Review: NCISLA “The Frogman’s Daughter” (S12E10)
This week’s episode of NCIS: Los Angeles, titled “The Frogman’s Daughter,” had lots to like even though it added up to less than the sum of its parts. Written by Jordana Lewis Jaffe and Indira Gibson Wilson and directed by Tawnia McKiernan, it offered the classic storyline of a team member’s family in jeopardy but somehow managed to feel more like an entertaining case of the week.
The frogman’s daughter
With such a distinctive title and the cliffhanger ending the previous episode, expectations were high for intense Sam-centered drama, and the episode largely delivered on these scenes. When his character wasn’t tearing up Los Angeles looking for his daughter, LL Cool J gave us an emotional and reflective version of Sam, one we rarely get to see. Our knowledge of his past tragedies, even if they were never alluded to save for one comment invoking Michelle, hung a layer of history and sadness over the episode.
For her part, Kam (played by Kayla Smith), the ep’s title character, was every bit her father’s daughter- tough, smart, resourceful, and wanting to make the world a better place. Well, every bit her father’s daughter except maybe for all the lying. (But can you blame her? It can’t be easy growing up in a household with 52 rules!)
Thank goodness Callen rushed back from Santa Cruz to help his partner. While the newbies didn’t seem to fully grasp the seriousness of the situation (is it possible they hadn’t heard about what happened to Michelle and Aiden?), Callen sure did and it was reassuring to see Sam getting emotional support from the person who knows him best. Hearing them discuss checking the morgue evoked such sad memories, as it obviously did for them too, even as it showed how supportive Callen was.
The emotional aspects were the episode’s strength, but they and the plot and pacing failed to combine for a ton of suspense. Partly this was because we could see what was happening to Kam. The nameless, faceless bad guys never truly felt scary. If they were going to kill these protest leaders, they’d probably have done so from the beginning, right? I guess they were planning to let them go after the protests? (I wasn’t clear on their master plans.) The quick confrontation at the end was also somewhat underwhelming after so much determined searching.
Another issue was the repetitive feel of Sam’s quest to save his family member. While LL Cool J was fantastic and brought all the emotion we could ask for to his role, the whole thing couldn’t help but feel a little familiar since we’ve watched him do this twice before. It should have felt like we were watching Sam’s worst fears come to life, like he – and we – were reliving his past trauma, but that didn’t quite happen.
That’s partly due to the lack of suspense and partly because of another familiar pattern that emerged here, which was the contrast between serious and silly. This show seems to require a certain percentage of witty, funny banter, which we normally love, but occasionally, in episodes with a more serious tone, that silliness can feel out of place (e.g. “Internal Affairs”). For example, Callen joking that at least Sam hadn’t killed Zee and his partner may have been his attempt to cut the tension, but it landed oddly because of Sam’s ferocity in the moment.
Overall, Jaffe and Wilson did manage to keep the humor largely toned down, but there was still a difference in the relative senses of urgency displayed by the various characters. Perhaps the newbies didn’t know Sam’s family’s history, but that didn’t explain why Beale wouldn’t be as on alert as Sam at Kam’s disappearance, or why Deeks and Kensi would be calmly moving weapons around in the armory while their friend was freaking out. Having seen first-hand what happened to Aiden and Michelle, I’d have expected them all to be freaking out. It gave the first half of the episode an odd lack of balance, and the tonal shifts made it hard to be drawn into Sam’s fears- they just didn’t carry the same weight.
That didn’t stop Sam from doing whatever he could to find Kam. We’ve seen this before from Sam, as well as from Deeks when Kensi’s gone missing. This time, though, Sam’s marauding brought an odd contrast with the episode’s storyline. His willingness to rough up both Kam’s boyfriend and Zee actually proved Zee’s point about law enforcement officers going rogue. It felt a little like the protesters’ beliefs, which were being imported into the story from real life headlines, were clashing with the show’s very DNA.
How do you corral an angry SEAL?
The most refreshing scenes of the whole episode were Rountree’s. He ably slid into Callen’s role of trying to keep an angry SEAL under control. He stood up to Sam, protected Kam’s boyfriend, defended the protesters to the DHS agent, and helped Sam make progress on the search. He showed appropriate levels of concern over Sam’s anger but didn’t let that stop him from doing his job. And he offered support throughout. He was thoughtful, calm, and principled. Caleb Castille played off of LL Cool J’s intensity well. Overall, I found myself wanting to spend more time with him. (Although, was I a little annoyed at the deference Sam showed to him, compared to some similar early situations with Deeks? Maybe a little bit.)
The episode also offered yet another contrast between Rountree and Fatima that showed, I think, why I still haven’t warmed up to her character. She maintains a fairly chipper attitude most of the time (unless she’s complaining about something)- she doesn’t seem to have the same gravitas that the other characters can bring in a serious situation. And here, she ran away from Ops when Sam and Beale were debating the use of government property for a personal mission, whereas Rountree didn’t just go to check out the problem, he stayed to help make sure it got resolved.
