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Review: NCISLA “The One that Got Away” (S10E21)

Greetings, wikiDeeks readers! It’s been awhile since I took on the NCIS: Los Angeles reviewing duties, thanks to my colleagues Brenda and Jericho. I must admit to not looking forward to this week’s episode – at all – given its Anna-focused storyline. But “The One that Got Away,” written by Andrew Bartels and Erin Broadhurst and directed by Eric A. Pot, provided one of Season 11’s most pleasant surprises. Its seriousness drew me in, and its humor and emotion kept me involved.

The Plot

The episode marked the long-anticipated (or should I say, long-dreaded?) return of Callen’s sometime love interest Anna Kolcheck. She’d been sent off to prison back in Season 9 for shooting an unarmed man, with no thanks to Callen, who testified against her. Still, we all knew there was more going on, right? When she showed up in the hospital after a brutal fight, telling Callen, “For me to survive these years, I have to become someone else,” it sure sounded like she was trying to tell him she was undercover.

It turns out that Anna has actually been on a long-term mission to find Callen’s dad. At this point, it’s a bit unclear how the details of her prison term aligned with said mission. For example, why did she start out in federal prison just before Kate was even arrested? Did they know Kate would eventually be taken into custody? Or was Anna’s sentence legitimate, and perhaps Hetty came up with the scheme as a way to get Anna released early? Either way, the slight confusion didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the story. I liked how the episode slowly revealed her very personal agenda.

What also remains unknown is the extent to which Hetty’s disappearance might be linked to Anna’s mission. Given the goal of finding Callen’s dad, you’d have to imagine that Hetty might be the one who offered Anna the assignment. Also intriguing is the psychologist Anna was seeing. It was reminiscent of Season 2’s “Lockup,” where Hetty installed Nate in the prison to act as a contact for an undercover Sam. Did Hetty pull Nate in here as well? Or did she use the same playbook with another agent so she could keep in contact with Anna?

The Funny

The episode’s humor came primarily in the form of one Arkady Kolcheck, who really is the gift that keeps on giving to this show. His funny lines one after another made it feel as if a stand-up comic had entered the scene. Like any proud father (not!), he gushes about his daughter’s ability to evade the authorities: “My Anna is clever girl, quick and cunning. You think you can catch her? Hah! I tell you, she is already gone.” He holds a hand in front of his face in a childlike way as he assures the Marshalls that they’ll never know he’s there, as if he can make himself invisible. He tells Deeks and the others, “If it walks like vodka and talks like vodka, it’s Russkiy shpion (spy).” He delightfully banters with Deeks and Kensi:

Arkady (to Densi): Good, you are here! We have work to do.
Deeks: No we don’t.
Kensi: What are you doing here?
Arkady: Callen tell me go home, be good boy. Do I look like good boy?
Deeks: Please don’t make me answer that.

Arkady: Personally I have not been victim of such tactic (compromat). I am not easily shamed.
Deeks: Oh, I know! We’ve seen you in a towel.

Arkady: Kensi, Deeks! We are friends!
Deeks and Kensi together: No we’re not.

Vyto Ruginis, who plays Arkady, has the same talent as Eric Christian Olsen in the way he achieves spectacular chemistry with everyone. I can imagine the whole cast would fight over a chance to play scenes with him, even if they’re playing the straight man (or woman) to Arkady’s zaniness.

Props also must go to Peter Jacobson, who plays Special Prosecutor John Rogers:

Carmona: I have unusual tastes when it comes to, well, in the bedroom if you know what I mean.
Rogers: I don’t, and I would prefer you save those details for the grand jury.

Here’s a character who was likely planned to make a quick exit after hounding the team for a few episodes. That’s what special prosecutors do, right? They don’t stick around for a year to supervise the team they’re supposedly investigating. But I guess that’s what happens when stock “annoying DC higher up” characters are given just a little more dimension, and then imbued with quite a bit of humor. Rogers is easily my vote over the too-serious (i.e., dull) Ochoa or the horrible-for-many-reasons Mosley. Here’s hoping we get to see him interact with Hetty.

