NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 3 Review: Hail Mary

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That's more like it.

Most of the gang was there for NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 3.

It was the traditional setup, with teams of Sam and Callen, Kensi and Deeks, and Eric and Nell all present.

Navy Admiral Kilbride - NCIS: Los Angeles

Hetty's only appearance was by phone, but Admiral Kilbride was there to provide the war stories, over and over again.

Not that Kilbride isn't a crotchety old bastard. Gerald McRaney is making a career of those kinds of roles lately and he does them oh so well.

Message from Ops - NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 3

Kilbride makes the term snowflake sound like the insult it's meant to be. He's not the kind mentor that Hetty is, but he makes that abrasive style work for him.

This was certainly a Kilbride-type of operation, running on minimal intel and lots of bravado. 

Related: NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 2 Review: Decoy

I didn't see how his keeping his people in the dark was a good idea, especially since Eric and Nell were able to piece things together anyhow.

But after some of the shit he's seen during his career, any setbacks would seem to be minor ones.

The whole concept of focusing on stealing intellectual property was a timely one.

Man of Mystery - NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 3

Rather than stealing a closely guarded weapon, why not just abduct a person who knows how to build said weapon and has much less security around him or her?

This begs the question of why someone such as Jess Adams isn't better protected. Is the idea that their research is so hush-hush that foreign operatives or arms dealers wouldn't be aware of it?

It was a mystery how Kilbride so quickly got a line on the sale of Adams and was able to intercept one potential buyer in Conklin along with his bag of bearer bonds.

Conklin hardly came off as a scary arms dealer. Of course, being stripped to his underwear and trussed up would tend to dissipate any such aura.

Knowing very little about the man they were monitoring, Kensi and Deeks were wrong not to keep Conklin's gag off so they could learn more about what he had been planning.

Making Plans - NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 3

Instead, they were surprised by those thugs sent to Conklin's room, apparently to kill him. They really should have believed him when he said trouble was coming.

You can never go wrong with the old dive-into-the-pool-from-a-balcony manuever.

Conklin did prove to be a whiny little girl after that, although frankly Kensi and Deeks had little leverage on over him.

Could he be charged with carrying a big bag of money around? Frankly, that was about all they could prove he had done. It's not a crime to ask to be robbed.

In fact, beyond his identity and the money, Conklin contributed very little to this episode. Even dead Adnan had more value.

In the Dark - NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 3

No wonder Conklin was left alone to stew in the interrogation room.

No, the fun part was watching McRaney chew the scenery as Kilbride, the stereotypical "you-kids-get-off-my-lawn" old man.

Related: Watch NCIS: Los Angeles Online: Season 11 Episode 2

Although don't we all have some of that attitude when it comes to understanding the actions of those younger than ourselves?

Kilbride's decision to impersonate Conklin, with Sam and Callen as his bodyguards, definitely left them all exposed when they lost their guns and phones.

It was a treat to listen to Kilbride savage Adnan, supposedly the brains of the operation, who seemed more concerned with playing his games than conducting business.

Often at Odds - NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 3

Adnan was right to wonder how Kilbride gets away with all the crap he was spouting.

But Kilbride was a master of getting his opponent off balance, which was exactly what he was doing with Adnan.

When he seemed to be capitulating, Kilbride was just setting up Adnan for the takedown, and Sam and Callen wisely backed his play. Fortunately, Deeks and Kensi were there to provide much-needed backup to cover the abduction of Adnan.

I question the wisdom of leaving all that money behind. Where was the incentive to release Jess then?

That's why they had to try to exchange the only thing of value they had -- Adnan -- for her instead.

Getting Checked Out - NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 3

It was a great plan until, of course, Adnan dropped dead. Maybe it was vaping.

Why wasn't someone monitoring interrogation from Ops? They should have known better than to have expected Conklin to do the right thing and call for help.

I loved Kilbride's idea of wiring up Adnan's corpse as part of the exchange. Any scheme that referencing Weekend at Bernie's is bound to be a winner.

The exchange fell apart when Vihaan couldn't get a response from the dead Adnan. So instead it was a quick and easy firefight that brought things to a close.

Scanning for Trouble - NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 3

Didn't both Adnan's abduction and Jess's final rescue seem too easy? But then this was supposed to be one of those straightforward episodes where the smart cops outwit the dumb crooks.

It also provided some much-needed humor after the more serious tones of the season's first two episodes. No terrorists, no drug runners, just some crooks looking for a payday.

Related: Get CBS All Access via Amazon Channels for Hit Shows, Exclusive Originals & Live TV!

Then at the end was something they all agreed on: a drink at Deeks' bar. That's when you know you've arrived: when you get invited to celebrate at Deeks'.

Based on the final scene of next week's trailer, it appears that Hetty will be returning for duty. But since Eric is only scheduled to appear once in the first six episodes, he'll likely be the missing one next time.

Too Little Too Late - NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 3

To follow the young season, watch NCIS: Los Angeles online.

Did you enjoy Kilbride's visit?

Wasn't it nice to have most of the team back together?

Are you OK with rotating in other authority figures if Hetty isn't there?

Comment below.

Hail Mary Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (56 Votes)

Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 3 Quotes

I was doing this back when you were trying to decide to be an astronaut and a cowboy.

Kilbride [to Callen]

Deeks: Special Agent Kensi Blye ...
Kensi: Is not buying into your BS.