Finding missing families and starting new ones
Just as LL Cool J delivered a powerful performance in all his scenes, Eric Christian Olsen and Daniela Ruah made the most of theirs. They provided a window into their characters’ ongoing fertility challenges, and Kensi not wanting to talk about it at work made perfect sense to me. She’s clearly feeling inadequate, like she’s failed, and Kensi Blye doesn’t fail at anything she sets her mind to. Daniela made us feel Kensi’s pain and frustration, and how near to breaking down she was. Of course she’d want to push those feelings down in order to get through her day.
Kensi: Penny for your thoughts.
Deeks: You know, just investigating disgraced officers who are the poster boys for brutality and corruption because they may have kidnapped Sam’s daughter for daring to stand up for civil rights and social justice issues.
Kensi: I hear you.
Deeks: And also considering the rule that DHS and LAPD and hell, let’s be honest, NCIS play in this bigger picture.
Kensi: I hear you.
Deeks: And then reflecting on our desire and struggles trying to have a child and start a family in what is obviously a incredibly complex and cruel, cruel world.
Deeks: And I know that- I’m not saying this because I want to talk about it because I know that you don’t wanna talk about this so I’m not even bringing it up-
Kensi: No, you’re right. I don’t.
Deeks: OK so I’ll stop.
Kensi: But I do wanna say this… I am frustrated, OK? I am frustrated that my body.
Kensi: Deeks please let me just finish-
Deeks: No you’re right.
Kensi: But even though I’m feeling this way, it doesn’t take away from the fact that I am elated to start a family with you.
Deeks: I hear you.
I know COVID has these actors working in smaller groups, but the Densi scenes felt so disconnected from the rest of the story, they might as well have been written for a totally different episode. In fact, I’d be curious how Jaffe and Wilson split the writing duties here. Deeks and Kensi were so focused on their problems that they didn’t really become involved with finding Kam until well into the episode, and even then they kept bringing the topic of conversation back to themselves. For example, while it seemed like an obvious tie-in to have Deeks imagine how worried he’d be about his own hypothetical missing child, I think it would have been far more effective to hear him empathize with Sam and talk about losing Michelle, and almost losing Aiden, and how both things affected Sam and him and Kensi. Otherwise it felt self-indulgent for them to be taking time to focus so much on themselves when the clock was ticking on finding Kam and really, every second could have mattered.
I’m not sure why sometimes the personal discussions make sense, and other times they feel forced or disconnected. For example, take “The Seventh Child.” Frank Military mixed an ongoing Densi discussion about having children into his ticking clock story, but somehow those discussions felt natural and not inappropriate. Perhaps it was because Kensi and Deeks didn’t have to race around LA to help with that case, so they had time to reflect on its meaning for them?
A new but nagging worry is that, while yes, hormone treatments are a new development, the efforts to become pregnant are starting to feel a bit repetitive in the same way that the endless wedding planning discussions did. Only this time, the writers seem to have painted themselves into a corner since it doesn’t look like they’ve figured out a way for Densi to be parents and NCIS agents/investigators.
- I will celebrate the fact that we had no examples of Incompetent Deeks, so that’s a win.
- You know when Kensi lets Deeks drive, something’s really off. A nice, telling detail.
- Unfortunately we got more of the show’s (and JLJ’s) running element of people making fun of the team’s age, this time with the multiple “Did you text her?” questions to Sam and the organizer telling Densi they were “a bunch of 40-year-olds.”
- We also got another continuing JLJ specialty: a small, sassy female character who makes life harder than it needs to be for the team. Here it was that same organizer. (In past episodes, see the high school student in “Big Brother,” FBI Agent Morris from “Where Everybody Knows Your Name,” and Nell’s sister Sydney in “Born to Run.”)
- Making the meta joke about Megan Markle by naming the actress who looked like her Megan Merkel didn’t seem worth the effort it took to cast the woman in the first place.
- What was up with Fatima “fixing” the parking garage’s security cameras by hitting the monitor?
- Yay for another MINI Cooper driver! And boo to Sam for dissing it. Just ‘cause he could probably pick one up in his two hands doesn’t mean it’s not super fun to drive.
- Yay for seeing Deeks back at his desk where he belongs.
- I enjoyed Deeks’ “I love it when you talk pretty” response to Kensi wanting to take down the bad guys.
- It’s nice to learn a little more backstory on both Sam, with his 52 rules, and Deeks, with his teenage protest.
- It’s still odd that no one has even mentioned Nell’s whereabouts.
Next week we’ll be hearing lots about Russia, with a Callen-centric storyline in an episode directed by Daniela Ruah. Be sure to check out our new episode preview on Saturday featuring the cast list and all the social media posts related to filming. In the meantime, come back later this week for new entries in Deeks’ Surf Log and Kensi’s Journal.
Now, tell us what you thought of “The Frogman’s Daughter” in the Comments below. Did you enjoy the emotional aspects of Sam’s search? What did you think of the newbies? And how did you feel about Deeks and Kensi’s scenes?
Nice review. Sadly, I hated this episode. I haven’t really been interested in Sam centric episodes in, who knows how long, so I never really got interested in this one.
