tears aren’t real then the story isn’t real … and that’s why we watch … to see a bunch of people go through what we can only dream about but they must go through it as human beings and not as invincible machines. Everyone suffers loss and we know what that’s like. Give us characters that we see go through what we have experienced ourselves and leave the fairy tale endings to some other genre. That’s what makes these make-believe worlds real to us … worlds where the badest dude in the galaxy is our father, where the magic can’t resurrect our dead parents, and the lovers don’t end up together after the ship goes down.

    I guess I’m vented out now. Don’t worry … it won’t last long.

    Semper Fi

    JS

    Liked by 3 people

    • Lindy D. // May 9, 2017 at 5:56 PM // Reply

      I’m with you on everything you said, Randy, except for the idea that Michelle is not really dead. There were too many emergency techs and police around in that final scene, and I think Sam had already been told that she was dead. He wasn’t rushing to get to her. He drove slowly, almost dreading getting there, because seeing her would make it all real. Those expressions on Deeks and Kensi’s faces were real…there was true sadness there, not something put on for whoever might be watching. But that said, Hetty wouldn’t do that to Sam. No matter how much many people hate her, she wouldn’t to that to Sam, plus there would be no good reason for it. Your comments touched me, so thank you. We all understand loss, and so we can mourn with Sam because we have been there.

      Like

    • As has already been stated and covered far better than I can…Just putting it out there…was it real?
      We have seen Kensi with her throat cut, Deeks shoot an unarmed man and get fired, Callen shoot Janvier in public…even s dream sequence cat fight at Christmas…Ray got killed twice, shot and in a fiery car wreck…
      Could this be staged to get Michelle safe and off the radar if most everyone thinks she is dead and the team does not know where the leak is?
      Doubtful…but is it even worth considering???
      The ep 24 promos don’t bode well for it being a gag, granted…
      Ed

      Like

  10. I’m pondering that we won’t get a fourth proposal in light of things. I’m wondering if we’re going to get a lovely spur-of-the-moment sieze-the-day wedding on the beach with their friends and family.

    Like

    • I do have a margin of faith in the writers, but I am just so curious how the season will end…
      We are promised a proposal…and one befitting a 7 year wait to boot…
      So, with everything going on the timing seems suspect at best…
      How would it work. Just what would Deeks say that would be so cute and romantic???

      Hey Kensi, I know the mole thing is not finished yet, Michelle is dead, A wanted terrorist and mass murdered is loose and our team will be held responsible. Sam is going off the deep end wanting revenge, Sabatino is back but we don’t know if we can trust him, I will likely be blackmailed for the rest of my life and have to turn evidence on my boss, I could be arrested for murdering a cop and any moment and spend the rest of my life in jail, Hetty and Nell could wind up fired or in jail, Granger has either passed away or is terminal…
      …but it is such an upbeat festive time …let’s get hitched…timing is everything…
      Here’s the ring I pooped out…whadda ya say?

      Okay…it might be a little rough around the edges and need some work.
      Hopefully someone does better than I did…
      No matter how good it is, I just don’t see how it won’t be overshadowed by the dark mood over the team at the moment…and I even left some stuff out…

      Now you know why I don’t write fanfic…

      Ed

      Like

  11. Thank you for this wondeful and well thought out review. Your points are on point.

    I am definitely in the minority, but I did not find this episode as exciting or gripping as the vast majority. I did feel sad about Michelle’s death as I liked that character. However, I watch episodes through Deeks-colored glasses. That being said, I have never really liked the Sam character. I find him arrogant and hypocritical. I dislike his “do as I say, not as I do” attitude. The entire time watching this episode, I kept thinking of how the show portrayed Deeks as “too close” to the situation when Kensi was abducted. That point, to me, was hammered home too much. Deeks was not in control, too aggressive, etc. I felt that the rest of the team was a little too nonchalant. I thought Deeks acted appropriately in that case when his loved one was in trouble. I guess the difference between Kensi and Michelle’s abduction was that we know that nothing would really happen to Kensi as she is a main character, but Mr. Gemmill spoiled that a significant other will be killed off so that was Michelle. In this case, Michelle’s abduction was “hyped” and Sam even said that he didn’t care to go by the books because he didn’t care about prosecuting those who took Michelle. He was only concerned about finding him. Again, I understand Sam’s reaction perfectly, just as Deeks reaction, but the show portrays the same emotions/actions differently.

    I am not sure about the direction S9 seems to be going. It’s seems like the storylines that are shaping up for the next season are darker and I’m not really sure I’m up for all that. The IA/blackmail storyline for Deeks is bad enough, but then a changed, hardened Sam is not going to be fun to watch. I know this will affect the entire time and I hope that the bullpen banter that I love so much will not be lost, although I think it wouldn’t be as appropriate anymore.

    I am hoping for that Densi engagement, but I won’t be surprised if it really doesn’t happen.

