It's not that NCIS: New Orleans Season 2 Episode 22 was a terrible story. It wasn't. But there has got to be something wrong when I can identify the villain within the first twenty seconds of the episode!
The moment Skipp Suddoth popped by on screen, though, I wrote down in my notes, "Oh, that guy's hinky. I recognize him."
It's worth noting that I only know Skipp Suddoth to play two things: cops and crooks. He wasn't a cop here, so they might as well have put a neon sign above his head saying, "I did it!"
Coupled with silly product placement ("Let's use this TOTALLY AWESOME 360-DEGREE CAMERA on this COOL TRUCK!") and Ivan Sergei making me have flashbacks to Charmed, I had a really hard time taking this episode all that seriously.
It was somewhat amusing to have the teaser end with the restaurant blowing up, and cutting immediately to the credits sequence – Boom boom boom boom! Okay, it was black humor, but funny nonetheless.
When Loretta showed up at the hospital to collect the shrapnel bits extracted from the unfortunate culinary specialist, though, it totally brought me out of the moment. Put yourself in Danielle's shoes for a second: you're wounded and in pain, and all of a sudden, there's the medical examiner at your bedside...
And really, there was no reason for Loretta to be there, either! That's what interns and whatnot are for, right? I know, I know, she had to see the collapsed veins and stuff. Though there are other reasons for poor veins. Dehydration, for one. It is hardly indicative of drug use.
Possibly the biggest head-scratcher of the case was why Taylor the drug-dealing chef (who is certainly out of a job now!) didn't tell our heroic NCIS investigators right off the bat about helping Danielle in her disappearance plan. (Ah, I remember. That would make for a much shorter episode.)
And what in the world was up with Agents Walker and Davis from the FBI? They behaved like complete parodies, to the point where even Brody wasn't taking them seriously, to judge by the expression on her face. Also, she should definitely have demanded to see a warrant before turning over her laptop at all.
But maybe she was too busy being utterly bemused by their absurd behavior. Where's Tobias Fornell when you need him? Oh, right...
Which brings us to Special Agent John Russo of Homeland Security, played by the aforementioned Ivan Sergei. The way he breezed into the whole case perplexed me, and I seriously kept on waiting for him to be revealed as evil, an imposter, or maybe an evil imposter.
And that bit at the end, with him offering Brody a ride to the airport? Was anyone else expecting him to pull a gun and kidnap her? Sergei is slated to appear in the final two episodes of the season, as well, so don't give up hope yet for him being involved in the conspiracy!
I have to ask, though, why the general's entire career was ruined over what happened. He didn't actually do anything particularly scandalous, as I can recall. In fact, he actually helped expose a guy who was bilking the Navy out of millions of dollars.
Yes, the lieutenant dropped dead in his hotel room, but he neither killed her nor was sleeping with her. I can see them passing him over for the Homeland Security post, perhaps, but how was any of this a career-ender?
Finally, I do want to mention that I like the incorporation of local flavor (a little literally here, hah!) into the episode, even though it can feel a little shoehorned at times. New Orleans has a life and vibrancy all its own, and it's wonderful that the city isn't just a venue but an actual setting.
Overall, this episode felt like Pride did in this episode: distracted, pulled in different directions, and just a little bit crazy.
Some final notes before I turn the discussion over to you:
- This episode featured cameos from noted New Orleans culinary stars John Besh, Susan Spicer, Leah Chase and Sue Zemanick, as well as musician Gary Clark, Jr.
- Sebastian definitely won the "Idiot of the Month" award for blowing up that kitchen torch. (Does he now owe Zolfo's for a new torch?) Pride got Runner Up for not calling the infinitely-closer hospital security staff to ensure Danielle's safety when her call mysteriously disconnected.
- How in the world has Pride been running that bar so far without a general manager? It's not like he has tons of free time on his hands!
- Will Danielle get her life savings back? She's now down fifteen grand on that getaway condo that'll never get used.
- Yes. I watched Charmed. I admit this.
So, what did you think of "Help Wanted"? Did you enjoy the cameos from the local New Orleans chefs? Have you ever been by their restaurants? What's the deal with the investigation into the stolen case files? Let us know in the comments section below!
If you missed this episode, you can watch NCIS: New Orleans online to catch up. Meanwhile, be sure to check back for our review after NCIS: New Orleans Season 2 Episode 23, "The Third Man," airs on May 10, 2016 at 9/8c on CBS.