If anything, episodes like this just further prove that without Hetty, this show completely crumbles.
I like Densi, but all this baby talk angst is just annoying to me. It just doesn’t seem realistic to me that after just getting a house, Deeks getting his badge, the bar probably in money issues that they want to rush having a baby. Like, 9 months is no walk in the park! (this is just my opinion.)
LikeLiked by 1 person
Looking forward to next week’s, although, I’m fully expecting Hetty to be in it somehow, not just because of 2 clues that point to her possibly being in it, but because I just don’t see any way that she can’t be in the episode. (It’s Callen centric, and it’s high time she and Callen actually talk.)
The fact that Nell appears to be as invisible as Hetty right now, is both funny AND sad.
Hi Maria, agree, this episode was unengaging. At least Deeks was competent but aside from that, not much good. They are probably just scraping by given the distancing restrictions.
Funny to me they don’t just include the pandemic as a story line, lots of angles there. Guess the are afraid to use it for fear it will look dated in reruns.
Thanks again Karen for your spot on review..I did like this episode, maybe because Deeks finally back and with the team..I still don’t think he gets the respect I feel he deserves after 10 years with the team..I still don’t how roundtree gets all this air time, he is new. He should be following Sam or callen around. Learning the ropes. I just know know about him and Fatima who is always complains about something. No real role for her. Kensi and Deeks, I feel for there fertility problems but let’s get them back in the feel doing what the team does, keeping Los Angeles safe..keep the baby talk off the table for a bit..enjoy being partners again and enjoy married life a bit, before the monsters in their life comes back. Just my opinion, thanks 😷😊
LikeLiked by 1 person
Hi Kathy, agree, way too much baby talk.
The writers get into ruts where every discussion has to be on some big, heavy drama. No ! We could have fun just talking about Nell’s coconut mango shampoo, like they did once. Or about what food Deeks bought for lunch.
Lighten up, please! Too much baby talk!!!! Agree with you, Kathy!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Firsts time I have read a review here and it was really good! Some great observations. I thought the episode was awful overall. No sense of urgency to find Kam, just going through the motions. The cast was their usual awesome selves but the writing was terrible.
LikeLiked by 2 people
Hi Snoop, agree, pacing was a huge problem in this episode.
Teammate’s family member is in danger (sigh, yes, again) so let’s sit around, sort some guns, ask Sam where my brand of teas is…. bogglingly unrealistic.
Another review that was right on, Karen. I wasn’t looking forward to this episode after seeing the preview last week. Another Hanna child in trouble. Yet her situation turned out to be the most interesting part for me. Yet, so much time was wasted on Fatima being silly and discounting Sam’s fear. It even took Roundtree time to accept that Sam was seriously scared for his daughter. It seemed obvious that this episode was co-written. There didn’t seem to be any attempt to connect Deeks and Kensi into what was going on with Sam. It was like I was watching two different episodes. I agree with you, Karen. It didn’t ring true that Kensi and Deeks wouldn’t rush to help Sam once they found out what was going on. The whole thing seemed disjointed. Good performances, but no cohesive connections by the writers.
I will take any Deeks scenes I can get, but I am finding it hard to revisit the pregnancy storyline episode after episode. I am hoping for an episode where they rescue a small child who needs a family and simply foster that child and then adopt. They can bring back Roberta and Kensi’s mom for day care. Seeing those two women try to make up for their past shortcomings with a grandchild would be worth the watch.
LikeLiked by 2 people
I agree with Lindy. Karen hit all the right notes. It was a meh episode. I always voted for them to “find” a child. Some great fanfic stories back me up. I think an older child makes a better story and an easier transition to parenthood and less time off episode. Looking forward to Dani’s directorial debut.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I hated this episode.Except for the fact that Deeks is back on the team, I hated everything about this episode. Coming from a law enforcement family, I did not appreciate the constant police bashing. I don’t like being preached to. I sincerely hope that this won’t be a weekly theme. I can’t warm up to Fatima; her role makes no sense to me. The scene with the old man and the computer that hasn’t worked for years, and then it magically comes back to life after a tap from Fatima? Give me a break. And if broken for years, how did it film Kam’s kidnapping? C’mon man! I might be coming around to Rountree, but he gets too much of the storyline. I wish they devoted more time to the original Core 4. I too, am tired of the Densi baby angst. Their conversations seem so forced. Can’t we see the flirty/happy couple every once in a while? I miss them. Could I be the only one not interested in them becoming parents? When/if that happens, I fear one or both will leave field work and their partnership. Strangely, again no mention of Nell, and I find I really don’t miss her. Maybe I am just getting used to her absence, like with Hetty. I can’t understand how Beale seems to still be running OPS while he only a consultant now. I know the cast is not working full schedules right now, but I thought it was laughable how Callen rode in on his white horse to save the day three quarters into the episode. And while LLCJ was terrific as the distraught father, it was the same thing we have seen before with Aiden and Michelle. I still am not sure exactly who the kidnappers actually were, and the whole holding cell, blasting music, fire hoses, etc., were ridiculous.
