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NCIS - Destiny’s Child - Review

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16.01 - "Destiny’s Child"

Directed by Tony Wharmby
Written by Steven D. Binder
Reviewed by KathM

There was a lot happening in this episode, much all of it good. We got crafty Leon, brave Kayla, crazy like a fox Sloane, computer geek McGee trying to save the world, and lava lamps as a potential delivery system for nuclear destruction. And let’s not forget stoic Gibbs (as if we could), the keeper of building climate control (I’d hate to be his temporary assistant) who always has something up his sleeve.

This episode seems to have a faster pace than any I’ve seen in a long time, and it’s full of twists and turns so pay attention. Think Leon and Hakim were transported via that fancy jet to Afghanistan? SURPRISE! They are instead housed in a luxurious estate near DC, where they have spent the last month as guests of Hakim’s mom Zaiyema. Hakim has plans for Leon, which include ruining his reputation and trying to get his (now obsolete) security codes so he could get access to nuclear weapons. By sending the nuclear facility a Trojan Horse encrypted by lava lamps. Yes, that’s a thing.

The Good:

Crazy Sloane -She knows the score and plays her crazy to NICS’ advantage. She and Gibbs had a whole plan going on that nobody knew about, which makes it all the more interesting. You think Sloane is slowly unravelling, but she’s got the whole thing worked out. Corrupt British Deputy Ambassador? No problem. Go to her house, tie her up, then act like you’re going to torture her. Then pretend to break down from stress so that Corrupt British Deputy Ambassador can theoretically get the upper hand and show Sloane that yes, she is corrupt, just like Sloane thought. Then get taken to the luxury estate where Sloane reunites with Leon and laughs at Hakim’s evil plans before Gibbs and the gang arrive with loads of backup to save their missing comrades. Turns out Gibbs and Sloane agreed to have her tagged so that her location could be picked up via satellite and they could find her when Corrupt British Deputy Ambassador (or some sort of Hakim minion) took her to Hakim. She’s been waiting for this for a long time, and I think knowing that Hakim will be spending the rest of his life in prison because SHE isn’t the monster.

Sloane was also able to put some of her pain to rest by visiting the graves of the men who died when they were prisoners of Hakim with her and bury their dog tags by their graves.

Kayla Vance – A pleasant surprise. She comes across as very much a young woman carrying on as her parents would want her to with poise and maturity. She could have been an unseen character, mentioned as being in hiding with her brother because of the potential threat to their lives, but her father didn’t raise her to be a quitter. And neither did Jackie (RIP). Besides, if she left she’d miss her Taylor Swift sociology course, which I would happily take with her. Kayla is kicking ass and taking names. She’s barging in on Gibbs's burnt sausage dinner wanting to know what he’s done to find her dad today. She’s thinking fast and shooting at the assassin Zaiyema sent after her when daddy Leon outsmarted Hakim. Using the gun from her dead security detail, no less. Mind you, she can’t hit the broad side of a barn, but she manages to survive until McGee and Gibbs arrive to kill the assassin themselves. They didn’t need to include her character in any real way, but by bringing Kayla into the story it rounds the story out in a nice way. I hope we see more of her.

Leon - Oh yes, Leon. While I honestly wanted him to be held captive for a longer period of time and actually damaged (it seems that everyone who has bad things happen to them always comes out “okay”. Some PTSD would not be surprising.) it was good to see him back in the Navy Yard where he belonged and reasonably intact. Instead of being beaten I’m not sure what else happened to him. Oh and his knee; no idea what happened there. He was a sassy prisoner always looking for a way out or possibilities to send a message to NCIS. I’m impressed by Kacie’s ability to sort out the codes he used to contact Gibbs and the team (good first day on the show as a regular, Kacie) Leon was sending, because I had no idea. He and Gibbs had a whole communication thing going without even speaking directly. I love Leon, and this episode makes me love him all the more.

Torres – He’s really grown on me. Love that he was able to resolve his long-held issues with lava lamps and also save parts of the East Coast from potential nuclear disaster at the same time. I'm all about multi-tasking.

Lava Lamps – They’re smart (data encryption using lava lamps is actually a thing) and visually interesting. Much better than sending a Trojan Horse via some random laptop.

Snitch Joey – ‘nuff said?

The somewhat confusing:

The faux CIA guy who turned out to be impersonating a dead CIA guy and who was actually a Hakim minion who programmed a Trojan Horse into the lava lamps to take over the nuclear thing. We really thought he was on Leon’s side, particularly because he gave Leon the phone so could call Gibbs and inadvertently cause Leon to play right into Hakim’s hands.

The improbable:

Leon is allowed to join Hakim and his minions during a bank heist, complete with his own firearm. A bit too Patty Hearst for my liking but still, it did give him a chance to create part of that confusing message to Gibbs and Co., which I guess was the point of his character.

The meh:

Zaiyema – Hakim’s mother. She had the potential to be an interesting character, but her sole purpose seemed to be was to stop Hakim from hurting Leon and looking sad. It may have been her estate, but I’m not sure She had the potential to be a great Big Bad, instead she was superfluous. She does order a minion to have Kayla killed after Leon outsmarted, which surprised me because she had something to do! It think it would have been a different, darker story without her, but we didn’t get that. Disappointed.

Neil Hakim - He’s technically the Big Bad, but with Zaiyema seemingly in charge he’s much less menacing. He wants to torture Leon, but mommy won’t let him. Instead, she wants to see if Vance can be persuaded to join their side. If not, then Hakim can torture him. Or throw things at the television if something doesn’t go his way. I did not see the person who tortured Sloane and her team in flashbacks last season in this episode at all, and I feel like he was almost wasted. I would like to have seen more crazy along with his plans to discredit Leon and do serious damage to the US, but I really could take him or leave him here in this episode.

Memorable Quote:

We already know the cause of death: You.” Ducky to Gibbs when he comes down to get an autopsy report on Kayla Vance’s would-be assassin.

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