Hello everyone and welcome! Thanks for stopping by to check out the review for this week’s episode, “Searching,” written by Adam George Key and Kyle Harimoto and directed by Terrence O’Hara. I was not really impressed with last week’s offering, “Born to Run,” so I had my hopes up for this one. We are nearing the season finale and, hopefully, a great ending to this season. We’ve had a lot going on this year, and the wedding was the icing on the cake for most of us here at wikiDeeks. so let’s see what we got this time around.
Wow! What a way to open an episode! Lots of gun-play, shooting and moving, and Kensi was blasting away with two guns in two different directions at the same time! They threw us into an undercover op with CID Agent Steve Evans getting worked over before Kensi (in a blonde wig, no less) jumps in and the shootout ensues. Fatima runs across a roof to set up a camera so Nell and Eric can thermal image the building (which was pretty cool, by the way) as Callen, Sam and Deeks make entry with even more fireworks.
At least the opening was exciting, but it was not long before the team went their separate ways and we settled in for four very different stories that took us in very different directions. Callen is sidelined with a slight bullet wound to his leg, Sam gets waylaid by a returning Lance Hamilton (Bill Goldberg) whom we met back in Episode 18, Eric and Nell are off to San Francisco, and Kensi and Deeks are running into some technical and personal issues back at their bar. At least there is still no sign of Mosley, but Hetty needs to get back and quick! The kids are taking over!
Let’s see where all of these multiple storylines take us.
With Callen limping too much to help out at OSP, he gets a call from his estranged sister, Alex, who is stuck without a sitter for her son, Jake. Callen is both excited and apprehensive about the request but being the loving uncle (who has been separated from his family ever since his father was traded away by the State Department back in Episode 16 of Season 9) he jumps at the chance to spend some time with his nephew and maybe repair the rift with his sister. Alex blames Callen for the loss of her father so soon after establishing the relationship, and let’s say that she sees no point in keeping contact with her brother, having ignored all of his messages and texts. Thankfully, circumstances intervene and she is left with no choice but to give him a call. It was both funny and sad to watch as Callen struggled to find a way to relate to his nephew… maybe they will get the opportunity for some Fortnite in the near future.
Meanwhile, Eric is being courted by a large tech firm up in San Francisco but he’s unsure if he’s ready to leave NCIS or how this could possibly affect his relationship with Nell. If you’ve read any of my reviews where the subject of the Nell/Eric relationship topic has been discussed, then you know how I feel about the entire thing. I do love the two characters as they fill their assigned roles at NCIS but I struggle to accept them as a couple. It always amazes me that TV show writers find it so difficult representing a platonic couple without them eventually becoming a romantic pairing.
It’s just my opinion, but wouldn’t it give the characters more chances for emotional depth if, as just friends, they could always be there for each other? If you take away the romantic angle of the relationship, then when one goes through something traumatic (a break-up, the death of a loved one, emotional/physical trauma, etc.) then there’s the opportunity for true friendship… faithfulness, support, honor, tenderness… to be on full display. Eric and Nell are great together – as friends and coworkers – but not as a couple. We saw last week just how much Nell means to Eric and how he was pretty messed up when he did not know where she was located. He had a specific job to do and couldn’t because he was worried about his girlfriend and I can understand why, but if he can’t do his job in that situation, then the relationship is a hindrance, not a benefit. We get to see that type of situation with Kensi and Deeks… we don’t need a repeat with another couple.
What really jumped out at me with the Nell/Eric storyline was the sudden shift in tone from when they were outside Operations to when they were in the armory a few minutes later. When they were first speaking about the trip to San Fran, Nell was in great spirits and encouraging to her boyfriend about how awesome and adorable he was, but within just a few moments, her emotional state completely changes when she starts talking about her mother’s health. The shift was so fast that I had to back up the video to understand exactly what changed and it just did not fit. It was like the writers decided that there needed to be even more drama added to the possibility that Eric might be taking a new job and head off to another city. This came right out of left field and did not make any sense… other than more angst for some reason.
Did anyone else notice that Eric and Nell had no interaction with any other teammates except through the comms during the opening shootout? I guess Barrett and Renee were not on set with the rest of the cast during shooting.
Maybe Deeks and Kensi should give a call to Jon Taffer from Bar Rescue with all of the issues they seem to be enduring at The Bar with No Name. Deeks jammin’ to Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It” was completely awesome! Sorry, that song is on my playlist and yes, I’m old enough to remember when it came out. There appears to be trouble in paradise that started even before Project Bar Modernization, or PBM. A little miscommunication and the young couple are on two very different pages in regards to the bar… and that covers more than the mix-up about the fundraiser and PBM.
Is it me or is this bar turning into an albatross? To be honest, I’ve felt like the bar was an idea that came out of left field but since the powers that be seem stuck on the idea, then I’ve had to accept it despite my objections. Opening and running a business can be very stressful for anyone, much less a newly married couple. One piece of advice that I give to couples who come to me for counsel, is for them to avoid any large projects or changes in the first year of marriage… like remodeling a bathroom, building a new house, or opening a new business. They are embarking on a completely new journey together, working at becoming one in their marriage, which will be stressful enough on its own without adding anything more. The two of them are learning how to live together, how to work things out without hurting each other deeply, how to deal with in-laws, and how to share the blankets without bloodshed. If you think things are stressful with all of that, wait until you start having kids! Add another level of stress (like opening a bar)… and the friction is inevitable.
