Review: NCISLA “No More Secrets” (S10E22)
Welcome to the review for this week’s episode, “No More Secrets,” the second half of a two part series that began last week with “The One That Got Away.” That one left off with Anna Kolcheck flying away from a perplexed G Callen after her escape from federal prison with a Russian agent. It was penned by two of my favorite show writers, Andrew Bartels and Erin Broadhurst, with Yangzom Brauen taking the director’s helm. If you haven’t already, please take a few moments to check out Karen P.’s review of last week’s episode to get caught up with the current story line.
When we left our agents, they were watching the plane carrying Anna (Bar Paly) and Kate Miller (Eve Harlow) off to destinations unknown after a daring escape from federal custody. We knew it would be somewhere with a strong Russian influence, and this week we discover that they are headed to Havana, Cuba to meet up with Pavel Volkoff (David S. Lee), the head of Russian Security Services who has spent several months torturing Callen’s father over in Siberia.
Unfortunately, there was no reappearance of Arkady, which was a downer for me. It doesn’t matter what situation you put him in, that man always has my attention, whether he’s bickering with Callen about Anna or he’s terrifying Deeks and Kensi reminiscing about a towel incident. It is always a highlight of the season when I see Vyto Ruginis’ name in the credits… that will be a show I won’t miss!
The Fatima character was conspicuously absent this week as well and I have to be honest with you… I missed her. But I miss Hidoko as well and will always feel that she got a raw deal in how her storyline was handled last season. Killing her off the way they did was a disservice to the actress who worked hard to give us a decent character that I actually enjoyed a ton more than I did Mosley. Maybe Fatima will be back as the show heads into the final installments of Season 10 and we prepare for the looooooonnnnnnggggg wait over the summer.
And just when you thought she’d been voted off the island… Joelle is back! I felt like there should have been a big “Bwwwaaahhhhaaahhhhhaaaa!” moment in there somewhere when we find out that she, and not Hetty, was the person behind the CIA black-op that had Anna moved around in prison. This was almost an episode of This is Your Life! for poor Callen with all of the ex-flames that kept popping up! I kind of felt sorry for him because think about it- how many Callen stories did Anna and Joelle share when there was nothing else to talk about? Sorry G, but that’s bad, no matter which way you look at it.
Just like most of you, I am glad to see Linda Hunt back, but her lack of screen time is getting pretty annoying! A few seconds here and there is not enough for the captain of the ship and I really hope that we will continue to get more and more of her before the season comes to an end. We only have two more episodes left before the break and with the Harm and Mac characters added to the mix, our Hetty time may be severely limited.
I was impressed with Callen in the way he stood up to Hetty and didn’t bother with pleasantries. He even spoke over her and cut her off. It was out of character for how she usually responds to such rudeness, but I think she knew after all that had happened, she could give him a little slack. The quote from Emily Dickinson, “We grow accustomed to the dark – when the light is put away” was truly fitting for the path the characters were undertaking. Callen, Nikita, Anna… even Joelle… are all on paths that have taken them into the darkness and eventually, they get used to it.
Since this is wikiDeeks and his character is the focus of the site, I do try to point out great Deeks moments and any tidbits of Densi that happen in the show, but this time there really wasn’t much to work with. The husband and wife team were pretty much pushed into the background this time around, relegated to driving up that beautiful land-boat (I absolutely love older model cars) and running around shooting the bad guys. We had a lot more of their interactions last week (their time with Arkady was short but great) and with the strong focus on Callen, there wasn’t much time left. Hopefully, there will some moments of Densi goodness in the next few weeks!
This was one of the best episodes to air since the wedding, and I was happy that the second part wasn’t a letdown like the “Smokescreen” two-parter was a few weeks ago. I raked that one over the coals pretty well in my review if you want to know how I really felt. We had a great build-up last week and it carried over without much change in tone or emotion, probably due the fact that it was written by the same crew. It surprised me when I realized that I was really concerned about what Anna was up to and would she get away unscathed when the bullets started flying. Then we find out that the reason she’s on this mission is to find out the location of Callen’s father and even though it was a CIA black operation and not just out of the kindness of her heart… I never thought I would say this and I may get blacklisted by the “Die, Anna! DIE!” crowd… but she’s starting to grow on me. Now time will tell if that’s going to be like a fungus or more hair where I actually need it, so we will just have to wait and see what happens in the future. They left it open if we will see her again in upcoming seasons, but I was just as surprised to see Joelle pop back up so easily after the way they left her character.
And just so we did not forget, we are once again reminded that Nell’s mother is getting heart treatments up in San Francisco and Eric has a new job offer still on the table. I know that some of you out there are die-hard Neric shippers and more power to you, but I feel like this just keeps getting hammered into us week after week. It may be a huge plot point to some but to me, it’s just becoming an annoyance. If you haven’t picked up on my feelings about Neric from my previous reviews, let me break it down as quickly and simply as I can: love the characters – hate the couple – let them be friends – relationship feels forced and out of place – will miss them if they (or just one) goes – won’t lose any sleep over it if they do.
