Here’s my review of NCIS Los Angeles season six episode “Beacon.” 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.
Arkady is such a fun character that adds color to any episode. It’s been a while since we’ve seen him, so it was nice to have a whole episode where he plays a prominent role. Like last week’s “Rage” episode, “Beacon” returned to character focus and that’s what made it an entertaining episode.
This mini-arc, I guess we can call it, has been focused on Callen. While we got some bits of his past last week, this week we get a glimpse into his current state. This starts with a brief scene at the beginning where Callen dropped Joelle off at work. We don’t often get to see Callen interact with the “real world” so to speak, so it is interesting to see him just do something normal for once, to remind us that he has a life outside of work. I’ve been interested in seeing more of Joelle since she found out about Callen’s real job because it’s fascinating to see how one deals with being lied to. The cracks in their relationship begin to show a little when Joelle wonders if G will actually come home at night, while she’s still coming to terms with the life her boyfriend lives. Let’s see how long this will last. Will Callen ever be able to live a somewhat normal life?
Of course, another element of a normal life is having friends, and the audience is presented with the question of whether Callen and Arkady are friends. When the team shows Callen the evidence that Arkady was blown up, the tone in the room is solemn. You can see the concern on everyone’s faces for Callen. He tries to brush it off and remind them that he wasn’t friends with Arkady, but Callen’s always brushing things off that should bother him. Remember his silent stoic response when the young guy Charlie got killed last week? These scenes do a great job of showing what kind of person Callen is without having someone outright say it. (The #1 rule of writing is always “show, don’t tell.”)
Another excellent example of a good character moment is the early scenes with Callen and Sam. Sam wants to make sure Callen is okay and so he asks him repeatedly during the crime scene search. He brings up his concern again when they have lunch together. Sam points out that Callen always goes to the extreme. (On a sidenote, I bet Deeks would have heartily approved of Callen’s tofu salad.) The great part of showing Sam’s concern is that he wraps it up with his usual banter. He doesn’t have to get serious to talk about something important with Callen. It’s really just fun to watch.
In the end, Callen has to jump in and save Arkady from the shooter (even if he wasn’t the target), and afterwards, he gives Arkady his fancy pocket watch back. The two of them might no be bros like Callen and Sam are, but it’s nice to see that Callen really does have a strange somewhat friendship with Arkady. What makes “Beacon” such a great episode is that the focus is more on Callen and Arkady than it is on the case. As long as there are strong, well-developed characters, I would watch them do anything each week. (except maybe play with puppets. Please never again!) I’d certainly like to see what Callen’s future has in store for him.
Notes from the Boat Shed
- Oh look we finally remembered the LAPD investigation! But it wasn’t an issue this week, so the only thing we got out of it was a nice moment between Deeks and Kensi while on stakeout. I think it’s gonna build up to something exciting though. Eventually.
- Eric and Nell were better incorporated into the story this time, so that was nice. And there was even one strange scene where Eric didn’t know when to stop talking. Typical Eric. It’s not enough to forgive the writers for underusing characters, but it’s a start.
- Come on, you didn’t expect Arkady to actually be dead, right? Even Callen said something was fishy SEVEN MINUTES into the episode. Great decision to not leave the reveal until the end of the episode.
- “Eric taught me that origin stories are disappointing.” Clearly somebody didn’t watch Guardians of the Galaxy. (Also is this a subtle way of saying we’ll be disappointed with whatever backstory we get for Callen? Or is this another excuse for me to make a Batman and Robin joke again?)
- Granger makes his obligatory awesome one-liner appearance with “Why is your team always so hell-bent in finding the drama in everything?” Answer: because you are on a crime show on CBS. Stop leaning on the fouth wall, Granger. LOL
- What was up with the hilarious slow-mo during the shootout? Were they just padding for time?? (Bonus lol for Sam diving through the air by the pool’s “no diving” sign. Best joke all season.)
- I have two great quotes for the episode to show how funny it was: “I don’t know, join a cult?” Sam suggests and Callen responses with “Oh you mean the like Office of Special Projects for NCIS?” And that’s followed by Arkady showing back up to say “Did you give up meat to mourn my death.”
So what did you think? Love it or hate it? Feel the urge to go fake your own death now? Whatever you feel, be sure to share it in the comments if you want. Next week’s episode looks like it involves Kensi and sniping. Cool!