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NCIS: Los Angeles - Expiration Date - Review: "Moving Too Fast?"

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It was fun to see a familiar “NCIS: Los Angeles” character re-emerge in “Expiration Date” this week: Jemadar Thapa, a Nepali soldier trained as an expert knife fighter (also called a ghurka). It was especially fun to see his character return because of his connection to Deeks and Kensi. Thapa worked with the NCIS team last season and became friends with Deeks, who came to think of Thapa as a mentor of sorts. I really like their friendship. Last year Thapa advised Deeks to take his time with Kensi, saying she would wait for him. And now once again he offered words of wisdom when it came to Deeks and Kensi’s relationship.

That relationship and how fast it was moving played front and center this week. We saw Kensi and Deeks’ first fight and how they dealt with it. And we saw them addressing how much time they spent together. It seems these two never leave each other’s side. We even saw them in bed together at the beginning of the episode. But they had to decide if that incessant time together was too much.

The episode gave Deeks and Kensi fans the most Densi material since they started dating at Christmas – and the most insight into their relationship since then. It was fun to see that personal emphasis on the couple. Even their disagreement became kind of fun as Thapa got in the middle of things with his advice, yielding some very humorous moments. And the resolution to their fight was genuinely sweet. But I have to say, I was also a little disheartened by some aspects of their scenes. I felt like their fight was kind of goofy and the story that developed out of it was too manipulated. It either left me saying, “Why?” or feeling like the situation was a little too theoretical. That left the scenes less powerful for me than they could have been.

Kensi and Deeks (and Thapa)

The first time we see Kensi and Deeks, they are waking up in bed together. My first thought was, “Oh my gosh. Wow. We are actually seeing this. How exciting!” And it was. To not make us guess what goes on behind closed doors was great. We actually got a peek at their intimacy outside work.

I loved so many aspects of this scene. I loved how their guns were both on the nightstand, a sign to me that they are free to be themselves with one another, not having to hide anything about their work. I loved how Kensi woke Deeks up with kisses. I love how they called each other their full official work names. But I thought their closeness got a little awkward as Kensi continued kissing his back – his shirt, really – for too long, almost as if the two actors were trying to avoid other kisses. (Yes – insert question here if being related keeps their level of intimacy on screen stilted. I’d never thought so before, but this scene made me wonder if it could possibly be true.) Nonetheless, I thought it was cute how Deeks laughed as he remembered Kensi’s friends calling her “KK” and wanting her to do lemon drop shots with them. His smile proved he remembered the events in an endearing way. But Kensi was taken off guard. All she hears is him making fun of her friends. And Deeks makes the situation worse by saying the girls’ greatness probably peaked at age 15. (Seriously, Deeks? Stop while you’re ahead!) Suddenly Kensi feels like it was a mistake to introduce him to her friends. And she feels like maybe she jumped the gun too quickly and they are moving too fast.

That is the point where I started getting a little perturbed. It bothered me that after all the stop-and-start movement this couple has experienced, they were now questioning if they were moving too fast. Don’t get me wrong. That’s a legitimate question to ask of a couple, especially one that spends every day and night together. But because of Kensi and Deeks’ history, it made me a little angry. I felt myself asking, “Again? We’re going to go here again? Just when they’re finally going strong, we’re going to slow it down again? Is this really necessary?” With any other couple, I don’t think I would have had this issue. But because of their history (and the audience’s annoyance with the on-again, off-again antics), I felt like this was a bad choice. At the same time, I realize it wasn’t really a big deal. They weren’t considering breaking up or walking away. They just needed to determine if they should spend a little time apart, on their own or with friends. That’s okay. But to me it felt forced.

Maybe it’s because I was being told that they spent too much time together, but I hadn’t really seen that for myself. I didn’t know they hung out together every night. That was news to me – and news that as a Densi fan, I was excited about. It was really fun seeing them wake up together in the morning and hearing they spent all their evenings together (like Deeks, I thought this was “totally and completely awesome!”). But as soon as I could enthusiastically take it all in, suddenly I was getting whiplash as Kensi questioned if it was all too much. I just wanted to scream, “No, Kensi, no. Don’t get scared and back away.” Fortunately, she wasn’t doing that. She was just scared that Deeks didn’t like her friends and maybe she shouldn’t have introduced them. But the effects of the whiplash didn’t go away easily. The gist of their discussion still felt hollow and unnatural to me. I felt like I was being dragged down a path that was laid out for me instead of seeing the reasons for going down the path myself.

