S08E06 Home Is Where The Heart Is

The form of season 8 continues with another great episode that focuses on character and has a case that is worth caring about.  A Naval Engineering Lt Commander and his girlfriend are victims of a home invasion and are saved by the apartment’s maintenance man – John Martin, who fights and kills the perpetrator.  The team are assigned the case due to the Commander’s work but they become suspicious of John Martin who disappears when the media want to give him his fifteen minutes of fame.  A search of Martin’s apartment reveals a hidden cache of weapons and a newspaper article of a local school girl, Carla Stone.  Martin is not all he seems and the case turns in to a simple revenge plot.

There are more partner swaps this week as Deeks remains at Kensi’s bedside and Hetty is revisiting last season’s hobby of mole hunting off-screen.  Granger is left holding the fort and once again Anna is drafted in to fill the void, this time partnering Nell.  Anna has more of a low key role and is almost superfluous as there is no further development of her relationship with Callen – in fact he shows no interest in her other than on a professional level.  The parallels between the two characters which was so blatantly forced up on viewers last season is now more of an undercurrent, with Anna wanting to forego the medical attention required after her and Nell are caught in a bomb blast.  Nell is rather more shaken by events and returns to the ops centre, where she’s greeted by a concerned Eric; she kisses him and they hug, seeming more platonic rather than romantic.  They have a peculiar relationship – earlier Deeks catches Nell whacking Erics hands with a baseball bat, toughening him up for gaming season…

Without Hetty to play mother to Deeks, Granger takes on the role of father figure, inviting Deeks to sit with him to have a one to one chat.  The event initially causes Deeks to create a shipping name of ‘Greeks’ but the conversation quickly takes a serious turn when Granger questions not only how Kensi is, but how Deeks is.  Deeks answers honestly and once again his self doubt surfaces.  Granger tells Deeks the only way he will fail is if he quits.  vlcsnap-2016-11-01-22h29m07s192Kensi’s recovery is slow and she has some movement and sensations in her limbs.   The doctor’s prognosis of four to six months to see how much strength she can recover, is a reality check.  Kensi is physically active and extremely independent but is also impatient. She is angry, frustrated and lashes out verbally at the person closest to her – Deeks.  Kensi is pushing Deeks away in the same way Deeks did to everyone after his torture in season four/five.  Her reactions are perfectly natural and understandable and Deeks, having gained strength in himself from the words of Hetty and Granger, later responds to Callen’s question about Kensi by saying she’s having a rough day.  When Sam lays a hand on Deeks’ shoulder, the family circle feels complete.

The focus on Kensi is limited to some crucial scenes, which allows much greater development of the week’s case.  John Martin reveals to Sam and Callen that he is ex-Mossad / Kidon Agent Tobin Shaked, living under an alias and at a distance to protect his wife and daughter from a rogue agent’s revenge.  Empathy is built as Shaked’s story is similar to Callen’s but from the father’s perspective.  Callen sees them in the hospital and immediately calls in the debt Shaked has offered for saving his daughter.  vlcsnap-2016-11-01-23h22m26s781Callen tells him to be Carla’s father or she will forever have a void in her life.  He observes from outside, looking through the window in to Carla’s hospital room as father and daughter are reunited.  It is a timely reminder that Callen still has that void and it sets the scene for a reunion which will come later in the season.

Humour wise, Deeks is returning to form.  Eric advises Callen that Deeks is ready to jump in with both feet if needed and the camera cuts to a shot of his feet, the camera panning up his sleeping form.  Later Deeks backs away from the Nell / Eric strangeness into the sliding ops doors, only to be told they only open when facing them.  Sam and Callen’s banter is also on point with Callen playing Sam by saying he’s not interested in the Rams tickets.  Eric and Anna offer all kinds of incentives for Sam to take them until Callen finally admits he was biding his time until printed Rams shirts arrive.  Aliases ‘Mr Carl’ and ‘Switch’ leave the others still begging for the ticket.

