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NCIS: New Orleans - Course Correction - Review: “Alphabet Soup”

NCIS: New Orleans - Course Correction - Review: “Alphabet Soup”
3.5 - “Course Correction”
Directed by Tony Wharmby
Created by: Gary Glasberg
Written by: Cathryn Humpris and Chad Gomez Creasey
Reviewed by Kelly Anne Blount

We open up to a military plane flying through a thunderstorm. One of the guys in the cockpit is sweaty and nervous. Is it because of the weather or is something more sinister about to happen? The crew in the cargo bay is playing football and having a good time until something goes terribly wrong and the plane heads into a nosedive.

OH NO! It crashed!

Now might be a good time to tell you I have never watched that movie with Tom Hanks and the volleyball because I’m terrified of all things related to plane crashes. This. Episode. Is. Going. To. Be. Rough.

LaSalle and Percy are at HQ. They are interviewing or quizzing someone on NCIS protocol, not sure which? The person they are talking to is nailing it. He knows all of the answers. Hmmm. Looks like an interview, the Lt. tells Percy and LaSalle that he really wants to join their team and thanks them for the opportunity. Interesting… Is this potentially for Brody’s replacement? Do they think Gregorio is still planning on heading home with her FBI buddies after they wrap things up with the cartel in NOLA?

Well, at least PerSalle (Percy + LaSalle = PerSalle. Thanks to the awesome commenter who came up with that nickname!) are on the same page. They didn’t like the candidate. I have an idea; why don’t they just bring Brody back? Just a suggestion…

Gregorio joins the team at HQ. She wants to know who the guy is that PerSalle just interviewed. LaSalle admits that they are looking for Brody’s replacement, unless she wants the job. Gregorio’s response? “Over my dead body.” Ugh. Go away, Gregorio. Go away!

Gregorio drops a knowledge bomb on PerSalle. She says that the DOJ wants the team to expand and possibly even relocate to the federal building downtown. What a bunch of B.S. At least she apologizes this time. Gregorio really needs to get with the program or leave my little City and Country Mouse alone!

The team shows up the crash site. I think I just threw up in my mouth. No survivors. The six victims have all been recovered and are on the way to the morgue.

Interesting, the Navy chartered the plane. Terry Jenkins, the rep for the charter plane company tells the team that the cargo isn’t typically reported until they land. I wonder what they were flying with in that plane and did it have something to do with the crash?

Pride wants any and all info on the plane, pilots, the maintenance records, etc.

Gregorio notes that jurisdiction is going to be a mess. Pride tells her it isn’t because there are three dead sailors. The case belongs to NCIS. Gregorio wants to know why Director Eisner is at the scene.

Eisner thinks that the accident might be related to the cartel. There’s been chatter.

Pride holds a meeting with the families of the crash victims. He looks a little unprofessional based on what he’s wearing. You would think they might want him to at least have an NCIS jacket on when addressing the families of the deceased sailors.

A young woman approaches Gregorio and asks when she is going to get her father’s remains, she needs to get to work. She doesn’t even look upset in the slightest. Why wouldn’t Gregorio talk to her for longer or get her information?

LaSalle and Percy are worrying about the DOJ throwing a bunch of agents on their team. Percy says that she just wants someone like Gregorio to join the team and stick around. Excuse me? What did she just say? It is quickly brought up that it doesn’t matter anyways, because Gregorio will be heading back to DC soon anyways. Yeah… I don’t think that is going to happen!

Loretta has news from the morgue. The pilot had a bullet wound to the head. Looks like this wasn’t an accident! The co-pilot was shot too. He was shot at close range in the chest. The other people on the plane died from the crash, they weren’t shot.

The team wonders if this was a murder suicide? Did the pilot shoot his co-pilot in the chest before turning the gun on himself?

Gregorio and Pride are talking to Juan Rodriguez’s wife. He was one of the crash victims. She’s notably upset. Gregorio asks about her husband’s past. The wife doesn’t share much and she’s pissed. If Gregorio has something to say, she wants her to say it. Gregorio asks if her husband ever flew for the cartel.

