NCIS: Los Angeles Review: Citadel (Season 7 Episode 2)

September 29, 2015Lissete Lanuza SáenzNCIS: LA, Reviews
Last week’s episode of NCIS: LA was a bit of a letdown, I’ll admit. It wasn’t a bad episode, no, but it felt a little like same old, same old. After all, how many times can Callen go rogue without actually going rogue? So, my expectations for this week were low. The second episode of a season is never better than the first. Or so I thought.

Because, wow, is NCIS: LA Season 7 Episode 2, “Citadel,” better than last week. And the season finale last year. And quite possibly ninety percent of the episodes in the past two seasons.

I can’t even comprehend what’s going on. How did I fall in love with this show once again?

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This is how – with a guest star that I can actually invest in (how I hate her), no Hetty pulling strings or tricking the agents she claims to care about, the main four interacting with each other outside of their usual partnerships, next to no Granger, and a case with far-reaching implications into the future.

Doesn’t sound so hard, does it?

Well, apparently, it is. I understand that NCIS: LA is a procedural drama. I don’t expect it to always give me a case that could come up again in other episodes, that’s not in the nature of the show.

But I do expect them to give me good Callen and Sam interactions (check, check, check), some Kensi/Deeks banter that’s in keeping with their new relationship (check, check, check), and I expect to see these people interacting with each other.

And by that I mean not just Sam with Callen and Deeks with Kensi. I expect to see conversations between the four of them, just like we had at the beginning of the episode.

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I expect Sam to give Kensi advice. I expect Callen to go all over-protective big-brother on Deeks. I expect Sam and Deeks to act like actual co-workers who sit side by side. I expect Callen and Kensi to discuss their favorite meals.

I expect diversity.

Last night I got that and more.

Even the case is more interesting than usual standards. Citadel presents an interesting idea. Who does background checks of the people who investigate you? The test itself, and the way Callen “fails” it is also incredibly revealing. He can deny it all he wants, but that’s not acting. He was going to fail that test anyway. The whole mystery about his father is affecting him.

And that’s actually a good thing, a long overdue good thing.

They catch the culprit this time (don’t they always?), but the idea that there are many operatives out there who didn’t pass their background checks and could be susceptible to, ahem, outside influence, is still something that I’m pretty sure will come up at some point or another.

Even Hetty, who lately has done nothing but get on my last nerve, is spot on in this episode. In fact, she is the Henrietta Lange of the first few seasons, always one step ahead of everyone and always, always looking out for her people.

I don’t know if it’s possible to make me love Hetty as much as I used to, not after the whole Kensi to Afghanistan story-line from Season 5, but, if this continues and she manages to get Deeks out of trouble when the whole Internal Affairs investigation blows up in his face, then I’ll forgive and forget. I promise.

Finally, there’s Talia. She’s never been one of my favorite characters, but she does bring out a fun (if slightly homicidal) side of Kensi. May she be used sparingly from here on out. As much as I appreciate that side of Kensi, I don’t need to see it more than once a season.

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The final scene, with Deeks and his mom is the perfect combination of adorable and nerve-wracking. Deeks is nervous. Kensi is nervous.

Even I’m fretting a bit. And yet it all works perfectly, because, sometime during the mess that was the last two seasons, these writers figured out that writing Kensi and Deeks as a couple wasn’t that different from writing Kensi and Deeks as partners. All they had to do was take away the uncertainties.

So, here it is, a thoroughly enjoyable episode of NCIS: LA, the most fun I’ve had watching this show in years. May it continue!

Other things to note:

I’m going to miss Chris O’Donell’s long hair. WHY DO YOU HAVE TO TAKE EVERYTHING I LOVE AWAY, HETTY? WHY?
Was Granger even around? I can’t remember. I’m not sure why they brought him in to begin with, and I never miss him when he’s gone, so the show better give me a reason to care about him now, or I just won’t. Ever.
They’ve done a really good job of advancing the Deeks/Kensi relationship in a way that feels real. Most times on TV relationships are either rushed or too slow, but these two seem to be going at a perfect pace.
Continuity, as always, is an issue. And not just in the case of Deek’s mom.
Deek’s, seriously, is about time you said something to Talia. Like, get off me, you’re WAY out of line. Or at least get off me. It’s just too much.

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