NCIS: LA 12X01 “The Bear” brings back the team, the stakes and …a very different world.
I’ve been a fan of NCIS: LA for over ten years. I covered the show on another website for a while, and then sort of …let it fall from my list of priorities. I was still watching it, mind you; I just wasn’t watching it live. During this coronavirus pandemic, however, as I caught up to the last few episodes, I thought …why aren’t I? I enjoy this show too much to allow it to become an afterthought.
Back when I first started watching live – in season 3, how young and innocent we were back then – I fell in love with a ship, but in the subsequent seasons I have fallen in love with a team, and now going into season 12, I can happily report this is the one procedural on TV (I’ll make a caveat here for Lucifer, which I do not consider a true procedural) that boasts a cast of characters that I enjoy in its entirety.
Not just that – it’s one of the few that doesn’t treat it’s so called “secondary characters” as afterthoughts. Sure, the fact that we’ve had 12 seasons helps, but there’s also a real respect behind-the-scenes for the idea that this isn’t just about two people, or about four …this is about everyone in the office of Special Projects.
This feels especially true now, as the team once again expands beyond Callen, Sam, Kensi and Deeks and gets ready to accommodate two more field agents: Fatima and Devin. Now, to be perfectly honest, I love and have loved the original team, but I will never be mad the show has decided to add more diversity, and I’ve liked what we’ve seen so far from both Fatima and Devin.
With that long ass intro to why I’m here, and why this show deserves the love I will bestow upon it all season, let’s get into NCIS: LA 12X01 “The Bear,” a post-COVID world, the Hetty of it all, and the dynamics of a new team:
A POST-COVID WORLD
NCIS: LA had a choice to make in its new season, as most TV shows set in the contemporary world did: deal with the pandemic head on, or assume we’re going to get over it and provide some escapism by giving us an episode in a post-COVID world. They went with the second option, and let me tell you, just one episode in, I really, really appreciate it.
It’s not that I don’t trust this show to deal with that subject with care: they have dealt with many issues I wouldn’t trust other shows with and done an amazing job, Kensi’s long road to recovery in season 8 comes to mind, but the truth is, we don’t really want to deal with COVID in every show we’re watching.
Sometimes we all just need an escape.
And NCIS: LA deals with a lot of real-life issues head on, and I assume they will continue to. They don’t need to add this one. We don’t need them to add this one. There will be other shows dealing with the pandemic, and we will enjoy them or not … but we will always need the escapism. And we thank them for it.
HETTY AND NELL
At this point there’s no Hetty storyline that would surprise me, and if we’re being honest, keeping Linda Hunt safe should absolutely be this show’s priority. That being said, it does feel like they were somehow building to something like this from last season, unless there was another possible way out of the Nell storyline than this, and if there was …well, kudos to the show, because this feels very organic.
Many times during the show’s run we’ve seen Nell contrasted with Hetty, in a positive way. With Callen being groomed to take Hetty’s place when Hetty retires (we don’t ever want to say goodbye), there’s one thing the show and the team seem clear on: Callen might fill Hetty’s spot, but stepping into Hetty’s shoes might not be a one-man job.
Perhaps, the team …and the show, has always needed a Nell.
I’ve talked before about how the addition of Deeks really changed this team, back in late season 1, early season 2, but Nell came around more or less around the same time as Deeks, and I though she doesn’t get nearly the same amount of credit, the truth is before her I found Eric borderline annoying, and the Ops scenes weren’t really interesting, just means of conveying information. Later seasons made Nell into more than just the girl from Ops, and I have personally appreciated every second of her, whoever Nell chooses to be.
But the truth is …having Nell somehow step in to do some of what Hetty does feels, well, very much what the show has always been leading towards. There might just be one Hetty, but there’s also only one Nell. And we kinda like the team with her.
A NEW TEAM
We hadn’t really gotten a chance to see the new team dynamics, because we barely had a new team – and we didn’t really have a confirmed one – till after coronavirus did its thing, so NCIS: LA 12×01 “The Bear” is really the first chance at seeing how the team works with Devin and Fatima, and how the show can actually move pieces around to keep its actors as safe as possible and still deliver good entertainment.
That it works as well as it does in this first try is a testament to actors who just …have chemistry. That’s what made the team work since the beginning – or at least, since the end of season 1, when Deeks came in – chemistry. Devin and Fatima also have the advantage of coming into already established dynamics that the show can lean into while those two find their place.
Usually I’m not big on change. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it, I’d be the first to say. But in this case, I’m willing to make an exception, NCIS: LA. I trust you to prove me right.
Things I think I think:
- I LOVE the new credits. Love, love, love.
- I also really love Nell’s pink dress.
- “I don’t work here anymore.” HA, Nell. You thought.
- One thing I really hope the show doesn’t just brush aside? Nell’s grief.
- Don’t you just love how Deeks just knows when Kensi’s calls are about work?
- Worst case scenario for this case was very, VERY worst case.
- BUT WHY IS NELL ASKING ABOUT ERIC, AREN’T THEY, YOU KNOW …DATING?!?! What happened there?
- Does Devin know you can’t take Deeks seriously about 83% of the time?
- Kensi/Nell bonding sessions! I’ve missed them.
- I’m not sure if I missed Arkady.
- DID YOU SEE ERIC OLSEN FLEXING? I saw him flexing as Deeks leaned on the bar. I’m not complaining about the flexing.
- Also, thank God you cut your hair, Deeks. Thank God.
- Sam and Callen walking into a dangerous situation? I call that a Monday.
- We all know Sam is better than Callen at plans.
- Awww, Callen and Sam said “I love you.”
- I hate the whole “Deeks as a homeless man” shtick.
- Fatima’s whole “Don’t mess with the new guy,” was fun.
- The ending felt a bit abrupt, but I’m still really glad this show is back.
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of NCIS: LA 12×01 “The Bear”? Share with us in the comments below!