The woman leaves and pissed that they were accusing her husband.

Pride better start handling the tough interviews. When Gregorio speaks, she comes off as so confrontational it’s ridiculous. I get it, she’s a hard ass, but it’s too much. Gregorio thinks that Juan Rodriguez is involved with the cartel. Wouldn’t the cartel try to lay low for a while?

Bad news. The gun doesn’t have a serial number and cannot be traced. Smuggling “ghost gun” onto the plane, which departed from Brazil before crashing into the bayou, would have been easy way.

LaSalle hopes Sebastian has something from the black boxes. I just threw up in my mouth a little bit again. Plane crashes are so terrifying! How could anyone investigate them and EVER think about stepping foot on a plane again. *shakes head*

Sebastian is looking good. He doesn’t have good news though. The black boxes were badly burned in the crash and it will take months to pull anything useful.

Interesting, Sebastian doesn’t think it was a murder suicide. He said the only person with gun residue on them was Petty Officer Assad, who is the victim the young woman could have cared less about when Pride was addressing the family members of the crash victims. Sebastian says that the evidence points to Petty Officer Assad pulling the trigger. Turns out that Assad had gotten in trouble for bad behavior and had been demoted. Maybe those are his grounds for killing the pilot and co-pilot? Or, maybe he had nothing to do with it at all?

Either way, it doesn’t look like the cartel is involved. Greaaaat… That means Gregorio will be here for at least another episode. Okay, I don’t dislike her that much, but I just need her to be more likable and have some redeeming qualities. I’m pretty sure I’ve liked some fictional murderers on Law & Order more then I like Gregorio right now.

Percy wants to know if Petty Officer Assad had any family or friends they can interview. They need something to help form some motives.

Pride tells them that Gregorio spoke to his daughter and that she described the young woman as having a “chip on her shoulder.” That might be the understatement of the year. They head down the bar the victim/possible killer’s daughter works at and try to get some information. Clearly they weren’t close. She says that he abandoned her and her mother. He didn’t come to her mother’s funeral either. She wants nothing to do with him and doesn’t know why he was coming to NOLA.

Gregorio confronts the victim’s daughter again. She presses harder. The family members of the victims in the crash deserve more. There must be something she can recall?
The daughter doesn’t know much, but says that her father was indeed trying to get re-stationed in NOLA. His requests kept getting denied. He told her daughter he wouldn’t give up and that he would keep trying. Interesting, her hard façade melts just a little bit. I wonder if she’s involved?

Pride thinks that Assad might not be guilty of killing either of the pilots or bringing the plane down.

Gregorio, who isn’t convinced of Assad’s innocents, does have a sincere moment with Pride where she admits that she can relate to the Petty Officer Assad’s daughter. So, I’m guessing we will soon be learning about a traumatic event in Gregorio’s life. Will this be given as the excuse for the abrasive behavior she displays as an adult?

With the help from some a simulation he created using some of his collectibles, Sebastian figures out that it would have been impossible for Assad to kill the pilot. Ooh! The plot thickens! Instead, the evidence points to the co-pilot, Barilla, shooting the pilot and then Petty Officer Assad shooting the co-pilot. Did Petty Officer Assad come when he heard gunshots? Did he shoot the co-pilot because he knew that the co-pilot killed the pilot? Oh my gosh, this is intense!

Sebastian has satellite imagery from the crash site. A weird blob keeps floating around the screen. Looks like a drone to me!

What do you know? It is a drone and King is pissed. He and Gregorio are at HQ and want to know what the drone is trying to find.

Uh oh… The news has released an article blaming Petty Officer Assad for the crash and the headlines accuse him of being a homegrown terrorist. Gregorio is angry and the false headline. She and Pride want to know who leaked that info!

The team is not going to let Petty Officer Assad go down for something he didn’t do. They talk about the real killer, Barilla. They think he might have connections to the cartel through his wife, Isabella Barilla. Isabella Barilla is recovering from an organ transplant. She was miraculously bumped to the top of the list just before her husband takes on this potential deadly mission. Something smells fishy. Gregorio thinks that the cartel made it happen.

