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NCIS: Los Angeles - Glasnost - Review: "A Son's Disappointment & Father's Love"

Callen comes face to face with his father once again in “Glasnost.” Garrison shows up in Los Angeles as part of a radiation poisoning case. After a seemingly random woman is poisoned, NCIS learns she was a former Soviet citizen whom Garrison helped flee the country in 1988. It turns out the woman, Katerina, was the former mistress of Pavel Volkoff, a Russian FSB officer who helped NCIS rescue Arkady Kolcheck from a Russian prison last season. But Volkoff isn’t a man with pure motives. NCIS finds out Volkoff embezzled millions as a young KGB officer and hid it in an account in Katerina’s name. Now Volkoff and his enemies are trying to find that dirty money. Callen’s father shows up trying to save Katerina but it’s too late. She dies from the poison.

Callen soon learns why the case is so important to his father. Garrison recruited Katerina to the CIA, serving as her handler before getting her out of the Soviet Union. Garrison loved her. And he just recently learned she had a daughter – his daughter (and Callen’s half-sister). That woman, Alex, is also a mother. So Garrison is now a grandfather.

I absolutely loved this episode. It was full of meaty scenes from which you couldn’t peel your eyes. Daniel J. Travanti was once again fantastic as Garrison. It was nice to see Callen finally get answers as to why his father left him, even if he didn’t like what he heard. And the episode made good use of the rest of the team. Eric and Deeks were hilarious together. I loved the scene with Kensi and Deeks. Plus, the returns of Sullivan and Arkady were fun. It was a great week for “NCIS: Los Angeles.”

Sam, Callen and Garrison

I loved how the episode started with Sam and Callen visiting Kensi at the hospital. We’ve heard them talk about visiting her before, but now we actually got to see it. They easily chat about their Thanksgiving plans, with Callen going to Sam’s and Kensi spending the holiday with Deeks and their moms. You can tell how much they all appreciate one another. And Callen sweetly tells Kensi they need her back at work.

Once on the case, Sam notices something is up with Callen after visiting Katerina in the hospital. The woman looked at Callen almost like she knew him but Callen doesn’t know what to think. If she did know Callen, it seems his father must have talked about him.

Sam and Callen then meet Arkady for some information, though Arkady is evasive and doesn’t give them much. He acts like he can’t remember helping settle the woman as a refugee when she came to the United States. In actuality, Callen later learns Arkady knew exactly who the woman was. Since Russia, Garrison asked Arkady to look in on Katerina – that’s how he learned he had a daughter. So Arkady is holding secrets once again. But he also shows himself a trustworthy friend to Garrison, a man he respects. And while Arkady didn’t tell Callen the truth about Katerina, he did encourage G to speak with his father about the woman, which also showed respect.

On a side note, I love how much Sam detests working with Arkady. He never trusts the man and tells him he is loyal to no one but himself. But later Sam recognizes that Arkady really did want to help them. Sam even compliments Arkady on being a good man. I loved the dialogue that followed where Callen points out that was Sam’s way of apologizing, and Sam replies that was Callen’s way of ruining the moment.

After shots are fired in Katerina’s room, the real intrigue begins. Sam, Callen and Arkady show up at the hospital to find Garrison, having turned himself in after shooting Katerina’s would-be killers. Callen is completely shocked to see his father in Los Angeles. Garrison’s response is classic: “Hello, son,” he says in Russian. It doesn’t take long for the surprise visit to turn into an interrogation. Callen wants answers, and he wants to interrogate his dad about much more than the case – he wants to understand why his father chose not to be a part of his life.

Sitting opposite his father in the boatshed interrogation room, Callen has a moment of quiet. He doesn’t know where to start. He doesn’t know what name to call his father or what to ask. When Garrison suggests calling him “father,” Callen says he’s not ready for that. And then Callen’s anger begins to surface. He is upset that his father is in town and didn’t contact him. Garrison tries to connect with his son, offering to tell Callen the reasons he was not a part of his life. But Callen is defensive. “You can tell me whatever you want,” Callen says. “Will it be the truth? I don’t know. The truth is, I don’t know anything about you. I don’t know who you are.” When Callen realizes Garrison is just in Los Angeles for the job, he is visibly hurt. And Garrison doesn’t have a response.

