I was thisclose to just throwing in the towel and starting from scratch with season 9, or just never writing about TV on here ever again, since I already siphoned off most of my real-time squee to Tumblr, but I am not yet strong enough to let go entirely. So I am giving myself a 2-hour time limit to close out season 8, and off we go.
Past Me: I can't promise Sunday's undercover-couple episode is going to be the Neighborhood Watch of Neric, but I am damn sure hoping it tries.
As I'm sure I have made very clear by now: ASLDAFSJDKASDFJASDFSADF.
Even if the trilogy at the beginning of 2017 hadn't taken me out as far as "ability to coherently talk about this show," this one would have. I have been yelling since March, and I am still yelling. I am not over it, will never be over it. True, it lacked bed-sharing, but otherwise it delivered on all my hopes and dreams so much better than I expected that I will never be able to do it justice with words, not least because it might as well have been a fever dream for all the show has directly acknowledged its most important events since.
But that's okay, because as I said once upon a time when Morgan/Hodges inexplicably kissed on CSI and she and Greg never did: just give me the rare and precious footage and we can sort out the rest later.
And it did.
I was afraid to hope for even an in-character kiss. Under no circumstances did I expect them to go ahead and start with Eric's Secretly True Confession of when he fell in love with her (I was working on the assumption he had, but it is nice to have it spelled out. With eye contact. And witnesses), and then have her go full on "you just stopped the bad guy; I am so turned on; you are absolutely getting a kiss for that" AND THEN have that ending scene* where they act like kissing is just a normal everyday part of their life / future.
*admittedly I become a murder-volcano of rage every time I rewatch it and have to see / hear that hideous interruption. Why did it have to be right before instead of in the middle. Is this some kind of a joke? Is this funny to you? Do you think we have kisses to spare, because we do not.
I still have no clear understanding of whether that was supposed to have been a first kiss (it really does not look like one, and I choose to believe that the "they've secretly been dating for years but haven't mentioned it because no one's asked" theory is now valid), or how long they've been together or what their actual deal is, which adds to the fever-dream-ness. I don't care. They kissed on the grass and it was beautiful.
Just when I thought it could not get better, their #1 shippers roll up on the scene to witness it and I have subsequently petitioned to rename this location The Field Where I Died (X-Files reference! which itself was probably a reference, now that I think about it).
And Kensi is all "awww" and Deeks is like "I need photographic evidence" and the most impressive thing in all of this that neither of them look even slightly embarassed. Eric looks moderately surprised to see them but mostly too pleased by the situation to care, and Nell just gives the camera a full on goofy grin and has no shame whatsoever and I love her. And them. And this absolutely sweet, picture-perfect kiss.
Where everyone is just casually ignoring the dead guy in the exploded fireball of a car wreck nearby, because today was a fairytale okay!!
look at this cute happy face!!!
AND THEN there's these two in their overwatch van, their hideous clunky RV that pains Deeks' soul to even look at and which Kensi reacts to with rapturous joy, to his unending horror. Their argument over "Woods: Awesome or Terrifying?" was pretty wonderful too. Please write all the fanfic where Kensi drags City Boy off camping.
I <3 their reactions to listening in on the "how did you know you were in love with your partner?" dialogue because THEY KNOW WHAT IS UP. I love how awkward and uncomfortable Kensi is about it, and I love Deeks' "just stop, it's amazing" because it is true. I also love that Kensi gets a chance to sock him in the arm for mocking the other couple's saccharine sob story. (x)
Relevant note: his hair is in a perfectly magical fluff state right here.
And finally -- even though this does not jive at all with what we see a couple of episodes from now -- since it hasn't happened in canon yet, I love Kensi using a well played innunendo flirt game to convince him to leave the safe, warm RV and go build her a fire for roasting S'mores (after ribbing him about his pronunciation of it).
