Let's just blame this on Covid too.
Some of which could definitely have been tied up in, say, another four episodes last season.
Still, there was the big storyline that will never, ever get tied up: Callen wondering who he is and what role Hetty played in making him the man he's become.
So this season opened with Callen again seeking answers, breaking into one of Hetty's ancient filing cabinets hoping to find them.
Yes, Hetty is old school. And she is constantly burning secrets of the past. But if there were ever the perfect reason for a flash drive, those ancient records from her spy school would be it.
She had to know that Callen, or one of those other junior spies, would come after their origins someday. Keeping such information in the same building where Callen works was just asking for trouble.
Sam tried to get Callen to let go, to move on with his life instead of trying to fill in all those holes from his past, which had largely caused him pain.
But Callen was convinced that learning the whole truth would set him free, especially as more and more repressed memories appear to be trickling through. We'll see if that's the case.
Callen did manage to badger Hetty to the point that she admitted that he was Subject 17. Then again, seeing some of the torture she has endured in the past, it almost seemed that she wanted him to know at least this much of his history.
That's good, especially since Hetty has skipped town again to take care of more unfinished business. Kilbride was talking so that it seemed that he didn't expect an expeditious return on her part.
Callen was wise to send Zasha to spy on Hetty in Syria. Zasha largely came to the fore during Hetty's extended absence, so maybe Hetty is unaware of her.
But how much truly escapes Hetty's notice? She's there even when she's not there.
Intermittent Hetty will mean more Kilbride, especially now that Gerald McRaney has become a series regular.
That's a positive development, as Kilbride has always been the most memorable of the Hetty substitute authorities. He's the outsider constantly pointing out the absurdities of SoCal.
Sam will get along fine with Kilbride's constant presence since he appreciates the chain of command. Callen is accustomed to running the show without such authority, so I expect him to clash regularly with Kilbride. The rest will pretty much just keep their heads down.
Yup, a full-time Kilbride is going to take some adjustments by the OSP.
Now let's talk about the elephants that were not in the Ops room.
I didn't miss Eric and Nell nearly as much as I thought I would. Granted, they've both missed significant chunks of the past couple of seasons. So we've been being weaned off of them without even realizing it.
Fatima has been being trained to take over that whole time. Now her primary role will be to keep Kilbride from pressing any buttons he shouldn't. He seems allergic to technology, so that shouldn't be too hard.
Also, there was mostly reacting this episode. There was very little strategic planning and more just trying not to get anyone killed. The fact that Fatima ended the standoff by driving Sam's Hellcat through the wall should have been proof enough of that. They just can't have nice things, can they?
That was thanks to the bull in a china shop that was Joelle. A former CIA agent was abducting a Russian asset in the parking lot of a Trader Joe's, all so she could locate the woman she blamed for the loss of her leg. That's subtle.
That the Russian asset was a double agent working for Callen only made things worse.
In the end, Callen cut Joelle loose since they had the same goal: finding Katya. But that loose cannon back on the street is bound to come back to bite him in the butt.
Callen also did Zasha a favor by getting her out of town since her cover was so badly blown by Joelle.
Apparently, Kensi and Deeks are still trying to start a family. Who knew, since it has only come up nearly every episode last season and now this.
Hetty seemed to support this effort since she refused to be a reference for them adopting a child. That was her exquisite way of saying, "Are you sure you want to do that?"
It turned out that no, they really didn't. Instead, they want their own biological child who can't help but have long, flowing locks.
Or maybe it's time for a surrogate storyline.
If Kensi is going to end up expecting, let's get on with it. The season runs less than ten months, and the last episode has to be the birth.
There's comedy gold to be mined from having a pregnant agent in the field.
Plus, there's got to be an episode in which her elusive psycho stalker abducts the expectant mother, and the rest must rally to save her from such peril.
It could also be an excellent opportunity to introduce a new female agent, although that's always iffy to do on an aging series.
To follow the odyssey of Callen and Hetty, watch NCIS: Los Angeles online.
Is it time for Joelle to go?
Do you like the idea of more Kilbride since Hetty seems to have gone walkabout again?
What should Kensi and Deeks do?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.