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NCIS: Los Angeles - Come Back - Review: "Moving Forward"



Kensi and Deeks fans have been eagerly awaiting the episode “Come Back.” And it didn’t disappoint. It proved to be a big step forward in their relationship. And fortunately the reappearance of Kensi’s ex-fiancé, Jack, didn’t impede their plans. In fact, it just reaffirmed their commitment to one another.

The couple announces in the beginning of the episode that they are moving in together. But soon after, Jack shows up in town, helping Hetty. It turns out Jack had been a guide in Afghanistan to a man who worked for U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. That man had been cataloging antiquities in Afghanistan, but Jack suspected he was doing something nefarious with the items because he was keeping details from the government. So Jack contacted Hetty. It turns out his suspicions were warranted. The U.S. employee had been making a list of important people with terrorist connections. After the man discovered Jack was in Los Angeles, he tried to have him killed. But Kensi (and the rest of the team) came to his rescue once again.

I liked this episode a lot. Kensi’s personal history with Jack gave it a nice emotional foundation. Kensi and Jack had things they needed to discuss. Kensi needed closure with this relationship – not because she was still in love with Jack, but because the way it ended had left her vulnerable and regretful. And she was finally able to gain that closure, with Deeks’ help and understanding. I was very pleased to see the dynamics between the three characters. I loved where the story went with Jack and Deeks, and Jack and Kensi. Her closure with Jack left her in a better place to move forward with Deeks. And it was clear the two of them were indeed moving forward.


Kensi, Deeks and Jack

The very first scene with Kensi and Deeks set a wonderful tone for the episode. It was adorable to see how excited Kensi was to announce she was moving in with Deeks. She was brimming with childlike energy and beaming from ear to ear. And she wanted the rest of her team to be just as thrilled about her news. So she was visibly disappointed when Sam and Callen barely reacted. (Even Deeks looked surprised at that.) But at least Eric was excited for the couple. Of course, he makes things a little awkward when he inadvertently brings up marriage and asks them if they are getting a puppy together. But Kensi doesn’t let it dim her enthusiasm. Deeks, on the other hand, gives off just a hint of nervousness. But he still seems happy.

Soon Hetty gives these two a task – protecting one of her contacts. But they don’t know who it is until they get to the safe house and see Jack. When he walks out, Kensi is surprised and visibly shaken. You can see the emotion in her eyes. (Daniela Ruah did a great job in this episode. She was consistently on the verge of tears, revealing the character’s vulnerability.) Kensi was strong but still affected by seeing Jack. As much as she didn’t want to be shaken by his presence, it brought up old wounds that hadn’t fully healed because the feelings were never resolved.

Kensi and Jack not only have a history together (he broke off their engagement after experiencing PTSD), but they also shared a tense history more recently on her trip to Afghanistan – when she was sent to kill him and instead saved his life. In doing so they were captured by the Taliban and tortured. So the last time they met was also a difficult memory. They had shared something traumatic together. And that gave them a unique bond beyond their past history. I enjoyed the scene when Deeks left them alone at the safe house and they asked each other how they were dealing with the aftermath of their capture. Kensi told Jack her nightmares had gotten a little better but Jack revealed he still struggled with them every night. The sad look on Kensi’s face showed she understood and felt for him.

Despite these strong connections, I really enjoyed that the writers didn’t make Kensi someone who was confused about their relationship because she was still in love with Jack. It quickly became clear that she wasn’t attached to him that way. She seemed genuinely content he had found a new life and gotten remarried again. The news may have surprised her, but it also made her happy. They had a good rapport as Jack smiled and told her she would like his new wife. That’s when it became obvious to me that these two shared a common, loving history but they also know they’ve each moved on. And they were nothing but happy for one another.

Beyond Kensi and Jack, I loved how the triangle affected Kensi and Deeks. Deeks showed himself to be extra sensitive to Kensi’s history with Jack and her needs in moving forward. It was sweet how Deeks kept leaving the two of them alone so Kensi could talk things out with Jack. In fact, Deeks was very adult about the whole situation, understanding this was someone who once was important to Kensi and held a special, though somewhat painful, place in her heart. He was looking out for Kensi.

On the roof of the building where Jack is staying, Deeks mentions he thinks being around Jack is affecting Kensi. She explains to him that when Jack broke off their engagement, she felt hopeless. But she also clearly feels guilty for how she responded to their breakup, left to deal with her own hurt instead of helping him through his struggles with PTSD. Deeks responds like a caring, supportive boyfriend, reassuring Kensi that she got through it and responded as well as anyone could. When Kensi brings up the pain of Afghanistan, where she almost died trying to save Jack, Deeks realizes she has things she still needs to say to Jack. And he encourages her to talk to Jack so her feelings don’t stay bottled up. Deeks is trying to help her move forward, and she takes his advice to heart. He knows what she needs and she listens.

