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Review: NCISLA “Missing Time” (S11E18)


This week’s NCIS: Los Angeles episode “Missing Time” came at a time when we all could use a pleasant diversion from real life. Written by Andrew Bartels and directed by Yangzom Brauen, it largely delivered us a pleasant hour that nicely mixed personal and professional. It did feel a little surreal (and not just because of the UFO theme) to sit down to watch my favorite show as if it were any other week, but for the most part it provided an hour’s escape from real world worries.

The Kolchecks Return

The episode was definitely light on the Deeks and Densi, but I guess at this point we should be happy that Eric Christian Olsen made more than a token appearance. Other than the extraterrestrial case, the story focused on Anna and Callen. Anna has always been a controversial figure, at least among wikiDeeks readers, but I thought Bar Paly handled Anna’s dilemma and her desire to protect Callen with more subtlety than we’ve seen in the past. The fact that she’d been quarantined for a month also made me feel for her, now that I’ve finished off my first week of the same.

Her plight has never made total sense to me, considering she was undercover in prison and that Beale could probably expunge her record in an afternoon. After all, he did a smaller scale version of that for Callen in “Endgame.” Still, Callen telling her “I made the choice. I’ll stand by it. And I will stand by you,” was downright romantic. I might be warming up to these two. Callen clearly loves the woman and I want him to be happy, albeit not in the same kind of full-on yearning way I care about Deeks’ happiness.

But then… Anna had to go and be a martyr. Her decision felt a bit, um, dramatic I guess? It was hard to understand why she wouldn’t let Callen and Hetty help her, although I bet some of you Callanna fans out there could help me appreciate her decision-making.

The best part of having Anna around is that it increases the likelihood that her father will make an appearance to provide us with clownish humor to rival that provided by Deeks. Unfortunately Arkady’s appearance here began on a sad note as Anna called him to say good-bye. Again, it was overly dramatic, but Vyto Ruginis played the scene well.

But then… that humor came out full force when he patronized the Squid and Dagger. (“Martin – wodka for everybody!”) Please let him become a regular there, and please give us many scenes with Roberta playing barkeep. It would be spectacular. Arkady would definitely make an outstanding addition to my sitcom spin-off set in the bar, even if it means Anna would become a semi-regular.

Characters in Character

Bartels gave us many small touches for each character that showed off some of their signature traits. For instance, we got some fine detective work from our favorite detective, who noticed that all the clocks in Agent Anderson’s house were “missing time.” We got a wee bit of cute Densi wordplay when said detective tricked Kensi into saying “alien abduction.” And when Fatima shared that “Family is stressful,” Deeks’ response of “Yeah… yeah” carried sooo much in those two little words. Was he thinking about his terrible father or his stress-inducing mother, or both? That was a particularly well-played moment by ECO.

There was some fine action centered around Sam. The way he can pick people up and throw them across a room as if they weigh nothing is endlessly entertaining. And the tables plural were hilarious too, as was Sam’s deadpan comment that the bad guys had it easy because he could have shot them instead. I also enjoyed the foot chase at the end (give me more of Running Deeks) with its nice use of the colorful backdrops in Pershing Square, although the episode sure could have used a good shoot-out.

We also got the Beale I want to see, the one who believes that UFO’s are out there and who excels at his tech job, but who isn’t capable of dodging bullets.

But then… he announced that Bulletproof Beale had recovered and was ready to take on the bad guys – not the change I wanted to see.

Fermi Paradoxes and Great Filters

The UFO storyline was fun, as it has been in previous episodes with crazy, paranoid ufologists (a new word for my vocabulary). Beale’s small grin grin at the first mention of UAP’s (unidentified aerial phenomena, otherwise known as UFO’s) was perfect.

But then… what would have felt like a light storyline any other time pulled me right back into the real world with its discussion about our odds of finding intelligent life in the universe. Agent Raines’ interpretation of the Great Filter theory, that “we’ll destroy ourselves before we ever get a chance to make contact,” shattered the lightness and diversion the episode had provided, pulling the real world crashing back into my consciousness. Obviously this wasn’t Bartel’s fault, but it was how I experienced parts of the episode. When the camera flashed to Eric’s sad expression at the idea, I just thought, Oh, Eric, if you only knew.

Raine’s words to Beale, “Self-annihilation. It’s in our nature,” also reminded me of “Touch of Death,” where the team raced to stop a smallpox epidemic. If only we could summon up such a team to stop our current pandemic. Here’s a memorable scene from that episode that feels relevant now:

Deeks: Do you know that we live on the only planet in the known universe with life on it? A planet with a fragile ecosystem; small, breathable atmosphere, all of which could be wiped out in a second by a meteorite or a mega-quake or…
Kensi: This isn’t your B’ak’tun ’12 end of the world apocalypse theories again?
Deeks: No, I’m just saying, it’s a shame, you know? We’re all alone on this rock, and yet we’re still finding ways to kill each other.
Kensi: Oh, don’t get philosophical on me. It creeps me out.
Deeks: What’s the worst that can happen, right? Global pandemic, wipes out half the world’s population.
Kensi: Kind of puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?
Deeks: How’s that?
Kensi: Well, sometimes you don’t know how lucky you are to have something until you realize you might lose it.

