Review: NCISLA “One of Us” (S10E07)
For this week’s case, we get a murdered arms dealer who appears to have been killed by someone with special-forces training and experience. Callen, along with Arkady Kolchek, visit Anna in prison where she is awaiting sentencing. Noticeably absent (even from the opening credits) is Mosley and I can’t say that I really missed her. Okay, I didn’t miss her at all and hope that Hetty is back before the Assistant Director is seen again at OSP.
Okay, let’s jump into “One of Us” and see what we got this week!
After the arms dealer’s death and then the opening credits, we come to my first gripe. Arkady Kolchek is in this episode and this was all that we got? Talk about a waste of material! Sheez guys, are you kidding me? While I never really liked the character of Anna, the way her departure was handled still felt like a disappointment (much like Hidoko’s) and with the miniscule screen time that Vyto Ruginis was given, it was a tremendous letdown. He did give us the line “embarrassment of riches” and that was classic Arkady. With his ties to the Russian mob, I doubt that his daughter would be in any real danger in prison other than getting a bit roughed up for being former law enforcement.
I mentioned this in last week’s review but Deputy Director Ochoa is really growing on me as a new character and in his place with OSP’s best team. He has been presented as capable and honorable so far, without any agenda that we are aware of at this time. Although, that could change in a moment’s notice. We even get a little bit of his backstory with the sheriff who took him under his wing and set him on a better path, with his surfing (while admittedly not good) and scuba diving added to the resume. I think he will be someone who will not only be an asset but maybe even a savior when the time comes but I was a bit put off by the revolver he used in the range. While I’m no spring chicken, my sidearm of choice has a bit more capacity just like the rest of the team and I’m hoping he was just keeping up his skills with a seldom used weapon. But each to his own.
The case with the murdered arms dealer was pretty straightforward but I did have a few issues with the initial set-up. I get that the beach was an open zone but really no one on the security would have thought that was the weak spot in the state-of-the-art security that they had spent quite a lot of money designing and implementing? Part of good perimeter security is sealing off the perimeter and the beach was left wide open without even a roving patrol or cameras on the pathway. Whatever he was paying those guys, they messed up big time; no wonder they wouldn’t want to be found! Even the kids running the parking lot had better counter measures until we find out that a former special operations soldier might be the culprit. I guess it was just one of those things that they had to overlook because the script said so.
Eric got to go into the field and while I do not think he’s field agent material, his skills with technology make him valuable when the situation arises. I’m just glad the Neric was toned down this week. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… we already have one couple on the show; we do not need another. For me, Nell and Eric worked so great with the annoying brother-sister dynamic and should never have been made into a twosome. Why is it that when two people work together closely on a show like this, they cannot stay in a platonic relationship as friends? While they can be cute together, to me it still feels like the writers are running out of creative ways to keep the characters interesting without throwing them into a relationship that feels unnecessary.
Now, back to the case.
At first, it appeared that the MARSOC Marine, Lance Hamilton, might have been the killer but then we are presented the tragic story of Army Ranger Daniel Aguilar and the horrific trauma that he and his wife suffered with the death of their son and the loss of their marriage.
Sam, wrecking that guys bike during the chase? Not cool… not cool at all!
Bill Goldberg brought a serious amount of toughguyness (is that a word?) to this episode, making even LL Cool J look a little smaller in comparison. His character was no-nonsense (kind of like most of the Marines I served with) and wasn’t intimidated by, well pretty much anything. He likes working alone and has a serious air of mystery about him, especially the fact that he doesn’t appear to be forthcoming about what he’s really up to. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t intended, but did anyone else get the vibe that the Ranger was doing the dirty work while Hamilton (or someone like him) was giving directions on taking out some serious bad guys like a handler would? I mean, where was Aguilar getting his information and how was he tracking down all the criminals without some outside help?
Despite the rough start this season has had, with the addition of Ochoa, Turk, and Hamilton, the writers are giving us some new and really neat characters to add to the mix over at the Office of Special Projects. This gives them more tools in the toolbox that will bring even more variety to the show and maybe make up for some of the ones we’ve lost over the past season.
After last week’s complete lack of Densi, we get a few great scenes with Kensi and Deeks, with Dani and Eric at their best. Kensi’s idea of going with Brides Against Breast Cancer for her wedding gown was totally awesome, except for inviting Deeks’ mom along for the event (that could be an episode all on its own – and if they don’t, hello fanfic writers). The banter was back, the relationship was right there and it felt like the wedding plans are progressing along nicely, but that brings me to my second issue with this episode.
