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NCIS: LA - Silo - Review: “To the the End of Time and Back”

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I was so excited about this episode that I watched it all the way through the first time without taking any notes because I wanted to fully enjoy it, immersed in the episode without the glow of my laptop screen. So I watched it a second time  just so I could write this recap for you wonderful people… but I got sucked in when my friend (who has never seen a single episode of NCIS: LA before, more on that later,) decided to join me and kept interrupting to ask questions. So here I am, watching this for the third time around, so I can write this thing.

I regret nothing.

I am an absolute sucker for Kensi/Deeks episodes, and Kensi is one of my favorite female characters on TV, period. And I think this show is strongest when it centers on the relationships within the team (the NCIS team is more like a family, really), so this was one of my favorite episodes in a long time.

With that said, let’s dig in. Have the tissues ready.

My DVR apparently started recording 2 minutes late, so I don’t know if we have a location listed for this opening scene, but we see two young soldiers in uniform exit a U.S. Air Force van and enter a nondescript building somewhere.

The soldiers check in and go through all the official channels to enter the building, but something’s amiss. They’re both clutching suitcases and looking very nervous.

They get to a control center - helpfully labeled “Launch Control Center - Tango 1” - to replace another pair of soldiers who are signing out. Once the nervous pair have officially taken control, they exchange a look and the female soldier takes a tube out of her suitcase, opens the elevator and… uh oh. It’s a bomb.

She blows up the elevator and smiles while her counterpart looks like he’d rather be anywhere else.

Little Miss Pyro pulls out a few more tubes and lines the entrance into the control center with motion-triggered bombs, effectively preventing anyone from entering, even if they could get through the elevator rubble.

The pair make a call to another launch control center - Romeo 1, apparently - to tell the soldiers there that all is secure. The soldier that answers kills the soldier sitting next to him and repeats the exact same demolition and bomb set-up process.

Dang, this is a long intro scene.

So the friend I'm watching this with is the same person who says she can’t take Deeks seriously because of his haircut. (I know, I know, I don’t know why I’m still friends with her either.) I will provide her comments as they come throughout the episode. As of this point in the episode, she doesn’t understand who these people are and I had to explain they’re not the usual cast, it’s just introducing the case of the week. She was relieved that the show I regularly watch does not center around these clearly evil characters.

Moving an. Deeks arrives at the office, sans Kensi, saying they took separate cars and slamming his bag down.

Sam and Callen exchange knowing looks, asking what he did. It turns out, Deeks criticized his fiancé’s grilled cheese, which genuinely angered Kensi based on how she behaves when she arrives at work. We’re 199 episodes in and this is close to the angriest I can recall seeing her.

Callen’s eating it up and my friend comments that this is the longest anyone has discussed grilled cheese onscreen since The Devil Wears Prada.

Eric and Nell come down to call Kensi in for a secure call into ops. Mosley clears the room so no one knows what’s up, which annoys everyone else and instantly tells the audience that this is going to be a good episode.

This show is at its best when the team members band together to help one of their own after they’ve been specifically told not to.

On the phone is an Executive Director wanting to know if Kensi had relationship with one Air Force Captain Kevin Miller. It’s the nervous guy at Tango 1 partnered with Miss Pyro. She says she dated him ten years ago.

That’s good enough for him, since they’re sending a car to pick her up and she’s flying out of Edwards ASAP. I guess they’re hoping she can connect with him somehow? This is making me think of the guys I dated 10 years ago, and I feel fairly confident that if they did something drastic and I was called in to talk them down, they would suuuuper not care at all.

Deeks is waiting impatiently for the details and when Kensi explains that she has to rush off to talk to an ex that she dated for less than 3 months, he’s pretty upset. Not “my fiancé is talking to an ex” upset, but more “my fiancé is rushing into danger and I can’t back her up” upset.

By the time Kensi arrives at Tango 1, the place is swarming with people. She spots a distraught woman who also just arrived who is apparently Miller’s sister. Kensi’s introduced to FBI Special Agent Mike Monroe, who explains the two man rule for military bases like this: These are launch control centers for nuclear warheads. In order to launch, two people must be there to turn the key and approve the launch.

Now that the pair has taken over the control center and barricaded themselves in, there’s nothing the FBI can do to prevent them from launching nukes, especially since other control centers have also been taken over. Right now it appears that Miss Pyro and Kevin Miller are in the process of redirecting all of the nukes to new locations, which takes time. That's the only reason nuclear war hasn't already begun.

Kensi and Miller’s sister have been called in to convince Miller not to do this, because if just one person can be talked out of the plan, they can’t launch.

Back at the office, Mosley - who apparently has decided that push-up bras are perfectly acceptable for everyday office wear, not just special occasions - calls in the entire team for a big meeting. She gives them the names of the three officers involved in the takeover - Miller, Ross (Miss Pyro), and Zindaour (guy in Romeo 1.) She wants the team to dismantle their lives for every piece of info they can find about the trio, but can’t tell them specifically why. “They’ve committed an extreme act of terrorism," is all she can say on the subject.

