NCIS: Los Angeles Season 10 Episode 2 Review

After last week’s edge of the seat antics, the second episode takes on a much less intense approach and focuses mostly on the case of the week. There is a time jump that is not denoted by a ‘four months later’, but does feature a 'previously on NCIS: Los Angeles' to remind the viewers of recent events, foreshadowing they will be referenced during the episode.

The impact of the premier is felt most keenly by the absence of certain characters. Hetty and Mosley are both missing from the entire episode and Callen is only present to bracket the episode, appearing in the opening and closing scenes. Crucially Callen provides some context for those absences and has a key scene with Admiral Kilbride in gym. Callen is almost fit to return to duty (he's been replaced in the field by Agent Deschamp) and the only team member not in the field; broken ribs, internal bleeding and a broken back clearly takes time to heal. The team are functioning well without him and are also without any senior leadership. Hetty and Mosley are under investigation for the Mexico mission as the rest of the team will be later. The role of Kilbride is interesting as he’s transparent in his approach. He openly states he’s there to oversee the break up of the team and provides more reasons than Mosley. The team use excessive force, conduct unauthorised missions with reports of insubordination. As Callen admits it’s him (and yes, it is on all accounts), Kilbride also shows he has similar traits as doesn’t always do as he’s told. He tests Callen in several ways, referring to the testimony he gave ATF about Anna Kolcheck, how the team perform in his absence and whether the team can function without Hetty. 

Callen excepted, there is little reference to the season opener which is a cross the viewers have to bear for watching a procedural not a serial drama or soap. There is no deep and meaningful conversation between Kensi and Deeks, and they are back to planning their wedding and associated activities as if their season finale row had never happened. The inference is that their serious chat has taken place off screen in the four month time jump, or they’ve done as they always do and glossed over the issues. The latter means it will surface at a later date and hopefully be resolved prior to their wedding. Deeks has long since recovered from his serious concussion (not mentioned) although Sam started limping again after fighting a cross between Robocop and Ironman.  Callen is only cleared for field work at the end of the episode and this serves as a timely reminder the team are not invincible.

There have been several elephants in the show over recent seasons that are addressed in Superhuman. Firstly, Nell and Eric take their relationship to their next level. In typical Eric fashion, he flusters and stumbles his way around asking Nell to live with him as he needs to find a new apartment. Secondly Callen has finally realised he can no longer return home as his house has been compromised (several times since season 8). When Deeks offers him the flat above his bar rent free, Callen accepts. The anticipation of another meeting place will mean the team can be seen socialising outside of the workplace, adding another dimension to the characters and the show. Finally, there is the honouring of Agent Harley Hidoko. Strangely though, this involved Sam and Callen meeting with Shirley Hidoko, her mother in law, and morphs in to a story about how Shirley’s father had everything ripped from under him when he was placed in a camp under America’s Japanese relocation programme in the 1950s. This seems a little random and tagged on as it does not further Harley’s story or pay tribute to her character. Maybe sets up something that will possibly be explored at a later date, although currently it is hard to see how this would play out.

Another scene which came across as a little random was the opening post (new) opening credit scene with Sam visiting Andrew, the younger brother of Michael Silva, who Sam and DeChamps arrested last season.  Andrew has severe learning difficulties and it is reassuring to see Sam keeping his word, checking on his brother and ensuring he's not being taken advantage of.  But as this is not mentioned again, it's purpose is rather unclear apart from showing that Sam has a big heart.

Superhuman is an episode with a case that is a little less standard than expected. Tightly edited promos focused on the Robocop / Ironman invincible suit yet in reality the man in the suit only featured twice. The military aspect was the equipment was stolen due to blackmail and was used in a  jewel heist.  No terrorists threatening to destroy LA this week! The mother and daughter in mortal danger is run of the mill and there was little background or build up that created empathy. Kensi may save the life of the daughter but that is an expected result. It was a team effort to overpower the Superhuman, and even then it was notable it was the old team (sans Callen), who were successful. Deschamp had her own one on one battle with the Superhuman’s tech guru.

As with the start of last season, there is a feeling of fresh starts. Several storylines have now been closed although there is the fall out from Mexico which is already being set up. The threat of removing Hetty from heading up OSP has been done plenty of times as has the threat of disbanding the team, from the initial dubious reasons for Granger’s arrival, to the DOJ:DOJ mole hunt to Mosley and now the Admiral. At some point someone or something has to give. Mosley is the obvious one to go and how many times can Hetty apparently quit/retire/get fired? There is much to look forward to, amongst the usual episodic fare and the ones which further the story arc for the season.​

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