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Review: NCISLA “High Society” (S11E13)


This week’s NCIS: Los​ Angeles episode “High Society,” written by Chad Mazero and directed by John Peter Kousakis, brought with it a few coincidences, a classic partner swap, some sweet exchanges, and more than its fair share of zany humor. I may not be able to accurately recap the plot, but I can tell you that I laughed throughout at references to caged birds, pigeons, whippets, grumpy cats, wildcats, and mountain lions, among other things.

Hilarity Ensues

The plot this week played second fiddle to the humor and interactions between the characters. There was so much random goofiness that I found it hard to organize my notes into any sort of coherent text. I’ll just start with the episode’s strongest feature, its humor. I have to compliment Mazero on his sense of humor, and also Eric Christian Olsen for what must have been a lot of improvisations. I mean, there’s no way Mazero wrote Deeks saying, “Beale, my tender lover,” right?

The funny hit right from the start with the whiny yoga instructor and her corpse pose, and it rarely stopped. We had the dry humor of pregnant FBI Agent Rush, worried about having to start rhyming. We had a goofy new coroner who wanted desperately to be part of the team (I miss Rose). There was Katherine’s odd assistant (I might have left her fired but perhaps she’s good at her job). There was a bad guy from a previous case named Victor who joked about whippets, and to whom Deeks called out, “Now who’s a good boy?” There were mathlete jokes and a graphically named motel.

As always, the humor highlight was seeing Roberta and Deeks together, again making it crystal clear that they need to star in a spin-off sitcom. Roberta is one of the few characters (Arkady, Kirkin and Bates also come to mind) who have as much on-screen energy and can command the screen as well as ECO, and it’s always fun to see them bounce their crazy ideas off one another. Pamela Reed is a joy to watch and she’s been missed through the first half of this season.

Roberta: This is the new Roberta Deeks. I think it, I say it.
Deeks: As opposed to the old Roberta Deeks who thought it and then put it on Facebook under a picture of a fat grumpy cat?
Roberta: I can’t help it if my followers wanna know why this caged bird sings.
Deeks: Mama I still don’t understand why you’re training for a 5K. You hate competition.
Roberta: Don’t be dramatic. I don’t hate anything.
Deeks: Pigeons.
Roberta: Rats with wings.
Deeks: Cargo shorts.
Roberta: Anything over four pockets is just greedy.
Deeks: Street performers.
Roberta: The last time I financially supported a clown I was married to your father.
Deeks: Touche. Why don’t you just tell me what this is really all about.
Roberta: Marty, I’m daring greatly.
Deeks: I’m following minimally.

Nearly all the jokes made me chuckle, and definitely communicated that this was going to be a lighthearted hour. Kudos to Mazero on maintaining such a fun tone throughout.

Regrets & Lost Loves

If the episode had an over-arching theme, it was that of regret. Mama D brought it up indirectly in her opening scene, and then more directly at episode’s end. She’s worried about having less to look forward to than to look back on. Didn’t you want Kensi to tell her right then and there that she was going to be a grandmother? Sigh, I keep read too much into little things that could make Kensi out to be pregnant, but it seems highly unlikely at this point in the season. Would she spend the next 11 episodes in Ops? On a separate note, was this the first time we got confirmation that Mama D was definitely married to Gordon John Brandel? I can’t remember for sure.

Deeks very directly asked Callen about regrets, specifically as they related to Anna. Did I miss something- was his question prompted by anything specific? It felt just a little pushy, even for Deeks. I was surprised Callen didn’t push back with a nosy question of his own as a way to shut Deeks down. Still, Anna lovers and Anna haters, it does appear that she’s fated to reappear someday. Brace yourselves. Aside from the Direct Deeks in that scene, I enjoyed the partner swappage. Kensi and Sam together are a little stiff, but it’s always fun to see Deeks/ECO try to loosen up Callen/COD, and we so rarely get a chance to see them together. This time around felt more natural than previous swaps ordered by the higher ups.

Perhaps most movingly, Sam advised his suspect about living a life regretting a lost love. Kensi was clearly moved, thinking no doubt about both Michelle and about nearly losing Deeks so recently. The good news for Sam though is that Katherine seems to be popping up everywhere. How many “high society” cases are they going to come up with this season to give her an excuse to make another appearance? She’s won me over and I’m happy for Sam, I just don’t need to see her sitting around identifying rich people in any more episodes.

