S08E04 Black Market

After the excellent three episodes which opened season 8, the fourth episode Black Market was rather disappointing.  The case of the week was not particularly memorable and did not really allow for any character development, with the possible exception of Nell who ventured in to the field as Deeks’ partner again.  Instead there were questionable moments with various team members that luckily were balanced out with the B plot of Kensi’s coma and the reactions of different characters.

The opening bullpen scene between Sam and Callen was very amusing but highly unbelievable.  Callen had apparently competed in a triathalon (nope, he lied there it was actually an iron man event), on the spur of the moment.  And apparently, he completed it.  Sam of course ripped him to shreds over this, with Callen barely able to get out of his chair, and later the Challenger (although he did forget his stiff muscles the last time when he leapt from the car ready to assault the warehouse with the team).  But true to their partnership Callen saved Sam in a knife fight by almost breaking his assailant’s arm – it was lucky Callen could still move fluidly in the field!

In a show of getting back to form, Deeks had the most comedic moments such as where he explains to Nell that Kensi can do good cop/ bad cop all by herself using her good eye and her weird eye.  vlcsnap-2016-10-17-21h04m55s764The moment was tinged with sadness as he realised how much he misses his partner.   This shared moment was better than the earlier scene where Nell is driving and she remarks about Kensi being a perfect driver and soon she and Deeks will be living happily ever after.  She immediately apologised for how the words came across but this seemed indicative of Nell throughout this episode.  Is this jealously or thoughtlessness from a woman with an insanely high IQ?  Is Nell just confused about her role within NCIS?  And there is clearly irony the scene as Kensi is almost as bad a driver as she is messy.

The banter between Deeks and Nell swung between being sweet, to a touch condescending, with Deeks making Nell aware that she was playing into a stereotype – tiny Nell drives a mini and had to sit on the first aid box to see over the steering wheel (but why wasn’t Deeks driving)?  Shortly after, Nell displayed her knowledge of spotting fake designer handbags and pre-empted Deeks’ comments by saying it’s not sexist, she just knows the details.  This is also a nod towards some of Deeks’ past remarks over the course of the show in general, to which Kensi previously took offence but has become much more tolerant since they’ve become a couple.

Last week Nell was overly confident, so much so that this week Sam asked her not to indulge in fisticuffs.  And this week Nell was hesitant, understandably so before the team infiltrated a warehouse.  She did not know how to act when Deeks was fighting the female assassin, but later placed one Triad member in a textbook choke hold.  When she saw their suspect (also a victim of the Triad) escape with a gun she failed to warn the team the woman was now armed and luckily there were no consequences.  This could be down poor writing or editing, or to how Nell feels about wanting to step up, but not wanting to replace Kensi.  These are feelings she admits to Granger who is naturally looking to replace Kensi and is called out on this by Eric.  vlcsnap-2016-10-17-21h06m48s558He is being logical and sensible as team is stretched and he has no idea of Kensi’s long term prognosis.  To his credit, he embraces the personal side of him and visits her in hospital.  It was also great to see Callen asking after her, showing he cares even though Deeks has discouraged him and Sam from visiting.

In the midst of the forgettable case involving Triads and poisonings, where ironically the NCIS team discover a traitor within the Department of Homeland Security, Hetty is quietly searching for their own  mole.  Already the excitement of the first three episodes has evaporated and the show is veering back to season seven territory with the odd reference and no defined actions to discover or entrap the mole.  This C plot is almost irrelevant to the B plot of Kensi and the question of her future.  The closing scenes take place in her hospital room where Hetty wakes Deeks by sternly saying “Martin”, mistaking Hetty for his mother in an amusing exchange.  Kensi in her comatose state, also responds to Hetty’s order to squeeze her hand which is the first signal that she is on the slow road to recovery.

There are only so many episodes where a main character can be comatose and still hold the viewers hope the character will remain in the show.  The road to recovery will be long and painful – both to Kensi and Deeks, who will have to propose to her when she’s conscious (as the nurses removed the engagement ring for safety).  These coming episodes of recovery and the trauma it will produce will be of much more satisfaction to the viewer if the show tackles the mole storyline head-on in each episode.  But as NCIS Los Angeles is a procedural, by its very nature this is unlikely to happen so patience again is in order.

8 thoughts on “S08E04 Black Market

  1. jeffersonmunroe

    I was really interested in Callen’s sudden urge to complete an Iron Man challenge. I kept waiting for there to be more to that subplot, but nothing panned out in this episode. I’m curious if it was supposed to be a reflection of his state of mind and if we’ll get more on that storyline later.

    I laughed when Nell was talking about Kensi being a perfect driver but she’s just as terrible. It was a weird moment, but that was funny to me.

