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NCIS: Los Angeles - Crazy Train - Review: "Sharks, the Loony Bin & Another Proposal"

Callen goes undercover in a mental hospital in “Crazy Train.” After an NSA analyst turns up dead in a shark’s belly, the team must find his co-worker, who is missing. When a man matching his description shows up at a mental hospital, Callen goes undercover to see what he can find. It turns out the man is indeed the NSA worker, hiding from two other co-workers after realizing they were stealing money from a drug cartel. When the cartel comes for him, Callen is able to protect the man by switching places with him. But then the drug thugs throw Callen in the ocean with sharks. Before he becomes shark bait, though, Sam saves him.

We also learn in this episode that something is medically wrong with Granger. And Kensi is struggling with her physical therapy. Deeks proposes to her once again but she doesn’t want the proposal under these difficult circumstances.

While this episode wasn’t quite as dramatic as previous episodes, I still enjoyed it thoroughly. The shark element was a new twist. Callen undercover in the loony bin was a lot of fun. And most of all, it’s wonderful to see the show drawing on the personal lives of the characters, something the writers never used to pursue. In real life, personal and professional circumstances often encroach on one another. So after all the years these agents have worked together, it feels appropriate to mix the two on screen. The NCIS team cares about one another and you see that even stronger when they are struggling with personal issues.

Sam and Callen

Employing a game he picked up from his daughter, Sam pesters Callen in this episode with the game, “Would you rather?” In this game, Sam offers Callen two negative scenarios and asks which one he would rather experience. At first Callen isn’t too eager to play but eventually he gets into it and pesters Sam right back, which was great.

While Deeks is the obvious choice to go undercover at a mental hospital, he’s unavailable, so Sam nominates Callen, saying he is a recluse with no long-term social attachments. And Granger agrees, saying he’s seen Callen’s psych evaluations. Poor Callen. Everyone acts like he’s crazy. It was amusing, though, to see how happy they all were to make him do the job.

In truth, though, Callen never acted crazy at the hospital. Instead, he just works the system. He creates drama to insert himself in the NSA analyst’s good graces. He does that by angering three other patients and then defending the analyst, who goes by the name Noah. Callen also turns the tables on the group therapist to get on Noah’s good side. Callen is in total control of the situation.

He even manipulated the bully patients. I loved how these bullies later became Callen’s friends. They eventually trust him and want to “share stories” with him, which is hilarious. But it worked to his advantage. Callen enlists their help when he needs it, and when he later returns to the hospital, he takes the time to encourage them. He thanks them for their help and insists they are not crazy. He even gets them a foosball table. Callen is a softie. But at the same time, he really wants nothing to do with them, telling them he can’t hang out with them because he’d have to kill them if he revealed his true identity. Callen cracks me up.

Just like the bullies, Noah knows he can trust Callen and soon admits who he really is. When they realize the cartel is there for Noah, Callen saves him by pretending to be him. That’s when the
cartel takes Callen out to sea and drops him into shark-infested waters with fish food and blood, luring in the sharks. Callen was pretty calm through all this, stalling and making jokes about the main cartel guy. He didn’t seem too scared until he actually got into the waters and saw the two shark fins headed his way. Yikes! But lucky for him, Sam had enlisted the help (and boat) of a Navy SEAL friend. (That Navy SEAL friend, by the way, was played by David Paul Olsen, Daniela Ruah's real-life husband and Eric Christian Olsen's brother!) After getting partway out to sea, Sam secretly swam out to Callen. Pulling him underwater, Sam gives Callen a gun. Both agents then shoot the cartel men and arrest the main guy. (I couldn’t help thinking, though, that Sam did leave Callen there in the water while he jumped into the boat! What would he have done if Callen got sucked away by a shark?) When Callen asks if Sam saw the sharks, Sam calmly replied they were just babies – and he scared off much larger ones underwater. Of course Sam isn’t about to affirm the gravity of the situation.

