NCIS: Los Angeles may be off to its best start yet with the first half of season five, and that’s because of how the show has handled the aftermath of the end of last season and “going there” with Kensi and Deeks, all while maintaining what has made it so good since the beginning. If it continues like this, there’s no reason it shouldn’t be the best season yet.
What Made the First Half of NCIS: LA So Good
More Callen and Sam Banter: One of the best parts about the series has always been Sam and Callen’s partnership and the banter that stems from their differences – family and living situations, food choices, etc. – and what makes them such a good team. The nature of “Merry Evasion” allowed for that banter to take center stage, and more instances like that could only be a good thing. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it, and this is a prime example of that.
The Aftermath of The Torture: Last season could not have ended on a more cruel or painful note, as Sam and Deeks were being tortured for information about “Quinn,” and instead of just pushing the “after” aside with a handy time jump, we got to see what came next. We saw their (eventual) rescue, their time in the hospital, and Deeks’ struggle with returning to work, and it set up something that I hope we see addressed later on (more about that below).
Going There With “Densi”: Deeks finally kissed Kensi in “Descent,” and in the beginning of season five, we witnessed the “slow burn” for the couple, which I think was the best way to handle it. When Deeks finally asked Kensi out (without, you know, actually asking her out because that’s how they communicate), the show directly addressed the aftermath of that night in “The Frozen Lake” in a way that tied directly into the case. Despite Kensi’s reassignment, “Merry Evasion” ended with a phone call that showed that the heart of their relationship has stayed the same.
Nell Out in the Field: Hetty knows all. Hetty is always one chapter/book ahead of everyone else. Nell has been in the field several times this season, and Callen has said what we’ve known for a while: Hetty has an endgame for her. So far the show has explored this in the right way, because as much fun as it has been to have Nell in the field (when she is, she’s still Nell, not Nell-as-an-agent-replica), she hasn’t left the Ops center completely, meaning we still get some classic Nell/Eric moments.
What the Second Half Should Include
Follow Up On Nate’s Concern for Sam: While Deeks struggled with returning to work after the torture, Sam was back much sooner and insisted he knew how to bounce back. However, Nate worried about what all the trauma he’s experienced could mean in the future and warned Hetty, “If it happens too many more times, he could reach a breaking point where he can’t take it anymore.” Hopefully NCIS: LA follows up on that – not necessarily by having Sam reach the breaking point, but the fact that he could – because that could make for such a great storyline.
Don’t Stretch out the White Ghost Reveals Too Long: I know that the “White Ghost” storyline isn’t going to be wrapped up right away, but hopefully more is revealed along the lines of “Merry Evasion” rather than “Iron Curtain Rising.” Kensi’s first episode in Afghanistan didn’t tell us any more than what the promos already showed (and could have been summed up in one scene), while “Merry Evasion” saw her find out the previous sniper in her position had been killed and there was a suspected mole at the base. I know that she had just gotten to Afghanistan, but make those scenes worthwhile.
What’s Coming Up in the 2014 Return
NCIS: Los Angeles is kicks off 2014 with a case that brings the entire team together, including Kensi (and Granger) in Afghanistan, which is a treat because she’s only had those phone calls with Hetty and Deeks to connect her to her team since her reassignment. The show is at its best when the team works together, and it’s going to be nice to see that back even with Kensi on a different continent.
Readers, it’s your turn. What do you think has been the best part of NCIS: LA season five so far?
Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS
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