Review: NCISLA “The Heist” (S10E10)
The latest NCIS: Los Angeles episode “The Heist,” written by Jordana Lewis Jaffe and directed by Yangzom Brauen, worked pretty well as a case of the week episode. It featured the whole team and was filled with humor, plus Deeks and Kensi even got the bulk of the action. I just wish all the parts added up to just a little more.
The Deeks and the Densi
The Densi was lovely this week. The episode’s overall tone fell on the decidedly lighter side, starting right from the top with a delightfully silly Densi scene at the bar. I loved the reference to Callen as the “vagabond” living upstairs- a perfect description. Eric Christian Olsen and Daniela Ruah were great here as Deeks threw out some less than successful attempts at a name for the bar. And what did Kensi mean when she said “the name writes itself”? Sounds like she has her own ideas but isn’t willing to share. While I for one would be fine with Monty’s, I’d like to think they could come up with something a little more heartfelt. Granger’s perhaps? I bet you all have loads of good ideas!
ECO/Deeks was again quite funny in the bullpen scene with Rogers as he told the team his analogy about Meru. If you haven’t seen Meru, by the way, go and download now- it’s an unbelievable story and a gripping documentary, as is the same filmmakers’ latest, Free Solo. I can’t recommend them both highly enough. But I digress. I laughed out loud when Deeks sauntered past Rogers on his way out the door, giving him quite the look. The whole thing was the height of silliness.
Deeks and Kensi were also pretty cute chasing down yet another apparently dumb as a rock bad guy. Don’t get me wrong, these clueless criminals are consistently entertaining, a sure source of laughs. Deeks yelled out so many funny lines to the people diving out of his way (“I gotta go save the world”, “Hey kids, don’t do drugs,” “It looks like he’s my friend- he’s not my friend!”) that it was hard to keep track. That combined with Kensi so matter-of-factly knocking the bad guy off his feet made for a fun chase. Deeks’ “Look Gregory, right there, a squirrel!” was a hilarious diversionary tactic. But my favorite line was probably Deeks telling Kensi, “I went down some steps. It was pretty awesome.” I’d love to know how many of these were scripted.
The final scene at the bar, in keeping with the rest of the episode, was also played for a few more laughs. The Blowhole, really Deeks? Really? It looks like the bar will be one more place the team can gather in their final scene each week. It’d be nice to see an occasional heart to heart here, but the classic team bonding fits right in as well.
Rant of the Week
What else could I choose to rant about than the darn box? I’m quite convinced the showrunners have no clue what’s in it, and that it was created by Shane Brennan simply to drive fans crazy. I was happy to put it behind us, but instead the box returned – or at least the topic of the box returned – in this week’s episode. It’s one thing to mistakenly build something up that you can’t back up, so you let it disappear. It’s another to bring it back six years later without any payoff. Who does that to fans? If this is part one of a two-part box unveiling, I’ll apologize. But if we don’t hear about the box again for another six years, I say this was just a new (old?) way to taunt fans. And why do you want to antagonize your most loyal viewers? I don’t get it.
The other part of my box rant is the idea that Deeks would have lost said box. We saw how seriously he took it when Kensi gave it to him, and again when he opened the outer box in “Three Hearts.” After all, it does contain the thing he wants most in the world. Playing its possible loss for laughs did not sit well with me. It felt totally out of character for Deeks and jarring in contrast to the gravity of those previous scenes.
The interesting plot this week held my attention even though it lacked much in the way of suspense. Person of interest Veronica Stephens (played by Dina Meyer) was intriguing even if she displayed the exact same facial expression and projected the same emotion the entire time. I wonder if she’ll become a recurring character. My biggest (only?) issue with the story was the final chase sequence. I would think the whole point of using Overwatch spray is so you can tail the bad guys from a distance. After all, you know where they are- you aren’t going to lose them. So why did Kensi and Deeks make their presence known and trigger a dangerous high speed chase? I guess because the showrunners wanted to blow something up (which was pretty fun after all). (Although that still doesn’t explain why Eric needed cameras to track the van when they lost it.)