The other thing that bothered me, just a little, was the fight itself. It didn’t feel like they had much to really fight about. Deeks didn’t know when to stop, but he truly seemed to be joking about all the girliness he had to endure (I would like to have seen that night out) so it felt like Kensi overreacted a bit. But I understand that she wanted to make sure he wasn’t picking and choosing what he liked about her. Meeting her friends was a vulnerable thing for Kensi and she felt like Deeks didn’t appreciate it and was making fun of something that was important to her.

Regardless of the reason, things come to a head. First Kensi is upset with Deeks, and then Deeks is caught off guard when Kensi says her friends make her happy in a different way than him. I think what she was trying to say is that she enjoys spending time with her friends in a different way than spending time with Deeks. He can’t be her everything because she needs friends around her, too. That is healthy. No one should expect their boyfriend/girlfriend to be the only important person in their life. And I think that is what was happening here. Kensi and Deeks were spending so much time together that they were losing sight of everything else around them. I just think it wasn’t phrased very well or made very clear, so the scene lacked some of its intended impact.

After their first fight gets interrupted by phone calls from work, Deeks later seeks the advice of his old friend Thapa about what to do with “KK.” Thapa believes that, like most new couples, they are moving too fast, spending every moment together and meeting their family and friends. He said in these cases “it feels real before it becomes real.” That advice sounded vague and kind of left me scratching my head. Huh? That wisdom was too abstract for me. I also still don’t see why they shouldn’t be meeting each other’s friends. They’ve known each other a long time and have had feelings for a long time. So meeting their friends does not seem like a big step to me. Maybe others feel differently. But it seems to me if you’ve been dating for a couple months, you should be meeting each other’s friends. If you’re not, then you’re just isolating yourself more on your own. So I thought that whole premise of the argument was a little strange.

Nonetheless, what happened next was hilarious. Kensi returns and Thapa calls her “KK,” revealing that Deeks has been talking about her and what happened that morning. Deeks immediately knows he’s in trouble. He makes up an excuse that he didn’t hear with all the traffic (of which there is none) and says that Thapa just has Nepalese humor. And then he walks away before he really has to pay the price. This scene was hilarious.

Next Kensi gets her chance to ask Thapa for advice - and she does it in front of Deeks. He wants her to find her own ghurka, but she plows ahead. As she wonders out loud if Deeks accepts all or just part of her, Deeks gets defensive and calls her crazy. Kensi points out that is the last thing a woman wants to hear. As she turns to Thapa for wisdom, it was hilarious that Thapa explicitly contradicts his previous statement to Deeks. Earlier he told Deeks that he knows a lot about relationships because he’s “a ghurka, not a monk.” This time he tells Kensi that ghurkas are like monks and they don’t know a lot about relationships – his strength lies in listening. Oh my goodness. Seeing both Kensi and Deeks’ expressions at this point was priceless. Thapa is one smart cookie. He knows when to speak up and went to keep his mouth shut. He knew how to work the situation.

Later Thapa has a touching scene with Deeks as he is spending time thinking of his family at home and the uncertainty of what awaits him in India. Someone has tried to kill Thapa and they don’t know who yet. He has a wife and kids back home, but he tells Deeks that home isn’t a place for him – it’s a feeling. It’s the feeling behind his wife’s smile or his children’s laughter. He built his home on these feelings so he never has to leave.

All these wonderful scenes with Thapa make it that much sadder when he takes a fatal bullet during a ghurka fight at the hospital (they were the ones trying to kill him). Before he dies, though, Deeks tells him they’re going to take him home, and he replies, “I’m already there. Look for me in smiles. You will see me waving back at you.” Though the death scene itself was kind of stiff and cheesy, the effect still made an impact. This was someone Deeks respected greatly. Deeks has a hard time letting him go, but Thapa’s advice remains.