When Deeks goes with the team to give Kensi a chance to stay behind with Jack (another thoughtful action on Deeks’ part), Kensi gets the conversation she wanted. She begins to apologize about the way she treated Jack after their breakup. But Jack won’t let her. He believes she had nothing to be sorry for. She then tries telling him she was sorry for not calling him after what happened in Afghanistan. But Jack reminds her he didn’t call her, either. Then Jack explains something Kensi never knew. After their breakup he tells her he was living in Afghanistan, deciding if he was going to convert to Islam, and one day he bought a plane ticket, intending to fly back and try to win her back. Kensi never knew this, and the words affect her. Her eyes
glaze over as she asks why he didn’t follow through. He explains he realized he would be running away from who he really was. His new life was in Afghanistan – what he wanted, where he felt he belonged. But he also wants Kensi to know that just because he didn’t return to her doesn’t mean he didn’t love her. The words are a reassuring affirmation. Kensi deserved an explanation for why he never returned after breaking things off. His words help her heal as she takes in what he’s saying. He needed to move on with his life and embrace the life he had chosen for himself. That meant Kensi couldn’t be a part of it, but he had still loved her. Jack then essentially gives his blessing to her and Deeks, telling her he thinks they’ll do great together. Kensi happily agrees.

I really enjoyed the relationship between Deeks and Jack. Deeks starts off feeling awkward next to Jack. But he doesn’t let that affect his actions. He is gracious and kind to Jack. In fact, I loved how friendly the two became. It was fun to watch them talk about Kensi together, commiserating about her dirty, messy habits. (She once left a T-shirt in the microwave? How great!) The more I saw these two together, the more their conversations became endearing. They realized they shared a common love and concern for Kensi. And they both understood her. They understood her looks and her habits. Instead of feeling threatened by Jack, Deeks embraces him and listens to his advice. I love that this is where the writers went with the two men. In the end, Deeks and Jack shared their own common bond.

Jack even reassures Deeks that he’s doing the right thing by moving in with Kensi. He never utters those words but it’s a general unspoken affirmation. When Deeks tells Jack they are moving in together, he seems to be a little unsure he and Kensi are doing the right thing. Not that he doesn’t want to move in together, but he’s a little nervous about the big step and isn’t quite as excited as Kensi. He claims moving in together was her idea, something that first seems a bit weird to bring up. But Deeks appears to be processing the decision, knowing it’s a big deal and wanting to be ready. There is initially a little bit of hesitancy on his part, and he entrusts these feelings to Jack. But Jack reminds him how much he loves Kensi. Deeks cares for her so much that he actually tortured someone to save her in Afghanistan. That reminds Deeks that the way he’s dealt with his own Afghanistan trauma (waking up screaming) will now be something Kensi sees once they are living together. Those kinds of things make him a little nervous. But Jack advises him not to push Kensi away like he did. This is the perfect advice for Deeks – and the perfect person to hear it from. Deeks may be a little scared about their big new move, but in his heart he knows it is the right move. And Jack reminds him of that, calming his fears and reassuring him what really matters.

Later Kensi gets another chance to save Jack’s life. This is the second time she’s risked her life to save him. When the shooters come for Jack, she protects him. But I liked that Jack ultimately offered his life for hers when she’s about to be shot – the supreme demonstration of love. No longer are his words just a theory. He cares enough about Kensi to risk his own life for hers, just like he did with his family. That action said more than any words. Fortunately he doesn’t lose his life as the NCIS team rescues them just in time. But his desire to save Kensi was touching.

So was their goodbye. I loved how Jack advised Deeks never to let Kensi go. And I loved how supportive Deeks was when he offered to let Jack stay with them – on his and Kensi’s first night living together. (Kensi sweetly appreciated that.) But Jack is ready to leave. One last time Deeks leaves Jack and Kensi alone to say goodbye. But this time they don’t have any big feelings or history to discuss. They say a simple goodbye with a nice hug, revealing their new ease with where they are at.