    I don’t understand why the writers are so reluctant to show any of the character actively looking for the mole. Unless they don’t even know who it is either?? I’m beginning to think that’s the case.

    Great review as usual! It’s nice to see that we share similar thoughts on the episode.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. skippy

    Great review, poor episode. I 100% agree with all the things you mentioned.
    Just some more thoughts.
    The Kensi sheet Granger was watching was wrong. The date Kensi joined the OSP was not 06/09 because she already was in the back door pilot and that took place in 05/09.
    And my fear is that this season will be as weak as S5 since it is more or less the same situation. Less time for the cases and the characters and more time for the Kensi recovery. That is bad and difficult for the writers since they have to squeeze the storyline in 30 instead of 43 minutes. I fear we have to prepare for more boring episodes.
    Actually I had hopes that the writers will use the situation to switch partners (not Nell in the field with Deeks) eg Callen and Deeks, Sam and Deeks, Sam and Granger…. and one of them acting/investigating alone (they did that in S1 when Dom was missing). That would be so much more interesting. Don’t know why they don’t try something new/different. Do you?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I Am Me Post author

      I love the idea of a partner swap and it was fantastic last season to see Callen and Deeks partner together for an episode (although it was also a parting gift to fans from that episode writer Dave Kalstein). It’s great that the writers are keeping Kensi on screen but her recovery will be interesting in terms of character development – and I don’t just mean Deeks. And yes that naturally means less time for the case of the week and other issues. I also took the time to screenshot Kensi’s personnel sheet and was confused by the dates…
      Thanks for reading and commenting!


  3. jsm

    Great review and I agree with the others. The case of the week was not intriguing and I can barely remember it. I was hoping for more partner switching. For some reason, it feels awkward with Deeks and Nell when they usually have good chemistry. I am not happy with the mole story. It doesn’t feel like they have a story. They have mentioned it enough that now they need to solve it. I do think Kensi’s recovery is important and I applaud their doing something rather than just sending her off somewhere. I still remain hopeful.


  4. robin1028

    I agree with the writer that commented on Nell patnering up with Deeks, Nell is not beleivable as a agent and is way to out of line in that snippy voice and smart attitude she protrays,
    Please bring Kensi back, we have all been waiting for the wedding between Deeks and Kensi
    she is also terrific in her role from season 1 through 7,
    also are we going to see Callen and his father united and bonding?preferrably in the US
    and of course Hetty, the show will definetly loose veiwers without her


  5. Linda Wigington

    Thanks very much for your review. Sorry I am late in responding. I have a different view of this episode. I liked it it better than last week’s. However, nothing yet matches the excitement of the first two episodes. I enjoyed the banter of Sam and Callen over the Iron Man but was disappointed when it wasn’t revisited at the end to find out Callen’s reasons. I thought that it might have something to do with Anna. I really feel that Nell was trying too hard again. Whether she is nervous or trying to live up to Kensi, I don’t know. It is not flattering to her. Her real worth is the job she does in OPS. It is nice to have kept Kensi front and centre but I think we are all a little impatient in regards to her health and the future. Finally, the mole storyline needs to move along as well. Could we see them actually working on it? Maybe there will be more this week. I intend no disrespect to the writers here. I think they do a wonderful job from week to week.


  6. monty

    G and triathlon …
    Nell and Martin together are beautiful. They are a partner that works very well. A great touché!
    Special Owen.
    Nail polish for Kensi. OMG

    Yes, yes, yes! After seven seasons, finally … Martin!
    No Deeks, no Marty, no Shaggy… simply Martin.
    I’m happy!

    As usual, please, excuse my English.
    Hi from Roma, Italia


  7. snoopgirlz

    Great review but not a good episode. It didn’t stand a chance of being good from the moment Callen said he did an Iron Man Marathon the day before. Unbelievable is the only way to describe that scene, even for the Great G. Callen. He’s limping, grunting and groaning once scene, next he’s fine, next one he’s moving slow again. The whole Kensi ‘thing’ needs to end and get her back to working with Deeks. I know why they are doing it but the show isn’t the same without her helping solve the crime of the week. I don’t understand WHY the writer’s are constantly trying to add comedy to this usually very good Crime Drama show. The scene with Eric talking to himself was absurd–not so much what he said but the words he wrote to remind him of what to tell Nell later. It was not funny in any way. Maybe I need a new sense of humour as many viewers seem to like the ‘comedy’ the writers put in the scripts.
    As for the mole, I am surprised we haven’t seen more investigating of who it is, more leaks surfacing and how they affect the team. Also wondering if Kensi’s situation had the writers detouring from their original plans to reveal the mole. OR the possibility writers/directors have no clue who the mole is.
    As always, thank you for writing your reviews. 🙂




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