    I wanted to like Part 1 of the season finale, but I just didn’t but for different reasons than everyone else. Maybe I’m dead inside but I just don’t feel the same feels that everyone in social media has.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. sassyzazzi // May 9, 2017 at 10:26 AM // Reply

    Thank you Karen for this outstanding review. It must has have been very difficult to write. I agree with everything you said. I found the episode upsetting and I cannot bring myself to rewatch it, or to really write a review. Although I thought it was an outstanding hour of television which was so beautifully acted by the entire ensemble, it was too dark for me. I think I could have handled Michelle’s death, especially since Aunjanue Ellis was so incredible in the part, if it were over a longer arc, but the arc was so powerful in such a short period of time, I was in sensory overload.

    I really hope that the finale ends on a somewhat positive note as far as the Deeks and Kensi proposal. I certainly believe that Eric Christian Olsen and Daniela Ruah will give us a great proposal scene.

    For me , I know we Densi fans were told that the season 7 proposal was not good enough, that we had waited long enough, and deserved a proper proposal. I always assumed that meant we would get a “767” type episode that ended with a happy ending for them , celebrated with their family ( the ncis la team). However, as I think about it in the context of this episode , it occurred to me, that really, the season 7 proposal was the proposal, and Deeks and Kensi then went through a very rough patch when Kensi was in rehab, and so maybe it is fitting, if the scene is done well , that this season 8 proposal , is a reaffirmation of their love and commitment to each other in the world they live. That could be a very powerful ending.

    Like

  13. I have found this …..in interview with Daniella gave at TV Line
    “TVLINE | He still owes Kensi a proper proposal, right?
    There is a proposal owed, and there is a proposal by the end of the season — but I’m not going to give you details, because it happens in quite a lovely way. Deeks didn’t want Kensi to expect whatever the proposal would be, and I can tell you that the way it is definitely surprising.”

    Like

    • I really hope the proposal is deserving of all the hype and worth the wait.
      If I am being honest, I waited to see Kensi and Deeks have a romantic dance for a long time. Yes, Dani was amazing and it was sweet and cute, but it wasn’t very romantic and at the end instead of a kiss and a “thank you for doing this (learning) for me” or something to that effect…we got the standard Deeks the clown ending.
      I have to admit, as good as the scene was, I was disappointed somewhat.
      I truly hope the proposal doesn’t leave me feeling the same way.
      Ed

      Like

  14. If this week’s episode’s message really is no one deserves a happy ending, I’m sorry, I can’t agree. I’m not watching this show only for big explosions, action, car chases and the case of the week. I watch it especially because I care. I care for the characters, their families, their lives outside work, their personal past stories that made them be what they are today, their insecurities and demons, but also their strenght and moments of happiness. I think this episode asked us viewers too much. It didn’t ask only to mourn the loss of a key character for one of the protagonists, it asked us to live from now on with the idea that Sam’s family and life are ruined forever and two children – one of whom only 12 years old – have to live without their mother. I have a lump in my throat even now that I’m writing this comment. There’s already enough sadness in real life to look for it in shows too. This would be masochistic and I don’t like the way it makes me feel at all.

    The two reasonable possibilities that come to my mind to justify such author’s choice are:
    1) Michelle’s death is only a ruse, but in that case, even if I would be happy for her and Sam, Aiden and Kam, I would be furious with the authors. Following The Blacklist, I have already been through this kind of scenario, I remember I swore I would never cry again for the death of a fictional character (the episode I’m referring to was emotionally devastating for me) and here I am again. Michelle’s death has touched me deeply, to no end.

    2) Her death is real and only a way for Sam’s character (I mean LL Cool J) to be written out (à la Tony DiNozzo when he discovered he had a daughter, for those of you who follow the mothership too).
    After all, Sam now has two children to take care of and in his line of work, being the only parent, I don’t think he would like to risk his life on a daily basis knowing that he would leave two orphans if something happened to him.
    Does anybody know if LL Cool J has other plans that don’t include NCIS:LA anymore? Has Anna and Callen’s partnership and relationship been tested this season to possibly replace Sallen (a shiver down my spine)?

    After this episode I’m not ok with other things too. For example with the fact that Deeks and Kensi may have to live from now on with the remorse of having failed to save Michelle: it was too cruel to them after the selfless and brave way Deeks had saved Michelle in Descent/Ascension.

    I’m not ok with the idea that I won’t be able to watch Humbug again in the same carefree way. First Joelle – ruined for no reason – now Michelle. Densi have remained the only happy couple from that episode. Should we expect something to happen to them too after what they’ve already been through this season?

    I’m also not ok with the fact that we may get the long-awaited Densi proposal (engagement?) in an episode in which Sam goes rogue to revenge his wife’s death and Deeks and Kensi may be in a mood that doesn’t leave much room for happiness and celebrations. I honestly expected this important step for Deeks and Kensi to take place in a different kind of scenario (if it REALLY happens in the finale, about which I start to have some doubts, if it wasn’t for DR’s words who kind of “promised” a Densi proposal by the end of the season, in a sweet and unexpected way… I honestly can’t think of any at the moment).

