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Review: NCISLA “Born to Run” (S10E18)

Hey everybody! Welcome to the review for “Born to Run”, the very next episode to follow the wedding that we were all waiting for and finally received. It was our first chance to see how the newlyweds were adjusting to their new life together and how it might affect their working relationship. We also were treated to a fairly simple case, so let’s see what we saw this week.

Sydney (Ashley Rae Spillers), Nell’s sister, shows up again and we immediately sense that this is not just a social visit. It turns out that her high school crush, Andre Martinez (Delon de Metz), has found himself tangled in a plot to steal a hard drive containing top secret information about naval warfare.

I have to admit, the opening “splatter” made me laugh out loud and sorry, Mrs. Bunny, but it was not a dead squirrel nor a family of dead squirrels that landed all over you and your car. Ugh… I bet that smelled real nice. I knew the actress looked familiar and she turns out to be Carolyn Hennesy, who has a long list of movie and television credits, including her long running role as Diane Miller on General Hospital.

We jump to the Mission where Callen is criticizing Sam’s dance moves. I do not remember ever seeing Sam dance, so I have no comment to make about that subject but it was brave of Eric to side with Callen on that particular topic, earning him a towel snap from the big SEAL. This little point comes up again later in the show… for what reason I’m not sure.

Kensi and Deeks come out of the bullpen discussing how they are going to handle her inability to keep her hands off of her irresistible new husband. There were a few moments where it appeared that Daniela was having a hard time keeping a straight face that more than likely had something to do with Eric’s improvisation skills. There were even a few moments when it looked like he almost cracked up himself.

Up in Ops, we see that Eric is really off his game once he realizes that Nell is running late without letting him know. While I understand Eric’s confusion, it was his inability to focus on his job that was so concerning and it went on throughout the episode. This is another reason why I’m not a fan of his and Nell’s relationship. Don’t get me wrong- I do love the characters, just not their romance. Why can’t the writers leave them as platonic friends instead of adding another couple to the OSP? Personally, I think it would add another dimension to the show if Nell dates and has Eric to lean on when things go bad and vice versa for Eric. We already had an established Kensi and Deeks “thing” and I don’t feel like we needed another.

Special Prosecutor Rogers (Peter Jacobson) is in the building to conduct performance reviews on the team and I have to say, this new character is starting to grow on me. Now whether that’s as a fungus that won’t go away even with antibiotics or something not so hideous, remains to be seen but he is turning out to be a bit of a pleasant addition to the office. Of course, he’s no Hetty nor even a poor replacement for Granger (Miguel, you are missed dearly) but he brings some humor as well as a touch of confidence that he is actually there to help rather than hinder. He shushed both Deeks and Kensi to let them know that their little game was up and that there was actually someone in charge of the office and they were no longer going to leave him out in the cold.

It seems like the team is beginning to accept Rogers into the fold at OSP even after his mistake in giving out information to the Commodore before he had all of the details. I can’t really fault him solely for that… the team was keeping him out of the loop to protect Nell, so they were just as much to blame for the ambush by the Russians. The get together at the bar was a nice way to round out the show, giving us a really cool Rogers with his “That bitch is going down” statement about Commodore Kang. I guess we will have to wait and see how he plays out if he remains through the rest of the season. Hetty popped up at the wedding in last week’s “Till Death Do Us Part“, but it seems that she is not ready to come back full time. Get well Helen and get back in the game!

The employee reviews were something that I was looking forward to, but we only got a snippet of Deeksbefore Beale interrupted in his hunt for Nell. I felt like the detective was about to reveal something substantial… or totally irreverent. He was so serious with his story about the girl who was not at school on a Tuesday but it all could have been him messing with Rogers. I guess we will never know. We didn’t even get a blip of Kensi’s or Sam’s interview and Callen did not even make it to the couches. It almost felt like that this was simply a filler to make up some extra time, but what a waste of some hilarious moments with Rogers. Deeks was on it this episode! I loved how he played up Rogers and the time they spent together for Callen and the rest of the team. “That man is a gift” had me cracking up again. That’s twice in one show and that’s pretty rare for me!

