The season's nearly half over, but Hetty finally came to the fore this episode.
One of Hetty's past decisions came back to haunt her on NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 10.
That's become a regular theme on NCIS: Los Angeles, hasn't it?
On NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 9, she was kicking herself about having Eric do an undercover mission.
The Eric mission at least made sense. He had an in at the company under investigation, and he had the necessary skill set. She couldn't exactly send in Deeks as a technology genius.
But Ahkos was Callen gone to the dark side, largely because Hetty had been unable to keep him safely under her wing.
Probably, his talent for wet work had been too obvious, and even Hetty has her limitations. Also, that was probably before she knew where so many bodies were buried.
By the time Callen came along, she was more untouchable.
Plus Ahkos's people who shunned him may have been right. Maybe he was a devil child.
Did killing all those people make him dead inside? Or did he feel abandoned by Hetty and take that out on the world?
Either way, that's not on Hetty.
With Ahkos, like with Callen, she was just trying to help boys to escape from difficult situations.
It's questionable that, knowing about the life she lives, bringing them into it was a good idea.
Sam was asking Callen the hard question about why he chose to do what he does.
Everyone else on the team came from other backgrounds. But this is all that Callen has ever known.
As he proved as he worked through the interference at the museum, Callen could be every bit the cold-blooded killer that Athos was.
The difference was that he has had Hetty as a mentor for much longer.
That's why he has a conscience. Also, he has people that care about him and has developed a sense of empathy.
Ahkos appeared to be lacking both of those qualities, which is probably why he wasn't salvageable.
After a goofball Eric-centric episode (was that redundant?), this outing was much more thought-provoking.
It was heartwarming to watch Kensi and Deeks pour out their hearts to one another as he faced certain death from the bomb with which he was trapped.
Serious Deeks has so much more to offer than rambling Deeks. You can almost tell what Kensi sees in him in those moments.
But don't think he won't hold her to that promise to have children with him.
Yeah, it was unlikely that Kensi could have pulled both the door and Deeks to safety in time, but it made for a dazzling visual, their escaping pretty much through the bomb blast.
Densi certainly had most of the heavy lifting, finding the gruesome partial body and dealing with that deathtrap targeting them.
Still, Callen and Sam had to be the ones to make the right choices to rescue Hetty (although it's questionable if she needed rescuing).
They should have realized that Ahkos wouldn't go to all that effort just to dump Hetty in the lake, that it was just a decoy to distract from his true plan.
Sam saw the similarities between Hetty's upbringings of Callen and Ahkos and he was right to force Callen to reflect on his life choices.
There's one major difference though. Callen does what he does to help people, and Ahkos killed people.
Also, when Ahkos was considered dead, rather than take the opportunity to start a new life, Ahkos chose to focus on revenge, drawing innocents such as Natasha into his scheme.
This episode was also a commentary on how overly dependent the OSP, and society in general, has become on technology.
Everyone was lost when Ops went down. Sure, there was backup, but everything takes time to reboot, time they didn't have after Hetty got abducted.
Nell still seemed to be suffering some lingering doubts from last episode, when she expressed displeasure about having to be a technological overwatch.
After all the stress she has been through, first with her mother's disappearance and then with Eric's and Hetty's abductions, it's only natural that she would be contemplative about her work.
Hopefully, she'll come to some peace with her role, as she remains the clear choice as Hetty's heir apparent.
Surprisingly effective was Rogers.
He's mostly been an officious buffoon that the team worked around in the past.
But he was useful this time. He was able to show Nathasa the flaws in what she had been told, that Ahkos was responsible for her family being killed in a drone strike.
He was able to find out where Hetty was being held so that Sam and especially Callen could go help her to survive.
I say "help" because in the end, it was Hetty who put down Ahkos when she discovered what a mad dog he had become.
Still, it was heartwrenching to watch her hold him as he died.
It was a fitting ending when Callen helped Hetty deal with her self-recriminations about Ahkos, as he pointed out the good that the team does.
It was left hanging about how many other of Hetty's reclamation projects are out there.
If the series continues, I'm sure Ahkos won't be the last.
To review Hetty and Callen's relationship, watch NCIS: Los Angeles online.
Did you feel bad for Ahkos?
Was Hetty at all to blame for how he turned out?
Which scene did you find most touching?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on X.