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Review: NCISLA “Hit List” (S10E04)


This week’s NCIS: Los Angeles episode “Hit List,” written by showrunner R. Scott Gemmill and skillfully directed by wikiDeeks friend(!) Eric Pot, brought Gemmill’s trademark blend of “comedy, action and drama” that Eric Christian Olsen described in our recent interview. Unfortunately most of the drama centered around EAD Mosley, but the comedy and action were indeed enjoyable.

The Deeks and the Densi

Cute seemed to be the adjective to describe all the Densi interactions this week. They were adorable in the opening wedding cake scene, with the two in a playful mood that’s been largely missing from their interactions. Even if Kensi seems a bit out of character intense about the whole thing, the dynamic between them still felt tension-free. Deeks coming clean with the truth that the cake doesn’t really matter gave the scene a bit more comedy but it also struck at the truth, which hopefully these two will [eventually] get to, that none of these elaborate plans matter. It looks like we may have to wait another couple of months for that to happen. I shall attempt to remain patient.

The duo was pretty adorable sneaking around the mission to read lips (Kensi has great vision- I’d have needed binoculars!), messing with Sabatino, bantering about bones of contention, and looking amazing running down the suspect in the alley. I also liked Deeks “forgetting” he’s a lawyer, as well as his nice frisbee skills. I wonder how many takes that shot took? And did Eric Christian Olsen save the stuntwoman from landing on her head? It looked like she was close to a really bad landing.

Rant of the Week

Let me first refer you back to last week’s rant, which was about the many reasons Mosley is never going to be a likeable character and why she should be out of a job and off the show. I could/should stop there, but when have I ever been that concise?

The whole DOJ-special-prosecutor-coming-in-to-investigate-the-entire-team storyline makes for a major case of déjà vu. I believe we’ve seen this scenario play out at least two(?) other times, right down to having said investigator set up shop in the gym. It was painful to watch Eric questioned; the whole time I kept worrying that he really needed his own attorney before he said something that could get him sent to prison. Gemmill’s desire to treat the investigation for laughs here didn’t sit well with me. Eric (and the rest of the team) should be angry about Mexico and afraid of the possible consequences.

The tone at least felt more appropriate in the final scene with Sam and Mosley, where he admonished her to make things right. Seeing her feel sorry for herself over trying to reconnect with her son, after all the trouble/death she caused, didn’t make her any more likeable though. Sam was way too patient and understanding if you ask me. (And I’m just being paranoid, right, by thinking that they might be trying to steer these two characters together? Please tell me I’m just delusional, please?)

Because of Mosley, the entire team is now at risk and will be for the foreseeable future, yet again she expresses no regret or even acknowledgment of their plight. Of course, she looks to be taking her lawyer’s advice and is only out for herself. Please show, please tell me this is all leading to seeing her get her comeuppance, either by being fired, going to jail, or at least leaving for witness protection.

One more piece to this rant and then I’ll stop… Are we just to assume that Mosley has already apologized to the team, expressed her tremendous regret over the loss of Hidoko and all that the rest suffered, and then hired Deeks back? The show clearly wants to get the season off to a quick start so has decided to gloss over any and all conversations about Mexico that don’t involve special prosecutors, but it’s really frustrating to miss out on such important talks and to not even be sure whether they’ve happened. Would it be too hard to drop a few allusions to previous discussions?

Everything Else

So Gemmill’s dramatic elements let me down, but he and Pot more than made up for it in comedy and action. The episode was so chock full of funny lines that I found myself watching with a smile on my face. This was the funniest episode in a long time. The amusing moments flew by at a steady pace from nearly every character, including…

  • Keane joking about Sonny and Cher. Probably the weakest attempt at humor but hey, the guy is still adjusting to life as a free man, and still catching up on pop culture.
  • Sabatino accusing Callen of turning into Matlock (“I actually prefer Baretta”)
  • Kilbride complaining (still) about flavored coffee, referencing the Von Trapp family and trying to hold a conversation with a video-game playing child
  • Callen in pretty much every scene, but definitely when explaining his reasons for failing to assist Sam at the gym (“I don’t speak Thai”) and suggesting Sam in storm trooper garb would look like a transformer
  • Eric referencing Harry Potter and squirming so much on his seat that he did a full 360° turn
  • Super serious Ochoa telling Callen to consider celibacy
  • And even the composer of the episode’s score, including a Western twang when Eric attempted to incorporate cowboy terminology into his vocabulary

The action was great too. The opening scene had me wondering if Frank Military might have written the episode, what with the creepy bad guy chilling in the pool next to the dead bodies, and then looking to take out a little girl selling lemonade. What? Whoa. It was an attention-grabbing and uniquely unsettling opening, even compared to all the other grisly versions we’ve seen.

