NCIS: Los Angeles 13×09 “Under the Influence” does a pretty good job at examining the culture surrounding influences, and in some ways, fandom. It’s pretty uncomfortable to watch, particularly as someone who knows enough to understand that a lot of the things that seem far-fetched in this episode actually happen.
The episode doesn’t end there, though, as it also goes into the idea of social media and parenting. How do we protect kids from the bad parts of it? Can we? There are no easy answers to this question, and it’s good that NCIS: Los Angeles isn’t really pretending there are. But as is often the case with this show, that doesn’t mean the question isn’t worth asking.
So let’s go into the ways this episode makes us rethink social media, and the way our characters engage with these ideas, as we discuss NCIS: Los Angeles 13×09 “Under the Influence”:
THE INTERNET IS HELL
Ironically, the entire episode is less about the case and more about the way we interact with the internet and with social media. This is a weird message for a show that skews decidedly older than most of the influencers making waves right now, but the show doesn’t just make a valiant effort at sending a message, it effectively reframes the conversation from the point of view of the parents.
Who is responsible for the ways we interact with others online? We are, of course. But there’s a lot to be said for teaching kids how to treat others in a new world that requires those teachings to extend to how you treat people you don’t know, and who aren’t in front of you.
There’s so much of the daily interaction online that is treated as just…a joke. You can’t hurt someone with a tweet or a reply online, can you? Except you can, and until we reframe our conversations in a way that extends respect to everyone, whether we can see them or not, then we’re all guilty of contributing to the toxicity in social media. And hey, if we’ve gotten to the point where even a procedural on CBS that’s been on the air for over a decade gets it, then we have no excuse.
ESPECIALLY FOR WOMEN
If this episode succeeds, it’s mostly because it doesn’t let the obvious go unsaid: Online interactions are much safer for men. This is true of all kinds of interactions, of course. But social media is a cesspool of hate, and its most common victims are women, most of them just trying to live their lives and do their jobs.
That even Deeks doesn’t truly get it until it’s pointed out is just…reality. Good men are still men, and some things just don’t occur to them. And though we would all be happy to have a father who would jump in to protect us, and one who would give us all the tools we need to protect ourselves, you know what would be even better? To live in a world where women didn’t need any extra protection.
We’re not there yet. In fact, we’re not anywhere close. But that doesn’t mean I don’t commend NCIS: Los Angeles for trying to have this conversation.
Things I think I think:
- Sam and his car = biggest love story in this show.
- Killbride really does the “old man” schtick well. It’s like…I don’t like him, but I also can’t ever find it in myself to truly dislike him.
- Deeks’ whole “I am a lawyer and federal agent” vibes are very hot. So is that blue sweater. The dancing, however, is not.
- Also, he and Kensi are way too good looking a couple. It’s almost unfair.
- I said this before, but I like Aliyah de León.
- This episode made me feel young, actually. Not one of the characters seemed to get fandom, and here I am, nodding like yeah, makes sense.
- Kensi and Deeks talking about parenting, yes. Sam? Absolutely, makes sense. Callen? 👀👀👀
- IF IT’S SO EASY TO IDENTIFY TROLLS, THEN WHY DON’T WE DO MORE? And by we, I mean every social media platform ever.
- It’s hilarious that Killbride always says “Investigator Deeks” and “Agent Blye.” No need for the title, dude. WE KNOW WHO THEY ARE. EVERYONE KNOWS.
- No one in LA leaves a key under the doormat.
- One day, someone’s not gonna run, right?
- So nice of Deeks to check if his wife needed help to kick ass, but this is Kensi we’re talking about.
- I mean, fair point on Callen and Sam’s jawlines.
- The message of this episode? ON. POINT.
- Kinda glad this episode didn’t get lost as the fist one in a double feature.
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of NCIS: Los Angeles 13×09 “Under the Influence”? Share with us in the comments below!
NCIS: Los Angeles airs Sundays on CBS.