What was with the guy at the apartments where the submarine think tank was staying? Was he really trying to flirt with Kensi? I hope not because that was terrible and really hard to watch.

I do have to say that I am growing aggravated with the Make Beale a Field Agent story arc that we seem to be stuck with this season. If it was not obvious in last week’s episode that he has no business as an agent in the field then this week should have made it crystal clear. Now let me say this… I do love the Eric Beale character but only in the realm in which he is at his best, which is in operations or handling some technical aspect of the case at hand. Between his wrestling with a training dummy to getting his butt handed to him by the goons looking for Kirkin last week, all the way to his almost inability to function when he could not maintain his focus because of his worrying over the missing Nell. Eric may “know” all the right moves, but there is a big difference between book knowledge and practical application of that knowledge that leads to success. I knew a few people in my EMT class who could pass the written tests but in no way could they apply that to the real world scenarios they threw at us during our practical exams. Let Eric enjoy his reign as tech master and leave the field work to those who are much more capable.

The character that really stood out was of course, the faithful Nell Jones. Even though her sister completely blindsided her, Nell went along with the zaniness until she realized that an old friend needed help and then she jumped right in. As things began to go even further south, Nell showed just how close this little family really is. She wasn’t relying on NCIS, she was trusting her family and that’s what I love about this show. Even when it lets me down with an episode that falls short of my expectations, they are always a family and it is in those moments that their strengths show through. Andre was impressed that she had people in her life she could trust that heartily and even Sydney appeared jealous of those connections. I just wish that she and Eric were not in a relationship but were platonic friends instead… there is something to be said for a male-female relationship that is based solely on friendship and nothing more. They were cute enough as teammates before they were ever together.

Would somebody care to let us know how many movie references there were in this episode? I caught some that I knew, mostly from “The Fugitive” but there were some from movies that I am not very familiar with. If you spotted any, be sure to let us know in your comments.

Born to Run” was pretty solid overall (except for the points that I’ve already made); we got some great banter between the partners and among the team, there was a good mix of serious and humor where the humorous parts did not overpower the deeper segments, and there was an adequate amount of action (loved Kensi on horseback) mixed in as well. Not too bad for a follow-up to the most anticipated episode this season… or seasons… depending on how much of a Densi shipper you are.

Don’t be shy! Please give us your thoughts and comments on “Born to Run”, point out the things that stood out to you, give us your opinion on what worked and what didn’t, and whatever you do… never take Nell to a donut shop!

Semper Fi

About Jericho Steele (32 Articles)
I'm just me. I served proudly in the United States Marine Corps for four years after graduating from high school. For the past twenty-six years, I've been married to the most wonderful woman in the world. Our daughter is still at home but our son just moved to Russia to study at Moscow State University. We also live with four cats and one dog in south Georgia where I spend my time loving my family, writing stories, working, and shooting my bow.

13 Comments on Review: NCISLA “Born to Run” (S10E18)

  1. Thanks for the review, Jericho! We are in sync on this one.

    God forbid if Nell is ever really in trouble, Eric wouldn’t be someone she could count on to a) figure it out (Eric had to be told by the team she was even late) and b) to keep his head together to figure out how to help her. In books and in TV/film, I cannot STAND bumbling ineptitude. It serves no purpose in storytelling — it’s not funny and doesn’t move the action forward.

    Could Kang look/act more like the ep’s bad guy from the get go? Did they ever explain why Andre Martinez contacted Sydney for help in the first place? It makes no sense to me. I understand the humor was intended that Sydney was jealous because this was her crush but this could have been done better.

    I think ECO and Dani both did a lot of improv in this ep. Some things worked; some didn’t.

    I have to feel sorry for any episode after the wedding. It was never going to compare well but this was a filler episode full of a whole lot of nothing.

    Ok, we got past the sorry-for-the-unlucky-placement episode. Let’s begin the build to a fabulous end of season cliff hanger.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Jericho , thanks for your review. I think you enjoyed this one more than I did. I knew it would be hard to follow the amazing wedding episode , so I tried to keep that in in mind as I watched this episode.In general I find Jordana Lewis Jaffee writes vignettes that are often entertaining but only loosely tied into a storyline. This was no exception.