The whole team was very much in character throughout. Sam and Callen bantered away (“It’s not always about you, G”) and gave Nell an enjoyably hard time about abandoning Eric to the attentions of Rogers. Deeks and Kensi seemed to be relaxed and fully enjoying themselves out in the field, almost like time had been turned back a few seasons. Eric was his nervous self under the watchful (and close) eyes of the Special Prosecutor. The episode felt well balanced and we got several scenes featuring the four leads all together, which have become such a rarity that I always try to savor them. Plus everyone had a few moments to shine in the many humorous scenes.
But that’s maybe also my problem with the episode. It was determined to be lighthearted and funny, which was fine as far as it went, and at least Jaffe did so without making Deeks the butt of any jokes, for which I’m genuinely thankful. But making Rogers (played by Peter Jacobson) into a silly character after he seemed to be the only one taking the loss of Hidoko seriously, while definitely entertaining, felt out of character. It left me a bit disoriented, as now I can’t tell where this storyline is headed. Is the team in real trouble or is Rogers going to be their new besty?
- Heist movies, Meru, and Titanic. Lots of movie references this week.
- wikiDeeks reader hoopsdiva suggested that in ECO’s video answer about guest stars, when he mentioned “I love the guy that plays Rogers…”, that he was referring to Peter Jacobson. Unfortunately little Bear was in danger of falling into a creek at the time so Eric understandably lost his train of thought and we didn’t get to find out for sure. I think it’s an interesting theory- Jacobson is good at both the serious and the silly, and Eric had a couple of funny interactions with him here in addition to the previous lengthy interrogation.
- OK, I know this has nothing to do with “The Heist,” but I’m beginning to wonder if the “pretty emotional and amazing scenes coming up” that ECO described between Deeks and Kensi in his very first wikiDeeks video might have just been his wishful thinking. Other than “Pro Se,” we haven’t really seen anything of the sort. I’m also a little worried that his assurances of an “amazing and fulfilling emotionally” wedding episode was a promise made before R. Scott Gemmill had even written the script. I still have confidence that they can deliver on these promises, but I’m thinking that when ECO made them (during the filming of “A Diamond in the Rough”) he had no way of knowing if they’d come true. Fingers crossed everyone!
What did you think of “The Heist”? Did you enjoy the banter? How about the transformation of the Special Prosecutor? I’d ask for your ideas on names for the bar, but you might want to save them for a special poll that will run later this week. Tell us your thoughts in the Comments below!
Ok, I’m going straight to the ranting.
Now they’re not even waiting a season to copy old gags from previous episodes. One episode ago — young clueless guy that Deeks interacts with. A couple episodes ago – Deeks chases someone on a “thing” rather than running for no real purpose. Amusing shticks once … not twice. That’s just lazy writing. Deeks’ character is more than this. I don’t say this lightly because he’s pretty to look at: ECO can act circles with people both comically and dramatically and you’re reducing his air time talents to this. He’s a good sport and loves to improvise but write the man some better material. We’ve seen it done.
The box. OMG. There’s a hard rule in writing/filmmaking/TV is that if you show a gun in the first Act it must go off by the last Act. They mention the box once in YEARS and I thought Finally! We get resolution! No. Brought up in the beginning and never mentioned again. I don’t care if they never knew what was in the box in the beginning — the one that was built up to be the epitome of his hopes and dreams between Kensi and Deeks — make something the hell up now. And be done with it.
I agree with you, Karen, I wouldn’t mind the bar being named Monty’s or Granger’s … but it’s now going tandem with wedding talk and getting old fast.
The Story of the Week? Weak. Write. Better. Care. Like. We. Do.
So I should end with something positive. I did like how Neric wasn’t attached at the hip this episode.
