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Review: NCISLA “Concours d’Elegance” (S11E07)


This week’s episode of NCIS: Los Angeles provided another strong team outing filled with banter and flirtation on the part of more than one couple. Written by Lee A. Carlisle and directed by Yangzom Brauen, it kept things on the light side, just like most of the episodes we’ve seen so far this season.

Three Cheers for Canon Consistency

Longtime wikiDeeks readers know how bothered I can get when the show’s writers contradict past events to create a new reality for our characters. I’ll refrain from rehashing old complaints and just say how enjoyable it was to watch an episode where past history was treated appropriately. Carlisle has only been with the show since 2015, having started as a writers’ production assistant and working his way up onto the writing staff, yet he’s clearly been paying attention.

The first example involved the lovely initial scene between Nell and Fatima where Nell referred to a prior conversation with Granger. It was a conversation that most fans wouldn’t even remember, which made its inclusion all the sweeter because it was meant for fans like us. The callback to Granger’s advice to Nell to never belittle herself or her abilities was a wonderful way to remember Miguel Ferrer’s unforgettable character, her “old, somewhat cranky, but always wise friend,” and it showed how Granger lives on in all those he touched, who are now using what they learned from him to touch others. It was beautifully done and also reminded me of Carlisle’s other really touching scene to date, between Deeks and Roberta at the end of “Into the Breach” (and if you haven’t read Brenda’s very special review of that episode and that scene, do it now).

We also had a funnier callback to a long-running reference to Sam’s previous experience working undercover as a sommelier. He’s always been so proud of his certification so it was a fun way to show that he and Katherine have in common an appreciation for such fine things.

Finally, we got the other ginormous callback of the episode, to Deeks’ prior experience working as an exotic dancer (more on that below). Well played, Lee A. Carlisle, well played sir.

Love is in the Air

The Sam-Callen banter about cars was not my favorite part of the episode. It felt just a bit tired. But the more interesting part of this duo’s side of the story was that Sam appears to have found a love interest with Katherine Casillas. I’m happy for Sam to find a little brightness in his life. He deserves it. Carlisle showed that they both like the finer things in life, but I also liked her little story about working on an old Pontiac with her dad. I think these two have a future. I just hope she fades to the background since I don’t know how many stories can involve insurance, and a woman who doesn’t seem to have any self-defense skills.

A Deep Ocean of Secrets

We got lots of adorable Densi this episode. I enjoyed the initial banter over the career paths of their Internet personality/video game streamer person of interest. I also loved that Deeks got to drive his truck! And their serious exchange with Franklin Shapiro in the hospital about seizing second chances actually brought a little gravitas to the episode.

Kensi just seemed happy throughout, but of course nothing made her happier than the final reveal of Deeks’ exotic dancer identity. What a long-held secret, and I can’t believe no fan fiction authors ever came up with this brilliant idea (or at least none that I remember reading). Of course like most of us, my mind immediately jumped to Kensi’s ex, but my conclusion was that this was yet instance where canon had been overlooked, and just a thoughtless choice of name. But it turned out to be utterly and completely perfect. The look of pure joy on Kensi’s face was something we’ve rarely seen. It actually reminded me of Deeks’ initial confession to Kensi about his previous part-time employment, at a time when he had betrayed her trust and needed to make it right. At that time she took such glee in knowing this sordid secret of her then work-only partner. Now, finding out that her husband and her fantasy had somehow melded together, what could be better?

I will admit to feeling just a little queasiness at teasing Deeks over what he had to do to make ends meet, not to mention the humiliation of knowing that Kat, Mindy, Mandy, Tiffany and Tiffani will all know, but overall their banter worked so well, and Eric Christian Olsen and Daniela Ruah delivered it so well, that it bears memorializing here:

Deeks: Jack.
Kensi: Hmm?
Deeks: My, uh, my stage name was Jack.
Kensi: Jack as in my ex, Jack? Wait, is that why you didn’t want to tell me?
Deeks: What? No, not like your ex Jack. No, like Jack, from Titanic. You know, I wanna draw you naked Jack. [Kensi smiles gleefully.] What’s happening? What’s that look?
Kensi: Jack Dawson?
Deeks: Yeah. I mean, it was 1997, I was riding the zeitgeist wave, and I just didn’t wanna tell you ’cause I didn’t want to tarnish your favorite movie.
Kensi: Tarnish?!
Deeks: What?
Kensi: Tarnish? No [giggles], you could never tarnish, no I just really love that movie. I’m very excited did you have the hair?
Deeks: Did I do the hair, yeah, I straightened it and I parted it. If you wanna know the truth, I killed it. I mean, it was just like the ladies just slinging presidents.
Kensi: Do you still have the outfit?
Deeks: Of course I still have the outfit… Do you wanna talk about what’s happening right now? Because you’re like flush and then red-
Kensi: I am gonna talk but I’m gonna do it with Kat, Mindy, Mandy, Tiffany and Tiffani.
Deeks: No, let’s not do that ’cause this is my secret-
Kensi: They have known about this fantasy for a long time.
Deeks: -Because I have now given it it to you and it’s our secret-
Kensi: [Walking away and dialing her phone] Whew!
Deeks: -What I need you to do is lock it up and then take that key and throw it away like it’s the heart of the ocean, Kensi, if you could just… OK… Kens?