    I’m sorry this comment turned out too long. Unfortunately yesterday and today I had some real life worries, and I had also to cope with the loss of a fictional character I liked very much. Maybe this is also why I don’t think I will forgive the showrunners easily for the way they have treated Michelle.

    I want Michelle back. Mother Michelle, wife Michelle. The intelligent and caring woman who decided to hang up her gun for her family’s sake. But I also want Quinn back. The kick ass CIA operative that intrigued me just from the start with her personality and cold blood. The skilled and highly-trained agent who kept her cool even in the most difficult situations. I had always had the secret dream of seeing her in the field with Sam. Now this dream is gone.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. If Michelle is really dead I am worried about how they handle the aftermath. I definitely am not a writer, but as a viewer it seems that the aftermath is often the most challenging part for writers.
    In my opinion Michelle’s death has to affect Sam longer than 1-2 episodes, but does that mean that season 9 will be like this season (a lot of episodes where one team member is replaced in the field for example by Anna), will Sam continue to risk his life or will he quit field work?, a lot of challenging things for writers to solve.
    I love the team working together and I was hoping we would get more of that in season 9.

    Like

    • as you and others have said.
      now it all makes sense, Sam retires and all of those chemistry test runs with Callen…
      Anna becomes his new partner…
      yuck!

      kidding I hope.

      Actually if Todd has other interests in the pipeline, it would be a plausible way for him to leave the show…

      Ed

      Like

  16. For those in doubt of a Densi proposal this season this tweet from J P Kousakis seems to indicate there will be one.

    Keep UR 👀on the Densi…to the end!
    2 replies . 7 retweets 9 likes
    Reply 2 Retweet 7
    Like 9

    Like

    • sassyzazzi // May 9, 2017 at 4:51 PM // Reply

      thank you for this!!!

      Like

    • I just hope that the “to the end” in that tweet does not mean Densi related cliffhanger (if there is a cliffhanger).

      Like

      • would you like to borrow my Unicorn?
        …I thought the same thing myself actually. at first..
        4 laps around the rainbow pasture on the unicorn snapped me right out of it
        happy, happy, happy…
        Ed

        Like

  17. Could Hetty or Nell get canned for their part in this?
    Could it be a possibility?
    Ed

    Like

  18. Ya gotta love Sabatino’s approach to questioning suspects.
    Whatever else it may be…it was effective.
    Ed

    Like

  19. I am curious to see how they are going to handle the team dynamic after this tragedy. Are Kensi and Deeks going to feel guilt since they were so close to Michelle earlier in the day? Will Sam feel anger toward the team? Kensi seemed deeply affected by Michelle’s death, as of course she should be. Will she be the one to propose with the we shouldn’t wait anymore reasoning? Or will Deeks be the one to do it? I’m sad that due to the circumstances, they probably won’t be able to share their happy news with everyone if it does happen. I am looking forward to see how they deal with the aftermath and hope it doesn’t leave us viewers too heartbroken and depressed.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Letting Kaled out of jail was a huge mistake, letting him out without Overwatch spray on is unforgivable.

    Like

  21. in fact, while we are on the subject of overwatch…
    why doesn’t the team buy the crap in freakin’ 55 gallon drums and coat themselves, their families and everything they own in the crap….
    they have trouble tracking phones and comms with GPS, they lose cars, get kidnapped and so on.
    coat your trunk of the car with the stuff, coat your work clothes or at least shoes with it…something…this was rediculous.
    if Mchelle had of grabbed a spray bottle from her night stand or medicine cabinet instead, she would have been fine.
    if I was Sam…my kids would be covered in the crap…as well as my and Michelle’s shoes and such… just sayin

    Ed

    Like

  22. why couldn’t the fatality just have been Nate?
    sorry Peter…nothing personal.

    Ed

    Like

    • Someone on twitter wished it was Anna who was killed instead of Michelle and the self-appointed “real” ncisla fans went nuts. Apparently Nobody can wish characters dead, nobody has a right to diss a character and we’re all supposed to love every character on the show. You know, if you’re a real fan. Ed, according to some dorks, you are not a real fan….. 😲😜

      I’d avoid Twitter if you have strong opinions.

