NCIS: Los Angeles S13E05 Review


Divided We Fall tells the rare story of the team failing catastrophically in their mission. Failure is not an outcome associated with the NCIS Office of Special Projects which makes this episode all the more interesting. There are plenty of occasions where missions go sideways - it's that unpredictability and intensity which often keeps the interest, however the outcome is usually positive. After all they rescued Mosley's son, even though all bar Kensi nearly lost their lives in the process. The team is not perfect and not infallible so to actually see them fail and the after effects of that failure, is a novelty. 

The episode begins with Callen and Sam approaching a woman (Laura Song) and urgently requesting she accompanies them to a safe house as she may be compromised. Meanwhile Kensi and Deeks pick up Laura's teenager daughter Lily and bring her to the boatshed, while Fatima and Rountree set up in the safe house to undertake surveillance. When Callen states that Kilbride will arrive in an hour, Laura's replies that until then, her life is in their hands.

"One hour later" and Kilbride walks in to a disaster zone. Laura is dead and Callen and Sam are sitting against the wall looking battered.  

The remainder of the episode takes place after another time jump. The team have been separated for 36 hours and are interviewed by the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) Inspector General Akhil Ali. This allows the team to fill in the events of that crucial hour from their own perspective, with each member overlapping with the former to provide a full narrative.  These interviews/flashbacks allow Laura to be developed as a rounded character and for empathy to be built as she engages with Sam and Callen on a personal level. She’s a mother who believes her daughter is better off without her, she was drawn into the world of espionage by Kilbride at the age of 17 and knows Hetty. She is strong, confident and defiant, adamant that even though she acknowledges every spy has their expiry date, she repeatedly ask for a gun, refuses to die while locked away in the panic room and selflessly sacrifices herself to save Fatima.  Her actions and words indicate that she'd rather fight for her freedom that be locked in and trapped, even if a few of her actions are odd with this - until Kilbride tells his tale... He concocted the story that Laura's cover was blown so he could (via the team)  secure her for interview to see if she had been turned by the Chinese and was now a double agent.  He found his answer when he saw her walking into the lobby with the ‘bad guys’, chastising them for failing to take out four agents. Kilbride confronts and kills her. 

This knowledge allows the episode to be seen in a different light upon a second viewing. Deeks states that Kilbride has many layers like an onion (and each one will make you cry), which is an apt reflection of Divided We Fall (although maybe not the crying element). This is an intricately constructed and multilayered case.  The one on one conversations Laura had with Callen and Sam now take on a different meaning. She knows Hetty and it can be implied she knows of her orphans and by extension, about Callen. By asking how long he’s known Hetty and relating that to her own story of being dragged into the game so young, she has aligned herself with him.  With Sam she speaks about her teenage daughter and the pair talk about parenting. She struggles with the mother/daughter relationship, believing Lily is better off without her and asks about Sam's daughter’s relationship with her mother. Did she know in advance that Sam’s wife was killed? 

Kilbride admitted to ONI Ali that Laura is the best operative he’s ever known and he kept the real reason away from the team for fear she would see through their charade. Laura Song now becomes a highly manipulative double agent, playing two experienced agents who had little chance of seeing through her facade, thanks to Kilbride.  The other takeaway here is Kilbride’s lack of trust - he clearly has no faith in the team. He acknowledges they are good but not the best (although he tells Lily they are the best, with Deeks naively believing him until Kensi bursts his bubble).  It almost picking up where Hetty left off in terms of manipulation and secret keeping, even picking Laura for a life of spy craft during her teenage years. Perhaps this explains his comments to Callen in the season opener (Subject 17), and in last season’s finale. 