Also of note was the funny scene where Sam found himself taking on a bunch of good Samaritans in the gym. And the scene at the house where the team took out the hit people (is that the correct term?) was beautifully directed. I loved how menacing the initial conversation felt, only to turn downright frightening as soon as Sam and Callen entered the house and we saw how well armed the whole group was. Watching the team work in near silence to take out the bad guys upped the suspense even more. But what was up with the room full of knives? Again it felt downright Militaryesque. That’s not a bad thing at all, just a little unexpected.

Remaining Questions

  • Will Esai Morales’ somber Deputy Director Ochoa loosen up at all? At least he seemed to be on the side of the good guys. They need all the help they can get without Hetty.
  • What will happen to the rest of the team moving forward? Will more hit people keep showing up at their door? I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of this storyline.
  • Will we get enough emotional Densi moments to sustain us through the endless wedding planning between now and February?
  • How soon will Linda Hunt/Hetty return and will she rescue us from Mosley?

What did you think of “Hit List”? Am I too hard on Mosley? Is anyone out there actually shipping her and Sam? Did you laugh as much as I did at all the funny lines? Tell us your thoughts in the Comments below!

About Karen P (193 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 “Hit List” (S10E04)

  1. Thanks for the review Karen. Gotta agree on it all. That was a great episode, way above what we saw in season 9, that makes the frustration for the missing post-mexico questions forgivable.

    A major question for me was, why did they change the actor playing the kid? I found it super disturbing. He seems to have aged 3-4 years in the process, from an innocent young child to an annoying preteenager

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks frost! I think they changed the actor because the original kid got another job. It’s funny, because I didn’t really think about it but you’re right, he did seem a bit older. I think my general unhappiness with all things Mosley blinded me to the change.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. On what planet does a person get to keep their job if they are directly responsible for an unofficial operation that gruesomely killed one agent, seriously injured three others, outed a deeply embedded undercover agent, the cost of all the resources she used in the unofficial op for personal reasons — two helicopters and the manpower to mount a rescue come to mind, it’s not cheap, folks — and stirred up a hornet’s nest of a cartel? I understand there’s an investment in person’s career from NCIS side but this isn’t stealing office supplies.

    And where does that person get off complaining that her life is so hard because she’s a woman and it’s different for her? Get the eff out of our show, lady.

    I don’t even know if I can watch for a while if this doesn’t get meaningful resolution.

    Kilbride oh so brilliant in every scene.
    The scenes you mentioned were terrific. A great opening. The 360 fidget.
    DD Ochoa has potential, I like that he’s on our side, but I’d also like a little more spark to him.

    Densi wedding stuff — which seems like we’ve already covered — is going to get very old very fast. I love them but come on …. and they deserve better than this silliness at this point.

    Sigh. I love that our favorite show is back, I am, but I want …. better. Not recycled scenes/storylines from previous seasons. I want bold, strong, meaningful stories that involve the team being tactical and overwhelming emotions. So I guess this rant is directed at the writers and TPTB.

    Liked by 3 people

    • peakae rants are always welcome here. Hope it made you feel better! I agree with your desire for “bold, strong, meaningful stories.” That’s maybe why I get frustrated when the show doesn’t achieve it, because I know they’re capable of so much.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Brenda (@bpnp) // October 23, 2018 at 9:32 AM // Reply

    Great review Karen!

    You were not too hard on Mosley, if anything – too kind. I agree with peakae – in what universe does she even have a job?!? I am all for strong women and strong characters, but self-pity for entirely predictable consequences (which are actually quite minimal thus far) is not strength. It’s classic bully – “I don’t do well when I’m cornered” – bluster and then crocodile tears if challenged slightly or held accountable. The lack of integrity on top of that… ugh. So her response to Sam telling her she needs to make it “right” is to approach the investigator in a dark car to see how she can make it “go away.” Those are quite different. All of this would irk me slightly less if she wasn’t in the opening credits. Her appearing there (ahead of ECO & DR!!!) suggests she is someone we are going to be stuck with for a while and that makes the ugh factor so much more UGH!!!!!! They have done a good job having well-written, thoughtfully constructed villains and anti-heroes in prior seasons. This is just a dumb, annoying mess of a character that needs to go away.

    I would start in on how a “team investigation” (again) instead of a focus on the rogue AED who threatened her team makes no sense and is the worst kind of deja vu from similar prior investigations, but I think we’re only allowed one rant per post 😉 So many interesting things from prior seasons that were unresolved and could be fleshed out (the box!!!), why are we rehashing the team investigation storyline?

    Rants aside, I did enjoy the episode – nice blend of serious case, good action scenes and lots of well-done humor. I’m really enjoying Kilbride. Although no one can replace Miguel Ferrer, Kilbride hits a similar tone of gruffness, experience, with a barely perceptible undertone of kindness and compassion.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I forgot to add to Mosely’s list “threatening to fire Neric if they didn’t follow her non-sanctioned orders.”

