This week’s episode of NCIS: Los Angeles, written by Chad Mazero and Jordana Lewis Jaffe, was largely a return to form for the show in the way it utilized the structure that once made it great. Directed by Rick Tunell, it focused on the core partnerships, even if a couple of proverbial third wheels tagged along. Happily the extra wheels stayed out of the way, making for an enjoyable team episode. If there wasn’t so much change afoot with Densi, I’d have enjoyed it a lot.
People are all the same
Wow, we didn’t just get one opening with an outside-of-work partner scene, we got two! Mazero and Jaffe must have been trying to make up for all the lost time from most of this season. While I don’t get too googly-eyed over Neric, I was so happy for all the Neric shippers out there. How exciting for them to have not just a bedroom scene, but a near kiss in Ops! I very much enjoyed seeing them interrupted by Hetty. Sorry Neric, but consider that just a little payback for all the times you interrupted Densi.
What I liked about these Neric scenes is that they were great, but they didn’t overpower the episode. Throughout, it felt like there was plenty of time to give everyone their due (everyone in the core cast, that is). Sam and Callen had great banter and very funny lines at the expense of third wheel FBI Agent Zoe Morris, “the genetic hybrid between Clarice Starling and Tinkerbell.” She’s a truly ridiculous character and I don’t find her at all realistic, but she makes me laugh. She’s spunky but not in an annoying way. The actress who played her, Erin Way, more than kept up with Chris O’Donnell and LL Cool J, and all her scenes had a great energy to them. I also enjoyed Victor, played by Adam Chambers, a classic clueless NCIS:LA bad guy whose scenes also consistently made me laugh.
The only character (other than Kensi- see below), who was definitely not her usual self was Mosley. Just who was that woman who greeted Sam and Callen in the bullpen? She looked exactly like Mosley and yet nothing about her behavior- making small talk, telling them to “Be well”- was at all familiar. I think her twin has secretly replaced her, or perhaps she’s been the victim of a secret government mind-control experiment.
Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got
How refreshing was it to get a full serving of Densi, with multiple scenes shot off the Paramount lot for good measure? It felt so like old times. It made me sad to see how far we’ve deviated from the successful formula the show’s relied on for so long. This is what it should always be, but alas, it simply may not be possible anymore.
Kensi: So he’s a free spirit. He didn’t want to be bogged down by love or time of day… What?
Deeks: What? No, you don’t get to “what.” We get to “what.”
Kensi: I can “what” if I wanna “what.”
Hidoko: Yes, “what” all you want but you sound whack.
Deeks & Hidoko: Seriously?
Kensi: OK, listen, we don’t know who this guy is. But if he was a Marine then I’m rooting for him the whole way, which means until we know details, I’m filling in the blanks in the best way possible. Simple as that.
Deeks: Well, whoever he was, he is very lucky to have you on the case.
Kensi: Thank you.
Harley: Found something.
Deeks: Whatcha got?
Harley: It’s a napkin for… a coffee truck off of Figueroa.
Kensi: I’ll drive.
Deeks: You’ll understand why when you ride in the back seat. Not pretty!
Deeks: I’m just saying she’s a terrible driver.
Deeks: There’s a way you can get two seatbelts on. Probably your best bet.
Kensi: You’re such a jerk.
This armory scene was a good example of the third wheel not getting in the way. In fact, she took Deeks’ side, and he doesn’t get that kind of support too often. Deeks and Hidoko were cute with their joint “Seriously’s.” But even though the two tease Kensi, it’s still a nice Densi scene. Like always (and very much in character), Kensi plans on sticking up for the dead Marine until they know more. Deeks notes her reasoning, and tells her the dead guy is lucky to have her on his side. He’s obviously speaking from personal experience. I know that Deeks always appreciates Kensi’s bad-ass skills, but here he’s complimenting her heart and loyalty, and I found it a very sweet moment. Of course the scene ends with more teasing, but hey, that’s Densi too.
Taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot
The opening Densi workout scene was a typical Densi scene. I wish I could call it “classic,” since we’ve seen so many similar scenes before. It felt like old times, exactly what we should consistently see from them. Unfortunately, their discussion made me a little sad. I know Kensi has a secret lacy lady side, but chocolate fountains are so not their style. That kind of wedding is not what I want for them, and I don’t believe it’s what they want for themselves. Maybe they have a touch of whatever is going on with Mosley? Or maybe Kat, Mindy, Mandy and the two Tiffany’s are being bad influences? Until the wedding happens, I intend to continue holding out hope that they’ll elope to the beach.
In this scene, I didn’t blame Kensi for failing to register Deeks’ seriousness about the bar. Given his history of wacky investment ideas, there’s no reason to take it seriously. Until he shares his feelings about his job in a clear way, I don’t know that it will sink in for her just how desperate he is to leave, and just how much their lives seem about to change. Direct Deeks needs to make an appearance!
Later, in a nice team boatshed scene, Deeks’ secret comes out for everyone to mock. I can’t blame them though given his history. This time we learned about a few schemes that never made it into an episode- French running classes, oak tree farming, and museum docent all get added to the list. It was nice to see that Callen had kept Deeks’ confidence, maybe even from Sam. Poor Deeks, he’s had just a few too many crazy ideas for anyone to take him seriously, sadly Kensi included.
Wouldn’t you like to get away?
That was quite a final scene. How wonderful to have the whole team together. It’s too bad Hetty couldn’t have joined them. These scenes have become a rarity, which of course made the whole thing rather bittersweet. Except for Kensi, everyone was nicely written and the whole conversation felt natural and funny, generating a strong sense of team camaraderie.
Deeks: Well, what do you think?
Nell: Well, definitely never been here before.
Eric: That’s because it’s been condemned.
Callen: You know, I got some pretty simple tastes, but this is… I don’t know what this is.
Sam: I think it’s a bomb shelter…
Kensi: Sweetie, my moon, my stars? Where have you taken us?
Deeks: Well, Sugar Bear, we uh, we’re at our bar.
Eric: I’m sorry, you paid money for this?
Nell: Well I guess you can’t take it with you…
Deeks: … the person that owns this place is letting me take it for a spin.
Kensi: Oh my god, this is serious. You’re not just making some fleeting plan again.
Deeks: I mean, think about today, think about Gabe Schoeder. There are literally hundreds of Gabe Schroeders out there just lookin’ for a place to hang their hat once in while, you know? A good place to see a familiar face and we can give that to ‘em. I mean hell, we can give that to ourselves, right?
Deeks: Right? Baby? What? Why are you not saying anything, you’re freakin’ me out. Baby, talk to me… You’re circling me like a shark. Baby, what are you thinkin’?
Kensi: I’m thinking we’re buying a bar.
Deeks: Really? What? Aw, I thought you were goin’ a different direction with that for a second ‘cause I, that’s why I brought everybody here, to protect me in case you tried to stab me with a fork.
Kensi: Deeks you have a bar.
Deeks: Ah, correction, actually, we have a bar.
Kensi: Oh my god! [They hug.]
Callen: I think this calls for a toast. Kens and Deeks, huh?
I think Deeks’ true state of mind, aside from being terrified of Kensi’s reaction, reveals itself when he says “we can give that to ourselves.” He’s obviously motivated not by a need for investment property, but for a way out of his current bullet-riddled lifestyle. I love the way he pauses before telling her, “we’re at our bar.” Eric Christian Olsen is great here. Despite the jokes from the rest of the gang, he conveys Deeks’ nervousness and vulnerability. This could have gone very, very badly for him.