The interviews reveal how events unfolded but also show how the agents perform their jobs. Sam and Callen are the epitome of professional, dedicated to protecting Laura. They repeatedly refuse her request for a gun, providing the ONI Inspector Ali with legitimate reasons for their decisions. When Ali challenges the only discrepancy in Sam and Callen’s story (whether Laura was drinking scotch or bourbon), Sam quite rightly questions if it really matters? It’s the newer and younger agents who’s behaviour during their surveillance is surprising. These scenes typically make personal conversations easy whilst maintaining observations, yet Rountree and Fatima spent most of their time NOT looking at the monitors. Instead they were on their cells and playing a magnet game. Thankfully these actions had no impact on events and they acted as expected when they temporarily rescued Laura.  With Fatima shot in the leg, Laura insists the agent reaches safety first, then closes the elevator hatch. This seemingly selfless act kept the agents safe and gives the appearance of her capture and death (a gunshot is heard shortly after). If  Sam or Callen had been injured and in the elevator, they would have insisted Laura was hauled through the hatch. Certainly Callen left Sam to fight off the attack while he moved Laura to safety,  although Sam did question why Callen abandoned him...(which was out of character).

Kensi and Deeks’ situation was much less intense, taking Lily to the boatshed to keep her safe, thus allowing for a touch of lightness and humour at times.  Again there is a personal element which builds empathy between Lily and the agents. She reveals her dad died when she was 11, something to which Kensi can relate. It is Deeks and his knack of understanding deep human emotions who suspects something is hinky. He tried to call Sam to say that Laura continued to be an operative after her dad died in a car crash.  Laura lost it when husband died but when she returned to work (to her cover job as an art dealer, in actuality as a spy),she became better. The scene cuts to Deeks’ interview and his heartfelt speech where he opened up on his thoughts of dying in line of duty and how people deal with trauma differently. If Kensi died, he didn’t think he could remain operational and raise an 11 year old. It made him question why Laura chose to do just that, enough to make him try and call Sam. 

Kilbride is indirectly responsible. It was his idea to withhold information from the agents and to lie about securing her in a safe house as her cover may be blown.  His plot inadvertently put the agents in danger, although he had no foresight that Laura’s allies would breach and rescue her. The Chinese extraction team were tipped off as they found sustained breach of the ONI safe house security systems and knew as soon as Laura walked through the door. Kilbride may not trust the team or have faith in their abilities but at least he tells ONI Inspector Ali that the report he writes will exonerate the team. The agents accept and admit responsibility for their failure and Laura’s death, and Kilbride witnesses their utter dejection when he calls them to ops for another case and they trudge up the stairs. When he pauses by the door to his office, observing them, he contemplates but still does not take the opportunity to reveal the truth.  The closing scene shows the final piece of the puzzle, which Kilbride withheld from Ali.  In Laura’s dying moments, she reveals that she’s the one who actually manipulated him since she was 17. She chose him as the perfect mark, a broken family man looking for a second chance. His killing her has some parallels to Hetty killing Akhos, as to a certain extent, both were parent figures, and Kilbride clearly thought of her with affection, having her photo in his portfolio case. This image of Kilbride as broken contrasts with the jovial comments Deeks and Kensi make at the start, about Kilbride having a son and what he would be like as a father, and recalls earlier episodes where he share with Sam that he has an estranged son.

The in-depth characterisation of the episode’s guests serve to engage the viewer and to build empathy, mostly though the connections and parallels made between Laura and the agents. The ONI inspector flirts with Fatima and clearly has a crush on her from her acting days, and deeply respecting her religious devotion.  He is given a trait of touching his tie when he’s nervous, an action he repeats numerous times throughout the various interviews. The familiarity between Fatima and Rountree now sees Fatima calling him ‘Tree’ and it is details such as these which help make this episode special.  It is dramatic and intense through the interweaving of the interrogation and action, mixing past and present. The understated acting and direction lends a seriousness and severity to the operation which only emphasises the feeling of helplessness and dejection the team feel afterwards.  Overall, the different style of storytelling adopted by writer Andrew Bartels and visualised by director Terence Nightingall, elevates this to not only the best so far in season 13, but one of the best episodes in the series to date.

A Virtual Scrawl

Sunday TV Ratings 11/28/21: One Last Time: An Evening with Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga Modest, The Great Christmas Light Fight Premiere and The Equalizer HIt New Lows, The Simpsons Steady as Family Guy Dips

Final numbers and analysis to come.

Thursday TV Ratings 11/25/21: NFL Dominates Thanksgiving, United States of Al Hits Series High for Repeat, The Magic Maker Bombs

Final numbers and analysis to come.

