NCIS: Los Angeles Season 9 Episode 11 Review: All Is BrightDale McGarrigle at .
That's one way to holiday it up.
A power outage, a jailbreak, and Airbnb rentals combined satisfyingly on NCIS: Los Angeles Season 9 Episode 11.
It was a much-needed, light-hearted episode that captured the spirit of the season, in a not terribly heavy-handed way.
Even the case of the week got introduced in a cute way. Eric and Nell were setting up the traditional holiday palm tree, which was over-lit in Griswoldian fashion. Hidoko warned them that Mosley, the Scrooge in this tale, didn't allow holiday decoration.
Then the power at headquarters went out, and the two meerkats went scurrying with their tree. Only later did they find out the outage was citywide.
Of course, the military was immune from this type of disruption, so NCIS had absolutely no jurisdiction here. But the Department of Defense feared it might be TERRORISM, so they were ordered to look into it.
Then it went to being a more with-it, and more containable, crime: ransomware. Someone wanted to be paid in bitcoin to unlock the power grid. That sounds like a less threatening, if no more understandable, crime.
When it was discovered that the "mastermind" behind the crime was some schlub living in his mother's basement, it just didn't seem sufficient. As in, there's got to be more to it than this. Or are we just trying to get to the party scene?
Of course, there was more. Not much more, mind you, but more.
It was all just a diversion to bust a drug lord out of prison, in theory, to take over his cartel again.
But no, he wasn't a crime lord, but instead just a fall guy for the cartel. And he was just breaking out so he could see his young son at Christmas time.
So here comes the most unbelievable moment of this episode: Once the team established where the jailbreaker was headed, they managed to get most of the team embedded at the party to which he was headed...in mere minutes. This is LA, people! You can't drive anywhere in mere minutes.
Anyway, cue the touching moment, when Deeks, the most skinny and SoCal of Santas, told the con's son that Santa needed the man's help, just so his son wouldn't see him get arrested. Awww!
An enjoyable part of this episode was all the odd pairings.
As he is wont to do, Callen had gone walkabout. More on that later.
So when Sam needed to investigate whether there might be an inside man at the power company, he took Eric with him, although, to Eric's disappointment, he wasn't allowed to pack heat. Based on past episodes, that was a wise choice.
The two bickered nearly as well as Sam and Callen, although Sam seemed to tolerate Eric whereas he respects Callen. Eric will always be the geeky younger brother who plays too much Grand Theft Auto.
Sam was the only one who seemed unfazed by the blackout, content to be alone with his thoughts. But those thoughts were troubled, as his kids were coming home for their first holiday season without their mother. Despite advice from his well-meaning teammates, he found his own solution.
Next came Nell and Hidoko. Nell had correctly pegged Hidoko as a brainiac like her, and she inducted Hidoko into her sorority of super-smart sisters. Nell then drafted her to help set up the Christmas decorations.
But after Hidoko got sent out on fugitive duty, Mosley, of all people, cornered Nell and worked with her to decorate headquarters. Mosley, whose heart must have grown three sizes that afternoon, had been burning decorations earlier in the episode.
The effort to humanize Mosley continued, as viewers got reminded again that she's a mother who doesn't know where her son is.
Finally, Kensi and Deeks were together, when they weren't arguing through their own "Gift of the Magi" scenario.
It's finally dawned on them that they're getting married (at some point). Kensi wanted to skimp on gifts and save for the wedding, while Deeks, man-child that he is, believed that Christmas must be full-blown, economics be damned.
Back and forth, back and forth, until he smartly caved. For now.
Then there was Callen's solo mission when he decided to invite Finn to Christmas dinner. He spent much of the episode figuring that Finn was abusing Callen's good nature, renting out the apartment in which Callen said he could live.
But Finn was kind-hearted as well, using the rent money he had suckered out of tourists to buy gifts for kids at the shelter.
Next, maybe Callen could look in on the rest of his family, his father, his half-sister and his nephew.
The dialogue was sharp throughout as if the writers were eager to go on hiatus so they could figure out a less meandering approach for the second half.
I would have liked to have Hetty magically appear, but sadly that would have been a logistical nightmare from her Vietnamese prison cell. I'll settle for a rescue mission on the other side of the holiday hiatus. Enough is enough!
To try to figure out where this season is going, watch NCIS: Los Angeles online.
How soon did you figure out what was up with the power outage? What do you think of Callen Junior, I mean Finn? Did you get enough holiday cheer? Comment below.
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.