After Callen’s interrogation, Hetty sits down with Garrison and decides to let him go. But she knows that Callen will track him. And that’s exactly what he does. Garrison makes a beeline for his daughter Alex – and trades her safety for the whereabouts of the embezzled money. But since Garrison gave the money away to charities years ago, the men are about to kill him when Sam and Callen arrive to save the day. Unable to get in the gated front door, Sam barrels through a window and he and Callen shoot the two bad guys to save Garrison.

That leads to the best scene between Callen and his father, at the cemetery. Assumedly there to oversee Katerina’s funeral, Callen takes the opportunity to show his father the grave of his sister Amy. As sad as it was, this was a special moment between them. Facing the grave, Callen was able to express his hurt over his father not being a part of his life. He tells his dad that his sister might still
be alive if Garrison had made different choices. But Garrison believes he made the right decision. He tells Callen he couldn’t be there for him the way his son needed because his work was too dangerous. He was trying to spare the people closest to him from getting hurt so he severed all ties and disappeared from their lives. He tells Callen (a.k.a. “Greisha”) he doesn’t expect him to understand or forgive him but he truly feels Callen had a better chance on his own. Understandably, those words hurt Callen. “You’re right, I don’t forgive you,” Callen says, in turn hurting his father. “I don’t know that I ever will.” But Callen does understand the greater good and gives his father kudos for the great work he did with refugees, knowing he served a lot of people during that time.

By this point, Garrison is extremely emotional. Choked up, he tells Callen the work he did wasn’t enough because he didn’t save people he loved – Callen’s mother and sister. And then he adds Katerina to the list. Callen hadn’t made this connection before and suddenly he understands why his father is there. As he puts the pieces together, he realizes Alex is Garrison’s daughter. “You’re a grandfather,” he tells Garrison. In the midst of his pain, this comment makes Garrison smile, and he returns the statement by telling Callen he is also an uncle. Then realizing Alex has no idea who Garrison is, Callen insists that they are going to tell her. “No more secrets,” he vows. And Garrison agrees. After all, he can see how much pain those secrets have cost his son.

These scenes between Callen and his father are always magnetic. The two of them are dynamite together. Garrison's emotions were overwhelming. And Callen’s vulnerable state comes out in all his reactions. I especially loved seeing him express some of his feelings about his dad disappearing. While that conversation could have been longer, his dad already knew how Callen felt and Callen couldn’t make his father’s reasons feel any better. They each had to accept one another where they were at, acknowledging the hurts of the past, and then try to move forward if they are going to have any kind of relationship. Despite the fact Callen may not be ready to forgive his father yet, it was great to see the beginnings of a relationship between these two. Despite very little time together they have a natural rapport with one another. Garrison clearly loves his son immensely and gets emotional when thinking of how much he hurt him, but he is also emotional at the idea that he couldn’t save those he loved. So in his mind at least he saved Callen and his daughter Alex. The full circle of being able to do that was powerful. I also loved how Callen doesn’t want any secrets between them. He doesn’t know whether he can trust his father and doesn’t really know him yet. But it seems like he wants to know him. And that’s a good jumping-off point.

It’s also exciting that Callen has another sister now. I was a little surprised that Alex’s character didn’t feel extremely important during the case. She wasn’t given much screen time and the character fell flat. But hopefully we will get to see more of her in future episodes. Having lost so much, it will be fun to watch Callen’s family grow. Not only does he have a half-sister, he has a niece. These are exciting relationships to explore in the future.

Kensi and Deeks

I was surprised to suddenly see Kensi walking! It was weird that none of the characters even mentioned the progress she’d made. But there she was, walking away from Callen and Sam at the hospital. It was an exciting moment. Clearly she is making great progress in physical therapy. Her “friend” Sullivan has been spurring her on. We see him again as the therapist puts them together to work on fine motor hand skills. Harassing one another, Sullivan teases Kensi about her knife and fork skills. She has trouble cutting her food and he teases her about her “ladylike grip.” But the taunting seems to invigorate her. She starts throwing her food at him as they initiate a mini food fight. By the time the therapist returns, Kensi has Sullivan in a headlock and the therapist says Kensi and Sullivan are worse than six-year-olds. Just then Deeks shows up and asks how therapy is going. Sullivan’s answer made me laugh out loud. He claims Kensi is physically improving but mentally she’s going downhill fast.