The Feels

Unlike some other NCIS:LA episodes, “The One that Got Away” managed to mix in a lot of humor while successfully communicating the overall seriousness of the story. Right from the start, I was unexpectedly drawn in to worrying about Anna simply because of the way Kensi, Deeks and the others talked about her as their friend. If they cared, that made me care too. The suspense ramped up further when Kate nonchalantly shot her handler in the head, communicating to us exactly how precarious Anna’s situation was, above and beyond all the rogue cops and U.S. Marshalls hunting for her.

I’m afraid though that Callen’s emotional plight throughout the episode failed to really affect me. I felt so much more genuine emotion coming from Arkady, and even the rest of the team, than I did from Callen. But maybe that’s just me and my failure to ever really connect with this aloof character. I did appreciate his steadfast belief that something more was going on, that Anna wouldn’t simply flee because she couldn’t survive behind bars, as Sam suggested. Callen’s faith in her was actually romantic: “Deputy Long, I know Anna. She is resilient and strong, and she was fully prepared to serve her time. So for this to happen, she had to have had a damn good reason.”

At any rate, the same person who brought the funny this week also brought the major feels, which can’t have been an easy feat. Kudos to Ruginis, Bartels and Broadhurst for striking such a winning balance. Arkady’s initial deployment of his charm (AKA the funny) to worm his way into the investigation made me laugh, but early on Ruginis also conveyed his degree of concern for his daughter. It compounded the concern expressed by the team and kept me hooked into the story.

But it was the later juxtaposition of Arkady’s description of his mother’s kindness, which carried through into his daughter, with the slow-motion moments of the final car chase, that really got to me. Seeing such a tough character express true vulnerability – along with some great direction and editing – made for compelling television. Learning about how he sees his daughter made me appreciate her through his eyes. And it made me root for Anna even though I’ve never cared about her before.

The Deeks and the Densi

Sorry, I’ve got nothing. I think we will need to enjoy reflecting back on all the wedding planning and the glorious wedding itself to get us through the rest of the season. And I’m OK with that.

Memorable Moments

  • Was I the only one surprised by Beale saying that “obviously” Callen wouldn’t have helped Anna escape? I mean, this whole team has broken out of jail, some of them on multiple occasions. I wouldn’t have been at all surprised to see it happen again. (And in fact, Hetty may have aided and abetted.)
  • On a shallow note, I found Anna’s pink lipstick rather distracting – did she decide to bring it along with her on her escape?
  • When Sam and Callen made their stand at the airport, I had to wonder whether standing in front of the car was the smart move? I mean, wouldn’t it be safer to take refuge behind the car door? I guess that wouldn’t look as cool though.

In the end, the lengths Anna went to to find Callen’s dad felt incredibly romantic. Of course, she may have had little choice if it was the only way she could reduce or commute her sentence. But if the rest of this storyline is pulled off well (something that doesn’t always happen- see “Smokescreen, Part II” for a recent example), it just might bring me around on this character and whether she should become a permanent part of Callen’s life. In fact, it might just make me a Callanna (is that what they call it?) shipper. But don’t worry, I won’t go so far as to invite her back onto the team!

Come back later this week for new editions of Deeks’ Surf Log and Kensi’s Journal. In the meantime, what did you think of “The One that Got Away”? Was the lack of Deeks and Densi a downer? Did your feelings about Anna change at all? Do you love Arkady and Rogers as much as I do? Tell us all about it in the Comments below.

About Karen (287 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.

