Review: NCISLA “In the Name of Honor” (S14E12)
Since the last new episode of NCIS: Los Angeles aired, we received sad news about its imminent end, and knowing we’re now getting the final episodes of the series has added a bittersweet layer to my viewing. I hope you all are coping with the news and that you’ll help us celebrate the show in its final few months.
In the midst of this turmoil, we got a dark new case of the week from writer Matt Klafter and director Dan Liu that put Fatima and Kensi in jeopardy right from the first scene.
Can we never do that again?
Speaking of the cold opening, you know how much I like it when it involves one of the main characters. It’s usually a sign that the episode will hold personal significance for them or involve some real danger, as it did here. Of course, we knew Fatima and Kensi would be fine. For me, the suspense lay completely on Deeks’ end. Exactly how freaked out and how functional would he be when it happened? Would he be there when they got taken, and if so, how would he ever forgive himself for not protecting them? And most importantly, what was the over/under on the number of chairs he would throw?
The story took several twists and turns and ended in a very dark place, but the fact that they needed to find Zahra in order to save the SEAL team from a suicide mission gave it a true ticking clock element that compounded once Fatima and Kensi were taken. Still, I never felt much suspense about their fate. It might have been more exciting had the episode spent longer watching the team try to find them. On the other hand, it wasn’t clear why the bad guys didn’t just shoot them at the restaurant (or once they got to the junkyard- seriously, all that smoke was bound to bring an emergency response!), so it might have felt even sillier had the team spent half the episode tracking them down.
It killed me that Deeks couldn’t be there to participate in the rescue, just as it clearly killed him. Kilbride cleverly gave him something constructive to do to keep him from racing off on what would have been an impossibly long drive to Wilmington. Eric Christian Olsen’s expressions as he listened to the fight at the restaurant, to Kilbride trying to reason with him, and then to the explosion, perfectly conveyed Deeks’ frustration, desperation, and terror. I’m sure Rountree looked equally upset, but I was laser focused on Deeks, so couldn’t say for sure.
Kensi’s reunion with her husband was short but sweet, with a “Just shut up and hold me, please” from Kensi and a lovely hug. Unfortunately, there was no time to decompress further, or to gauge what impact, if any, this might have on them going forward. Might they decide to leave NCIS to work for the contractor teaching self defense? Klafter did seem to take some extra time in that early scene to update us on instructor Jeremyʻs expanding business (they’re hiring!).
The episode offered solid examples of the show’s classic elements: banter, booms, and bromance.
The scene of a grumpy Sam bickering with Callen about whether he was turning into his father felt a little forced, I think due to Sam’s grumpiness. He just didn’t seem to be enjoying the banter. (For the record, I think Sam is very different from his dad.) But I enjoyed the safecracking scene, which was classic Sallen.
Callen: You don’t think I can crack this safe, do you?
Sam: I’m just hoping you have it open by, you know, Christmas.
Callen: That’s something your dad would say.
The Pretty Woman discussion worked well, especially once Fatima got there to participate.
Kensi: You wanna give it a shot?
Deeks: No I don’t.
Kensi: What a gentleman…
Fatima: Oh, you know what movie scene this totally reminds me of? [Does her best Julia Roberts impression]
Deeks: Slippery little suckers. [High fives Fatima]
Fatima: It’s all about the classics.
Kensi: I didn’t realize I was performing for Siskel and Ebert.
Deeks: Don’t hate the players, hate the game.
Kensi: That doesn’t even make any sense, sweetheart.
Deeks (or was it ECO?) also seemed happy to interact with Rountree in Ops, discussing the bad guys. TMI… Tell me more. And his quick line about unpacking Kilbride’s reference to his non-friend Hetty was great.
Although it made no sense that the bad guys would stage such a prolonged and elaborate murder, they did provide an exceptionally good boom. It was both large and lengthy. I give it 4 out of 4 stars.
Unfortunately the episode also included a few less pleasant components that have unfortunately become regular elements of the show. First there was the plot inconsistency of Sam claiming to be leaving his dad alone for the first time, when he had clearly been away several other times recently. Maybe this episode was originally due to run earlier? And we continued to see Densi stuck only being able to talk about parental concerns. I appreciated the sweetness and thoughtfulness behind Deeks’ worries for Rosa having to deal with law enforcement, but it’s still sometimes frustrating that they’ve become so defined as Parents that they’re unable to have any other storylines, either as a couple or as individuals.
And finally, there was the frustration of seeing all six main characters working a case, but never putting them all together. This story could have started with the core four (or all six!) in the bullpen, but it didn’t. I can only assume that they are still operating on some COVID-era rule to keep them separated to some extent, or maybe it has to do with new scheduling strategies, but it’s a huge loss of a much-beloved core element that has made the show great.
Woman, life, freedom
Between the return of Akhil Ali, the abduction, and the ending reference to women’s rights, the episode was clearly meant to be Fatima-focused, and it successfully gave us more reasons to like her. I have to say that she has slowly but surely won me over; her character has much more depth now. Originally she seemed to whine about everything, but she has grown over time and I appreciate the way these changes have happened so organically.
Sweet Akhil and his supportive relationship with Fatima provided a great counterbalance to what the bad guys were trying to do to their cousin. And the closing scene with Sam was lovely (even if I’d have preferred more Densi). Sam checking to make sure she was OK was very much in character. His wise words that “The world will never be fair, but it could be better… Give it time. The answers will come,” seemed almost Yoda-like. And Fatima’s final words of Woman, Life, Freedom offered a call to action to support the ongoing struggles for basic human rights that women are facing in Iran and beyond, something Medalion Rahimi has regularly advocated for on social media.
