NCIS Los Angeles Review: “Chernoff, K.”

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Here’s my review of NCIS Los Angeles season six finale “Chernoff, K.” 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.

I enjoyed this episode. It was fun to see the team in Russia, speaking Russian, and going undercover. But on the other hand, “Chernoff, K.” didn’t feel like a season finale at all. Everything played out like usual NCISLA routine. The stakes were not raised in this episode at all. But just like last week, Callen’s story saves it.

When we left off in “Kolcheck, A.,” it looked like this episode would be spent looking for Anna and Karposev in Russia in addition to the search for the missing oil. That would have been okay despite the predictability, but the episode went in another direction. They found Anna, who had already easily escaped from and taken out Karposev, within the first ten minutes of the episode. And with that, the narrative tention was gone. Sure, we’ve still got the find the missing oil and whoever wants to buy it. But we never see the oil and the consequences of losing it are simply that the terrorists will have more money. That’s but, but it’s not on the level of say, missing bombs or chemical weapons. The audience isn’t as invested.

I have to say that Anna was a bit of a detriment to the episode as well. She me of the lady hacker from “Blaze of Glory.” Like Blaze, Anna’s only purpose in the episode was to help out the team. But she’s extraneous. She takes away from time that could be spent developing our main characters. In fact, it almost seems like her main purpose was being an excuse for Arkady to get shot. (We all know he wouldn’t have taken a bullet for anyone else) Despite the flaws of how Anna interacted with the plot, however, she wasn’t terrible at all. Her personality is interesting and it’s great to see more strong women on TV. And her move of sneaking up on people is excellent! I just wish we’d met her under different circumstances.

Without Anna, we could have spent much more time on Callen’s past and his search for his father. Like I’ve said in previous reviews, Callen is a character we’re invested in so his search is compelling to watch. We want to know who his father is almost as much as he does. I almost wish that his search had been the main focus of the episode. That would have given us ample amount of time to devote to character moments. I would have loved to see more scenes of how Callen felt about his search. The conversations with Hetty and Sam were good and the scene at the cemetery is emotional. But we never get exactly enough time devoted to this. How much is Callen affected by all this new information? Does it show in his actions? Does it affect how he interacts with the team? Perhaps these questions will be answered next season. Especially with that cool closing scene that revealed that “Chernoff, K.” is still alive (and he still loves espressos!)

What new and exciting things will we explore next season? I’m certainly waiting to find out!

Notes from the Boat Shed

  • I’m surprised by the lack of a cliffhanger. But it’s a refreshing change of pace which I liked. (even though it still doesn’t feel like a season finale without one)
  • Do you think Callen’s father’s coin might indicate that he’s leaving Russia too for America? Or just an indication that he still helps people?
  • Let me tell you how disappointed I was when they revealed that the real bad guys here were ISIS. I actually typed NOOOOOOOOOOOO into my notes. Does everything have to go back to Muslim extremists? Whatever happened to those Irish terrorists anyway?
  • Was Arkady singing the best part of the episode or the best part of the episode? The answer is yes.
  • Hetty always gets the best lines and Linda Hunt really sells them. “I won it in a poker game in 1992” and “I was queen of the prom, sweetheart” are real standouts. (But bonus points to Granger for casually threatening to give Eric to the Russians)
  • Overall thoughts on the season: when it’s good, it’s good. When it’s bad, it’s bad. We had a variety of quality this season, but the character stories have been consistently great. Let’s hope the focus stays on that next season too.
  • My personal favorite moment of the season was when Sam threw a terrorist down an elevator shaft and he EXPLODED. Nothing will ever top that. What was yours?

So what did you think? Like it or hate it? Just wanna go undercover in Russia now? As always, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments! I’ll be back with more NCISLA reviews when season seven begins in the fall!


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