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S08.E07: Crazy Train

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Callen poses as a patient in a mental health facility to find an NSA agent who vanished while tracking an ISIS cell that was attempting to cross the Mexican border.

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Geez! All that speculation about if Granger was ill turned out to be true. Did they say exactly what was wrong? Or just that oblique reference to Agent Orange? Given the MRI and the more noticeable slur in his speech I'm thinking a brain tumor of some sort.

I think it's time to call in Nate for Kensi. She needs counseling and given how hard she is going to resist it, someone who knows her and knows when she's glossing over stuff will be much more effective. She also needs it pointed out that taking risks with therapy while she can't feel pain in part of her body is pretty much asking to injure herself further. That was a bad cut from falling and she didn't even know she'd done it.

As much as I wish otherwise, I don't think Deeks will be the one to get through to her about focusing on recovery and moving forward. He's too close to the situation. Ultimately I think that will be received better coming from Sam or Callen. There is something to be said for emotional distance and right now I think that Deeks and Kensi aren't communicating well. It's not anyone's fault but Deek's determination to be cheerful and assume that Kensi will recover fully is very much at odds with Kensi's current and very-much-more pessimistic view. I think bits of conflict will continue to flare between them until emotions settle a bit and each can both hear *and accept* what the other is saying.

It's rather ingenious really, the way that DR's maternity leave coverage has been written to reduce ECO's need to be on set as well. Since about half his scenes were shot in advance I would assume he's able to reduce his work time given he's also got a new daughter at home. And to tie it all together, if ECO is not doing a lot of the chasing/shoot out/what have you scenes at the moment, then his stunt-double (also known as Dani's husband) gets more time off as well for the other new baby. Nicely done show.

Also nice to see some of Sam's SEAL training in action. I do like seeing skills in use, not just mentioned in passing. Loved Granger snarking about Callen's psych history making him perfect for the undercover op. And my heart melted just a little when Granger immediately dismissed Deeks doing the op, because he had personal obligations to fulfill. And it made sense. They have no idea how long it might potentially last and he'll be stuck there the whole time. Let Mr. Lone Wolf go instead.

Edited by anna0852
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I loved that the patients we saw in the mental health unit were all normal. So many times shows go and show us folks talking to walls and being a huge stereotype of mentally ill. I loved the way they portrayed the patients.

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My first 2 thoughts when I saw Granger and that MRI: oh no, he can't die, I love Granger; and he's the mole and he did it because he has a brain tumor.

 

Beyond that, I thought this would have been a perfect assignment for Deeks. I don't know if it was originally written with Deeks going undercover and then switched to Callen because, well we can't have Deeks doing anything that doesn't revolve around Kensi, can we?  But certainly the writers felt that question needed to be addressed, thus the "personal obligation" scene. And as soon as I saw that, I figured there'll be nothing interesting for Deeks to do until this Kensi storyline wraps up, and since I'm not interested in Kensi, I stopped watching.

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Really liked this episode.  The supporting players were good and the plot actually held together.  I love all the Kensi and Deeks stuff, and I'm particularly enjoying how much the Kensi storyline is allowing Deeks' character to grow and to explore his relationships with the others.  I agree that Deeks and his goofy optimism and undiluted faith in her is just not what Kensi needs right now, but I don't know that Deeks knows any other way to be.  I think they both need a little couples therapy.

I liked Callen as the nasty, snarky, dangerous mental case.  It was pretty telling that it didn't seem that big a change from his actual day-to-day personality.  I also liked the whole Callen-as-chum ending, though I really wish they hadn't put it ALL in the preview, because it really ruined any possible suspense.

As for Granger, I'm really worried.  I love Granger, but it seems like something may be seriously wrong with him.  I really hope the actor is not leaving the show altogether.

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My first 2 thoughts when I saw Granger and that MRI: oh no, he can't die, I love Granger; and he's the mole and he did it because he has a brain tumor.

That would be very General Hospital of them!

The slur has definitely been more noticeable, and I figured it was the actor himself, not the character. Interesting that maybe he's been layering his portrayal for this reveal. Miguel Ferrer is certainly talented enough to do so. I also wonder if this storyline might be a way to bring his daughter back in. I agree that I hope this is not an exit storyline. I never would have believed it when he was first introduced, but I love Granger. I like him way, way more than Hetty. 

Nate, Sam or Callen would all likely be good influences on Kensi, but I think the way this storyline was shot will likely preclude us seeing them as part of it. 

Also, once again, bravo to Daniela. I think this is the hardest work they've ever given her and she is smashing it out of the park, all the while being enormously pregnant. Although the dialogue supports it, all you have to do is look at Kensi's face to see that she's depressed. As hard as it is to watch, I feel this storyline has been written in a very realistic and honest way. 

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I'm really impressed how they handle Kensi's injury and trauma. No quick fixes, no love makes everything better. It's actually hard to watch Deeks trying to help her and not being able to. Deeks not joining the game of 'would you rather' in the first scene and the reaction shots by Sam and Callen were nicely done - him losing his goofiness is cause to worry. At this point counseling seems more than necessary and I would like to see Nate back. The Granger plot is surprising - I thought the show was slowly starting to ease the path for Linda Hunt to leave.

COW was interesting and I liked it that Callen made sure the guys got their Fussball game back.

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Miguel Ferrer may well be playing it well, but it looks to me like he's definitely looking more gaunt and as if he's had some health issues in real life too.

