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NCIS: LA - Assets - Review: “Plans Change”

We open on a woman swimming laps alone in an indoor pool. She thinks she hears something and gets out, worn out from her swim.

A guy who absolutely would’ve been on the cover of every issue of Tiger Beat had he been born 20 years ago comes up behind her. The swimmer is on instant alert: she gets into a fighting stance, immediately orders him to back away, and says she’s going to call the police.

He’s startled and backs up, raising his hands in surrender. He’s here in peace, he just wants her number. The girl relaxes and the pair smile at each other and I really hope something bad doesn’t happen to one of them because I want them to live happily ever after. But too bad, because suddenly the swimmer is shot in the chest and she falls into the pool. Tiger Beat freaks out and runs away. And roll credits…

Sam is talking to his friend Tom who drives up in a moving van. It turns out Tom, at Sam’s request, has completely gutted Sam’s house and readied it for realtors to look at. Sam says the kids took what they want, he kept the weapons and ammo, and he couldn’t deal with the rest of it. So he bids his friend to donate everything to a homeless shelter, and Tom is as concerned as I am. But Sam is insistent.

I’m agreeing with what I read in the comments section last week - it felt a little odd to see Sam starting to get his flirt on with Agent DeChamps in last week’s episode, and now he’s getting rid of all of Michelle’s things? He didn’t even look through any of them? Not just her things, but everything in their entire house? Including the house? I realize that there’s a lot going on in his head right now, and everyone grieves in their own way, and I can’t be certain of exactly how much time has passed since her death, but… I’m worried about Sam, y’all.

Back at the office, Deeks is shooting hoops in the gym when Assistant Mosley walks in. The two have a great back-in-forth in which they reference the fact that the last time they interacted, she fired him and sent him back to LAPD. She also references the fact that she doesn’t love people who “don’t take care of their appearance,” and Deeks FINALLY acknowledges that awful beard he’s been showing off and says it’s gone, ASAP. Thank you, Mosley! It was in that weird too-long-to-be-scruff, too-short-to-be-a-beard phase, and it just didn’t work with the shaggy haircut.

Then she basically asks for his best elevator pitch as to why he wants to work for NCIS and he recites back to her the NCIS mission statement. She calls him out on that, then follows it up by calling him out on the fact that he just wants to work with his fiancé. But all is well because he drains the basketball shot she challenges him to make, earning him another day on the team. He challenges her right back and she says no and strolls off, but not before dropping some of her college basketball stats on him.

Kensi and Callen try to challenge Hidoko to another kind of shooting contest, this time at the gun range, but she’s a no-go. Eric comes to get them with a case on deck.

Nell presents the case of the week: the woman we saw shot and killed at the pool was Navy Lieutenant Naomi Elder. She was on leave from her job monitoring and cataloguing classified Naval intelligence communications, and not traveling with any Navy technology.

Kensi and a still-bearded Deeks go to the crime scene to interview Tiger Beat about the shooting. He’s nervous and apparently sort of a dweeb in real life and getting up the nerve to talk to this girl was his big shot. (Pun not intended.) The only info he can really contribute is that immediately after the shooting, he saw a red reflection in the pool tile.

The partners hypothesize that the red he saw was a laser sight from a sniper rifle and figure the sniper must’ve been in the building across the street. Which… I mean, I know I'm not a detective, but wasn’t that the most likely answer anyway?

Meanwhile, Callen asks Sam what’s going on with the For Sale sign in front of his house. Sam says that it’s time for him to move on, and Callen doesn’t seem concerned about his friend in the least, so maybe it has been an appropriate amount of time for him to grieve and move on? I feel like they kinda hit fast forward here. Either way, Callen offers Sam a place to stay if he wants it.

Kensi’s searching the building where they suspect the shooter was stationed and finds where they were set up. She uses her sniper training to figure out that this was a very difficult shot to make, and they must be dealing with a highly trained professional.

Sam and Callen are interviewing Keith and Lynn, the couple Naomi was staying with. The wife and Naomi were old friends and she was just crashing on in their guest room on and off between short trips. The couple shares that Naomi only decided to go to that workout pool last night and left before dawn that morning. Calling it now: Keith did it. Just a hunch.

