NCIS: Los Angeles Review: Popeye the Sailor Man

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It's almost Christmas and all through the boat house plans were being made for some time away. And then an NCIS Agent Afloat was murdered and all those plans were ruined.

On "Free Ride," the NCIS team went undercover on a air craft carrier to investigate the death of a fellow agent, ending up in the middle of an odd cocaine epidemic on board. Did they solve the case and get back home before Christmas? 

NCIS LA Strategy Session

The members had such great plans or almost-plans set up for their holidays. Sam actually bought his daughter's Christmas present early this year, unlike last year's Parker Pony debacle. Though he couldn't find it. Nice job, Sam. In contrast to his traditional family Christmas, the thought of Kensi and her mother spending the holiday with Deeks on a vacation was weird. I just can't picture it.

Well, actually I can and it would be filled with various calamities, though probably a fun time.

Then, there were the cuties: Nell and Eric. They are a disgustingly adorable pair. I can't help but smile whenever those two are on screen together. What is it with Hetty catching them in compromising positions or discussions? For a minute, I thought they actually were a romantic couple, otherwise, why would Nell know that Eric wears Polar Bear and Spiderman pajamas? Hmm....

However, after the mistletoe kiss I doubt there are together. Oh well. The smooch was enough to convince Eric to wear the green pantyhose leggings, so he could spend the holidays with her as an elf. That must be a sign of love, right?

As has been the case lately on NCIS: Los Angeles, the personal shenanigans were my favorite parts of the episode. The change in location and even the undercover aspect of this investigation didn't really add much to the story. Although, it was unique to see the four agents - sorry, the three agents and one detective - working on their own. When Deeks was captured, it was a sign that they should always work in a pairs when investigating. Never know when the bad guys will be around to take action.

And it did come down to the spinach! That small flake of green stuff was integral to them solving the case. It was even worth the beating that Deeks took, including the pot shot from Sam. When the crew started acting out and fighting, I immediately thought they were being drugged rather than using drugs themselves. It surprised me that experienced investigators like Callen and Sam wouldn't have considered that right away.

In the end, they realized that at the same time that Deeks found the murder weapon and the connection to the refrigeration systems going down. Cocaine paint? That was a shock. Unfortunately, they weren't able to find out more about that since they killed the drug dealer and murderer. It was a nice bank shot by Callen, but where in the world did that come up before?

With the case solved, the team was ready to head home for Christmas ... only there wasn't any transportation until the 27th. Ouch. It was no surprise that Hetty would show up on the ship since she's done that before. She's all about her team. They couldn't all make it back to LA, but they all were with their family on Christmas.

As Nell said, "It's like these people we work with become our surrogate family." Sam made it home to his wife and kids, Nell and Eric were together and the rest spent their holiday on the open sea with each other as family.

I just loved this line, especially since the spinach played a role in solving the case.

Sam: Yeah, I see where you're going with this. Popeye ate spinach, Popeye was a sailor, so... we're looking for a crew member with giant forearms, smoking a pipe. | permalink

Did you enjoy this holiday episode? Are you as in love with Nell and Eric as I am? And wasn't it a relief that Deeks returned to the team?


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (244 Votes)

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


when a show leaves me with a smile on my face, it is a success - and boy was this one a success! Loved Nell's parting remarks - that time is usually reserved for Hetty - but Nell did great.


I LOVE Nell and Eric, they really took their time developing a relationship between them and I'm excited to see what the new year brings. I also loved that kensi's escort was Beaver from Greek!!


And one of the many highlights was when Sam got to go home for Xmas. :). Callen was a great partner observing Sam's discomfort with being away from Michele/Quinn and his unhappiness with not being home for Xmas. I absolutely loved Sam swinging Hetty up into his arms and kissing her with glee and gratitude. I plan to rewatch this epi :) Happy Holidays to all!


Remember the episode when the team got called in because Hetty's "agent in distress" call went out? Granger thought it was a good idea to "test" the team and Eric scrambled in wearing polar bear PJs (if memory serves). Have to say this ranks as one of my favorite epi's this season. I was happy to see Deeks back in action (he was missed last epi). It started out with bang with Deeks trying to convince Kensi to accept his invite to go skiing and it filled my nook and cranny for some Densi interaction. The hot tub comment was just icing on the cake :) :) I am a fan of Densi. The story line case was meticulously crafted and solved with great team interaction. Loved where Deeks ran into the beam when he saw Kensi pat the soldier's chest and it was hilarious when Sam and Callen teased Deeks about Kensi finding a studly soldier to play with. That Neric kiss under the mistletoe...very cute. Loved that Eric changed his mind and accompanied Nell wearing his elf "leggings". And one of the many highlights was that Sam got to go home for Xmas. :). I absolutely loved Sam swinging Hetty up into his arms and kissing her with glee and gratitude. I plan to rematch this epi :) Happy Holidays to all!


Eric was wearing the polar bear pajamas when he had to rush to the office in the episode where we met Granger for the first time and he was wearing the spider man pajamas when he went to the warehouse where Sam found the CIA agent who had hung himself... loved when Callen and Sam realized they were standing under the


I'm with dreamrose...there was nothing "military" about how the team was treated; you KNOW Gibbs would be allllllllll up in the XO's face about that. Getting past that, I love LOVE LURRRRRRRVED Deeks' little pang of jealousy at Kensi's Marine escort, while he couldn't land a line on his (and come on Deeks...flirting on a military vessel? You really do have boundary issues). And Eric, put on your big-boy pants and ask Nell for a date already--you know you want to!!!


I instantly thought the crew was being dosed, rather than taking it themselves, especially when the command master chief started swinging the Giant Wrench of Doom around. Some more things: a Marine officer wouldn't (er, shouldn't, at any rate) be touching an subordinate in the manner that Kensi did (which unsurprisingly earned Deeks a crack on the head as he walked by). Third, those crewmen assaulted a civilian contractor (Deeks), and they aren't immediately thrown in the brig? Then Sam hits him, too? Really? And the XO actually threatens an NCIS agent (Callen), completely dismissing his (totally justified) concerns about a drug problem on board? Where's the discipline on this ship?


All the NCIS:LA characters know what jammies Eric wears since he has worn them to work before.


Funny episode. When the cocaine came up I instantly thought the crew was being drugged. Nell and Eric were my favorite with hetty catching Nell trying to put an elf hat on Eric and them kissing under the missil toe was great. The kiss made it seem like they weren't a couple but the comment about Eric's pj's and how he wears thoughs in the comfort of his home when he's alone makes me wonder how Nell knew. Can't wait till the show returns whenever that is.


I don´t like neric....:( but I love Densi and in this episode we have a lot of densi moments....:)

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