Here’s my review of NCIS Los Angeles season six episode “Savoir Faire.” Please note that this isn’t a recap of what happens. I’m assuming that you’ve already seen the episode. There are spoilers in this review.
Is it me or did this episode seem kind of disjointed and rushed? It’s like this episode had no clear direction and it definitely suffered for it. This show runs on its characters, and there just wasn’t enough character moments to keep the story interesting and the plot moving this week.
We pick up this week some time after where we left off last episode. Sam, who is recovering from a gunshot wound to the chest, is back at work. Now it might have been interesting to see Sam struggle to get back in the game or at least act like he’s recovering from a gunshot wound TO THE CHEST. But all of that is really glossed over with just one (albeit amusing) conversation with Granger. So the opportunity to develop Sam’s character more is lost. We didn’t even get to see Granger’s gym challenge. Sam just showed up in the next scene and that was that. I realize that LL Cool J has the word “cool” in his name but it’d be nice if his character was less like a superhero and more like a regular human.
So since we don’t have Sam’s storyline to follow in this episode, we’ll have to turn to someone else. Except… there is no other character story here. There’s really no b-plot at all. It’s all “find the murderers and the missing soldiers.” There’s no Kensi and Deeks drama and nothing with Callen. Hetty hardly ever gets a real storyline. And while Nell and Eric do have one conversation about his female friends (and it’s kinda a weird moment), there really isn’t much else. That’s that. Nell does talk to Hetty at the very end of the episode about how she’s upset about profiling the soldier wrong. This conversation felt like it was just tacked on at the end. Yes, Nell did some profiling in the episode but we didn’t get to see that onscreen. If there had been more focus on Nell during the episode it would have made more sense.
Without the character drama, we’re left with just the case-of-the-week to move the action forward. But the story here meandered like a lazy stream down a mountain. When they’re investigating the murder scene at the beach, there was a lot of emphasis on the currently-missing Agent Richards. But once they found her at the bar, that plot fizzled away like bubbles in her gin & tonic.
There are many other moments like this. Moments that seem like they’re supposed to be important but nothing ever comes of them. Hetty puts a lot of emphasis on the line in the debriefing about making sure that the murder wasn’t a hate crime. But that angle was never even explored. Later, we get to see a scene of Hetty arguing on the phone to SECNAV while Granger, Eric, and Nell watch. What was the point of that? It felt like just an excuse to get Linda Hunt (who plays Hetty) more screen time (which is fine because Linda Hunt is the best). It just felt disconnected to what else was going on. And after that, there was a bit in the boat shed where Deeks got caught talking to himself. While Granger made the scene amusing, it again seemed pointless. It seemed like filler to make the episode long enough.
The plot with the Afghani soldiers could have been interesting but without it being grounded with a character story, it just floats away. This episode felt like a hodge-podge of ideas/scenes the writers had just lying around. Like I’ve said before, this show runs on the strength of its characters, but this episode was definitely not their strongest.
Notes from the Boat Shed
- Do they just chose random words out of a hat for the episode titles? I don’t recall any reference to the phrase “savoir faire” in the whole episode so I have no idea what it means, and I don’t intend on looking it up because I should’t have to. Meaningless episode titles are a pet peeve on mine.
- It was really nice to see a little more screentime for Eric and Nell but they still didn’t get to do much. Perhaps we should have a spinoff show where they team up with Bell and Gregson from Elementary.
- I thought Deeks’ s’more-cakes sounded delicious. If anyone tries that out, let me know how it tastes.
- The main pairs switched groups briefly which would have been fun but it didn’t last long. Another missed opportunity. I, for one, would love a whole episode where Callen and Deeks team up just to see how long it would take for Callen to crack and threaten to shoot Deeks.
- The one-upping contest about who’s been shot the most was great just because we got to see Kensi lampshade the fact that they should be wearing bulletproof vests all the time. (“I’ve been shot,” she says. And Callen responds skeptically “with a vest on.” Kensi: “Well apparently I’m the only one who’s smart.”)
- Granger saved this episode with his amazingly deadpan snarky remarks including “Does this look like my joking face?” (complete with a blank angry stare) and “Question: do you crumble graham crackers into your s’more-cakes?” Let’s be honest, if Hetty wasn’t around, Granger would be the best character on this show.
So what did you think? Did the episode feel disconnected to you? Did you like the lack of character stories this week or felt like something was missing? Are you gonna try those s’more-cakes? Be honest.
Apparently there’s not a new episode next week, so I’ll be back with another review whenever the next new episode airs. Thanks for reading, as always, and feel free to leave a comment and share your thoughts.