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NCIS: LA - Outside the Lines - Review: "We All Have Flaws, We All Have Virtues"

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We open on a guy walking through an industrial area. He gets pulled into a building by hooded men asking him for “the key codes.” Threatened at gunpoint, the guy opens up a safe and hands them a cell phone with a bunch of key codes on the screen. More people show up, and after a lot of gunfire is exchanged, one of the hooded guys get away and the other is left on the ground.

At the office, Sam and Nell are making fun of Kensi for being habitually late on all the cool trends - she listens to podcasts months after everyone else, she didn’t realize the new Star Wars came out ages ago, etc. So we should look forward to her reaction to Infinity War sometime next season, then.

Eric and Nell brief Sam and Kensi on the incident that morning. Apparently the stolen key codes were for Bitcoin. “How do you steal Bitcoin?” Kensi appropriately asks. Great question, I think only the Winklevoss twins know the answer. It turns out this robbery is connected to Sam’s old foe Barris Stone.

Sam pitches the idea of going back under with his old cover Switch, and Mosley is on board. She simply asks him to take Hidoko with him.

Why can't Callen come along? Well, he’s dropping in on the good ole’ food truck - wait, it’s a taco truck? I thought it was a doughnut truck - to help Deeks with surveillance on some of Stone’s associates. And by “help Deeks with surveillance,” I of course mean trade lighthearted barbs and debate whether Bitcoin - or, in this case, fictional “Ethercoin” - is a cash dump. Deeks, not surprisingly, is 100% on board and totally into it. Callen and I both think that he may as well be throwing money into the trash.

While Hidoko and Sam are getting a little makeover - which essentially consists of black jackets and bling - Nell and Kensi interrogate the hooded guy who was left bleeding out at the scene. He’s scared to reveal who hired him or why because his boss has a pretty vicious history of killing people who turn on him.

But that resolve doesn’t stick for long, as they start flashing pictures of people connected to Stone and he recognizes all of them. He admits that a woman named Sasha Channing - whom Deeks/Callen are currently surveilling - hired them. He positively IDs Stone as being there when he was hired, so Sam is definitely on the right track. Since he’s just spilling his guts, he also gives up his partner: Eddie Davis, aka E-Money. Of course.

Hidoko, who will not stop gushing about her outfit, drives up with Sam to a farmhouse. Dana, a woman he previously worked with, is waiting on the porch. Sam starts adding way more swagger to his walk when he’s talking to this woman, and that’s really saying something.

Dana is in a knee brace and their conversation goes from “hello” to sappy in under 30 seconds. I can’t really decipher what’s going on because I’m really focused on how much I love this whole rustic farmhouse vibe she’s got going on. But I can tell that she hates the rustic farmhouse, hates being cooped up, and wants to take Stone down as much as Sam does.

They move the conversation to a nice outdoor couch, where Dana immediately uses the lack of space between them to start a cuddling session. Sam flirts his way into getting her to tell him that one time she met Stone near the harbor.

When Sam returns to Hidoko in the car, the woman can’t get him to admit anything about his relationship with Dana. The conversation takes a surprising turn to the very serious as Sam starts waxing philosophical about how nothing is black and white, no one is all good or evil. “We all have flaws, we all have virtues.”

Hidoko agrees that that’s something her husband would have said, and Sam is just surprised as all of us when she quickly gives us the run down: They were soldiers and she proposed to and married him on his deathbed.

Y’all, I’m aware that this may be an unpopular opinion, but I’m really starting to wonder if they’re planting the seeds of an eventual Hidoko/Sam romance. Because a few episodes ago, Deeks kept trying to get Hidoko to reveal absolutely anything about herself and she categorically refused, but here she just volunteered this story to Sam. Am I completely out of my mind with this theory?

Back to Sam’s usual partner, Callen and Deeks are hanging out in a dive bar that I am 99.99% sure is Backstage Bar in Los Angeles, aka the bar used in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (and probably a million other shows, too, it’s directly across the street from the Paramount lot) for most of their bar scenes. They’re there ostensibly to observe Sasha Channing, but they really just seem happy to hang out and kick back in a bar. I imagine it’s a nice change from getting shot at.

Deeks casually mentions that he’s found a bar he wants to buy. When Callen balks, Deeks doubles down: He’s serious, and he can’t stop thinking about how dangerous their line of work is. “To be honest, I think we’ve gotten lucky so far,” he says, referring to the fact that neither he nor Kensi have died yet. When Callen - STUPIDLY - says that Sam made it work, Deeks is like, uh, dude, HIS WIFE DIED. “There’s a lot of miles between safe and terrorists want to kill you with automatic weapons every single day,” he says. Very true.

I’m worried something is going to happen in the finale to one or both of them - Kensi and Deeks talked a lot lately about how dangerous their jobs are. I bet something happens. Oh no, will it be the Frankenstein killer?!?!