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OK, perhaps it was a figment of my imagination, but I thought I saw somewhere (Instagram, perhaps?) that the bar was going to be called Cloud Nine, after ECO’s production company with CBS. If I truly imagined it, Granger’s sounds good to me, for what it’s worth.
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They turned Rogers, the DOJ guy, into a pesky mosquito. Why is he even there? I thought he was supposed to be another threatening bureaucrat, but now he’s a buddy playing video games with Eric? Say what? He served no purpose that I could see.
This ep was just a lighthearted romp in the park. No one seemed even remotely dangerous, and in that I see a trend. Right after any intense episodes, they give us one filled with sweetness and light. Why are they so afraid to build on the intensity? Where is the needed serious conversation between Deeks and Kensi? I did love their scenes together, and I did love the banter, so I’m going to shut up and just enjoy Deeks’ smile, and the retro feel of this ep and just forget it. Only one question. You don’t think they are setting up a possible relationship between Callen and the bouncy blond do you?
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Great review, once again you’ve summed up my feelings much better than I could have.
I really wish they had dropped the whole subject of that stupid box. But since they brought up the subject again, I think I know what’s in it : a shark for this show to jump.
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Karen, really good review. I thought this was a fun episode. I enjoyed the partners in this episode a lot. I did not think I would like the Deeks bar theme, but it is entertaining Densi, and I am happy we are seeing the chemistry between Deeks and Kensi again this season and seeing Sam and Callen in sync.
This season has not given us a heavy arc like Siderov but it has returned the show ,at least for me, to being enjoyable to watch and look forward to every week. I love all the characters, it is also fun to rewatch just to be entertained .I also like watching recurring characters ( that actually recurr) and new characters that are really good actors and seamlessly mesh with the cast and do not distract from the reasons I watch this show.
I am guessing the deep discussion between Deeks and Kensi will be much like “Cancel Christmas “ where they will have a heavy discussion for just a few minutes and move on. If we get more than that , I will be thrilled. As far as the Box, I thought they made made pretty clear at the last Paleyfest , no one knew what was in Box, so if they wanted to bring it up, they could have simply had a discussion between Deeks and Kensi which was remember in the beginning the Box, and maybe have them say something loving to each other and move on.
So glad you are still doing reviews at wikiDeeks.
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I really liked the episode. I found music in the background really different and good. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole episode where everybody were at their best. I am simply enjoying happy and funny and smart and super handsome Deeks. I wonder if he worked on bar design alone as it looks really good. I mean, he could have absolutely done it, as his house (the first one) and house where Kensi and he live now look pretty cool.
Now about the box. I do not know what to say about it. I can imagine that Deeks would lose the track of it because he has now what he wanted then and still wants the most in his life. Must admit that I do not have any special wish to know what is in the box so I am OK with it just being sporadically mentioned.
In overall must admit that I enjoy this season so much more than the previous one and I hardly wait to see the next episode. If nothing I can always enjoy in Deeks’ long and wavy hair and beautiful smile.
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i wish shane brennan was still writting. i also agree that eric christian olsen is very talented and they are not doing him justice. i didn’t get the nicer gentler bad guys. are the writters afraid of offending someone? i love the show, i would watch it just for deeks, this week came close but i am glad i have my dvds and reruns. i believe some of the fans like me are older and we love it the way it was. desparately need hetty
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Thanks again Karen, for giving us another great review!
There are a few things that stood out to me in this episode and I guess I’m going to cut across the grain in the impressions that it gave me.
First, why did it seem that the writers made Deeks turn into a complete idiot when trying to come up with a name for the bar? The look on Kensi’s face told us exactly how she felt about his first, second, third, etc choices and I wasn’t impressed either. I could get behind “GRANGER’S” or “MONTY’S” but the one that popped into my head was “FERN’S”. The last one left me speechless … “The Blowhole” … really? Holy Bat Crap!
Second, we’re back to the box … this conundrum of “What’s in the box!?” Let me give you my view on the subject.