While he remains a secondary character while Hetty is still out of the office, Rogers is really becoming one of the high points in the show for me. The scene where Eric and Nell view him struggling up the climbing wall to his silent appearance behind them in operations to the way he is beginning to find his niche in the Office of Special Projects… I will miss him if they send him back to DC. I could not wait for Mosley to disappear into oblivion, but Rogers has a decidedly wicked undercurrent of untapped potential. He doesn’t steamroll over anyone with arrogance and a “Do this because I told you to and I’m the boss” (like Mosley did on a regular basis) but has a reserve of commanding power and authority that he only brings out when he’s tried all other options. He isn’t afraid to call out the agents when they get a little bit too much outside the lines, but he also does not hesitate to pull some serious strings to get them out of trouble when they need the extra hand.
And down in Cuba, the team is apparently going to need all the help that they can get. After getting betrayed by Fernandez (Oscar Nunez), Callen and Joelle are taken to meet Volkoff, who is holding Nikita (Daniel J. Travanti). At the bunker, we see Volkoff’s goons beating up some random person who turns out to be from the Comescu family, a man named Darius (Gene Farber) who was saved as a child by Nikita after he had killed the boy’s parents. When Nikita was forced to question the man he had saved, we see two spymasters at work when they communicated not with what they were saying, but with a code passed with signals with their fingers… which was pretty cool.
Volkoff really needed to pay more for better security- both his location and the guys guarding him were far from adequate for such high stakes. He had to know that Callen’s team or even a CIA reaction force might be closing in on him, yet he acts like they’re hanging out at the mall. I ‘ve seen better security at a Walmart. Really. I have.
There was a point when I almost threw something at the screen as I watched Volkoff, after being defeated, beg to be taken in as an asset who could provide a wealth of information to the CIA and Joelle was actually willing to go along with it. When Callen stepped in and led them all away, leaving Volkoff to die in the chlorine gas that he set off, I almost cheered, glad to see that cliché fall to the wayside for once. Sometimes there has to be a line drawn in the sand- this far and no further- that no one is allowed to cross and if you cross it, you end. I was glad that Callen did not actually kill the man who had tortured his father, but he did not have to save him either. That was well played.
The torture scenes for Darius (Gene Farber) and Callen with the gas mask were pretty intense, which made for great drama. You could feel the anguish coming off of Nikita even when he was remaining stoic on the outside. At the end, when we see that Darius survived by using the very thing that was used a torture device earlier was a really cool touch that showed the writer’s do actually know what they are doing… most of the time.
I do have a few things to point out that caught me the wrong way so let me get those off my chest before wrapping this up.
I did want to point out one thing about Callen’s escape from the bunker that jumped out at me. While the guards were popping off their AK 47s on full auto, the agent was shooting his weapon in single shot, presumably to conserve ammunition since he did not have any spare magazines. This was tactically sound and something that we don’t usually see in most TV shows or even in a lot big budget movies. I’m a stickler for little details like that and when someone gets it right, I notice and it makes it all a little more believable even when I know it’s a fictional story.
I will play devil’s advocate for a moment here and point out a couple of tidbits that may turn into something one day or not, but here they are:
There were a lot of previous story lines that came to a head in this episode. We had Anna’s imprisonment and subsequent escape, Joelle came back out of nowhere and we found out what was happening to Callen’s father. Some of the resolutions were left rather ambiguous with Anna unable to return to the US because of her earlier escape, Joelle is out there running CIA black ops that may come back on the NCIS team, and Callen has lost his father permanently this time it seems. But there was also the revelation that not all of the Comescus are out to kill Callen and Darius may even turn out to be an ally at some point. There is the hope that Alex will finally forgive her brother and Callen can rediscover the family he only was able to experience for a short time.
Here are some points to ponder now that we’ve reached the end:
Let us know what you think about “No More Secrets” in the Comment section and leave any thoughts you may have about the upcoming season finale, which airs on May 19th. Holy Bat Crap! That’s only two weeks away! There’s so much time and so little to do! Wait… scratch that… reverse it.
Terrific review! You found so much to discuss!
Now I feel like TPTB are just teasing me with pretending to kill Anna. (Die, Anna, die!)
I like Joelle as a CIA agent. The actress “reads” intelligent on the screen and having her be a so-so character who was a teacher just wasn’t going to be enough to keep Callen interested for long. But, add in the darkness and wily-ness …. better. Ya know … he’s not my favorite character but I would love to see a storyline where Callen fell — whomp!– head over heels in love with an amazing woman who was his match and just wiped the smirk from face because he was struck dumb with attraction and then some causing personal havoc to his loner status. They haven’t found her yet, to my mind. But then she’d have to be tragically killed off or something. Ah well.
