Here’s my review of NCIS Los Angeles season nine episode “The Silo.” 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.
It might be too soon to pick a best episode of the season, but I have a hard time believing anything else will top “The Silo.” It was a well-constructed episode which hit the audience with heavy topics and emotions. It was an episode that got your heart pounding in a way that rarely happens in procedural television shows. “The Silo” took a terrifying situation, made it personal, and then zeroed in on how everyone reacted to it.
This is some of Daniela Ruah’s best work of the season, with Kensi getting the focus of the episode. Contrast this to last week’s Deeks-centric episode which didn’t put Deeks in the spotlight much at all. Instead, here, we get to see Kensi in the awful situation of trying to stop a multitude of nuclear missile launches. All of her actions demonstrate the strength of her character we’ve seen develop over the course of the series. When it’s clear that the sister Tiffany will make more progress with the rogue Miller than Kensi will, she immediately switches gears to help support Tiffany. This is after she’s already been able to calm Tiffany down herself by connecting with her (through a lie about having a baby, no less). She’s dedicated to doing what’s necessary to save lives.
This dedication becomes even more clear when she agrees to risk her life to climb through the narrow tunnel to breach the launch center. Her call to Deeks was emotional, especially because she knew she was their best chance at stopping all-out nuclear war. The choice to do it may be logically simple (“the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few” as Spock would say) but it’s still an emotional mission with no guarantee she’ll return.
Of course, as a viewer, we can be pretty certain she’ll survive in the end. But we cannot know the consequences until we see them play out on screen. That’s what makes the episode so excellent. In the end, Kensi averts disaster, but the cost is high. Tiffany has lost her brother, and the look of betrayal on her face when she gets in the car to return home is devastating. And when Kensi returns back to Deeks in LA, there is no happy reunion. Deeks is honest about his fears of losing Kensi and it’s becoming increasingly apparent that if they want any sort of future together, something will have to change. The writers went for a more realistic relationship portrayal, and for that, I applaud them.
The team is put at risk in every episode, but it is rare to see the stakes here so high. What makes the episode work, however, is not merely the focus on the action, but the emphasis on the emotions. “The Silo” could be considered a highlight of the series because of its perfect combination of character growth and well-written plot.
Notes from the Boat Shed
- I cannot finish this review without mentioning the awful goal the terrorists had. They thought that wiping out Muslim majority countries with nukes would be the best way to prevent future wars. Even the mention of that made me feel sick to my stomach. I’ve long said that I appreciate whenever NCISLA makes an effort to show that Muslims are not all terrorists (and not all terrorists are Muslims), unlike what certain people (in high ranking positions) say IN REAL LIFE. The more you show that people who are different than you are still just as human, the harder it is to learn to hate them. We need more of that on TV. That’s why I was glad to see Sam speak briefly about being a Muslim (which I don’t believe the show has ever outright confirmed before, right?). It was another highlight to an excellent episode.
- If anyone is still angry about Mosley’s character, I can’t imagine how they can find complaint with her actions in this episode. She worked with the team even though her hands were tied on speaking about the situation. I believe Hetty would have been just as withholding if she’d been there. (Both women know the team is smart enough to figure it out). On a sidenote, Nia Long gave a great performance to show how serious it all was.
- Hidoko continues to work well with the team. She and her amazing wardrobe can stay forever in my opinion.
- I should mention Deeks as well. I really appreciated how they have not forgotten the death of Michelle yet. It’s still something that will continue to haunt the whole team, not just Sam. Deeks plainly saying that he can’t go through what Sam went through was heartbreaking. And there’s no easy solution either. Kudos to Eric Christian Olsen for his portrayal in this episode.
- On a lighter note, I thought the visual of Callen hanging off the side of the building after he’d shot through the window was a cool image. Not as cool as that time he became a human flamethrower, but still pretty cool.
- You guys think the awful Patton Project people will rear their ugly heads again this season?
- I googled that reference Callen made to the US losing a nuke in a North Carolina swamp and I’m horrified to learn it was true. It really was never recovered D:
So what did you think? Like it or hate it? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.