The team thinks that whatever was on the plane might have been worth killing for. Unfortunately, the cargo manifest has mysteriously gone missing. Interesting. That coupled with the drone constantly flying over the wreckage? Smells even fisher!

Pride asks Gregorio if the FBI will help by hacking the drone’s signal. Gregorio’s FBI guy finds a swarm of micro-drones, which he thought were still in the research stage. Guess not! He isn’t sure where they are from, it could be from the military or from another government. They are dropped from jets, parachute down, and the coordinate together. They are so small they are hard to detect.

Although he can’t give them much information, the FBI guy does know where the drones are transmitting their signals. Nailed it! Point to the FBI.

The drones are transmitting a signal to an unmarked van in a regular NOLA neighborhood. When the team busts into the van, they find hot coffee, but no one in the van. Oooh! The van belongs to the CIA and guess what, or should I say, who they are looking for? Emily, Petty Officer Assad’s daughter. Pride and Eisner are going to be pissed!

And guess who the CIA agent is? The Everglades Air guy, who Pride and the team spoke to in the beginning of the show!

Pride reminds Mr. Jenkins, the CIA agent, that it’s illegal for the CIA to operate on domestic soil. Jenkins lets Emily go and puts his hands in the air.

It looks like they’ve brought the CIA agent back to NCIS HQ to be interviewed. Eisner is there and he looks mad. Pride and Gregorio are there for back up.

Jenkins denies working for the CIA. He just says, “I work for Everglades Air.”

Pride is wearing a shirt with dots. He’s a spiffy dresser, but I do wish he had a more serious outfit on today as well.

Anyways, Jenkins won’t spill anything about the plane crash or why he was visiting Assad’s daughter.

Meanwhile, Loretta and Emily are hanging out. Loretta has made her some “healing” tea. Apparently it’s awful, so they add liquor to it. Not going to lie, liquor can make lots of things taste better! ;)

Gregorio is using a softer approach and tells Emily that they believe her father is innocent. He wanted to make amends with her by moving back to NOLA.

Pride tells Emily that even if she doesn’t realize it, she has something that the CIA wants. They are going to have to search her house for a while, so Pride asks if she has somewhere to stay for the time being. Loretta, being the awesome person she is, tells Emily that she can stay with her. Gregorio whispers that it would probably be better to get Emily into an FBI safe house. Loretta tells Gregorio, “You’re adorable, but I can handle myself just fine, thank you.” LORETTA FOR THE WIN!

LaSalle is stressing out about more agents joining the team. Percy agrees that it could be tough, but she does think having another member or members of the squad would be helpful, at least for the grunt work. PerSalle have a cute little moment. I like them out in the field. They seem so natural and completely in their element.

Sebastian finds what the CIA was after. He’s hilarious! He’s all, “Not trying to brag, but I’m kind of on a roll from last week.” To which Percy and LaSalle just give him a blank stare. He’s all, “You know, the prison break?” Aw, Sebastian! They are so messing with you! Reminds me of the Big Bang Episode when Howard’s friends get annoyed with him talking about going to space and being an astronaut.

So, it turns out that Petty Officer Assad recorded a video message right before the plane went down. It was backed up on the Cloud and then on to Assad’s desktop. The team watch the video and figure out what the CIA wanted to get their hands on. In the video, Assad gets footage of a seventh passenger on the plane. The seventh passenger who was conveniently never found in the wreckage. And guess who that passenger is? Osiel Esparza, the Chief Accountant to the Ciudad Natal cartel. So, the plane crash did have something to do with the cartel after all!

Gregorio shares that the FBI has been trying to locate Esparza for years. It looks like they might have found him and snuck him over on the very plane that crashed in the bayou. So, since six and not seven bodies were found in the wreckage, that might just mean that Esparza is alive. The team thinks that the CIA has been looking for him with their drones. They think that cartel might have tried to crash the plane Esparza was on and if they think even for a moment that he survived the crash, they are going to be out looking for him!