Memorable Moments

  • I love it when the cold open includes the team. I also love it when the plot starts us in the middle of case, which we kind of got here as the team thought they were wrapping things up with their dead suspect.
  • I also love hearing Kensi refer to Deeks as her “husband.” Never gonna get tired of that.
  • It’s not easy living as a wildcat in the big city, but Los Angeles really does have a small population of mountain lions in its midst (none numbered 87 yet). Check out this National Park Service profile.
  • I have to quibble with the bad lighting on Sam in the morgue, and with the oddly quiet fashion show. There’s no way we should have been able to hear the models’ footsteps on the runway. (Doesn’t anyone watch Project Runway? I bet Kensi does.) In fact, the whole episode seemed oddly unpopulated, including the mission, and the apparently closed Squid and Dagger both morning and night.
  • Of course Sam knows all about Indonesian naming conventions and war cries.
  • So Deeks went abroad during his college days? Prague in 1999 surprised me, as we’ve assumed he would have lacked the means to travel. It’s not necessarily against canon, but it had the feel of something that was written for Deeks to joke about (or improvised by ECO) more than because it fit his backstory.

I’m heading out of town for a couple of days so had to keep this short. I trust that you fine people will pick up the slack for me. Tell us what you thought of “High Society” in the comments below!

About Karen P (218 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.

23 Comments on Review: NCISLA “High Society” (S11E13)

  1. Maria (@blogger360ncislarules) // January 14, 2020 at 6:43 AM // Reply

    Nice review!
    I will admit, I was kind of bored by this episode. That ending was the only real interesting part.
    Looking forward to ‘Callanna’ reuniting! If anyone is confused by when that particular episode will air, it’ll most likely be Feb 23, hiatus will end on Feb 16.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice review, I’ll admit though, this episode was kind of boring IMO. the funny parts were nice, but that ending was the only real interesting part. (#Callannawillrise!)
    If I was Eric, and I found out my own partner didn’t trust me to survive, and blames the boss for it, I’d be telling my partner to apologize ASAP and stop being an idiot and actually think of someone other then herself!!
    Gonna be a long hiatus.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. theultimatetvfangirl // January 14, 2020 at 7:29 AM // Reply

    Nice review!
    I was a bit bored by the episode this time. The funny parts were nice, but the only real interesting part was the ending. (#Callannawillrise!)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. theultimatetvfangirl // January 14, 2020 at 8:41 AM // Reply

    If I was Eric, and i found out my own partner didn’t trust me to survive, and is blaming my boss, I’d be very hurt and I would tell my partner to stop thinking of herself, and being a fool, and apologize to Hetty! cuz they are just too sweet to let this come between!
    Plus, Nell has seen since Season 2 what kind of calls Hetty has had to make, deciding NOW when Eric is in trouble that being in charge is a terrible thing, is just really stupid!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Fun parts of last night:
    I totally ship Sam and Katherine!
    I also liked every part of that runway takedown, (hot Kensi, silly Party Marty, and Callen in ‘skinny jeans’? lol)
    And of course, Bertie!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Karen, thanks for a very upbeat review of a very upbeat episode. I enjoyed it a lot. It starts so perfectly California for me ( I live here so I can say this) a yoga instructor, being upset because her parents are taking her trust fund and then a criminal crashes though the ceiling in the class. As you pointed out the humor in this episode really was marvelous,. When Deeks called Beale his tender love, I was laughing so hard . I also adore Roberta Deeks, Pamela Reed is so perfect in that part and she and ECO have such chemistry. I do hope we get more Deeks, Kensi and Mama Deeks this season.

    I have to admit I am beginning to really like Katherine and Sam. I do think Moon Bloodgood is a wonderfully talented actress, and I think she deserves a better written character. I see chemistry between LL and her, LL is so charismatic on the screen and I think she is too. So I hope they develop Katherine into an interesting character with a real part , instead of wasting time on Anna. Anna is not a character that needs to return.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Apologizes for what looks to be the same comment posted twice, but I was having trouble posting on here earlier, and I thought they were being deleted.
    Gonna be a long wait to Feb 16 (return date)

    Like

  8. Very good review! And good catch on the theme of regrets across the board.

    I’ve got to admit that I didn’t pay close attention to this episode. I was bead crocheting while it was on. But in my defense, there was actually very little plot here. Very. little. plot. So many things that didn’t connect or came out of nowhere …. barely a collapsible hanger to hang a story on.

    I enjoyed Deeks and Bertie. I even enjoyed the partner swap conversations. I really enjoy Sam and Katherine — she’s different than Michelle and Jada (yuck) and she’s not another agent they’re playing matchy matchy with. He’s having fun flirting with her and it’s fun to watch.

