NCIS: Los Angeles 13×01 “Subject 17” kicks of the new season by establishing the way this show works – the way it has always worked – even in spite of some absences. Because the thing that has made NCIS: Los Angeles the most consistent show in the NCIS franchise, the one that has maintained its family dynamics best is …well, the fact that, for so many years, so much of this family has remained the same.
Now, that family looks different. But it doesn’t, at the same time. At it’s core, this show, ever since it figured out what worked, way back at the end of season 1, has been about 5 people: Callen, Sam, Kensi, Deeks …and Hetty. And though Eric and Nell are now gone, and they will surely be missed, those five remain, and with them the feeling that we’re back in the loving arms of family endures.
NCIS: Los Angeles 13×01 “Subject 17” also picks back up a storyline that had more or less been patched up, but never felt truly solved — that of Callen’s history. Not that it gives us any new answers, but it at least sets up the season to finally explore a lot of what we’ve learned by bits and pieces. And yet, the things we do learn in this hour, the team Callen seems so upset about are also just …kinda obvious? Or is that just me.
It’s surely different to be the one whose life was pretty much pre-determined, the one who probably only got to where he is because he was exceptional in the one way that could help not just Hetty, but the government, but this also all seems like the kind of conclusion Callen should have reached long before now. And though this episode doesn’t really truly position Hetty as the bad guy, it does attempt to give her more moral ambiguity than she’s ever had, with mixed results.
We all already know Hetty has kept secrets, and arguably done questionable things — like keeping information from Callen — but unlike other questionable bosses on TV, like Chicago P.D.’s Hank Voight, Hetty has never been shown to do things in a fit of rage, much less engage in questionable behavior strictly for her own benefit. If anything, this show has proven time and time again, that, like Kensi said, Hetty will do anything and everything for her team.
And her team — even when they’re upset, will do anything and everything for her.
This is the setup for season 13, and if I’m going to be honest …I quite like it. Procedurals don’t need fancy things to work, particularly not procedurals going into season 13. All they need is for the show to remember to focus first and foremost on the things that have worked – the things that have carried them so far – aka, the dynamics between the five people mentioned. And yes, some development on those characters is always good.
As for whish lists for the season …I really hope that, now with vaccines readily available, we get to see more of Linda Hunt as Hetty, because if last season proved anything, is that Hetty is in no way replaceable. I also hope we finally get answers: re Calle, and that he finally gets to ask Anna that question. Plus, would it be too much to ask that we keep the Joelle of it all to a minimum?
Finally, I want Kensi and Deeks to just be …Kensi and Deeks. Maybe a baby is in the cards for them, maybe it’s not. It’s hard to write babies on show like this one without some sort of time jump. Maybe adoption makes more sense for now. Either way, I just want the show to continue to treat them with the care and respect they’ve always been afforded, the type that makes them one of the best ships on TV, not just in present time, but ever.
You want ot hear the funny thing? I fully trust the show to deliver on all of that. Imagine that.
Things I think I think:
- Master of stealth G Callen is not.
- And Hetty just casually having a drink while keeping track of what’s going on everywhere is peak Hetty.
- I’ve missed Hetty, I’m not gonna lie.
- Look, the show truly needs to tell me if I need to forget everything I thought I knew about Callen before or if things are going to add up at some point, because a lot of it …doesn’t.
- The SONG change in the credits killed me, okay? I’m a creature of habit.
- Though I did love the multiple shots of the main 4 on the new credits.
- “Tell me you didn’t break into that cabinet.” What, you want him to lie to you, Sam?
- When Sam said “you should try sleeping at night,” I literally choked.
- PEOPLE GETTING SCENES WITH HETTY.
- God, I’ve missed Kensi. And this show. And this team.
- I figured we were going to be going towards adoption with Densi, but just the thought of it is making me EMOTIONAL.
- I love when the show sneaks in some dig at the state of the world.
- Sam’s a good friend.
- Oh, joy, Joelle again.
- Glad Kensi’s putting the pieces together.
- I appreciate Deeks trying to lighten to mood, but sometimes we need to have actual conversations, Marty.
- There’s a fine line between liking Killbride and appreciating the dynamics he brings to the show, and that’s where I reside.
- “Is there some women who kill dating website out there I don’t know about?” I SCREAMED.
- This episode is everyone basically telling Callen they don’t answer to him only to then …give him the information he wants.
- I really don’t like Joelle. Can we be done with her?
- Sam was so worried about his car being wet, and then it got shot at.
- Callen and Deeks trading banter? MY HEART.
- Deeks referring to Fatima as one of their “collective” kids was pretty on point.
- Also, Sam wasn’t thrilled when Kensi made fun of him …but Fatima and Roundtree? Hell nah.
- Sure, let Joelle go. That makes sense.
- The final conversation with Deeks and Kensi is beautiful and sad and just …real. I love that the show has given them this storyline, as hard as it is.
- “Trust the universe.”
- Deeks does always know what to say to cheer Kensi up. And us.
- Are we in for ANOTHER Hetty long-term disappearance? Can we just get her back for a few episodes?
- Callen drop something? It’s like Killbride doesn’t know Callen.
Agree? Disagree? What did you think about NCIS: Los Angeles 13×01 “Subject 17”? Share with us in the comments below!
NCIS: Los Angeles airs Sundays at 9/8c on CBS.