Here’s my review of NCIS Los Angeles season eight season finale “Unleashed.” 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.
Another season has come to a close and I think it went out on a good note. The crew delivered an interesting, exciting, and emotional episode in “Unleashed.” We received an hour of excellent character development and thrilling action. (Even some humor surprisingly) “Unleashed” works as a great close to a very decent season.
We’ve been waiting all season for some personal focus on Sam, and while I hate that it came at the cost of losing his wife, the performance from LL Cool J was stellar. It’s not often we see Sam go rogue (actually, have we ever seen Sam go rogue before?) and it’s nice to compare his time away from the team to say, when Callen went off the grid. Even at his most devastated, Sam manages to stay coldly calm. Even when the team catches up to him, he is angry but never lashes out like a cornered lone wolf. He’s even nice enough to simply put Sabatino in a sleeper hold to quietly slip away. (For being involved as a mole, Sabatino really deserves more like a good whack on the head)
What I really appreciated in the episode was that the team made more progress finding Tahir than Sam did on his own. Most TV shows would let Sam be the hero by himself, but here we have a good example of how effective working together actually is. As Sam has said before: “teamwork makes the dream work.” A corny saying, yes, but Sam would have not found Tahir as quickly by himself. With his family in shambles, it’s a good reminder to Sam that he still has people to rely on and help. And additionally, it gave Callen a chance to break away from his own usual lone wolf routine (which he even lampshades the irony of that)
I think this episode functioned as a great season finale because it was so personal. There was no dramatic “we’re trying to save the world” plot that many shows (and movies) tend to fall into to up the drama at the end. This felt like any other episode of NCISLA except that Sam was out for revenge. It’s a plot that affected all the characters on a personal level, allowing character development to take place instead of focusing all on the action. With few exceptions, personal episodes are always much more entertaining to watch.
Overall, season eight was a wild ride. All of the characters had the opportunity to grow and change with a variety of storylines this season. It’s been an emotional trip but in a good way. “Unleashed” was just the cherry on top. Now we just have to wait until next season.
Notes from the Boat Shed
- One thing I really appreciated is that we didn’t end the season on a cliffhanger. I’ve always thought that was a lazy tactic. I commend the writers for not having to rely on that this time
- We finally got an official marriage proposal for Kensi and Deeks, with an official “yes” this time too! I loved how it all turned out. Yes, it’s 2017 and there’s nothing wrong with Kensi taking the initiative herself 😀 Using the flashbang ring was a cute touch. “Sunshine and gunpowder” indeed
- I was a bit confused by the scene with Sam at the mosque. Is he a practicing Muslim? I don’t have a problem with that. I just don’t think it’s been established before, has it?
- Does Sabatino have some sort of escaping super power? Is he secretly a magician?
- Not gonna lie, Nell yelling “Jesus is my copilot” made me laugh more than it should have. Nice callback joke to her previously established terrible driving skills
- So what was your favorite moment this season? (I might shamelessly answer Kensi dancing and then taking down the bad guy from a few episodes ago, but my real answer is Granger hitting a guy in the face with a bicycle tire. Never forget. RIP Miguel Ferrer)
So what did you think? Like it or hate it? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. (Even if I don’t have a chance to reply, I read all the comments and appreciate them greatly!)
Until season nine, my friends! Have a lovely summer!