    I did absolutely adore every scene ECO was in .He was marvelous with Kensi, Rogers, and Eric. In general all of the cast delivered great performances, and I think they deserved a better storyline.

    It was clear the commodore was the criminal to begin with.Sydney was annoying and for a Homeland Security agent totally incompetent. Again , I thought the character interactions of this episode were entertaining, just overall the storyline was lacking. I do agree with you that the romantic relationship between Nell and Eric is not working . I just do not like how they are writing Eric or them as a romantic couple.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Thanks for your review.
    I think the worst thing that could happen to “Born to run” was to air after the long-awaited, amazing wedding episode. Obviously, it couldn’t compare in the least. And it didn’t. But it had something positive. What I really, truly, enjoyed was to see Deeks and Kensi finally married and relaxed, not worrying about seating charts or tablecloths or late RSVPs. Finally. Their interactions entering OSP were hilarious and, luckily, quite in character and I could totally see a lot of Daniela and Eric in that scene. I expected one of them to burst out laughing any moment (some bloopers, maybe?).
    After the awesome, unexpected gift of a whole wedding episode, I know we couldn’t ask for more, but I wish we could have been shown just a minute honeymoon scene, like Deeks and Kensi holding hands and waliking on the beach at sunset (fully dressed, I swear!). I know, I know. I am not complaining, only saying that my Densi fever has never been higher (this is on you, authors, after last week’s dream come true).

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thank you for your great review Jericho. I , too, really wanted to see more of those employee reviews, Deeks and Rogers scenes were hilarious. I don’t have much to add to your review and to the great comments here, but I wanted to thank all of you for your reviews and comments, I really look forward to reading them after each episode.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. michelle mcnally // March 27, 2019 at 2:12 PM // Reply

    very badly written. nell’s siter was annoying and densi on the horrse was silly. i always love watching eco he is awesome. i will watch till the end, i am glad i have my cds and reruns on sunday. this writter turned the show into a silly comedy.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. michelle mcnally // March 27, 2019 at 2:12 PM // Reply



  7. Thanks for the review, Jericho–well done! I love how you left the Nell/Sydney description for the end, because frankly I’d almost forgotten about them. I seriously wish I could! I didn’t like Sydney the first time we saw her and I think I like her even less now. I should probably take offense on behalf of older sisters everwhere at how she is written, but that would just be spending way more energy on this terrible character than she deserves. Ok, one more comment–I bet Shay Mosley is a better older sister than Sydney Jones is.

    I loved your point about what a wreck Beale was while worried about Nell. You’re right–it completely proves out in the field as an agent is not where he belongs. He does need to continue mocking Sam’s dance moves, though, because THAT was hilarious.

    On the the important stuff–Densi. Not sure how they spent all that nude time in the sun in Malibu over the weekend–are there private beaches there? Otherwise maybe they were on a private rooftop terrace or something. Their opening scene was adorable, as was their body language as they walked into ops together.

    I can only think the whole point of those individual performance reviews was to ask Deeks that question about still being both LAPD and NCIS (and maybe that’s opening the door to some arc later in the season, though S11 is more likely, I’d think). Though I really didn’t understand why the obvious answer to Rogers’ question wasn’t something like, “My continued successful work for both agencies simply highlights my ability to [enter some of the skills required] while remaining loyal and committed to both.” Add to that a note about how his connections to LAPD staff and information have come in handy over the last decade, and Deeks has 55 more minutes to kill with Mr. Rogers.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Catherine Betham // March 28, 2019 at 8:49 AM // Reply

      #askECO why does he think Deeks still hasn’t signed the papers? I seriously would like to know. I hope it is the start of the ever elusive Deeks, M. My powerball stands a better chance, obviously.


  8. I count Born to Run as a total throwaway episode.There was no there there. The storyline was nonexistent. Kang was the obvious bad guy even before she opened her mouth. I didn’t care for Sydney the first time we met her, and that hasn’t changed. Though she works for Homeland Security, she didn’t have one helpful suggestion. And yes, why would Andre even contact her? And the stupid clue painted in hot pink on the side of a ditsy girl’s car? Gimme a break. And how is it that a camera was pointed at the exact bus stop where Nell and company were sitting? You could drive a truck thru the holes in this story.

