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S08.E03: The Queen's Gambit

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A short-staffed NCIS team tackles an abduction case while Hetty is held in Washington, D.C., and another team member remains in the ICU.

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Lord. Nell in the field. They've done this once or twice that I can recall (I only catch the show every now and then) and it just doesn't work for me. The actress has a very childlike manner and voice and I don't buy that the character has undergone enough training that she could take down someone of Jasmine's size and training.

Procedural shows always have the awkward nerd characters that everyone's supposed to love and I have to say Nell (and Eric, who also seems like a child) is my least favorite of any show I've ever watched.

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Eric is a good shot.

Under Sec Def clearly overstepped himself. Methinks his leash just got shorter.

Nice that our observant Muslim was totally innocent.

Nell is a brawler 

Not happy that Kensi is still comatose  (I know, I know maternity leave) but glad we didn't have some clichéd scene with her waking up right when Deeks proposed. 

Nice to see Kensi's mom. If someone is that badly hurt, their family should be there. And I totally believe Kensi was an ER frequent flyer as a child.

Edited by anna0852
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I was bored by the crime of the week, but I enjoyed the Deeks/Kensi and mom scenes.  I also liked the Hetty scenes, which is unusual because she usually gets on my nerves.

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I thought the crime-of-the-week plot was pretty weak.  And the team were awfully generous to that ex-marine.  I don't think that assaulting and abducting someone completely innocent and uninvolved in any crime, just because his cousin is a human trafficker, counts as either "doing the wrong thing for the right reasons," or "taking initiative."  

I like Nell in the field, and I'm willing to give her the benefit of the doubt over being able to take on much bigger suspects.  She's a very determined person, and I've no doubt that she trains like crazy for just such an eventuality.  Also agree that the Hetty scenes were great fun ("I'm a Hufflepuff!"), and I'm glad that we finally have a firm deadline on resolving this never-ending mole plot.  And Kensi, Deeks and Kensi's mom were lovely, though I can't believe we have to wait at least two weeks for her to wake up!  They're gonna drag this out, aren't they?  I know, I know, maternity leave :)

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Damned football!  There was a game in Tampa Bay, and a big storm moved through (Tampa is the lightening capital of the country, or some such).  So they stopped the game, and CBS aired part of "60 Minutes" while waiting for the the storm to pass.  Then they went back to the game.  When the game ended, they went back to "60 Minutes" So not only was everything on the schedule bumped to a later time, there was no way to track what that time was going to be!  Sheesh.  I missed the beginning of "NCIS:LA".  Arrrrgh

BTW, I live south of Tampa, and I loved the storm. But I hate football.  It really screws up the Sunday night programs. 

ETA: I hate debates too, when they screw up the schedule. Next Sunday is wiped out by another presidential debate.  Yes, maybe I need to get a life, but I do love my TV and I get cranky when it's messed up.  You don't want to see me cranky!

Edited by Skycatcher
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I felt sort of meh about this one. I liked the hospital scenes (which, interestingly, were written and filmed at a different time than the rest of the episode, which might explain why they seemed to be of higher quality), and was glad to see Kensi's mom again, but a lot of what happened elsewhere felt unnecessary or didn't quite make sense. Sam's sort of casual assurance that they did the right thing didn't quite work for me. Yes, they captured a "high value target," but they purposely chose to go into hostile territory, unsanctioned, at a time when they knew they couldn't rely on having tech support or even back-up. Now one of their team members is in pretty bad shape--they have no guarantee that she will survive at all. It seemed out of character for Sam to be so certain that it was the right move regardless, with Callen being the one who was less sure. I feel like it might have made more sense to have Sam have more of a "it's done, can't change it now" attitude rather than "Nope, that was totally the right call even if she dies or is paralyzed for life." 

And the whole Hetty thing...so let me get this straight. That dude drags Hetty back to DC in cuffs on completely his own authority? He didn't have to check with any superiors first? Then he has her for several hours and gets to handle it however he likes, and that underling who hated our team last episode and seemed just as showily righteous as Dude gets drunk and suddenly loves Hetty? And THEN the Secretary of Defense shows up and cuts her loose with no real further discussion? Like...what?

I also thought the scene of Eric shooting went on for way, way, way too long and was uncomfortably bad to watch. And when Nell is on the field, why is there no substitute technical operator for her? And I agree that the Marine storyline seemed too easily resolved--she hit an innocent man with her car, broke his leg, tasered him, stuffed him in a trunk, and then held him captive in a storage unit. That seems like a way bigger deal than, "Oops, she meant well!" 

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@Skycatcher I also hate football, even moreso when it screws with my TV shows. But I've learned to set my Tivo to record 2 hours after the normal end time during football season. It sucks but at least I don't miss any of my show.

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This show is so weird. Normally I hate Hetty but I did find her mildly amusing, getting Investigative I Totally Care About This Plotline Chick sufficiently scotch-ed up and dozing off while Obnoxious You Could Not Possibly Make Me Care Less About This Investigator Dude attempts to interrogate her. Just stick to case of the week. "OMG THERE'S A MOLE" has been done enough times already, many of which were on your own show, so send it to Elsa and let it go.

Anyway, I agree with other comments that the case was too easily resolved and probably suffered from being shoehorned in between Kensi hospital scenes and this endless mole bit.

Just stop trying to make Nell happen.... please. Leave her up with Eric and have an actual agent sub for Kensi. Nell already suffers from major Mary Sue, can we not try and make her the second coming of Ziva also? Please? Especially since she's finally not being a mild jerk to Eric all the time too? I really do not buy that she's been training in between scenes to the point that she can take down that girl like that.

