After a lengthy awards-season hiatus, NCIS: Los Angeles returned this week with “Commitment Issues,” written by Jordana Lewis Jaffe and directed by James Hanlon. It featured returning characters showing us different sides of themselves, and an interesting, if low-key, mystery for the Scoobies to solve.
The Omnipresent Insurance Maven
Katherine Casillas, played by Moon Bloodgood, has now appeared in four NCIS:LA episodes this season, so it’s apparent the showrunners have big plans for her character. Her confidence as a successful businesswoman and the small signs that she has a good heart have won me over and convinced me she’d be a worthy love interest for Sam.
This week we saw a very different Katherine, one who behaved much more like a bad guy or, more likely, a spy. First, her presence on the board of a tech start-up seemed a little out of her wheelhouse, but then we found out she was the creative mind behind the company’s effort to sell China on a faulty search engine. Now that’s definitely far afield from insuring luxury vehicles and questionable pieces of art!
That she refused to share what she knew served as a fairly obvious way to introduce conflict between her and Sam (and extend the episode to its full length), but I did enjoy seeing their relationship shift to an adversarial one. I still felt the chemistry between them, and I’m glad she’s confident enough to directly ask Sam out, or at least to instruct Sam on how to ask her out.
What I’m a little concerned about is that we have a new Joelle situation going on. Either the writers have just run out of insurance-related excuses to keep her popping up as Sam’s romantic interest, or she has got to be working for the CIA. I’m hoping for the former, as Callen has more than covered the whole is-my-girlfriend-a-spy storyline.
The San Diego NCIS Connection
We also got to see more of NCIS Special Agent Nicole DeChamps, played by Marsha Thomason, making her seventh appearance on the show. DeChamps has always provided solid support to the team, often when they’ve been down a member. She’s always shown herself to be capable and smart, if a little serious and soft-spoken. At least, that’s how I’ve always thought of her. This week it felt like a very different DeChamps, a more outgoing and happy-go-lucky version than I remember. Maybe it’s just my faulty memory, but she didn’t feel like the same person, teasing Sam and Callen throughout and just being so downright excited to be working with the team.
I still liked her though. In fact, she seemed more interesting, more charismatic, than before. So if this is the showrunners’ way of setting her up to become a permanent part of the team in the future, I could see this updated version as a good fit, able to hold her own with the bantering.
The Effortless Charm
Deeks and Kensi had plenty of screen time this week, but their scenes felt a little subdued. Deeks himself actually seemed sort of lacking in the excitement that DeChamps provided in her scenes. Sure, he still bantered with the odd but interesting bookstore lady, and he flirted with Kensi, but I never got the sense he was happy to be at work. I’m not sure if that was Eric Christian Olsen’s intentional choice, if it was part of the script, or maybe it’s just my interpretation. Don’t get me wrong, he was still plenty charming. I’d just describe it as an effortless, low-key charm compared to his usual more enthusiastic self. As for the flirting, what was happening with Bossy Kensi? Please fan fic writers, can we see the post-ep version of these two? (You go cut your hair and shave indeed.)
Unfortunately, the action this episode disappointed, coming a bit too late and lacking any real tension. That ECO and Daniela Ruah were so clearly in front of a green screen on their car chase took away any suspense I might have felt. And in the final confrontation, the way the bad guys fought back almost as an afterthought, after they’d already been out-positioned and were nearly in cuffs, didn’t ever have me worrying for the team’s safety.
- Yes, Eric, social cues are hard. Don’t worry, I’m saving you all from another of my rants about the state of Eric Beale’s character, who in my mind has become a caricature who doesn’t behave like a mature human, let alone an equal partner for Nell, who frequently has to speak to him like he’s a child. Sigh.
- I will say that I’ve always seen more chemistry between Callen and Nell than Beale and Nell, or between Callen and any of his other love interests. It sure would be fun to see that play out on the screen. (Sorry Neric shippers!)
- If Daisy had been at the bookstore with her boyfriend when he was killed, wouldn’t she have stayed to give a statement to the police? Oh, but then I guess we wouldn’t have gotten that funny scene with Densi and the bookstore lady.
Sorry this review is a short one! Once more I trust that you fine people will pick up the slack for me. Tell us what you thought of “Commitment Issues” in the comments below! What was your take on Katherine and Nicole, and on Beale and Deeks?