Sorry to say, but the show is about to lose me if the writing doesn’t improve. I am still holding out hope for a Deeks,M episode, and the continuation of the Kensi stalker storyline.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Excellent points, Rebelle!
Those scenes with Fatima were so stupid, tapping the monitor, really really dumb.
And if it had been Deeks asking Sam if he had texted his daughter, he would have been met with scorn and a retort, yet Fatima is allowed to matter on idiotically.
I would love for Kensi to be less a cliche wife and to care about something besides popping out yet another baby onto this already dangerously overpopulated world. How about rescuing some of the cats, dogs, whatever’s, left homeless and desperately needing help?
I think they latched onto kids as a way to humanize Kensi…and I’m not a fan. What’s wrong with just letting her and Deeks live? They’ve always made her so super-perfect and mission-oriented it gets old. Why don’t they let them focus on vets, for example? Something that would be especially close to Kensi’s heart and something Deeks has always shown great empathy for (as witnessed when he tells the team his ambitions for the bar…did they just forget about that part?). Or have her one day look at Callen or Hetty and realize she doesn’t want to be like that. Deeks already knows he doesn’t want to be like that, and his moral compass is firmly fixed. Maybe it’s time some of that influence rubbed off on Kensi.
The episode was ok, but I’ve never liked the episodes that Jordana Lewis Jaffe has written. It seems to me that she doesn’t keep the previous stories straight – so some of the reactions by the characters seem like they don’t follow with what we have come to realize about each of them. I also think that its hard for them to keep the storylines the same as they used to be when they have to worry about Covid. I love NCIS-LA and all of the characters, especially Deeks,Kensi, Sam, Callen, Nell, Eric (without the mustache and orange glasses LOL) and Hetty. and nothing will make me quit watching. I love the characters they play, but I’ve come to enjoy the fact that they are all “good” people.
LikeLiked by 2 people
I may have missed somethings but why the continuous unsolved mysteries
on NCIS LA Season 12:
First: What happened to the bid they put on house? Did this actually happen?
Second: What ever happened to selling the “Squid and Dagger”? When did this occur?
Third: During the episode “The Frogman’s Daughter” Kensi said she doesn’t wanted to talk to Deeks about the fertility treatments because she has to figure out a way to get through her work day and can we just talk about it tonight?
Then she says I know you really want to talk about this and we will but can we not talk about it right now. But they NEVER did talk about it “tonight”!
This is very sad for the both of them but it never was resolved during this episode. What are the writers waiting for?
P.S. In episode 12X9 after Deeks got his NCIS badge, they were supposed to party with his co-workers and we haven’t seen that eitherand nobody but Hetty and Kensi acknowledged that he got his badge.
P.S.S Is just me or do the cast members seem so sad and not as happy-go-lucky as in prior seasons?
We are into February and the outcome of their offer on the house or the sale of Squid and Dagger is still unknown.
Plus, there are 3 episodes that involve something to do with Russia:
“The Bear”, “Russia, Russia, Russia” and “Can’t Take my Eyes off You”
Running out of ideas?
LikeLiked by 2 people
Hi David, I agree there isn’t much fun and they are beating the Russian thing to death.
To your list of mysteries this Season, I add: what is hidden in Fatima’s head scarf?
Unless she has a head shaped like an Egyptian mummy, there is so much space on the back of her head she could be hiding a six-pack, a spare AK, or Nell or Hetty in there.
Need to ‘unwrap’ this mystery! 😉
Not sure whether you were trying to be funny with this comment, but I found it rather insulting.
The girl who plays Fatima has really long, curly hair (at least she did when she first came on NCIS-LA) – I would imagine that is why she has the large lump in the back.
Hi Lindy, sorry, didn’t mean to insult, but there is a huge lump behind her head! Why? What is back there? I work with many ladies wearing hijab and no one has a 8 inch lump sticking out behind their head! I was trying to be funny about what is hidden back there, obviously it fell flat, though I do think it would be great to see her pull a gun out from there.
Perhaps Pat is right and it is just a big lump of curly hair but it looks very odd!
I agree. It looks very odd. When she first started, it didn’t look like that and she already had the long, curly hair.
Thanks for the in-depth review, Karen.
To me, one of the most glaring problems is the character’s lack of situational awareness.
Last episode, we see Sam’s daughter walking alone in a deserted parking lot—instead of being aware of her surroundings she is oblivious, chatting on her phone.
If Sam really cared about his family, “Maintain Situational Awareness” at all times, would have been included in his Family Rules.
Same with the team, approaching suspect houses, they are chitchatting instead of paying attention.
Like the rule of pilots: Aviate; Navigate; Communicate. Keep priorities straight.
Also, pacing was way off. Fatima is gossiping about Beale glasses during a major emergency? And really, do we have to sit through the 39th discussion about using NCIS resources for personal interests? Boring.
I think the actors are doing a good job but the writers are letting them down. Why don’t the writers check these scripts with their on-set technical consultant, Mr. Osama, beforehand, to ensure more realism for the characters?
LikeLiked by 1 person
I so agree with what you have said.