My second gripe is that we are back to the private conversations between Kensi and Deeks that are still only about the wedding ceremony and not the marriage itself; those are two very different things. The more episodes that we see without the conversation that these two needed after Mexico, the more concerned I get that we will never get it. Talk about leaving a major character development point flapping in the breeze!
I know they have moved past the argument and misunderstandings in the parking garage, but we need to understand how they got from point A to point B to point C and to the wedding. Without it, there are still questions about how it will really work between these two if they are still on different pages as far as careers and kids. Weddings are wonderful and I know that if TPTB actually give us one, it will be spectacular… but a marriage is more than the ceremony and saying the I do’s. It’s the lifelong path that they walk together, through good times and bad, through the best and worst of each other, and it’s still choosing to love one another, day after day, especially when they aren’t all that loveable.
They work so well in the field together and taking out the runner with a garden hose? That looked like something that would happen to the Three Stooges! And you never, ever… I mean… ever, try to assault a federal agent while cuffed! Especially an agent as badass as Kensi!
“I think you broke me!” …that line cracked me up and then the “You got a lot of air, Jerry” was the cherry on top.
Then Deeks is trying to puff up next to Goldberg in the boatshed! That was awesome. Pointless there Deeks, but still awesome! It had to hurt when the blonde hostess compared Deeks to her dad. Ouch! I’m sure Kensi will bring that up over and over, especially after the GED comment to get them in the restaurant in the first place but after the ass–whooping he put on the dude who was about to hit her with a champagne bottle… she will probably cut him a little slack.
About that fight scene with the drug dealer’s goons (they were goons; no self-respecting body-guard would sit with their backs to the doors)… Deeks once again got focused on Kensi rather than the case at hand. I’m not saying it was a bad decision, he should always have his partner’s back, but Kensi looked a little concerned while he was pummeling the dude on the floor. I’m hoping this doesn’t lead into doubts about their ability to continue to work together after they become husband and wife.
Holy Bat Crap! Unless my eyes are deceiving me, they actually gave David Paul Olsen some lines and screen time (he even shows he has some acting chops, just like his little brother). I’m sure both Dani and Eric were happy to finally see that happen. I was impressed by how seamlessly he fit in the boatshed scene with Sam and Callen; it was like he was already part of the team. I wasn’t too thrilled with his snark about the “unlucky path” that Hamilton took to become a Marine …even SEALS need someone to save them from time to time, and we Marines are happy to oblige!
This was a much deeper episode than I was expecting after the simple opening and it really tugged at my heartstrings and when Sam had to tell Aguilar’s wife that he was gone, that was just really hard to watch. I could understand the rabbit hole that he found himself falling down and it was sad to know that the end game was the only one that would have worked out for the decorated Ranger. The pain and agony of seeing so much death and destruction overseas only to return home and lose your child in the safety of your home would be devastating and almost impossible to deal with. It is said that it only takes a small push to send even the most upright person spinning into the darkness of rage and retribution. Even after the crimes he had committed, Sam was right to offer hope to the soldier but sadly, he chose to end it in that alley instead of face an uncertain future. It was sad and poignant, leaving us with a heartbroken widow who lost not only her child but now her love as well.
Kensi was right… this time, it sure didn’t feel like a win.
This episode ends with Anna heading off to federal prison for at least three years and Callen is left with the fallout of doing the right thing but still losing something precious in the end. I’m sure this isn’t the first time this has happened to him but it was still obvious that he will carry some guilt over his testimony putting her there. It also appears that his and Arkady’s friendship will suffer as well; I guess that ticket offer went out the window.
While keeping Anna alive will allow the writers to bring her back if they deem it necessary, relegating her to federal prison was such a letdown. We will probably find out later that this was all some plot to get her into some deep cover operation that needed her discredited and imprisoned… I’m guessing that’s why she told both her father and her on-off lover not to visit her anymore. Hmmmmmm…
So, what did you think of “One of Us”? How will Callen deal with his regrets over how he handled Anna? Will his friendship with Arkady survive the riff that has formed between them? Will Sam give any consideration to Hamilton’s offer to join him over at State if he gets to feeling boxed in at OSP? Will Kensi and Deeks ever have that conversation and deal with some real issues instead of just cakes and dresses? How badly did you miss Mosley or did you even notice?
Let us know what you think about this episode and even give us your thoughts on how you think the season is going thus far.
And as always,
Thanks for the review! So good.
You know, Ochoa gave Callen advice about staying celibate for awhile not long ago. For the crap that happens to the women who date him, I’d say stay clear of being Callen’s girlfriend. Bad things happen! (I know, self imposed but seriously).