      Liked by 2 people

    • Brenda I enjoyed your rants, and you are always welcome to share more than one. (I’m pretty sure I fit about 3 or 4 separate ones into my “rant of the week”.) You totally made me laugh when I got to the end of your comments to see that you enjoyed the episode. That’s exactly how I felt- I was super frustrated with one aspect but overall enjoyed the humor and action.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Karen thanks again for another insightful review. I am still basking in the happiness that it appears the show I love is back. The energy and chemistry between all the characters, and the team members which seemed pretty non-existent to me last season seems back and for now that is enough to make me really like an episode.

    This was a good solid team episode , lots of what the show does best, action, humor, and really fast paced. I thought the humor and chemistry between Deeks and Kensi was excellent. The scene with Deeks knocking the girl off the fire escape with a trash lid thrown like a frisbee was just classic and awesome, really well done. Kilbride is a joy and the addition of Ochoa is working well.

    Now for the Mosley rant. She needs to be held accountable for what she did and then be gone. She is unethical and apparently everyone in her life is unethical. The father of her child was an arms dealer and we are supposed to believe she ( a trained agent who is qualified to be an executive director) did not know it. Then in this episode they introduce her horrible unethical lawyer who basically says throw Hetty ( because she is old) and the rest of the team all of whom have risked their lives for their country under the bus so you are okay. I said it last season and I will end with it, she is a terrible role model for women as a manger/leader. She needs to be gone.

    Liked by 3 people

    • sassyzazzi I totally agree that the energy of the show feels restored and that’s oh so enjoyable and encouraging. I enjoyed your rant about Mosley too!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ryan Collins // October 23, 2018 at 10:44 AM // Reply

    Just curious but why are you assuming the wedding won’t happen till February? There’s 3 open weeks open in January for episodes. January 6th,13th,and 27th.

    As for Mosley, it’s interesting because starting with the press release for 10×07 Nia Long is no longer listed in the cast. So I’m pretty sure we’ll see her one more time then she’s gone

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ryan I’m assuming it won’t happen until February because R. Scott Gemmill isn’t writing the Christmas episode (although my secret wish is that he really is, co-writing it with Erin Broadhurst, and they’re going to surprise us with a Christmas wedding). So if it’s after the holidays, I think they’ll wait until February to air it because it’s sweeps month, when the ratings are much more important than they are in January. I’d hope that if they promote it (hopefully without too many spoilers!), they could bring in some big ratings.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, and I hope you are correct about the press releases indicating Nia Long’s imminent departure- that could mean she’d be going away the episode after next!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I want to share a couple of things I took away from this episode. One dark and one bright. The scene where Mosley pops up in the back seat of the DOJ investigator was quite ominous and scary as hell. Is she about to sacrifice Hetty to insure her own survival? If so, the powers that be might have decided to make that character a true villainess. They must know fans don’t like her or trust her, not to mention they have dressed her in black like they did in the final episodes of last season, putting her on the dark side cinematically. I for one would welcome that outcome. She is a very good at being bad. If they could turn sweet Joelle into a villainess, this flip should be easy.

    As for the bright spot…for me it was Callen’s phone call from Hetty at the end. Hetty is in hiding and using a device to mask her true voice, so she knows she’s in danger and that the others are as well. It was a great development, except when Callen yelled her name into the phone. That didn’t make a lot of sense, especially for a seasoned agent. He could have said something in Russian. Just sayin’. But, it felt good just to know that Hetty is still in play. I found myself smiling at this unexpected turn. Callen cares deeply for her, and seeing that always makes me smile. If Mosley turns on Hetty, I will expect fireworks.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lindy, you and Ryan are giving me some hopeful ways to interpret events around Mosley. I love the idea that they’ve decided to make her a full on villainess. It would be really fun if they turned her super dark and left her out there as another enemy of the team (kinda like you did with Granger in your stories Judgment and Vengeance). It’s funny because your explanation makes a lot of sense. I think I’ve just come to lack a little trust that the showrunners will see things the same way we all do. My fingers are crossed!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. First of all, Karen, many thanks for your review, I am in agreement with everything you wrote there.

    I am really glad the show I love the most is back with good, solid episodes and the great balance of all the ingredients that for me have always made NCIS: LA unique (banter, action, humor, partnership, friendship, family, love, amazing chemistry). I have said more than once that last season all this seemed suddenly gone (in my opinion), so now I am more than happy to welcome this blend back.