And that brings me to my problem with the scene. First, Kensi’s harsh, almost comical “Huh?” when he tells her felt discordant with the tone ECO was setting. Here Deeks is obviously nervous, and Kensi takes longer than I’d have expected to pick up on it. Still, as she walks to the end of the bar she does let it sink in, and her initial acceptance, her “I’m thinking we’re buying a bar,” was about as positive as Deeks had a right to expect. She sounded a little overwhelmed, yet she sensed that it was important to him so she went along with it. I liked her reaction in that moment.
But a second later, she’s truly celebrating with him, and that didn’t feel entirely in character to me. There are so many questions that should be running through her mind at this point. How much might it cost to get this derelict structure repaired and operational? Who is going to put in the time to oversee it? If it’s Deeks, then what does that mean for their work partnership? When will they ever see one another if she works days and he works nights? If she gets pregnant, will he be willing to sell this bar and get a day job? Or does she not need to worry about pregnancy risk since she’s never going to spend time with him? This decision has huge ramifications for their life together, and I just don’t see Kensi being quite so willing to spontaneously celebrate this decision, one made without consulting her.
I desperately need the follow-up conversation that surely came as they were driving home. The one where they actually talk about what is going on. And I even more desperately need for this to not be another one of those instances where key things happen off-screen. I want to understand this decision and I want to hear Deeks explain it.
You wanna be where you can see the troubles are all the same
One old Season 2 conversation that keeps popping into my head is this one from “Absolution”:
Deeks: Well, I don’t know about you guys, but I could use a drink.
Sam: You’d be better off getting a good night’s sleep. Don’t let alcohol become your chosen form of stress management.
Deeks: I’m not stressed, man, but I’m buyin’.
Sam: Then I’m in.
Now, I don’t worry that current Deeks is going to develop a drinking problem, but I am saying that current Deeks is stressed out. The writers have spent a lot of time developing this storyline over the course of the entire season, so I really hope they help us understand it before season’s end. As Eric said, “The end is nigh,” and it doesn’t feel like the end is going to be particularly happy, at least for us Deeks fans. If we’re going to have a bittersweet ending due to a departure or dialing back of ECO’s time, can we at least have one that makes sense for these characters?
- I suppose I should be grateful we’ve gotten as much Densi as we have. I cannot imagine the frustration of the Neric fans out there who’ve been missing out on an entire relationship. So not fair!
- When Deeks said of Schroeder, “Whoever he was, he is very lucky to have you on the case,” I totally channeled Deeks’ correction to Thapa about his partner in “The Frozen Lake,” when he said “She’s the bravest.”
- That was a nice jump ECO made when chasing bad guy Victor. And should I say good tackle David? On the other hand, it seemed like an unnaturally long stretch of silence when they first walked up the stairs. Not sure whether that was awkward direction or the (lack of) writing.
- I didn’t exactly follow Hetty’s comparisons when she chatted with Callen. It felt like a stretch, just a way to work Anna’s shooting into the story in order to foreshadow next week.
- Wow that was a hot moment when Deeks covered for Kensi in the shootout. On the other hand, I’m not sure why they didn’t shoot at the fleeing truck.
- Did you notice all the street art during the shoot-out scenes? The downtown Los Angeles Arts District is filled with it. Next time you’re in town, I highly recommend a graffiti tour!
- It was nice that they showed up for Schoeder’s funeral. After all, they were the only ones who knew his name. (Get it?)
- I’m sorry, but was Harley’s cover really supposed to cover half her face, or was the camera angle just awkward because she’s so small?
- The bar scene was beautifully lit. Nothing too artsy, but enough to give the scene some atmosphere.
- By the way, the headings above are taken from the Cheers theme song, written by Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo.
Only two more weeks left in the season! Buckle up, this could get emotional. Before the next episode airs, come back to wikiDeeks for new installments of Deeks’ Surf Log and Kensi’s Journal. Also, there’s still time to enter our drawing for one of three fantastic autographed Densi images.
So what did you think of “Everybody Knows Your Name?” Who felt in character to you, and who didn’t? Did you enjoy the full helping of Densi? How did you react to the final scene? Tell us all about it in the Comments below.