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Review: NCISLA “Goodbye Vietnam” (S9E14)


After what felt like the longest winter hiatus ever, this week we finally had a new episode of NCIS: Los Angeles. Written by R. Scott Gemmill and directed by John Peter Kousakis, “Goodbye, Vietnam” brought us quite a few returning characters (maybe a few too many) and most importantly, the reunion of our team with their fearless leader (yay!).

Familiar Faces Return

We often talk about a lack of recurring characters, but this week’s episode in no way suffered from this problem. We had the return of the Three Amigos: Chegwidden, Langston and Bridges (played by John M. Jackson, Carl Lumbly, and James Remar). We had the return of Rio (Bobby Lee), the crazy CIA agent from “Blame It on Rio.” Plus Nell’s sister Sydney (Ashley Spillers) was back to torment Nell and grill Eric. Oh, and we even got a mention of our favorite shady CIA operative Sabatino, consulted off-camera.

It was nice to see Hetty’s three pals coming to rescue her. It’s a shame we didn’t get more of their banter with the team, something I’d enjoyed in their previous appearances and only got a small taste of here. Sydney and Nell’s storyline was interesting. As an older sister, I could easily see myself in Sydney’s bossy shoes (although I never made my sister play a dog!). Watching Eric standing up to her was enjoyable, and her moment with Nell at the end was touching. Unfortunately all these characters took focus away from the larger goal of the episode, to rescue Hetty.

Nell Saves the Day

While the whole Nell/Sydney storyline was fine, it broke up any suspense that might have been generated overseas. It also took a serious amount of screen time. I didn’t do the math but I’d have guessed that the Ops team had about half of it. Sydney didn’t contribute anything to the case that Hidoko couldn’t have if she hadn’t been so fleeing from Hetty’s Santeria paraphernalia. This decision to focus on drama at the office made it difficult for Gemmill and JPK to do much with the team in Vietnam- they oh so efficiently arrived, tracked down the Three Amigos, and shot the bad guys. They didn’t have any time to share any concerns over what might have become of Hetty, to really talk about anything in depth, to feature much of the amigos, or even to include any additional action.

The best part of the office half of the episode was Nell taking charge of Mosley and forcing her to arrange for satellite imagery. This is what Nell should be doing: using her brain to analyze the problem and working behind the scenes to solve it, not tackling bad guys in the field. I’m not even going to try to make sense of Mosley in this episode- she was so emotional, seeming to care so much, and that felt out of character. I have given up trying to understand what the writers have intended with her character development so far.

An Unsuspenseful Team Rescue

Normally I’d set aside a big portion of the review to discuss the key Deeks or Densi scenes. Alas, there wasn’t a whole lot to talk about this time. And it wasn’t that Deeks or Kensi had less screen time than Sam or Callen. It was just that all the scenes featuring the four main characters felt a little lackluster. They’ve staged so many other foreign rescues that this one just felt like old hat to me, and apparently to them as well. They talked about the danger – of being in the country “off-book”, of taking on 12 bad guys in the jungle – but the action never conveyed the feeling that they were in actual danger.

Normally there’s at least one action-packed scene in the first half of the episode, if not several. Here we got all talking. Beyond that, the appearance of Rio, as cartoonish a character as the show has produced, removed any semblance of reality from the episode. Although I disliked “Blame It on Rio,” I didn’t mind him in that context. That whole episode leaned heavily in the direction of silliness and he made me laugh. This one shouldn’t have.

They took out the bad guys so easily (as far as I could see in the dark – I really have no idea what happened there) that I was never worried for any of them. The four leads underplayed their scenes in a way that- although it did suggest they were keeping calm and cool for the sake of the mission- came off as if they were all just a little bored to be in another foreign country carrying out a secret mission. If they don’t look like they care, or can’t convey that they’re scared, how am I supposed to care or worry?