    Unfortunately, what I honestly can’t stand no matter what is Mosley. I can’t help it, she was unbearable in Season 9 when she was first introduced, I had been waiting for her to find the right pace and “style” in OPS, I had hoped for her redemption (hoping the authors would listen to the massive negative feedback the character had been receiving) but that moment never came, on the contrary, Mosley became even less likable if that was possible. So I patiently waited all hiatus to see what the showrunners had in store for her after the Mexican unsanctioned mission, after firing Deeks, after almost getting all the four members of the team killed, after getting Hidoko killed, after killing her son’s father, after everything she did with her trademark smirk on. And… nothing, nada, she’s still there as if nothing happened, even more obnoxious, which I couldn’t believe possible last year. Let’s see how many more episodes we will have to stand her.

    About Densi, I enjoyed all their scenes together, both the action and the wedding planning ones (even if I am so looking forward to their wedding also to listen to some different conversations between those two from that moment on). The only thing I am sorry about is I can’t agree with Deeks this time: dear Marty, wedding cake DOES matter, and not only symbolically (I am with Kensi). But I guess Deeks won the first prize as fiancé of the year with “I like when you choose”. Who wouldn’t like to hear that? Evidently not Kensi. Who would have said one of the most determined, independent and stubborn characters would be so undecided to plan her wedding? I am still hoping for a more in character, simple beach wedding (let’s cross our fingers!).

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Thanks Karen for another great review! I Loved this episode from start to finish, obviously not so much the Mosley scenes, but, it gave me a chance to shout at the tv which I always enjoy! The fact that she could even think about dumping it all on Hetty just shows she has got to GO. Loved the humour (British spelling!) and can’t wait for next week!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. amusement345 // October 24, 2018 at 12:35 PM // Reply

    Great review, Karen. I agree about both the highs and the lows. One of the things that attracts me to the show is the humor, so even when the dramatic logic and/or continuity seems to be lost, there’s always something positive to fall back on.

    Lindy, you make a great point about the direction Mosley seems to be taking. She was frighteningly cold in the premiere, when she took out each of the three men seated in the car, one by one. Maybe they’ve decided she’s irredeemable. Which would be a good thing.

    One thing that bothered me in the finale last year (which was the first episode I’d ever seen!) was that Mosley and her son were written as having been separated since he was a very young child, yet he ran right into her arms. No way, says I. And he definitely wouldn’t be having a hugging relationship with her now. She’s a stranger to him.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks amusement! Let’s all cross our fingers that they’ve decided Mosley is irredeemable. It sure doesn’t feel like they intended that path for her from the beginning, but as long as that’s where they’ve ended up, we could still enjoy a satisfying end to her.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Great review, as always, Karean. Wish I had time to do more than skim through all of the comments, especially all the rants. I’ll just have to assume they covered everything I would have said. I will admit to having my attention divided when I watched the show, so maybe I’m wrong about this, but did Sam seem kind of inconsistent re: Mosley in this ep? It seemed to me their talk in the armory was relatively supportive (Sam of Mosley, that is) and then he made a comment up in ops that suggested he didn’t trust her. Sam doesn;t seem the type to say one thing to a person’s face and then something else behind their back. I did like that he told her she needed to fix things with the team (among other things) at the end.

    Oh, and ok, mini Mosley rant here, sorry if someone already said this. But I feel no sympathy for this woman who lost her son for five years, finally gets him back, and then whines about how she thought it would be easier to raise him (as she dumps him on someone else). Let’s not consider what Derrick might be going through, after just having lost his father and the way of life he’s known for the last several years. Just continue to think and worry about yourself, Ms. EAD. It’s obviously served you so far.

    Like

    • Psyched you made me laugh with your reluctant rant. Mosley sure seems to inspire a lot of strong – and negative – feelings. I wonder if there are closet Mosley lovers out there who don’t feel comfortable speaking up, or if the viewers are unanimous in their feelings on the subject?

      Like

      • Guess we’ll have to check out all the fan pages and sites for the Shay Mosley character. Wait, there are none? I suppose that answers that question! And it really is unfortunate that TPTB couldn’t make hers a more well-rounded, likeable (or at least respectable–as in someone who earns our respect) role for the viewers.

        Like

        • OMG Psyched you are hilarious! Love the sarcasm. And you’re right, it’s too bad she couldn’t have been at least more consistently written. Last season they were all over the place, changing her behavior from week to week. At least this year she’s been consistently terrible.

          Like

  11. Marti Harris // October 27, 2018 at 8:57 PM // Reply

    Love love wikideeks. Glad to see there are people who love this show as much as I do. I just discovered this show a few months ago but have now watched all 9 seasons. Anyway thanks for the great site!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Welcome Marti! It’s always nice to hear from people who are newly obsessed. We look forward to your continuing comments about the show.

      Like

    • I really do love knowing that people are still discovering this show 10 years into it! Not just because it bodes well for a Season 11, but also because then I don’t feel so bad for not catching on until S7!

      Like

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