Here’s my review of NCIS Los Angeles season seven episode “Head of the Snake.” 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.
There haven’t been any really bad episodes of NCISLA this season, and “Head of the Snake” wasn’t a bad episode at all. There was action, there was banter, there was the return of Nate. It was exciting. But somehow, I didn’t really like it and I can’t figure out why. There are a few possible reasons why this episode simply wasn’t engaging to me.
I think first, perhaps, is that I don’t feel very connected to Nate. He’s been gone from the show a long time, and even though he has a shared past with the team, it’s not recent and fresh in the minds of viewers. As such, Nate just falls into the spot of a usual guest star like we see every week. The audience doesn’t tune in for the guest stars though. We watch to see our main characters. There was a lot of focus on Nate, but there was also a bit of a balance by focusing on Callen too while he was the hostage. But the main question was “is Nate in too deep?” which is fine but not nearly as engaging as if the question had been about Callen or Sam or anyone else on the team. At least the episode tried to draw conclusions and speculate about how a team member would be in the same situation. That sort of connection does improve the episode. I don’t dislike Nate, but I just don’t care about him like I care about the main characters.
The other thing is that this episode plot feels like filler. A lot of episodes this season have been connected together by a longer storyline. We had Deeks’ internal affairs investigation, Callen’s quest to rescue Arkady in Russia, the mysterious mole threat (will we ever get back to that?) and so on and so forth. By this point in the season as we’re nearing the end, every new episode can build from previous ones. There are still storylines to resolve and any filler now feels like a distraction that should have occurred earlier in the season. Nate’s deep cover mission gone wrong feels very random, and perhaps, as something that could have been aired much earlier (minus the mention of Callen’s real name). This season has been so strong because of the interconnectivity of the episodes, so “Head of the Snake” feels somewhat out of place.
Lastly, perhaps it was just a mostly unengaging plot. Much of it was predictable. Nate’s going “method,” Callen’s trying to get him to see reason even while hostage. And in the end, Nate does the right thing and helps the team. While it might have been upsetting for viewers, it could have been more interesting if Nate really had completely turned against them. But since Peter Cambor was just appearing for this one episode, the choice the writers made was probably the best one.
But this is all just my opinion. I’m sure there were lots of people who enjoyed the episodes. Long time fans were probably happy to see Nate again. It’s natural to have a few episodes that you don’t enjoy as much as others. That doesn’t make it a bad episode though. This was just my episode.
Notes from the Boat Shed
- Do you ever dislike something but you can’t figure out why?
- How did you feel about Nate’s return? (I liked his evil beard :D)
- I think Hetty is starting to slip in her old age maybe.
- Can someone refresh my memory on Omni? That literally rang no bells in my head.
- So Deeks was sleep-eating his own leftovers? …okay
So what did you think? Like it or hate it? Feel free the share your thoughts in the comments.