Memorable Moments

  • I wasn’t a fan of the swirling overhead camera angles, and there were even some awkwardly placed higher than eye level shots looking down on Deeks and Kensi in the boatshed that seemed totally unnecessary.
  • The Dodge Challenger Hellcat really does come with two keys. The red one gives you the full 717 horsepower. The black one tones it down to a mere 500 hp. (In comparison, my MINI Cooper S has a whopping 180.) Owners can use the red one themselves, but give the black one to their kids or anyone else who might not be up for handling the full power version. There’s also a valet version with both keys that takes it down to 300 hp. Oh, and the Ferrari 488 that Sam chased down has only 661 horsepower. And by the way, Katherine’s choice of dream car is definitely not a sportscar. The Pontiac Catalina was Pontiac’s full-size sedan entry level car. Clearly it’s a sentimental choice, which makes me like her more.
  • I also enjoyed the quick glimpse of Counselor Deeks with his “Objection, move to strike” attempt to change the subject away from his former line of work. That conversation also included a touché, which might have just been thrown in by ECO, but I still appreciated the continuity.
  • I normally try to avoid discussing hair and wardrobe, but oh my goodness Deeks looked spectacular this episode in that cornflower blue shirt and sunglasses.

What did you think of “Concours d’Elegance”? Do you approve of Sam’s new love interest? Do you care if Callen ever gets another girlfriend? And how much did you enjoy the Densi?

 

 

About Karen P (209 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.

11 Comments on Review: NCISLA “Concours d’Elegance” (S11E07)

  1. Bluenet13 (Jess) // November 12, 2019 at 6:42 AM // Reply

    Hi Karen, thanks for another great review. I didn’t like the beginning of this season as much as I would have wanted but I’ve really enjoyed the last episodes. Mostly because I feel like we finally have our core team back together and the show is better for that.

    This episode, started on a great note as soon as Nell brought back that advice from Owen, I miss him and I have always loved that original scene between them. On another note, I’m surprised that I actually don’t mind Katherine, I might actually like her and enjoy having her on the show for the occasional episode. Except for the fact that she brings out more of Super Sam, as I effectively call him nowadays, and I’m a bit tired of him getting to be the hero most of the time.

    And now for what I truly care about, Deeks, I loved his scenes with Kensi and the call back to his exotic dancer days, especially now knowing that Kensi has probably always keep that knowledge at the back of her mind, waiting for the right moment to push for information. There’s so many things about Deeks that I want to know and blanks that I want filled that I feel happy just getting to know this small part. I also loved how we got a typical funny Deeks but not at the expense of his competency. Lastly, I really liked the scene of Deeks catching the bad guy thanks to his new LAPD toy. At this stage of the show, it’s sometimes easy to think of Deeks as another NCIS agent and overlook the fact that to this day he’s still LAPD so I enjoy scenes that draw attention to that and put a spotlight on how that fact still differentiates him from the rest.

    In the last months, I had lost a bit of my love for this show (never for Deeks) and I found myself disappointed more often that not, but I have really liked the last eps and I’m regaining my love for all things NCISLA, so I hope the strong episodes continue, and I personally can’t wait for Kill Beale, and Mother.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I enjoyed this episode also. I’ve been watching season 2 and the shirts that Deeks was wearing detracted from the show and not in a good way. The blue shirt in this episode was nice. I liked everything about this episode except I thought the last conversation between Nell and Fatima dragged a bit. I did appreciate the consistency from the past episodes.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Terrific review! Thanks

    I really don’t have many complaints with this episode other than they shoehorned in the plot point to have Katherine there but I like her and Sam together actually. The second love is never the same but it’s good.

    Densi was spot on. Just good job.

    May this episode be the signal that the season is improving…..

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for your great review, Karen.
    I enjoyed this episode, especially the Densi banter. I really missed those moments between married Deeks and Kensi and this week they were perfect.

