NCIS: LA, 8x15
I have had a lot of time to reflect and ruminate on this episode, but if you think I have figured out how to be concise and/or coherent about it you are wrong. The problem is that this trilogy was already super good, and then part III blew what we had seen so far out of the water I couldn't even process it. Even now, the best I can manage is a half-cocked list of Stuf I Loved In No Particular Order.
Deeks and/or Kensi
- Every attempted torture scene with Kensi sassing Sully Boy to here and back is amazing
- Deeks raising all hell and running down Kensi's whereabouts on his own with no backup is hot, and it only gets better
- I have literally never seen Deeks get snappy and impatient at a witness, especially a female witness, to the degree he does with Joelle. The "son of a BITCH" directed at the general situation after storming out of the room = awesome. (eclipsed only by his sincere apology to her later, because this show is amazing)
- Deeks punching Sabatino out of his chair, picking up and throwing said chair behind him without a backward glance*, and then tenderizing his face with a fist is maybe the hottest thing I have ever seen. Afghanistan Intensity Deeks is back, and this time it's more personal. (And also beautifully guilt-free.)
- *This is not the only chair he throws during this episode
- Deeks has literally 0 patience for Hetty's "Sabatino may not know anything so just suck it up and deal" shit today and it's amazing. "That is awful rich considering you're the person that put her in this position in the first place. It's not enough you get your whole team locked up, now you go and kill every single person who might know where she's being held? [...] I'm going to be perfectly clear about this. If Sabatino doesn't know where she is, that's means she in this all by herself. You understand what that means, right? If anything happens to her, that's on you."
- (also please note the superb ability to gentle his tone when Joelle -- sketchily, it later turns out -- tries to edge out of the room, and he tells her she can stay, before turning the anger back on full blast)
- The murder glares he continues to shoot Sabatino after punching is off the table are also great.
- "One more step--" and Deeks doesn't even hesitate to shoot Sully between the eyes. Yow. Do not test him, y'all, he will call your probably-not-even-a-bluff.
- "Daaad, get out of the room!"
- If there is one thing I hate it's that the whole cute reunion scene has to have gross blood all around Kensi's mouth. Much as I enjoyed the "my baby's bleeding" quote, did she really have to bite her tongue? Otherwise, though, that is a beautiful hug. And forehead leaning. "Hooo, you scared me."
- Deeks tossing Kensi into the air while adjusting his hold carrying her over the threshold is adorable. As is Kensi casually complaining the whole time about how embarrassing this is but doing absolutely nothing to actually get out of his arms.
- Also, because I am writing this months after the fact, I get to mention: this is what it took to finally turn the corner on the lingering angst and distance between them, and I'm so happy both that it was resolved in just the right amount of time, not dragged out forever, and that it also really felt genuinely earned. Kensi got a couple episodes of helping him first, and then she did as much to save herself as anyone could have, and all things considered she really clawed her way back to the even footing and equal ground she needed to let him back in, while we as viewers got to reap all the hurt/comfort rewards along the way. I am just so proud of this season and everything it chooses to be.
"Or maybe Ferris brought Kensi to the garage and she got caught up in the explosion. Oh my god, Eric, what if--"
"Nell. That's not how this ends."
- So. This shot in the promo made my head snap around so fast I gave myself whiplash. He has apparently recently lost weight I didn't know was there to lose, creating the most sharply defined chin, and my eyes are basically bugging out of my head at his sudden upgrade. He has literally NEVER done anything for me beyond a "well, he makes sense for Nell, so he's cute enough for her" way, but since that day I have been unable to process the levels of smokery going on here (that's a new word. I am making it one). It doesn't hurt that in this moment, he is being rock-steady calm for an uncharacteristically rattled Nell.
- I am so proud of this episode for making time to throw in some humorous effect with Eric's limbo-like maneuver to keep his gun trained on Chegwidden while also picking up the tossed ID badge from the floor. And basically everything else in attempting to pull a gun on him. And immediately lighting up over their bond as gamers. "Shut up! ...not literally. Sir."
- The scene with the 3 of them in Ops is a joy I did not know the Meerkats could have with superiors, quasi or otherwise.
- Aw @ Nell's short but sweet scene with Granger, stopping by his room to evidence-process. "Field work suits you."
In the sweet spots: Callen being the one to get the bag off Joelle's head is fantastic. Look at all that tucking of her hair behind her ear. And the hug. And the general assorted sweetness everyone treats her with until suddenly...
JOELLE IS A DOUBLE AGENT OMG. THIS WHOLE ENTIRE TIME, SHE WAS TWO-TIMING HIM? I joked about hoping Joelle was that petty about their relationship failing, but I did not expect her to have been a moley CIA agent from the start. Puts a real bork in season 6, huh? Still, enjoyed Callen venting his feelings by chainsawing the dining room set to death.
Oh! Also super amusing seeing Chegwidden knock her out with an oar. (Hetty: *mildly put out* / Chegwidden: 'Sorry, did you want me to wait until she shot you?' SASS MASTER 3000. I like him.)
I am very glad that they did not kill Granger off after all. At least, not by murder. What an oddly nice last scene between the world-weary superiors and old friends.