Back at ops, Mosley, Hidoko, Nell, and Eric are interviewing Naomi’s department head, Commander Miyazaki, via video. Miyazaki can’t think of any reason why anyone would want to hurt Naomi, but does mention she was supposed to attend a meeting that wound up being cancelled.

Deeks has joined Kensi over at the shooting location and suddenly asks if she thinks Hetty really retired. He’s not sure he likes all this change since Hetty left, and Kensi agrees that yes, a lot of things are changing. Which Deeks thinks they should take as a sign that it’s time to take their next step. The two argue about which one of them would have to quit their job - wait, is there a rule that you can’t be partners with your spouse? Have they mentioned this before and I missed it? I mean, it makes complete sense, but… Well, wouldn’t that have come up in conversation a lot before now?

Deeks says that maybe it’s time for him to leave, but he doesn’t know what job he could take that would make him as happy. But he does know that he doesn’t want one where he’s constantly at risk of getting shot at, because, “I can’t imagine kissing our daughter goodbye in the morning, and then we spend all day wondering if one of us is going to get shot.”

Which, valid point to make. But also, WHOA Deeks! That’s probably simultaneously the most mature and romantic thing he’s ever said.

Kensi is a little smitten by the fact that Deeks is picturing their future daughter until he mentions her imaginary name: “Princess Sunshine Deeks.” Y’all, it is taking every ounce of self-restraint I have not to make that the title of this recap. At Deeks’ return to comedic form, Kensi loses the heart eyes real fast and runs off, ready to continue the investigation.

Meanwhile, Sam and Callen are searching the guest bedroom and finding very little in the way of Naomi’s luggage. Interestingly, she doesn't seem to have the dress uniform she would’ve needed for that meeting Miyazaki mentioned.

Callen finds a gaming device under the bed and rings up Eric for details. Eric asks them to open up the casing and when Sam volunteers that he has one of those compact all-in-one tools with a mini screwdriver on it that will do the job, Callen stares at him like he just admitted to having wings or something. Why is the fact that your NCIS partner carries around essentially a utility knife a surprising thing, Callen? Shouldn’t that be standard issue for people who regularly inspect crime scenes?

They open the case and find a data chip hidden in the gaming console which they plug into the nearest TV… And discover that it’s chock-full of years of classified surveillance briefs, photos of the Chinese border, and more. So Naomi either knowingly smuggled these plans out or she was an unwitting mule.

Back at the shooter’s building, the engaged partners are tracking the path the shooter took out of the building. Um… They keep seeing stuff this shooter touched, but they have yet to take prints. Or call anyone in to take prints. Or even say the word “fingerprints” out loud. Maybe I’m being a little critical, but I’m pretty sure Nancy Drew would’ve had this thing solved already.

They find motorcycle tracks that lead away from the building, and as Kensi snaps a photo for Nell and Eric, she asks Deeks why he wants a future little Princess Sunshine instead of a Prince Sunshine. His answer: He thinks the little pink surfboards and matching pink wetsuits are adorable. That sounds about right. Kensi breaks it to him that not all little girls like pink, after all, she didn’t. The way that Deeks just deadpans, “That’s a shocker” is so funny I have to rewatch it a few times.

So Kensi explains that she think she would be a great mom to a boy and then suddenly seems to realize that she’s walked right into a “we both want a kid” conversation, and immediately walks herself out of it. “Good talk,” Deeks sums up.

At the boat shed, Sam and Callen are meeting with Naval intelligence officer Frank Peralta - IS HE RELATED TO JAKE PERALTA FROM BROOKLYN 99? I’m going to choose to believe that he is. Peralta has examined the data from Naomi’s drive, which he thinks could’ve started a high-value bidding war. One copy was made of the data - the day before, around noon. Paralta stresses the importance of finding that copy, ASAP.

Eric and Nell are examining the motorcycle tracks and discover that their new teammates make them uneasy. Except they disagree on which person they dislike - Eric dislikes Harley and Nell dislikes Mosley. Eric is able to nail down the specific bike of the shooter and finds its current location, sending the specs to Deeks.