Tuesday Cable Ratings 11/23/21: The Last OG and Tucker Carlson Tonight Drop, NBA Leads, Chucky Rises

Below are the top 25 programs on cable on Tuesday, 11/23/21. Items of note include The Last OG on TBS, Chucky on USA and Syfy, and NBA on TNT.

(Note: Click any show with its name in green or blue to be taken to its page in the TV Ratings Guide Cable Ratings Database.)

Monday Cable Ratings 11/22/21: Tucker Carlson Ticks Down with Kyle Rittenhouse Interview, Holiday Baking Championship Hits Season Low, NFL Also Down

Below are the top 25 programs on cable on Monday, 11/22/21. Items of note include Holiday Baking Championship on Food, Tucker Carlson Tonight on Fox News, and Being... Chris Christie on CNN.

(Note: Click any show with its name in yellow or blue to be taken to its page in the TV Ratings Guide Cable Ratings Database.)

Wednesday TV Ratings 11/24/21: SNL Thanksgiving Steady with 2020, Stable Survivor Leads, CSI: Vegas Also Even (UPDATED)

Finals Update: Survivor (+0.1), SNL Thanksgiving (+0.1), Tough As Nails (+0.1), CSI: Vegas (+0.1) and repeats of The Goldbergs (+0.1), The Wonder Years (0.1), The Conners (+0.1), The Queen Family Singalong (+0.1) and Chicago Med (+0.1) adjusted up.

Analysis to come.

Fox Renew/Cancel #2: ’Our Kind of People’ is Not Fox’s Kind of Show


Predictions for 11/24/21
Photo Credit: Fox

Below are the latest renew/cancel predictions for the Fox network in the 2021-22 television season. The numbers listed in the table are the ratings that these shows have garnered in the Adults 18-49 demographic. Since the last update, one program has been downgraded due to lackluster ratings. As always, only scripted programming will be taken into account in this column. 

Our Kind of People: Through the course of seven episodes, this new drama has dropped by just seven-hundredths from its series premiere. Normally, this type of stability would be more than enough to keep a series on the air. In the case of Our Kind of People, it never debuted strong enough to give itself any room to drop. Though the November 9th installment did climb up to the 0.35 rating it posted for its premiere, it fell down to a series low the week after (0.28). While it's not a complete lost cause like The Big Leap, there's nothing to signal that People will make it past its initial, twelve-episode order. As a result, this drama retains the same status as before. Status: LIKELY CANCEL

The Big Leap: With just two episodes left in its season, The Big Leap has been downgraded from "Likely to be Canceled" to a "Certain Cancellation". The series began in awful territory and it only got worse from there, culminating in Leap falling to a horrific 0.18 on an evening when 9-1-1 was not leading into it. The Big Leap has the strongest drama lead-in Fox can offer it and is still the lowest-rated scripted series on the network. That just about sums up why fans of the series should not except to see another batch of episodes. Status: CERTAIN CANCEL

9-1-1: While it slipped to a new series low for its latest outing (0.67), 9-1-1 remains the third highest-rated scripted show on broadcast television. The days of this Ryan Murphy drama consistently posting ratings above a 1.0 are clearly behind it but it's still a sturdy force on a dying landscape. If Fox ever hopes to launch a successful drama again, putting it after 9-1-1 is still their best bet at achieving success. Status: CERTAIN RENEWAL

The Resident: The Resident is getting up there in age and recently hit its lowest rating to date (0.35). A case could clearly be made for cancellation but Resident should be able to eek out one, final season. As long it rebounds from here and the Fox network is not able to find a new drama that performs well in the winter, expect this fifth-season staple to stick around for a little while longer. Status: LIKELY RENEWAL

The Animation Block: All four cartoons were prematurely renewed and continue to perform well enough by the network's standards. The Great North is only doing marginally better than Bless the Harts but its modest average is still passable. Meanwhile, the audience for The Simpsons only continues to shrink, even on nights with the NFL overrun. Though it's currently up on a year-to-year basis, those gains will slowly fade away when football leaves the picture. Bob's Burgers and Family Guy remain respectable players in the back-half of the evening, with Bob's yet to hit a new series low. They may crumble by spring but this lineup is still the least of Fox's worries. Status: RENEWED

What do you think of these predictions? As always, leave your thoughts in the comment section below.