      Like

      • whats the definition of a strong opinion? do I have those???
        maybe I am in trouble and just don’t know it.
        Anna and the Bad Acting Coalition have filed my garage with horse heads already. how much more can they do.
        nit sure how they got my address, there must be a leak.
        Does the I Hate Anna Foundation have a mole in our midst…
        Hmmm

        #BadActingHurtsEverybody

        Ed

        Oh,
        I am not really sure that having a bunch of people I don’t know telling me I am not a real fan will have a big impact on my day.
        but, thanks for the heads up.
        Ed

        Like

  23. Maybe it is time for a spinoff.
    Kensi and Deeks get engaged and go on vacation to Fiji.
    they fall in love with the place and decide to stay.
    they get married on the beach.
    Kensi teaches self defense, sayoc stick grappling and yoga.
    Deeks teaches jujitsu and surfing.
    in their spare time Kensi rides her horse down the beach in the ocean and watched Deeks surf.
    They are hired by the village elders to solve crimes like stolen coconuts and missing shell jewelry.
    2 kids will be enough…for now…

    wow, where did that come from…
    I am obviously having an allergic reaction to excessive darkness and angst.
    sorry,
    Ed

    i’m off to go ride my unicorn.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Karen, Thank you for your very heartfelt review.
    For my part, I am still very sad and angry about
    Michelle’s death. As she was one of my favourite
    characters on the show. I think that her death
    was pointless and unnecessary. There has already
    been so much anguish, angst, darkness and chaos
    during this season. Keeping that in mind, I agree with
    what Ed said about that this is a family show.
    But Aunjanue Ellis and LL Cool J were both outstanding
    and their chemistry has always been magical.
    The love and bond which Michelle and Sam shared
    anchored Sam. She was everything to him. But
    the Prince of Darkness (if I may borrow your words
    for him) has destroyed her and so Sam’s life and family.
    And I agree completely with everything that Cladani and
    Ed have said in their comments.
    But first and foremost I dearly miss Michelle!!
    Raven

    Like

  25. I do agree that Frank Military is a very good writer and “Seventh Child” is my favorite NCIS LA episode of all time, but one thing that made this episode feel different and disappointing for me compared to other Frank Military episodes was the complete lack of hope (in my opinion).

    I don’t really know how to describe this properly but even in “Spoils of War” (maybe the darkest episode before this episode aired) I felt hope, maybe it was believing that the photo of dead Kensi wasn’t real and the team will save her, maybe it was that Densi hug (even as sad as that was it gave me hope), or that orphan girl getting a better future, but for me there was hope. Maybe it was just me, but in this episode I never felt that hope, not even when the team were searching for Michelle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I perfectly agree with you. This episode lacked the hope that had always characterised other dark and angsty past episodes that affected the main characters in a way or another. I don’t want to mean that all the viewers react in the same way, but for me at least, the final message was one of terrible desperation and pessimism. We know our heroes risk their lives on a daily basis, we know they may find themselves in dangerous and life-threatening situations, we suffer with them, we are scared for them, but the magic of this fictional world is that at the end of the day or at least two or three episodes, we can finally draw breath and then start all over again. I have always liked this kind of emotional rollercoaster with my favorite show, but honestly not this week. This week there was no going back, no recovery. A gratuitous death, not called for, a loss that will loom over our characters forever (if we can hope they are written as consistently and realistically as possible), they want it or not.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Josephine // May 10, 2017 at 2:54 AM // Reply

    Definitely agree with many of the opinions shared in this review & comments (on both sides – I’m indecisive…) There is so much weight to Sam losing Michelle that could play out in season 9, I’m sure it opens a lot of story possibilities; but as others have pointed out, could a man like Sam justify all the risks he has to take as part of his job when he is the only parent his children have left? On the flip side, if it is all a ploy & she’s not dead it totally undermines their story telling. I also thought it was strange how long it took Eric to notice the issues with the security footage & that no one thought to put some overwatch spray on Kahlid. I dunno. But one concern I have going forwards is that I could see Sam blaming Deeks & Kensi for not finding Michelle sooner. Last time Michelle was at risk Sam spent a lot of time blaming Deeks & even though their relationship has changed a lot since then, and really there isn’t much else Densi could have done, a man in mourning is not likely to be thinking rationally & I could see him reverting to that. Just a thought…

    Like

  27. I do not want to overlook just how well acted written and directed this episode was.
    Frank Military did a fantastic job, no doubt. it was very emotional and impactful,m fantastic.
    I think where I look at it differently, is the impact on everything else.
    if this was a miniseries or a movie, it would be fantastic. you turn it on watch, cry, scream, or hold your breath…for a few hours, and it is over.
    then you watch your favorite actor on their next project when it comes out.
    you are able to disconnect and have the torment end…you actually get closure.
    this is not like that.
    after what happened, it will affect not just the show but the fans themselves for at least 25 more episodes, and hopefully many more.
    not just that, but for many true fans, it will affect how they watch all the reruns the enjoy so much.
    it changes the perspective on just how you view and enjoy everything that happened before.

    it impacts far more than a single 2 hour movie.
    you watch Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic and feel for him, yet you don’t hurt for him in everything he has done since or before, no. because they don’t connect.
    here it all tied together and you cant escape it.
    we all come to the show for different things. if it is action, car chases, shootouts, explosions drams, angst, humor, romance, the relationships the comedy and banter…it is the characters that bring it all together.
    and like anything, to get everybody together requires a level of compromise. it needs balance.
    if you give one group too much ( darkness) you may have some other groups walk away from the table. you cant give someone a lot, without taking something from someone else.

