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NCIS: Los Angeles - Field of Fire - Review: "Classic Fun"

“Field of Fire” didn’t pick up where we left off last week but instead featured a new case. The episode followed the search for a Marine sniper with PTSD who breaks out of treatment in the VA hospital. He’s suspected of being used to kill Muslims as part of a right-wing extremist organization. It turns out the sniper was given drugs that made him susceptible to influence, and Al Qaeda is using him to shoot a prominent anti-extremist leader. Fortunately, NCIS has a sniper of their own, and Kensi stops the man just in time by shooting the gun out of his hands.

“Field of Fire” was a classic “NCIS: Los Angeles” episode. We saw fun moments of team interaction while the team members raced against the clock in a dangerous case. I love how this episode utilized and emphasized Kensi’s sniper skills, putting her at the forefront of solving the case. And I also enjoyed Sam’s big heart as he reached out to the homeless man, seeing him for who he truly was and what he gave for his country.

The Team

I really liked this week’s team moments at the start and end of the episode. As Deeks looks at a picture of a child he plans to mentor, it was amusing to see how similar the kid was to Deeks. He looks just like a younger version of Deeks with his smile and shaggy hair (or “styled-by-pillow hair,” as Deeks puts it, a throwback to his comments in “Windfall”). The boy also has similar interests. He likes surfing, fish tacos and The Three Stooges. Sam immediately recognizes the similarities, prompting some hilarious statements. He mentions if Deeks helps shape the boy’s life, the kid will be stuck in “perpetual adolescence.” And he makes fun of Deeks being able to offer the boy “Grand Theft Auto Five” and reruns of “Baywatch.” Even Deeks was laughing.

From here the conversation turns to kids in general as Deeks mentions his mentoring is a precursor to being a father. (More on Kensi’s reaction to that in a minute.) But we don’t only see Deeks’ desire to be a dad. Callen also surprises everyone by admitting he hasn’t ruled out having kids. He claims things are back on track with Joelle so children are a definite possibility. I loved everyone’s reactions to this. Sam, Deeks and Kensi are all shocked. And once again Sam makes everyone laugh when he says there would be “little lower case G’s running around.” This whole scene was fantastic.

I also liked that they later got another opportunity to discuss kids when they were on a stakeout. Deeks notices a “cute little family” with kids who are yelling at and hitting one another. Kensi looks disgusted and thinks the parents should do something (as opposed to Deeks, who doesn’t seem to mind). But Sam is the only parent in the group so his opinion naturally carries more weight. He believes the parents are ignoring the children because they’re exhausted. When Callen questions his theory, Sam says they’ll revisit the issue again in a few years when all of them have a couple kids. I loved the visual image of Callen, Kensi and Deeks all having children. This glimpse into their possible future was a lot of fun.

When the case is over, Deeks is disappointed to find the mentoring organization assigned him a different boy from the one he originally chose. His new little brother, Byron, is a typical geek: He likes 3-D chess, advanced calculus and German opera, things Deeks can’t relate to at all. But if he’s really preparing for having children, Hetty points out this will be good practice, since you can never predict what type of kids you’ll have. Hetty was funny as she threw Deeks’ thinking right back at him. I also loved Callen’s interaction. All along he encouraged Deeks and commended him for what he was doing. This time he still reassures Deeks that the boy is going to work out great, but he also throws in a little joke about German operas. It was the perfect amount of encouragement and appropriate ribbing.

Kensi and Deeks

Kensi and Deeks shared a lot of little moments this week that not only showed their connection but also their growing comfort with each other in public. I think it’s a good thing that their relationship is out in the open because now they can just act natural with one another. Of course with these two, you never know what “natural” means. But I was pleased to see them supporting and encouraging each other in front of the team.

For starters, Kensi seemed proud of Deeks’ commitment to mentoring. She looked impressed with her boyfriend, and the way she put her hands on his shoulders was adorable. She was also eager to explain how Deeks could add to the boy’s life – by “expanding his cultural horizons.” Usually we see Kensi making fun of Deeks with the rest of the team – and that’s fun too because it’s always good-natured – but it was a nice change to see Kensi encouraging Deeks in front of the team. Deeks also returns the favor by making sure Granger knew that Kensi was okay on the roof. When Granger asked how Kensi was doing, Deeks stepped in to reaffirm that his partner was good. He didn’t want anyone thinking any differently. He also gently checked on her when she was getting conflicting directions from Granger and Sam. And after she took the amazing shot, he complimented her on a job well done.

Of course, there was also that moment when Deeks mentions how mentoring is a precursor to being a father, and Kensi looks both surprised and alarmed. As the guys start talking about children, she doesn’t want to get involved and walks away as if she’s trying to sneak off without them noticing. But it was definitely noticeable. Deeks is clearly more ready for a conversation about kids than Kensi. That’s a little too much for her right now. They’re not on the same page when it comes to children, but since they’re not at that stage anyway, it doesn’t worry me too much.