Kensi and Deeks

We see Kensi working hard in physical therapy, even though her lack of body control frustrates her. When she is encouraged to stand on her own, she has trouble. In true Kensi fashion, she wants to keep trying; she doesn’t want to give up. Her can-do attitude is finally kicking in. But her therapist knows that she can push too hard. So they tell her she’s done enough for the day.

But once she’s outside by herself, she can’t resist trying to stand on her own. And she does it, but she doesn’t stop there. She tries to take a step forward but she falls to the ground. When Deeks arrives, he notices her legs are bleeding. Kensi is frustrated again. And she begins to feel sorry for herself again. Because she is so comfortable with Deeks, it is easy for her to go to this emotional place around him where she is vulnerable and mad and hurt. She tells Deeks he probably should have just left her under the plane in Syria. Her self-pity is back in full swing. But Deeks tries to lighten the mood and get her to smile.

Then he takes advantage of the moment to re-propose (something Kensi never knew he did in the first place). As soon as Kensi realizes what is happening, though, she gets upset. She doesn’t want Deeks proposing like this, while she is in a wheelchair struggling to get better. I love how this scene went back and forth between raw, real, difficult emotions and lighter moments. And I loved how, though Kensi doesn’t want the proposal, she also can’t deny Deeks’ sweetness. When he asks if she doesn’t like the ring, she has to admit it is beautiful. This moment proves she wants this engagement, she just doesn’t want it this way. She wants the proposal to happen when they have a happy future ahead of them. And that is not a future she can picture right now.

While Kensi cries, upset at the non-perfect way everything is going down, Deeks makes jokes about he how he also envisioned this differently, riding up on a white horse, shirtless. In the midst of her fears and pain, Kensi laughs. I have to give it to Deeks, he was a pillar of strength as he plowed ahead, ignoring how she wanted everything different. He focuses on the positive, telling her how much he loves her and wants to spend the rest of his life with her. When Kensi bangs the wheelchair and says she doesn’t want it like this, Deeks tells her that she will get better – but even if she doesn’t, he still wants to spend the rest of his life with her. I also liked that he was a little bit forceful with her, firmly telling her, “Stop!” at one point. But Kensi is too upset. She says being in a wheelchair matters to her and she doesn’t want to do this to Deeks – it’s not fair. She refuses to answer his proposal and insists he takes her back to her room. Again, though, Deeks is not deterred. He keeps things lighthearted by trying to make her take the ring but she won’t. And when he takes her back to the room, he still tries to get her to smile and lets her know once again that he loves her.

Deeks was so impressive in this scene. After previously telling Granger that he was afraid he couldn’t be there and help take care of Kensi, he is proving himself wrong in the best way possible. He has a hard job, no doubt about it, but he refuses to give up on Kensi. He is there for her, supporting her, encouraging her, and trying to lead her back to the dreams they shared before, planning a future together and focusing on being together. While he understands she isn’t ready for that yet, his attitude shows he isn’t going to give up when she pushes back.

You see this again when he gently puts her into bed. Keep in mind Deeks didn’t get the answer he just wanted. But as you see him help Kensi, lifting her into bed and taking off her shoes, you realize he will do everything he can for his love. And Kensi needs it right now. She may be pushing him away but he won’t be pushed. Eventually I believe she will respond to how much he’s there for her. She needs someone in her corner like Deeks right now.


Granger is sick. We don’t know what illness he has yet but we see him go through an MRI scan. When Hetty questions him, Granger admits he has been seeing doctors to figure it out. Very astute viewers (in the comment section of the review) mentioned a couple weeks ago that Granger was slurring his words. Today I noticed it myself. His words are not coming out easily and apparently this is why. Whether his illness is the result of a “lifetime of bad decisions” or something else, this is another instance of personal drama making the show more intriguing. Granger says he is grateful to have had this much time. But he also looks worried and scared. He knows no one escapes death. But saying those words don’t make them any less scary. I am eager to see what happens with him and how the team supports him when they learn the truth.

What did you think of "Crazy Train?" Are you worried for Granger? Do you think Kensi will eventually accept Deeks' proposal? Did you enjoy Callen undercover? Let us know your thoughts 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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