Which Fox drama will post a new series low for its next episode?
The Resident
The Big Leap
Our Kind of People
All of the Above
None of the Above
Created with Quizmaker

Sunday Cable Ratings 11/21/21: A Kiss Before Christmas Strong on Hallmark, Power Book II: Ghost Ties Low in Premiere as BMF Finale Hits High, Yellowstone Dips Again but Stays Dominant

Below are the top 25 programs on cable on Sunday, 11/21/21. Items of note include Yellowstone on Paramount, the season premeire of Power Book II: Ghost on Starz, and A Kiss Before Christmas on Hallmark.

(Note: Click any show with its name in orange to be taken to its page in the TV Ratings Guide Cable Ratings Database.)

Saturday Cable Ratings 11/20/21: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Does OK, Christmas Together with You Down from Previous Saturday Hallmark Film, Ghost and Molly McGee Ties High

Below are the top 25 programs on cable on Saturday, 11/20/2021. Items of note include Christmas Together With You on Hallmark, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on HBO, and College Football on ESPN.

(Note: Click the name of any show with its title in red to be taken to its page in the TV Ratings Guide Cable Ratings Database.)

Friday Cable Ratings 11/19/21: Real Time with Bill Maher Drops for Finale, SpongeBob SquarePants Weaker, Nantucket Noel Solid, Huge Day for Fox News

Below are the top 25 programs on cable on Friday, 11/19/21. Items of note include the season finale of Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, SpongeBob SquarePants on Nickelodeon, and Nantucket Noel on Hallmark.

(Note: Click the name of any show with its title in purple or blue to be taken to its page in the TV Ratings Guide Cable Ratings Database.)

Tuesday TV Ratings 11/23/21: The Resident and Queens Hit New Series Lows, La Brea and The Flash Tie Lows (UPDATED)

Ratings Analysis: Even though 'The Voice' (0.79, -0.03) only shed three-hundredths, NBC's 'La Brea' (0.46, -0.14) slid down to its lowest rating with an original 'Voice' lead-in. Despite the slippage at 9, 'New Amsterdam' (0.39, +0.02) appeared unfazed and actually gained two-hundredths at 10. Over on ABC, 'The Bachelorette' (0.62, -0.07) lost seven-hundredths and 'Queens' (0.26, -0.02) ticked down to new series low. Fox's 'The Resident' (0.35, -0.10) forfeited a tenth and also found itself posting a new low. In the 9pm slot, a repeat of 'The Masked Singer' (0.33) was a small improvement over last week's 'Our Kind of People' (0.28). CBS had reruns of 'FBI' (0.47), 'FBI: International' (0.38), and 'FBI: Most Wanted' (0.36). On the CW, 'The Flash' (0.14, -0.09) fell by a tenth and 'Riverdale' (0.06, -0.05) shed nearly half of its week-ago rating. 

Finals Update: 'The Voice' (+0.1), 'La Brea' (+0.1), 'Queens' (+0.1), 'The Resident' (+0.1), and repeats of 'FBI' (+0.1), 'FBI: International' (+0.1), and 'FBI: Most Wanted' (+0.1) adjusted up.

Thursday Cable Ratings 11/18/21: Rising NFL Leads, Christmas Cookie Challenge and Tacoma FD Rise, Tucker Carlson Leads Cable News

Below are the top 25 programs on cable on Thursday, 11/18/21. Items of note include Christmas Cookie Challenge on Food, Tucker Carlson Tonight on Fox News, and Thursday Night Football on NFL Network.

(Note: Click the names of the shows written in purple or blue to be taken to their pages in the TV Ratings Guide Cable Database.)

