Here’s my review of NCIS Los Angeles season eight episode “Under Siege.” 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.
NCISLA has never been low on action and intrigue. Even the filler episodes have at least one shootout and probably an undercover scene. The team has the NCIS name (that’s the Naval Criminal Investigative Service if you don’t remember), but they operate more like super spies most of the time, led by the best super spy herself: Hetty Lange. So it’s with a bit of irony that the mole’s motivations come to light here in “Under Siege” as the team is forced to actually contend with the consequences of operating outside of their initial role.
I actually quite enjoy this plot twist. It’s been a bit silly and unrealistic to have the team operate essentially like CIA rogues all these years (even if that is more fun to watch each week). The consequences of their actions were going to catch up to them eventually. They stepped on the CIA’s toes and the CIA kicked back hard. It presents the audience with an interesting conflict. We know Hetty and the team have done everything with good intentions. And we know they’ve resulted in a lot of good too. But should they really be rushing in like vigilantes all the time?
The episode doesn’t give us a clear answer either way. Obviously what Sabatino and the rest of the traitorous moles did was wrong and corrupt. But Sullivan (I’ve already forgotten his bland real name) points out that he’s suffered at the hands of an NCIS agent (Kensi) when he shouldn’t have. Bad decisions have been made all around. The audience probably has no sympathy for the mole(s) but they can understand the motivation too. This will definitely make the conclusion of this storyline more dramatic but interesting.
Other than this, the episode was action-packed and very exciting. The team was spread out, as we saw in “Hot Water” two weeks ago, and eventually most of them make their way back together in a way that was riveting to watch. Sam talks his way out, Callen escapes, Deeks cuts a deal. It was all different but perfectly in line with each of their personalities. Since there’s so much action, there’s not a lot of time for character development, but things like this are tiny contributions at least.
The reveal that Hetty, of course, had a crazy contingency plan was a good twist. It still doesn’t quite make sense why she still insists on doing things on her own (and setting up Callen and Sam to get arrested) but her scenes in the warehouse were extremely entertaining. She’s still a chessmaster even if she’s doing damage control now instead of preventive work. We assume she’ll make it out of the warehouse okay but we watch because we want to know how. That’s a good way to make entertaining tv. I can only assume that the next episode will give us more answers to her actions.
I think the only glaring problem of the episode was that it didn’t quite link up with the end of the previous one. Didn’t we see Hetty and Kensi escaping the boat shed as the FBI SWAT team arrived? But Hetty and Kensi are back at Ops again as if nothing had happened (except for Duggan getting killed. Oops). The rest of the episode was so entertaining that I’m willing to forget about the weird skip over that plot point.
The next episode will wrap up the mole storyline (hopefully for good, to be honest) but with a lot of the team still in danger, the consequences will probably linger for the rest of the season.
Notes from the Boat Shed
*The end of the episode was genuinely frightening for me to watch. I would like to think the writers wouldn’t let Kensi lose a leg but I don’t know. Nothing about this story has been predictable. I am, however, a bit disappointed that Kensi has to suffer again now that she was almost recovered from her last trauma. Plus, Sullivan being a CIA agent out for revenge retroactively ruins the nice friendship they had. Can’t Kensi just have friends??
*As probably everyone knows by now, Miguel Ferrer passed away on January 19th. Granger was my favorite character because he’d grown so much over the years, going from gruff and strict to a sort of grumpy father figure to the team. We lost such a wonderful asset to the show but, more importantly, we lost a great person.
*Are you telling me the CIA is so good at Spyware that even Eric and Nell didn’t notice for TWO YEARS?
*Are you satisfied with the mole reveal? Did you guess who it was?
So what did you think? Like it or hate it? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.