The most entertaining scenes were the trekking scene with the amigos and the lock-picking scene. Both featured some welcome team banter…

Sam: Any time, G.
Callen: I know, it’s jammed.
Kensi: Alright, give it to me, hand it over.
Callen: Why don’t you be my guest?
Kensi: Thank you.
Deeks: Mmmm hmm.
Kensi: It’s my specialty, boys. Give me a second here… What is happening?
Deeks: How’s that working out for ya? Are you done? Not so much, huh?
Kensi: OK, you know what, smartass? You do it.
Deeks: Well, if you kids are done messing around… The key is to become one with the device. It’s not so much a lock to be opened, it’s a puzzle to be solved, to be understood… There’s something wrong with this lock.
Sam: Oh let me pick the lock.
Deeks: I got it.
Sam kicks in the door.
Deeks: Ah! That works.You get 10 points for efficiency and- screw it!- 10 points for style… Mm-alright.

Hetty’s Back Where She Belongs

The best part of the episode was the reunion of the team with Hetty. Hetty was in a world of hurt, even showing unusual signs of vulnerability. The team arrived just in time to save her and Keane. Her “It’s about bloody time” was exactly what I’d been waiting to hear. I loved seeing her collapsing into Callen’s embrace. It’s the most physical affection I think I’ve ever seen between them. And then again on the helicopter she leans into him to sleep, and the episode ends on a lovely, wordless shot of her and Callen, Kensi and Deeks, and- hah!- Rio and Chegwidden.

Now to see whether she suffers any aftereffects (PTSD?) from her captivity and torture. Is Hetty human enough to suffer them, or is she nearly bullet-proof after all these years and experiences? And more importantly, can she either get Mosley to behave in a consistent and human way, or will she at least give her a hard time on behalf of the team and the audience? Can she restore the balance that’s been sorely missing through the first half of the season? Her long absence has made me appreciate how truly vital she is to the show.

Memorable Moments

  • I’m not a fan of seeing cool shots inserted into a promo when they’re from old episodes or cut scenes. Case in point, the big explosion with Sam yelling “Bomb!” at the end of this episode’s. Boo. If the promo editor felt it needed a boom to look exciting enough, that’s a bad sign for the actual episode.
  • Maybe I’ve just watched the show too long, and too many times, but I kept hearing lines come back from past episodes. Did anyone else recognize “Dogs go mad, people get angry” from “Special Delivery,” or the British-accented references to corgis? (The latter is of course from one of R. Scott Gemmill’s best episodes, “Wanted,” although I thought it was improvised by Eric Christian Olsen and Daniela Ruah.)
  • As if Hetty shops at Bed Bath & Beyond!
  • What the heck was Deeks even saying as he and his “angry girlfriend” distracted the Vietnamese cops? It sounded like he was just putting an “ina” at the end of all his words. Very funny.
  • I liked Kensi’s “What is happening?” line when she couldn’t pick the lock. It was a total Deeks thing to say and it shows how much they have rubbed off on one another.
  • Glad to see Langston’s feeling well enough to travel half-way around the world and trek through the jungle, seeing how poorly he was doing in his last appearance.
  • A pet peeve of mine is the failure to show time zone differences. Why did we get Mosley heading in to watch the rescue in what seemed to be the early evening, as the team simultaneously carried out their nighttime rescue? There’s a 14-hour time difference at work here.
  • Wow, I guess deciding on the bad guys’ fate when overseas doesn’t require the team to follow the rule of law? That was quite something to see Hetty unleash the tiger on Dang. While I did enjoy it, and he did deserve it, I’m not sure I condone it.

That’s it from me. What did you think of “Goodbye, Vietnam?” I feel like I had a lot of issues with this one. Was I too hard on it? Do you think Hetty can get the show back on track? While we wait to find out, come back later this week for new editions of Deeks’ Surf Log, Kensi’s Journal, and the Drabble of the Week. Meanwhile, tell us your thoughts in the Comments below.