    Personally, and just my opinion… it was just too dark for something we can never get away from and will always be reminded of as long as we watch the show.

    Everyone is human. Even brilliant people, at the very top of their profession, can make mistakes occasionally..
    I feel like this was one of them. just too overdone. too much.

    thanks foe listening.
    Ed

    Like

    • You don’t know how much I have liked this comment. My exact thoughts. My exact feelings. I don’t think the authors have been fair to the fans, especially the ones that have been following this show since the very beginning, because with this unexpected (and at the moment also inexplicable) plot twist, they have not only affected the future episodes of this series from now on, but also (and this is what upsets me even more at the moment) the past episodes in retrospect. I’m so disappointed.

      Like

  28. while the dark angst group may be cheering, they apparently don’t own enough Nielson connected TV sets to make up for the loss of the fluffy lighthearted entertainment crowd that flipped the channel lately..

    to make it work, everybody gets a little something and nobody is completely happy…but they get enough to stick around…balance.
    things have shifted.
    in your search for new fans, you need to be careful to not lose the ones you have that are at the other end of the spectrum…
    the sudden course correction has apparently thrown some people overboard…
    those critically acclaimed shows with a core group of rabid and loyal fans…that cant get ratings and get canceled…that’s how it happens..core fanatics and no broad appeal, right?.
    oops, I just fell off my soapbox…sorry for the rant.

    Ed

    Like

  29. They had no choice to make her disappears because “Michelle” has an important role in Quantico and it is ABC who demanded in her contract that she leaves NCIS L.A. ABC and CBS are big competitors.

    Like

    • I understand the point that she would not be available to work on the show due to changing networks and the contract issues involved. that make perfect sense and would explain the fact that we would not see her any more. I get it . what I do not get, it that her unavailability does not mean that they needed to kill her off. from my perspective…(often wrong, I might add). she has been in something like 7 or 8 episodes including this one…over the entire 8 year run of the show. I do not recall seeing her since Humbug, a year and a half ago…
      so, she could have left, and just been referred to in passing…or on the other end of the phone…or over Email…and not really missed a beat for several years if needed.
      Heck, Quantico could get canceled next year for all we know…things change…

      it just feels like an easy cop out because they said someone important would die…
      serve her up…just like Joelle was an easy cop out for the mole fiasco…
      I feel that they were both choices that most fans disagree with.

      Neither one was necessary, was critical to the plot, was very satisfying, or made me very happy.
      there were better candidates available to sacrifice…
      The murder of someone that has been around for 8 years and everyone knows, or Callen’s new love that he has searched so long to find…either one or both would fit the bill, sorry Nate and Anna…ya gotta go..

      as usual, just my unfiltered thoughts.
      Ed

      Liked by 1 person

      • Brenda (@bpnp) // May 10, 2017 at 7:32 PM // Reply

        Totally agree – no need to kill her. According to Wikipedia she’s been in a total of 7 episodes. Even if the actress wasn’t going to reappear due to other work, no need to kill the character. Aunjanue Ellis was on a CBC mini-series (http://www.cbc.ca/bookofnegroes/) that aired in 2015 but was filmed in 2014 (in South Africa and Canada) and that didn’t seem to necessitate the character’s death.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think the writers by killing Michelle were going to look for a good subject for the new season. The Sam`s behavior, Callen’s reaction, the impact on the entire team, Hetty’s reaction to the rules, ect … ect. You know it`s just my opinion.

        Like

        • that is a good point, and if they were going for a way to impact Sam, they did a heck of a job.
          and if they plan to torment Sam for a while and leave Densi alone, I can deal with it.
          however, if they plan to continue to develop all the other open and unfinished plots as well, it might be too much.
          I recall comments, some from myself, that several episodes this year seemed disjointed, chaotic and confusing because there was just so much going on. the new showrunners spent a lot of effort to go around trying to close out all these log running but not finished plot lines.
          now, it seems like they are looking to add more.
          if they give some of the others a rest, then okay, but we shouldn’t need a score card to keep up.
          watching the show should be enjoyable, not like trying to score 4 baseball games at the same time. if there is too much in play, then nothing gets the time and attention it deserves.
          I would rather see just a couple of well developed and addressed story arcs at a time, that a whole bunch that aren’t addressed properly.
          it will give the team a different direction and focus, no doubt.
          thanks for the conversation
          Ed

          Like

  30. Wow, so many great comments, and a very strong review, Karen. I do not envy you this one. I feel like I’ll forget much of what I wanted to say as I was reading others’ comments, so forgive me if this seems somewhat disorganized (or more unorganized than usual, perhaps).

    I agree with those who’ve said that as sad as it is that Michelle died, and as much as I would love it had this been faked, I think it would be cheap and cartoonish to do so. I didn’t watch it live, but knew the outcome and asked a friend (before I watched) if it was possible Michelle wasn’t really dead. After I saw the ep myself, I thought there was no way possible that this was fake because that would mean Sam (and likely the majority of the team) was not aware of it because their grief was just too real. Believe me, I’m not a fan of Hetty, but I can’t see her doing that without at least Sam being in the know.