Though I really hate to do it, and you know I do, I gotta give kudos to Bar. Very little/natural makeup and the acting was up to snuff. Great, now she has stopped being a Barbie, made her somewhat interesting, and they put her away for at least 3 years. (yeah yeah, there will be a “trouble in prison” episode(s).)
Very glad not to see Mosely in the credits. Woot!
Positive and negative: the wedding dress scene. Yes it’s nice to know about the breast cancer organization but it felt too heavy handed in an after school special kind of way. So I liked it but I didn’t. I did like that Kensi gave Deeks some crap about ALLOWING her etc. She’s giving as good as she’s getting. And I’m a-l-m-o-s-t at the point of suggesting a trim for Deeks.
Overall, another “meh”. I want the episodes to be more meaningful. How do we get back to that? These are next-day-skim-able if I’m honest. They need to up their game. There is so much competition out there they’ve got to get out of the rut of predictable. I don’t care if it’s their 10th season. And I don’t mean everyone goes rogue, fergoodnesssakes.
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Oh, and I forgot — what a switch! Now Deeks is claiming Kensi is his SISTER in their covers. Hahahaha! Remember the days when we ached for him when he tried to make them a couple? Ah memories.
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I loved the hair debate, but peakae I most agree with you- I a-l-m-o-s-t am ready to suggest a slight trim.
I can’t believe you want Deeks to cut his hair…not you. Seriously? Please say it ain’t so.
Hah! To quote peakae, I said “a-l-m-o-s-t”! I could also be happy with it going way longer. And by the way, your reference to your bad guy Jürgen sent shivers down my spine. A fear of what might happen to Deeks’ hair is the main reason I didn’t want him to have any brain surgery in the season opener, LOL.
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Just some snip snip noises. And a day out surfing for some sun. 🙂
Can you imagine an episode where he has to get a (slight) haircut? OMG, There’d be huge swaths of viewers in their homes suddenly jumping up and screaming at the TV … NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Even the threat of one would get that reaction. 🙂
The most horrific episode in their history.
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And apologies for the number of comments. I just can’t seem to get all my thoughts out at once! But peakae, I’m hoping you’re going to get your wish for a “meaningful” episode next week when Frank Military is back. It sure looks plenty dark. Fingers crossed we’ll at least get some sort of Densi follow-up from the premiere.
I too have to give some props to Bar Paly. Not sure if she actually lost weight for this (she looked so thin in the BTS pic she posted, but maybe orange is the new black in more ways than one?) or if it was just the make-up that made her look so gaunt. But I have to respect it when pretty actresses allow themself to be made to look so unhealthy (even though I know they probably love the opportunity since it’s usually related to juicier scenes)–if I was remotely attractive, I know I wouldn’t let someone make me look like crap!
I love, love, love Eric as Deeks, but I will take the comment above one step farther and say that I do think Deeks’s adorable locks do need a trim. Love the “styled by pillow” look, but a bit of a trim would help his character to be more believable as part of the NCIS team. Missing the blonde highlights from earlier seasons, too. Love you, Eric, just sayin. 🙂
Great review, Marine. With the horrendous wildfires north of me, I needed a distraction, and my favorite show provided it. My first thrill was seeing that Mosley wasn’t in the opening credits. My next one will be seeing Hetty surrounded by her team. There’s no need for me to go through the episode scene by scene. You did an excellent job of that Mr. Steele. I will mention the one Densi scene that warmed my heart, and that was Deeks charming a table out of that hostess at the restaurant. It reminded me of so many great scenes in the past, before he and Kensi got together. He had that flirty smile going as he leaned over the hostess stand, and I even detected a hint of a drawl. It reminded me of that episode where he used a British accent to talk his way into a private club overlooking the city, claiming Kensi was a topless Brazilian model. I miss those kind of scenes. As much as I love Competent Deeks and Tough Deeks, I wouldn’t mind a few more scenes where he uses his natural charm. That smile warms me up down to my toes. And as for his hair. I once wrote a story where the bad guys shaved his head, so I say leave his glorious golden mane alone.
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What is the title of this story, and is in on the Fan Fiction website? It sounds like it would be a very interesting read.
Lindy’s story is called Vengeance and it’s incredible: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8544910/1/Vengeance. Be warned, it’s dark, but I’ve never had a more emotional and involving journey. It’s part of a trilogy so it’s best to start with Judgement: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8140667/1/Judgement.