About Karen P (194 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.

43 Comments on Review: NCISLA “Goodbye Vietnam” (S9E14)

  1. Lyssa (Phnxgirl) // March 13, 2018 at 6:46 AM // Reply

    I agree with most everything in this review. I enjoyed the episode but so much could have been cut in favor of a heavier, deeper storyline. It feels like this season they’re afraid to get too dark or heavy, which is especially interesting considering the later timeslot compared to last year.
    I LOVED Kensi using Deeks’s “What is happening?!” line, and enjoyed the rubbing off on each other.

    I liked the fact that Nell and Eric actually got some story time (those poor guys have been pushed aside all season), though the interactions with Hidoko and Nell’s sister were rather lacking. Wish we could have just cut all the unnecessary and added to the depth of the ep.

    As for Hetty, I think she’ll be fine. She’s a hardened agent, ex CIA. I’m sure she’ll be okay. Interestingly, I just watched Absolution yesterday, and Mattias tells Hetty at the end, “I could kiss you right now, if I wasn’t afraid you would gouge out both my eyes and bite through my windpipe if I got close enough.” I thought it was intriguing that we got to see instances with both those things (kinda).

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Lyssa. Love that quote from Absolution! Mattias didn’t know how lucky he was to just get shot in a couple of limbs, LOL.

      Like

  2. Great review Karen! No, you’re not being too tough on it–I’ll be tougher still. As much as I appreciated the humorours bantering and bickering, I was expecting a more serious episode all around. I mean, this is Hetty, their boss and a bit of a mother-figure, and she’s been missing for months, and they’re goin on (another) off-book mission to a country they’re not supposed to be in, to rescue her. I admit I was thinking we’d get something more along the lines of “Spoils of War,” tone-wise. You hit the nail on the head, Karen, I wasn’t worried about any of them.

    I think they did a horrible job trying to humanize Mosley. What’s it say about you when your underling has to point out that you’re human, Ms. EAD? She plays like she’s really concerned about getting Hetty back but didn’t contribute one thing to the mission (I believe all the ideas and suggestions were Eric’s and Nell’s). Her use of the word “legend” in describing Hetty in that scene immediately discredited her alleged concern, IMO. Like Undersecretary of Defense Duggan wanted to make his career by bringing Hetty down, I think it revealed that Mosley’s primary intent was to make her career by bringing Hetty home. And when push came to shove, all she was worried about was thet thought that she might lose her job. Ok, now that she’s single-handedly saved the life of the legendary Henrietta Lange and no doubt saved countless of her secrets from being revealed as a result, let’s give AED Shay Mosley what she deserves and promote her somewhere else. #MoveAlongMosley /rant

    Thought Nell did a great job, but seriously, most of that time spent in ops could have been whitled down to the scene in which she dials the phone and hands it off to Mosley and anything that directly led to it.

    The rescue was too quick and anticlimactic, IMO. But that’s what happens when the episode spends so much time in ops watching Mosley wring her hands and not know what to do (ok, guess my rant really wasn’t over).

    Did spot the “Special Delivery” and “Wanted” references/similarities, as well as Nell’s comment/concern about what happened the last time the team went away on a mission together (“High Value Target”/”Belly of the Beast”).

    Interesting finding, Lyssa, about Mattias’s comment. Obviously, this isn’t the first time Hetty’s been respnsible for someone losing body parts (get in line, Kensi, you’ve only got one CIA agent’s leg under your belt–you’ve likely got a long way to go to reach the status of Hetty Lange!). I’ll also reference a comment from Lyssa in another forum and wonder if Nate will come back to help Hetty get over the trauma. Or will Mosley bring someone else in for that job and we’ll lose more time to people we don’t know/don’t like/don’t care about?