That leaves Kensi and Deeks able to move forward with this important new step in their relationship. And it was nice to see them both enjoying it. Kensi once again expresses her excitement at moving in together as she grabs Deeks and kisses him. And this time Deeks doesn’t hesitate at all. They are on the same page. Deeks is the one who suggests they go grab Kensi’s things and get started moving – unless she wants to eat first. But Kensi doesn’t want to wait. They both are ready for this next phase of their relationship. As they hold one another other tight and kiss again, viewers are left with a sweet reminder of how far these two have come. They understand one another, support one another and now embrace this new phase together. It was a perfect, sweet ending.


Sam and Callen

Sam and Callen didn’t have a lot of prominent scenes in the episode, but I loved the ones they did have. It was fun to see Callen try to figure out what Sam was writing at work. At first he claims he didn’t glance at Sam’s list, but he clearly did. I loved how Sam just smiled while Callen wondered what he was up to. Later I thought it was great that Sam thought there was no way Callen could guess the true meaning of the list – and Callen, loving a challenge, was like a mini Sherlock Holmes as he deducted that Sam was planning a mathlete reunion. Sam’s amused expression was priceless! And Callen looked very pleased with himself. These two crack me up.


I also liked how Sam questioned Callen about why Hetty wouldn’t have told Kensi and Deeks who they were protecting. Sam and Callen feel comfortable enough with one another that they can question their boss and discuss these kinds of work issues together. The partners were also amusing when they didn’t react at Kensi and Deeks’ big news. It’s not a big deal to them, apparently. I guess that’s a good thing.

Finally, I was amused at the scene in the chop shop. The look on Callen’s face while the worker was talking showed he thought the guy was an idiot. Both Sam and Callen knew the guy wasn’t getting anywhere with them. But if he and his friends wanted to fight, Sam and Callen would oblige. They sure took the guys out easily. They barely had to lift a finger.


Nell, Eric, Hetty and Granger

I kind of wanted to pinch Eric’s cheeks when he came down the stairs responding to Kensi and Deeks’ news. His character is so fun. Of course his excitement created an awkwardness for Kensi and Deeks, but what else do we expect from Eric?

I also enjoyed the banter between Nell and Eric as Nell revealed how her history professor used to call her Nell “Indiana Jones” Jones. Funny. And of course Eric makes an inappropriate yet amusing comment about how she still needs a bullwhip.

Next we learn that Nell spent a summer staying at certain hotels with her friends. Callen makes the astute comment that she must have followed a band around. Nell is a roadie?! How great. I have to know which band she followed.


Granger and Hetty also had some funny moments together. First, as Hetty was eyeing a small glass bottle, Granger comments how she may have been the one who poisoned him. Then Hetty tells Granger what to do, prompting him to ask if she’s giving the orders. And of course she is, commanding Granger to make sure her team takes care of her things in her safe house.

Speaking of the safe house, that was a funny touch that Hetty owned it. (And what a great line from Callen: “Henrietta Lange – slumlord!”) The place looked rundown and dilapidated in the hallways and exterior – but the nice interior was a fun touch. And that short little desk of Hetty’s was fantastic. Did you see how Kensi wormed her way into it? And I loved how Hetty commented that Deeks looked like he had a posture problem when he couldn’t sit in the desk. (And he couldn’t tell her it was made for a small person).

Granger and Jack also had an interesting dynamic. Understandably, Jack wasn’t too happy to see Granger since he’d ordered Jack’s death in Afghanistan. But they put aside their differences to work together – even if Jack was doing it for his own country. And I loved that Granger ultimately offered to drive him to the airport.

Finally Hetty surprised and impressed me when she made sure Kensi was okay after the operation. I loved how she watched Kensi, knowing she was distressed. And when she finally calls her over, Hetty doesn’t mind that Kensi is upset with her. She encourages Kensi to express her feelings, which diffuses the situation. Hetty even reaches out to hug her, surprising Kensi. It was a great moment. Sometimes Hetty is untouchable – no one wants to mess with her – and other times, like this, she is soft and inviting. You never know what you’re going to get with her, but one thing’s for sure: She is always looking out for her team.


Other Thoughts

- I loved Kensi’s suggestion that Deeks go into business with Hetty flipping houses. Deeks was hilarious as he started mentioning all the things he’d change in Hetty’s building.

- That was pretty gross to see the broken fingers on Riggs’ dead body. It made me cringe – but it was also effective.

- Kensi was a badass in the final shootout. Did you see how she snapped that guy’s neck? Whoa! She and Jack were both pretty lucky that the bad guys didn’t shoot them before their backup arrived.


What did you think of "Come Back?" Did you enjoy seeing Kensi get closure with Jack? Why did you think Deeks was nervous about moving in together? Leave your thoughts on the episode 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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