Considering the NCIS: Los Angeles 12×11 “Russia, Russia, Russia” episode title, as well as the dangling Anna plot thread from, you know, before Kam was abducted and Callen’s long story was postponed for another time, we were waiting for this episode to be all about Callen, Anna, and whatever happened between. Instead we got a Callen-centric episode that ended with more questions than answers.
Obviously, 12 seasons in, we’re not about to start doubting Callen, so the ending seems to be related to the question we thought we were getting answered, especially as there was no real check-in with Arkady, and no Anna sighting. Considering the promo, hopefully we’ll get an answer to this, as well as more context to the “what in the world is Hetty doing?” question of the season.
But NCIS: Los Angeles 12×11 “Russia, Russia, Russia” didn’t really feel like a setup episode, or if it was, it was an entertaining enough one that you won’t hear us complaining, despite the fact that the episode mostly relied on some of the most unconventional pairings on this show – Callen and Deeks, Fatima and Kilbride, to pull of the most emotional moments.
Overall, though, NCIS: Los Angeles 12×11 “Russia, Russia, Russia” works because of the same reasons this show, when it’s on, always works. Team dynamics and a strong attachment to the characters. We believe these actors to be these characters, we know them, we’ve seen them through ups and downs, and we’re invested.
Callen has never been the easiest character to love, in this show, or in general, and yet he’s wormed his way into my affections to the point where an episode like this one is a thrilling thing to see. I don’t watch this show just for one character or two, like I did at some point where I was barely hanging on, and that makes it so much more enjoyable.
Especially as Callen often feels like a very round character, we can’t learn that much more, he can’t grow that much more, and then here we go, the show surprises us, the character surprises us, the actor surprises us.
I’ll say it now Chris O’Donnell doesn’t get nearly enough credit for everything he does with Grisha Callen. He’s not playing a flashy character, so a part of me understands that, but there’s a consistency to him that’s harder to sustain than it seems. We know Callen, know him enough to trust him, even when we shouldn’t, and that’s on writing, yes, but also on the actor who has embodied him.
This was a fun, engaging episode, but overall, probably not one we will put on any top 10 lists. It’s not a memorable episode, but we’ll take any chance at fun at engaging, because we understand that, on TV, not every episode can be too memorable, especially as the memorable ones are often painful.
With seven more episodes to go in the season, there are still plenty of lose ends we hope they don’t leave for a probable season 13, not the least of which is Anna. But if “Russia, Russia, Russia” is the standard the show wants to set for what is more or less a regular episode, we’ll take it with a smile. We truly will.
Things I think I think:
- SAD CALLEN is my least favorite Callen.
- “Maybe I’m getting paranoid,” hahaha you?
- “I’m starting to think we’re broken up.”
- Annoyed Sam that Callen didn’t tell him he might be in danger is the essence of Sam. Come on, Callen. 12 seasons in, don’t you know better?
- “What’s your real play here?” is a real good question.
- The nod to conspiracy theories replacing common sense is …chilling when applied to reality.
- “I bet you write fanfiction in your spare time”? YOU SAY THAT LIKE IT’S A BAD THING.
- HAHAHAHAHA THEY SENT DEEKS HAHAHAAHAHAH.
- “Based on what?” is a kind of funny question when all the details of his connections to Russians are on the table, Deeks.
- At last, an explanation on Hetty! Which, if I’m being honest, I appreciate being tied to Callen.
- Not even lawyer Deeks can be made to wear a tie.
- Look, I’m going to say it, 12 seasons in and this is one of the few times we’ve gotten sustained Callen and Deeks interactions, by themselves, during a case, and I kinda …dig it.
- But is a terrible plan really better than no plan?
- I mean, they did scare me with Kilbride.
- “One time I put a dead body to good use, and you people can’t let it go.”
- Deeks is good at screaming.
- They’re really married to the Kirkin thing, I’ll give them that.
- I love it when Kensi’s all like “Deeks, I got this” and he doesn’t even hesitate.
- But if they weren’t following him, who was?
- The outfits are horrible, but there are worse ways to use Kirkin.
- Okay, WHAT IS GOING ON?
- I kinda love a mystery.
- Two episodes without Nell, and no mention of her.
- Congratulations to Daniela Ruah on a great directing debut.
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of NCIS: Los Angeles 12×11 “Russia, Russia, Russia”? Share with us in the comments below!