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G Callen: Grisha Alexandrovich Nikolaev

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The early seasons set up a great premise for Callen as a troubled soul, searching for family and learning to work within a team. But then as the show became more cutesy and romance focused, his family story got drawn out and his character development became patchy at best. I think it was a mistake to focus so much on his family at the expense of his emotional/mental story, and this has shown up in the Joelle reveal.

You can gage how interesting a storyline is by looking at the secondary characters, and Callen's father and half-sister are dull. I can't imagine the sister driving an arc of her own like past characters such as Jada and Jacob. Not since the Comescu plot has his family been really interesting, and the only character still connected to it that matters is Arkady. His father is a poor copy imo.

So the idea of Callen playing happy families is not appealing to me. I think he's the sort of character who should always have some internal or personal conflict. When things are fine he's not compelling. Look how boring the Joelle relationship was. 

If the show had been serious about developing Callen, when she found out his true identity, we should have seen more of a reaction from him. Like he's only comfortable being in a relationship when in a persona, so he didn't know how to be with her. I thought it odd that their romance just continued on in such a banal way, given that the show has constantly said Callen is supposed to be an anti-social loner.

It's like now with Anna after the Joelle reveal. What is his response going to be? If Joelle's actions were terrible enough to warrant Hetty calling her a bitch, shouldn't we be actually seeing something from Callen? Yet he seemed over it when Hetty made her remark, like it wasn't really a big deal. The show needs to decide whether Callen is or isn't emotionally troubled.

Edited by greenbean

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1 hour ago, greenbean said:

What is his response going to be? If Joelle's actions were terrible enough to warrant Hetty calling her a bitch, shouldn't we be actually seeing something from Callen? Yet he seemed over it when Hetty made her remark, like it wasn't really a big deal.

With the character of Callen, I think you have to remember that he's been with NCIS more than 8 years and has been Sam's partner for almost 10, so he's not the same man he was in Season 1. He's evolving. The other thing about Callen--as opposed to the other team members--is that he keeps almost everything inside; he rarely lets his emotions out even now. He rarely lets his anger show (a quality that makes him a good leader) and he still has difficulty opening up to others, but he's not a recluse or a monk. I don't think he's ever resorted to torturing someone as Sam and Deeks have. Is it because he has a strong moral character, or is he afraid of losing control or maybe both? He's also learned to trust some people--even when they haven't always been honest with him (like Hetty knowing so much about his past)--and a lot has happened in his life: he's learned about his mom, discovered he had a sister, met his father, found out his name, and learned that he has family relations. He's also learning things about himself and maybe what made him uncomfortable before doesn't now (his ability to relate to children has developed over the seasons). Also, his relationship with Joelle might have been given short shift because of the unending attention on the Kensi and Deeks relationship during seasons 6 & 7, but his relationship with Anna has been developing since the end of season 6. I agree that Alex is dull, and I can't imagine her playing an important role in subsequent episodes, but his relationship with his dad is still evolving. I do think Callen is an immensely complex character: capable and self-reliant in so many ways, but still discovering who he really is. His emotions are subtle and nowadays, histrionics is often considered more dramatic.

Edited by 123BP

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20 hours ago, 123BP said:

With the character of Callen, I think you have to remember that he's been with NCIS more than 8 years and has been Sam's partner for almost 10, so he's not the same man he was in Season 1. He's evolving. 

As fans this is what we want, but I don't think the show has done a good job of actually portraying Callen's evolution. Like with the family storyline, I can't recall an arc or moment that lead to his growth, yet it has been his main sub-plot for 8 seasons. Stuff has happened to him yes, but most of those things have never been contextualised to any change. They just happened and we're then left to fanwank. 

The Joelle relationship is the perfect example of this, and even though the Anna romance has been set up for a while, I don't think it's much better.

I agree though that Callen is a complex character, I would just like to actually see more of this. 

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The NCIS Los Angeles backdoor pilot (a two-parter on NCIS, as I recall), had all of these people as pretty confident and definitely low drama.  Then at the end of the second part Callen got shot up (a lot) in a drive-by that was targeting him.  In fact, he was so shot up that I thought he was not signed for the series...  Seriously, he was perforated.  

Now, they didn't hang a lantern on it, but that is indeed the sort of event that can make you re-evaluate life, the universe, and everything.  Especially with all that enforced bed rest.  His hospital journey to recovery should have been roughly parallel to Kensi's.

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17 hours ago, greenbean said:

Like with the family storyline, I can't recall an arc or moment that lead to his growth, yet it has been his main sub-plot for 8 seasons. Stuff has happened to him yes, but most of those things have never been contextualised to any change.

I disagree, but as I said earlier, the changes are subtle--Callen isn't given to outward expressions of emotion. For example, the discovery that his "little Russian sister" Elena had been murdered trying to avenge his (supposed) death after his shooting and that he had had a sister who loved him so much that she cried herself to sleep every night because she couldn't be with him made him realize that he had been really loved, and this led him to be able to put down roots, something he'd never done in his life. The fact that he could live in the house where he had the happiest memories growing up gave him a sense of home that he'd never known. You could see this in Sirens when Sam said he'd have to move and Callen hesitated. It was obvious Callen hadn't told Sam about his history with the house, and it was equally obvious that when Callen said it was just four walls and a roof and he could find that anywhere that that was no longer true: it was his home--the first real home he'd ever had that he could remember. Having a home and feeling comfortable, in turn, led him to begin a relationship with Joelle. Also, watching the film at the end of Reznikov, N. gave Callen visual proof that he had had a sister and a father--who might still be alive--and it made finding his father Callen's obsession, an obsession that drove him to take risks he might never have taken otherwise, especially for Arkady. Throughout the series, Callen--an exceptional agent--is only learning to value himself as a person and to begin to live life as though there's more than work. He's learning (to paraphrase Hetty) that damaged goods have special value because of their damage.

Edited by 123BP

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On March 9, 2017 at 7:48 PM, kassygreene said:

Now, they didn't hang a lantern on it, but that is indeed the sort of event that can make you re-evaluate life, the universe, and everything.  Especially with all that enforced bed rest.  His hospital journey to recovery should have been roughly parallel to Kensi's.

I think the writers have done a disservice to Callen by not exploring his emotions and emotional reactions to things more in-depth. When there is a traumatic event--such as learning about his mother--his reaction is a few minutes of hitting a bag and then it's on to the case. With others--especially Kensi and Deeks--their emotions pop up throughout the episode (sometimes ad nauseum). I hope this season the focus is more on the emotional journeys of Callen and Sam.

Edited by ymeagain

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