This week’s NCIS: Los Angeles brought back a few characters from Callen’s past and while I’m normally less than excited by a Callen-centric episode, “The Prince,” well written by Andrew Bartels and solidly directed by Lily Mariye, turned out to be an entertaining and enjoyable team episode.
The Deeks and the Densi
The Densi interactions were solid throughout despite the rather disorienting wedding planning, which has apparently been set on some kind of endless loop. I liked the scene at the limo where they spoke briefly about a refreshingly different topic (equality for Saudi Arabian women) and Deeks spent the whole scene getting his glove on. I assume that was scripted but it felt silly enough to have been improv- maybe Eric Christian Olsen, not Deeks, was the one having trouble with that darn glove?
As much as I’m enjoying seeing an apparently happy Densi, I gotta say that the wedding planning is driving me a little nuts. The scene where Nell put them on the spot about picking a date was satisfying; Nell here, and even Sam later, both appeared to be speaking on behalf of Densi fans everywhere. The Ops scene was awkward and funny, and Deeks and Kensi deserved and needed to hear Nell’s questions and confusion.
I assumed these two would have used the previous three months to talk through their feelings, come to some compromises about their future plans, and get the wedding plans largely squared away. But nope, not so much. I mean, last year we had Kensi begging Deeks to take some of the wedding planning off of her shoulders, implying it was underway, and we saw them look at venues and talk about the guest list. Wasn’t there even a deleted scene on the topic? I guess that doesn’t count as canon though. Now it feels like we’re starting over and I’m as confused as Nell and more than a bit discouraged.
There is one scenario here that could make me very happy, and that’s if these two have utterly failed to address the disparate visions for their future that became so clear at the end of last season. Maybe they simply went back to pretending everything was fine, living in denial just as they did all of Season 9. Only since they know they’re not on the same page, they’ve procrastinated moving ahead with the plans. This scenario would fit well with these two characters’ history of poor communication skills and perhaps mutual fear of ending up back where they were with “A Line in the Sand.” And it would give us the opportunity to see them work through those issues together. That’s likely wishful thinking on my part, but I’m going to keep hoping it’s part of what Eric Christian Olsen described to us as “some pretty emotional and amazing scenes coming up” that lead to the wedding.
My other dream for these two has been a simple beach wedding without all the craziness they’ve discussed (I seem to recall a choreographer and a chocolate fountain?). I don’t find the elaborate wedding touches to be super in character and I’m hoping for something simpler and/or more unconventional, like we got with Kensi’s proposal. That sure doesn’t seem to be where we’re heading, but again, until proven otherwise I shall continue on with my wishful thinking. I just can’t believe the showrunners who brought us that special combination of “sunshine and gunpowder” really want to see these two tie the knot in a traditional way.
Rant of (Next) Week
If last week’s rant could be about the opening credits, this week’s can be about the promo for next week’s “Hit List.” So Mosley is back in OSP and barking out orders again? I thought there were going to be consequences, but I guess only for Hetty, and probably only because Linda Hunt needed time off to recover from her accident. We’ve been over this before. Although every member of the team has gone rogue in the past, they’ve done so at risk to their own lives while trying to exclude others to keep them safe. Mosley on the other hand threatened people’s jobs if they didn’t break the law, fired Deeks, and bullied everyone else into an off-the-books mission in a foreign country where one of her team died and the rest almost did. Under what circumstances could she possibly be allowed back in charge of any group, let alone that same one?
I could accept Granger as an initially unlikeable character because his motives were usually good, or at least mysterious. But he could show more depth of character in a single baleful glance than Mosley can no matter how much stomping around she does in her high heels. Granger was fun to hate; Mosley just raises my blood pressure. I’m not interested in her unless all her scenes involve Hetty tormenting her by sitting at her desk. Otherwise please take her away.
Oh, right, this episode was about Callen and his past. I have to say that I couldn’t possibly explain Joelle’s (Elizabeth Bogush) story to date, so I’m not super clear on whether she’s always been 100% good, but I didn’t mind her here. And having DSS Agent Brian Bush (Drew Waters), the man who had taken away Callen’s father, come back in a more nuanced role was a nice touch. I appreciated how well he and Callen managed to work together as professionals. Callen just seemed understandably sad and little tired throughout, seemingly resigned to an endless loop of finding and losing family as well as girlfriends.
Thankfully Nell and Eric provided a couple of cute moments with Nell using a kiss to easily assuage Eric’s hurt feelings over finding out Joelle was alive, along with their discussions of “hidden voyeuristic fantasies” and fetishes. Seeing Eric comically try to fend off Joelle made me laugh even as it added more proof that Field Agent Beale was and always will be a terrible idea. And as much as I dislike Field Agent Nell, her pulling that weapon out from under her desk was a very cool move.
The best scene of the episode was the quiet one between the prince and Sam as they discussed where they’d like to die. That they took time out from the action to share the exchange made us care ever so slightly about the prince’s fate, and reinforced how much depth Sam Hanna has (he’s no Mosley!). That Sam would want to end his life in Michelle’s final resting place moved me, and added to my feelings thinking about him out on his boat. I even appreciated the hushed sound of the hotel room, isolated above the city and rushing cars below, which really helped to set the scene apart from everything else.
- Seriously, is Mosley really coming back to stay? (And is it wrong of me to root for the cartel?)
- Did the ending set up a possible Joelle-Callen reconciliation? Will Callen ever find true and lasting love?
- More importantly, is it possible that any of my wishful thinking about Densi wedding plans has a chance of coming true? (Let me down easy, people.)
The entire hour just felt right, well balanced and with so many of the team interactions we’ve been craving. And all in all, the team did just fine without anyone supervising their actions or second-guessing their decisions. In fact, the lack of additional team members/supervisors allowed the core team more time to work together, which is really at the end of the day what we tune in to watch. See, we don’t need Mosley at all- surely there’s some other NCIS operation that needs her hands-on touch?
What did you think of “The Prince”? Are you good with the state of the wedding plans? Did you enjoy Joelle’s reappearance? How did you like the team dynamic? Tell us all about it in the Comments below!