Monday TV Ratings 11/22/21: Dancing with the Stars Finale Leads the Night, Rudolph Drops Dramatically, The Voice Also Down (UPDATED)

Ratings Analysis: ABC's 'Dancing with the Stars' (0.88, +0.21) rose by two-tenths for its season finale and posted its second-highest rating of the season. 'Dancing' was also the evening's top program and seemed to help 'The Good Doctor' (0.49, +0.11) climb to a season high at 10. Over on NBC, 'The Voice' (0.70, -0.11) shed a tenth while 'Ordinary Joe' (0.28, +0.01) picked up a precious hundredth. CBS's annual showing of the 1964 Christmas special 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer' (0.58) took a sizable hit, dropping by close to 50% from the 2020 broadcast (1.1). The reruns of 'NCIS' (0.31) and 'NCIS: Hawai'i' (0.26) that came after slightly outpaced Fox's encores of '9-1-1' (0.28/0.25). On the CW, 'All American' (0.16, -0.04) and '4400' (0.06, -0.03) lost four-hundredths and three-hundredths respectively. 

Finals Update: 'Dancing with the Stars' (+0.1), 'The Good Doctor' (+0.1), and the repeat of 'NCIS: Hawai'i' (+0.1) adjusted up.

Sunday TV Ratings 11/21/21: American Music Awards Steady with 2020, Fox Comedies Stable with Last Post-NFL Night (UPDATED)

Ratings Analysis: The '2021 American Music Awards' (1.03) was steady with what it posted in 2020 (1.0) and gave ABC some relief from its usual, underperforming lineup. Likely due to the stronger lead-out, 'America's Funniest Home Videos' (0.53, +0.06) rose by six-hundredths in the 7pm slot. 'NFL Overrun' (7.00) and 'The OT' (3.17) were back on Fox, meaning that 'The Simpsons' (1.19, +0.70), 'The Great North' (0.67, +0.35), 'Bob's Burgers' (0.63, +0.22), and 'Family Guy' (0.59, +0.23) all received a healthy boost. Every show but 'Family Guy' improved from the last time they had the direct NFL lead-in (1.15/0.64/0.56/0.59). Without any meaningful football help, CBS's '60 Minutes' (0.58, -1.18) crash-landed back down to middling territory. At 8, 'The Equalizer' (0.60, +0.03) grew a bit from the last time it aired while 'NCIS: Los Angeles' (0.50) held flat and led into a repeat of 'FBI: International' (0.30). NBC's 'Steelers v. Chargers' NFL game (3.83, -0.74) was a whopping seven-tenths behind last week's 'Chiefs v. Raiders' match (4.57). 'Football Night in America' (1.40/2.90) held down the ninety-minute stretch before the game. The CW's 'Legends of the Hidden Temple' (0.04, -0.02) lost some ground and was followed by anemic reruns of 'Masters of Illusion' (0.02/0.01).

Finals Update: 'NFL Overrun' (+2.4), 'The OT' (+0.6), 'The Simpsons' (+0.1), 'The Great North' (+0.1), 'NFL: Steelers v. Chargers' (+0.8), and '60 Minutes' (+0.1) adjusted up.

The Princess Royal Season 1 Episode 9 - Why Do Fools Fall in Love

The Princess Royal Season 1, Episode 9
Why Do Fools Fall In Love

Saturday TV Ratings 11/20/21: ABC College Football Rises and Leads, Saturday Night Live Ticks Down (UPDATED)

Ratings Analysis: Despite 'Shang-Chi' star Simu Liu taking up hosting duties and rapper Saweetie filling in as the musical guest, NBC's 'Saturday Night Live' (0.92, -0.05) dropped by five-hundredths from the week-ago installment (0.97). Earlier in the evening, encore showings of 'The Wall' (0.23) and 'Dateline' (0.31) improved from the week prior while 'SNL Vintage' (0.32) was completely even. On the college football front, ABC's OR. v. UT' broadcast (1.17) was almost three times higher than Fox's 'OK St. v. TX Tech' game (0.41). Leading out of encores of 'The Equalizer' (0.34) and 'NCIS: Los Angeles (0.24), CBS's '48 Hours' (0.27, -0.13) lost a tenth from its last installment. The CW was on the decline with both 'Whose Line Is It Anyway?' (0.07, -0.03) and 'World's Funniest Animals' (0.06, -0.03). The two were each down by three-hundredths and followed by repeats of themselves (0.06/0.04) at the bottom of the hour. 

