Terrorism comes in many forms, both international and domestic - and America has a long "History" of dealing with both. On this week's NCIS:Los Angeles, the team was tasked with investigating the possible re-emergence of a 1970s radical group responsible for bombings decades ago, including at a Navy base, after one of the group's fugitive members was found stabbed.
The investigation into the former Gun Barrel Party (GBP) took a few surprising turns, including finding a former presumed dead member that became a professor. That position provided him with impressionable students to indoctrinate with radical beliefs.
The team investigated the case by following the clues, including a new radical group at the college, Red Tide. One of this group's members provided the professor with dynamite to blow up his office, home, and a local Fortune 500 company. After decades, he was ready to wreak havoc on the country again.
As often is the situation on NCIS: Los Angeles, the investigation wasn't the most interesting part of the episode. On "History," I was intrigued by the sociological questions raised. First, when the Red Tide member was being questioned, Callen threatened him with Gitmo due to the National Defense Authorization Act. Was he serious? Or was it an empty threat? Or, even meant as a joke?
The idea that this student could be held indefinitely without a lawyer because he destroyed a table and bulletin board on campus with a bat is troublesome. Would it be just for him to be held because he was circumstantially tied to the theft of dynamite from his father's company that was used in a bombing at the University? Perhaps. On the show, there is no question to whether that is good or bad, it's the law of the land and used to fight "terrorism." I put that in quotes because there is a big difference between using a bat to destroy property and a bomb.
I'm not sure if we are supposed to question this or not, but the mention of Gitmo seemed a bit extreme, especially since the government is supposed to be shutting the facility down at some point. Callen got his point across though and scared the kid into complying. Compliance and information was the goal and it worked.
The second question raised was about the professor and "How much damage could he have done?" He influenced those in Red Tide, but how many seeds of radicalism did he plant? His Teaching Assistant didn't seem to be a part of the bombing plans, but when his mentor was arrested, he considered it. The professor was there after the death of the TA's father.
When Kensi showed up at the TA's door, he closed the bomb making site on his computer and had someone else there to listen to him and give him positive advice. As Hetty said, "A good friend at the right time can make all the difference in the world." That's the true lesson of the philosophical episode.
Besides these questions raised about the American society, the episode had a good balance of fun and humor. Instead of the normal single running joke, there were several discussions in "History." The Rock-Paper-Scissors interactions between Deeks and Sam were hilarious. It was a nice turn for Deeks to outwit Sam in the end. Too often, Deeks is the punching bag of the group since he's not an NCIS agent, has Shaggy's hair, and is an easy target.
With Sam's mention of his family and dressing up for his daughter's school event, perhaps that means we will get back to Sam's wife and Sidorov story. Nate always seems to appear a few episodes after a mention. When Sam said he had the second coolest costume, I thought he was outdone by a real life astronaut, but the actual answer was even better. Sam was best by a parent dressed up as a Navy SEAL. As disappointing as that probably was initially, it ultimately provided a sense of pride.
By the way, did we ever find out who is Morgan?
Odds and Ends
- Hetty climbed Everest ... twice? Is there anything that she can't do?
- President Blye has a nice ring to it.
- Lando Calrissian mention!
- Deeks really needs to watch where he walks, especially in the woods. Eww.
- If we never hear the word "pickle" again on the show that would be good. Okay, I laughed.
- Here Comes Honey Boo Boo mention. Maybe the guy had a point?