NCIS Los Angeles Review: “Kolcheck, A.”

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Here’s my review of NCIS Los Angeles season six episode “Kolcheck, A.” 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.

After a detour with the “Field of Fire” episode and then no episode last week, we finally pick up where we left off in “Beacon.” But the momentum from end of that episode is lost with the break in the action, which makes the episode suffer just a little. Along with that, this one didn’t deviate much from the norm, so it didn’t feel like the penultimate episode of the season (even if it did do a good job of setting up things for the finale next week). Despite all this, we got some more hints about Callen’s story and that’s really what saves the episode.

When this story ended in “Beacon,” there was an urgency to the missing oil tanker story. It really seemed very important that they find the tanker before it got to Russia and into the hands of some unsavory character. Everyone was very concerned and Hetty said they needed to find Arkady again. But then they dropped that storyline for the PSA about veterans’ hospitals last week, and that ruined the tension. I’m not sure if the episode order was an intentional one or whether something got messed up in the production schedule, but either way it was a bad choice. It makes it seem like the all-important oil tanker is at the bottom of the priority list, and that’s not good. Not good at all.

But even if the episode order had been more effective, “Kolcheck, A.” still lacked a sense of urgency. Everything is just as normal as always. The episode begins as usual with someone unrelated stumbling onto a body. Since the corpse is one of the crew of the tanker, our team is finally reminded of the case. (To be honest, I can totally imagine Granger sorting though paperwork on his desk and saying “oh that’s right. We should get back on that missing boat problem” in his grumpy voice.)

So investigation ensues like always. Kensi and Deeks follow leads and suspects while Sam and Callen talk to Arkady. There were some exciting moments of course, like the car ramming Kensi and Deeks’ car, but otherwise it was business as usual. The episode even had an office chat at the beginning, but the theme of loaning and borrowing doesn’t really factor into the rest of the episode.

But where the episode lacked in its procedural elements, it made up for in expanding both Callen’s and Arkady’s stories. The continuing mystery really adds interest to the episode. What is Arkady not telling them? How important are the rare coins? And where does Arkady’s daughter Anna fit into the puzzle? We didn’t get all the answers and that’s a good thing. We’ve been given breadcrumbs, tiny bits and pieces, and now they’re leading to Russia. The audience has been invested in Callen’s story since season one. We know his character and when we care about a character, we always want to learn more about them. This episode got the storyline rolling again. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how much will be revealed in the season finale.

Notes from the Boat Shed

  • I do wish there was a bit more Arkady backstory in an episode titled “Kolcheck, A.” but the daughter reveal is good at least. (But who didn’t seen that coming?) Arkady is fun as usual, but I really liked how the desperation of his actions gradually increased as time began running out. Excellent acting, Vyto Ruginis.
  • I can’t ever keep up with recurring bad guys’ names. Is Karposev someone we’ve seen before? I legitimately can’t remember.
  • While I usually hate with a passion episodes that open with random people finding bodies, I was amused by the irony of the guy saying that there was nothing in the water and then getting knocked by the body in the waves. I’m a sucker for lame jokes. (If only CSI:Miami was still a thing because it would have been the perfect moment for someone to dramatically take off their sunglasses and say “this gives a whole new meaning to the phrase body surfing.”)
  • I’m sorry but I dislike seeing Deeks threatening people with bodily harm while interrogating them. Especially after that season finale where he got tortured himself. If they’d explore that aspect of his character (is it some kind of PTSD?), it’d be okay but right now it’s just cringeworthy. Actually a lot of Deeks’ dialogue was cringeworthy this week with the incest jokes and the “don’t drop the soap” prison rape joke. Not appropriate at all. :/
  • Loved the brief glimpse into Callen’s apartment. Of course he doesn’t have any furniture! (Sam did say he “lived like a monk” a few weeks ago) That’s the kind of excellent way to show Callen’s personality without just saying it. More things like this please!
  • Predictions for next week’s season finale?

So what did you think? Like it or hate it? Just want to go drink a bunch of vodka in preparation for next week? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.


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