Thanks for the recap! I too miss the fun. I miss the Sam and Callen bromance, I miss Nell and Eric in Ops, and I miss the fun Densi flirting. Maybe they will find their way back to what made me fall in love with NCIS:LA.
LikeLiked by 2 people
I miss Hetty and her sassy sense of humor, and her pranks, and her awesomeness.
I agree with Lindy D, fostering a child, adoption, and then let nature takes its course…have Deeks mom or kensi mom come back to the show, and watch the baby or older child…eric olson, once said in a interview, if the fans want to see something on the show that they are open to ideas…I hope they are following Wikideeks 🤔
I have to say after watching this episode, I am still not a fan of Jordana Lewis Jaffe. Her episodes are very disjointed, I felt that I was watching two different shows at the same time. Sam never interacted at any time with Deeks and Kensi, his fellow OSP team mates and friends whom he has worked with for over 11 years!! I have to admit Rountree handled Sam really well, but it is disappointing that as a newbie to the show he is getting so much screentime. Sam’s reaction to Kam’s abduction was just like a replay of when Michelle was abducted. I have to say I don’t blame Kam for keeping some secrets, 54 Hanna House Rules, really Sam !! Deeks and Kensi’s screentime was 90% taken up with their fertility issues, which is a very stressful time for couples, but I really hope that it is not made the main Densi content for the remainder of this season. I’d love to see a very happy married couple enjoying their life and some home scenes. I think that these characters have had enough doom and gloom. To finish my rant, sorry but I cannot work out what contribution Fatima makes to this show. Her advice to Sam at the beginning of the show was meaningless and to be honest i’m surprised Sam held his temper.
Regarding the Densi content, as always beautifully acted by Eric and Dani. Deeks glazed eyes looking back at Kensi when she told him how elated she was to be starting a family with him
“I hear you” is heartmelting.
Please no more Jordana Lewis Jaffe writing, we need Shane Brennan back. The standard of writing probably up to Season 7 was outstanding, love to see that standard back.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I so agree with you about Jordan Lewis Jaffe’s writing. Over the years, if I have watched an episode that I didn’t really like, it was written by her.
Thanks again Karen for your spot on review.I didn’t like this episode. I haven’t really been interested in Sam centric episodes it felt like the same vibe of one of the past episode remember the one episode that Sam son got kidnapped well this almost the same kind of episode but it was his daughter so it felt for me that the story line was repetitive. I agree. The new Season is not logically written and cast is spread out through series. I really miss the opening scene with the team bantering and Everyone keeps commenting “they have covid restrictions, it’s not going to be the same” but the fact is other shows, including the other 2 ncis franchises are managing just fine without the same disconnect we are seeing with LA. The new characters don’t fit and the lack of leadership, interesting cases and Hetty are killing the show Not buying into that Covid-19 is the only reason why the episodes are not up to NCIS LA standards.
I not wild about it right now….maybe COVID has changed the way they do scenes.
I’m glad it’s on again. Covid19 has caused changes to staffing patterns, actual scenes cape and logistics due to Pandemic. Hasn’t yours?
As a fan I think I should be grateful that these actors are putting themselves out there in this uncertain time. Everything has changed and they need our support.
And quit making it so Sam Callen-centric & all about Roundtree & FatimaFor me I don’t care for Fatima. I think it’s because she has no personality. She kept trying to deliver lines from movies and they just came off flat. She’s a beautiful lady, delivers her lines as written, but there’s no personality there.
The episode’s best moments come in Kensi and Deeks dealing with their heartbreaking fertility issues. The way Kensi spent the whole episode on the verge of tears, as she just tried to make it through the day, while Deeks wanted to talk through his feelings felt authentic. We’ve been on this journey with them for a couple of seasons, and while we don’t know what the end result will be, we can’t look away from the amazing work ECO & DR are doing with this story. You could feel their pain, as usual stellar acting by Eric and Dani. I would have loved to have seen them at the end of that scene have a huge loving hug. I also thought the scene would have been so much better if it had been at their home. May be they prolonged this story line but for me they are the only interesting couple or due in the TV show as they have the same issues and problem most of current youth couples suffers and they show vulnerability. I wish for the remaining episodes to be more team centric and I really wanna see kensi stood for Deeks and to be in a situation where she could choose him over her job and of course the promised episode of Deeks.M.
I’ve never been a fan of the Sam-centric episodes because they’re always the same: Sam’s family is threatened, he goes off the rails, and then all’s forgiven until the next time. I’m also not a fan of the fertility focus. And the new characters? No, thanks.
I also think forcing Deeks to sell the bar would be a major plot mistake. I get that some don’t like it (and it does feel a bit like NCIS: NO), but it also gives a humanizing window into one of the characters and his attempt to plan for a life after the job. Deeks has always been able to define himself by his humanity, and the idea behind him creating a space where veterans could just go and be among friends (remember the original concept?) is a great one that deserves more air time. If they want to switch up to some focus on police brutality (or whatever they think they’re doing), why start running a bunch of “Sam on a rampage” plots? Of all the characters Deeks is the one who’s shown the most restraint, the most regrets the one time he stepped over the line (Afghanistan), and the only one who called out Mosley for her abuse of a prisoner in her custody. Just give us more Deeks being Deeks, and maybe show his influence humanizing Kensi more (which we get glimpses of from time to time and is a welcome addition).
