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NCIS: LA - Party Crashers - Review: "Your Team Could Be Better"



Welcome back, NCIS: LA fans! For a quick reminder of what went down last season, read this recap.

The episode starts with a beautiful, presumably famous couple, getting out of a car at a party. As paparazzi snap their photo, a body falls on the roof of their town car. Everyone screams and the credits roll.

Callen is standing on the beach, staring into the surf. Sam eventually emerges, carrying a pretty sick-looking harpoon gun. We learn that Sam has been living in a camper on the beach solo, since his kids are now off at school, fishing and drinking beer. He insists that he’s happy and he’s going to stay here forever, but Callen says he only thinks he’s happy. “What is it going to take to bring you back?” He asks. Sam looks at his wedding ring and says, “A miracle.”

Deeks, with a heavier beard than usual, and Kensi are jogging and it’s revealed that Deeks hasn’t told his mom about their engagement. Kensi finds this very upsetting, and the unbelievably fit couple take a break from working out for Deeks to leave a vague voicemail to his mom.

Nell is hanging out in front of a coffee shop, clearly tailing someone. She suddenly runs and full-body tackles a person dressed as a giant avocado and rips his facemark off to reveal that, surprise! It’s Eric! She criticizes his not-so-subtle out-of-season trailing technique, but the pair’s banter is interrupted with a “this is not a drill” text calling them into the office.

At the office, Callen meets Special Agent Harley Hidoko, Executive Assistant to the EAD PAC. Callen then turns around and immediately also meets Executive Assistant Director Mosley, assigned by NCIS headquarters to replace Granger and find a new Hetty, who has allegedly retired. Can I just say, as a recapper of TV episodes, how much I genuinely appreciate it when new characters immediately share their name and job description the first time we see them.

While Callen is trying to process what’s going on, Mosley very calmly says that she sent that emergency text to call everyone into the office because, “We’ve received intel that North Korea is launching a mission at Los Angeles. Today.”


After the commercial break, the whole gang (minus Sam) are in the control center, comparing notes. None of them knew that Hetty was retiring. Mosley and Hidoko come in to debrief everyone: The man that died outside the night club was Defense Agent Park. While Hidoko has trouble pulling up info on the electronics, Deeks tries to get Mosley to crack a smile with no success.

The debriefing continues: Minutes before his death, Park sent a text that says ICBM@LA with today’s date. The team thinks this could mean a hundred different things and Deeks basically rolls his eyes, but Mosley insists they take this as a legitimate threat. She pairs up Callen and Kensi for the assignment and before the team can explain that that’s not how things work around here, Mosley thanks Deeks for his service, but directs him back to LAPD.

Things must work quickly under the new director, because the next thing we see is Deeks carrying his boxes into LAPD to see his old buddy Lieutenant Bates. Bates gleefully sets Deeks up at a nice desk right in the dog pen so half a dozen barking dogs can keep him company all day. This is my idea of hell.

Meanwhile, Callen and Kensi are on the case and Callen is leaving another voicemail for Hetty, asking what’s going on. Eric and Nell call the pair to share that all law enforcement are taking this is a legitimate threat from North Korea, even though our little squad continues to find it silly. Also, Hetty’s retirement is apparently legit. She’s sold three of her properties in the last few months and her boat is gone.

Hidoko walks up, cutting them off and then witnesses the wonder twins scramble their way through a terrible lie. Hidoko enjoys watching them sweat it out before revealing that Mosley will fire anyone who uses company resources for personal use. Fun.

Kensi and Callen are at the club where Park died, wandering around the rooftop. Signs point to a struggle and surveillance shows that Park got into a fight with two men, one of whom the club owner recognizes.

After the commercial break, Nell and Eric are telling Callen and Kensi what they’ve found after examining the footage. One of the men fighting with Park is Michael Lee, a grad student on a Canadian passport, and there’s nothing out of the ordinary. They haven’t found facial rec on the other guy. The investigators are off to find Lee.

