NCIS Los Angeles: “Black Market”

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Here’s my review of NCIS Los Angeles season eight episode “Black Market.” 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.

This week’s episode honestly was very boring to me. But, of course, that’s just my personal opinion and not everyone is going to agree. So I’m trying to look at “Black Market” objectively because as a reviewer, that’s what I do. But even then, I still feel like this episode was not up to NCISLA’s usual standard.

The first problem is the case itself. What usually sets LA apart from the original NCIS is their focus on undercover work and stopping terrorism, instead of a run-of-the-mill murder mystery. This episode opened with a guy getting poisoned which sets the team in motion. They go through their usual routine—interrogations in the boatshed, a couple of shootouts, and house with a dead body, and witty banter all throughout—but the undercover element is missing. And somehow, the lack of that aspect seemed to just put a dampener on the whole case. And the stakes just aren’t as high either. I like when NCISLA tries to break out of their ordinary cases, but this one just didn’t work for me.

The other problem with the episode is that there’s not really any coherent b-plot at all. We have bits and pieces of things, but that’s it. Callen is sore from running in an Ironman triathlon he didn’t train for. Eric is lonely without Nell. Nell is continuing to overcompensate for temporarily replacing Kensi. And, of course, Deeks is by Kensi’s side with no change in sight. None of these are bad side plots at all, but none of them are fleshed out enough to be interesting either. It’s like the writers just dropped a few crumbs for us to nibble on instead of a whole piece of something. There are hints of possible future developments here: why is Callen pushing himself so hard? Is Eric right about Kensi being irreplaceable? Will Granger and Kensi’s mom go out for coffee again?? It was disappointing that none of the character’s stories seemed to have anything very substantial and consequential happen this week, but perhaps they are at least trying to set things up for future episodes. I hope so anyway.

“Black Market” is the 4th episode of the season, but unfortunately it’s too much like a filler episode to be very memorable or important. We’ll have to wait until later in the season to see if this episode will connect to anything bigger. In the end, I was left wishing we could have an episode without a case at all, just so we could see the characters interact in different circumstances. But instead, it was just a slightly boring episode.

Notes from the Boat Shed

  • Granger assumes Hetty is “mole-hunting.” It’d be nice if we got to see that. (Also, the phrase “mole-hunting” conjured up the image in my head of Hetty digging tunnels >_>)
  • The bad guys were not jihadi extremists this week, so that was a nice change of pace. In fact, one of the criminals this week was American.
  • I was not a fan of Nell’s “I’m not a stereotype” storyline. It just felt weird and a bit sexist.
  • Kensi squeezed Hetty’s hand when ordered to because I suppose Hetty is just a magical super human at this point.
  • But seriously, I weirdly liked Granger asking Kensi’s mom for coffee. Let’s have more of that strange storyline please.
  • Ana’s back next week. That could be fun. Perhaps?

So what did you think? Like it or hate it? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.


2 thoughts on “NCIS Los Angeles: “Black Market”

  1. Totally agree with your review. I’ll admit I am not a fan of Nell at all, but some of ‘banter’ with Deeks felt forced with a bit of a hidden undertone.
    Definitely felt like a filler episode which is a shame for so early in the season. Boring case…
    I’m looking forward to the return of Anna next week as it should shakes things up a bit.

    • Yeah, I thought some of the Nell and Deeks banter was a bit weird. Not sure if it was purposefully done or not though. At least not yet.
      I think last season we also had a few filler-ish episodes very early as well. So hopefully this isn’t a bad sign ^_^
      Anna’s not my favorite character, but I do enjoy how she can shake things up whenever she appears.

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