During the last few episodes, the hunt for the mole has taken a back seat but the chase is on again after an unknown female assailant shoots dead two men masquerading as sheriffs, outside Callen’s house late at night. The scene is set extremely quickly, allowing the episode to focus on the team’s investigations, and it is indeed a team affair. Sam and Callen work the crime scene, Deeks spends time with Eric in Ops and later partners with Hetty in the field. Once again Nell is allowed out of Ops, this time to interrogate the ‘original’ mole Carl Brown, something she has apparently done before. Even Granger pops up with a key piece of information.
In keeping with the trend of season 8, there is plenty of continuity from the previous episodes and in some instances even seasons, mainly evident in Kensi’s recovery, Callen’s character, references to Joelle and of course, the mole himself. It is also clear that the writers and producers play the long game, with plots planned out long in advance. Of course the question of continuity always brings challenges to what is known or perceived to be known or downright wrong, forcing the viewer to think and draw their own conclusions. Not every event is shown on screen, so Nell previously interviewing Carl Brown is indeed plausible; it’s just a frustration this is the first that’s been heard of it. Nell does not have the stature to intimidate and so she plays mind games, reminding Carl that repeated visits by her looks suspicious to other inmates. She openly admits to time-wasting, giving the impression that Carl is talking and suggesting the result will be an inmate cutting out his tongue or killing him (there’s still a bounty on his head). Carl believes her and eventually provides further clues about Natalie Grant, the woman who’s name he passed to Sam earlier in season 8.
Hetty is apparently not supposed to drive, the reasons why could be intriguing, but her disregard for that leads to a very humorous scene with Deeks, who threatens to wear a diaper next time he’s in a car with her. Hetty’s short cut meant she drove along a sidewalk and her driving forces Deeks to ask if she gave Nell lessons – it might also explain why Callen was sent to driving school back in season 1.
And then there is Callen who realises he has to move, wistfully gazing at his house and causing Sam to accuse him of having finally settled down and becoming domesticated. Clearly Callen has never confided to Sam the personal significance of his house and he reverts to type by claiming it’s only four walls and a roof; he has no ties. Most confusing though is that last week Callen and his father Garrison agreed to tell Alex (Garrison’s daughter) about their relationship to her, the implication being that conversation was literally about to take place. Now Callen admits that he hasn’t revealed he is Alex’s half brother (and it’s unclear if Garrison has admitted that he is her father). The reasons are understandable – he doesn’t want to bring harm to them. When Sam points out “like father like son”, Callen is less than impressed. In fact he seems to be grumpy most of the episode. He still calls his father Garrison and is confused why his father wants to stay with him when they barely know each other (Callen is possibly missing the point here…). His issues have not disappeared overnight; there is still underlying bitterness (he comments his father’s had other families), and he doesn’t seem bothered that Garrison’s been sent to a safe house.
By contrast Kensi has mother-issues now she is home from hospital. Her own mother Julia, and Mrs Deeks are fussing so much she sends them packing. Hospital ‘partner’ Sullivan pops round with beers to say goodbye as he’s been cleared to return to his unit. Cliche’s are avoided when Deeks returns to an empty kitchen, beer bottles left on the table. Sullivan is not a threat to their relationship but he has pushed Kensi towards her recovery, so much so that Hetty finds her in the gun range, eager to return to work. Hetty calmly proves the point that she is not ready, after Kensi fails to hit the target when firing left handed.
There is a healthy dose of humour throughout; in the bull pen Sam and Deeks take great delight in picking on Callen, with running jokes about his ex-lover Joelle leaving a trail of bodies at his house. Revenge is sweet when Callen reveals he handed Deeks’ business cards to the homeless population of Venice, which explains the prank calls he’s been receiving. Until now, the writers have not taken the opportunity for them to spend time together and the banter and sheer fun of these scenes between the three of them is so enjoyable it’s a shame it has taken so long to materialise in season 8. Eric is consistent in his oddness which can be forgiven by his marvellous scene singing a song from Pirates of Penzance and gliding in his chair from one workstation to another. There was a lot of witticisms from most of the characters which balance the drama and added to the pleasure of the episode.
But despite the humour the danger is real and Hetty’s comments that the wolves are at the door and she no longer knows who to trust at first seem melodramatic. The team run down leads on the fake sheriffs and Natalie Grant, who eventually gives up sketchy details of her contact. The team now have another female to run down – the woman who tried to pick Granger up at a bar in the season 8 opener. Do clues in previous episodes mean that ‘Sirens’ should be scrutinised for future clues? The security guard likened himself to a chameleon; in earlier seasons the chameleon was revealed as Marcel Janvier, Callen’s nemesis who threatened to destroy everything he loves. Is he due a comeback? Can more be read in to Sam’s closing words, that when they find the head of the snake, they’re going to chop it off. NCIS psychologist Nate Getz was last seen in season seven’s Head of The Snake, pretending to turn traitor. Maybe he’s playing the long game?
This is another consistently excellent episode that plays to the strengths of the show. There is more viewer investment in cases that are personal and character focused, with throwbacks to previous stories. The character interactions and humour, as well as the renewed mole investigations will make this a memorable episode.
Please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts on the episode.