NCIS Los Angeles review: “Forasteira”


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Here’s my review of NCIS Los Angeles season nine episode “Forasteira.” 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.

A great thing about NCISLA is its commitment to showcasing strong women. We’ve seen Kensi show off her physical strength over the years, Nell show off her technical skills, and Hetty consistently wielding power in many aspects. Season nine has also given us two more strong women with Mosley and Hidoko. “Forasteira” is a good episode to discuss this topic because the culprit of the crime is also a strong woman.

Let me start off by saying that, as a narrative choice, I didn’t like how the episode started off showing how Pietra took out the guys at the bar. The audience knows who committed the crime and how she did it, so it feels a bit tedious waiting for the team to uncover information we already know. But that aside, as we get further into the investigation, we have the opportunity to compare Pietra to Kensi.

Pietra’s motive is revenge for her father’s death, we learn late in the episode. This gives Kensi a chance to connect to her in the crucial moment before she pulls the trigger. But before all that happens, the episode gives us a energetic fight scene between the two, so we can see how they each defend themselves. It’s clear there that both women are very clever, calculating, and able to go toe-to-toe without a problem. Even before that, Hidoko makes a point to praise Kensi during a conversation by saying “you think of everything ahead of time.” To compare, as the episode continues, we can see that Pietra is also good at planning things out, hence why she was so difficult for the team to track down and figure out her motives.

So by the time Kensi is urging Pietra to drop her revenge scheme, the audience can see how these are two similar women whose paths diverged. Kensi didn’t pursue revenge while Pietra attempts it. In the end, it is their similarities which help Kensi get through to her and reach a positive outcome. I enjoy watching any episode of any show where women can learn from each other to become even stronger.

Another point I really enjoyed about the episode was the field work with Kensi and Hidoko. It’s a team up we haven’t seen before, but they worked well together, with Kensi giving advice to an appreciative Hidoko. Mosley’s assistant is a new element to the team, so it’s been fun to see how she works. It’s nice to incorporate new interactions instead of just the same team ups each week.

“Forasteira” is a Portuguese word meaning “outsider.” That’s what Pietra is, and perhaps it is how Kensi felt in the past too after the death of her father. Being an outsider is isolating, but luckily for Kensi, she was able to move forward and now she has strong bonds with her team. It was interesting, though, how the episode gave us a glimpse of a different path Kensi could have traveled down. It showed us that things could have been different, no matter how strong you are. Perhaps the people you surround yourself with make all the difference.

Notes from the Boat Shed

  • Another similarity between Kensi and Pietra the episode points out: they both speak Portuguese 😛 (Daniela Ruah is Portuguese-American)
  • The rocket launcher on the freeway was a bit over the top even for NCISLA, but… it kinda made me laugh (once I knew Sam was okay)
  • I love that brief moment when Eric presses his tablet touchscreen with his elbow because of all the powdered sugar on his fingers. I just enjoy little things like that over his more wacky usual characterization.
  • I wonder a bit what would have happened if it had been anyone else confronting Pietra at the end. Would anyone else have gotten through? Would someone have pulled the trigger too quickly? And I wonder if Kensi’s experience in “The Silo” affected her desire to try to stop Pietra without killing her.
  • I thought Deeks’ side story was awfully boring and pointless. Though I feel like Deeks recognizing how helping Guy was much less life-threatening than his usual job might be important in the future.
  • So….. when will they decide to start actually looking for Hetty?
  • I’m very sorry for the excessive delay in my review this week. Life got busy and exhausting. Next week’s review will have much less waiting time (I hope!)

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

3 thoughts on “NCIS Los Angeles review: “Forasteira”

  1. Great review! Often Trigger Happy Callen was more than willing to pull the trigger instead of allowing Kensi to do her thing. 😉 I LOL at the rocket launcher on the freeway, especially when the woman dropped it when shot at. And why didn’t Kensi call Callen’s name after the vehicle was hit? She was only concerned with Sam–liked when Callen said he was okay, thanks for asking or something like that. Hetty? Who is Hetty? LOL 😉 I am NOT liking the way Linda Hunt’s absence was written in. I didn’t think the writing for Deeks could get any worse–but the episode proved me wrong. Kensi, again, was awesome in this episode. 🙂

  2. Thanks for your review. I know how busy life is, so don’t worry about being late. I liked the episode very much. There was tension, excitement and humour especially with Callen and Sam. It was nice to have that back. I also liked the different teams again especially Kensi and Hidoku. It fits in very well with the concept of strong women which you talked about. There were a lot in this episode even as you said the assassin. I do wish they would get on with Hetty’s story though. I know some people didn’t like the episode for different reasons, but not every episode can be perfect. I just take it as it comes and look forward to seeing Callen every week.

  3. Thanks for your review. I, too, like stories about strong women–but I like stories that are well-written and make at least a modicum of sense. Unfortunately, this episode was nonsense from the beginning all the way to the end, and the fact that it was about “strong women” is no excuse for its ridiculous premise and execution. If NCISLA wants to be taken seriously as a drama show, then it needs to offer episodes that don’t end with everything neatly tied in a bow–and a foreign assassin being “talked out” of her life goal by a perfect stranger who just happens to speak Portuguese. The writers shouldn’t sacrifice the show to showcase Dani’s various talents (first dancing, now Portuguese). When are they going to write a story where Chris plays golf or LL goes undercover as a hip hop artist? The episode was a joke. I like the series but if those who create it don’t take it seriously, why should the viewers?

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