    All in all, I didn’t love this ep, but I didn’t hate it either. Just thought they could have played it differently. Let’s hope now that Hetty’s back we get more of our old show back. C’mon, PTB, you’ve only got a few eps to make CBS decide to give you another season–let’s make it happen!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks karen, great review. I mostly agree with you.
    I enjoyed the episode, but as you said I would like more deep emotional scene, it was too easy, it was too light for me… not intense as I expected.
    My favorite part was hetty and Callen at the end, very sweet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Valentina. Yes, that final shot was so good! It’s such a shame it didn’t come at the end of an episode as intense as “Spoils of War.” Can’t you just picture a very similar shot once they left the base in Afghanistan, with Kensi the one seeking comfort in Deeks’ arms?

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      • Welllll…..If one pauses the shot, moves close to the screen, and looks very closely (not that I did such a thing, mind you), it can be seen in “Spoils of War” right after the prisoner exchange that Kensi is being held/supported by…Jack. But she’s kinda bent over and it looks more like he’s holding her up and physically supporting her than she’s seeking comfort. But I like your version much better!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m not sure how to convey my feelings of frustration with the writing room. It is as if they’ve forgotten how a story arc works. This episode was a series of scenes like the they went around the room and said we a need a scene of this and we need a funny scene in a bar, etc. There was enough story of rescuing Hetty for the one episode. The Sidney stuff, the Moselt stuff, was unnecessary. This could have been a fabulous tactical episode like when they got Kenzi out of Afghanistan.

    Why do they keep doing This? Why can’t they see it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks peakae. I love your assessment of why this episode was so unsatisfying. The most distressing part to me is that it was written by one of my two favorite writers. I had much higher expectations of the episode exactly because of that.

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  5. Jess (bluenet13) // March 13, 2018 at 9:18 AM // Reply

    Thanks for another great review Karen. I’m equally happy for the show and these to finally be back. I don’t think you were too hard on it, as I’ve various complains too. I still liked the ep, was entertained all the way through and laughed at many scenes. But that’s also my main complain, as I think tension/angst should have been a bigger part of this one instead of all the humor.

    I also wanted more Vietnam and scenes of the actual rescue and aftermath, I got enough ops in episode 13 and wished they had taken out some of those and added more of what was really important. I wanted more of Chegwidden, Langston and Bridges, less Nell’s sister, and Hidoko and no Rio at all. As much as I enjoyed the personal scenes of the sisters and Eric standing up for Nell, it didn’t add anything relevant to the case and only took time from our favorite team.

    “I have given up trying to understand what the writers have intended with her character development so far.” This line describes my thoughts perfectly as I’m still not sure what the showrunners are trying to achieve with her character, for me she’s a huge fail at every department. “If they don’t look like they care, or can’t convey that they’re scared, how am I supposed to care or worry?” This was also perfect, I was never worried or felt they were in actual danger (like I did in Spoils of War) and that’s a shame and a big missed opportunity.

    Ultimately, I do think Hetty (and the showrunners) can get the show back on track. And as long as we have Deeks and Densi I won’t ever stop watching or lose hope that things can get better and return even a bit to the old NCISLA I fell in love with.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Jess! I love your assessment of Mosley. Can I borrow that line: “She’s a huge fail at every department.” Funny and accurate.

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  6. Karen, thanks for a really good review, and some really interesting thoughts on this episode. For a season 9 episode, I enjoyed this episode a lot. I thought the Vietnam rescue was classic NCIS LA. Linda Hunt was just outstanding as were ECO, COD, DR, and LL. I thought the Vietnam scenes were movie quality . This has not been a great season, I had absolutely no expectation of a “Spoils of War ” or a “Descent”.I was fearful, that what we would get was a rescue where Mosley’s condition for them to go would be Hidoko had to go along which would have meant Deeks got left behind since he is not an agent. I was not alone in this paranoia , I saw it posted several places on social media. I was lucky I had seen BTS early enough that I knew it was the core team to the rescue, however the fact that people thought it and posted it, gives you an indication of the fandom’s mindset at this point.

