This was another fluffy little souffle.
There were the obligatory chases (foot and car) and the requisite amount of gunfire on NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 7.
But that wasn't enough to disguise the fact that, well, the world wasn't coming to an end this time, either.
Instead, the powers that be were busy setting up some character transitions.
First up, we're going to be getting less of Fatima.
After she had appeared in Ops for four of this season's seven episodes, in essence filling in for the missing Eric, it appears she'll be disappearing again.
Yes, Hetty, herself still among the absent, had convinced Fatima to forget about applying to transfer to D.C. and instead to go on an "off-the-books" mission.
So much offscreen Hetty this season!
But at least Hetty gets mentioned each episode, keeping her hand in from afar. She's still haunting the place.
Eric doesn't even rate a mention anymore. We'll find out what he's been up to on NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 9. Until then, Nell must soldier on by herself.
It starts to make you wonder if Ops might be a one-person operation.
Anyway, this marked Fatima's chance to show what she can do in the field.
And she passed with flying colors!
Not only did she impress Katherine, no easy task, but she also pretended to be a hostage until given the nod by Callen, after which she proceeded to beat up one Russian agent, shoot a second, then nearly run down a third before Callen Interceded.
But Fatima is still a junior agent. So what this off-the-books mission will ultimately mean is that the team will have to come to her rescue in some hellhole maybe 10 episodes down the road.
Too bad. I'd rather she just go into the field-agent rotation now. But so many recurring characters, so little time.
What do you bet that the writers have all the character names in a hat and pull out two per episode?
That leads to loglines such as this: "Anna and Joelle get thrown together tracking state secrets in Guatemala, trade shots of vodka, and exchange Callen stories." It's surely coming.
After the team not running into Katherine for the past 10 seasons, she was back for the second time in three episodes, and that can't be coincidence.
Yup, I reckon it's time to stick Sam back into a relationship.
Because, really, how often can the OSP be a threat to the high-end insurance industry?
The insurance industry, every episode, the way they drive and toss bullets around.
But high end, destroying pricey paintings and collectibles car? Not that often.
So let's assess Sam and Katherine as a potential couple.
They seem to have common interests and speak the same language. They are already finishing each other's sentences.
They were both able to wax nostalgic about classic cars.
Early on, they were appalled by Zane's treatment of the expensive cars which he kept as works of art rather than transportation.
Callen just viewed these cars as tools, favoring function over form. Sam was just the opposite.
That's what makes them good partners.
But Sam and Katherine were more like kindred souls, valuing the memories associated with such fine automobiles.
Their being in different fields could work. Katherine certainly has to cooperate with law enforcement and respects what they do.
Sam was pleasantly surprised when he found out that Katherine owned an insurance agency yet still went out into the field to handle her clients' cases.
After a couple of outings with Sam, Katherine doesn't appear to be scared off by the danger involved in his work.
Sam is an intelligent chameleon who could easily blend into Katherine's world.
However, if they were to become a couple, there would be no need to force her into his world, although she could be an important source for intel.
The big question is whether it's too soon after Michelle's death for Sam to become involved with someone else?
I say he's lived with a sea lion too long on his off time and it's time to re-enter the human race.
As for the case of the week itself, it was fairly connect-the-dots but it was enjoyable along the way.
One thing it did well was to mock the SoCal stereotypes, such as Zane the social influencer and Juda the trust-fund baby, who had notoriety without contributing in any way to society.
Once those buffoons were eliminated from suspicion, Nell did much of the heavy lifting, locating a suspect and a suspicious van from security footage.
A little light interrogation by Kensi and Deeks resulted in the location of the stolen technology in Zane's Ferrari.
Katherine came in handy to get the team into the car auction, using the Hellcat as a de facto entry fee.
Finally came the showdown with the Russians, the evening's main burst of action, when the only thing that remained in doubt was the final condition of the Ferrari that Katherine had insured.
Of course, there wasn't a scratch on it afterward.
Still, I can't forget the comedic high point: Kensi needling Deeks until he gave up his stripper identity.
How prophetic for him to have chosen Jack Dawson as his dancing alter ego, years before Kensi entered his life.
It was hilarious to watch Kensi react to this revelation. How long before he's going to have to re-enact his act for her in full costume?
Although Kensi's guess of Bruce Wang was truly inspired.
To review Fatima's guest appearances, watch NCIS: Los Angeles online.
Are you sorry to see Fatima go?
What do you think of Sam and Katherine as a couple?
How about the case of the week?
Editor's Note: Our system got updated! Now, you'll be able to scroll through many articles at once. That required a bit of a change to the comments, though, and now you have to click the blue "comments" bar at the bottom of an article to access them.
There are also two segments to comments now. You can either comment using Facebook or Disqus. Either way, you can SEE both types of comments. We hope that will be more inclusive of our community at large and that the conversations will grow as a result.
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.