NCIS: Los Angeles 13×13 “Bonafides” and 13×14 “Pandora’s Box” are two very different episodes, which makes it very hard to review them together. The first one is mostly about Sam, while the second one focuses more on Callen and the Katya of it all, though neither of them concludes any plot other than the episode specific ones in a satisfactory way. They are typical mid-season episodes, kinda fillery, but at least they aren’t as dry as last week’s episode.
The show, however, continues to try to focus on Killbride in a way that makes it seem like we’re never getting Hetty again. It’s a bit annoying, not because Killbride isn’t a character that has some room to grow, but because we still don’t have an answer about where Hetty is, why she’s there, much less her background with Callen, something we’ve been promised for a while.
Horace Killbrade has always sort of fit into the dynamics of this show — in a very different way than Hetty, but fit. The main issue with him, though, is that he still feels very much like Nell did last season, like a replacement we’re still not quite sure we’re supposed to truly love. It works, at times, but there’s never a sense of comfort to it, even while it works. Hopefully, the season gives us some closure on this, because we’re starting to rack up dangling plot threads.
But the last of the two episodes, NCIS: Los Angeles 13×14 “Pandora’s Box,” though severely lacking in Sam, does give us something on the Callen front, though it isn’t exactly something we’re surprised to learn. We’ve known Callen was trained to be who he is for a while, and his clear memories of the fact don’t get us closer to finding out Hetty’s involvement — or to reconciling the way the show has played fast and loose with the information we already had.
With Hetty around it’s possible to see this whole storyline turn into an Alias kind of storyline — which is where the show is going — but without Hetty, and without Anna, who went through the same time, to confide in, the discoveries are devoid of the emotional resonance they could have. G. Callen isn’t alone, hasn’t been for a while, and he shouldn’t be going through this alone.
Like, at the very least, tell Sam. And do it before the season is over, Callen. While you’re at it, just bring Hetty back for whatever the resolution is, otherwise this just won’t work.
Then there’s Kensi and Deeks, one of the best, most consistent part of this show for the better part of a decade, and a couple the show continues to give things to do, even after marriage. (Imagine that!) Their struggles with infertility have been going on for over a season, and though as a viewer that’s frustrating, it’s also real. There are no magic fixes in life and there are no magic fixes for Kensi and Deeks.
But what there is hope. This show has already proven that family doesn’t always look the traditional way, and Kensi and Deeks seemed like they are on a journey to proving just that, once again. I, for one, absolutely love it. They’d do great with a baby, but they’d probably be amazing parents for a teenager, too. Deeks watched all those vampire movies, after all. If that isn’t a good parent, then I don’t know what is.
Things I think I think:
- Always here for some Sam/Callen banter.
- I don’t know what I like more, Deeks being open to learning about Kensi’s musical taste (which she apparently, somehow, had never shared in 12 years) or Kensi not giving him a line, because it’s him.
- Personally, I love when we get at least a little glimpse of the team training.
- UC cases always make me worry.
- What are you doing, G? Revisiting the past?
- But why is Sam using his own car for his UC operation?
- The first case is better than last week’s, still a little dry.
- You could have gotten out of the car, G.
- We get one episode of Sam, and then nothing, and is Sam’s father gonna come into the picture?
- I was really looking forward to Densi seeing Rosa.
- Look, it was about time we went back to Katya.
- A part of me just wants more of Killbride and Deeks, for shits and giggles.
- That’s a rather benign use for the Callen deepfake. I mean, it’s smart, but also …that can’t be all.
- Kinda fun, the bit with Mr. Art Dude getting out of handcuffs and zip ties.
- “Do what you have to do, but be smart” is basically saying nothing.
- The way Deeks laughs when Pilar calls Kensi a superhero, not because he disagrees, but because he agrees is JUST a LOT.
- And the two of them sitting down with Pilar is also a lot.
- The fact that Deek’s research paid off is just chef’s kiss.
- But was Callen also thinking Anna went through that same thing, as well?
- Callen’s face as he realizes he was conditioned the same way is heartbreaking.
- Daniela Ruah did an amazing job directing 13×14.
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of NCIS: Los Angeles 13×13 “Bonafides” and 13×14 “Pandora’s Box”? Share with us in the comments below!
NCIS: Los Angeles airs Sundays on CBS.