    On the negative side – the change in Nell is sad. I was watching a rerun earlier in the day while flipping channels and the contrast from Give ’em Hell Nell who is the most intelligent person in the room and now is stark. And at this point, let’s just let Hetty/Linda Hunt retire and give her a big retirement party. Die, Anna, die.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. michelle mcnally // January 14, 2020 at 4:24 PM // Reply

    i love the chemistry between deeks and his mom. that alone makes the episode. i wish eco would write an episode again, he is very talented. i don’t especially like the episodes relaing to the fashion world and althought the humor of especiallly deek i don’t like an episode based on that. it was very boring. i know the cast is trying hard but not having hetty and granger, God rest his soul has never recovered. i will always watch the show as long as deeks is there and ncisla is one of my favorite shows of all time and i have been around for a while. there were some real cool moments, but i agree w/ whoever said it, deeks should have been on the runway. i did not get how deeks distracted the guy, but he was an awesome dj. i saw a piece on how celebrities are doing that. love a gigantic fan

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Dani has cut her hair to chin length. She posted on Instagram. Donated to Locks of Love.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. There was a calm sweetness about this episode. Not too much rushing about, and more conversation. I loved the opening scene with the disgruntled yoga instructor. Really funny, as was a lot of the dialogue. This one was different, and I found I didn’t really care what the case was, I just relaxed and enjoyed the interaction between the characters. And it was so nice to see Mama Deeks again. I missed her. The dialog you quoted between her and Deeks was perfect, as was the arm porn we were treated to. Love those tank tops on Deeks. The only downside for me was Callen’s determination to find Anna. I see him going lone wolf again to locate her, and probably rescue her after someone ties her to the railroad tracks. Oh well…there is always Deeks in a tank top to look forward to.

    Liked by 4 people

  12. I liked seeing Deeks and Callen as partners. Great review but one would think the show runners would at least have a woman (actress) up to the same caliber as COD and not a wannabes actress who cannot act her way out of a wet paper bag. Well, if they want Anna (Bar Paly) back, as for me, I am tired of watching a bad female actor. They can do much better than Bar Paly. I just don’t get it. So Bar back, me out! Why don’t they get COD a good female actor instead, he deserves better than Bar Paly…looks don’t cut it alone, one must have at least some talent !

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Why does Bar Paly keep returning off and on on the show. Can’t she find other work? I really don’t get it. If she were a fair actress she could find other work, instead she keeps returning when she has time to ncisla and She is no match for COD! He deserves a good actress, one that can keep up in talent which she doesn’t have, not even as a model. Hopefully she has a college degree in something because she is going to have to fall back on it when she fails miserably as an actress and too old to model. I really don’t like Bar Palys miserable attempts at acting.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. It is nice to have you back Karen! Again great review with thoughts so much similar to mine about the episode. Having mama D. is always a treat and I enjoyed mom/son interaction a lot. Again I love to see so much care and love and tenderness between those two. There is really nothing much I can add to what you mentioned in your review. The episode was good, funny and it was confirmed once again that teamwork is indeed dreamwork. I also didn’t get how Deeks created distraction with his DJ skills, but I was distracted by his shirt/hoodie. Honestly I haven’t seen even local DJs from my city (living in the city that hosts Ultra festival I have seen quite a fair share of DJs) wearing such a boring shirt. What was that please? However I am pretty sure that Deeks would create much bigger distraction if actually been dressed à la DJ Diplo ( I am sure Kensi would have loved it too!).
    We also learned that Roberta Deeks frequented junior college ( I am not familiar with US education system but Wikipedia says it is educational institution offering two year course(s), so I presume it would be pendant to European Bachelor’s degree or so. Was she able to find well paid job with that education in LA? I mean I don’t remember ever heard Deeks complaining that he had to pay student loans back. So if he had to work dozen times as the dancer of the exotic nature to help paying his education I presume that the rest was paid by Roberta. Maybe they didn’t have problems to make ends meet and it was not an issue for Deeks to travel abroad. I mean even now seems that Deeks has seemingly bottomless source of the income (remember nice house where Kensi met his mom, lending unknown but significant amount of money to Eric…)

    Liked by 1 person

    • A degree from a junior (community) college in the US is not the same as a bachelor’s degree in the US or Europe. A community college offers certificates in particular fields (computer repair, bookkeeping, cosmetologist, and such) and AA degrees, and it costs much less to attend these colleges. If a student wants a Bachelor’s, he has transfer to a 4-year university. Lots of jobs requiring AA or certificate are lower paying service-oriented.
      Agree about the “bottomless income.” They seem very well off, and since LAPD & the US government don’t pay huge salaries (compared to private companies), I wonder where they get their money. lol