    So I am happy that the scenes in Vietnam were with the core team that I watch the show for and they were interacting with each other the way I have seen them interact since season 2 when I started watching . I am truly hoping that TPTB have started a “reset” of the “reset” and will try to bring the show back to where it was before season 9.

    I will rant a little now and agree with the majority that we needed more time in Vietnam for the rescue and less in ops. Hidoko’s part was absolutely superfluous in this episode , she did nothing to advance the plot line. They could have used the time to have at least one scene with our team before they boarded the helicopter talking about other rescues the team has done, or Kensi’s brush with death in a helicopter, or they could have had a meaningful scene with Deeks and Kensi regarding her accident. Instead we got a meaningless scene with Nell and Hidoko going through Hetty’s box and Hidoko having to go wash her hands which clearly was just a way to give a recurring character screen time .

    As far as Mosley, I agree with everything Psyched said . I cannot begin to understand why they would write such a character. As a woman, I am offended by her characterization. I find the notion that they have created a female character who is in a high level/position of authority from Washington, in a predominantly male field, who clearly is more worried about how people enter her office and sits around wringing her hands, while dressed at work, totally unprofessionally in a low cut dress, that is easily a size too small for her insulting to women.

    So to me the season 9 problem all along has been that they added two new characters that take way too much screen time and disrupt the rhythm of the show. If you add up all the time that Mosley and Harley used in this episode ( which I am going to bet is contract driven) ,and got rid of both of them in this episode, it would have given us a much better episode with a lot more time for the rescue in Vietnam. If Ed still did reviews for wikiDeeks I bet he would do the math on it .I miss Ed and his thoughts and comments from last year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sassy! Yes, I think I often enjoy episodes best if I’m able to manage my expectations. I agree with your description of Mosley, as well as the disruption of the two new characters. And yes- I miss Ed!!

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  7. Ditto to everything you said. I had the exact same reactions while watching it. I couldn’t see a thing when they were rescuing Hetty either.

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  8. Thank you for your great review Karen, and no, I don’t think you were too hard, you brought up excellent points. What I liked in this episode: the team working together, some good banter and the last scene was indeed beautiful.

    In that scene where the team were trying to pick the lock I really wished that Deeks had been the one who opens the door, it would had been great to see the competent and skilled Deeks be the “hero” (we don’t see that enough in my opinion). Storyline with Nell and her sister was great , the acting was great and they have good on-screen chemistry, but I agree with those “problems” that Karen mentioned in her review. In my opinion the Nell and Sydney storyline would had worked better in another episode and maybe for example give A.J and his friends more screentime in this episode.

    I am not a fan of Rio and the whole CIA storyline reminded me of that Joelle reveal and I have to admit that I really hope there aren’t anymore undercover/rogue CIA agents. I hope Hetty comes straight back to work, I have missed the character and Linda’s talent and maybe the return of Hetty will help me make me sense about Mosley’s character development, because I, too, have been really confused what the writers have intended with Mosley’s character development.

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    • Oooh, Anne, you totally inspired a thought with your “I hope there aren’t anymore undercover/rogue CIA agents” comment. What if the entire team are actually CIA operatives and none of them know it! Kensi and Deeks could have been assigned to seduce one another, Nell and Eric are each working for different handlers to try to get info on the rest of the team all while working so closely next to each other, and Sam and Callen are assigned to work in as many James Bond locations as possible. Maybe the only true NCIS employees here are Hidoko and Mosley. And of course, Hetty’s the one secretly pulling all the strings. Either that or she’s an autistic woman staring at a snow globe and imagining all this while she sits in a facility somewhere. (Please tell me someone gets that reference!) Hey, maybe she ought to write it down….bet it would make a helluva TV show.

      OK, I’ll go back to my corner now, since it’s obvious I’ve had a mental breakdown.

