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NCIS: Los Angeles Review: Betrayal with Torturous Consequences

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Two of the most terrible people in the world, Isaak Sidorov and Marcel Janvier, both returned to wreak havoc in the NCIS: Los Angeles season finale. When criminal masterminds like those two are involved, it's dangerous to let your guard down even for a second. 

In "Descent," that's exactly what happened... with tragic results. 

No Longer Partners

Before I get into the core of the NCIS plan and where it all went wrong, I have to complain and complain LOUDLY to the writers and producers of NCIS: LA. I don't mind cliffhangers throughout a season and I don't even mind them in finales. Television is a serial storytelling format, so it's understandable for there to be unresolved questions. If done well, cliffhangers create an emotional connection for viewers with the characters and with the show.

That is not how NCIS:LA season 4 ended though. Instead, the finale was the first half of a story. It was part 1 of a two-parter. You don't close out a season with part 1 and then make fans wait months for part 2. That's just cruel. It was bad enough when the stolen nuke story was first introduced in "Out of the Past, Part 1," that the conclusion didn't air for two weeks. It's going to be a long summer waiting to see the conclusion to the story.

Despite the horribly unfair ending, the episode itself was intense and one of the best of the season. In the season 4 premiere, Callen pretended to go rogue after it was presumed that he killed Janvier back in the season 3 finale. His return was a nice way to bookend the season. When they saved Janvier and got him to agree to help them facilitate the purchase of the nuclear weapons from Sidorov, no one at NCIS seemed concerned with his loyalty.

Why? He killed Lauren Hunter and had no reason to help them. Janvier even said he wanted to die, so why wouldn't he want to get revenge on Callen and the NCIS for what they did to him? When he ultimately betrayed them by tipping off Sidorov, it shouldn't have been a surprise. Janvier was the Chameleon and talented at manipulated people and moving pieces into place. And, while he may still be in US custody, he's won. Unlike fake shooting last year, will Callen take him out this time for real?

Meanwhile, Sam and Deeks are being tortured for information about Quinn. Sidorov really loves her. Though, he seemed determined to find out that she had betrayed him. After all the torture Sam withstood, it still wasn't enough for Sidorov to believe Quinn was clean. Instead, he moved on to Deeks to torture him and in an even more horrific manner than Sam. The damage to Deeks will be permanent, if he even survives.

One complaint I had about Deeks' answers is why didn't he say, "Quinn who?" By saying that she wasn't an agent, wasn't he acknowledging that he knew her? Maybe I misread that scene, but that threw flags up for me. At least he had a good explanation about why he showed up to save Sam. As a LAPD officer, he had to respond to prevent a murder of someone regardless of whether they are an agent or even a criminal, right?

Meanwhile, Michelle's life literally hangs in the balance. Will the plastic sheeting hold her long enough for Kensi to get to her and pull her up? I can't imagine that she will die, at least not that way. It would be doubly tragic if she died and the guys withstood the torture to protect her. It definitely would be a shocking conclusion.

Odds and Ends

  • The nuclear explosion just to prove it would work was quite a dramatic display. 
  • The aftermath of Deeks' undercover relationship and his inability to discuss his relationship with Kensi didn't go away. If anything, Kensi was more frustrated with him than before. His answer: a Kiss! No words needed. With one simple move, he expressed his love for her. She didn't expect that from the look on her face, but she also didn't push him away. If Deeks survives Sidorov, they need to have a real, honest heart-to-heart. If he dies, it will make her pain even greater.
  • Sam's disrespect of Deeks was more front and center than ever before. Sam's mean comment after Hetty made the assignment and then cruelty towards Deeks while playing or not playing chess was over the top. I'm not sure it was all necessary to get the point across. Despite Sam's issues with Deeks, the LAPD officer risked his own life to save Sam and now is being tortured for information that would threaten Sam's wife. Deeks must hold strong. I want Sam to beg for forgiveness for his unfounded mistrust and maliciousness towards Deeks.
  • Does Janvier really have a daughter? Or, was that just a ploy that he used to get NCIS to lower their guard towards him?
Were you frustrated by the way the episode ended? Do you think Deeks will hold strong? Will they all survive? If not, who will die? The kiss: Did it make you happy? 

Review

Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.4 / 5.0 (855 Votes)

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

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Really. Send an LA cop to Afganistan? Get a believable character and plot. You insult your audience.

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Really tried to enjoy this show, but for the life of me I can't figure out a show that has the title of NCIS has nothing to do with the Military. As an ex Military Agent, come on, sending an agent to kill someone, really. Glad there is other things to watch.

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Interesting turn of events....Deeks(spelling) in real life has a brother who is his double/stunt on the show ...he (brother) is in relationship and has recently had a child with Kenzie in real life!(spelling).
Deeks falling in love with almost his real sister-in-law in real life on show?
Probably explains Kenzie's quick leave and far away assignment...Toooooo bad...I was enjoying their relationship!

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I enjoy NCIS Los Angeles and am watching the all day Saturday episodes. They are now showing 2013 programs and I was unsettled by the use of profanity in the "Kill House" episode. If this continues I will encourage everyone to quit watching. It's hard enough to get kids to keep their language clean but when they hear it on their favorite programs it's a negative example and lots of my school bus riders watch. We discuss the programs on the way to school.

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i have to admit it was a bloody dramatic ending of a season making you count the hours and days till it is back on air, i cant wait so i don't know how ill survive till what September? i don't know that's what i heard

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Just a final dig, before I say goodbye. The "Christian" European powers that conquered and exploited most of Africa had no problem using torture as an instrument of conquest and occupation. You might try and remember that "Christianity" as its own dark past. The Papal and Spanish Inquisition was run on the seizure of the property of the guilty, who confessed through the use of torture. Over 4,000 women were burnt as "witches" in a small part of northern Germany between 1600 and 1650. The "Hexenmeister" Museum is filled with the "interogation" instruments that elicited an almost 100% confession rate. Oh, and here is the US. A witness was "pressed" to death during the Salem Witch trials because he refused to implicate anyone as a witch. "Pressing" involved placing heavier and heavier weights on the suspect's chest until he cannot breath.

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Rachel, for your information, what is going on in the Congo has been going on there since 1962 (and even earlier, back to the 11th century CE). It is regionally and tribally based, it involves who controls that country's vast resources and who gets to run things and profit from that. Christianity is not central to the issue, simply both an excuse and a validation for violence. Please remember that Christianity (Roman Catholicism) was IMPOSED by the Belgian Colonial rulers, not introduced to willing African converts.

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