NCIS: Los Angeles S10E12 Review

There has been a lack of direction so far in season 10 in terms of an overarching plot thread. There was the after effects of Mexico and Mosley, but even though Special Prosecutor John Rogers has appeared sporadically, he has so far not proved to be a threat either to the agents or the team as a whole. Likewise, the few appearances of Anna Kolcheck do not yet mean anything and her story can be picked up (or left), at anytime. And as for Hetty, apart from some initial concern and tentative investigations by Callen, she has not been mentioned now for a number of episodes. All this means there is nothing to make the season as cohesive as others, there is no underlying current like there has been in earlier seasons.  Prime examples include Kensi’s recovery in season 8, Hetty and Vietman in S9, Siderov and the nukes in S4-5. With the exception of Mexico and Mosley, season 10 is comprising mostly of standalone episodes, which is perfectly enjoyable in its own right, particularly when NCIS: Los Angeles is a crime procedural. Thankfully, characters are still developed and cases are still interesting and need to be solved.

‘The Sound of Silence’ written by Joe Sachs brings a case of the week which is directly related to the navy, which is somewhat of a novelty in itself. The team are brought in to investigate after a Naval weapons Chief of Logistics, Navy Commander Valerie Torres collapses during a meeting.  Is it stress-induced or something more sinister?  Well, this is NCISLA and while stress-induced illnesses are extremely valid in all walks of life, there just has to be something more sinister behind her collapse. The case brings in some extremely topical and relevant themes, most notably the use of sonic or microwave weapons used to attack the US embassies in Cuba and China. (Note that news reports last week now suggest the sounds were actually crickets!) The terrorists beliefs (anti-immigration) and their target are never fleshed out, nor is how they actually steal the navy weapon.  They are not given a voice (no one is arrested or interrogated) and so the reasons for their attack becomes relatively unimportant. Likewise there is a passing scene where Chief Warrant Officer Purdue reveals he was blackmailed due to a debt he incurred sourcing private rehab for his son, when county services failed. The social commentary is an area that is not explored further.

The team go through the various investigative processes, Kensi and Deeks take the hospital, interviewing Torres and her husband while Callen and Sam speak with her colleagues at the weapons base. There is no senior leadership in LA and the team is again managing themselves. The case is straightforward and there is no reason or room for them to fall off the line of morality in to the grey or blackness. The opening post credit scene as the team just to the side of the bullpen desks, relaxing in easy chairs and discussing holiday destinations. Kensi and Deeks are researching honeymoon destinations, opening the discussion to Sam and Callen, the latter having forty four days holiday accumulated. The conversations are organic and easily flow between the four agents, a thread continued throughout the episode between both sets of partners. There were two very interesting pieces of information revealed, firstly that Kensi and Deeks’ wedding will be in two months time and secondly, that Callen might use his vacation time to go to Russia. The wedding news will please ‘Densi’ fans and since the wedding talk has been ongoing for well over a year, it will be good for them to actually move forward post-wedding. Secondly, Callen talking about Russia means he’s still thinking about his father and Pavol Volkof.  Again, this has barely been mentioned since last season’s Warrior of Peace (which is in keeping with his character, but frustrating for Callen fans). There is no doubt that seeds are being sown for further development, however these seeds were sown nine episodes ago with Joelle’s reappearance in ‘The Prince’.

Along with the main agents interaction, Nell and Eric allow their petty arguments to spill over in to the workplace, something Kensi and Deeks rarely do.  It's good that different couples have different relationships and dynamics, and thankfully the issue is resolved in their usual babbling manner. The episode’s action is as expected, which of course begs the common sense questions of why did Kensi and Deeks get out of their car and cross the car park to approach the baddies and their microwave attack. They could have blocked them in!  But then there wouldn’t have been the microwave attack on the team as they close in on the bad guys. There is copious amounts of banter which helps lift the episode. Deeks vainly attempts to accuse Callen of 'bullying adjacent' and Deeks and Kensi's stakeout scenes in the car contains the partner-banter, which is possibly partially ad-libbed, that makes them such a great couple.

The closing scene takes place in Deeks’ bar where the team has gathered for post-case drinks. Mamma Deeks is present and brings her ‘wrongness’ to a whole other level, with talks of disease and contraception. The straight forward case and the lack of leadership provides another opportunity to see the team relax, this time away from the bullpen and with no talk of work - well unless you count Mamma Deeks pondering microwaving herself. Overall, The Sound of Silence is a solidly enjoyable episode, with a case that was slightly different and full of the type of character interactions and bonding which make viewers tune in every week.

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