Back at work, Deeks and Kensi are cleaning up their desks to leave when Kensi asks if they should go to his place or hers. Taking in Thapa’s wisdom, Deeks suggests maybe they should take a night off every now and then. At first you can’t tell what Kensi is thinking, but she soon reveals she is happy he suggested it. Then Deeks declares that getting through their first fight is a pretty big deal – cause for celebration. To this Kensi affirms that he must not be talking about tonight since they just decided to take a night off from hanging out. But Deeks playfully admits that tonight technically ends at midnight. I thought this was sweet but also a little strange as it muddled the message from earlier. (But since it was a message I didn’t much care for, I’ll go with it.) He still wants to see her as much as he can, which is cute. Kensi laughs and tells him to call her if he wants to talk. These two are not at risk for drifting apart any time soon.

As Deeks stares at her, she grows uncomfortable. But Deeks is contemplative. His next words reflect so much: “Your smile is so perfect.” With those heartfelt words it is clear he is seeing his friend Thapa in Kensi’s smile. But he is also seeing her and reflecting on how much she means to him. Kensi’s smile grows huge and then turns into a laugh, which unfortunately seemed out of place with Deeks’ solemn mood. But I was glad to see she is receiving his compliments now. As Kensi leaves for the night, she tells him to go home. And Deeks doesn’t move from his spot as he says to himself, “I’m already there.” Just like Thapa, Deeks’ home is a feeling – the feeling he gets when he looks at Kensi and sees her smile. Without even realizing it, she has comforted him.

Sam and Callen

We didn’t see a lot of Sam in this episode since he was shot protecting a scientist from India who was supposedly defecting to the U.S. (and working with the CIA). I really wasn’t expecting Sam to get shot when he did. I actually gasped when it happened. But as it occurred in the beginning of the episode, I figured he would make it through just fine.

His absence left Callen working to solve the case frantically on behalf of his friend. And Callen did work hard. He suspected the Indian scientist, Ella, was a fraud from the beginning. (I loved his line to Granger: “No one’s the real thing. Some of us just have fewer lies to tell.”) Callen made Ella think the CIA would be retracting her deal after Sam “died” (or so he told her), and he gets her to write down the number of nuclear warheads in India’s arsenal. He then detects when she’s lying since he was in the country himself gathering intel on that very subject. Ella has been feeding the CIA bad information.

When Sam wakes up in the hospital, I love that not only does he find Callen by his side, but Deeks and Kensi as well. (And Sam was hilarious as he wanted to make sure Deeks was disinfected before they let him in. His humor was clearly intact after the shooting.) The team is there for him. But it’s not long before they all have to jump into action to stop the killer ghurkas on the loose. I loved how everyone was involved in the fight in different ways. Callen had to save the hostage and Sam cleverly used his hospital tray to stop the knives the fake nurse was throwing at him.

Other Thoughts

- I loved how Deeks remembered the “pantheon of crazy girl names” of Kensi’s friends and didn’t want the fight to be him versus Kensi, Cat, Mindy, Mandy, Tiffany and Tiffany.

- Sam seriously can spot a sniper anywhere. This time he just didn’t have much time to react.

- I liked seeing Hetty and Granger at the hospital when Sam was shot. I enjoyed Granger referring to Hetty as the mother when he said, “A mother’s work is never done.” But I did think it was weird that Michelle wasn’t there at Sam’s side.

- Kensi has some serious game when flinging knives at bombers! What aim.

- I loved how Hetty compared spying to used car dealers.

- To me the “expiration date” dialogue didn’t really have a purpose in the episode. Thapa was saying you need to be ready for death. But the topic had no real purpose in the story.

- How in the world did Sam see Ella put a GPS tracking beacon on Thapa? I don’t know when he would have had time to see that before he got shot. But then again, he’s Sam.

- When Deeks was trying to get through the bolted door at the hospital, why didn’t he just use his gun? Wouldn’t that have been easier than getting an axe out of the glass box on the wall?

What did you think of "Expiration Date?" Do you think Kensi and Deeks need to spend some time apart? Is it too soon to meet their friends? Let us know your thoughts below.

About the Author - Tonya Papanikolas
Tonya Papanikolas is an online, print and broadcast journalist who loves covering entertainment and television. She spent more than 10 years as a broadcast news anchor/reporter and now does everything from hosting to writing. She loves covering NCIS: Los Angeles for SpoilerTV. (She's a big fan of Kensi and Deeks!) She also writes SpoilerTV articles on other great shows.

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