      Liked by 1 person

      • sassyzazzi // March 13, 2018 at 2:50 PM // Reply

        Psyched, Sorry, you cannot use that ending for this show, I will not give it away and spoil it for anyone else. My ending for this show is the ending they used on “Castle”, Kensi and Deeks five years in the future with a little boy and a little girl. I want to be able to watch endless reruns and enjoy my favorite episodes knowing my ship lives happily ever after.

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        • I can get behind that, Sassyzazzi. Just glad to know I’m not the only one who remembers that other show’s ending. A classsic, IMO.

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        • I, too, would love “Castle” kind of ending and I really hope that Deeks and Kensi will get “and they lived happily ever after”-ending when the show ends (hopefully there are still a lot of episodes to come before the show ends)

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      • After seeing the amount of CIA agents undercover/rogue something like that happening wouldn’t really shock me anymore 🙂
        Maybe Sabatino is really a NCIS employee too, he is just working undercover as a CIA agent 🙂

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        • Thanks Anne, and OMG you guys are hilarious!

          Psyched, your reference was familiar but I couldn’t place it so I looked it up. In case anyone’s interested, there’s an interesting story about what that snowglobe finale spawned: https://tinyurl.com/y8ump9xp

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          • Wow, that’s some universe Tommy Westphall has created. I’m beginning to wonder if I’m just a plot twist in his active mind! Shame he didn’t write fanfic! Thanks for the link, Karen.

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            • FYI…Not that I’ve spent any time looking at that Tommy Westphall Universe site, but it seems there’s some degree of connection between Tommy and NCIS: LA. Several levels down there’s this:
              “5.An episode ofDiagnosis Murder featured the fictional Oceanic airlines. Two episodes of JAG included the same fictional airline.
              a.Senator Edward Sheffield from First Monday appeared on JAG after First Mondaywas cancelled.
              b.JAG spunoff NCIS. NCIS’ backdoor pilot was a two part episode of JAG.i.NCIShas two spinoffs NCIS: New Orleans & NCIS: LA”

              So it seems the entire NCIS universe is just a figment of young Tommy Wetphall’s imigination as well! Who’da thunk such a young boy would do such a great job with the Densi ship!? Maybe we’ve been pleading with the wrong PTB to turn the show around….?

              Liked by 1 person

              • Whoa Psyched, you are blowing my mind! And I think we all may be plot twists in Tommy’s mind. Anyone who writes NCISLA fan fic must just be part of his imagination, right? And therefore, anyone who reads it?

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                • Exactly right, Karen! Hmm..so I’m thinking this just supports my fantasy to give up my day job and write fanfic full-time. I mean, if I do, it’s just because that’s what Tommy decided I should do, right? And I’m sure he’ll take care of me. Except, if anyone ever watched the show, some pretty bad things happened to the characters, so maybe not? I wouldn’t want to become another “Huffnagel on a halfshell.” Or be captured and tortured with a drill to the mouth within an hour of selling one of those fanfics as a book series. Or be sent to Afghanistan to kill my ex-finace the day after that book series turns into a multi-million dollar movie franchise. Ok, so I guess I’m going to keep my day job after all.

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  9. Karen, do you have any idea where they filmed the Buddhist monastery scenes in the LA area?
    I am just curious. Thanks.

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    • Hi Sassy, as a matter of fact I do. 🙂 It’s the gardens of the Huntington Library in San Marino. (San Marino is adjacent to Pasadena, northeast of downtown LA, and quite exclusive.) I believe they primarily used the Japanese Garden, which has that beautiful “moon bridge.” This trivia almost made its way into my review as yet another complaint but I deleted it – I’m not entirely sure that Vietnamese gardens bear much resemblance to those in Japan. But I was too tired to research it to know for sure. Anyway, the Huntington is a great day trip the next time you visit L.A.

