Well, here we are folks and I will go ahead and start off with the best news about this episode right off the bat … ARKADY! Yes! One of my favorite NCIS:LA characters is back with us and ready to cause as many headaches and laughs as humanly possible. The Russian mobster is always full of surprises and never fails to crack me up.
“Mountebank” is helmed in the director’s chair by Terrence O’Hara and written by the multitalented Jordana Lewis Jaffe. A tidbit already shared in the preview by my pal Tess DeCorsi, mountebank actually means “a person who deceives others, especially in order to trick them out of their money; a charlatan.” Hmmmm … but who is deceiving whom?
Okay … onto the show!
As usual, the case gets set up in the first segment: we are presented with a prominent investment banker chatting on the phone with a rather unpleasant Russian oligarch. Now, if you’re as smart as this guy should be, you would think he would know to actually chase after the dropped hand sanitizer AFTER bringing the vehicle to a complete stop… but he did and got rammed anyway. I do not think the people over at the National Highway Safety Board will be too happy about that message.
Callen… I mean… Dexter
So, somebody stole one of Callen’s identities and opened a credit card account? It looked like this was going to be tied to the case at hand but it appears to be just a kid lost in the system.
What a cool way to give us another glimpse into the enigma that is G. Callen and his way with kids that have been placed into foster care. Phin, who probably is pretty good at deception, does his best to hold it together, but fails big time when dealing with someone with a skillset like Callen’s.
A New Sheriff
Mosley swoops in and starts calling the shots… again. I would have been impressed with her request that she needed someone undercover if that hadn’t been so obvious that is what the team needed to do. With one of Callen’s identities compromised, holding him back actually made sense but her method of delivering her orders has a lot to be desired. The crack about not even being in the same book clearly showed Callen’s growing frustration at how she seems to usurp his position as team leader.
When Hetty was running Operations, her guidance was more of a gentle breeze that only became a hurricane when necessary. Mosley, on the other hand, comes in with the force of an F5 tornado, making sure that everybody knows that she’s in charge. While necessary sometimes to establish the new pecking order, it gets old when that’s the only way you deal with those under you in the chain of command. She redeemed herself a little with the meet with Sokolov, allowing the team to take the necessary risks in order to cement his trust in Leigha and getting tracked back to his Russian cronies. Maybe Mosley is beginning to see that this team operates best when you don’t hobble them with micromanaging and quotes from the Executive Assistant Director’s Handbook.
Kensi, Deeks, and the Super Duper Secret to Getting Through Arkady’s Front Door
Who knew that Arkady was such a pushover? Coffee and pastries? Wow. Maybe Sam could try that to stay on the Russian’s good side.
The look on Arkady’s face when they mentioned Abram Sokolov (he did pull a creepy on Kensi with admitting to pretending she was his daughter instead of Anna)… sounds like we’re dealing with one of those dudes that even the bad guys don’t want to mess around with.
Man jewelry Deeks, really? And those towels looked more like fancy drapes than something that you should find in anyone’s bathroom. I do have to hand it to Arkady (and his ability to put even large bouncers at ease), he kinda reminds me a little of someone else who can get an entire room wrapped around his little finger with aplomb. I was enjoying the scene, right up to the point where Deeks mentions Arkady’s nipples. Ugh… could have done without that image in my head.
Deeks gets to show off! First, he kills it at the poker table, then he slams the table with the bouncer’s hand in an arm wrestling match, then he gets to flash his ‘bling’. Unfortunately, he looked a bit like a Back Street Boy who forgot to stop acting that way once they hit thirty.
Deeks: That’s it, I’m doing it. I gonna start wearing jewelry … start wearing man jewelry.
Kensi: Please, don’t. Oh gosh… please, seriously don’t.
Deeks: What are you talking about? You know, start with a nice simple chain… maybe put a diamond encrusted “D” on it… work my way up to a sexy little pinkie ring.
Arkady: Do not put your grubby paws on anything. You hear me!?
Deeks: Then why did you invite us up to your super ornate bedroom while you showered… I got to be honest, it’s pretty creepy Arkady, even for you.
Arkady: I tell you already, I do my best thinking in shower.
Deeks: Yeah, me too.
Kensi: Does that mean you have something?
Arkady: Depends. (starts drying himself off with very gaudy towels) I know Sokolov’s big sister … Vladlena … beautiful woman.
Deeks: That’s fantastic.
Kensi: Do you think she’ll talk to us?
Arkday: Maybe… how good are you two at “poker face”?
Deeks: I can see… your nipples.
Sorry everyone (especially Karen and a few other of my wikiDeeks teammates ), I didn’t get all bent out of shape over Deeks’ arm wrestling, dazzling bling, or especially his flowing locks. I know, I know… but I am a guy and would rather point out the merits of using an M4 chambered in 5.56 mm over an M14 in 7.62 mm in certain situations than discuss anything about how Deeks looks and I don’t care if he’s in a Porsche or trying on gold necklaces. Not going to happen.
Sam in the Suit
LL Cool J was rocking the suit and with Hidoko, who displayed some good tradecraft again this week, as his back-up, slipped right into his persona at the investment group. I really didn’t expect Sam the Mathlete to struggle with his cover so this was simply Sam doing what Sam does best… find his niche, recon, gather intel, and maintain his cover no matter what.
What is starting to surprise me is how the show runners are presenting Hidoko as a competent field agent and not some bureaucrat completely out of their league tangling with true bad guys and not paper cuts or jammed copiers. This is two weeks in a row that she has been right there doing the same thing that we’d expect from one of the more regular characters. I hope that this trend continues and we see her become a vital part of the team that we all know and love (maybe even a replacement for Anna?).
And a New Bad Guy
Finally! This has been the one aspect of this show that for me, has been lagging. We need someone to dread as much as the characters on the show and Sokolov might be able to do just that. Even though we didn’t really see him in action this time around, with all of the second-hand information from National Security to his sister (acid baths… ewwwww), the team may be in for another challenging season like when they tangled with Sidorov. We’ll have to wait and see if he rises to the level of Janvier or the Comescus, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed.
Where is Hetty? Hmmmm… whenever the former operations manager is absent, it means she is up to something and you can take it to the bank that it isn’t soaking up rays on a beach somewhere.
We got Densi working Arkady with ease, disarming the room full of Russian mobsters, and enjoying a mediocre firefight… but their banter/tension/romance was almost nonexistent. If they want us to believe that they are an engaged couple working in an incredibly dangerous occupation, we need to see a little bit more of the “couple” part in their work day.
Is it me or does Nell still appear out-of-place in the field? At least for me, I think it is her youthful appearance and not her skill level. Although, when she whacked Phin with the cue stick, she was pretty bad… it just feels like they are trying to make her more physically tough these days and not revealing more of her incredible intellect.
Deeks, Kensi and Arkday… need I say more? It was both funny and weird… and maybe a tad creepy. Yeah, standing around in some guy’s bedroom while he showers in the next room? Creepy. With a big ‘C’.
Check back later in the week for an updated Surf Log, Kensi’s Journal, and the Drabble of the Week from our team of talented contributors. You also have the opportunity to leave your thoughts about “Mountebank”; so please, take a moment and tell us what you think because we love hearing your reactions and reading your comments. So, go ahead… have at it!