21 Comments on Review: NCISLA “The One that Got Away” (S10E21)

  1. Unlike you, I always look forward to every episode no matter who is the focused storyline. When Anna said she had to become someone else I took it to mean she had to toughen up to survive in prison. I too wonder how long Rogers was going to be around. He did say he was leaving in March and now that Hetty’s back I assume he will make his exit soon. As usual Karen, I always look forward to your reviews and I hope to hear more from you in the future. wikiDeeks forever.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Nice to see you back Karen! Great review from you as usually. Pretty much like you I haven’t expected much from the episode being so not into Anna and/or Callen/Anna (love)story. Pretty much like you I believed that there is more to Anna’s stay in prison and I was sure from the very beginning that Hetty was behind it. All scenarios that you mentioned above were/are very much possible. Pretty much like you I enjoyed the episode very much. I found it well written, well played, well directed and excellently edited. I loved the scene with serious and proud papa Arkady that was cut with chase after Anna. I found it to be the best scene of the episode.
    Roger is great character excellently played by Peter Jacobson that brings the flair of Owen Granger back and I am looking forward to see him more in the next season.
    As far as Densi is concerned I am so happy that they look so contented being married that I do not ask for more at this moment.
    wikiDeeks forever.
    P.s. I loved the end from ewaguy comment so much that I felt like it must be repeated

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Thank you for the great review!

    Overall I found the episode to be ok.The Callen/Russia storyline doesn’t interest me much. Arkady always always makes an ep better. I had a moment there where I thought we really were going to have a “Die, Anna, die” moment. Not to be. And maybe I’m not as sad about that as I would have in earlier years. They are redeeming her character and I think you’re right in that Hetty is behind this scheme/op to find Callen’s dad in Russia and who better than someone like Anna who’s Russian and in need of a deal? Bar has definitely had some acting lessons over the past year or so. I’ll give her a nod for that, too.

    This may be a beginning of a big lead up to the season finale. They’re heading for Cuba next episode. Russia features in the last one for sure.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Thank you for your excellent review, Karen.
    This was an okay episode for me, I am not a fan of Anna and I have to admit I was a lot more interested in Kate as a character in this episode. It really did feel like Hetty was behind all of this, but to be honest that would be disappointing for me personally, I hope for something more surprising.
    I really like Arkady and especially I love Vyto and I think he is a great actor, but I wish the writers would write more diverse storylines for Arkady. There was that one serious moment in this episode, but I think there is so much more potential in Arkady’s character and in Vyto as an actor. My favorite moments were Deeks/Arkady/Rogers moments, ECO did a great job in scenes with them.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Well done review, Karen. Like you I wasn’t that into seeing Anna again, however, I was looking forward to a Callen centric story. It seems as if he hasn’t been given much to sink his teeth into this season. He has been more like Sam’s sidekick in most of the episodes, smirking and irritating his partner. When he gets an episode about family, and they let him show emotion is when we get memorable scenes, like the one where he is crying while viewing that film of him and his father interacting when he was a child. We need more of that from Callen. Hopefully, the final few episodes will give us a return to the strong character he was in the beginning.

    I actually liked this episode, and wasn’t as put off by Anna as I usually am. I was actually rooting for her, while trying to figure out what she was up to and why. It was a good mystery. Arkady helped us care about her, but again, Callen seemed very aloof about it all. You might have convinced me that Hetty is behind this. I hadn’t thought of that, and it would make perfect sense. She is like the Wizard of Oz, operating behind the curtain, manipulating her contacts on Callen’s behalf. He has always been her main focus, so her orchestrating this rings true.

    I know we didn’t get much of Deeks in this ep, but damn…he did look mighty fine in all black.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. michelle mcnally // April 30, 2019 at 10:44 AM // Reply

    loved the episode. it kept me on the edge of my seat. i still don’t like anna. akady is funny and his dialogue, slow motion care crash was great. i like rodgers character and think he and hetty will be good together. i also love kensi and deeks scenes but as long as i can watch deeks, i am good, he is amazing. the writing was good, the team was good but i think callen has trouble with emotional scenes. the action and special effects were also great ❤ thanks karen for a good review

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Thanks Karen for your review, I enjoyed reading it. I thought the episode was okay, as others have said, I was not looking forward to an Anna episode, however, this was much better than I expected. As I thought about it, I think the reason it was better than expected was there were no romantic scenes with Anna and Callen. I have always thought the Anna character could be interesting, for me though there is just no romantic chemistry with her and Callen at all , and when they write it , the scenes fall flat.