Other Bonus Content
1. The part I wore out by overplaying the sneak peek, where Eric and Nell are first informed they're going undercover, which dominicvail has tag-described in a priceless manner.
"eric is my precious fave b/c he’s obviously like ‘holy shit christmas and the next 15 birthdays just came early’ but waits till nell says it’s cool before he lets it all out...and next to eric’s exuberance nell’s low key smirk collection looks like very little but for her the smirking is.. incredible really. also them being like…actually not awkward and happy about this was the moment i knew i was gonna die. i was expecting king and queen of second hand embarrassment here to go all out in the cringe olympics...no…no they did not and i knew i was done for"
2. Kensi hilariously climbing all over Deeks trying to plug in something in the RV, while Deeks just sits there blinking at being shoved around and going "...you could just...ask me to move..." / "Nope, got it!"
3. Nell placing the tree cam and switching it on, and Deeks' comment about having eyes not only on the lodge, but also "two Bear Grylls wannabes...you guys are looking pretty cute right now, not gonna lie" and then that became The RV Where I Died. Mostly because I love any instance of those two talking together, but bonus points if he treats her with overt affection.
Also because Kensi reacts to that comment (possibly because he's talking directly to Nell; Eric is in frame but clearly not paying attention) with this sharp "excuse me?" expression and like, I wasn't going to the shipping place originally, but her reaction definitely made me pencil-eraser her out of the scene for a moment and take it to a shipping place.
3.5. On the commentary, Renee says that she did a little growling-bear imitation after that, and it's important we remember it should be there, because I see it clear as day.
4. Deeks' brindle-gray hoodie gets its own number because it looks soft and ridiculousy attractive on him.
5. Speaking of wardrobe -- ERIC BEALE IN PANTS. The hype is real and deserved.
6. I want to go back to the "that's when I knew I was in love with you" speech because wow I am so glad this episode waited until his magical super-attractive transformation. (she's looking super pretty and glossy-haired here too, not that her prettiness is news)
7. Their reactions to being faced with a single bed in the cabin are adorable.
8. I totally forgot that Callen confronts Joelle in this one, too. So much going on! [edit: never mind, I didn't forget; I blocked it from memory because it was gross to learn she had a husband and a kid the whole time she was sleeping with him. Did you have to salt to earth behind you?]
9. Also! Can we talk about Eric firing fearlessly until Nell tackles him out of the truck's path. It is 50% hilarious how hard he shoves her down afterwards in order to sit up and continue firing the gun over her -- it comes across as very "OUTTA MY WAY, THIS ONE'S MINE" -- but also 50% very Attractively Competent. I can see how Nell concluded "definitely kissing him now. definitely" out of that.
10. Just everything about those two being out in the field together (sometimes a literal field!) was wonderful and perfect and I hope we get to see it again someday...but also, now I can die happy.
March reaction: "I showed up late to Case on a Plane and the second half had exactly nothing going for it, but when I went back to catch up -- HOLY HELL, that introductory Densi scene. Hamana hamana hamana. Have they really not slept together in the metaphorical sense since her accident? No way. Really?? Characters NEVER wait as long as I want them to wait post-trauma! Also that makes Kensi's sassy "maybe you and I can have a couples retreat of our own" last week make much less sense, but you know what, I don't care. Gonna go watch them make out with Intent 4700 more times and also high five a million angels. Who probably frown on this sort of thing, actually, now that I think about it."
Additional Thoughts: First of all, I would have been happy with the waking-up-together aspect and the mention that Kensi's been having trouble sleeping alone. I was not prepared to be taken around the bend.
I'm still impressed that waited that long -- seriously, even after the whole jailing/kidnapping fiasco?! that is a doozy of a need for time. I still think is a really wonderfully important scene and love that it goes from light-hearted ("oh dear god, yes. Almighty") to really serious and sweet, particularly the "are you sure you're ready?" because I like the further implication that they have talked about this before. And probably made the conscious decision to table it, given that Kensi wakes up with bedroom eyes and his initial reaction is "time to go cook breakfast." It also makes that January episode, where he's mournfully telling Sam about all the physical activities Kensi is now able to do again, but isn't doing with him, that much more heart-punchy.
