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What did you think of “Under the Influence” (S13E09)?

Written by Anastasia Kousakis and directed by her father John Peter Kousakis, this week’s NCIS: Los Angeles, “Under the Influence,” marked the end of a seven-week drought. We’re going to forego the review in favor of turning things over to you ASAP for the discussion. A few thoughts to get things started:
  • The episode lacked a big sense of drama because we were given no reasons to care about Gia, who seemed like a vapid jerk. Had they made Kilbride’s conversation with Gia’s mother a video call so we could see her mom’s anguish, that might have made a difference. We did get several emotional moments though, courtesy of Sam quoting what I assume was Michelle’s advice about parenting, Curtisʻ mother worrying over her son and talking about the loss of his father, Sam invoking what Curtis’ late father would have wanted for him, and Kensi musing on the importance of raising strong and good sons as well as daughters. Nice follow-through on the episode’s main theme.
  • The other lack of drama came in the form of a lack of action. Not a single shot was fired, except from the paparazzo’s camera, and the only car “chase” involved a suspect on a bicycle. Hopefully theyʻre saving their budget for some big booms in an upcoming episode.
  • This episode had the Kilbride I want to see every week. Not a huge fan of youth-oriented trends but not about to blow a gasket over it, driving a sweet old pick-up, and most important, supportive of the team. His small exchange with Deeks (“Couldn’t have been anyone else”) was charming, as was his introducing Kensi as Deeks’ “better half.” More of this Kilbride, please! Also, did we already know he has a niece? I wonder how she’ll fit in when they do the inevitable “Kilbride, H.” episode that will give us the full story about his son. (And with our luck, air before “Deeks, M.”)
  • It was nice to see Sam and Callen together, bantering about car shampoo and everything else. And we found out that Callen is still living “north of Deeks’ bar,” meaning Deeks hasn’t sold it yet. There’s still hope that Beale will come through with the money he owes so Deeks can hang onto the place.
  • Of course Kensi and Deeks would plan to include unconditional support, jujitsu, tactical training, and maybe some sayoc in their plans for a hypothetical daughter.
  • The best scene of the episode was Kensi taking down the two bodyguards as her husband looked on. Her delightful response of “No, I’m OK, baby,” when he asked if she needed help right before she kicked their butts was perfect.
  • I do have to disagree with Kensi. I think Party Marty (or maybe Jack from Titanic) would be a big hit on social media.
What did you think of “Under the Influence”? Tell us all about it in the Comments below!
About Karen (287 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.

4 Comments on What did you think of “Under the Influence” (S13E09)?

  1. Boring ep. I like action. i like both Deeks and Kensi fighting not just Kensi.Didn’t miss Roundtree at all.They brought the new lady back it makes me wonder who gonna leave the show.Ratings for season 13 are down. I love the main characters but wish for better writing. And i very much miss Deeks and Beale friendhip. And really miss Hetty, wish the actress could come back, but a while back heard her real life partner is battling cancer so i do understand her absence.but can’t help but miss her.


  2. Elaine Conway // March 1, 2022 at 8:18 PM // Reply

    I thought the episode was good. I was okay with the lack of action. We get those episodes every so often. I thought the banter between Callen and Sam at Sam’s expense was enjoyable. That’s been missing for a while. I wish we could get some banter/sparring between Kensi and Deeks harkening back to the days when the making of a grilled cheese sandwich could get Deeks into hot water. I thought those situations were fun. I didn’t like Kensi’s fight scene at all. I thought it was a little silly. I like the Roundtree character, but I don’t tend to miss a character when they miss an episode except for Deeks of course. I will admit though when I realized Caleb Castille was missing his second episode in a row I was concerned for him. I hope everything is okay for him and his family. I hope he missed the episodes for something positive. I too miss Eric Beale and Deeks scenes. As I’ve said before I think the show misses the Eric and Nell characters. They just haven’t been able to fill that hole. Oh, and I found it interesting and hopeful that Callen still lives above the bar.


  3. The episode was just ok. I fully realize that it was one of those episodes filmed during the peak of Covid so the characters lacked the interaction that made this show so popular. Will they ever be able to get back to the bullpen bantering amongst the four of them? What made this series so great was the characters caring about each other as Hetty said “ as a family”. I have not seen that in a long time. When Deeks got his NCIS status there could have been a celebration or at least a teasing. There was no Christmas episode where they always got together. There is no interest in the team being coherent as nothing is ever said by any of them as to them checking in on each others well being. Bottom line is the plot is not as important as the characters caring about each other. If it is to survive the interaction amongst them must be central to the plot. We fell in love with Kensi and Deeks when they were building their relationship. We cared about Callen finding his father. We watched Sam suffer through the loss of his wife. We watched Hetty look on with wisdom and a caring heart. Covid or no Covid they need to get back to developing and enhancing the personal relationships. We connect with the characters – not the plot.


  4. I was viewing an interview on UTube that ECO made in 2012. In it he said that originally it was all about action,buddy, and comedy. What has made the show successful is the longevity of the mothership. “Without those relationship everything else is inconsequential.If you don’t care about the characters then why do you watch?” This is exactly my point in stating that we are watching this series because we have connected with its characters. The characters have been distanced and their relationships to one another and as a group have faltered. Please get back to the bullpen and the bantering of the fabulous four. That is the essence of the series. Amen!


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