      Like

      • sassyzazzi // March 14, 2018 at 9:35 AM // Reply

        Karen, thank you so much . I actually went to Huntington Gardens on one of my sojourns south , and they were quite beautiful, but I was only there a couple of hours. When I saw the show, I thought it looked like the Japanese Gardens there, but I really was not sure, since I did not remember it that well. So the fangirl in me wanted to know.One of the times I was in LA waze sent me down a street and I saw the Sandune Liquor store, I got so excited , I pulled over and took a picture, really silly fangirl here. Maybe you could do a short article on some of the Deeks relevant locations they have filmed, might be interesting for fans.Thanks again for the information.

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        • Sassy, I don’t think you’re silly. I’m just a little disappointed you didn’t go inside! 😉

          I have thought about writing the article you mentioned about filming locations, or even doing a series. Not sure when I will have the time though. I’ll definitely keep it in mind!

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  10. Thanks, Karen, for your great review. I agree with everything you said.

    I really missed NCIS:LA so much these past couple of months and I was so excited to see a new episode with a pivotal moment for the team, going to Vietnam to rescue Hetty. It reminded me of other key episodes like “Spoils of war”. But then everything was different, the tone itself was different, not even comparable and it was a disappointment. I expected something more, honestly, something this show had often been able to create in the past, that same magic. Maybe they “offered” the viewers too much (recurring characters, action sequences, Vietnam plot, LA plot, much talk) but with no depth.

    I do hope that this episode marked the “reset of the reset” (thanks sassyzazzi for this perfect definition!) and we can go back to what NCIS:LA was in the past.
    I also hope Hetty’s presence will help re-establish the pace and substance of the following episodes. I think the show needs her more than ever.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. It is bad when preview for the episode is better that the episode itself. Unfortunately this is what happened for the last episode. The preview was full of suspense and tension (especially when they were in the jungle) and episode wasn’t. It is something seriously wrong when Rio is the most funny and adorable character in the episode. Honestly (and I do not believe that I am about to write that), the best line of the show was Kensi saying to Rio something like “wink at me again and I will rip up your eye”. With all the hype and writing about saving Hetty I kinda expected this episode to actually be about saving Hetty, but instead it was about unresolved siblings and career issues, and that is the real issue for me.
    But not all was that bad as Deeks was looking great in his shirt and with little bit tamed hair. So if I decide to watch this episode ever again I will just fast forward to the scenes with Deeks. Yeah that’s how shallow I am, but R.S. Gemmill didn’t give me much choice.
    And the last but not the least, it is really good to have you back Karin. I see that you are still going strong. Great review!

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  12. Thank you for the wonderful review. I really missed the show and the great reviews. I was expecting Spoils of War and the tone was just off. I agree with many of the comments. I am closer to forgiving Betty than I thought I would be. She brings so much to the show. I am disappointed in the writers’ creation of Mosley. I don’t know what they wanted. Even though I did not like Granger at first his character was well defined. It is like they wanted another Betty and Granger in one character instead of creating someone fresh. Thank you all for the comments. Great exchange.

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    • Jan I agree with you about Granger. His character made slow, steady progress from completely unlikable to very likable. He was always the same person, he just slowly warmed up to the team and vice versa. There’s been nothing steady about Mosley’s characterization at all.

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  13. Kaytie G. Marek // March 15, 2018 at 7:11 PM // Reply

    Great review! I don’t think you were being too hard on the episode. There were some nice moments (Nell and her sister figuring out their relationship a bit, the lock pick scene, Nell standing up to Mosley and firmly advising her on what to do to help, and the Hetty rescue), but I agree somehow it didn’t all quite gel and felt a little lack luster. Some parts like the Rio guy felt out of place. I agree that the tiger at the end may have been a bit over the top and it didn’t feel comfortable to me for Hetty to go that far.

    I too noticed the similar lines such as dogs go mad. I figure Nell heard Kensi say it at some point. I did enjoy Kensi’s “What is happening?” Totally a Deeks thing to say! Hopefully more Deeks and more Densi next week.

