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NCIS: Los Angeles - Fighting Shadows - Review: "A Deeks Secret?"

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Oooh, I really enjoyed “Fighting Shadows” this week. Not only did the episode put Kensi and Deeks front and center, it also addressed the rest of the team’s awareness of their relationship. It was pretty obvious that they all knew what was going on, but it was fun to see these conversations play out on camera. And we also find out that Deeks is under investigation with the LAPD for some unknown reason. It all sounds very nebulous – and intriguing. The episode set up a nice potential story arc and left me eager to find out why in the world Deeks is being watched and followed. I can’t wait for more. Is Deeks hiding something nobody knows about?

All of this took place against the backdrop of tracking down whoever bombed an FBI van, killing three agents. That investigation leads pretty quickly to a Pakistani man, Mr. Shah, who is seeking revenge for his nephew’s arrest in an FBI sting operation. It turns out an undercover FBI agent posing as a terrorist convinced the nephew to bomb his own high school. The uncle believes the FBI turned the boy into a terrorist, and he is out for revenge. He sends two young boys with radical leanings to bomb the FBI task force office. But Sam is able to stop them just in time.

We got to see another partner swap this week, this one very purposeful. Hetty keeps Deeks and Kensi apart to make sure there is no appearance of impropriety while Deeks is being monitored. It gave us a chance to see Callen and Sam weighing in on Kensi and Deeks’ relationship. Because all their scenes revolved around Kensi and Deeks’ storyline, I’m going to put it all under the section “Kensi and Deeks” this week.

Kensi and Deeks

We first see Kensi and Deeks together working out in the park, where Deeks is running with the aid of a power harness. (Fun fact: says Eric Christian Olsen and Daniela Ruah were running so powerfully in this scene that they broke the resistance band in the first 10 minutes of filming.) Deeks is working hard but doesn’t seem to enjoy it, commenting that he doesn’t know why they can’t run like “normal human beings.”Their conversation then turns into playful banter as Deeks tells Kensi he has muscles “in all the right places” and then says, “I’m a lean, mean sex machine – at least that’s what my ladybird says.” I loved Kensi’s laugh as she hears this, protesting she did not make those comments. I also loved how Deeks pulled her in with the running band to draw her close, claiming to have specific evidence that she did make the comments: She bit his ear while saying it and he still has the bite marks to prove it. (He was hilarious as he said it hurt but he also kind of liked it.) To that Kensi says she wants to take back her claim, but Deeks won’t let her. And he is willing to prove right then and there that he is indeed a lean, mean sex machine. But their flirting is interrupted as Kensi notices a woman surreptitiously taking pictures of the two of them.

I must say, I loved this scene. It showed how playful these two are together – and affirmed their intimacy. (We all knew the sex was happening, right?) It’s fun to see these two partners “all in” together, enjoying one another and not holding back. I love that as a couple, they are still flirty with one another just like they were before they got together. The amazing chemistry of their dynamics hasn’t changed – it just gets better.

Later, as Hetty asks Deeks to go with Callen – a move they all find strange – I loved the awkwardness between Callen and Deeks as they don’t really have much to say to one another. This was very funny. To fill the silence, Deeks starts asking how Joelle is, and Callen uses that moment to return the favor and ask about Kensi. Deeks at first plays coy, acting like he doesn’t know why Callen would ask him that. In response, Callen gives a great laugh. Deeks then says to Callen, “You know, don’t you?” and Callen confirms yes, pretty much everyone knows except maybe Granger, who could still crush him. Deeks is still taking all of this in when Callen bluntly tells him, “Don’t pretend that you didn’t know the risks.” Deeks looks a little surprised at this statement, but he knows it’s true – he and Kensi were aware of the risks of dating each other in such a high-stakes job. Safety always needs to come first in their line of work, and some people could easily see their union as a threat to that safety. So they have to be careful, and they know not everyone will approve – a risk they decided to take when they started dating.

I also really enjoyed this scene. I thought it was perfect that practical Callen was the one to let Deeks know the whole team was onto the two of them. He wasn’t judgmental at all, he was just practical. He enjoyed putting Deeks on the spot, then made his comments and went about his business. The conversation made Deeks aware to the fact that everyone, including Hetty, has known about them and didn’t say anything. So it seemed like everyone was okay with what was happening. But it also made Deeks wonder if this was the reason Hetty separated him and Kensi.

Later, Deeks goes to find Hetty to figure out what she’s thinking, and he walks in on Hetty and Nell looking at a picture of the woman who had snapped his photo that morning. Deeks is immediately curious and wants to know what is going on. Is she a threat? Hetty says not yet, but emphasizes it is imperative he and Kensi stay apart for the day. Nell recognizes that Hetty let Deeks see the photo on purpose. Hetty says it’s because she wanted to find out how much he knew.

Next, Kensi has a “recognize-the-relationship” conversation with Sam. I wish we had seen the beginning of this conversation, as the scene starts in mid-stream. We join them as Kensi is asking Sam why he didn’t tell them what he knew. Sam says he wanted to respect their privacy, which was nice. When Kensi asks if he is okay with it, he claims he doesn’t like co-workers dating but he definitely doesn’t want them to be off the team. It was interesting to hear Sam’s perspective as Sam is someone who always puts the mission first. To me, this showed that Sam recognizes this may not be an ideal situation for the team but he also knows these two are good at what they do and he doesn’t believe they will threaten the mission. If he did, he would have said so.