Deeks is a bit amused. But he’s also a little jealous. Later he asks Kensi what the story is with Sullivan, noting they are spending a lot of time together. Kensi notices the jealousy but doesn’t dwell on it. And that’s good because Deeks doesn’t really seem insecure, just a little curious about this guy with whom his fiancée is spending a lot of time.

In fact, Deeks is completely supportive as they play checkers together, encouraging Kensi to pick up the pieces instead of sliding them. As Kensi gets discouraged and says she will never get back to work, Deeks reassures her she is only one-third of the way through her therapy. Plus, he notes she won’t need checkers skills on the job. But Kensi points out she will have to draw her gun and that will require working fingers. At that, Deeks requests Kensi’s hand, joking he loves her “claw” because it’s like dating “a sexy pirate.” As Kensi laughs, he makes her focus on putting her hand up to his – and it doesn’t take long for her to interlace her fingers into his. Happy with herself, Kensi smiles as Deeks kisses her hand. These two are in a good place.

Eric and Deeks

I thought Eric and Deeks were hilarious partners together this week. I really enjoyed seeing Eric in the field. He was confident to the point of overconfidence. But when push came to shove he did exactly what he needed to do. His overconfidence was the funniest as he questioned the man in prison whom he put away last season. Eric even brought a fake grenade to intimidate him! Of course, Deeks had to point out there was no reason for intimidation since the man called them and was cooperating. Eric then apologizes to the man and offers him jelly beans.

Deeks’ reactions to Eric were amusing. He can’t stand Eric pacing. He is embarrassed by his antics. And he tries to get out of working with him again. But when he can’t, Deeks tells Eric to saddle up. That means more embarrassing moments for Deeks, watching Eric scare away café customers with his radiation detector and insulting young women about their tans. Eric is so excited to be out in the field, he can’t contain himself. And Deeks has to suffer the consequences.

But that’s when Eric begins to surprise Deeks. First he becomes very real and sweet as they discuss Kensi. Eric assures Deeks his fiancée will soon be back in the field. He knows because he says he is in the field thanks to Deeks and Kensi’s help and support – the same support Deeks is now offering Kensi. He assures Deeks that support will pay off and Kensi will be back on the job. Deeks appreciates the encouragement.

Their bonding then turns into protecting each other when the Russians kidnap Alex. Deeks is trying to protect Eric but Eric ends up being the one to save Deeks. Eric spots the Russian car just in time to warn Deeks before machine gunfire erupts. Deeks then acknowledges to Sam and Callen that Eric did a great job and might have even saved his life. That was a hard thing to admit, but Eric deserved the recognition. (Sam’s response was also great, assuring Deeks they wouldn’t tell anyone, and calling Eric “Bulletproof Beale.”) This was a great pairing. In fact it made me want to see more of Deeks and Eric together.

Hetty and Granger

It was also nice to see more of Hetty. She hasn’t been around much lately. I thought it was fitting that she was the one who picked up on the relationship between Garrison and Katerina. She understood why Garrison was really there. But it wasn’t until later that I realized she let Garrison go so he could save his daughter, just like Hetty had saved Garrison’s son. They understood one another, understanding the regrets that come from not saving loved ones, and being willing to do what they had to in order to save the ones they could. (She was even willing to risk Garrison dying and Callen never forgiving her so Garrison could fulfill his goal.)

As for Granger, I’m getting more and more concerned for actor Miguel Ferrer. I really am beginning to wonder if he suffered a stroke. The slurring of his words is getting worse – or perhaps more noticeable. If something did happen, I’m extremely glad that Ferrer is still on the scene. Granger is not going out without a fight. I like how Hetty asked him if he had spoken to his daughter. With his medical problems, Granger needs to touch base with her and let her know what is going on.

How did you like "Glasnost?" What do you think of the dynamic between Callen and his father? Were you surprised by Kensi walking? Did you like Eric in the field? Share 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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