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5 hours ago, Jillibean said:

bravo to Daniela. I think this is the hardest work they've ever given her and she is smashing it out of the park, all the while being enormously pregnant. Although the dialogue supports it, all you have to do is look at Kensi's face to see that she's depressed.

Amen a hundred times to this.  It's like she has this gray fog surrounding her every time she's on screen.  The dead eyes, the uncontrollable tears, are all so totally different from the Kensi we're used to, but also very in keeping with what the character is going through. For a person like Kensi, who's identity is so tied to the fact that she can do anything the boys can do, and better, and who revels in being strong, fit, hot and independent, this situation must be like living in hell.  And poor Deeks is just so glad that she's not dead, comatose or brain-damaged, and at least has a chance of getting her life back, but he can't figure out how to communicate with her.  It's like they're both operating on completely different tracks.

Hence Deeks' terrible decision to propose, again, in this episode.  I understand where he's coming from -- he's just trying to express to her how glad he is that she's still alive and that they have a chance at a future together.  But to Kensi, it's like stinging reminder of everything she's lost, everything she had planned for, and everything she now thinks she's never going to have.

I think the writers, and the actors, need to be given all kudos for using Daniela's real life pregnancy to do some fabulously intense character work in a procedural that doesn't normally lend itself to this sort of thing.

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This was a great episode, all around.  There were some awesome character moments, and the actors really sold them.  As mentioned before, Deeks not joining in on the "would you rather" nonsense, and the concerned glances passing between Sam and Callen really spoke volumes.  The moment where Kensi kept trying to stand and got frustrated and wanted to know how much worse could it be, and the therapist simply pointed her attention to the amputee working hard, which deflated Kensi.  Daniela Ruah really sold that one.  DR and Eric C. were both also incredibly on spot during the proposal sequence.  I loved all of Callen's scenes in the mental hospital, as well as his promise of the foos ball table.  But man, the look on Chris O'Donnell's face when Sam drug him underwater, I totally bought that he really thought it was a shark and not Sam saving the day.  That was pure fear.

And yes, please, bring Nate back 'cuz Kensi needs some serious counseling.  And have him run some undercover ops with Hetty, because that never gets old.

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15 hours ago, anna0852 said:

It's rather ingenious really, the way that DR's maternity leave coverage has been written to reduce ECO's need to be on set as well. Since about half his scenes were shot in advance I would assume he's able to reduce his work time given he's also got a new daughter at home. And to tie it all together, if ECO is not doing a lot of the chasing/shoot out/what have you scenes at the moment, then his stunt-double (also known as Dani's husband) gets more time off as well for the other new baby. Nicely done show.

All of Daniela's scene were shot over two weeks & before the rest of the cast got back to work in July. Everything else? On the regular shooting schedule. So ECO went from shooting all his scenes with Dani and right into season premiere. 

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Also, I think that Kensi and Deeks' failure to communicate is feeding into their worst fears about the situation.  Every time Deeks tells Kensi, "you're going to walk, you're going to be back better than ever," she hears "you're going to get all the way back because that's the only way I'll ever truly accept you as my partner and wife -- if you're just as good as you were before."  Every time Kensi bursts into tears when Deeks tries to encourage her or express his unconditional love, he feels reinforced in his fears that he isn't good enough for her and he doesn't have what it takes to help her.

Obviously, that's not what either of them means to communicate, but they are both so ensnared in their own negative headspace that the misery just compounds itself.  Wow, do these two need a therapist ASAP!

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16 hours ago, crowsworks said:

Chris needs a chin tuck. He's slim but missing some muscle under his chin and it hurts his profile.

I disagree ! I think Chris looks great as he is and find him very attractive ! Callen is my absolute favorite on NCIS LA and how Chris plays him is why ??

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On 2016-11-06 at 11:31 PM, anna0852 said:

Geez! All that speculation about if Granger was ill turned out to be true. Did they say exactly what was wrong? Or just that oblique reference to Agent Orange? Given the MRI and the more noticeable slur in his speech I'm thinking a brain tumor of some sort.

Did I miss something? I don't remember anything about an MRI. Was it specifically a brain MRI?

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27 minutes ago, anna0852 said:

I'm making assumptions, mostly based on how voice has been slurring. It can be a sign of a brain tumor.

But you had also mentioned an MRI that I don't remember hearing anything about?

The way his voice sounds could be due to any number of things, including vocal cord/throat issues. They could also MRI his neck, if they wanted. MRIs aren't just for the brain.

It seems like this is a real issue for Miguel Ferrer, though. I hope it is fixable for him.

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9 minutes ago, secnarf said:

But you had also mentioned an MRI that I don't remember hearing anything about?

The MRI was in the cold open this week.  No specifics about what they were viewing, but it didn't look good :(  Sucks big time, because Granger is the boss (literally and figuratively :)

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15 minutes ago, mtmjr said:

The MRI was in the cold open this week.  No specifics about what they were viewing, but it didn't look good :(  Sucks big time, because Granger is the boss (literally and figuratively :)

Thanks, I had totally missed it! Though I'm not sure I agree that it didn't look good - all we saw was him getting the scan done. I think his muffled/slurred speech is much more concerning :(

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On 11/7/2016 at 6:12 AM, MissLucas said:

I'm really impressed how they handle Kensi's injury and trauma. No quick fixes, no love makes everything better. It's actually hard to watch Deeks trying to help her and not being able to.

I totally agree.  I like when they have plots lines that are somewhat realistic.  On Hawaii 5-0, one character is running around parking garages chasing and tackling bad guys weeks after a liver transplant...

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