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    • Thanks Kaytie! I like your theory about Nell overhearing Kensi’s line. And I appreciate your hopefulness that next week will be better!

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  14. Hey Karen!

    Thanks for giving us a great review and your unvarnished opinion about “Good-bye Vietnam”. I’ve read most of the reviews over the past week and am happy to see that most of them share my opinion of this episode. So, let me share my thoughts.

    I’ve been waiting to give my response to the episode, hoping that maybe like a fine wine, it would get better with age … well, my opinion hasn’t changed. Too many characters, too many side stories that stole from the main point of rescuing Hetty and bringing her home. I have mentioned before in some of my comments about other episodes, but the show doesn’t feel “real”. I’m a fan of various other shows and after watching some of them, I have been left with a myriad of emotions: from elation to hopelessness, from anger to frustration … and with my favorite show, I am left bored and sometimes confused with everything from the plot to how the characters react.

    “Good-Bye Vietnam was one of those episodes.

    I will be honest and say that after the first scene with Nell’s sister, I actually fast forwarded through them because I simply saw no point in having yet another extra character show up and add absolutely nothing to the story line (except maybe just one more distraction). They should have had Sabatino show up to round out all the redundant characters and maybe even Talia could have dropped by. They already had the OSP team and Hetty’s Three Wise Men on board … all the extras just gave me too much to keep up with.

    I was expecting a tense, emotion driven story where the drama and anticipation ramps up until the very last scene (remember the body shop and a drill?) … but with all of the poorly timed comic relief and the constant cutbacks to the operations center, I was frustrated before Rio showed up and then it all went down hill from there. The little excursion in the jungle made me cringe at the poor noise discipline exercised by almost everyone on the team. Really Kensi? You guys are in an area run by guy who is a drug dealer, a sex slave smuggler, and a local warlord … so you whistle loud enough to be heard from the International Space Station. The loud arguing about taking a leak in the woods was icing on the cake that simply was too much to keep the scene serious for the situation they were actually in. I guess they weren’t too worried about roving patrols, observation posts, or just some dude with good hearing. Also, a technical note … after the CGI helicopter drops them off, when it flies away, it appears that it “flies” right through a tree as it leaves.

    What happened to the show that gave us moments of “Sunshine and gunpowder”? Deeks screaming as his mouth is destroyed? Callen laying on the sidewalk in a pool of his own blood? I know that they can still do it (Michelle’s death was heart wrenching), but we seem to have lost our way as we near the end of the season. Other shows of the same genre and time slot, give us story lines that leave you breathless about what you just watched and maybe even wrestling with issues of conscience or morality. Hetty letting the tiger get a meal didn’t have the effect that it should have. But what if Keane, although shot, has enough fight left in him to outwit the guards, slip in unnoticed until the team arrives and saves Hetty from a stray bullet but he dies in the chopper on the way to freedom? What if one of Hetty’s old teammates takes a bullet while taking out the guards? What if Dang escaped, promising to finish Hetty off one day when she least expects it?

    Give us something with bite, where the “good-guys” don’t walk away unscathed, whether physically or emotionally. Have the bad guys lose, but the price paid for victory is a high one.

    I don’t think I’m asking too much, do you?

    Semper Fi

    JS

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    • Nope, you’re not asking too much at all, Jericho. I have no military experience and even I cringed at all the loud bickering and whistling when the were walking through the jungle. Did they think the rain would cover all that noise? Because, you know, people who regularly patrol there wouldn’t be tuned to hear sounds distinctly different from the pattering of the rain on the ground.

      Like

    • You are right on, old friend. The writing on this episode stunk, and the direction did as well. Why they felt it necessary to bring back Nell’s sister I have no idea. It was stunningly stupid. And Rio was even worse. Why did they need that buffoon? I was so angry with the episode I had trouble responding. What the hell happened to good storytelling?

      Like

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