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Thank you so much for the review, I really enjoyed reading it. For me the high points of this episode were the Deeks and Kensi scenes. I enjoyed every one of them . The chemistry between Eric Christian Olsen and Daniela Ruah was amazing and totally entertaining. The scene where Deeks sweet talks the hostess into giving them a table and the hostess says he reminds her of her dad was hilarious, perfect and really wonderful. It really was an episode that also showcased LA , and the backdrop of Malibu, the scenes on the pier and on the ocean were spectacular but sad given the fires we are having in California.
As for Anna, I do not know what to make of what they have done with her character . Although I was not an Anna fan none of what they have done to her character makes sense. It does appear that any woman Callen gets involved with is not what she appears to be. I would rather see a Callen story related to his family, his step sister, father , etc.
I really like the addition of Deputy Director Ochoa ,as for Mosley, so glad she is gone.
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I thought the show hit on so many emotions for Sam and Callen especially. Love Densi scenes. As for Anna, never been a fan and hope this is her exit from the show. Callen should Have stayed with his rule of never dating a woman in law enforcement. Not seeing Mosleys name was nice. I do however miss Hetty.
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I’m not sure if I’m entitled to have an opinion on the episode, since I fell asleep halfway through (and wasn’t really paying attention to the first half TBH). But I did read the whole review, and enjoyed that more than the episode. I completely agree with you about Neric, I get much more of a sibling vibe from them than a romantic couple. And thank you for your observation about the difference between a wedding and a marriage. The sooner they get this over with, the more relieved I will be.
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Great review Jericho! I really enjoyed reading it and hearing your thoughts about the good and the bad. I agreed with almost all of it. One place where we differ is on Bill Goldberg. I didn’t know who he was and found myself unimpressed with his acting. His line readings just felt a bit stiff. It wasn’t until after watching that I found out he’s a pro wrestler. I’m hoping he doesn’t come back, and I’m really hoping his job offer to Sam won’t be accepted for several years. It makes me nervous and paranoid when they start lining up exit strategies for any characters.
I loved your distinction between a wedding and a marriage and think that’s a great way to look at what we’re getting (and not) from Densi. And even on the wedding side, are these two just continuing the random plans without setting a date? Argh!
I also loved the scene in the restaurant and like Lindy, was reminded of that earlier scene where he charmed a hostess. I laughed out loud when she told him he looked like her dad. And Kensi’s reactions were priceless. It was a nice way to acknowledge that the characters have aged without losing their charms.
But what was up with Deeks beating on the goon? He seemed almost triggered, like he had lost a bit of situational awareness, letting Sam to go chase down the shooter while he took out his anger, and even leaving Kensi to take on goon #2. While the violence might have been warranted, it was intense. It seemed to me a clear window into how his mind switches into protective mode when a woman, particularly one he cares about, is threatened. Or in this case, actually punched, just like his mom had been. I really want to know what Kensi thought about it.
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Oh and how could I forget to celebrate the revised opening credits!?! They put a huge smile on my face. A very good sign that Mosley won’t be back any time soon – knock on wood.
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i was thrilled, no mosley on credits. i love deeks but i would like to see less facial hair and fluffier trimed hair. that smile is beautiful, let him be his charming self more. the show seems also to be putting in pc stuff. bring hetty back, the show is not the same. go back to the kensi and deeks we fell in love with. i love the show so much and i will watch it but it has lost that something that made it special. it seems to have lost something when shane brennan became less active,
Thanks for another great review, Jericho! I found I appreciated the fact that Sam, Callen, and Hamilton didn’t really play the usual, “It’s my case–no, it’s our case” territorial tug-of-war before deciding to work together. I really liked the connection between Sam and Hamilton (based on their sad similarties, granted, but still). Not sure of something is ultimately going to be made of the fact that Sam’s been shown connecting with so many people related to their cases lately–first the younger brother of the baddie from last season’s case with Duchamps, then the Prince, and now Hamilton–whatever the reason, I’m happier to see that than whatever “connection” he established with King last season.
I couldn’t agree more about the continued Densi wedding talk. On the positive side, at least they weren’t arguing about their plans (or lack thereof). But really, PTB, we get it–they’re getting married. But what we’d really like to know is how that came to be again–we need and deserve to know what kind of resolution they came to beyond Deeks’ likely TBI-induced “I was wrong. I still want to marry you.”