    I enjoyed the call back to Deeks’ days as an exotic dancer, even if I must admit I was a little puzzled about the year: if I am not wrong, Deeks was born in 1979, so in 1997 he was just 18, I mean, he could have been an exotic dancer at that young age, but it seems a little forced just to make it match with the great success of Titanic. Maybe it was just my fault, though, because I had always pictured Deeks as an exotic dancer in his twenties. The other thing about the scene that left me puzzled was the instant urge Kensi had to share Deeks’ stage name with the Cupcake girls. I get they are her best friends, but it isn’t fair to be mean at her husband’s expenses. I would have liked more to see Kensi keep Deeks’ “secret”. I know the scene was played for fun, but I would have liked it to end differently. It has taken so long to Deeks to reveal a little more about his past days as an exotic dancer and Kensi can’t keep his stage name just for herself. I thought Deeks was her best friend too.

    I hope the quality of season 11 is improving and I really can’t wait to see Mother, I am sure that script will be special, since ECO has a great gift with words.

    Thanks again for this weekly appointment with all things NCIS:LA.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you Karen for a wonderful review, I really loved your comment about “fans like us” because I felt special during this episode because of all of the callbacks and remembering them happening originally. I adored Deeks and Kensi in this , the callback to Deeks being forced to tell Kensi about his past as a stripper because he read her diary and then the tie in to her love of Titanic was awesome.I loved the Sam and Callen banter, even about the cars.Thank you for the technical information about the Dodge Challenger Hellcat, very interesting.

    I am in the minority on this, but I do not like Sam with Katherine. Moon Bloodgood is a good actress, I do not know why they developed a character like her for Sam, I just do not see them having much in common. If I had my choice I would like to see Sam with someone more like Michelle. I think he would be great with FBI Agent Rand. Alicia Coppola is a great actress and I think the character they have written for her on this show would be a perfect match for Sam. Sam and she could get together over a case , maybe even bring back the Monster storyline which she appeared in and they could take it from there.

    On a final shallow note, ECO can wear that blue henley every week, boy did he look good.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Another stellar review!

    Favorite episode of the season, by far. I especially liked Nell’s callback to Granger, and found Kensi’s reaction to Deeks’ stage name hilarious. THIS is what I’ve been missing from these two. It was awesome.

    I also loved Katherine’s choice of dream car. While it may not be a sportscar, the Pontiac Catalina 2+2 was a big muscle car. My uncle owned a ’66 2+2. With 421 cubic inches under the hood and a 4 speed transmission, he won many drag races and had plenty of trophies to prove it. Loved hearing Katherine and Sam chatting about one.

    I hope the rest of the season is as strong as this episode was.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Well I think that Kensi remembering that Deeks being a dancer that she had shared a fantasy she had about Deeks dancing for her as Jack from Titantic hence why she said that the girls have known of her fantasy for a long time. and she couldn;t wait to share that part of it was true.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love reading your well written reviews Karen, thank you so much for writing them.
    I really liked this episode, this was more like a “traditional” NCIS LA episode than the previous episode and I really liked that. I, too,loved those callbacks( thank you Lee. A. Carlisle), and those Densi-scenes.
    I do like Katherine, but I’m not a big fan of the romance between her and Sam. I really love Densi, but personally I hope that they don’t add too many romantic storylines (so that the romantic storylines become too big part of the show). I don’t have nothing against Callen or Sam finding romance (as long as it is not Anna 🙂 ) , but I personally prefer when the show does focus on case storylines and if romance is needed lets Densi handle that 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Enjoyable episode and review! The multiple throwbacks felt like little gifts to us fans who recognize them and appreciate the consistency. Sam certainly seemed interested in Katherine (I wasn’t sold on it the last time we saw her), and Callen was happy to watch their interactions as well, so all is good there for now. And I agree with you, Karen…I’m fine with just hearing about her from now on. I don’t need to see every little step of their blooming romance (it’s not that kind of show, after all).

    I got a kick out of the fact that Deeks had an LAPD-provided toy that NCIS didn’t have. You could tell he had been waiting for just the right moment to try it out. And I was also impressed with Kensi’s quick wit, coming up with Bruce Wang a second after Deeks made a Batman reference.

    I was much less impressed by Kensi’s actions at the hospital upon finding out about Deeks’ stage name. I was very disappointed that the first thing she wanted to do was share that information (and Deeks secret!) with the Cupcake Girls (it almost ruined the scene for me, to be honest). I just hope she didn’t follow through on it. (Shameless self-promotion alert: I may have “fixed” that in this week’s Kensi’s Journal entry.)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks for all the thoughtful comments! I had one more thought about the final scene, which is how Deeks’ revelation started. He shared it there in the hospital because he saw how affected Kensi was by the couple who had nearly lost everything, and by her own sad memories of similar experiences. He wanted to make her happy, and he knew the lighter topic was just the thing to do it. I think it was actually a very romantic gesture.

    Like

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