NCIS: Los Angeles 12×08 “Love Kills” isn’t a bad episode. I don’t think any of the episodes this year have been bad truly bad, though it’s still been up and down – this show went through a bad stretch of uninteresting episode after uninteresting episode in the middle of its run, and this is nowhere near that. It’s just that the show seems to be having a hard time adjusting to the new dynamics, or maybe, to the way the pandemic requires them to handle those dynamics.
On the surface, it’s all good. There are still some fun, interesting moments. There’s a hell of a lot of banter, and it includes the two new characters well enough. Deeks make that “What would Sam Hanna do” joke, which is worth more than a few points. Hetty’s absence is felt, but taking care of Linda Hunt is a priority, so I feel more forgiving in that respect. But on the heels of an episode that was more character than case, the show pivots to giving us a two-parter and bringing back Sabatino, two things that are only good in small doses.
I appreciate the guy sometimes, I do, but the man bun and the casual pointed remarks are less fun when Kensi feels like she has to defend Deeks than when everyone’s around and it’s all in good fun. Not that absent Deeks was his only target, oh no. He took a few swings at just about everyone, cause that’s the Sabatino way. It’s just getting a bit old by now. Is that all Sabatino is? What’s the point of him being such a consistent recurring character if he can’t ever …grow?
Plus, I never quite understand why he’s there, what his real mission is, not to mention how he’s even still alive, at this point.
But back to some of the good stuff – seeing Daniela Ruah interrogate Pietra in her native Portuguese was a joy. Kensi talking about how hard it is to, you know, be a woman and have to fight while ON YOUR PERIOD, was refreshing. Seeing Kensi and Deeks honestly talk about how hard FLETC has been for him, and how out of place he feels was super good too, a reminder that this show is often really good at the small, real moments between characters. Other procedurals might have just glossed over this, but NCIS: Los Angeles never forgets.
Also, I enjoyed the opening discussing between Roundtree and Fatima about the relationship between social injustice and the police. It just didn’t go anywhere, like, you know, most of the episode. Good character moments are fine and well, but they need to be leading somewhere, and lately, that doesn’t always feel like the case.
There’s also the fact that this show, like many other shows with a strong police component, need to do better than just throwaway line about police brutality. The country – the world – cannot reckon with this issue if entertainment just sweeps it under the rug, because way too many people look at entertainment to show them the ways of the world.
Plus, as I said before, this didn’t need to end in a cliffhanger. Next time just lose Sabatino and his issues and close the case. I really don’t want to see him enough to drag this out. And yes, I enjoyed Pietra, but if she was going to come back, I would have liked to have it be in an episode where she and Kensi had more time to explore their dynamic.
I’m not usually too hard on this show – it is what it is, and it does that so much better than a lot of similar shows. But maybe because of that, I’ve come to expect a little more from them. I know they can manage it. So yes, this is still a mostly enjoyable season of a mostly enjoyable show. But it could be even better, and I really want it to be.
Agree? Disagree? What did you think about NCIS: Los Angeles 12×09 “Love Kills”? Share with us in the comments below!
NCIS: Los Angeles airs Sundays on CBS.