And hey! Did anyone notice that Nell’s mom was ill and that Nell was torn about leaving?! OMG, could they hammer it home more times in every episode? Sheesh.
Otherwise, you were spot on about not feeling (or even trying that hard) like they were in Havana whatsoever as well as lack of Deeks and Kensi for doing much. If we can’t have Kilbride, then I vote to have Rogers.
I agree with you about Callen needing a heed over heels character to fall in love for. So far he has not meet her.
Also agree about the gake out of killing Anna. Die already!
ANNA IS HORRIBLE!! SHE IS NOT A BELIEVEABLE AGENT. SHE’S SO BUSY MAKING LOVE TO THE CAMERA!! SHE DOESNT FIT YOUR TEAM!! WHOEVER’S DAUGHTER, GIRLFRIEND OR BLACKMAILER SHE BELONGS TO, PLEASE DONT RUIN ONE OF THE BEST SHOWS EVER ON TV! SHE IS AWEFUL!! SHE IS NOT CLOSE TO AWESOME BLYE IS. SHE SELLS IT AND IS BEAUTIFUL
Any idea why Kensi and Deeks were so dressed up in OPS? Was anything ever said?
Thanks Jericho for a really entertaining review, I enjoyed reading it. I did enjoy the episode , I just cannot get excited about it or the final episodes coming up. As you mentioned there really was hardly any Deeks and Kensi storyline. I did love that Deeks was driving and it was a classic car.
On the positive side, it was action packed and it had a good storyline. It just seemed like it got very complicated and there was not enough time to tie it together coherently. I do like Joelle and I am beginning to like Rogers. I was disappointed that Callen’s father died . It seems like he should have survived at least a season to give Callen some family. However, as you point out maybe he is still alive, I like that idea. It certainly did not feel like they were in Havanna, from the folks I know who have been there, it is not that clean, and it is very hot and humid, so it would have been good to see some sweat on folks to give it some sense of reality.
I feel disappointed that Deeks and Kensi had such minimal roles in this. It seems at least from the ads and promos and pics we have seen so far for the final episodes they will not be in the forefront of those episodes either. I certainly appreciate that many fans are very excited for the JAG characters, so I hope the final episodes make them happy but again I just cannot get excited from what I have seen.
Great review Randy. You covered all the bases, so I don’t have to. I actually liked this episode, although I would have liked a longer scene with Deeks and Kensi in that wonderful old Chevy. Deeks could have riffed on that big time. Hopefully there was a cut scene we’ll get to see on the DVD.
I think Callen was due for an episode with some emotion in it. I found the scenes between him and his father very touching. Travanti is such a pro, and I hope he isn’t really dead. Nothing like a tombstone to provide a good cover. I was surprised to see Joelle pop up, though. It was kind of like watching a ping pong match between her and Anna. I do think there’s more chemistry between Callen and Joelle, and I do hope he finally finds happiness before this series ends…just not with Anna.
The surprise twist for me was Darius, the long lost Comescu. It certainly added a nice layer to the story, and it should present some interesting storylines for next season. All in all I thought it was well done, well written and directed.
‘The Fatima character was conspicuously absent this week as well and I have to be honest with you … I missed her. But I miss Hidoko as well and will always feel that she got a raw deal in how her story line was handed last season.’
Oh man, I’m glad I’m not the only one who still thinks about Hidoko’s death. It was so brutal and unceremonious and for seemingly little payoff. The stakes for the core four were present and clear without us needing to watch Hidoko die the way she did, or have her die at all quite frankly. And I missed Fatima too! She adds such a great vibe to the show. I want her to stick around so badly.
On a separate, more relevant note, I appreciate this review. I left the episode feeling very annoyed at the lack of Deeks and Kensi screen time (what’s new), but this review has for sure granted me with a more positive perspective. But I’m just marvelling at the lack of densi in this season overall, especially when considering how we started the season. I know I’ve been a bit of a party pooper with my comments here, but it’s such a letdown.
Which brings me to the mysterious OPS wardrobe, I read on twitter that Deeks and Kensi were coming from brunch, but the scene got cut for time (cue more grumbling)…care to fic anyone?
Enjoyed your review. You covered everything and there was a lot in one episode. I loved seeing Callen and his fathers scenes, very emotional. I hope he is not dead. Joelle returning was a surprise but ended up being a good one since it was her op. Darius I am cautious of, he could be a friend or enemy to Callen and being raised by Nikita makes him more dangerous and a match for Callen. Glad Volkoff is dead. Hop Neric will decide what they are going to do. As for Anna, she will never grow on me not even as a fungus. Hopefully she is gone for good. Loved Densi in that old classic Chevy, but missed the team action we are used to seeing.