Deeks goes to see Lt. Bates again, who is obviously still as much of a firecracker as he ever was, remarking that “Friends are just people who haven’t figured out what they want from you yet.” Lovely. Deeks asks if Bates knows anything about a possible North Korean missile strike and Bates denies it, then says a few more things that are really just awful. Funny, but awful. Deeks leaves to go see his mom since she hasn’t called him back.

Kensi and Callen are trying to get into Lee’s house and Callen calls up Mosley for permission to break into the guy’s house without a warrant. She approves, passing Callen’s test of what kind of boss she’s going to be, so the pair break in and search the house. They find that he’s been shredding and flushing documents, and recently bought a bunch of burner phones. Seems like we’ve got ourselves another spy…

Deeks is at his mom’s house, where a young man clad only in boxers answers the door. Deeks immediately interprets this as a man has broken into his mother’s house, so he chases the guy down, tackles him, and pulls his gun on him. At which point his mom comes out of the bathroom, clad only in a towel, and breaks it up.

Then Deeks looks from the shirtless dude to the unmade bed, to his mom in a towel, puts all the pieces together, and absolutely loses it. But Mama Deeks is not all that worried about her son's distress since he couldn't be bothered to tell her that he got engaged. Yes, she found out weeks ago from Kensi's mom and has been ticked ever since.

But she doesn't care, because she's got a wedding of her own to plan, since Deeks needs a "new father." This comment grosses out Deeks to infinity, and Mama Deeks says she's kidding, they're just friends "with benefits." This goes on for several minutes and it's one of the funniest Deeks moments we've had in a few seasons. Deeks leaves, off to wash his ears out and sear the memory of that conversation from his brain forever.

Back at Lee's apartment, Callen and Kensi are still searching. They find a safe they can't open, EMT uniforms hanging in the closet, and then their sleuthing is interrupted by two men entering the apartment. It looks like Lee and the unidentified second man from the security footage. Second guy grabs Lee, fires at the agents, then pulls Lee out onto the street so he can run off. He keeps firing at agents, then throws Lee to the ground where he shoots him, then runs off. Time for a commercial break.

We're still at Lee's apartment, which is now a crime scene. As the coroner rolls out the body, Deeks shows up to check on Kensi. Callen's recoverd a laptop from Lee's backpack, which is now full of bullet holes.

Callen then calls Sam and leaves the most passive aggressive voicemail in the history of the world catching him up on everything that's happened this episode, and when you hear it all listed back to back like that, it's really amazing how much has happened in just thirty minutes of air time. Sam, busy sharpening and throwing knives in front of his beachfront RV, seems to be considering Callen's invitation to return.

Callen returns to the office where Mosley isn't impressed with how the situation today was handled. Callen comes out swinging, explaining that they did the best they can without Deeks. When Mosley makes a comment about how they must not be that great if they need a cop to lend a helping hand, Callen lets her have it. "You wanna make this unit stronger, great. But all you've done so far is weaken it. You want me to respect your decisions? Fine. But you better start respecting mine as well."

Mosley agrees that Deeks can stay until she finds a suitable replacement, and when Callen reminds her yet again that he's in charge of the team, she gives him a gentle warning to be careful.

Sam's back! Sam, smiling like nothing ever happened, strolls into the office, wondering where his parade is. The team rejoices that he is back, then he casually segues into chit-chat about their impending doom that absolutely everyone is super unconcerned about. "So what's this nonsense I'm hearing about North Korea?"

The nerd twins share their findings on the damaged laptop with the team - they found a few documents with references to North Korea and Iran, as well as some bomb specs.


Hidoko interrupts to say that Mosley is on the phone with SecNav and things aren't great. Satellite photos confirm that North Korea is prepping an ICBM for launch. Mosley shows up, introduces herself to Sam and confirms his renewed employment, and watches her team figure out what's going on in some sort of inside language that she doesn't understand. 

"Okay, guys, we're headed to all-out nuclear war," she says, trying to get the team to focus. I get that this is their job, and these people deal with potentially life-threatening situations every day, but they're treating this like they're agreeing on what kind of take out to order for lunch.