These two also had some funny moments in the episode when they were mistaken for different types of people. First the sniper’s daughter assumes that Kensi must be a lesbian if she is a lady Marine (while also telling Deeks he is pretty scruffy for a “Jarhead,” to which Deeks has a quick comeback that strikes just the right tone with this bratty teen). They both take the comments in stride, downplaying the girl’s attitude by telling the mother they’ve all been 15 once – and Deeks still is. (I’m glad he recognizes it.)

After that we are treated to a hilarious scene where Kensi is mistaken for a stripper named Bambi and Deeks is taken for a DJ having a bachelor party. Kensi was not amused with this man at all, so it only made it funnier when she showed her badge and the man thought she wanted a “sexy cop” outfit for the party. Kensi put him in his place after that, not even letting him talk. I also loved how the scene ended with Deeks excited to get a 15 percent “good cop discount” on a “Stooge Fever” T-shirt for his little brother. When Kensi sees what is going on, she can do nothing but roll her eyes.

Sam and Callen

I loved Sam in this episode. He has such a big heart. He gets through to the homeless veteran by sharing his war background and treating him with respect. And when the man gives him and Callen the information they need, Sam doesn’t let the man go without talking to him about his life and future. Again, Sam doesn’t talk down to him but shares his own experience, admitting Veterans Affairs helped him when he got back from war – a fact that really surprises Callen and surprised me as well. However it also gave me even more respect for Sam. The fact that he sought help when he needed it and then would share this information with a stranger just highlights his strength and courage. After that Sam is firm with the veteran, complimenting his skills but also telling him he needs to get his act together. Though you never know what the veteran ultimately decides, he pondered Sam’s advice thoughtfully before walking away. Sam went the extra mile with this man, choosing not to look away like the rest of the world. And it could have made a difference.

Sam also treated the sniper with respect. Even though the man had been commissioned to shoot someone, Sam understood the man was under the influence of strong drugs and also suffering from mental issues brought on by war. But he knows the sniper is more than his problems, and he treats him like a victim instead of a shooter, consoling him after they arrest him, telling him it’s going to be okay. Because of all this, I thought Sam was the perfect person to return the sniper to the VA and watch the emotional reunion with his family; he appreciated how much it meant.

As for Callen, I was a little surprised to hear that he and Joelle were back on track after last week’s interaction. I’m not sure if he just thinks they’re doing well or they actually are. But regardless, it was fun hearing him talk about how he may want to have children one day. Callen would be a great dad. And I’m hoping that in the coming weeks he can find out more about his own father to give him that sense of father-son bond he’s never known.

Other Thoughts

- Kensi was in a tense situation having to choose between Sam’s pleas not to shoot and Granger’s orders to fire. But she kept calm and remained levelheaded. Just like Granger had instructed, she waited until the sniper lined up a shot before pulling the trigger, timing things perfectly. This gave Sam and Callen time to take out the other two men on the roof. She ultimately had to decide for herself the best course of action, and she chose well.

- I had to think about why Granger would be worried about Kensi taking on a patient identity at the VA hospital. But then I remembered the state she was in when she came back from Afghanistan. She was having a hard time dealing with everything that happened, so I can see the reason for Granger’s concern. By the end, it also seemed like Granger was questioning if Kensi was really ready for her sniper role after what happened in Afghanistan. That felt a little unfair. But this is the first time I remember Kensi being tasked with sniper duties since that case. So I imagine it could bring back a rush of memories. Kensi did seem relieved after taking the shot. So after the whole experience of getting in trouble for not taking the shot in Afghanistan, maybe this was a bigger deal for her than it seemed.

- What was Eric wearing? That purple printed shirt was really goofy, even for Eric.

- Deeks had a goofy outfit of his own when he was undercover as an oversight compliance officer at the VA hospital. But the old-fashioned, oversized suit and thick glasses fit his undercover persona. As usual, he really got into his character. You get the sense he relishes the opportunity to become someone else. (I hope that’s a fact that has nothing to do with the LAPD investigation.) Kensi was also great as a patient at the hospital, embodying someone who truly didn’t want to be there.

- I was cracking up that Deeks’ undercover name was Mr. Rogers. Really? I was glad the VA lady recognized the comedy of it when she asked him, “Trouble in the neighborhood, Mr. Rogers?”

- The title of next week’s episode is “Kolcheck, A.” I’m already wondering if the A could stand for Anna, the blonde girl from Arkady’s phone. Who could she be?

How did you like "Field of Fire?" What were your favorite moments? Can you picture Callen with children - or Deeks and Kensi? Please 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.