Maybe we should all adopt Eric’s attitude and say, “The Great Filter can bite me.” Regardless, let me take this opportunity to give a special shout-out to two of our wikiDeeks contributors, Brenda, who works as an ER nurse, and Jericho, who works as an EMT. They are heroes every day of the week, but that heroism has never been more obvious than it is right now. To all the first responders, health care workers, grocery store and utility workers, and delivery people who are all tirelessly working to help others, I’m in awe of your selflessness and I thank you.

Memorable Moments

OK, back to the diversions…

  • I rarely get hooked on the pre-credits opening scene, but I found the “Top Gun”-esque UFO encounter exciting and intriguing, and it nicely set the stage for the story to come. It was well edited using what I assume was stock footage with some special effects and voice-overs.
  • I love that Anna gave Deeks an enthusiastic yelp review for his loco moco. I didn’t even need the scene of him reading it at length to Kensi because it was already so clear in my head.
  • I was not a fan of the lighting throughout the episode. Most scenes were so dark I thought it was nighttime. That conference room chat with Agent Raines was really odd because the table practically glowed while the characters remained in shadows. Why?
  • I was not impressed with Terry Maratos, who played Jason Ward, nor with the odd handheld close-ups of him and parts of his face while he was in interrogation. The jumpy camera work made me a little nauseous. I assume it, as well as the dark scenes, were designed to conjure a creepy vibe, but I just wanted them to put the camera on a tripod and turn on some lights.
  • I’m also not impressed with Kensi’s ability to tail a suspect. This isn’t the first time she’s practically tailgated her tailee.
  • Is the angelic bathmat returning? Deeks’ great line to Callen about how he was growing out his hair for Anna seemed to hint at it: You’re growing your hair out. I mean it’s almost imperceptible but it’s beautiful and I want to pet it and I won’t – but I’m just saying it gives everything away.
  • For me, the hour’s highlight was actually the quick shot of Deeks during the “Stay tuned for scenes” voiceover, moving and shooting and long blonde hair flying, just as Deeks is meant to be doing.

I hope all of you out there, wherever you are in the world, are hanging in there and supporting one another as best you can. While you’re hopefully chilling at home, tell us what you thought of “Missing Time.” Did you enjoy the plot? How about the Callanna romance? Do you think we’re going to see any more Deeks- or Densi-centered episodes with the few remaining hours this season, or will we be left waiting until a (fingers crossed) Season 12 for the next juicy storyline for our favorite character?

About Karen P (221 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.

12 Comments on Review: NCISLA “Missing Time” (S11E18)

  1. Great job as always Karen…I have to say I liked this episode, at least much better than last weeks, and glad to see Deeks was back..it seems when he is there the episode is much better..of course I am a kensi and Deeks fan…I still wish there was more banter, a hug, quick kiss , just so we know they are married and in love..oh well that’s just me..Callen and Anna, still not sure, but I guess it nice he has someone..I do love seeing Anna’s dad..love Ncis La, and really hope for a season 12 and really hope to see the main group back..it would be hard to imagine the show without, Deeks, Kensi, Sam and Callen..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really enjoyed this episode. I love Callanna.
    Eric was a real cutie with his badge. It IS nice to see him out in the field.
    That ending really threw me for a loop! (this COULD be our 1st hint at the season finale!)
    Next week’s episode might not be the anxiety riddled episode that I originally thought it would be, cuz with literal no mention of that ‘new guy’ or job offers, it would be too ridiculous for ANY real changes to stick.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Of course, would miss if any of them left..

    Liked by 1 person

  4. theultimatetvfangirl // March 25, 2020 at 7:12 AM // Reply

    Predictions for next week’s episode:
    Devin stays with the FBI
    Neric decides to stay. (there’s basically already confirmation that Eric will stay cuz he’s in BTS pics for future episodes)
    There’s finally confirmation of sorts that Hetty WILL stay (#NotgivinguponHetty, #TeamHettyforever!) (not to mention, there’s a special b-day coming up next Thursday, any guesses on whose it is??! ❤)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Bluenet13 (Jess) // March 25, 2020 at 7:47 AM // Reply

    Well, I can’t say I liked the plot much as I still don’t know what half of it was about. Guess I was distracted during the episode and it just didn’t manage to get my attention. I did enjoy the team scenes we got: the Callana relationship, Densi being Densi, and I thought Nell and Fatima made a good partnership in ops. That’s the Fatima I like btw, much better than the field superhero. And I also liked her brief comment about family, don’t we all know how stressful family can be? And I’d rather not comment about the similarities with this pandemic, I’ve enough of real life as it is.

    And I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Anna and Callana might be winning me over. I used to like Jo better but I can’t say that anymore and now I do want to see more appearances by her character. Especially if she brings Arkady along. Which brings me to the highlight of the episode for me, that ending scene at the bar. It was fantastic and the only thing missing was Bertie so I really hope we see another bar scene where both Arkady and Roberta are present. It would be so great! Now I also want to see a Densi/Callana double date and the four of them tending the bar together lol. I always wanted to see that with Neric but they don’t seem to be at the Densi relationship and maturity level yet. Eric was slightly better in this episode but I think they do the character a disservice by how immature they write him sometimes.