    As for Eric and Nell, I am not crazy about their romance. I just don’t believe in it. But the thing that really drives me bonkers is how silly they are writing these characters, especially Beale. His behavior in this episode was just unacceptable, and totally unbelievable. I think that the work that Nell and Eric do in OPS is so important, that the Core 4 would be nowhere without them. They do all of the research in minutes, provide the locations of most of the suspects, make cars explode, rig traffic patterns, dispatch first responders, etc. They have to be highly intelligent, think on their feet, and react in split seconds, so why, oh why, are they being written as two goofballs? I find it so annoying. I am not saying that they can’t be humorous and even a little eccentric, just not silly dolts. The characters, and Foa and Smith, deserve better.

    I enjoyed the little Densi we got, and I do think ECO and DR did ad lib here. I want to see them working together though. I don’t like when they are not together. I hope we get a glimpse of their home life once in a while, too. I like Jacobson’s Mr. Rogers, I think he will fit in nicely. I don’t think we will be seeing much of Ochoa or Chegwidden in the future. I think Hetty returns in episode 22.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. michelle mcnally // March 28, 2019 at 10:24 AM // Reply

    i agree. the bad writing is turning this show into an annoying comedy, what a shame. the episode made no sense and i am sad. i do love eco he is amazing and probably the only reason i watch the show this season. thank God for reruns. i hope you are right that hetty is coming back. the show has lost so much with hetty an granger gone.


  10. candi12301 // March 28, 2019 at 5:23 PM // Reply

    I really liked this episode but I could have done without nell’s Sister. Sydney turned into a school girl and did not really help Nell out. I Loved the banter between Deeks and his Wife Kensi. I do not see how things would change between them at work now that they are married. That mrs Bunny had me Laughing on the ground at the blood smelling like dead squirrels. I like that her name is Barbara but she goes by Bunny because all the Barbara’s were named babs or Barbie. And what grown woman would name herself Muffy. I liked how Eric was having a panic attack over the fact that Nell did not show up for work and then saw her kissing another man to not blow their cover. I have nothing to say about Rogers at this time.


  11. I am more than sure that those filler episodes are intentional. I learned the TV tropes fast in this business they make those 1 ) writers can’t write for shit anymore 2 ) budget cuts 3 ) move to Sundays , ratings fall , less motivation to keep up with the characters . I quit the show after watching Season 7 I had enough crap from season 8 was already getting soft but 9 was already a just a comedy . 10 season I came back just to enjoy the premiere and wedding episode.


  12. Debra Gillespie // March 30, 2019 at 3:40 AM // Reply

    Thanks for the review Jericho, excellent as always. I agree with most of the comments on this episode that has already been said. Like several have mentioned, I had low expectations for “Born to Run” after the fabulous wedding episode, just like I had for “Superhuman” after the great season premiere back last fall (although I liked episode 2 better than I thought I would). I didn’t like the older sister of Nell’s back in season 8, and she hasn’t grown on me yet. I’m beginning to believe that the writers truly can’t figure out what to do with the Nell/Eric relationship at this point…somewhat like Densi after Kensi’s return from Afghanistan until the middle part of season 6. Agree with Psyched that the snippet of Deek’s answer with Rogers during his review makes me hopeful that there could be a Deeks story arc during season 11, especially since Deek’s mom seemed to hint that she’s possibly been married twice, during the bar scene with Kensi in the last episode.
    Just a few random thoughts…I was amused that Callen was in shorts and Beale in pants in the opening scene, instead of the other way around. I assume that Chris was either back from or on his way to the pro-am golf tournament that was going on around this time. Glad to see the area where MASH was shot all those years ago..the mountains in the background looked familiar immediately…I’d like to visit that site the next time I’m down in LA. And kudos to the trainer of the horse that Kensi shot from; although we didn’t see the total scenario, I’m assuming the horse stayed pretty calm. Even with a horse with a sedate temperament to begin with, it takes some work to get a horse to accept such a noise without getting upset.


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