Here’s my review of NCIS Los Angeles season eight episode “Hot Water.” 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.
So we’ve finally reached the beginning of the end. The end of the mole storyline, that is. After more than a season of this threat looming over the team’s heads, things finally are put into motion to reveal the big secret. “Hot Water” is a good title for an episode where the team gets put into some unsavory positions.
We’ve all mentioned before how unsatisfying the mole storyline has been. It’s been dragged out way too long for the story to feel like it has any stakes to it. Surely if the mole was that important, they would have spent more time and effort looking for him/her/them. Right? Even Hetty seems to have procrastinated on a serious investigation into the matter despite having a deadline that means the end of her career. The fact that most of the mole-hunting has taken place offscreen means that the audience has a less vested interest too.
With all this in mind, it’s actually a good narrative decision to have the mole be the one to start making the moves in this episode. The mole did not really seem like much of a credible threat until this episode where everyone starts getting arrested and the Boat Shed gets a visit from a SWAT team. Although it’s not clear yet why the mole is doing this now or what their ultimate goal is, the next episode should hopefully provide more answers.
This episode does a good job of tying into what seems like the prominent theme of this season, which is corrupt government workers. There have been several episodes this season where the culprit has turned out to be a traitor to the agency they work for or something similar to that. Often we see the bad guys being outside threats, but this season’s made a point to show that the enemy can come from the inside. So if you’re wondering during the episode why no one is listening to Sam or Callen when they proclaim innocence, it’s because we’ve seen that people can easily go bad or rogue. We know that Granger, Callen, and Sam have been set up, but no one else knows that. (I can’t speak for Deeks. He is actually guilty of his crime, no matter the reasons.) It’s frustrating that no one will listen, but it’s realistic. And it’ll be interesting to see how they’ll get out of the situation, probably without any other agency’s assistance.
The downside of all this exciting action is that it feels like a bit of a rehash of the beginning of the season. The office is no longer safe and they’re having to abandon it at the end of the episode. That’s just like when Duggan was shutting them down in the premiere. Hopefully this storyline will diverge in the next episode and make it more exciting in a different way.
Overall, “Hot Water” had some good points, but I wasn’t as impressed as I thought I would be. But then again, it’s hard to judge an episode that’s only the beginning of a multi-episode arc. We’ll see what else the mole has in store first.
Notes from the Boat Shed
- It’s nice to see that this gives Kensi an opportunity to do a slight bit of field work again. It’ll be interesting to see how she performs now that she’s back in the saddle again, sooner than she probably should be
- RIP Duggan (I assume). If he’s actually dead, this falls into the familiar trope of “redemption equals death.” Too bad for him.
- Speaking of maybe dead people, who else is worried about Granger? :((( EDIT: Miguel Ferrer, Granger’s actor, passed away on January 19th. He will be tremendously missed.
- Callen was arrested by ATF, which is the agency Anna is supposed to be getting clearance to work for. I’m assuming she’ll either come to rescue him or she’ll be involved with the mole. I’m hoping for the former because the latter would be disappointing
- Do you think Hetty has a plan or she’ll just wing it? She seems, on the whole, much less like the Chessmaster she usually is here
- Once everyone started getting arrested, I kinda hoped they’d all get to break out of jail together because that would be AWESOME to see. But that’s not happening. Maybe another day.
- Predictions about the mole? Whoever it is, I think the reveal won’t live up to the hype.
So what did you think? Like it or hate it? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.