Finally, an episode that moved along the narrative.
We got to meet Nell's older sister, caught up with Kensi's nemesis Asakeem and found up what Hetty has been up to on NCIS: Los Angeles Season 9 Episode 8.
Yup, definitely less wheel spinning this time.
First, the case of the week, which didn't make sense to me. That's not a requirement, but it can be useful.
A group of jihadists blew away a coyote and the people he was smuggling in, along with a couple of Border Patrol agents. Why? I'm still not sure.
The team strung together a bunch of rumors about various militants gathering in Los Angeles. At first, the thought was that they were going to attack Camp Pendleton.
Then they settled on the jihadists pursuing Asakeem, who put Kensi in the hospital for much of NCIS: Los Angeles Season 8. It appears he has turned informant, which didn't go over well with his fellow terrorists.
Kensi, either, come to think of it. She's a big-picture woman, but this was pushing it.
This case provided the opportunity not only to bring in characters old and new but also was a great excuse for undercover hi-jinks. You gotta love those undercover hi-jinks.
The character making a return was Asakeem, who was now a valuable asset, much to Kensi's chagrin. He's still a devout Muslim. But perhaps his time in captivity has helped him to no longer view his new benefactor as The Great Satan.
So this ragtag group of radicals, none of whom have apparently been extremely vetted, gathered in L.A. after their practice session with the Mexican contingent.
Their target was Asakeem, because, well, he knows some of their dirty little secrets. But after a year in custody, wouldn't his info be just a tad dated?
But's let not let details get in the way of the narrative. This Asakeem hunt allowed the squad to stage a kidnapping of him. Then Sam got to go undercover again, this time as a wealthy Muslim looking to smuggle Asakeem out of the country.
Under the guise of intra-agency cooperation, the search for this vague jihadist group was also a great excuse to introduce Nell's overbearing older sister, Sydney, who works for Homeland Security.
Nell explained to Eric in great detail how her sister treated her when they were younger. It was a hoot to see Nell, so often the calm voice of reason, exploding.
Penelope? I always thought the name Nell fit her perfectly. She just looks like a Nell.
Finally, Sydney got to see what Nell really does and was impressed by her both in Ops and in the field with Harley, blocking the terrorists' escape.
I buy Sydney's tough-love explanation, that it's a hard world out there for women and that she was just toughening up Nell for what was to come. That seems to have worked out well, although she and Sydney should have hashed out their relationship sooner.
I'm enjoying Harley, who has fit in well with the team. It was awesome when she took out the obnoxious Muslim poser with her head-scarf. What Muslim woman hasn't dreamed of doing that to the overbearing man in her life?
Mosley even appeared to be softening. Her head didn't explode during Callen's latest over-the-top plan. She was tender with the boy Enrique and admitted to Sam that she doesn't even know where her son is. I'm sure there's more of that to follow.
I felt sorry for Sam on his anniversary. Still, it's hard to keep a straight face when his new pet is a hungover sea lion he's nicknamed Otis. That's got to be the most exotic pet this TV season.
There were a couple of significant missed opportunities this episode.
I thought that when Kensi and Deeks sat down for lunch with Roberta and her friend, maybe some wedding plans might be made. But nope, duty called, and they side-stepped it again.
Then, with an early Hetty scene, I thought that maybe that storyline was going somewhere.
Maybe it is, but it's going glacially.
It was great to see AJ Chegwidden again, as he and Callen conveniently broke into one of Hetty's homes at the same time. Now if only he and the NCIS team could work together to find Hetty.
I find her plan for escape to be flawed. She's given her disciples all the bread crumbs they need to find her. But they need time to find her as well, and when they're solving cases, they're not tracking Hetty.
Let's speed up the pace a bit. I want to see Hetty and Mosley playing off each other.
SPOILER ALERT: On NCIS: Los Angeles Season 9 Episode 9, Callen's ex Joelle returns. Why? Good question. I thought she was used up after it was revealed that she was a CIA agent. But apparently, she's got one more episode in her.
Want to see Sydney again? How about Asakeem? Otis? How soon should Hetty come back?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.