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Review: NCISLA “Assets” (S9E03)


“Assets,” the third episode of the new season, gave us a solid hour beautifully directed by Tawnia McKiernan. Better yet, Kyle Harimoto wrote a script filled with important moments for many team members, including a number of delightful Deeks and Densi scenes. Now this is the NCIS: Los Angeles I want to see.

Diverging Directions

The episode was really about the future- for Deeks, for Densi, for Sam, and for the entire team. Harimoto threaded quite a few conversations on that topic into the episode, but particularly elegant was the way he contrasted Sam’s shift from tied down to set adrift (literally) with Densi’s discussions of how to create a future with major responsibilities. I could almost see their respective roles on the show swapping positions before my eyes.

It’s easy to see why this episode was slated to be the second of the season, for it sets out a number of potentially season-spanning storylines a lot less chaotically than the premiere did. For example, Harimoto gave us the best indications yet about how Sam’s processing Michelle’s death. He’s still hurting, but at least he’s clearly thought through his next steps. He’s kept the kids involved, and his plan for scattering Michelle’s ashes from his new boat feels right to me. It may be a bit dramatic to give away a house full of furniture, but I’m not gonna judge. After all, it’s not just Michelle whom Sam has lost. With Kamran going away to school, he’s completely alone now, at least on a day-to-day basis. It’s good to see that his friends are looking out for him. Heck, one of them moved all his furniture out of his house and another plans to help him refurbish his boat!

We went right from that opening scene of a Sam relatively at peace with moving on from his loss to one of a Deeks pretty worried about being forced to move on from NCIS. It was refreshing to see that Mosley is capable of smiling. Only Deeks could coax that one little grin out of her- he can wear anyone down given enough time. As I was reminded in a recent fan fic, no one can resist the Deeksness! [Update: There were actually two charming fics, one from Psyched right here at wikiDeeks, and another from gremlin2318 at fanfiction.net.]

As frustrating as I generally find Mosley, she does pose legitimate questions, in this case about why Deeks wants to be at NCIS. His answer was funny, and I get why he went with humor, given that he doesn’t know Mosley at all. Yet I found myself wishing he had given her a serious answer. He once again makes himself out to be a goofball, when we all know he’s capable of responding in an incredibly thoughtful way. He’s saving the world on a weekly basis, he’s challenged to be the best he can by his team and his partner, he’s respected and protected in a way he never was at LAPD, he has a big family around him, and yeah, he gets to work with his fiancée. I hope that he gets the chance to revise his answer sometime in the future- I’d love to see him fight to stay, and to express all that NCIS represents for him.

Deeks: Mosley, hey. Sorry, uh, Assistant Director Executive Director Executive As- I’m pretty sure there’s, there’s a Director and an Assistant in there somewhere- I’m sorry, am I fired, again?
Mosley: How long would you keep talking if no one stopped you?
Deeks: Many before you have searched for the answer to that very question.

Densi Delight

The highlights of the episode were the charming Densi conversations. As we’ve seen many other times, the subject of children came up. Deeks has been thinking quite seriously about what his future may hold, and it apparently includes tiny pink wetsuits and surfboards for little Princess Sunshine Deeks. Wow. The duo had a great serious moment discussing their respective futures. I was surprised to hear Deeks talk about not wanting to have people shoot at him, when just last week he was bored to death stuck in the boatshed interrogating their suspect for the whole day. And later in this episode after they take out the motorcycle shooters, Deeks seems more like a guy enjoying the adrenaline rush (“I really wish we could have worked out our differences with words”) than someone having second thoughts about getting shot at. But still, how can they not worry about their dangerous jobs should they bring little Athena into the world? They merely have to look at what Kam and Aiden are going through for a real live example of the damage their job could do to a family.

What was refreshing here was that they both seemed on the same page about wanting to have children. I’d lost track of who wanted kids and who didn’t, they’d switched places so often. And of course tomboy Kensi might think she’d be a better mother to a son, but she has to know that her daughter could certainly take after her tomboy mother. (I do totally agree that not all girls like pink.) Either way, Deeks and Kensi talking over one another about the hypothetical nature of their discussion was pretty adorable.