Deeks is in that special place between ticked off and furious, which he displays by messing with his hair and sharing particularly sarcastic remarks. But they all mostly let it slide since he’s obviously just worried about Kensi.

The way Mosley tells her team she can’t provide any info certainly doesn’t make me like her any more. Frankly, I'm still waiting on a reason to like her at all. #FreeHetty

There’s some discussion about the Patton Project which is a rumored military within the military that advocates an all-out war on Muslims, so the team starts to research that lead.

Once Mosley leaves the room, Eric and Nell share what info they have - which is basically a summary of everything that’s happened and the fact that these three are probably involved in the Patton Project. Well that was fast.

At the base, Kensi sees the sister (named Tiffany) getting hysterical. She tells Tiffany that there’s no way Kevin would do this - which is exactly what Tiffany wants to hear - and then they commiserate having young children at home. I honestly think Kensi is the best agent of the entire team.

My friend interrupts at this point, very confused at the fact that Kensi said she has a four-month old. I have to explain. (BTW, I've been watching some older episodes this week and was reminded that Kensi has used the "oh, I have a baby back home, too!" excuse multiple times to gain a new mother's trust.)

The team at the office has found that all three soldiers went through ROTC programs at schools that are somehow connected to a man named Ted Holmes. Sam wishes he could be alone in a room with the guy just to express his dislike of the man’s teachings.

Back at the base, the FBI has gotten a call into the control center and Ross starts reciting the basic tenants of the Patton Project - eliminate all Muslims and we’ll have instant world peace.

… I’m pretty sure that’s not how it works.

My friend interrupts again to say that this is very unrealistic, because if any U.S. soldiers actually believed this, they would have been discovered looooong before they’d be given access to nuclear launch control centers. Fair enough. At least she’s past criticizing Deeks’ hair.

Kensi calls into the control center to chat with Kevin and jokes that she’s a “blast from the past,” which is both a) true, and b) an excellent choice of words.

Dude is sitting on a bunch of bombs, Kens. Ix-nay on the “blast” phrases.

Before the exes can catch up, Ross cuts in to say she wants a statement released to the press about why they’re doing this… Which is again, to eliminate all the predominantly Muslim countries. Miller agrees with the statement, but you can tell his heart’s not in it.

Kensi jumps on this, making her voice go all soft and innocent, “You really want to be responsible for the death of millions of innocent people?”

Ross ends the call, but at least Kensi’s made a little progress.

Back in L.A., the team has located Ted Holmes and WHOOOOAAA buddy is he an absolute creeper. He’s really, truly weird. In like a "he definitely lived in his parents’ basement for too long / I wouldn’t leave my friend alone with him" kind of way. I wonder how it feels to respond to that casting call as an actor.

Deeks is interviewing him at the boat shed and they pretty much confirm that he’s a militant racist who’s been training ROTC kids to follow in his footsteps. Before the interview can get too far though, Callen and Sam rush in to confirm for Deeks that their worst fear is true: these soldiers have definitely taken over the launch control center.

Deeks has passed furious and is now just really, really worried. He and Callen leave, letting Sam take over the interview.

At this point my friend chimes in, “Oooh, you got your wish! You’re alone in a room with him!” (Referring to Sam’s earlier comment.) Excellent point.

I’m going to be honest - it’s a nice change of pace to see Deeks serious. I know I shouldn’t want to see him upset and scared, but 99.9% of the time he’s the comic relief, so it’s nice to see the actor get to do something a bit more dramatic.

And literally every time the camera cuts to him this episode, he is anything but joking around.

While Deeks is worrying about his fiancé, Holmes is spouting off more details about just how detailed this takeover is... And then Sam says that he and his children are Muslim. Holmes does not react well to this.

Back at the base, Kensi is coaching Kevin’s sister through a conversation with her brother. “I heard you were in some trouble, so I’m here for my little brother.. Plus I just miss you.” They get Kevin talking about his nephew and basically all the people who’ll be affected by his actions.

Kensi is pulled out and Agent Monroe says that there’s an escape tunnel leading into the command center. They’re trying to clear it but they need to buy more time.

At the office, Mosley explains to the team how the missiles won’t launch even if the duo in the command center press the button: “The Air Force has already positioned large trucks over the silo covers. If the covers are opened to launch, the trucks fall on this missiles.”

This will cause an explosion that disseminates the plutonium over a 3-5 mile lethal radius per missile. (FYI, Sam pulls this very specific number out of thin air, making me wonder just how accurate it really is.)

Deeks is REALLY. NOT. COOL. with this, since Kensi is literally sitting on top of the bombs. He’s been calling her all day and Deeks makes it clear that Mosley needs to get her out of there. And Mosley simply say’s she’ll do her best, which is admittedly “not much.”