Great review, Karen! I agree that the suspense was missing in this episode. It was more like “Goodbye, Vietnam” than “Spoils of War” and “Uncaged” (my two personal gold standards for rescue eps). I also agree that Rountree did a great job with Sam, and for whatever reason, Sam didn’t punch him out, which kind of surprised me because typically no matter how rational and supportive members of the team try to be with Sam when he’s in my-family-is-in-mortal-peril mode, he doesn’t tend to listen. And I’m right there with you re: the concern that the fertility issues are going to be the new wedding conversations. Certainly these two have other (personal) things to talk about?
Thank you for another great review Karen, filled in some blanks for me. I only saw the ‘baby talk’ scenes, so I can’t comment on the episode as a whole. I do agree with you that the writers have painted themselves into a corner with a Densi baby. It has been going on for a long time, Deeks offered to help Kensi make ‘ninja assassins’ in ‘Neighbourhood Watch’ Season 3, and I’m not sure that was the first time. Deeks has been most consistent wanting a child, although even he has had doubts occasionally. Until Deeks was about to be blown up in ‘Mother’ last season, Kensi has never appeared to keen on motherhood. Okay it was on her bucket list, along with owning a horse, in the Season 8 opener. Who can forget the argument at the end of Season 9? Get the highlighter out for that one. As recently as ‘Yellow Jack’ when Kensi thought she might be pregnant, she wasn’t thrilled at the thought. Now having a baby is important to her. I get the feeling that once Kensi wants something, she wants it now. I think I would feel more sympathy for her if she had shown less reluctance for motherhood in the past few seasons. Of course a pregnant Kensi would throw off the dynamics of the show. We like to see Deeks and a badass Kensi bringing down the bad guys. Other shows have touched on the topic of infertility. In ‘Scorpion’ Happy and Toby had problems and eventually decided to adopt. I just hope they don’t find the problem is with Deeks, as it was with Toby, that would plunge his esteem down a coalmine.
I might be the only one seeing a big difference in how Deeks and Kensi treat each other when the other is troubled. Deeks was sympathetic to Kensi , wanting to talk about it, I think he was about to suggest they gave up. Not that he didn’t want a child, he didn’t want Kensi to go through the unhappiness of it all. When Deeks was upset about his job situation Kensi was dismissive “Hetty will soon sort it out” and insisted on going through with buying a house and having a baby, even though it added to Deeks’ stress. Perhaps that’s just me.
I agree with Nutterbutter I would like to see a situation where Kensi stands up for Deeks and chooses him over her job. Yes, we should be grateful the actors and crew are out there shooting these shows in these difficult times.
Like RobbieC I hope Deeks doesn’t have to sell the bar, realistically who would buy it? It does bring something to the show. I certainly agree with giving us Deeks being Deeks, humanizing Kensi would be a bonus.
Finally, NCIS New Orleans is ending, should I be worried? Is it just making way for NCIS Hawaii?
Actually Kensi has always been pretty dismissive of Deeks when he has problems or is worried about something. That was why I mentioned they should let some of Deeks’ humanity rub off on her. The only time we really saw a different side of her for an extended period was in the aftermath of the torture Deeks endured, and for me that was one of the best looks we ever got at what might be the real Kensi. But even then they had to switch back to what I’m starting to think of as “SamHannahKensi” as soon as possible. Good Lord, people…let Kensi be vulnerable in a realistic way. It adds so much to her character. Some of her best moments have come from that (like the look on her face when Deeks reveals that thinking of her was the only thing that got him through the torture). And no, catty jealousy doesn’t count has vulnerability.
Yes, Kensi has always been dismissive of Deeks, totally. From the cheap put downs in the early years to the lack of support now. When she does stand by Deeks it is spectacular as in ‘Internal Affairs’ or ‘To live and Die in Mexico’. It seems the possibility of losing him focuses her mind. Before they got together Kensi routinely rejected Deeks, but as soon as there was another woman in the picture, like Monica or Eva, she was jealous. The only time we’ve seen her truly vulnerable was while she recovered from the helicopter crash, and Deeks was with her every step of the way. We saw a more vulnerable Kensi in ‘Better Angels’, but the default Kensi is still less than sympathetic. Yet Deeks has sympathy, empathy, humility and generosity by the shedload, enough to go round. I wish they would stop making him so miserable.
Its interesting what each of us takes away from Deeks and Kensi’s relationship. I don’t see her as unsympathic, but it seems like she tries to respond in a way that helps him get through whatever is going on. I see Deeks as more intuitive to what is going on with Kensi, but I also see Kensi as being very sympathic to what is going on with Deeks.
