NCIS Los Angeles Review: “Golden Days”

ncis la golden days

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Here’s my review of NCIS Los Angeles season eight episode “Golden Days.” 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.

Okay, I’m used to NCISLA being a bit unrealistic on occasion. That’s the nature of television. Things are going to be exaggerated sometimes for the sake of making a point. But for me, “Golden Days” felt like a mess of a plot, something that spiraled out of control. And everything was so over the top that it wasn’t even enjoyable to watch.

We picked up where we left off last week: $40 million worth of gold bars were in the hands of a bad guy. Let’s not forget (like the episode did) that this whole plot was set into motion because Langston wanted to help people at the VA hospital. It seems like such wasted potential to open with that idea and then squander the opportunity to explore it. If the idea was to explore a theme about old veterans (as Hetty’s old friends are), then I don’t know why the plot went in a totally different direction.

But that issue aside, I was unimpressed with the story we actually did focus on. The whole episode operated on the fact that the old guys did things differently than our team. The problem is that it makes them look ridiculous the whole time. They should have known not to put word on the street about the gold. They should have known not to threaten a suspect with a hammer. They should have known how to conduct a stake out with less risk. And lastly, they should have known not to drive up to the airplane at the end wearing the Chinese gang’s gear! I’m still shocked Kensi didn’t accidentally snipe one of them during that.

It all just felt unnatural. Like the characters were doing these things to move the plot forward instead of having justified character motivations for their behavior.

This is often the problem with prominent guest characters. While last episode at least made an effort to create distinct personalities for the three guys, this episode felt like they were trying too hard. Nuance was lost and caricatures were put in their place. They basically existed only to function as a plot device. We’re meant to compare the guys with our current team. As such, they tended to take over certain scenes and draw attention away from our main characters, instead of enhancing the story like they should have.

By the end of the episode, I just didn’t care anymore. I just wanted it to be over so we could go back to focusing on our main characters again. These certainly weren’t the “Golden Days” of the series that I’m used to.

Notes from the Boat Shed

  • Wasn’t it weird that Hetty didn’t do anything in this episode? As the director, sometimes she should actually, you know, direct!
  • I don’t even know what to say about Deeks’ part of this episode. Is he being… politely blackmailed? I’ll just have to wait and see how it all unfolds later. But I didn’t think their conversation needed to last all episode
  • The one redeeming part of the episode was Kensi getting to be a sniper for a bit. I love when she gets to show off that skill!
  • It was nice to hear a few stories of young Granger tho. I can admit that too
  • I’m again way behind on replying to comments. But I had a lot of excellent ones on last week’s review! Thanks for sharing and keep it up~!

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


6 thoughts on “NCIS Los Angeles Review: “Golden Days”

  1. Thanks for your review. I agree. This episode was a mess and the vets were caricatures. Their behavior was horrible; they seemed to have no concern about creating considerable havoc and death in the midst of a major US city, and I don’t find a high body count and the horrific torture of a person entertaining. This was so out of character for AJ–as a former JAG, THE law official for the Navy–that it was just ridiculous. I also liked your observation about Hetty’s absence. Exactly what does she do in her capacity if not actually manage the operation? The references and stories about Granger were a nice touch, but they didn’t need all the other outlandish action to include them. And I found the fact that these very smart people hadn’t been able to figure out how to put this gold to use in almost 40 years remarkable (I bet Arkady and Garrison could have gotten it donated in less than a year.) I have to admit, I like Whiting as an antagonist: she’s gutsy, no-nonsense, and she’s immune to Deeks’ charm (his” Deeksness”) which is rather refreshing given the plethora of females who always seem to succumb to it. She’s not a likeable person, but she seems like a good cop who takes her job seriously. This was a throwaway episode, and thankfully we won’t see these three again unless their behavior improves (I had thought AJ might be a replacement for Granger, but that seemed less likely when this episode was over.)

  2. Thanks for your review. I unlike everyone else enjoyed the episode. That is because I just take it at face value. There was action, humour and some poignant moments referring to Granger. I think the contrast between the seniors and the juniors is there to show us how things were done differently about 50 years ago. They are not stupid. They were used to a different way. The Deeks/Whiting conversation offers us something to come in season 9. I think the last 2 episodes were set up to pave the way for the drama of the last 2 episodes of the season.

  3. The writers may have intended to highlight the differences between agents then and now, but the entire setting and circumstances were wrong: there’s no way the vets would have behaved the way they did in this episode even 50 years ago if they’d been in a major US city, so that was just dumb on the part of the writers. Besides, they haven’t been in comas or suspended animation. AJ served as JAG. The vets weren’t stupid; they were caricatures, and while I enjoy a cartoon as much as the next person, I don’t watch NCIS: LA for its cartoon quality. As for the Whiting scenario, if they continue this story line next season, I hope they do it off-screen because I also don’t watch NCIS:LA to see stories about LAPD. The touches related to Granger were nice, but they weren’t enough to detract from the shortcomings.

  4. i agree, agree, and agree.
    the 2 episodes ‘battle scars’ and ‘golden days’ have been tough to get through. terrible writing, uncomfortably bad acting. ugh. i only continued to watch so i wouldn’t miss anything said that may be important to the overarching story.
    yes to your assessment (and further assessments in the comments) of the old guys’ ridiculous behavior – totally unrealistic (yes it’s a show, but yikes, i’d like to at least be able to pretend it has some real-life connection).
    an embarrassing performance.

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