And now that I'm done being thoughtfully analytical: pretty sure this is either the new winner or the runner-up for "most intense physical stuff they've ever had on screen" and I know it's practically G-rated for most people but it is very thrilling for me.
Oh yeah, and this is also the one where they meet that random PR employee who flirts so obviously and terribly, in complete denial of Deeks' non-reaction to it, that even Kensi can only bring herself to be moderately annoyed. Said employee caps it off with spectacular fake crying and general response of "what's that? it's okay to cry into your shirt while you put your arms around me and tell me it's okay? *GLOMP" and I have never laughed so hard at this show in my life.
8x20, From Havana With Love
I really want to make a Camila Cabello reference out of this title, but I'm short on time and long on Authentic Thoughts about things I loved that I actually wrote up last April, in bullet point form and no particular order.
* When I first heard "Kensi goes undercover as a dancer in a club," I was very :(. But then they specified "salsa dancer," and Daniela Ruah got all excited about getting to show off her Dancing With the Stars moves, and I got much more excited. And lo, it was awesome.
* Kensi's sassy red dress, with the sequins and the fringe...it reminds me of a dance costume I had once,
* Kensi's cute audition outfit, her dancing talent, her dance fight for her life; her everything
* Deeks generally making a nuisance of himself at the club. It was terrible and super unprofessional, but I laughed anyway.
* Perez had a generally smokin' hot everything and I may or may not have shipped that for the physical chemistry alone.
* Eric going from "sure, no problem!" about hacking Kensi's phone for Deeks to "sorry buddy no can do" after being chastised by Nell. My heart is very full of love at a) this beautiful display of the meerkats' devotion to their respective role models, and b) Awesome Ladies controlling situations
* The meerkats' description of what's in Victor's journal:
"Don't read it unless you need a good cry." (aww, Eric)
* Deeks having to buck up poor Victor in the face of his morose "I'm not cool like you" moping.
* Deeks awkwardly taking dancing lessons from said dude. XD
* Of course Deeks wants to fight about who talks more in a given day (and by fight I mean be adorable. I thought that whole thing was very them.)
* And last but not least, Deeks forfeiting the competition in order to show off his newfound partner dancing skills that Kensi can be proud of (at least until he drops her on the floor)
8x21, Battle Scars: I tried to get invested in the plot featuring Ocean's Eleven: Senior Citizen Edition, but I've almost entirely forgotten it now. There were a few nice little Densi bits, according to YouTube.
* Deeks & Kensi casually arguing about what to do for dinner, which obviously more important than locating the person of interest they came to find (in sum: Kensi doesn't cook. No, that one time she made cookies at Christmas did not kickstart a cooking revolution; baking is not cooking. Do you want cookies for dinner?! Oh, Deeks is cool with that. Fine, cookies for dinner it is OH CRAP HERE COME THE GUNS.)
* I liked the nice VA hospital clerk -- I don't know if I remember her from this show or anywhere else, but she has a good face; hire her for more things -- and her sweet recognition of Kensi from her time at said hospital. They semi-pick this up later where Kensi mentions to Deeks that he must have memories of that place too -- less than great ones, with all the waiting -- but that thread gets interrupted after he brushes it off as nothing, and it bugs me that it never really gets picked up again.
* I was happy enough just looking around the pawn shop, but then awww at Deeks sweetly and sincerely pointing out a vintage bridal veil he thinks Kensi would "look beautiful in." Which unexpectedly brings her to tears, and me as well after she explains why. "Since I lost my dad, I was hoping to ask Granger to walk me down the aisle." That kind of gets awkwardly dropped and not brought up again too, and I'm beginning to remember why I forgot everything that happened in this ep.