Kensi: I know, I know, I know. Things are changing.
Deeks: Yeah, well maybe we should take that as a sign.
Kensi: A sign of what?
Deeks: Maybe it’s time to take the next step. You know, maybe it’s time to take, maybe it’s time to take our next step.
Kensi: I know, I know, I know I know I know.
Deeks: Listen, I’m not saying that you have to quit this job that you love ‘cause that would be selfish I wouldn’t say that. But maybe it’s time that I do.
Kensi: No because that would be selfish of me and plus, what would you do?
Deeks: Honestly I have no idea, but what I do know is that, you know, whatever job I take I’m just not gonna be coming in contact with people that are constantly trying to shoot me. I just, I can’t imagine, you know, kissing our daughter good-bye in the morning and then we spend the rest of the day wondering if one of us is going to get shot.
Kensi: Did you, did you just say “daughter”?
Deeks: Did I not mention that before? A little, little Princess Sunshine Deeks?
Kensi: No. Nooo.
Deeks: You don’t like that name?
Kensi: No!
Deeks: That name’s fantastic. It’s my great-uncle.
Kensi: Um, yeah, no, um, how ‘bout Athena?
Deeks: Really?

The way they spoke over one another at the end and Deeks’ line about his great uncle had to have involved some improv. Scenes like this one- maybe because of the improvisation involved- feel so energized that you can almost see the sparks fly between them. It’s something that had been missing in the first two episodes, and it was reassuring to see it back.

Deft Direction

Props also go to director Tawnia McKiernan. Right from the gorgeous opening shot straight up from the bottom of a swimming pool, she gave us interesting angles without being distracting or gimmicky. Just a few moments later in that same opening scene, the shots taken from water level added to the suspense because we couldn’t see any farther than Lieutenant Elder. I also liked the nice angle through the broken glass down to Kensi and Deeks as they tried to figure out where the sniper had hidden.

The scene where Deeks and Kensi take on the three gunman on motorcycle was particularly exciting. It always gets my attention when our team starts off outnumbered and on their heels like this scene did. The view of the rear windshield getting shot out, taken from the front of the car looking past Deeks out the back, put us right in the middle of the action. I flinched along with Deeks as the glass and bullets went flying. And how cool was it to see Deeks kick out the windshield so he and Kensi could play chicken with the remaining two bad guys? That was another terrific shot taken from straight in front of their vehicle as they drove forward, guns blazing. Now, was that correct procedure to drive at the bad guys, or should they have stopped and hid behind their doors? Hmmm. And did it feel at all realistic that Deeks took out two bikers while none of the bad guys landed any of their many, many shots (well, except the ones that killed the Audi)? Nope, but then that’s to be expected from this show.

Memorable Moments

  • Who did Lieutenant Elder pay off to have that whole pool to herself?
  • How fun was it to see David Olson making another appearance? I’m glad Sam has at least one non-work friend he can rely on. Here’s hoping we see even more of this real retired SEAL playing a TV retired SEAL.
  • OK, I’ll let Mosley order Deeks to do away with the full beard (as much as I enjoyed it), but she better let him keep the scruff or we’re going to have words.
  • Had they not rescheduled this episode, I don’t think the similarities to the Las Vegas shooting would have registered with me. Still, better to reschedule than risk upsetting anyone.
  • Keith Stiger had me fooled. His rather long description of Elder’s suspicious behavior had me feeling like something was hinky with him, as if he were trying too hard to frame Elder. Guess I am just too suspicious. (Or, might Callen’s vow to follow every lead mean this story might continue some other time?)
  • Yes, Callen, your house really does scream “International Spy.”
  • I get why they have Mosley plotting to break up the team, after all we need tension and drama. But that she would come in with that specific plan without first seeing for herself how they operate makes me lose respect for her as a leader.
  • Deeks and Kensi either drove slowly, or had a hard time commandeering that vehicle to follow Sam and Callen to the Stiger’s house. Couldn’t they have just squeezed into the back of the Challenger? Oh, that’s right, they needed to let Sam and Callen take center stage in the last shoot-out.

Before this episode ran, I rewatched “Reznikov, N.” When I saw Shane Brennan’s name all over the credits, I found myself thinking about how glad I was that the show is now in R. Scott Gemmill’s hands. As difficult a season as Season 8 was, I’m still optimistic that he and his writers are going to tell great stories about these characters this year.

Be sure to check back later this week for new installments of Deeks’ Surf Log and Kensi’s Journal plus the Drabble of the Week. And stay tuned for another new episode next week, “Plain Sight.” (Contrary to what we saw in the promo, I’m sure Deeks and Kensi will at least make an appearance.) In the meantime, what did you think of “Assets”? How does it compare to the first two episodes? And did you see the same Densi sparks I did?

About Karen P (165 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.

