NCIS Los Angeles review: “Fool Me Twice”


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Here’s my review of NCIS Los Angeles season nine episode “Fool Me Twice.” 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.

Every story arc comes to an end, even if we sometimes would like to see it continue. Some last for a long time, whole others are abruptly cut short. “Fool Me Twice” brought back a storyline which had been wrapped up last season: Joelle and the rogue CIA operatives. The question remains: were these stories worth opening up again? Let’s discuss it here.

When Joelle was first introduced a few seasons ago, she was merely a love interest for Callen. She helped the audience see a different side of his character through their interactions. And before we knew she was CIA, she provided the audience with a civilian perspective. How does someone outside of the agent life cope with a partner who can’t share the details of their life? It was a nice side story to explore until Joelle and Callen broke up and she faded out of the storyline.

That could have been a fitting end to her character arc right there, but the writers brought her back briefly last season to reveal her real agenda as a CIA agent operating with the rogue faction (which tied into the terribly drawn-out mole storyline). This new information invalidated her previous innocent place in the story, but it did open up a different idea to explore. She had become a traitor whose every previous move with Callen was a lie. The twist brought out angry reactions from Callen which were interesting to watch, especially when he decided to burn the dining room table which had been a gift. That moment seemed like a fitting end for Joelle’s storyline as well. It was a moment that said Callen was putting all that in the past and moving on with his life.

“Fool Me Twice” brought Joelle back once again, but this time it felt like a move that didn’t serve to further any story. Callen reacts with understandable anger and distrust again, though the end of the episode (the scene in the car) suggests that he’s starting to move past that just a little. To me, the reintroduction of Joelle seemed like a plot point that was dug up unnecessarily.

And it wasn’t just Joelle. The rogue CIA group behind the mole gets a mention too, opening up the possibility of some sort of evil global syndicate pulling the strings behind the scenes. Again I ask, why did the writers want to reopen that can of worms? What purpose will it serve to move the plot forward for the team? They’re already dealing with a bunch of other things this season. I don’t know yet if the syndicate will be something that pops up down the road or if Joelle faking her death to pursue them herself will be the last mention of the shady group behind the rogue CIA.

I just feel like these were stories that should have remained buried. They were stories the NCISLA team didn’t need to get involved in. (I know, that’s hypocritical of me to say when I usually don’t mind the cases which have little connection to the Navy). Narratively, it felt like both of these story arcs came to their natural conclusion last season. Bringing them back takes time away from other storylines that could be developing (such as pursuing their search for Hetty or adjusting to working under Mosley or introducing something new which hasn’t been covered before).

Just like “Can I get a witness?” a few weeks ago, I found “Fool Me Twice” to be unsatisfactory, but I recognize that others probably enjoyed it. Please feel free to let me know if you did in the comments, and whether or not you think these storylines were worth bringing back.

Notes from the Boat Shed

  • I just wanna tell you all I think Hidoko makes a nice addition to the team. She hasn’t had a chance to let a personality shine through yet but she does excellent work.
  • I thought Mosley’s new office was a terrible idea when first mentioned (bc hey, don’t ruin nice old architecture), but honestly it doesn’t look half bad and putting it upstairs means it’s out of the way mostly. I’m curious when her plan to split everyone up will come into play though, and when she’ll remember to fuss at the team for the body count again.
  • Do you ever watch this show and wonder about all the unfortunate people whose cars get shot up because they parked in the wrong place at the wrong time? Because I think about this at least once an episode.
  • Sam still got Sabatino’s contact info??
  • Favorite line of the episode was Callen’s snarky introduction to Sam’s boat: “It doubles as a panic room. But only if it’s sinking.”
  • What other characters/storylines would you bring back for the team to deal with? I’d like to see Talia again, but I can’t pick any storylines to reopen.

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

2 thoughts on “NCIS Los Angeles review: “Fool Me Twice”

  1. Interesting/good review. I agree with what you said but I still loved this episode–love Joelle and Callen together even if not in a relationship. Marcel Janvier has to come back to finish the game with Callen! Or at least have him play the game from prison. Love your Notes From the Boat Shed.

  2. Thanks for your review. I found it very interesting. I agree about bringing back these storylines. The story of Joelle/Callen really should have ended last season with the mole story. Unless they have something new to add, they should stay dead. As you said, they have new storylines to develop. I did like the episode because I enjoy the scenes with Callen and Joelle. I think he has the right to be angry. I am ambivalent about Joelle. She does nothing but lie even to someone she needs help from. Maybe now he can move on with Anna or someone new. I would like to see Janvier back in the future. Yes! I have wondered about the owners of the cars that get smashed up. I hope the owners get some compensation.

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