      Like

  15. Beale, my tender lover. Hysterical.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Thank you Karen for your great review.
    I did enjoy this episode a lot more than the previous one, in my opinion the case was more exciting and I liked how it was written, it was so much fun to see Roberta (I really love the on-screen chemistry with ECO) and even though I am usually not a huge one of partner swap episodes this one was one of the better partner swap episodes (in my opinion). I liked Katherine more in this episode than before ,although I wouldn’t call myself a fan, at least not yet . I am not looking forward to Anna’s return, but I am trying to brace myself during this break. Can’t wait to see what the rest of the season brings.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Debra Gillespie // January 16, 2020 at 2:21 AM // Reply

    Very good review as usual, Karen. I definitely agree with you on a couple of points….I have been missing Roberta also and it was great seeing her back in fine form. I constantly wonder how much is improvised and how much is scripted between Pamela Reed and ECO; I believe at this point they work so well off each other that the writers give the basic idea of the scene and tell them just to go for it. If there is a “Deeks, M.” episode in the near future, I hope that Roberta’s an important part of it as she was in “Internal Affairs”. I also agree if there’s a Densi baby announcement it will be towards the end of the season and not right now. My thought is it would be sudden and out of the blue, like Deek’s semi wedding proposal in season 7 and Kensi’s proposal in the season 8 finale. I wonder if the pregnant FBI agent was put in this episode just to tease us Densi fans?
    I had to go back to season 9 and watch “Where Everybody Knows Your Name” to remember Victor the small time drug dealer and Corey the coroner. The latter definitely made me miss Rose from earlier seasons. Wouldn’t you think that perhaps the coroner guy would see a trend of deaths from a specific drug, and get proactive and call in law enforcement before this?
    So apparently Sam instigated the partner swap (in actuality probably filming schedule conflicts BTS brought the pairing change IMO) …the last time I can remember this happening was in “Fighting Shadows” and I thought the partnering between Deeks and Callen worked better this time. I was also surprised how Deeks got blunt with Callen about Anna, but then it seems things are being brought out into the open more; I remember how Kensi asked flat out a couple of episodes ago on how long Hetty was going to stay at her job.
    Katherine the insurance agent is slowly but surely growing on me with her relationship with Sam. I just fervently hope that she doesn’t turn out to be an undercover agent with one of the alphabet agencies like Joelle. It definitely looks like Anna will be making an appearance later in the season. I’m rather neutral about her; don’t like her very much but don’t hate her either. But if her reappearing means a visit from Arkady, I can live with that. I’m hoping he’ll show up soon like Roberta finally did.
    And I liked the reference to “Neighborhood Watch” when Deeks called Kensi “Sugarbear”. I’m just waiting for the episode when he finally calls her Fern again.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Thanks for your great review, Karen.
    I enjoyed this episode more than the previous one. I liked the Densi scenes and Deeks calling Kensi Sugarbear. Like Debra here, I hope the authors will remember also the Fern reference in one of the future episodes (maybe when discussing baby names, who knows?).
    Deeks and Roberta together are hilarious. I think that casting Pamela Reed as Deeks’ mom has been one of the greatest intuition the NCIS:LA showrunners could have. She is so perfect for the role that I have forgiven the authors for not showing her until season 7.
    I have never been very fond of Anna as a character and most of all as Callen’s love interest, but I think we will see her in the rest of the season (I hope not more than in one episode).
    I still have mixed feelings about Sam and Katherine, they do seem to have chemistry, let’s see how their relationship will develop.
    Thanks again, WikiDeeks, for your amazing job here. See you in February.

    Like

  19. The episode was very quiet although the opening scene was a surprise, and the partner swap was never explained which seemed weird. When they do switch partners, I prefer a Kensi/Callen and Sam/Deeks pairing. As for Deeks asking, he’s always been into everybody’s business, especially Callen’s (remember him asking Joelle personal questions in “Humbug”), but that’s part of his character’s charm. It’s always fun to see Roberta; she’s such a neat character. I liked Katherine more in this episode than in earlier ones, but hope the writers take their relationship slow if they’re going to have one. I loved the ending, seeing Callen searching for Anna because I like Anna, especially with Callen. I hope she’s in more episodes so we can see Callen in a happy relationship, same as we see Densi and Neric and (hopefully) Sam. All the team members deserve some happiness.

    Liked by 1 person

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