Here’s my review of NCIS Los Angeles season seven episode “Revenge Deferred.” 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.
Do you remember those compare/contrast assignments in school? You’d get two topics and you’d have to write about all the similarities and differences you could find. “Revenge Deferred” feels like one of these assignments, especially since it takes place after the trip to Russia. (Did they just stop in Eritrea on the way back home??) The focus in this episode is all on Sam as the case becomes personal. It’s fascinating to see how he reacts under these circumstances.
The “Matryoshka” two-parter before this episode really emphasized how Sam and Callen’s partnership works. They have each other’s backs no matter what, but also leave each other space to deal with their own issues. In “Matryoshka” that meant Sam supported Callen as they rescued Arkady and recovered important information about Callen. In “Revenge Deferred,” the tables have turned as Sam is the one who needs support when his family is threatened and he needs to track down Jada, who he feels responsible for. It was nice to see them support each other considering how different their personalities are. Callen has always been a loner, one who tries to shoulder the burden all himself. For Sam, the most important thing has always been his family and we see how easily he becomes rattled when they are threatened. Despite these different priorities, both threaten to act against orders to get things done. The result in this episode is fascinating. It’s a bit unnerving actually to watch Sam—the show’s closest thing to a proverbial boy scout—easily resort of torturing Tahir once he’s captured.
Another similarity between this episode and the previous one is that they both try to rescue someone. Arkady in Russia, and Jada in South Sudan. Sam and Callen would do anything to find and free them (and they basically do do anything), but the difference here is that Jada doesn’t need to be rescued. Sam’s arrived too late because she’s already got an actual literal army at her back. Just as Granger said, Sam needed closure on this case, and he finally gets it. But as we see with Tahir escaping at the end, what price has he paid for that closure? For Callen, everything worker out perfectly in Russia. But for Sam, that isn’t the case as the episode ends.
In the past, I’ve complained a bit about NCISLA’s problem with serializing storylines. But I certainly cannot say that about these recent episodes. It has been rewarding as a viewer to see stories from earlier episode come into play again as the season continues. The decision to put this episode after “Matryoshka” was an excellent one. The audience got to watch two very fascinating character studies back to back. But I admit, I’m looking forward to seeing the whole team back together again in LA soon.
Notes from the Boat Shed
- How convenient that they finally remember the mole storyline once Sam’s family gets threatened! 😛
- Considering the last episode with Jada (“The Long Goodbye”) had a very meaningful message about the treatment of women, it was slightly disappointing that we didn’t get more of that here.
- Didn’t Elmslie have a beard last time we saw him or am I crazy? I’m absolutely horrible at remembering details about this show’s minor recurring characters.
- I’m very intrigued by Hetty suddenly admitting that she “can’t lose” her team. I didn’t expect her to say something like that to Granger because usually that feeling is just subtly implied.
- I feel like we’re due a Granger-centric episode any time now. Please?
- There’s no new episode next week apparently? I don’t know. CBS’s scheduling skills are constantly baffling.
So what did you think? Like it or hate it? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.