27 Comments on Review: NCISLA “Assets” (S9E03)

  1. Lyssa (Phnxgirl) // October 17, 2017 at 6:37 AM // Reply

    Awesome review! Love it!

    I think a lot of the kid conversation and such came from Mosley questioning why Deeks was with NCIS. I mean, here’s a guy who has always bounced around from thing to thing – Lawyer, cop in at least 2-3 different areas – and he’s spent the most time with this federal agency. And it’s a job that he didn’t even seek out. Hetty came to him and was like “work with us”. Sure he ends up being a great part of the team, but would he necessarily have stayed if he hadn’t been so connected with Kensi? Would he have found another job by now?

    I think when Mosley questioned him and with no word from Hetty, he’s worried about his place. I think he wants any move that does happen to be on his terms. He doesn’t want to be backed into a corner, especially with the Whiting situation hanging over his head.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lyssa (Phnxgirl) // October 17, 2017 at 6:43 AM // Reply

      Also, glad the pace has finally picked up on the character development. It was severely lacking in the first two episodes. The show has been on for 9 years, we’re here for the characters as much as (if not more than) the weekly stories. (Though also in that vein, poor Eric and Nell seem to have been pushed to the sidelines — hope we get some Neric development soon!)

      Like

    • Totally agree with everything here. I was a bit worried by Deeks again mentioning walking away but I think it is just a response to Mosley and Whiting. It makes sense that whatever move happens he wants it to be on his terms and not forced by others.

      As you pointed out, before Hetty recruited him he moved around a lot, first lawyer and then within LAPD. I do think that, even though he likes the guys and the rest of the team and now feels accepted and respected by them, he stayed at NCIS for so long because of Kensi. So, like Karen said, it would be really interesting to see his real response to why he wants to be at NCIS.

      At the same time I can’t imagine Deeks doing anything else. He is a good guy by nature and he sincerely likes to help people, plus, he still seems to enjoy shootouts and the adrenaline rush.

      Like

  2. Great review Karen! I really liked this episode. It had the perfect balance that made me fall in love with NCISLA in the first place: great team scenes and interactions, a strong action scene (involving Densi, so that’s a plus), emotional conversations between the partners (loved all Densi dialogues and Sam/Callen’s last scene with the boat), funny scenes, a little drama and a good enough case.

    I’m still not a fan of Mosley. I did enjoy her scenes with Deeks, but that was mostly thanks to Deeks’ humor and ECO’s acting. I hope the show would stop with Mosley trying to break up the team/send Deeks away. It’s better when they focus on the team’s interactions and case; I’d rather see action and comedy than internal drama.

    Lastly, I’m a bit worried about Deeks again talking about retirement. I’m hoping in this case it’s just a response to Mosley and Whiting. With Mosley’s insistence to send him to LAPD and now Deeks’ mentioning walking away, I just hope the show is not trying to get rid of him, it would be a huge loss and the show wouldn’t be the same. Again, as with ratings last week, I hope I’m just being paranoid.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The ratings are a little bit down than last week, (little bit) but higher pour Demo 18-49

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      • Are you sure? I checked before writing my comment and it showed that ratings this week were higher than last week but still lower than the premier. I think the premier was 8.9, last week 8.4 and this week 8.6. I just hope they’re high enough for the show to be renewed again.

        Like

  3. Thank you for this very good review, as always, you`re the one. It was a very good ep even if Mosley was there; hoping they stay very longtime in Washington and I`m quiet sure they will comeback with plans and not the best plans, it would probably be about Deeks. I`m still wondering what the other new one is doing there. IMO when we have good Densi`scenes it`s always a good ep. After three ep I can say this one was the best one. (Sorry, my English is always poor).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great review!

    THIS should have been the premiere episode. And I don’t have any complaints about it. Please please please keep or exceed this level, writers.

    Like

  5. Thanks for your great review, Karen.
    I liked this episode better than the first two, hopefully the authors, showrunners and actors have been trying to find their old rhythm again with smoother transitions between a scene/story/sequence and another and better blend of all the trademark ingredients of NCIS:LA. This week, in spite of a quite normal, a bit unoriginal case (in my opinion), the balance achieved was more evident and more than one scene is worth mentioning: Deeks and Mosley in the gym, Densi and their talk about future hypothetical children and career changes, Sam, Callen and the plan to scatter Michelle’s ashes from Sam’s boat, a great, really amazing Densi action sequence.