In the meantime, there's everyone else who's awesome and I totally love Granger now, which is nice compared to how he was when he came on years ago.

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It does seem like this ep was just thrown together by amateurs. Win a Chance to Write an NCIS-LA Script! How is Kensi? How about now? Now? Any change yet? Is she better yet? Now? Now? Now??

An interational kidnapping ring with only four perps? All in LA? Why have Nell go under cover to "infiltrate" the operation when they were only going to take the guy down and arrest him without evidence, and then threaten him into confessing? And I am sooooo tired of tight-lipped suspects refusing to cooperate because they think they're the only good guys on earth. Where was the woman's evidence that ANY military brass were ever involved in the kidnappings? And how long was she planning on leaving the rug merchant in her storage locker?

Finally, 5 minutes with SecNav and the Hetty issue was resolved. Is there any evidence that LA still has a mole? How hard is it to figure out how the last one got in and whether any additional measures could have prevented it?

Sorry. One star. Try harder

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On 10/3/2016 at 5:02 AM, mtmjr said:

 

I like Nell in the field, and I'm willing to give her the benefit of the doubt over being able to take on much bigger suspects.  She's a very determined person, and I've no doubt that she trains like crazy for just such an eventuality.  Also agree that the Hetty scenes were great fun ("I'm a Hufflepuff!"), and I'm glad that we finally have a firm deadline on resolving this never-ending mole plot.  

I too like Nell and enjoy her scenes when she goes in the field ! Hetty is awesomeness combined ???so any focus on her is always appreciated ! I always enjoy Callen and Sam ! I'm always on the fence about the whole Kensi story arc - agree they have chemistry but often find them *meh* to watch ! Don' t know if it is the writing per se or just feel like TPTB are forcing them too much on me and I'm supposed to like them ? Time will tell fir me on them ! 

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This episode was just all over the place. Sam being "whatever, we got the asset, sucks about Kens" was way out of character. At one time I could see him being that way about Deeks, but not Kensi. 

Nell. Just no. Just stop. I find her barely tolerable  most of the time, stop trying to make her the most awesome agent that ever awesomed. What did the cal her,,, the Nellinator?? No. 

Hetty was enjoyable, but the idea that some under secretary can handcuff and haul off the Director of Special Projects (or whatever it is their called) with no seeming input from anyone higher up is bullshit. And I don't particularly like Hetty! 

I did like the idea that Sam has been teaching Eric how to shoot in the off-screen time. That seems like a very Sam thing to do. 

I love that Kensi's mom was shown, even if for a brief moment. I also love that woman's voice. 

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Spoiler

 

The actor playing the dickish Sec Def looks so familiar. I couldn't find his name.

I like Eric and Nell as the Meer-cats upstairs... as Grainger called them

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Yeah, Nell as meerkat works. Nell as Nellosaurus not so much. There are fierce and tiny women who could take out a female Marine just like that - but they'd have to train like hell to get there and keep their form. Nell simply hasn't had the time (she's constantly working at ops and in her spare-time obviously doing nerd things with Eric) and so it's not believable. Of course none of Hetty's superpowers are believable either - but she's Hetty and she's played by Linda Hunt.

Dude playing Under Secretary whatever was chewing way too much scenery - to be fair the writing for him was so bad I don't know what else he could have done. The franchise has a history with creating one-dimensional antagonists for the team (Colin Hanks comes to mind), so that's not surprising. And now let's please move away from that mole plot.

Whenever Jasmine Garcia was on screen I was trying to figure out where I know the actress from. Took me ages to figure out that she's Dariela from the indomitable Zoo! And guess what part she's playing there: an ever-angry soldier, seems to become Alyssa Diaz's specialty. Her plot was also meh, why would a dude who has no problems getting involved in human trafficking give a rats ass about his cousin? And the IS can sadly get their hands on brides much easier than have them shipped from over-seas. Best thing about this was as mentioned above that the devout Muslim was innocent.

But I did love: "I'm a Hufflepuff" - that was great and I really enjoyed the actress playing drunk. Her glee about her boss's Deadpool costume was also pretty good.

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I still don't get why no one contacted LEon Vance about the undersecretary's actions? Or Kensi being injured. None of this makes a damn bit of sense. He would have been all over the situation the second he heard about it, even if he wasn't shown on screen. As others have mentioned, all Granger needed to say was 'I spoke to the director, he's working to resolve the situation and will be in touch. Meantime, here are his instructions...'

no way would Leon leave Hetty and/or the team hung out to dry like that.

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This show has been bad about the DC connection since the end of season 2. I could swear it's actually something to do with the show runners on the Mothership, not ours but don't quote me on that. I always thought it was strange that the Mothership, at the end of their season 9 when the Navy Yard got blown up, that we never heard any mention of it here. Or when director Vance's wife was killed. Or when the previous Sec Nav was killed. Those seem like the types of things that need to be mentioned.

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I seem to recall from somewhere that the showrunners/producers of the Mothership (and NOLA) didn't care for the direction that LA took, so the crossovers/pollinating hardly happens anymore - with the recent exception last year of Tony DiNozzo ringing the doorbell - but that was probably after he told the producers that he would be leaving.... He also guested in the first season of NOLA two years ago, but DiNozzo really didn't seem to want to linger....  Anyhoo, LA and Mom&NOLA just don't get along.  Thanksgiving must be interesting.

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