Another point to make about the newlyweds is their lack of communication. The entire fiasco at the bar with the PBM and the fundraiser stemmed from a problem with clarity about the plans each of them were making without informing the other. What started out with Kensi enjoying Deeks’ dance moves quickly escalated into an argument about what they should focus on that day and then a revelation about the other struggles they were encountering about the bar. These are two people who could hold entire conversations without uttering a word but are now struggling to work together outside of OSP without losing faith in each other. I’m sure they will eventually work this out but it was very frustrating and sad to watch Kensi’s response of “I don’t know” when Deeks asked “What do we do?” I vote that they sell the bar to Roberta and just become silent partners with a reserved table in the back.
Sam was going to teach Fatima how to change the oil in her new Harley but they are surprised by the return of Lance, who has a case of a missing family of a former border tactical officer. I guess with Hetty away, everyone can have a motorcycle except for Deeks? What the heck? We’ve seen Kensi riding hers and now Fatima cruises up as well… I’m screaming foul on that point.
Goldberg is back and while he is still an imposing figure, his acting is dreadful when you put him next to LL Cool J. While Goldberg did manage a few believable moments, too many of his lines were delivered like he was reading directly from his cue cards. On the other hand, LL gives Sam personality, humor and wit with just the expression on his face and that Cheshire cat smile.
Anyway, before long, Sam, Lance and Fatima are running around town looking for the agent and his family as the drug cartel hitmen’s bodies keep turning up. It turns out that the border agent is pretty bad and is kicking ass and taking names trying to rescue his wife from the cartel hit team. Now, while I’m not condoning his vigilante style actions, I will say that I can relate… you mess with a man’s family and there will be hell to pay. There is nothing that I wouldn’t do for mine, so I understand his motivations even if his actions were hard to accept and moralize.
The real issue I had was how their story was told. With all the cuts to Uncle Callen, Eric and Nell in San Fran, and Deeks and Kensi bickering about the bar, I never felt connected to the agent and his family. The only real dramatic moment came when Fatima had to convince the daughter to trust that they were there to help. Other than that, I felt no real anxiety over the kidnapped wife even when she had a very large gun pointed at her side. Without that emotional tether, I really did not care what happened to them as they were merely the sideline to all the stories involving the team members that had absolutely nothing to do with the case.
That brings me to this and if you’ve read or listened to some of my comments on the wikiDeeks staff roundtable discussions, you’ve heard me say this before… I do love this show and some episodes have left me speechless (for the right reasons), but for as many times as the writer/director team knock one out of the park, there are more times that they strike out completely. This episode was one of the latter incidents for me; the opening was the most exciting part but it had no bearing on the rest of the show, the main case got lost in the shuffle amongst too many separate storylines that really felt out of place, and I did not really care about what happened to the innocent family caught in a brutal drug war.
To me, this episode felt like a set-up for the season finale. A returning guest actor is trying to lure away one of the leads to another path (Sam); two characters are planning on a big change in their lives in regards to the city they live in and their careers (Eric and Nell); a newly married couple is struggling to mix their work/home/business life into something sustainable (Kensi and Deeks), and one whose estranged sister’s return is showing him the worth of family connections that he has never had before but now desires (Callen). If the writers do not have a concrete plan for the end of the season, any one of these possible changes would give them a plausible (but lackluster) cliffhanger to carry us through the summer.
And that’s a little scary to me. There are so many story arcs that they have started this season that would be so awesome to bring back: What happened to Anna? Yeah, I know and I apologize to the “Die Anna, die!” crowd. Where was Hetty all this time? Whatever happened to the Frankenstein killer clan? Will the Masriq Army make another appearance? What about Deeks’ work with Internal Affairs at LAPD? Will Deeks find out the truth about Kensi’s shark?
Whatever it is, I think we need one that leaves us breathless like when Deeks was strapped to that chair or the team all looked dead in Mexico. I know that’s kind of dark, but that’s just me being me.
With next week an off week for the show, there are only a few episodes left before the last one of the season. I’ve heard some snippets of what might be in store for our team from the Office of Special Projects but I’m keeping those to myself. Most places are pretty mum on whether or not there will be a Season 11, so let’s keep our fingers crossed.
I know that I did not cover everything that happened in this episode, so let us know what you think of “Searching.” What stood out to you? What about the possibility of Eric’s new job? Will Sam decide to follow Lance off into new adventures? What will Deeks and Kensi eventually call their bar? Will Deeks ever get to ride his motorcycle? Was this everything that it should have been?
Be sure to check out the other wonderful interviews, postings, chats, stories, etc. that my great friends here at wikiDeeks put together for you every week. There’s so much to see that you could waste an entire day perusing the site and still not see it all.
And, as always …
Thanks to Adam George for feature pic.