Hi Pat, (it feels like I’m talking to myself) reading other people viewpoints is what I enjoy so much about wikiDeeks. I think you are right that Deeks is more intuitive to Kensi’s feelings, that is his way. I think I might have suggested Kensi didn’t care about Deeks. She clearly loves him deeply and doesn’t want him to be unhappy but doesn’t really know how to deal with it. Talking about things, personal things, is not something Kensi finds easy.
LikeLiked by 1 person
This episode, like all of Season 12, has episodes that lack continuity and are so disconnected as to be confusing. Covid aside, the writers need to do a much better job than they are doing. Personally, Fatima and Roundtree need to go. They are like pieces to a puzzle that writers are writing for that just don’t fit. As for Deeks and Kensi, I am glad Deeks is now an NCIS Investigator but I think the powers to be waited far too long to move Deeks from LAPD Detective to an NCIS Agent. It would have been nice to say Special Agent Deeks not Investigator Deeks. On the baby front, again, the powers to be waited far too long to bring a baby into their lives. Season 7, The Seventh Child episode would have been the perfect time for a baby to go along with Deeks’s proposal. Water under the bridge now. Going forward I personally would like to see the original 4 agents and the writing go back to the original way episodes were written with the team bantering with each other, the humor and the way they worked together as in Seasons 1 through 8.
Round tree is good, Fatima is a light-weight and the back-story about her being an actress was lame. There was no authority figure running the show and I miss Denzi. Callen was wasted by coming in at the last minute. Some of the old writers need to help.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks for another great review, Karen.
This episode definitely felt disjointed. And the younger agents suggesting Sam should text his daughter. Come on! It felt disrespectful to Sam, like Sam wasn’t smart enough to try that first. Or … Maybe it was a way for Sam to get a dose of his own medicine considering how he treated Deeks in the past.
The Densi scenes were great. The Kensi angst, the Deeks desire to console and support his wife. The chemistry still seems to be there even after 10 years.
Fatima and Roundtree just don’t do it for me. Fatima reminds me of a spoiled brat and Roundtree seems so full of himself. They are both disrespectful to the seasoned agents too. Is it me or does Roundtree look like he always has a smirk on his face?
And, like others, I want to know what happened to the house buying venture and the Squid and Dagger. And, what about Kensi and the death threat. It doesn’t seem to be mentioned anymore.
I still enjoyed the episode overall. Still would like to see a Deeks episode.
Densi are the best!
truthfully I didn’t even think about Hetty while watching this episode. I did wonder where Nell was however when they were up in ops. The scenes with Kam were interesting. I had read about blasting music as a form of torture in a book a few weeks ago so I thought that was interesting to see.
Just by the long list of negative responses about this episode – it should tell the NCIS LA people that the writers are not in tune with the characters. All of you are spot on with your comments. Deeks and Kensi should have been rallying around Sam and not talking about their “ journey” at work. The foursome have lost their “ family” connection. The episodes are disjointed. The original four, as team members, show no caring amongst themselves – no acknowledgment for Deeks, no full team support for Sam ( except Roundtree) , no inquiry about Callen and Anna. Maybe the producers should solicit the help of the WikiDeeks founder to guide them in the right direction. I cannot see this series continuing if the poor writing continues. The lack of personalism is so evident and the missed connections are really hurting the characters feelings for one another.
While I am on the topic poor of script writing – why are there so many discrepancies in the storyline.
In “ Mother” Deeks and Kensi were going to sell their home and live in a van ,etc, etc. If that is the case then why worry about buying a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home when they can sell the other one as equity towards the new one. Weren’t they staying in a safe house because of the mad man trying to go after Kensi! What happened to that storyline? In Season 11 Deeks and Kensi talk about having a baby and Deeks mentions that it scares him to death as he was “ raised by wolves” and his mother was not existent yet in previous episodes he tells his mother she did a good job with him and he tells Callen how she always managed to make Christmas special regardless of their messed up family life. There are many many things said and done that contradict other things said and done. Any writer who truly has his/ her heart in this series would be doing a better job in being consistent with the storyline and with the characters and their individual personalities. Get rid of the writers of “ Frogman’s Daughter” as they have no idea in writing consistent scripts ! For the sake of saving the series I hope they hire Karen who is spot on with her vision on how this series should be!
Agree with you
I agree with you regarding the writers of some of these 12th season episodes. I do think, though, that the comments about living in a van, etc in the “Mother” episode were supposed to be taken as said under terrible duress – I never thought she actually meant all that literally. I think the episodes were much better when Gimmel and and Military did the writing – there were a couple of others (can’t remember the names) that did good scripts, but the writers of “The Frogman’s Daughter” are not among them. I’ve always thought they would bring back an episode regarding the mad man that was after Kensi when we least expect it. That’s how they keep the suspense going – you never know when he’ll show up, like Faris ending up being the one to be after Kensi. As for Deeks and his Mom, that story line has always been alittle hard to follow, I agree. He talks about how he was raised by wolves which would indicate that he had a rough upbringing, but he also does talk about his Mom “doing good” raising him. It would be interesting to check back to see who wrote those conflicting episodes. I know one example that always bothered me was when Kensi and Deeks were talking about the guy that caused their helicopter crash andDeeks was having trouble with thoughts of hurting the guy for what happened to Kensi and she said she was ok with all of it – part of the job and she made comment that she had Deeks and that’s all she cared about. A few episodes later,when the guy that caused the helicopter crash, etc. was brought back to LA for something, all of a sudden she was overcome with anger toward him and what had happened to her – the comma and almost a year of recuperation – totally the opposite of her attutude a few episodes earlier. It was weird. I’m going to go back and check who wrote both episodes.