- The mention of Zahra’s brother being beaten as a kid sure caught Deeks’ attention. It was a nice, albeit fleeting, moment of canon consistency. Too bad we didn’t have more time to delve into it, but instead we apparently needed to spend time psychoanalyzing Zahra’s commanding officer’s troublesome childhood. Was this another character the showrunners wanted to plant for future appearances?
- I felt the same about the lengthy scenes with Kilbride’s friend who’s working for Space Force. While knowing about the mission details did boost the urgency of the team’s quest, I’d have rather spent more time on our beloved main characters. We already had plenty of urgency thanks to the abduction and burning car.
- Deeks looked more close-shaven than usual. I wonder if that’s a new look we’ll see again?
That’s it from me for now. Come back later this week for new editions of Deeks’ Surf Log and Kensi’s Journal, plus the Drabble of the Week and next week’s Preview. In the meantime, what did you think of “In the Name of Honor”? Tell us all about it in the Comments below!
Thank you Karen, always right on..of course I have my opinion too..I still wish that kensi and Deeks were in car and were able to save each other..they are always stopping Deeks from being there for kensi..so frustrating..I guess I’m not used to Fatima or roundtree and I guess with series ending , I probably won’t..it was nice to see all the actors back together..been awhile..I understand what you mean about rosa, she looks as old as kensi in my opinion, but on show she is 15, most that age are self reliant ..there are many families with both parents are policeman, etc..it sounds like the actors themselves are ready for the series to end..as much as we as fans will miss NCIS la, I think CBS has done everything possible for it to fail ..sad..🥺hope we see hetty before the end, be nice to see nell and Eric too, maybe at callen and anna wedding..kensi and Deeks, surprise pregnancy 🤷♀️Who knows..I hope you keep wikideeks going for awhile even as Eric Olson..would love to hear how he is doing and kensi..heard rumors that Sam might defect to NCIS Hawaii, hope not, it wouldn’t be the same.. thanks again karen..bittersweet 😢
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I just saw on my tv TV series finale, that all the NCIS , first one, Hawaii, and Vegas all renewed except our NCIS la…so wrong..😢😢😢and ll cool j pretty much has said he is not done with NCIS, so bet he is going elsewhere . I know some of the actors are involved in other projects, I know Dani and Eric are..just so sad🥺🥺
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Another great review, thank you Karen. I think I will miss your reviews more than watching the show. Your reviews never disappoint, the episodes occasionally do. I don’t watch the show until months after it has aired so no comment on ‘In the Name of Honor’, but I do have a question. Looking at the pictures from the last episode I noticed Deeks was wearing a chunky ring on his right forefinger. It looked like the same ring Eric was wearing on his left hand the last time he spoke to wikiDeeks. Neither Deeks nor Eric seem to be regular ring wearers, so I wondered if there was any significance. I think probably not and I’ve just got more time to spare than I will admit to.
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DENSI ARE THE BEST!!!!! DENSI PREGNANCY AND DENSI TWINS!!!!! AND NCISLA NEED RENEW…
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New subject as I was just wondering what happened to Pilar?
From the script of NCIS LA 13X20 – Densi talks about Pilar:
Look, they’re (Rosa and Pilar) both at risk at being sent back.
Pilar, probably at a greater risk than Rosa.
And that is the last we heard about Pilar?
So many holes in this series and most of them probably not going to be filled!
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Karen your comments are right on. There has to be a reason for the disjointed team. Since Covid they have not been in the bullpen together or together in the field. Sam and Callen have been conspicuous hanging out in the boatshed away from Kensi and Deeks. The whole feeling of these characters interacting has been lost for quite some time and the script writing is not anywhere up to par as to really reflecting the characters and their interaction to one another. Gemmill and Military have been conspicuous in their absence. The passion is gone! I honestly think the fabulous four are getting tired after 14 years of aging as it seems like they are playing along with what scripts are handed to them and nothing more. The bantering is forced and just not as clever as it was and Kilbribe is being portrayed as way too grumpy and negative for my liking. I feel that these actors are all ready for a change. Maybe because they see the decline in the writing or they are just getting burned out from the 14 year routine. Whatever the reason, after watching the episodes from seasons past, being a devoted fan from day one, and loving these character, I have lost interest as I clearly see the decline with the inconsistency of the story lines. Too many hands in the soup with the writing but no real understanding of the characters and their past relationships to one another. I am hoping that the final episodes end with a happy ending for all of them as they deserve to leave as the fabulous four they once were under better circumstances. Please give us something to remember!
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I came late to the show and wikideeks, but will miss the reviews and other great articles.
I am sad when I watch the shows now, knowing that it will all end soon. I understand why it’s ending and agree with what Jane wrote. I do wish CBS and the producers would have decided prior to season 14 that the 14th season would be the final season and go out with a bang with suitable endings for the core four. Maybe knowing that it was ending would have given the producers, writers, actors the drive and determination to show the world what made the show great.I
Regarding the episode:
1. I liked the begining of a romance between Fatima and Akhil. It was sweet and different than falling in love with the one you work with.
2. I don’t mind some Kilbride’s grumpiness, because I am in that age group and all my friends seem to be as grumpy.
3. Kensi may beginning to realize the toll the job is taking on her and perhaps she will decide to quit without Deeks having to ask her.
4. I am a little tired of people beginning trap and where ever they are being blown up and then after much fire and many booms, they walk away unscathed. As far as the story line goes it’s the easy way out. I think there have been too many of these situations.
I love the show, I love Deeks ( and ECO), I love Densi, I love Sam/Callan and all the other actors that have been part of the show.