In fact, Sam seemed to be more concerned about where Kensi and Deeks’ relationship was headed. I thought the transition into mentioning kids was a little odd – it felt strange. But I liked the conversation itself. I felt like Sam was trying to give Kensi some advice. Sam knew what it was like to date and marry someone in the same line of business, and once he and Michelle had kids, they had to decide if they both wanted to continue to put their lives on the line. Kids changed things for them, prompting the decision that Michelle would stop being an agent. So Sam was really trying to make Kensi think ahead. With their jobs, if she and Deeks continued their relationship and got married and had kids, her future may be different than her present. She may have to make decisions down the road that she may not have considered before. This all made sense coming from Sam. And this ended up being a very sweet scene. You could tell how much Sam loved his son Aiden as he got emotional talking about him.

The next time we see Kensi and Deeks together, Deeks won’t let Kensi come with him to interrogate a potential suspect. She doesn’t understand why, and Deeks tells her that Hetty is worried. She quickly understands that it has to do with the woman taking pictures that morning. Deeks tries to lighten the mood with a joke, but Kensi seems concerned anyway. It was cute how Deeks doesn’t want Kensi to worry. He tries to tell her to leave that to Hetty. Then he tries to encourage her and make sure she knows that the two of them are okay. I love that he wanted to reassure her that nothing was going to tear them apart. He clearly is invested in this relationship and makes it a priority. He looked like the ultimate boyfriend, trying to encourage Kensi that this wasn’t going to affect the two of them, making Kensi repeat back to him “We’re good.” And she does. But Deeks still looked a little troubled himself.

Kensi then comes face to face with the woman who had taken their pictures after the woman starts following her. When Kensi stops and confronts the lady, the detective says she thought Deeks had been with her. As Kensi realizes the woman is investigating Deeks, she tells her she is not going to find anything, and the woman responds, “Maybe not. [But] doesn’t mean it isn’t there.”

In the final scene, Hetty has a talk with Kensi and Deeks in which Hetty lays out what she knows. The LAPD has decided to open an investigation into Deeks. It’s unclear if they did that on their own or someone pushed them into investigating. Either way, they are not revealing what it is they are trying to find. But Hetty says they are definitely hunting – and they will use everything they have against Deeks. Yikes! That’s scary. Hetty knows that this could be very bad for them. The LAPD is out for blood, and they are not going to stop until they find something. The big question is, is there something to find?

Hetty already knows about Kensi and Deeks’ relationship and implies the LAPD would use that relationship against Deeks, even if it’s not what they’re after. Hetty says she will try to protect them as best she can, which implies she will protect their relationship. I found this interesting. Hetty seems to be okay with them dating. After all, she hasn’t stopped them or said anything until now. But it seems the LAPD is really after something more. Is there anything else in Deeks’ life or past that they could use against him?

When Hetty asks Deeks this question, I found his response very interesting. His eyes look contemplative for a second and then he answers “There’s nothing.” As he continues to stare straight at Hetty, I got the impression he wasn’t telling the truth. He looked like he was thinking of something, that he was holding back. And it seemed like Hetty knew he was restraining himself – but she couldn’t force him to say anything. Of course, this is all open to interpretation so time will tell. Hetty claimed this was just the beginning. She advised them both to watch the shadows, and Deeks purposely flipped over the hourglass on Hetty’s desk as if to imply they are up against a clock now, running out of time. Even Hetty seemed worried. I’m very interested to see what is going to happen. I’m intrigued by the fact that Deeks might have something to hide – something going on or that happened in his past that none of us knows about. If so, do the people around him know? If not, will it shock them? Will it change anything for him and his relationships? We will have to wait and see. But it leaves a very interesting direction for the show to take as we head toward the season finale. I, for one, am excited at this new path and can’t wait to see where the story is headed. How long until next week?

Other Thoughts

- I love it when the name of the episode easily identifies and mirrors what is happening in the plot. (It sure makes it a lot easier to remember episodes!) I thought “Fighting Shadows” was the perfect title this week.

- I thought the questions posed in this episode about sting operations were interesting: Is it okay for the government to prompt someone to act as a terrorist? Does it make the government complicit at all when a person takes action after undercover operatives helped push them to that decision? In the end, the episode seemed to say no - these “terrorists” would have taken action, anyway, so you might as well find out what they’d do in a controlled environment. But the questions raised along the way were good ones.

- I loved that Kensi knew something was bothering Sam when he had his “pistachio face” – the same face he makes when Deeks eats pistachios and leaves the shells everywhere. Deeks really gets under Sam’s skin!

- Callen and Deeks were a pretty good team when they fooled one of the terrorists into thinking his brother needed his kidney.

- I enjoyed the short Eric and Nell scene. Their talk about chess revealed how they hang out together in their time off, which was fun. Eric is apparently pretty sensitive – he cries when Nell takes his chess pawn. So next time it’s checkers for them! I was happy to hear them mention a next time.

- Sam was awesome as he jumped on the moving flatbed truck and stopped the two young extremists planning to bomb the FBI office. I thought the scene itself was a little unbelievable – these two brothers were willing to be convinced pretty easily to stop after they’d originally agreed to die for their cause. But Sam is still the man!

How much did you enjoy "Fighting Shadows?" What was your interpretation of the final scene? Do you think Deeks has a secret? If so, any guesses on what it could be? Join our discussion in the comments 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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