8x16, "Old Tricks"
I was so excited for this one based on its senior guest stars alone, and it did not disappoint. A lighthearted, goofy romp to showcase Deeks & Kensi's glorious working field partnership was exactly what I needed to get back in the swing of things. I liked it so much I didn't even want to throw Nate through a window as much as usual.
BUT THEN. Out of nowhere, the Beta Ship gets the most amazingly emotional vulnerable convesation we've seen in months as someone finally remembers that in the season premiere, Eric was responsible for people dying. Bad guys, under orders, from a computer-controlled distance -- but still dead because of an action he took under those orders. And he's messed up about it.
"You know, we never talked about that."
"I don't know how."
And Eric looks so wistful in his admiration of strong Nell is for handling everything ("You go through the same stuff I go through every day, and you're just always so..."), and she's just like, "No. False. Maybe I hide it better but I get messed up too. (subtext: hug me.)" And there is CLINGY SUPPORT HUGGING, and even before I knew what ship riches were waiting for me around the corner, her thumb stroking the back of his neck seemed just wildly intimate for the established boundaries of their relationship; I am still yelling about it.
Sidebar on something at he beginning of all this: it gets run over immediately, but can we all take a minute to appreciate how stunned Eric sounds when Nell says she's still seeing Nate, before she clarifies that she means professionally? Because it sounded a lot more personally affecting than "what a surprising revelation."
8x17, "Queen Pin"
Every part of this is amazing; time to dissect it in detail.
This must be the first time I've ever seen Switch in action, because from the moment my eyes registered the cocky diamond earrings he wore, rainbows poured out of my chest. This is my favorite alias of all time anywhere; his entire cool, calm, unflappable swagger is too incredible. The fake murder! The fake banter about buying "hardware for my lady" in order to shake a scummy associate down! And I loved how he connected with the title character so well, and the awesome respect she had for him without realizing she was being taken for a ride. Yep, prooooobably my favorite case-related plot of the entire season.
Part 1: It just does not get sweeter than this than this lil' hair kiss/pat:
Part 2: "Hi handsome." / "Foxy lady." a.k.a. the best overwatch van scene until the next episode's overwatch van scenes.
But mostly, I love Deeks spending his time brooding about the thousand ways he'd like to crush Asakeem for what he did to her. I love that Kensi harbors no such smoldering feelings of vengeance and has decided to make peace with the fact that it happened, but now she's better, and is choosing to be okay with it. I love that Deeks is grudgingly impressed by this, but still wants to just "break all of his fingers."
And most of all, I love that Kensi chooses to return the rock-steady stability he's been providing all year. "The other thing is that I have you. And that's all I care about." And I just...the way these idiots gaze at each other is magical. Never mind the affectionate touching of/playing with his hair, or the way his eyes close in bliss when she kisses his cheek, and her little nuzzle afterwards. I can't remember the last time anyone crammed this many different tiny moments of tactile affection into one episode, honestly.
Or relive the full magic!
Callana (ooh, that doesn't sound quite right)
Part 1: Up to this point I have only shipped them in a theoretical ways for reasons of canon and objetively beautiful faces; Callen has always done even less for me than Eric. But I was not only extremely on board with the pretty kissing in front of the fire, it turns out that shirt-stripping makeout session against the wall is the most scorching thing this show has ever done and I highly approve.
Also, I died laughing at a) the fact that someone finally decided to prioritize bedroom antics over work, only for Hetty to block them in person, and b) Hetty being fully aware of What Is Up, pleasantly calling out to the in-hiding Anna, and otherwise tacitly approving this hookup. (I will say, Hetty's sole redeeming feature is her ability to be chill about workplace hookups and trust her people to know what they're doing and comport themselves appropriately.)
Part 2: Their road trip (with a terrorist in the backseat), complete with bad musical karaoake, is the cutest thing a crime show has ever seen. It only gets better as they continue to verbally slap him around, so amused by their own wit that they let their guard down and get ambushed outside a random diner...only to be assisted on the spot by some blustery red-blooded-good-old-boys types with concealed carry permits. Love it.
Part 3: Couch action! I'll allow it.
Part 1: First of all, Beale being obtuse about the meaning of "couldn't get up" (on a surfboard), attempting to fist-bump Deeks' night of 6 times and hook him up with virility herbs as needed (more than once) is maybe the greatest thing I have ever seen, eclipsed only by Deeks giving him the squint-eye and deciding to let him hang on his own rope of awkwardness before conspicuously walking him out of the picture. Awww, C'mon, he just adores you two and thinks your love is magical and wants to support it in all forms, okay.
Part 2: Then Hetty comes in, being even more obtuse about how great it is that Whiting is out of ICU and expected to make a full recovery. This is so weird that I assumed she was doing it on purpose to try and get him to admit to his stupid-ass confession, but it seems like she actually means it, which makes no sense even if she doesn't know about the confession, because literally at what point has Whiting not been a force of evil on a dogged quest for his head?
*damn it! I really thought we were free when she wasn't even mentioned in ep 15.
Still, I really love the transformation of his face from happy-labrador to sucker punched and finding a sudden test to that whole promise he made Kensi last year about no more secrets.
Part 3: Deeks' dark muttering about how lucky the helicopter-shooting terrorist is that Deeks isn't the one in charge of his transport.
Part 4: Nell & Kensi out on a quick interview. (I will take their partnership in any context always.)