I really missed seeing Deeks and Kensi. I am not sure what the writers are thinking when they give them so little screen time. The writers have to know they have a large fan base. The episode was decent but I am very tired of the Callen/father story. We have been hearing about it for ten years so it is time to move on. Also, I am not a fan of Anna or Fatima characters. From the previews for the next episode, it looks like we have more Densi lite episodes.
Hi there! This is my first review on here. I am a new viewer to the show (I binged all 10 seasons before the wedding) and a HUGE Densi fan. Thank you to everyone for this website!
I really liked these past two episodes. I’ve been disappointed with the episodes since the wedding. These strong episodes make staying up late, worth it. I think this episode wrapped up many stories and yet, it left openings for them to come back if necessary.
I like both Anna and Joelle (but not with Callen) and I hope to see them again from time to time in future seasons. I think Rogers is a great addition to the OSP and I hope he sticks around. I’m tired of hearing about the possible move to San Francisco with Nell and Eric. I don’t know too many job offers that are open-ended. I like both characters and I don’t mind them together but make a decision already!
Like everyone else, I am disappointed with the lack of Densi scenes. I’m curious to see if anyone else has noticed that they have not had to identify themselves yet. I’m curious if she’s going to be Special Agent Kensi Blye or Blye-Deeks or Deeks. It makes me wonder….
Thank you for your great review, Jericho.
I have never been a fan of Anna or the way Joelle’s character has been written so I have to admit I hope this was the end to their character’s storylines. For me the reason why Anna stayed in Cuba didn’t feel convincing enough, wouldn’t it be a piece of cake for Hetty to solve Anna’s problems?
“Did anyone really think that both Anna and Joelle were killed when Volkoff shot them? It was meant to be pretty shocking but without any real build up, it fell flat and had no emotional impact for me”, this is exactly how I felt, too, there was just something missing in that scene and this was maybe the most disappointing part of the episode for me (in addition to lack of Deeks and Kensi).
Maybe it was just me, but Volkoff’s character reminded me (maybe a bit too much) of Sidorov (even though Sidorov was even darker character) and I would love to see more diverse “villains” in the future. (Maybe Volkoff’s character would had benefitted from a longer and more detailed storyline).
Overall I did enjoy this episode, Daniel J. Travanti did an amazing job and Darius seemed to be an interesting character and it will be interesting to see will we see him later.
Thanks for this excellent review.
To be honest, I would have liked to see more Deeks and Kensi. Period. I understand that not all episodes can be about them (like the wedding episode more or less was), and it’s fine, but I can’t completely enjoy other characters-centric episodes when Deeks and Kensi are almost nonexistent. This time the greatest letdown came from some of the BS and preview pictures: I thought we would get two Densi scenes, one that could explain why they were wearing such beautiful (especially Kensi) clothes in OPS (never been a fan of Deeks’ plaid shirts although this one seemed better than Season 2 ones) and one in Cuba with Deeks driving that amazing “classic” (not old 😉 ) car. Some banter, some humor, some flirting, some talking about their recent wedding and honeymoon, something to remind us they are married. Whatever could work. Just a few minutes. We got nothing.
The rest was quite enjoyable (mostly the second part), I still think Joelle has more chemistry with Callen than Anna and I would like to see her again in future episodes, Daniel Tavanti did a great job whenever he was on screen (he is amazing with Callen), Callen doesn’t seem to be very lucky lately, Hetty can do or say whatever she wants and all the scenes she’s in have a different pace.
Thanks again, WikiDeeks, for this amazing place where we can talk about our favorite show!
Great review Randy!! I liked the episode, but your review was even better than the episode!!
I missed Arkady too – he’s my favorite recurring character, there was definitely not enough Densi time, Neric: nope! but Rogers is really growing on me too! I just can’t even with Joelle any more, but yeah, what did her and Anna talk about during their hours of captivity together?
I’m curious about the end as well – there was a name, but no date on the headstone, and as you point out, there have been people who have seemingly been written off and then returned, so who knows. At least Callen has some closure and a grave in the US to visit, but is it enough to repair his relationship with his sister?
I thought the most powerful scene was when Darius escaped with the device they used to torture him. I was disappointed that Callen wasn’t more concerned about leaving him behind. Even though they are not biologically related, he was sort of an adopted brother. You’d think there would have been some desire to connect, or at least rescue him for Nikita’s sake. Might that be a source of future conflict as well?
Thank you for another great review of a great episode. I love how this episode tied everything together. I loved the Densi scenes that they were in. I Loved Deeks and Kensi pulling up in the car and helping get the bad guys. I was sad that Anna chose to stay in Cuba. I hope Anna comes back because I think Callen and her have a lot of Chemistry together. More so than Joelle and Callen. I was so sad that Callen gets his dad back only for his dad to pass away.