Callen suggests this whole thing is a bait and switch. It's a North Korea test missile that will land in the ocean, but a bomb goes will off in L.A. at the exact same time a viable missile would've hit the coast. Eventually, the U.S. would discover the truth, but not before they retaliate on North Korea. This is all Iran's plan to get the U.S. to go to war with North Korea so they pull their troops out of Iran, leaving ISIS and Al Qaeda unchecked.

This show's writers have obviously been playing RISK a lot lately, because that's a fairly tactically sound plan.

Kensi reminds everyone about the EMT uniforms at Lee's house, and the team rushes off to find a bomb in an ambulance.

Mosley and the wonder twins are monitoring the scene from the control room. They've found a suspicious ambulance that the team is en route to, and identified the second suspect as renowned bomb maker Herbert Dieter.

Sam and Callen are in sight of the ambulance, but don't want to approach since there are so many innocents in the immediate area. They can't risk the chance that Dieter will see them and detonate early. Since he knows what Callen and Kensi look like, it's up to Deeks and Sam.

They decide to subtly approach the ambulance by having Sam hit Deeks, hard, with his car. Sam runs towards the ambulance asking for help, effectively distracting Dieter long enough for Callen to take him out. They open the ambulance to discover the bomb. Mosley contacts the higher ups to call off a missile strike on North Korea, thus avoiding war.

They discover the bomb is still active - set to go off in just over three minutes, so Callen jumps in the driver's seat and starts driving the active bomb, with Sam working to disarm it, throughout L.A. The pair argue as Nell works out a driving route that will get Callen a safe place to ditch the bomb, should it come to that. They're going to an empty landing strip at the airport.

Callen and Sam won't have time to reach that, so they need a plan B. Less than two minutes left on the timer and Sam is just clipping wires left and right. Callen decides that the best course of action is to drive the ambulance directly into the ocean.

As Eric and Nell do their absolute best to convince Mosley and Hidoko that the agents really are good at their jobs, honest, Deeks and Kensi make it to the harbor where the ambulance is sinking. Sam and Callen pop out of the water, laughing, and I assume the water somehow deactivated the bomb, although no one actually outright said it.

Hidoko is impressed, the computer kids are happy, Kensi and Deeks are received, Sam and Callen are joking and everything seems back to normal... and Mosley is completely disgusted and unimpressed. Oops, surprise! The bomb goes off after all, shooting water up and soaking the team. Everyone's laughing and Mosley looks like she's going to fire everyone on the spot.

Later that evening, Callen is back at the office where Mosley wanted to talk to him. She gives credit to his team for preventing a tragedy. But she doesn't know if Callen's method of handling things is the way the agency should act. "When I said your team could be better, I meant it," she says. Apparently Callen's unit uses lethal force far more than any other unit. "Gone are the days when you shoot first and ask questions later," she says before dismissing him.

Callen does not relay the warning to the team, merely telling them that Deeks is back. It's not officially permanent yet, but he's working on it. Sam is planning to stay, too. Callen wants to find out what happened to Hetty, and Sam suggests that she didn't say where she was going because she doesn't want to be found.

Cut to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, where Hetty is meeting with a man in a club. The man pushes a cell phone across the table, displaying a photo of a disheveled white man with gray hair. According to him, the mysterious man in the photo worked in the CIA and was in a helicopter crash in 1976, which is when Hetty was in a helicopter crash. She believed until this moment that she was the only survivor. Hetty's companion tells a ghost story about an American operative who went MIA then got a taste for killing, hunting people down in the jungle and killing soldiers on both sides. "I don't believe in ghosts," Hetty says.

Interesting! What did everyone think of the episode? Were you surpirsed with how they handled the fallout from Michelle's death? Do you think Callen's job is in trouble? And who is Hetty looking for?

Quick note that next week's review won't be posted until the Wednesday after it airs. Sorry in advance for the delay!





 
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