    I thought this was a good team episode had really good action sequences, car crashes , shoots outs, etc. I like Arkady and Vyto Ruginis  delivered a really good performance. There was not a lot of Densi as you noted but I liked that the Deeks and Kensi storyline was essential to the story and well written. Often in season 9, I felt that someone said we need Densi so they wrote some scene that was not relevant to the episode to provide some screen time. This felt like a cohesive storyline.

    My major complaint is with CBS which decided the final four episodes of this season will be an hour later and follow a new show that certainly is not bringing in the viewers.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. It looks like I’m in the minority on this one, but I feel like they’ve been underutilizing both Kensi, Deeks AND Densi this season, especially as we near the end. The show, of course, doesn’t always have to have them as the focus but they can still have impactful/punchy scenes or have more to do. Their scenes have been so uninteresting to me lately, and feel somewhat afterthought-ish, and they don’t need to be uninteresting! There is so much they could be doing with those characters and that relationship that doesn’t need to take up a lot of screen time. I’m almost close to saying that I miss the days when we weren’t getting wedding talk, and we weren’t post-wedding, which is unfortunate, but it looks like most people enjoyed the ep, and enjoyed Densi which you know, I’m glad to see. I’m just really hoping for some more significant Densi somewhere in the last four eps.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Great review, Karen. Out of all of the characters that have appeared on NCIS LA, Anna is my least favorite. Actually, it’s not so much the character that I dislike, it’s Bar Paly. Let’s just say that her sub par acting skills drag down the rest of the cast (in my opinion). I have a feeling that she will be sticking around though, so I have imagined the following scenario; next week, Anna gets shot in the face by Joelle, who then is shot dead. Anna survives, but needs extensive facial reconstruction, and when the bandages are finally removed (late) next season, voila, Anna is portrayed by a real actress! A girl can dream, lol.

    Sadly, we didn’t get much Densi, and I suspect we won’t for the remainder of the season 10 episodes. I am always lonely for ECO whenever he is not on screen, that’s just how I roll. Vyto Ruginis, who is always a delight to watch, showed another, surprising side of Arkady as he spoke so emotionally and lovingly of his mother and Anna. Who knew that this big Russian bear actually has a heart? I also am enjoying watching Rogers evolve from a royal pain into someone who actually “gets” his new team. I hope they keep him around. I can imagine some fun scenes with Rogers and Hetty in the future. I have never been that invested in the Russian storyline in the past, but I will be interested to see how this Anna, Kate, Callen’s father, prison story shakes out in the end. I just don’t believe that anyone would agree to serve time in a maximum security prison with hardened criminals in order to find her boyfriend’s father. Right now, none of it makes sense to me, so I guess I will just have to trust the writers. As for now, I am still a card carrying member of the Die, Anna, Die club.

    This was a good episode with a lot of action, emotion and some witty banter. Hope part two doesn’t let us down. Thanks Wikideeks for your devotion to all things Deeks/ECO.

    Liked by 5 people

  10. Thanks, Karen, for your amazing review, it’s good to have you back.
    Like many of you here, I had very low expectations from this episode, since I have never liked Anna so much, especially with Callen and it still beats me why she HAD to be his love interest from the very beginning her character was introduced. So I was really surprised I enjoyed the episode much more than some others of this season, which was unexpected. I think it was well-scripted and well-directed and all the actors did a very good job in all the scenes (Arkady and Rogers were the best). I would have liked to see more Deeks and Kensi, but I know we can’t have everything (and I’m still “shocked” we got a whole Densi wedding episode that lately I have been willing to be patient with the authors more than in the past).
    Thanks WikiDeeks for your great site, it’s unbelievable how Season 10 is flying by, luckily the show was renewed and we will have more (awesome) episodes to talk about in the future.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Debra Gillespie // May 2, 2019 at 3:31 AM // Reply