    I’m still a bit disappointed by the character of Mosley. She could have been a great addition just from the start instead of having this déjà vu role of THE super director vs the West Coast team that has never ever done things by the book and must be “punished” in a way or another. That IS original! I still hope, anyway, Mosley will turn out to better, much better than this in the following episodes because so far she’s been quite presumptuous and overconfident (we know she CAN smile, though!).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I really enjoy reading your excellent reviews Karen and reading all the comments here , thank you everyone!

    I did like this episode more than I did the previous episodes of this season and those Densi sparks were definitely there. As others have already mentioned that ECO’s acting in that Mosley scene was great and (even though I still don’t like Mosley at all) that was in my opinion the best Mosley scene so far. I don’t think ECO gets enough credit how talented he is and how he is able to bring out the best in other characters/actors.

    I did like the case, but those hints that the case is not finished made me a bit worried, there are so many storylines going on already that I wish the tptb will end some of the storylines (full closure) before adding new ones. I am just a bit worried that we will have all these storylines at the same time or too close together (for example Hetty, Mosley vs team, Sam still mourning,that Deeks/Whiting/Bates storyline, this case might continues and there might be other characters and storylines returning). Season 8 had so much team drama and different storylines that I wish this season they would focus a little bit more on cases and that there would be just a little bit less storylines “in the background”. I have to admit that I really liked the way Shane Brennan balanced episodes/cases and “background” stories.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Karen really great review. I really liked this episode. Episodes like this are why I love this show and watch it weekly. The case was very interesting, the pace and action were fast, and the cast , as usual, were awesome. I loved all the Densi scenes, from the detecting, to the action packed shoot out and of course, the perfect Deeks/Kensi scenes discussing children. I had the same reaction to Deeks talking about not being shot at and changing careers as you did. It seems a bit inconsistent with his actions . It may be a bit of Deeks trying to convince himself he could change careers given he may feel he has to do that given his new manager. I find it hard to believe that Deeks would trust anyone to have Kensi’s back but himself.

    I think they are writing Sam in a way that seems true to his character. I think the Sam/Callen scenes were very well done in this episode.

    For me the only thing about the show that is not working is the new character Mosley. I am not sure why TPTB are writing this character this way. To me she seems to have no personality other than to be self-absorbed, I found it very offensive that she is so judgmental of Deeks’ appearance. He is an undercover operative. She needs to read personnel files instead of redesigning office space.

    Finally I agree with you I am glad the show is now in R. Scott Gemmill’s hands!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Can you tell me why you`re glad that the show is now in R. Scott Gemmill`s hand instead Shane Brennan.? Where will be the difference,I don`t understand.

      Like

      • Scott Gemmill , who of course , has been with the show took over as the person in charge at the beginning of season 8 . I thought season 8 was great for many reasons and I thought they did a better job handling Daniela Ruah’s maternity absence in season 8 than season 5. I liked the storyline and I liked that instead of giving Deeks a new partner each week they used different team members to partner with him. This is no offense to Shane Brennan who developed the show and is really creative. I think sometimes though creative people do better at the big picture and do not go down into the details. I felt the show in season 8 was better written in terms of character continuity , character backstory, and storyline continuity. This is just my view and I am sure other fans see it differently.

        Liked by 1 person

        • The reason I’m happy with Gemmill at the helm is that I think Shane Brennan told all the stories he wanted to with these characters. I think he had a seven-season arc for Callen that really drove the show and was Brennan’s passion. While of course he deserves all the credit in the world for inventing Deeks (and a dark Deeks at that- Brennan wrote Human Traffic), I’ve always loved the way Gemmill writes Deeks and am hopeful that he’ll bring some fresh ideas to a show that’s been around a very long time.

          Like

  8. One of the best reviews you have ever written, Karen. Loved your comment about Sam going from tied down to adrift. Such a good take. I kind of like the idea of a retired SEAL living on a boat, and fixing it up like he did Charlene. And who doesn’t love that he will name his boat Michelle. Sweet.

    Mosley obviously has a thing about Deeks. And as cute as that first interaction with her on the basketball court was, he seemed to be a little nervous around her, which I think is why he babbled on and messed up her title. He knows she can send him packing, and his nervousness shows every time he asks her if he’s fired again. I don’t care what he said about not getting shot at, he doesn’t want to go back to LAPD. That said, it was interesting that he is willing to try another line of work to protect the children they may have down the road. He doesn’t expect Kensi to stop being an agent, and I hope in some future episode that Deeks and Sam have a conversation about what it was like for him and Michelle.