    I understand others’ concerns about killing off not just a great character, but a mother to two children, one still young. And I have to say that I work with kids Kamran’s age and I can’t even tell you how many of them have lost a parent (some of them both) at or before this age. It is heartbreaking and painful and unfair, but it happens in reality, so why shouldn’t it happen on TV? Of course, the fact that Kam’s planning on going to military school next year means we won’t get to see her deal with it (plus it’s just not that kind of show), but hopefully Sam will speak of their struggles occasionally. On the subject of Kam, now we know why she decided to attend Keating: so Sam doesn’t have to stay home or cut his hours short to take care of her.

    I really hope that, like they did for Deeks when Kensi was in a coma/rehab, we get to see how the team tries to support Sam. Just as I hope he’s able to accept it.

    As for Sam and the revenge story line we’ll see in Unleashed, I think coming back from that, no matter what he decides to do, can be a fascinating and compelling character development arc into season 9. People have mentioned Deeks and Kensi feeling guilty for having been so close but not saving Michelle, and it is a good point. But what about Sam? He chose not to kill Khaled at the end of Talion, presumably because Aiden was there and it might have been the wrong thing to do/message to send. What does he feel now, knowing that if he’d killed Khaled then, Michelle would likely still be alive?

    As for a Densi engagement, I’m optimistic that we’ll get one. I have no problem with a “life’s too short, let’s get engaged/married now” kind of thing (shameless plug: I’m almost done with a fic that may just have a similar theme). They (TPTB) have been putting a Densi engagement off for too long (Kensi wouldn’t let Deeks propose while she was in a wheelchair, and Deeks may be reluctant with the whole IAB thing over his head), but there’s nothing like the death of a friend to make you put things in perspective again. I think TPTB are skilled enough to put some “lovely” into what will otherwise be another heart wrenching episode. And if not, there’s also the stand-by of the last scene of Ascension: A cut to “Four months later.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • sassyzazzi // May 10, 2017 at 4:53 PM // Reply

      BTW, I really like your point about if Sam had killed Khaled , Michelle would still be alive. It really had not crossed my mind , but it is so true. I think the main reason to point it out is everyone will feel partially responsible for not saving Michelle but there is no blame on anyone, the only one to blame is Khaled.

      Like

  31. Pulling an Ed here to add: or a flashback to earlier that same morning, when the proposal/acceptance actually took place.

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    • ARRGGGHHH,
      my eyes are bleeding even reading such filth…
      NO,NO,NO,NO,NO
      …as Kensi would say…I’m laughing…but its not funny
      Ed

      Like

    • just for that, you owe me one update and one new story…
      Please…
      thanks
      Ed

      Like

      • Mea culpa, Ed. For what, I’m not entirely sure, but it’s a heartfelt one. And there might just be a new story up to prove it.

        Like

        • yes,yes,yes…thanks…

          I just want a real proposal…
          not a dream sequence, or a flashback
          here, now, real and full of emotion..
          oh, and no damn interruption from a phone, Eric or Nell…
          for a moment there i thought you were suggesting the proposal would be i a flashback…and I started twitching…just a little…
          I’m better now tho..

          Ed

          Like

        • fantastic,
          wonderful story as usual, thanks for cheering me up…
          Ed

          Like

      • OK, debt paid. Just posted an update for you. Oh, and it uses one of your ideas!

        Like

        • have a wonderful rest of your weekend,
          off to go read it now…yay…he said like a 4 year old with an ice cream…
          I can tell it is fantastic…i’m off…..

          …oh sure blame me already….
          thanks,
          ed

          Like

  32. A serious discussion for a serious episode. Thanks to everyone for such amazing, thoughtful comments- you all are seriously impressive.

    Like

  33. Is it too soon in the grieving process to throw a few rocks…
    I think the tradecraft for the team slipped a bit this episode…in fact it sucked…
    Sam, as we heard when he scolded Deeks… belongs to 3 or 4 gyms at a time and rotates the days of the week and times that he goes to them. He never drives the same way to work, his family was in protective custody for how long???
    And yet, at the request of a terrorist, Sam, Michelle and Callen all meet in the prison parking lot…then Michelle heads home alone…I am not a secret agent, and don’t even play one on TV…but that doesn’t seem like a good plan to me.

    Deeks got shot, then treated like crap and told he should know better…

    So what now…someone tells Sam…hey dumbass, what were you thinking???
    Yep, sorry, inappropriate and uncalled for.I know
    Just showing the difference in the way the characters get treated.
    Try telling Sam he needs to learn from this and get better at it…right??? not likely…
    No, I am in no way blaming Sam or anyone else on the team…just bringing up a point for discussion.

    Ed

    Like

    • I posted something similar earlier in these comments.