Back to the fiancee in question, Kensi is covering Nell, who is making Deeks proud by doing a little undercover homeless dumpster diving down at the harbor. Hidoko and Sam show up and introduce each other as Switch and… Seizure? Seriously? Did I mishear that, or are they seriously calling Hidoko “Seizure”?

They’re there to get hired on by these baddies who will eventually take them to Stone, and as part of their sales pitch, someone says they have the west coast on lock, “From Diego to the Bay.” I’m sorry. Who has ever called San Diego simply “Diego”? That’s weird.

But it doesn’t matter how good their pitch is because they know they’re Feds! This results in a shoot out and Hidoko gets shot! She goes down and Sam gets knocked out shortly thereafter. Nell and her impressive homeless outfit run in, guns a blazin’, and Kensi snipes out a few people. But they can’t stop the bad guys from loading Sam into a truck and driving off.

Honestly, the most unbelievable part of this episode is the idea that anyone could pick up a deadweight LL Cool J and carry into into a van. You would need at least two LL Cool J’s to even think about accomplishing that feat.

Don’t worry too much about Hidoko because you know that awesome black leather jacket she was gushing over? Yeah, it was LINED WITH KEVLAR, so she just has a few bruised ribs. I’m sorry, wouldn’t she have noticed that the jacket was four times the weight of a normal leather jacket?

Eric is freaking out back at Ops about being unable to find Sam. Mosley - who is a lot better in this episode - is the most encouraging and complimentary I’ve ever heard her. She tells Eric that if anyone can find Sam, it’s him, and that she believes in him. Well, dang, look at you, Mosley! Getting the hang of this leadership thing!

They call up Callen, who reacts appropriately to his partner being captured, but tell him to stay out in the field watching Sasha and Davis, aka E-Money. And I take it back, this may not be Backstage Bar after all. Callen’s all, forget that, and he and Deeks decide to shut this thing down ASAP so they can go help his partner. They chase the two out of the bar and have a quick shoot out in front of something called “Humble Bee” which is a really cute name for almost any business establishment, and I hope it’s a little local bakery that has a specialty honey cake or something and it got a bump in business after this episode.

Anyway. Eric is doing everything he can to find the missing agent, including tracing phone signals. He calls Kensi and Nell on the scene because he’s getting signals from an extra phone, which leads Kensi to finding a burner phone in Sam’s car that seems to be tracking something. Well done, Eric. Now the entire team is free to save Sam.

Speaking of Sam, he’s finally face to face with Stone… Because Dana turned him in! What?! The girl who was basically ready to marry Sam at the beginning of the episode tipped off Stone to his Fed status so that she can finally go back on the grid and be free of her rustic farmhouse days. Well, that’s just playing dirty.

They strap Sam into a chair and paint the word “Fed” on his face - which, honestly, you have to be a brave man to grab LL Cool J’s face like that. Stone has a camera set up and RIGHT as I realize they’re planning to execute him on camera, Dana turns her gun on Stone and everyone else in the room, taking them down. She helps Sam up and he removes the duct tape on his hands by just straight up Hulking out.

Here’s where it gets weird. Dana just starts throwing out all of these future plans she wants to share with Sam. She wants to run away with him, start a new life. “After everything we’ve been through, we deserve this,” she says. Then HE AGREES that he wants to run off with her, too! But he can’t run away from who he is - which would have been good advice for Callen to share with Deeks at the bar - and confesses to putting a tracker in her brace when they were snuggling at the farmhouse.

So they don’t trust each other, but they care about each other. So Dana just starts making out with him! But the romantic moment is interrupted by the team knocking down the door to save Sam’s butt. Callen, the rest of the team, and the entire TV audience is kinda confused as to what’s going on as Sam embraces the woman while Deeks handcuffs her.

Okay, I’ve seen a lot of NCIS: LA episodes, but not every single one of them. I will admit that I’ve typically focused mostly on the Deeks or Kensi-centric episodes, so the Sam/Dana episode (episodes?) I have not seen. My question is this: I’ve seen every episode since Michelle - Sam’s wife - died. So he had to have been married to Michelle when he had this undercover op with Dana. Which means he had this level of “let’s run away together” attraction towards her while he was with Michelle? That seems unlike Sam.

Someone please let me know what I missed in the comments section. Thanks in advance.

So Sam heads back to the office and has a conversation with Mosley. A few episodes ago, this “conversation” would have consisted of her haughtily yelling at him, but she must be reading my recaps, because she’s starting to act like a normal person.

She’s upset with how he handled things because he put Hidoko’s life in danger, but she recognizes that sometimes you have to think outside the box. And she promises that she’s going to do everything she can to help Dana, but needs Sam to figure out what he’s doing with this relationship.

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