    Sadly I don’t think we will see any more Deeks or Densi centered episodes this season but I hope we get a renewal soon, even if I still worry about possible cast changes. But any NCISLA is better than no NCISLA, for as long as Deeks remains on the show in some capacity. And thanks a lot, Karen, for another great review, this one held my interest much better than the plot of the show! Hope everyone is staying safe and healthy during these crazy times.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Thank so much for your review, Karen. A little bit of normalcy in all this craziness! And is it just me, or is anyone else seeing references to a pandemic/quarantine in a lot of places? (I too caught that reference in the Great Filter comment, even though there was no connection to be made when this ep was written and/or filmed, but I’m also finding them in a lot of scripted shows I watch, despite the fact that the too were written/filmed beforehand.)

    The episode was fine, and held my attention more than I thougt it would. I wonder if Kensi’s tailing technique looks worse than it is because they seem to be filming them differently (and not in a way I’m enjoying)? I noticed how similar this one looked to the last one (from which ep, I can’t recall).

    And yes, Anna is bothering me less lately (who could dislike a character that made Deeks so happy!). Though I don’t understand why she had to go through all the effort of slipping Arkady a burner phone to call him when she was planning to turn herself in 10 minutes later.

    Best part of the ep was getting Arkady to the bar. And I agree; now all we need is for him to meet Bertie and all will be right again in this insanity that is our lives right now!

    FInally, I’ll echo your thanks and appreciation for all of the first responders and front-line workers (especially those of you manning the stores) who are keeping us going. I hope everyone reading this stays healthy!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. sassyzazzi // March 25, 2020 at 5:49 PM // Reply

    Karen thanks for writing this great review. I enjoyed the episode, it was a pleasant diversion from the real world. I did enjoy Deeks in this episode, especially when he figured out someone had reset the clocks in the house but forgot the outside sprinkler system. It was also a very nice closing scene at Kensi and Deeks bar. I am not hopeful we will get a Deeks or Densi centric episode in this season, hopefully next season.

    I agree with Bluenet, I liked Fatima with Nell in ops, it worked well, for me far better than her in the field. I also enjoyed Beale in the field since he was dealing with UFOs. As far as Callanna , I do think Bar Paley is doing a much better acting job, and so I like her character more. However, I still do not see Callen and Anna together, I just see no chemistry at all, it feels to me like I am watching two actors who are trying to act romantic, so maybe they keep her character as Arkady’s daughter and end the romance . I apologize to all those who like them as a couple.

    I hope everyone stays healthy and I join you in thanking all of those that are putting themselves at risk for the rest of us.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Debra Gillespie // March 26, 2020 at 1:48 AM // Reply

    Excellent review as always, Karen. Most of the comments that I would have mentioned have already been said by you and the earlier contributors, but I just have to ramble a little more about a few of them…
    This episode have given me some welcome extracurricular homework while being under the “shelter in place” mandate in my state (I’m a bank employee and am working at home). I have never seen Scottie Thompson as Jeanie Benoit (my apologies if I spelled these names wrong) on early seasons of NCIS, but her part here and all the comments on other fan social media sites want me to stream those episodes and see her part on that show. And like you said Karen, Deek’s comment on Callen’s slightly longer hair was for me the callback of the episode, also reminding me of Deek’s “angelic bathmat” comment from season 6’s “Inelegant Heart” – a good starting episode to a favorite story arc of mine. It immediately made me get out my DVD’s for season 6 and watch them again.
    Still not totally convinced on the romance between Callen and Anna…I also feel it’s still a little forced… but it’s growing on me, especially if Arkady is in the mixture. He always makes an episode more interesting. And please, please have Roberta and Arkady meet up; ever since I read the very funny short story “Beer Run” on the Fan Fiction site, I have wished so much that it would happen. Definitely agree that Densi plus Callana plus Arkady/Roberta at the bar would be a fun sitcom.
    So Anna’s former cellmate Katya is apparently still alive…hmmm….from last season she definitely seemed a survivor, as well as unbalanced. The show needs these types from time to time to liven things up. So who are these guys at the end of the episode that are looking for her….DOJ…CIA? I have a feeling we won’t know until (hopefully) season 12.
    Everybody stay safe. And it looks like we’ll see ECO’s new haircut next episode; if Deeks and Kensi don’t make some type of humorous comment about both of them sporting new ‘do’s, I’m going to be so disappointed.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Heads up: ECO is posting daily on Instagram reading one or two kids’ books. So cute.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I think Caleb is ECO replacement and Renee is gone too.You can tell how the writers are not pushing densi at all,and writing Deeks as the butt of the jokes again.Deeks and Kensi haven’t held hands or kiss at all if how many eps.The writers are separing them again .Writers are not writing as friends much less as a married couple,it is very sad.The writer and R. Scott Gimble are destroying densi before our very eyes.Man I miss Shane the first showrunner.

    Like

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