Gregorio points out that there must be a mole in the CIA, otherwise, how would the cartel know about Esparza being on the plane in the first place?

LaSalle and Percy are driving, while Gregorio and Pride are searching for Esparza on the water. Pride knows the bayou like the back of his hand and therefore, he will be victorious in finding Esparza. I’m going to go ahead and call it right now.

LaSalle and Percy come up on something. He whispers in the truck. That’s cute. They find a blood trail. Eek! It belongs to Jenkins. Another man is down, looks like his partner, who LaSalle thinks is part of the cartel. Percy points out that he is still bleeding, which means, the killer/s are near!

PerSalle come across several cartel members, who have their hands on Esparza and are dragging him through the bayou. The bad guys aren’t going down without a fight. PerSalle do a move that looks like it could win a gold medal in the synchronized swimming section of the Olympics and avoid the gunfire. King and Gregorio head over to rescue PerSalle and the accountant. Well, dang, King! He rides right on shore and messes the cartel up. Gregorio has some good shooting too. Get ‘em, NOLA!

Pride tells Esparza not to worry and that he’s not going to hurt him. While I’m glad Pride rescued the guy, wasn’t he supposed to be a truly terrible individual who worked for the cartel until he rolled on his buddies? Pride is treating him like a victim. Who knows, maybe he was forced into working for the cartel and always wanted an out?

Percy and LaSalle are back at HQ. Percy points out that even though the CIA, FBI, and the rest of the alphabets were involved with the case from the moment the plane crashed, that their team were the ones to solve the case and find Esparza. She even includes Gregorio when she’s listing off their small team. LaSalle is sure to include Sebastian.

Percy is on board fighting the DOJ now. She says they only need one more agent to replace Brody and that’s it because, “they are fine, just the way they are.”

Pride is mopping up at his bar. Gregorio stops by, but not for a drink. She wants to talk to Pride.

Gregorio admits why she left New Orleans before… Turns out her husband, well ex-husband, was a big jerk. He stole the money meant for the rebuild after Hurricane Katrina. She didn’t have anything to do with it, but she says that she should have known better. But, in her words, she was young and didn’t even know who she was yet, she was impressed by the “razzle dazzle.” Ooh! Interesting! Her ex, McKinley is on the run. I guess he never faced the music after embezzling the money.

Pride asks Gregorio if she’s tired of running. She says, “Yes, I am. The problem is, everywhere I turn, I see what my husband did to this place.”

Pride tells her that NOLA has been through a lot more then Hurricane Katrina and that the city can be a pretty forgiving place.

My Thoughts:
This was a strong episode. The plane crash was a lot to stomach. Especially for me. I like how the NCIS: New Orleans team was able to outrun the CIA, FBI, and other agencies involved. They even outsmarted the cartel.

Speaking of the cartel, I’m wondering when they storyline will resolve itself? I would think it would by the end of the season, but who knows? The FBI is going to eventually leave too, right? Eisner is an easy character to dislike. So, at least he’s got that going for him.

There was a lot of Gregorio this episode… Not sure how I felt about that? She showed some emotional growth at the end of the episode by telling Pride about her past, that said, she practically in like every scene. I want more PerSalle, Sebastian, Loretta, and King! What did you think? Was there too much Gregorio for you? Or do you think they are just working her in and pretty soon, the time will be equally split amongst the show’s stars?
Leave a comment below to let me know what you thought about this week’s episode!

About the Author - Kelly Anne Blount
Kelly Anne Blount is a USA TODAY Bestselling Author and Host of the Wattpad Block Party. She resides in the beautiful mountains of Asheville, North Carolina with her husband and their furry rescues. Although she loves writing horror and dark thriller novels with disturbing psychological twists, Kelly is an admitted scaredy-cat and she’s terrified of the dark. When she’s not writing, you can find her lost in a good book, on a hike with her husband, or indulging in a Netflix marathon.

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