NCIS: Los Angeles Review: Finding their Dragon

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This season of NCIS: Los Angeles has spent a lot of time focused on the agent's lives. We opened the season delving into both Callen and Hetty's past, then we examined Sam's undercover role in the Sudan, and just before this last hiatus, we found out what happened to Kensi's father.

This week's  "The Dragon and the Fairy," meanwhile, was back to business as usual with a NCIS case involving a terrorist plot against the Vietnamese Consulate. The lack of personal connection and attachment to the case gave the episode more of a procedural feel than normal. It was odd that there was no ramification from Kensi being looked at for a series of murders or any sign of Granger.

Sam and G Take a Walk

That's not to say it was a bad episode, it just didn't have the same emotional pull that we have seen often throughout this season. Instead of focusing on a member of the NCIS boathouse crew, we were to care about the immigrants that had been brought into the United States and been basically enslaved by their employers.

I found the intertwining of the conspiracy case and the human trafficking to be a little difficult to follow at times due to the way it played out. Though it did help that the bad guys ended up being the same for both.

The resolution ended in a odd twist. A good twist is one that you don't see coming, makes sense and has been established throughout the episode. Unfortunately, both twists came out of nowhere and weren't all that exciting.

The wife, Yen, was supportive of the democracy movement in Vietnam, but was using forced labor in her shop to support the cause. The terrorist threat appeared to be coming from the democracy movement, but really it was planned by Yen's husband. He was trying to bring them down by setting the group up to take the blame for the bombing. Those two really must not have liked each other, especially since he ended up killing her. In the end, they paid for their sins with their lives.

Their deaths lead to their workers being freed. In particular, Tuan, whose shooting in front of the embassy brought the situation to the attention of NCIS in the first place. His reunion with his mother, who had been abused as Yen's household worker, was touching. But the next twist seemed to come out of nowhere.

James Cleary is Mai's father. What? Tuan did carry Cleary's name around for three years, so I guess that creates the circle. That reunion seemed a bit off. At least, Mai and Tuan now have a safe home to live in.

We have been spoiled this season with cases that have a lot on the line, whether it be personally for the NCIS agents, for our nation, or another country. In comparison, this episode fell a little flat. Well, except for the basketball scenes. Those were a riot to watch, especially when Nell nailed the long shot. Who would have thought she could play basketball? The cohesiveness of the boathouse crew and their weekly interactions is always a highlight.

Next week's episode is titled "Vengence" and it holds the promise of a return to an action-packed, gripping episode.


Editor Rating: 4.1 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 2.6 / 5.0 (229 Votes)

Carla Day is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


I felt the reunion at the end was forced because the casting was ridiculous. Sure there are biracial people who look exactly like they were of only one race but you'd sort of expect this woman to look a bit more like her big lug of a father with curly hair than a dainty China doll. Oh well.


I actually thought from the start that the vietnam vet had to be the father or grandfather of Tuan, so I don't think it came out of nowhere. This story line has been done over and over with the vietnam vets. I did like the episode, and did not mind that it was not centered around someone on the team's personal lives. I like those, but we don't need it every week. I did notice Callen's expressions while the reunion of father/daughter/grandson was done. It makes me feel for him, and the loss of that family connection is really starting to show. I loved the scene with Hetty and Callen while she is explaining the tatoo, and of course the basketball scenes were hilarious.


I thought the episode was actually quite hilarious. The basketball theme throughout the episode was funny. True, it had no direct tie to any of the characters. However, not all episodes do. The NCIS and NCIS:LA casts and crews occasionally like to do episodes to raise awareness about real issues existing in our own country. The Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST) is a real organization and something the entire NCIS:LA cast supports. The reuinion of Cleary with his Vietnamese family had a profound impact on Callen -- it's something he's only dreamed about. The sexual innuendo between Kensi and Deeks was quite obvious and hilarious! They seem a bit more open and comfortable with eachother since all her skeletons are out of the closet. Now we just need to get all of Deeks' out. Anyway, we're back to see how the next case, involving Navy SEALS affects Sam.


Really like NCIS LA-all the characters are great!


I was hoping for more Kensi/Deeks moments, because I think that the two of them should become a couple (and Deeks is the hottest guy on the show, IMHO), but despite the two of them not hooking up, this was an excellent ep, if a bit predictable. My favorite character is Hettie, and Linda Hunt did not disappoint in this ep, whether by being a hard-nosed referee or helping the team get organized to bring down this slavery ring, she did the NCIS LA team proud...and I love that she got all over LL Cool J's case at the end! "Don't think I won't..." Hilarious!!


Cleary as the Dad and Grandad?? Well gee only Helen Keller couldn't see that one coming! The show is OK, but is a little too predictable.


Couldn't understand why NCIS was involved in an op/epi that should really fall to the FBI, CIA or even Homeland Security until it was mentioned that the SecNav would be attending a conference the next day, and that Tuan was carrying around an ex-Marine's name....but still...are they the only Federal Agents in LA?? Sorry, really stretching their mission! But still love the crew and especially the basketball pick-up game at the beginning and Hettie's reffing at end end. Wish Kensie would relax more and would someone PLEASE get Deeks a bottle of shampoo!!




the basketball scenes were totally awesome poor eric (THE CHOIR GEEK GASP LOL) nell surpises me more and more each week. we have yet to explore eaither her or eric and id love a story on eaither 1 of them ( maybe more so nell because shes so like hetty) we seen the bit of personal connection this episode lacked between hetty and callen when she was telling him of the tatoo. as for kensi and deeks id really just like to see them together if only for 1 night ( lol im a romantic fool) and deeks really cares for her. the hole "thats my girl'comments are getting a lil old now. i hope to see more personal stories between callen and the crew including nell and eric COME ON THEYRE ON THE TEAM ALSO. i jumped for joy there was no granger this episode! i cant stand him i really cant! hope he stays gone!!!!!!


I knew from the moment the piece of paper with the name came out that he was going to be related in some way. It was why he was carrying the name around. What wasn't expected was that he and his mother didn't know of the relationship.
Atleast a nice explanation was given for why the guys were investigating this case, the secnav was going to be at the embassy.

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