I. DON’T. CARE.
Now, I did want to know what was in the box back when it was a seemingly pivotal part of their growing ‘thing’ but now it felt like we were seeing just how little these two actually communicate. In the past YEARS of being “all in”, the subject of the box did not come up once, not until now? Really? The cherry on top was having Deeks have no idea the location of said box … give me a break. Why bring it up now? Does it hold some poignant memento that would have radically pushed them into a relationship much earlier or is it the answer to a question that no one remembers anymore? If it’s just a teaser to keep us coming back for more, then it’s simply lazy writing and we will never see a payoff.
Third, what was Deeks thinking by jumping on the scooter? Those things have the same top speed, so by chasing the perp on the same type of transportation, the detective had no chance of catching him. It would have been better if Deeks had simply hurled it at him like a boomerang or chased him down on foot. The ad libs during the chase were the only good points to me.
Kudos for the minimal NERIC during this episode but the shift in character for Rogers was a bit too much. He was the stiff shirt bureaucrat that was making their lives miserable and now he’s gaming with Eric? Ugh. This reminds me of how the writers tried to make Mosley a sympathetic character by giving her a kid. Writing like this makes my head hurt.
Okay, rant over.
At least I have the wedding to look forward to. Right? Please?
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Fern’s. Love it.
I don’t have much to add to what you, Karen, and the other commenters have already said here.
This week I quite enjoyed the Densi (although I still think the bar may seem slightly OOC for them), not so much the rest of the episode. I’ve been getting used to this kind of feeling with NCIS:LA lately: I like single scenes or moments in each episode but it’s been a while since I last enjoyed and appreciated an episode start to finish (with the exception of the season opener). I think the quality of this season has improved (Season 9 was the season I liked the least), but more or less each episode still leaves me unsatisfied for a reason or another, compared to NCIS:LA past seasons’ standard. I guess we have to adapt, and I’m very grateful my favorite show is still on anyway.
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I agree with Jericho Steele on many points. One week we have a skateboard chase, and now a scooter chase. I think the writers have just run out of fresh ideas. I have always been curious about the contents of the box, but I don’t stay awake worrying about it, and I don’t know why it was brought up again now out of the blue. Maybe they will name the bar The Box, lol.
I also agree with the person who said they only enjoy single scenes instead of whole episodes. The writing is a lot better than last season, but still seems disjointed somehow. It just doesn’t flow.
I miss the affectionate, teasing banter between Deeks and Kensi, and the longing glances they used to exchange. Now they are like the Bickersons. I am not saying that they have to hop in the sack every episode, but would it kill the writers to have them show a tiny bit of affection now and then, in the form of a hug, a gentle touch, or a little smooch? They are in love with each other, for Pete’s sake.
And on a personal note, I was not thrilled to see Anna in the preview of next weeks episode. She is my least favorite character.
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Love all the insightful comments! (And the rants!!)
Thank you for the review. I am so glad you are back. I agree with many of the comments. I like the light hearted episodes though oh do think they are missing something by not going a little darker or having follow up to the darker episodes. I think ECO said in one of the interviews that the show was not good at this kind of follow up. I was surprised by the box reference and have so moved on from the box.
I really enjoy the lighthearted episodes. This was a good one. I agree that the bar does still seem like a bit of an out of character dream for Deeks, but at least the decor definitely feels like him. I am really hoping that in tonight’s episode any wedding talk will surround Kensi revealing that she is taking his name and then he realizes that the name does write itself and they name the bar Blye’s in honor of keeping the Blye name going strong for Kensi and her dad. (Probably wishful thinking, but that is my hope.) Don’s would be okay with me too. Even, The Box, would be kind of funny.
As for the box, I think it was always meant as a metaphor for their relationship, which they don’t really need anymore. I do hope the writers can come up with something cool for Kensi to put in it and Deeks to open (even if it wasn’t her original idea or intention) to tie up the box saga.
Thanks for writing this great review and giving us a place to share ideas about the episodes.