      Why did Michelle take so long to open her gun safe? Didn’t Sam mention in another episode that he had a secret room/emergency shelter? Michelle should have headed there. Just like it’s convenient for Hetty to be all knowing most of the time but then not know about Sullivan/Ferris. She knew Joelle was one of the moles by watching her in the boat shed but not before. I consider these plot holes as lazy writing. It was all of a sudden convenient for Sam and Michelle to get lax in their tradecraft so that they can move the plot along. Lots of brilliant writing on this show but sometimes character’s actions go against how they’ve acted in the past.

      Like

      • we have already seen her gun safe. it is recessed in the wall behind a nice jewelry case actually…not in a loose lockbox under the bed.
        secondly, aren’t most parents’ gun safes in the bedroom…well maybe the Den.
        so, knowing she is an agent and will want to keep her gun close, as a bad guy where would you start to look?
        head right for the master bedroom…awww, lucky guess.

        she has just a few seconds and a head start.
        if she jumps out the window, she hits the ground running, surprises the person outside if there is one, is on her feet and moving with one on one odds. she at least has a chance.
        I think that with her abilities, she would have a far better chance, than she did by staying just exactly where they would look for her, kneeling down on the ground and turning her back on an open door…
        I always thought she was smarter than that.
        just my opinion.
        I know she had to get caught for the show, but I would have rather seen her get tackled or tased in the back lawn after running through the slider or something.
        the way it happened did not make her seem as bad ass and quick thinking as we have seen her be.
        Ed

        Like

  34. 2 sneak peeks are out, but they are tough to watch,
    i will leave it at that.
    Ed

    Like

  35. I think the way the show is heading towards the end . Because Michelle was an amazing person and wife for Sam , now she is gone. This gives everyone a reason to keep an eye on Sam more because he was the rock. Now it might be not so much and he would risk his life more.We could see Sam taking a temp vacancy in upcoming season But I do think Michelles death was not neccesary if she wouldnt leave for another show. Writers tend to kill them off to give some tempo to the show. It now will be agony to watch Deeks anticlimatic proposal again in terms of mourning, I could not figure it out how they manage this. If Michelle could of survived this it would of been amazing to see her in the field with others I really enjoyed that part of the show. Sam goes rogue , so how many times others went rogue and how many times Hetty resigned. The word rogue should be deleted from NCIS:LA dictionary .

    Like

    • I agree that the word rogue is way over used.
      the whole repeatedly going rogue and resigning thing makes them look like a bunch of emotionally unstable children.
      there are never any lasting consequences for their actions. pure chaos.
      I would say that it is a product of poor leadership, but then I would have to find my soapbox again.
      Deeks can’t even show up with a motorcycle because it is against the rules,
      but Callen and Sam get to disobey orders and run off on their own with no repercussions. WTF.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Different standards for those who are “agents” and for the one “cop” … been that way from the first day Deeks started working with them. The rules apply to everyone … or they apply to no one, but this doesn’t seem to be a concept in any of the leadership classes that any of these guys have taken.

        My wife even commented that if Michelle had, at the very least, locked the bedroom door, she would have had enough time to retrieve her firearm and better defend herself. I thought it would have been cool if she had used the gun safe itself as a weapon or the lamp … bashing one of them in the face would have bettered her odds. Why didn’t she hit the panic button on the home security pad that she had just disarmed?

        Michelle being the victim felt rather forced to me … we haven’t seen her since “Humbug” and then, here she is rapped up with Zirov and then taken. The emotional pull was strong, but I felt it would have been even more so if she had been more involved over the past few episodes. How great (or sad) would it have been to see her in action with Sam, Callen, even Kensi and Deeks … making her appear as more a part of the OSP family rather than some side character that the writers could ‘off’ so easily. All they had to do was swap Michelle for Anna, making for a lot of great scenes with her husband, her husbands partner and friend, and maybe even a side conversation with Kensi about how to make a long term relationship work in the career that they have chosen. I think that would have made an even deeper impact.

        Like

      • They’ve even joked about going rogue, it happens so much. I forget which episode, but I think Callen was researching Joelle’s new boyfriend (now I wonder if that was really her husband) and I think he was denying going rogue (again) to Sam when Deeks and Kensi walked in. Kensi said something like, “Callen’s going rogue again?” and Deeks said something akin to, “Can I come? I’d like to learn how.”

        Like

        • Funny, I was remembering the same thing.
          He said “Sweet, can I come” …or something like that…I think you are right.
          Ed

          Like

  36. sassyzazzi // May 12, 2017 at 12:27 PM // Reply

    There is a paragraph on EW on line this morning that states-

    ” After many Densi proposal attempts , the finale this Sunday will finally see an official engagement – with a surprise twist!”

    This is the first time I have seen the word “engagement” as opposed to “proposal”.

    Like

    • Interesting to see what the twist is, I am hoping for a great scene (previous proposals have been great), but I am a bit worried it being amongst all the drama and when there seems to so much going on in this episode. I, too, am very happy that they used “engagement”.