And yeah, the whole Anna thing was unsatisfying, if for no other reason than the few minutes they’ve been spending on it tagged on to the beginning and end of the last few episodes seems so disjointed. Not to mention Anna’s behavior. She tells Callen to testify to what he saw, but them blames him for doing it and looks like she’d shiv him if given half a chance, but then kisses him (though that did give us the opening for Arkady’s “Kissing person that put me in jail would be low on my to-do list.”) and then says she doesn’t want him or Arkady to visit any more becasue she needs to go back to being who she was “before I met you.” I agree with those who suspect there’s more going on here, like a probably deep cover assignment, but I really can’t make myself care whether there is or isn’t.
One final thought: Mosley? Mosley who? Kinda feel like I just woke up after a bad dream–trying to shake off the icky feeling and remind myself that it’s over (I hope).
Oh, forgot to mention–when Callen told Anna he had Deeks take a look at her case, did he mean as a cop or as a lawyer? Kinda liking the though that we now have two instances of Callen (or anyone, really) finally respecting Deeks’ knowledge and skill as a lawyer.
And since I’ve got another box open, now that I’ve read others’ comments, I agree with Lindy and Sassyzazzi about getting to see Deeks showcase his charm in order to get something done. Deeks’ “Looks like the kid’s still got it” reminded me of Kensi’s “I still got it” when the spa employee wanted her card in “Matryoshka.” No harm in the occasional ego boost of learning others still find you attreactive and charming even after you’re off the market and not routinely playing that game.
Their reactions when the hostess said Deeks looked like her father and then came over for the selfie were perfect, both as individuals and as partners/a couple. IMO,there’s no reason that kind of thing can’t happen more often even though they’re a couple. But just one time I’d rather they claim to be brother- and sister-in-law; for some reason that just seems more realistic to me. Probably because they just don’t look like blood siblings to me….yeah, that must be it.
Thank you Jericho for your great review. I don’t have much to add to all the great reviews and comments here, I did enjoy this episode, no Mosley, some nice Deeks/Densi scenes (though I do agree with Jericho about the wedding talk) and banter and it was nice to see David Paul Olsen show his acting chops.
As for Anna’s storyline, I just really hope we will get a full closure (whatever that closure might be) and that they don’t drag the storyline for too long. (I am a bit worried that the Anna storyline will become similar to mole-storyline that did last for a long time and still left many questions unanswered)
Thanks for your great review. I admit I didn’t like the episode much except for the Densi scenes and Tom Olsen who is always a bonus.
What I really would like now is to have some new storylines to follow, I’m not very interested in Anna’s, nor Mosley’s (by the way, I’m glad she disappeared from the credits). Many times I have the impression that the writers drag out some stories indefinitely while they could explore, develop or invent more interesting ones, instead. I know we can’t do anything about it, but I claim the right to be bored and sometimes uninterested.
Fine review Jericho…thanks.
I was pleasantly surprised on how Bar Paly’s acting was here compared to last week’s episode. After watching the opening scene again I can see from her remarks on how she will have to become another person in order to survive, has made plenty of people guessing that she will be involved in some undercover operation in prison…we’ll see. I was disappointed on how little Arcady was utilized here, although a couple of remarks by him made me smile. Hope to see him again sometime this season. As for Mosely. just four words…ding dong she’s gone.
Wanted to bring up something that Karen mentioned and was really worrisome for me, that was Deeks pummeling that bad guy in the restaurant when he got in hyper-protective mode. The Densi scene with the hostess was just great, but I immediately got flashbacks from “The Job” and “Payback” when he started punching and it took a lot out of the enjoyment of the previous scene. I was really bothered on how he was so charming one minute and the “fighting switch” was turned on so quickly. It will be interesting if this is followed up later. The visible post-Mexico fallout for the team hasn’t been all that much so far…we never really saw that much how they recovered physically in the months that followed, and having have been cleared legally, it leaves possible psychological or emotional after effects, and having suffered a TBI , Deeks would be a prime candidate. Any thoughts on this?
As for the “hair trim” debate, how about a poll? Put up a head shot of Deeks, one for each season, and let’s decide on which one we like the most. Or perhaps make it a one on one elimination tournament.
That episode was so bad that I couldn’t get myself to finish it until today. The plot was so disjointed, the wedding talks bore me to death, Anna too.
Completely agree with Cladani, I find myself excited about none of the new open story lines (Anna, Mosley, Turk). Please hire new writers for this show, the current ones are completely stalled.
Damn, I thought season 10 would be some kind of revival, but so far, what a miss. The series is forgetting its own identity and going towards a steroid pumped Hawai 5-0/Magnum PI vibe. It also show that, maybe, last season troubles were not simply due to the introduction of Mosley.