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? 


Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.4 / 5.0 (859 Votes)

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


I meant to say Sam would not talk. To continue. Deeks is a cop, not a SpecOps trooper. He hasn't got the training, experiences in resisting interrogation techniques beyond some "third degree". Sam EXPECTS him to talk. But will he? Deeks was abused by his father to the point, that when he was eleven he shot him. Eleven years in Hell. What adults can do to children physically, mentally and emotionally is as bad or worse than "enhanced" interogation techniques. Then there's the fact that Deeks admires and trusts his teammates and seeks their approval. This is what keeps small units together in combat. Finally, he could never face Kenzie if he failed at this moment of truth. As far as Deeks and Kenzie. Finally. They being dancing around this for too long. Anyone else remember the episode where Kenzie is called at home while with a gentleman caller, a virtual Deeks "look a like"?


1) While the electrocution scenes were painful, it was because of the pain that Sam revealed, not the torture itself. There are any number of ways to torture someone with more graphic violence than was presented. In fact, the "dental" torture applied to Deeks relied almost entirely on setup, audible ques and viewer imagination (unlike Dustin Hoffman, if anyone remembers). 2) As far as the reason for the torutre, it was CENTRAL to the plot and the story arc going into next season. Sam was a Navy SEAL. As a retired Army officer with Special Forces and Airborne experience, I can tell you that much of his training at the School was probably as painful physically, mentally and emotionally as was applied in that scene. We know Sam is physically and mentally toughened, that between his training, conditioning and his love of his wife, he was going to talk. Now they turn to Deeks, the "weak" one. This is the counterpoint, where all Sam's fears based on his disdain for Deeks comes together. Deeks is a cop, not a special ops trooper. He hasn't gone to the schools, gotten the training to prepare for this moment. Sam knows this. He EXPECTS Deeks to break. But has and will he? Deeks evidently had an abusive father that he shot when he was 11. The things an adult can do to a child, physically, mentally, emotionally are horrible. Deeks has spent 11 years in Hell. And then there's the added motivation of rpoving to his partners, especially Sam, that he's worthy of their trust. If anything holds a small unit together in combat, one is the feeling of responsibility to the others' in the team, the other the desire not to be the first to falter, the weak link. I think we see this in the episodes to come. 3) As far as Deeks and Kenzie, about damn time. They (especially she) have been dancing around this too long. Remembered when she got called one night and she was with the Deeks "look a like"?


This is what I think is going to happen at the start of Season 5: Deeks doesn't say anything, Kensi saves Michelle, Callen gets Janvier to tell him where Sam and Deeks are. Callen, Kensi, and Granger save Sam and Deeks. The nukes are found and disarmed. Janvier tries to kill Callen, but Callen kills him, for real. Later, Nate returns to help Sam and Deeks get through what they went through.


When Deeks and Kensi kissed all I could say is finally. I hope Michelle, Deeks and Sam all survive.


yeah a really amazing episode, just don't think is fair make us wait till September 2 c what will happen!!!! Gosh! That kiss should have happened agessssssssssssssssss ago, although Kensi sometimes seems 2 look a bit down at Deeks they r cute 2gether.... I really like him. hope they all survive, that will change all but I think it will b for good. Just cant wait so long!!! September? Really?
Pls, do something about that 2 young geeks that r in love with each other and find a women for G..
I think G., will be for George, like is grandfather?!


@Deb Thanks for sharing. I will check it out.


Sorry, didn't mean to post that twice. Dumb computer


@ Deb, what kind of organization are you referring to?


@ Deb, what kind of organization are you referring to?


@ Deb I already am. I'm supporting International Justice Mission. They work with Human Trafficking victms. In my opinion, rape and sexual violence can be a form of torture. And yes, Christians are persecuted and tortured for their beliefs in other parts of the world. Our pastor just spend a week in the Congo and there were bomb blasts going off just miles from their church. Civil war was also about to start breaking out.

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