      Like

      • I am assuming the twist is Kensi , being ready physically and emotionally, and realizing Deeks is being patient for her, not pushing and giving her space. Knowing he has already proposed 3 times and has his own doubts, she will ask him.
        maybe just to see the ring…and then not take it off.
        I would not be surprised in the least if it happened.

        Ed

        Like

    • Agreed,
      I am glad to see “engagement” in writing…
      I haven’t been very trusting of “proposal”…wondering if one or the other would pull back again due to other issues, IA or Michelle, in this case…

      I also had a moment where my over-active conspiracy bone told me that not all proposals are about marriage…
      …and that Deeks could “propose” that he and Kensi become god parents to Kam, or something of the sort…

      I, mean, I could “propose” to you that we all get together for a beer tonight, right?…
      sometimes my lack of trust in the showrunners is staggering. I am obviously entirely to suspicious.

      no matter what you call it, or how it happens, I just want to spend the summer knowing that Kensi said yes and has a ring on her finger….because I SAW IT…Period. not assumed it, or heard about it, or had it implied…Saw it…

      Ed

      Like

  37. I don’t suppose you would believe I found part of the script left over from the Table Read for 8-24? No?…well I tried…

    Deeks:
    I have been waiting for the perfect time.
    and i’m realizing while there is never going to be a perfect time, there is only so much of it.
    I don’t know how this all works out, or what my future at LAPD holds…
    But I do know that whatever it is, I want to face it with you…together.
    I have wanted this for so long, and I have waited for the timing to be right…but no more.
    I wont wait any longer, I just can’t. I know what I want…I want you.
    I want to spend the rest of my life with you, and I don’t want to wait another minute to have you as my wife.
    Kensi Marie Blye…will you marry me?

    Kensi:
    Yes!

    Ed

    Like

  38. And you say you can’t write fanfiction! Pshaw, I say!

    Like

  39. E.W. was talking about fans being concerned about not actually getting a real proposal before the end of the season…
    here is an excerpt…

    …understandably some folks could still be somewhat anxiety-ridden over the prospect of it not coming to fruition…

    could they be talking about ME ? am I “anxiety-ridden”… I am pretty sure they are singling me out…
    I am sensitive and would prefer to be referred to as “thoughtfully concerned”…

    should I call someone…

    Ed

    …ok, I will beat you to it.
    yeah Ed call someone..a therapist…and soon.
    there. I do NOT have a problem…I think.

    Like

  40. I think that there would have been other ways to resolve the
    threat to Sam’s family than to destroy a magical couple
    and their family. In the joint NCIS- and NCIS: Los Angeles
    universe Sam shares with Gibbs and Director Leon Vance
    the devastating- and monumental experience of having lost
    his wife. Even though, Aunjanue has only appeared in a few
    episodes before “Uncaged”. She was always powerfully and
    invisibly present, because of the infinitely loving and tender
    way Sam always spoke about Michelle and evoked what was
    between them and how much they loved Kamran and Aiden.
    There was always a door open for Aunjanue to return to the
    show when it was possible for her to do so. But “Uncaged”
    put an end to it.
    And sadly and irrevocably after this emotional, heartbreaking
    and extremely bleak and grim episode Michelle’s death has
    become canon, and I still hate it!
    ******
    And to Ed,
    I love the way how you have written the proposal.
    Raven

    Like

  41. Okay, now that it has been a while and some grieving has happened…
    time to throw another rock…

    Sam always talks about character, honor Integrity, discipline, obeying orders, respect, acting like a professional, dong the right thing, justice and not revenge…
    All the thing he threw in Deeks’ face over the years. All the things he said Deeks lacked…
    Now all we hear is about revenge, avenging a Michelle’s death…nothing about catching Tahir the right way, obeying the law and rules, and bringing him in correctly so justice can be served in a court of law…
    Interesting how hard it is to act all superior and stay on you high horse when the shoe is on the other foot, isn’t it…

    Just an observation…
    I am not so much bothered by Sam’s actions now, as much as the way he has treated other that have acted the same way in the past.
    At best, it was a big lack of understanding.
    At worst, it was elitist and condescending.
    Interesting to see how it all works out…
    Ed

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Maybe one day, a la Ascension, Sam will tell Deeks that he gets it now, what Deeks must have felt when he thought Kensi was dead in Spoils of War (which resulted in Deeks waterboarding the cleric) and when she was taken by Sullivan/Ferris in Under Siege and Payback and Deeks was acting reckless (oh, and he snapped at Joelle, too).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly.
      something like this would be nice.

      Sam:
      Deeks… I get it Deeks. I thought I understood, but I was wrong, I get i now…What you went through, what you felt…I get it.
      If you want to help me find this S.O.B..I welcome the help, but when I find him it won’t be pretty.
      I wont drag you into this, but I won’t let you stop me either.

      Deeks:
      We are in this together, we are a team, of course I will help you find him…and when we do, he’s yours. I have a strong feeling he will die trying to escape.

      Ed

      Liked by 1 person

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