I just checked regarding the writers of the two episodes alluding to how Kensi felt toward the guy who caused the injuries she had while getting him back to our country – helicopter crash and her coma and her spending almost a year away from NCIS in rehab. In the episode written by Gemmil and Brennan, her attitude was that she understood it was part of the job and told Deeks she was just glad that she has him. In the later episode writtenby Joseph Wilson and edited by Erin Broadhurst, Kensi’s attitude was totally different – angry at the guy and really out of character for Kensi in earlier episodes.
Wow! You hit the nail on the head! Awesome commentary.
I have to agree with all these comments. I wish I could go back to the old days of taking each episode at face value. It doesn’t do to over analyse, but I still do. I wish I didn’t. Many of these writers have their own view, and it’s different from ours. It’s irritating, but that’s how it is. I’m currently re-watching old episodes, now on Season 5, perhaps it should be mandatory for all would-be writers to watch old episodes.
Looking forward. Do the spoilers make anyone else optimistic that we will see Competent Deeks soon? I wish I could stop watching spoilers too.
It all has to do with character continuity (or lack thereof). In shows like The Shield, The Unit (which Frank Military worked on for a time), and Justified you had very strong character continuity because the team running the show insisted on it. Interestingly, both The Shield and The Unit were done by Shawn Ryan. You see it in shows like Longmire as well. Once you’ve seen a show like that it’s hard to go back to a “character by committee” model.
Writers can have their own views, but they still should fit in with the overall fabric of the show and the characters they’re writing about, at least in my view. I tend to think the longer a show runs, especially if the show runners change, you start losing some of that continuity. There have been exceptions, but it’s not all that common.
These inconsistencies are not unique to NCIS:LA. Most long running series, like SVU, have a much higher turnover of main characters. The ‘Core Four’ were set ten years ago, and I can’t imagine anybody expected they would all still be here today. Indeed did anybody expect the show to still be here? I’m just grateful that it is. This lack of attention to detail and disregard of what’s gone before, is annoying, some would say inexcusable. Not arguing, but it is just entertainment, escapism. Would we forgive their mistakes if we had thoroughly enjoyed the episode? Not to be political or anything, but in the real world history is sometimes rewritten.
I know they’re not unique, but other shows that have lasted longer manage to maintain character consistency…at least in terms of how the main characters are portrayed. You can obviously switch out characters, but having the same characters change their basic traits as often as they change their socks isn’t good for the viewers, honestly. I look at it as sloppy writing, and readers aren’t especially forgiving if a character in a series they’re reading suddenly changes how they act with no real reason or motive. I expect the same from a TV show I dedicate time to watching, honestly.
And referencing a comment below, Sunday nights is where series are parked to die. Scheduling matters, and it can also spark a series of panic reactions as show people juggle to try to restart a series that might not be a good fit for its time slot.
I agree with you, Patricia. At first I knew the title and summary, so I didn’t expect much about the episode directed by Dani, but after seeing the spoiler, I can say that I am looking forward to the next episode for the first time in this season. That said, I’m afraid to complain after expecting too much, so now I just want to celebrate her opportunity.
I also agree with Robbie C, and I once thought they solved the problem when they were working on the S10.I only remember the scene Deeks on the screen, and I only watch “Pro Se” and wedding episode repeatedly, so I don’t remember much about the issues of character continuity in S10.It was the best season since Showrunner replaced Gemmill, except for a few episodes leading up to the finale. Unfortunately, I sometimes forget about it for the aftermath of the bad impression of S9 or S11. When I think about it now, I wondered if someone was helping them during the S10.Now this show more needs help.
Patricia is right in her comments above, but wanting this series to survive, I believe the scripting has to get back to the basic four team members. There is no byplay amongst them anymore, no humor, no teasing ,etc. Everything now is a “ crisis”. Realizing the covid issue does not mean they have to ignore each other as a team- no acknowledgments to each other, no caring about their current personal situations – just “ disjointed” as Jane pointed out. Get rid of Fatima. Too bad they did not keep Hidoko as she supported them and had a good heart. She would have fit in well as a team player. I still want to know what happened to Nell and Nell and Eric’s relationship. One week she is there and then vanishes. Is Eric here to stay? Too bad we cannot go back in time! Realizing that all lengthy series have ups and downs, I think this one has been on a downturn since the end of Season 10.
I remember when this series followed NCIS on Tuesday evenings. When they changed it to Sunday nights after NFL Football it took a hit as it was often delayed in running and by that time, people had enough sports drinking and partying that it was time to get ready for Monday morning work! I think they lost a lot of viewers because of this change. Just a thought!