Here’s my review of NCIS Los Angeles season seven episode “Angels & Daemons.” 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.
Late into this episode, Kensi confronts the murderer in the Boatshed with something along the lines of “you gave us just enough truth to cover the lies.” He pretended to help them just so they wouldn’t suspect him. I thought that it was an excellent line because it’s something we see from the bad guys all the time. But if you think about it, our main characters go undercover all the time, often mixing the truth and the lies together to serve their purposes. And I think in particular, this line could say a lot about Callen, especially in this episode. “Angels & Daemons” was an entertaining episode, but the subtle character study of Callen was the most interesting part.
The b-story of this episode was all focused on Callen. It begins with Sam being concerned that Callen is possibly going rogue again since he’s reluctant to share what he’s doing. Of course, their banter is fun and lighthearted as always, but there are hints that everything is not what it seems. As the office scene unfolds, we see that Callen is not eager to share with his closest friends, but he does eventually offer up some information once Kensi snatches the file. The episode continues but not without Sam continuing to needle Callen whenever he has the opportunity. At the end after the case has been settled, Sam and Callen talk again. The most interesting thing is that Callen begins to open up about his ex-relationship with Joelle, but Sam stops him. He tells Callen not to say what he thinks Sam wants to hear. It’s moments like this that show the audience a vital part of Callen’s personality: he only presents half the truth all the time. He’s not exactly lying, but he is not always telling the truth either. The writers seem to be sowing the seeds for something big for Callen as the season moves forward, and performances like Chris O’Donnell’s help flesh that out.
But what makes this episode really work is that we have a character to compare and contrast with Callen. Callen’s final scene with Sam might not have had as big an impact if the previous scene hadn’t been the exposing of how and why the murderer committed the crime. That scene contained the “just enough truth to cover the lies” line. Once he’s been exposed, the murderer admits what his true plan had been, and in the process showcased a sad story of a friendship gone wrong. The reveal makes him a good contrast for Callen because he too was not exactly always lying, but not always telling the truth too. It leaves the audience thinking about the potential for the future. Is Callen capable of crossing lines like this guy did? (Of course, we’d want to say no, but then again, who expected earlier this season that Deeks would actually be a murderer?) Do we really believe Callen was just casually investigating Joelle’s new boyfriend?
To me, this is exactly how a procedural show should function. The normal every day case should be a sort of prop used to better examine and understand our main characters. It, of course, works best when the connections are subtle and the case is entertaining as well, which is what this episode does exactly. Sometimes NCISLA falls flat (a problem with all procedurals, to be honest) but this episode hit all the right marks in an already excellent season.
Notes from the Boat Shed
- Nell actually got to leave the office! I consider this a tiny improvement on the ongoing problem of incorporating Eric and Nell into the episodes. Also an improvement was the scene where Eric was disconnecting cables from his computer. The scene was immediately more interesting just because they weren’t just sitting and talking. More of that please!
- How hilarious was Callen’s undercover character! I laughed so much during those scenes. And the slide was a nice touch! LOL
- There was a line about Callen and Joelle being together for two years. Was it really that long?? I’m concerned that all the seasons are started to run together for me.
- I just want to say that I really hate how every episode opens with random people finding a body.
- When the Mossad guy appeared, I asked myself if I was accidentally watching an episode of the original NCIS.
- Twitter was messed up this morning (in my time zone) and I briefly wondered if a daemon had infiltrated the system! Hopefully not though!
So what did you think? Like it or hate it? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.