    Loved Kensi and Deeks discussion about kids…boy versus girl. I can see a Sunshine Deeks, but Kensi wanting a boy, or “little dude” as Deeks calls them, was no surprise. But if it’s a girl, she wants a power name. You thought she said, Athena, but for some reason I heard Xena, the warrior princess. Not sure which one is right, but either one sounds like a name Kensi would want her daughter to carry through life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think she said Athena too. Because I automatically thought Goddess of war, right? Good name for a Daughter of Kensi. But I think Xena would be cool too.

      I think if Deeks was kicked out of NCIS he would definitely not return to LAPD. That’s when a new life would begin. Return to law? Maybe but I think he would want to be doing something to help people whatever it is. Or maybe be a stay at home dad? How cute would that be?

      Like

  9. Much better episode than the other two. The characters seemed liked their characters and no forced comedy or goofiness. Loved the Kensi and Deeks scenes. But man oh man, was that Mosley/Harley scene st

    Like

  10. Thank you wikiDeeks for this great review and preview; this is a great site; its very much appreciated. Thank you to all the fans that post to this site I love all of them; I never thumb down anyone; if someone takes the time to write that’s a thumbs up right there. I’m not going to express my feelings just yet. Weird last year I was dealing with the death and aftermath of my Mother’s death; this year my 61 year old sister was found dead. Let me tell you getting a message on your phone in the morning from a detective is no way to start your day. So I’ve been very busy taking care of all her affairs. She had no Will; which means I’ve had to wade through every single piece of paper from her place. My family of six is now a family of 2 just my brother and I remain :-(. I lost another brother in the 70s.
    So thank all of you for coming here; it gives me an outlet to escape a bit from dealing with death. All of you have interesting perspectives, thoughts, feelings, etc. and I love reading them all. Thank you everyone. Thank you wikiDeeks — you Rock!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • So much love and light to you.

      Like

    • Olapa53, sorry for your loss. I think many of us find a wonderful escape from our real world pressures and problems through the show, and for me through writing about and discussing my favorite character. Glad to have you joining us.

      Like

  11. Thanks for the great comments everyone!

    Like

  12. Karen, great review and wonderful insights! I think you are right, this would have made a perfect second episode after that premiere; it filled in a lot of the gaps that were left by trying to do too much. And nice observation about their futures being referenced here, and how Densi and Sam are very much in the midst of switching places in terms of their home lives.

    I agree with Lindy, Deeks was uncharacteristically nervous around Mosley. Clearly the fact that she can send him back to LAPD on a moment’s notice (based on whatever whim tickles her fancy that day, apparently) has him shaken. And rightfully so. Yes, I do wish he had picked some other “reason” for wanting to be at NCIS. C’mon Deeks, the woman is new to the agency and has likely been through several rounds of interviews to get this job – of course she’d recognize its mission statement! So yeah, I hope when this comes up again, and it’s time to decide to A) stay in the field or leave to have kids; and B) make his position at NCIS permanent, that Deeks has another chat with Mosley and makes his point more convincingly. It does make me wonder, though, what will have to happen to get him to change his mind about leaving the field soon….

    I also totally agree with you, Karen, that it was nice to finally have Densi on the same page at the same time about having kids, and that Kensi should have acknowledged that a girl can be a tomboy.

    Re: some of your memorable moments:
    * Is it just me who wants to see David Olsen in a scene with either DR or ECO? Or do you think he’d be too nervous?
    * Callen now has a furnished bedroom, complete with a new mattress, TV, and video gaming system. I’d say his house reads more like adolescent male pretending to be international spy. 😉
    *Keith Stiger? Who’s that? Densi was talking about NAMING THEIR CHILDREN!!!! You mean to say other stuff happened in the ep?! Though I do think Callen’s comment in the end was an anvil that this isn’t the last we’ve heard of this case.
    * I had the exact same thought about Mosley’s leadership skills: you don;t decide to mix things up before seeing how the team operates first. Duh.

    As for the reference to the Deeksness, there were actually two (for 9×02, interestingly enough) post-eps that mentioned it this week: gremlin 2318’s second chapter of “Season 9 Nuggets” and my “Wheels in Motion” here at wikiDeeks. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Psyched. Good point about the video gaming system painting a different picture of the house’s resident. Thanks for setting me straight on the sources of the Deeksness. How could I have forgotten our very own post-ep fic? I actually read and enjoyed both of the stories you reference and have updated the review text accordingly.

      Like

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