Here’s my review of NCIS Los Angeles season seven episode “Matryoshka Part 2.” 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.
Considering the goal of this episode was a prison break, “Matryoshka Part 2” was a surprisingly quiet episode. It had a lot of great points and an important reveal, but pacing issues slowed some of the momentum. I believe the focus was on a few wrong moments but the ending more than made up for that.
So let me begin with the pacing issue before we talk about the good stuff. It seemed like there were some unnecessary moments that were stretched out while important ones got shortened or cut. The opening scene, for example, is a long one showing Anna impressing guys in a bar with her magic tricks. Fun if you like magic tricks, but not altogether very important to move the story forward. The scene could have easily begun with the tail end of Anna’s ploy to catch the guard and we wouldn’t have missed anything. Perhaps it would be different if it was one of the main characters. Either way, it sets a slower, low-key tone for the episode, which is fine but slightly less exciting.
In addition to drawn out moments, some seemed like they could have been longer. The scene where Callen and Sam are literally holding and talking about matryoshka dolls could have been longer. The dolls have a lot of potential for metaphor but that opportunity felt a bit wasted. This was a good opportunity for a character moment, especially because this trip to Russia means so much to Callen. But instead, Callen and Sam don’t have much opportunity to connect like they have in previous episodes. But given Callen’s loner nature, this really isn’t so out of character, I will admit.
Despite this, there are a lot of great things about this episode. Firstly, Eric got to go into the field?! I was shocked but pleased he finally got to do something. It’s wonderful to see him in a different environment and how he reacts. After seven seasons, this development for Eric is well overdue. I’m certainly looking forward to seeing whether Eric will get more opportunities outside of the office like Nell has occasionally.
And, of course, the other excellent moment was Callen getting answers that he has needed for his whole life. After so long wondering, he finally knows his name. There are still unanswered questions but it’s a start. And it’s fitting that no one else knows about it yet given Callen’s tendency to shoulder things by himself. This puts Callen in an interesting position for future episodes as he begins to understand a new part of his identity. “Matryoshka part 2” quietly sets up exciting possibilities for the rest of the season.
Notes from the Boat Shed
- I have mixed feelings about getting to hear what Callen’s real name is. Of course, I want him to know, but I’m not sure I wanted to know. But what did you all think about his name? Grisha?
- Granger was back again this episode, being grumpy as always. It was nice to see him back. Plus Eric’s “and that’s why his job at Hallmark didn’t work out” line was hilarious.
- Speaking of funny lines, Arkady’s protesting about horse-riding was rather amusing. I wish this episode had allowed him to shine more. But I guess being in Russian prison for a while wears one down.
- Best line of the episode: Eric saying “you think this guy is going to shoot at us and run away?” It’s like he’s never seen an episode of NCISLA!
- Looks like next episode will deal with Jada again. I’m really looking forward to that!
So what did you think? Like it or hate it? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.