If I were Deeks, I might’ve punched her at that, honestly.

But Mosley looks like she actually is sorry about the situation, so that’s something. She later indirectly fills Callen in on everything she's not supposed to share, making it the first time I’ve ever actually liked Mosley.

Back at the base, Monroe asks Kensi if she’s claustrophobic and compliments her a lot on her exemplary work record… which is all just buttering her up to climb through the 18-inch wide escape tunnel. The plan is to blow the hatch, then Kensi climbs down to take out Ross and Miller.

Meanwhile, Miller appears to be having second thoughts, secretly messaging the FBI team to say he’s sorry about everything and he wishes there were another way. That means it’s time for Kensi to go in - she promises Tiffany to try to get Kevin out alive if at all possible.

Spoiler alert: Tiffany should not have high expectations about her brother getting out of this alive. He literally hijacked nuclear weapons, honey.

Before she goes down the 18-inch wide tunnel (I’m repeating that so we can all appreciate just how small a space that is,) Kensi makes a call to Deeks for one of the most heart-wrenching moments of the show.

Deeks picks up immediately, panicked, telling Kensi over and over that she has to get out of there, and she has to get out of there NOW. Kensi shuts him up and says she has to do this, she can stop this from happening and she can stop people from getting hurt.

Deeks doesn’t want to hear that. “Okay, yeah, you can stop this from happening, but so can other people.”

Kensi interrupts to say that she loves him, but he doesn’t want to hear that, he wants to hear that she’s leaving because she doesn’t have to do this, someone else can do this.

“I love you to the end of time and back,” Kensi chokes out before hanging up. Deeks yells into the dead phone line and throws a chair across the room.

Kensi drops the phone on the ground, wipes the tears from her eyes, and stands. She straightens her shoulders and, with the American flag flying behind her, calmly walks towards the tunnel to do her job.

It’s a beautiful, heartbreaking moment.

Sam, Callen, and Hidoko lead a team to find a guy involved with the Patton Project who apparently keeps all the files on all the tainted officers planted throughout the military. Maybe I’m just eager for SHIELD to return, but this definitely has a Hydra feel with all the evildoers hidden in plain sight.

They arrest the guy and confiscate all the info they can. Later, Nell confirms there are 72 people within the military that need to be investigated, which is a huge takedown.

Meanwhile, the “Let’s Test Kensi’s Claustrophobia” plan is in motion. They detonate the bottom of the tunnel to make a path for her into the room, and the NCIS agent dives in head-first wearing a headlamp. She Army crawls down the tunnel as fast as possible, through all the smoke, and I do not envy the actress having to do this, since just watching it is making me claustrophobic.

Kensi finally makes it to the end of the tunnel and throws a grenade in the room. She somersaults in, like the awesome ninja assassin that she is, and finds that the grenade has taken out both Miller and Ross. It’s over.

It’s a little odd that she doesn’t check their pulses to confirm, but I guess she knows something I don’t. Also, my friend makes the point that if the plan was to throw a grenade into the room all along, then why did they have to send anyone down there at all? Couldn’t they have just thrown a grenade down into the room? I suppose that’s true, but I imagine the tunnel was much longer than we realize and a grenade would have gone off before it reached the command center, and this was the only method that ensured they would reach the targets.

Also… There was not much effort was made to try to keep Miller alive. Which I understand, because obviously he had to be taken out ASAP, but it’s still got to be hard for Kensi to kill her ex-boyfriend and then look his sister in the eye.

Kensi goes back to L.A., where the team is wrapping up the case. She heads out to the roof, where Deeks is staring out at the dark city skyline. He makes no move to greet her when she comes onto the roof, simply saying that he wouldn’t criticize her grilled cheese again.

Kensi sees this for what it is, and says that making that call was the hardest thing she ever had to do. “How long are we going to do this?” She asks.

Deeks, on the verge of tears, throws the question back at her. She’s the one that wanted to stay in.

Kensi doesn’t know. Deeks doesn’t know. I’m struck by how realistic this feels for their characters. Instead of going the typical TV route of getting engaged and living happily ever after, this is absolutely accurate to what these two characters would be thinking about right now. They love their jobs and feel devoted to their country, but they can’t do this to each other every week.

“I can’t go through what Sam went through,” Deeks says. “Honestly, I don’t even know how that guy gets up in the morning.” He’s almost crying. “You’re everything for me. And… I hate feeling like this because you’re my world.”

Kensi’s crying now too and kisses him, “You’re mine. You’re my world.”

It’s a beautiful final scene, and I’m with them - I don’t know where they go from here, either. They have to stay on the team for the purposes of the show - it just wouldn’t be the same if either left. But how do they do that?

What did everyone think of the episode? What do you think is in the future for Kensi and Deeks? Are you excited for the 200th episode coming up?

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