NCIS: Los Angeles S10E17 Review

There was instant chemistry when Deeks was first introduced to Kensi towards the end of season 1 - and then he was taken away, only to resurface as a permanent addition to the team at the start of season 2. Then followed years of partnership teasing and banter, skirting and flirting around their obvious attraction for each other. The finale of season 4 saw Deeks finally show his feelings for Kensi when he kissed her in the middle of an op, and that was only after Kensi was genuinely mad at him. During the Christmas episode of season 5, Kensi agreed to go ‘all in’ with their relationship, consummating their love off-screen a few episodes later and failing to deal with the awkwardness the next day at work, in the amazing Dave Kalstein penned, The Frozen Lake. At the end of the episode, Kensi was ripped away for the White Ghost mission. Rather than continue to list their ups and downs, it is easier to say there have been numerous challenges to their relationship. The one thing that has remained constant is their love for each other. No one else has threatened to come between them. In fact it was Deeks' overwhelming love (Kensi, kids, their future) that caused their most serious rift in last season's finale.

There is nothing conventional about this couple. Deeks dithered for the best part of season 8 about how and when to propose (even asking Kensi when she was in a coma). Instead, in the midst of the heartbreak of Sam's wife's murder, and in the aftermath of the Tahir Kaled's suicide explosion, Kensi proposes with a pin from a smoke grenade. Typical Kensi and typical NCISLA. Sunshine and gunpowder are the most perfect words Deeks has found (written by Scott Gemmill in season 4’s Wanted), to describe Kensi. It is perfect that he includes these in his wedding vows. And suffice to say, events of wedding occur in typical NCISLA style, with fist fights, banter and a healthy dose of emotion.

Mixed in with the wedding is the case of the week, which is not really a case but a b-plot which provides a humorous framework which offsets the wedding. Homosexual Russian mobster Anatoli Kirkin makes an appearance to ‘rescue’ Deeks, once again declaring his love. They have always had an interesting relationship, with Kirkin representing an over-the-top clichéd stereotype and Deeks rejecting his advances, almost apologetically (remember Deeks’ reaction when Callen was prepared to sell Kirkin out to the Russian’s to save his father’s life?). An alert received in ops shows Kirkin bundled into the trunk of a car, and when the car’s owner is identified as a TV actor with mob connections, Sam and Callen investigate the likelihood Kirkin faked his own kidnapping just so Deeks could come to his rescue. This of course leads to chaos at the wedding, causing Sam and Callen to run around the venue, smoothly taking out bad guys whilst looking good in their tuxedos. This is after they’ve gotten into an earlier fight whilst dressed to the nines. And just to make sure everyone gets a piece of the action, Eric successfully and stylishly disarms a villain - only to be knocked out. Nell takes out a couple of guys with a fire extinguisher and Kensi tackles the bad guys in her wedding dress, accompanied by her bridesmaids. And just when things get sticky for the guys....Hetty smashes through the wall in a mini - so ironic when actor Linda Hunt has been missing all season due to a car crash last summer.

This is a one episode break from the crime procedural format, to indulge in celebration of Kensi and Deeks’ wedding. As a result there are many great moments to highlight their emotions. Kensi is seen outside of her role as Special Agent, with her female friends - Cat, Mindy, Mandy, Tiffany and Tiffany. She is also seen briefly with her mother and earlier, with Roberta Deeks.  It is clear she is closer to Mama Deeks than her own mother.  In her usual controlled manner, Kensi is not panicking and displays no sign of nerves. Instead Mama Deeks finds her in the bar, reflecting on her father and wishing he could be present, remembering Granger and saying how the men in her life have a habit of leaving.  Roberta is there to listen, reassure and crack jokes about her first fiancé Jack. Kensi's dress is beautifully elegant and goes from full length to knee length after the fight, ripping it from a tear herself.  Again, it is perfect that she has bruised knuckles when Deeks places the ring on her finger during the ceremony.

At the start of the episode, Deeks suddenly doubts he is worthy of Kensi’s love. He is panicky, nervous and talking ‘nineteen to the dozen’. Sam and Callen gently tease him before offering their support and later, they magnanimously try to shield Kensi (and Deeks) from the Kirkin debacle. Deeks has many serious and funny scenes, however the main one is around the box and its contents. There is much frivolity around the location of the box and Deeks opening it. Some of the joy is removed (from Deeks’ perspective) when Nell reveals she and Kensi had a contingency plan in case Deeks could not find it.  And Nell was also present to ensure he knew what the key unlocked. It was apt that after Kensi found solace in the bar, Deeks also sought out the same location, opening the envelop and reading the deeply emotional letter Kensi had placed in their six years earlier - together with her father’s ring.

There are countless delights within this episode; Sam and Callen (with a black eye), holding up Kensi who tries not to hobble down the aisle (after the fight), Mama Deeks hitting on Sam in the boatshed and Deeks telling her to “stop touching Sam”. One of the highlights has to be Hetty’s stylish  return and the fact she officiates the wedding. Clearly her timing is perfect!  In a heartfelt gesture of thanks that feels both in character and for real, bride and groom both kiss Hetty on each cheek at the same time. There are of course serious questions for Hetty to answer in order to explain her absence and Callen and Sam attempt to address this by sitting down either side and straight out asking. And of course Hetty refuses to answer, not least as the setting is most inappropriate. One for another episode. Even Rogers is present and with a purpose, having arranged for Special Agent Fatima Namazi and colleagues from the San Diego office to run ops for the day so the meerkats can join the celebrations. This is clearly a cue for Eric to become overly protective of his equipment and workspace and to practice gouging out eyes on a real person...

Showrunner Scott Gemmill has produced a perfect blend of wedding, case and characters, mixing the frivolity and humour with an element of sadness and self-doubt and a healthy dose of happiness and tears of joy. The case was suitably silly, the wedding fittingly emotional. The future? Well the only constant of the season has been the absence of Hetty (albeit infrequently mentioned) and wedding talk. Now the latter is over, and the former has returned, how will Hetty slot back into ops?  Can she slot back? Where has she been and will Rogers remember that he hates her?!  Marriage will not change the Kensi-Deeks relationship and the focus will switch next week to Nell and her sister and back to Callen a few episodes later.  That is the beauty of an ensemble cast and a procedural crime drama, a break from the mould can and does occur every once in a while, particularly with the NCIS franchises and the focus and development of characters drives the show ever forward.

Did you love this episode? Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts...

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