With strong themes of family, faith and trust, Home is Where The Heart is delivers on all fronts.  There is action, humour and plenty of character development.  Most importantly there is a case the viewer can care about, even though it did not centre around a main character.  Once again it is the simple narratives that allow this to happen, and these will always be the stand out episodes for NCIS Los Angeles.  And on two parting notes – how did Sam perform mouth to mouth without opening Carla’s mouth?  And Callen has a couch!  By next week his house might be fully furnished…

Leave a comment and tell me your thoughts on the episode…

P.S. Fans of the now dead British TV cop show The Bill will recognise T.J.Ramini (John Martin aka Tobin Shaked) as DC Zain Nadir.  He also appeared in season 7/8 of NCIS as a Mossad agent connected to Ziva.

 

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7 thoughts on “S08E06 Home Is Where The Heart Is

  1. robin1028

    Best part seeing Kinsi awake and talking Poor Deeks the love of his live hurting, The show actually got some of its fire back, seemed to be getting on track again at least partially, Big uck still having that little thing nell out in the field, we were all encouraged when the bomb blew her away, lets see if she stays in ops… Calen, Deeks outstanding actors, there just natural and although we did not get to see Anna in to much action it was great to see her for as much as we did`, she also is a great actor, Cale Anna and Deeks can make it seem like the series is real and very enjoyable, and you look forward to the next episode,the rest medeogar at best ,and 2 people on that show if they have a large part in that particular episode (sam&nell) we just switch channels hope fully we get the back what we saw on the 7 seasons

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  2. Donna Marie Fletcher

    Sorry but I was angy at Kensi. Deeks has been by her side the entire time since the accident and my heart broke for him. Yes I know she is scared but Deeks loves her so much. He will forgive her because he is Deeks. I hope this storyline improves soon with a happy Densi ending!

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    1. hoopsdiva

      I have seen a number of places where people defend Kensi’s behavior in that scene by saying it’s part of her character. But for me, that’s the reason it doesn’t work. We’ve seen her take out her frustrations on Deeks before, or lash out over minor things. That’s why there’s no sense of sympathy that Kensi is facing a real problem here. She could just as well be acting pissed off about being told to pick up all her hair products from the floor of the shower. By contrast, imagine almost any other of the show’s “pairs” behaving like that: if Nell or Eric lashed out like that at each other, it would be shocking and there would be a true sense that something was really wrong. But with Kensi, not so much. It’s just par for the course.

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  3. F4llon

    Thanks for your review on this episode. It was a fun one again, and the flow of the show was solid, giving all the cast time to shine on the show this week. Loving all of S8 so far.

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  4. skippy

    Thank you for the review. Your analysis is of this episode (and not only this one) is detailed and IMO you covered it all.
    Nothing to say from my side only that I wish they would place the recovery scenes and these Densi thing all at the end of the episodes. Fans who want to see this can watch the episodes to the end and other can turn off at the right time. This is like S5 with all the disruptions and that season was really really bad.

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  5. monty

    I love G and Sam broromance.
    Martin has nearly 38 years old. He does not know how to think for themselves: all (this time Granger) tell him what is right and what is wrong. I thought he was smart, he was endowed with intellect but, apparently, it does not.
    Kensi has forgotten Jack’s behavior. Good, congratulations! I hope she goes to the Moon to stretch their legs… and she remains there. She is unbearable, unpleasant, whiny, unfair and very very bad with Martin. I hope that Martin send her to hell.
    I’m curious: Anna has the jacket of U.S.Marshall because she works for them. And Martin? He’s a cop, he should have the jacket LAPD. Right?
    I asked myself this very often. The production is lost in this nonsense…
    I really liked the Kidon Tobin Shaked.
    The mole … the mole … at this point I would like that the mole had Martin, at least end this agony. One of the most beautiful characters has been reduced to nothing. I’m very sorry for this.
    Until next time.
    Hi from Roma, Italia.
    Monty

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  6. Linda Wigington

    Thanks again for a wonderful review. I loved the episode for all the reasons you put forth. I enjoyed the team effort and that the partners were again mixed. Anna and Nell was a funny pairing, I thought. Humour was present with Callen and Sam. Deeks had some great moments as well like telling Anna not to let Nell drive. I loved the scene between Deeks and Granger. The whole situation with Kensi is so difficult for him. He just doesn’t know what to do to help her. He just has to be there for her and not quit as Granger says. I understand Kensi’s feelings and how hard it is and will be for a person like her. I enjoyed the plot as well along with the action and things getting blown up. My heart broke for Callen when he was talking to Tobin about family. As always his feelings are written all over his face or at least in his eyes. Another wonderful performance! So far, we have a great season 8.

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