NCIS Los Angeles S08E06 Review

The form of season 8 continues with another great episode that focuses on character and has a case that is worth caring about.  A Naval Engineering Lt Commander and his girlfriend are victims of a home invasion and are saved by the apartment’s maintenance man - John Martin, who fights and kills the perpetrator.  The team are assigned the case due to the Commander’s work but they become suspicious of John Martin who disappears when the media want to give him his fifteen minutes of fame.  A search of Martin’s apartment reveals a hidden cache of weapons and a newspaper article of a local school girl, Carla Stone.  Martin is not all he seems and the case turns in to a simple revenge plot.
There are more partner swaps this week as Deeks remains at Kensi’s bedside and Hetty is revisiting last season’s hobby of mole hunting off-screen.  Granger is left holding the fort and once again Anna is drafted in to fill the void, this time partnering Nell.  Anna has more of a low key role and is almost superfluous as there is no further development of her relationship with Callen - in fact he shows no interest in her other than on a professional level.  The parallels between the two characters which was so blatantly forced up on viewers last season is now more of an undercurrent, with Anna wanting to forego the medical attention required after her and Nell are caught in a bomb blast.  Nell is rather more shaken by events and returns to the ops centre, where she’s greeted by a concerned Eric; she kisses him and they hug, seeming more platonic rather than romantic.  They have a peculiar relationship - earlier Deeks catches Nell whacking Erics hands with a baseball bat, toughening him up for gaming season...
Without Hetty to play mother to Deeks, Granger takes on the role of father figure, inviting Deeks to sit with him to have a one to one chat.  The event initially causes Deeks to create a shipping name of 'Greeks' but the conversation quickly takes a serious turn when Granger questions not only how Kensi is, but how Deeks is.  Deeks answers honestly and once again his self doubt surfaces.  Granger tells Deeks the only way he will fail is if he quits.  vlcsnap-2016-11-01-22h29m07s192Kensi’s recovery is slow and she has some movement and sensations in her limbs.   The doctor’s prognosis of four to six months to see how much strength she can recover, is a reality check.  Kensi is physically active and extremely independent but is also impatient. She is angry, frustrated and lashes out verbally at the person closest to her - Deeks.  Kensi is pushing Deeks away in the same way Deeks did to everyone after his torture in season four/five.  Her reactions are perfectly natural and understandable and Deeks, having gained strength in himself from the words of Hetty and Granger, later responds to Callen's question about Kensi by saying she's having a rough day.  When Sam lays a hand on Deeks' shoulder, the family circle feels complete.
The focus on Kensi is limited to some crucial scenes, which allows much greater development of the week’s case.  John Martin reveals to Sam and Callen that he is ex-Mossad / Kidon Agent Tobin Shaked, living under an alias and at a distance to protect his wife and daughter from a rogue agent's revenge.  Empathy is built as Shaked's story is similar to Callen’s but from the father’s perspective.  Callen sees them in the hospital and immediately calls in the debt Shaked has offered for saving his daughter.  vlcsnap-2016-11-01-23h22m26s781Callen tells him to be Carla’s father or she will forever have a void in her life.  He observes from outside, looking through the window in to Carla's hospital room as father and daughter are reunited.  It is a timely reminder that Callen still has that void and it sets the scene for a reunion which will come later in the season.
Humour wise, Deeks is returning to form.  Eric advises Callen that Deeks is ready to jump in with both feet if needed and the camera cuts to a shot of his feet, the camera panning up his sleeping form.  Later Deeks backs away from the Nell / Eric strangeness into the sliding ops doors, only to be told they only open when facing them.  Sam and Callen’s banter is also on point with Callen playing Sam by saying he’s not interested in the Rams tickets.  Eric and Anna offer all kinds of incentives for Sam to take them until Callen finally admits he was biding his time until printed Rams shirts arrive.  Aliases ‘Mr Carl’ and ‘Switch’ leave the others still begging for the ticket.

Leave a comment and tell me your thoughts on the episode...
P.S. Fans of the now dead British cop show The Bill will recognise T.J.Ramini (John Martin aka Tobin Shaked) as DC Zain Nadir.  He also appeared in season 7/8 of NCIS as a Mossad agent connected to Ziva.

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