    Good review, Karen. I agree with other commentators that this episode was a pleasant surprise, the best one since the wedding episode, in my opinion. As far as I can recall, Arkady has been the only recurring guest character in at least one episode of every season of NCISLA, and this one definitely showed why. His banter with Kensi and Deeks was great, but his interactions with Rogers was hilarious (the Russian Bull and the Mouse That Roared…lol). And I agree with others that his emotional reminiscing of his mother, Anna, and his upbringing, interspersed with that great car chase, was the highlight of the show. I’m pretty neutral on Anna…I generally can take her or leave her…but Arkady made me actually care what happened to her.
    Ewaguy, you talked about Rogers exiting in March, but I swear I remember in an earlier episode that Rogers was going to be around until June, in order to supposedly have another quarterly performance review of the team…as before, good luck in rounding them up for that. In a early episode of the season Admiral Kilbride mentioned that Rogers greatly disliked Hetty, so apparently they have some “history”. It would be great if he stuck around to see how he and Hetty get along now.
    It was great to see Denise Crosby….Eric Pot did a great job directing this, but I thought it would have been interesting if Jonathan Frakes had been the director instead…sort of a Star Trek The Next Generation reunion. And I noticed when Deeks was on the phone to his colleague Marco at LAPD that he said that drinks were on him at the Squint and Dagger…so is that the official name of Deek’s bar, I take it?
    I’m greatly looking forward to next Sunday’s new episode; unlike “Smokescreen” parts 1 and 2, the writers are the same for this story arc, so this next episode could be as good as the first part
    And reebelle4, I’m optimistic that there might be a few Densi moments before season’s end; although Mac and Harm from JAG will probably be featured in the season finale, the fact that Frank Military is the writer gives me hope that we’ll get something with Densi.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. reebelle4 // May 2, 2019 at 5:27 AM // Reply

    Debra, I hope you are right about more Densi in the last few episodes of the season, but I am not as optimistic as you. I certainly miss the charming, romantic, and sometimes inappropriate banter between our favorite couple. Lately, they have been ‘all business,’ which is fine, but I do miss seeing the sweetness of their relationship.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Debra Gillespie // May 2, 2019 at 9:02 AM // Reply

      Talia is supposed to show up in the next to last episode…that might make things interesting between her, Kensi and Deeks.

      Liked by 2 people

      • sassyzazzi // May 2, 2019 at 11:06 AM // Reply

        I was not optimistic that we would get much Densi in the final two episodes given we have Harm and Mac in both but now that Talia is in one of the episodes, I am feeling pretty much like there will be no Densi. I was really hoping for some good quality Deeks and Kensi scenes with each other. Talia is one of my least favorite characters, but whether or not we get the bad Talia or good Talia does not really matter to me, purely personal opinion here, I feel whenever the character is in a scene it always feels like the scene is about her, not anybody else.

        Liked by 2 people

        • reebelle4 // May 2, 2019 at 12:55 PM // Reply

          I enjoy Talia, I find her very amusing when she teases Deeks. I don’t see her as any kind of threat at all to Densi. I am also hoping that the last couple of episodes don’t turn into the JAG show, but I understand that if CBS is planning a reboot of JAG, they have to launch it from somewhere.

          I have a question Wikideekers, that is totally unrelated to anything. When exactly did the mole, or as I like to call it, the beauty mark, disappear from ECO’s left cheek?

          Liked by 1 person

          • I believe ECO ‘s beauty mark 🤣🤣disappeared while the show was on hiatus between seasons 5 and 6.


  13. candi12301 // May 8, 2019 at 7:49 PM // Reply

    Thank you for a fantastic review again. I loved this whole episode. The scenes with Arkady and Densi were just funny. Rogers is really growing on me. I can not believe what Anna did in this episode, she can really kick butt when she needs too. I could not believe Callen let her go but they have this way of knowing what needs to be said without voicing it out loud.
    That is all I have on this episode.

    Liked by 1 person

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