Here’s my review of NCIS Los Angeles season seven episode “Core Values.” 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 love any episode where Sam gets to show off his bomb squad skills. It’s something that no one else on the team can do, so it gives him a skill unlike anyone else. But of course, the whole team gets adequate screentime in “Core Values.” It’s a pretty standard run-of-the-mill episode, but with a few twists and turns along the way to make it unlike many of the previous episodes. It was the perfect way to open the second half of the season.
The entertaining part of the episode comes from the way it’s structured. It starts off business as usual. The episode opens with the victim in the case, followed by the usual office banter, and then the typical investigation. It’s not out of the ordinary, but it’s not boring either. There is emotional weight to the case—the victim was just an innocent guy trying to do the right thing while his wife is eight months pregnant. His chances of survival are very low. Typically, the cases involve solving a murder, so the audience usually is not able to form any sort of attachment to the victim. But this is different and you feel sad for the husband, wife, and newborn baby. But to balance out these sad parts, the episode gives us interesting moments between Kensi and Deeks along with fun banter about food from Sam and Callen.
Everything seemed like a normal episode until Deeks declared the case closed and wrapped up halfway through the hour long episode. That’s when things literally exploded into action. The discovery of the bombs hidden around the plant shifted the episode away from the usual investigation tactics. The race against time element helped to amp up the tension and excitement. Of course, we all know that there’s no chance that the bomb will actually go off and contaminate the whole state of California, but it remains interesting simply because we do not know how Sam will save the day by disarming the bomb. We still get the obligatory end of episode shootout, but the more memorable scenes are when Callen throws the pipe bomb into the water, and then when Granger (yes, Granger!) dives on top of the C4 to contain the blast. It was a welcome change of pace than the usual, which is good for the show to keep things fresh and entertaining.
Probably the biggest downside to this episode is just that there was not a whole lot of space for character development because of all the action. This certainly wasn’t like the heavily character focused episodes like “Active Measures,” “The Long Goodbye,” and “Internal Affairs.” But this episode did give us some snippets of interesting character moments such as Deeks and Kensi with the baby, and Granger’s bold move with the bomb. Plus, there were some great moments with Sam and Callen while they worked to diffuse the bombs. So ultimately, the lack of development didn’t really hurt the episode. There’s more time for that as the season continues. The second half of the season is off to a promising start.
Notes from the Boatshed
- The scene at the end with Deeks, Kensi, and the baby was both heartbreaking because of the situation, and sweet because of the lullaby. But it also sort of felt like unnecessary pandering to the Densi shippers. I really love the couple together, but that scene just felt strange and out of place. It feels like their relationship isn’t in the right place now to bring up baby stuff. That’s just my interpretation though!
- I’ve given up on Eric and Nell having any sort of important role in episodes these days. Siiiiigh.
- Speaking of Eric, I don’t believe there was an actual palindrome club in his high school 😛 (“Sex at noon taxes” was the most hilarious palindrome in my opinion)
- Granger jumping on top of the bomb was all sorts of awesome. Please writers, give us more Reckless!Granger in the future. Way more fascinating than Always-Grumpy-Cat!Granger.
- Apparently Hetty’s gut is never wrong and her alcohol collection has magical healing properties. LOL
- I’m probably in the minority here, but I could watch an entire episode of Sam just diffusing bombs.
So what did you think? Like it or hate it? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.