Finals Update: 'College Football: OR v. UT' (+0.3) adjusted up. Repeats of 'The Wall' (-0.1), 'Dateline' (-0.1), and 'World's Funniest Animals' (-0.1) adjusted down.

Writer’s Block Season 3 Episode 7: Check Mark

Off Topic - October & November 2021

The 2021-22 TV season is here, which means it's time for a new Off-Topic! Summer's over, and fall is here! TVRG has curated a new playlist to get you in the fall spirit, featuring some of our favorite songs at the moment!

Friday TV Ratings 11/19/21: 20/20 Surges, Shark Tank Also Rises, Dateline Drops (UPDATED)

Ratings Analysis: Accompanied by the return of Diane Sawyer, a Turpin family-based installment of ABC's '20/20' (1.02, +0.55) skyrocketed to an absolutely monstrous rating. Just about nothing on TV can crack a 1.0 anymore, let alone on a Friday evening in the back-half of the night. One would have to go back to early 2017 to even find an episode of 20/20' with a rating this high. Though its boost wasn't as pronounced as its companion, 'Shark Tank' (0.68, +0.15) rose by a solid amount at 8 and also found itself at a new season high. Against the ABC explosion, last week's top program 'WWE Smackdown' (0.52, -0.04) seemed almost meek in comparison. The Fox series lost four-hundredths and was nearly doubled by '20/20'. On CBS, 'Magnum PI' (0.43, +0.02) and 'Blue Bloods' (0.46, +0.05) picked up a couple hundredths apiece. 'SWAT' (0.33) was in repeat-mode in the 8pm slot. NBC had lackluster telecasts of 'The Wall' (0.27, -0.06) and 'Dateline' (0.26, -0.14), with both shows down about a tenth. On the CW, 'Penn & Teller: Fool Us' (0.08, +0.01) gained a hundredth while 'Nancy Drew' posted its third-straight 0.04. 

Finals Update: 'Shark Tank' (+0.1), '20/20' (+0.1), and 'Blue Bloods' (+0.1) adjusted up.

Thursday TV Ratings 11/18/21: Young Sheldon, Ghosts and NFL Hold Steady, Grey’s Anatomy Ticks Down (UPDATED)

Ratings Analysis: Fox's Thursday dominance remained intact as their 'Patriots v. Falcons' NFL game (3.72, +0.10) went a solid tenth higher the week-ago 'Ravens v. Dolphins' match-up (3.62). In a very distant second place, CBS's 'Young Sheldon' (0.73, +0.04) picked up four-hundredths in the lead-off position. Afterwards, 'United States of Al' (0.49, +0.06), newbie 'Ghosts' (0.55, +0.05) and sophomore sitcom 'B Positive' (0.45, +0.07) all made slightly larger gains than 'Sheldon'. An encore of 'Bull' (0.27) capped off the evening for the Tiffany network. Over on ABC, 'Station 19' (0.68, +0.04) managed to rebound a bit, but 'Grey's Anatomy' (0.61, -0.09) and 'Big Sky' (0.30, -0.04) went in the opposite direction. 'Grey's Anatomy' tied its series low while 'Big Sky' created a new one. NBC's 'The Blacklist' (0.32, +0.03) rose by a couple ticks and led into reruns of 'Law & Order: SVU' (0.29) and 'Law & Order: Organized Crime' (0.27). On the CW, 'Walker' (0.10, -0.02) and 'Legacies' (0.09, -0.03) both lost some ground.

Finals Update: 'NFL: Patriots v. Falcons' (+1.6), 'Station 19' (+0.1), 'Ghosts' (+0.1), and 'B Positive' (+0.1) adjusted up.

Wednesday Cable Ratings 11/17/21: NBA Takes First Place, Full Frontal and The Sinner Slip, Tucker Carlson Leads Cable News

Below are the top 25 programs on cable on Wednesday, 11/17/21. Items of note include Full Frontal with Samantha Bee on TBS, The Sinner on USA, and NBA on ESPN.

(Click the names of the shows written in teal or blue to be taken to their pages in the TV Ratings Guide Cable Database.)