Callen has a quick chat with Keith, who suddenly volunteers that he though Naomi was acting off during her stay and their house. She was vague and distracted and hard to hold a conversation with. Okay, Keith. Whatever you say. I totally still think you did it.

Callen and Sam leave the house and discuss Naomi’s social media. Callen up and suggests a very impressive theory out of nowhere, that Naomi was using the comments section of her Instagram account to communicate with buyers. Eric says there’s one specific Instagram user that’s been all over her profile recently, a local man by the name of Geno Preston. The partners go off to speak with him, and I honestly hope that it ends up that Preston is just a rando creeper because if he really is involved, this was all way, way too easy.

They approach the guy’s house, guns drawn, and this all seems excessive for a dude whose only crime right now is liking a girl’s selfies. But wait! The glass front door was broken so the partners are on high alert as they clear the house. Okay, that explains the caution. It’s been recently searched, and they find the man dead in his kitchen, tied to a chair.

Preston looks like he was tortured before he was killed, and the search job was done by a professional. The pair start to see hints of Naomi around the apartment - old pictures, her toiletries, her dress uniform hanging in the closet. So this guy was her boyfriend - but why would she need to lie about having a boyfriend to her friends?

Nell and Eric are still studying the motorcycle footage and Hidoko has joined them. They nail down the last known location of the motorcycle and pass on the info Kensi and Deeks.

Mosley and Hidoko head back to Mosley’s desk and chat about their new digs. Mosley makes it clear that she hates the space and is getting a new office built immediately and expects the building to adapt to her. Then she asks for Hidoko’s opinion on how she’s seen the team work together. “Seamlessly,” Hidoko responds. But too bad, because Mosley’s planning to break them up. Oh, cool. That makes absolutely no sense, but whatever.

Deeks and Kensi find the motorcycle, but not before it finds them and a bunch of bikers start flying past them, shooting at them. This begins a pretty amazing shoot out between the partners crammed into a bullet-ridden car and about four motorcycle riders who box them into an alley and surround them. Eventually they shoot down all but one guy, who rides off. So much for having jobs that don’t require you to get shot at every day.

Mosley joins Eric and Nell to go over the info they’ve found on the deceased bikers. (Hey, what happened to the whole “their team has to kill fewer people” thing?) The shooters originated from China and entered the country recently with fake passports. Mosley takes this as a sign that Naomi had worked with them prior to this. I don't know why.

Sam and Callen go to check on Deeks and Kensi, and Eric calls them up with the location of the remaining motorcycle. The team goes after it together. Sam and Callen find the bike parked in a driveway and hears gunshot from inside the home. They run into the (beautiful) home and search it and Lynn, Naomi’s BFF, runs downstairs, hysterical. (Wait, this is their house! I missed how beautiful it was before.)

The motorcyclist runs down and exchanges gunfire with the team before Sam takes him out. Kensi runs up to comfort Keith, who’s been shot in the arm. No one seems to understand what’s going on. Including me, since I was so sure Keith was the bad guy.

The team returns to the office, where Mosley is waiting for an update. Sam says they found $100k in cash at Preston’s house and it appears the Naomi had her own copy of the intel she was selling, so it hadn’t been sold. Mosley remains ticked that everyone involved in the case is dead, because now that can’t figure out if this was an isolated incident or it had happened before.

Callen defends his team, saying they follow up on every case and every lead. “Hetty used to support that. That’s why we’ve had the long-term success that we’ve had,” he challenges.

Mosley just smiles, “Lovely.” She’s going back to D.C. for a meeting and taking Hidoko with her. Deeks keeps pressing his luck to confirm he still has a job. so Kensi drags him away before he can get them all fired.

Sam and Callen drive out to the docks and Sam ropes Callen in to help him move in… On a boat. Not like a houseboat, like an actual, legit boat. Callen is loving this sudden role reversal in their housing situations - he has a real house, and Sam is the drifter now. The boat is currently named “The Clam Bake,” but Sam’s going to call her “Michelle.” When the boat’s ready, he’s going to take the kids out and sprinkle her ashes. Okay, I’m not so worried about Sam anymore.