NCIS Los Angeles review: “Queen Pin”

Here’s my review of NCIS Los Angeles season eight episode “Queen Pin.” 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.

In the two episodes since the end of the mole storyline, the thing that strikes me most is that the team feels scattered. Kensi is back to work, but we’re lacking the usual team banter. In “Queen Pin,” Callen and Anna deal with a separate case, while Sam does undercover work alone and the rest of the team hovers around the edge of the plot to provide support when necessary.

Perhaps this is intentional, to subtly show that the mole arc affected them all more than they realize. Or perhaps the separation of the team is due to scheduling conflicts with the cast. I can’t really speculate on that front, but whatever the reason, it’s just not as fun to watch when the whole crew isn’t together. Splitting the storyline between Sam’s undercover drug bust and Callen’s terrorist escort roadtrip felt like it was stretching the narrative thread too thin. We could have had a separate episode for each story, giving more of a chance to explore the idea and characters.

With the main plot, Sam’s undercover drug bust, we see the idea of government corruption yet again. The culprit ended up being a prominent figure as the city’s DA. He manipulated the flow of drugs on the streets in order to profit himself. I didn’t think the execution of this story was particularly interesting to watch, but I do like the continuing theme throughout the season. Is everyone working in a government position corrupt except for our NCIS team?? I’d be curious to see what ultimate idea the writers intend to show by the end of the season.

The b-plot of the episode saw Callen and Anna transferring the terrorist the team captured at the beginning of the season. Unlike the main story, this one at least put more focus on developing character. I, personally, am not very interested in watching Callen and Anna’s relationship grow, but it is interesting to see that Callen doesn’t seem very affected by the betrayal of his previous relationship. Maybe sawing through a wooden table was enough therapy for him? The scenes between them were cute, although I feel like the singing was weirdly out of character. (Maybe that’s just me?) I just feel like this plot was wasted on romance when it could have been more compelling with a different pairing, such as angry Deeks or surprisingly zen Kensi.

Overall, “Queen Pin” wasn’t a terrible episode. It just felt like there were too many things going on and the team is too disconnected. For now at least.

Notes from the Boat Shed
*Last week I said I wanted a Sam storyline, and then we got a Sam-centric episode this week. I must admit I’m being picky but watching Sam play the thug role is not my cup of tea. We’ve seen it before. I just don’t think it works as well as the writers think it does. I’ll always prefer Sam diffusing bombs.

*I know Deeks was mad at the terrorist guy (name already forgotten) for what happened to Kensi, but technically the helicopter could have fallen on any one of them, right? It’s not like she was particularly targeted. (As always though, my memory could be wrong)

*Was it really necessary for Hetty to make a house call? I think not

*Too much of this episode was spent in strip clubs for my taste.

*Hey, Detective Whiting did survive! I guess they’ll be trouble for Deeks soon

*Sorry for the delayed review this week. I’ve switched jobs and still settling in. So reviews might continue to be posted a day or two later than usual for a bit

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

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2 thoughts on “NCIS Los Angeles review: “Queen Pin”

  1. Awesome review! For me, this episode goes with Blaze of Glory and Red episodes – worst of the series. Hetty said why she made the house call – she didn’t want to mention the terrorist’s name over the phone and where Callen needed to go. That made sense considering he was/is a “High Value Target”. But it was odd that after 7 & half Seasons Hetty starts making house calls (at night!) to give an assignment.
    Callen paired with Deeks or Kensi would have been spectacular in this episode. I agree about the Strip Club scenes. Unless of course it was Callen undercover & on the stage. 😉 As for Callen singing, I loved it but not the choice of song. Agree about Sam story line–boring doesn’t even begin to describe it. I too love “bomb dismantling Sam”. 🙂

  2. Loved the opening with Sam and especially the opening with Callen and Anna (definitely a hot couple). And I loved Hetty’s house call (I think she’s keeping an eye on Callen because of his recent behavior after the shock of Joelle). I like the Callen-Anna relationship; a good change from Kensi-Deeks and the idea that Callen wouldn’t be involved with someone is just silly. Especially love it that Anna’s Arkady’s daughter. I’m interested in seeing where this relationship goes because both characters have issues. The story wasn’t that engaging, and I would have liked to see more of Callen’s road trip (the singing didn’t seem out of character given that he’s participated in karaoke before–season 1).

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