Last week’s episode left the team in dire-straights as planted evidence meant the men (bar Eric) were arrested by different agencies and Granger was fighting for his life. The rest were left holding the fort and finally inroads were made to identifying the mole or at least who is behind their security breaches; the CIA. In Under Siege the focus again is on individual predicaments as Hetty deliberately separates herself from her team and then Kensi is kidnapped. There are numerous threads and sub plots and all of it is worthy of attention, from the men in jail to Hetty’s daring plan and Kensi’s ordeal. And that is before tackling why the CIA want to bring down the team.
The excellent character study of how Sam, Callen and Deeks each cope with their imprisonment continues from Hot Water. Deeks uses his charm and charisma on the tough tattooed thugs deliberately housed with him, his easy going personality and people skills shining through to turn potential threats in to allies. A sneaky jailhouse kiss was the only ‘Densi’ scene for the shippers, which later paled into insignificance when Deeks offered to incriminate himself to negotiate his release to rescue Kensi. Sam turned the tables on DEA Officer Sanchez, literally interrogating him to the point he was sleep deprived, using intelligence and reasoning to secure his own release. Deeks’ jail scenes may have been amusing but so was Sam’s interrogation. In direct contrast to Deeks’ lightheartedness and Sam’s intellect, Callen resorts to lies, trickery and deception. He grabs ATF Officer Morgan gun, pickpockets his phone and deliberately antagonises him.
“I sexted your mum.”
Interwoven with the plight of the incarcerated men is the escape of Carl Brown and the disappearance of Hetty Lange; of course the two are connected. Hetty is on top form with her intricate planning and manipulation of both people and situations, although not all of it sits comfortably. She planted the evidence that led to the arrests of Callen, Sam and Deeks to ensure they were safe and could not intervene in her plans. The two agents were fine (although Callen will need to beg forgiveness for escaping custody and assaulting Morgan) but Hetty whispered a clue to Internal Affairs about Tiffany, and Deeks did kill his former LAPD partner. Does Hetty have a backup plan if IA uncover hard evidence? Hetty also orchestrated Carl’s escape, caging him and using him as bait to draw out his CIA bosses. Like a grand chess master, she planned the game many, many moves ahead. She knew she would be imprisoned and replace Carl as captive in the cage. She knew the CIA would reveal the reasons for their actions, and that she would have to blow up the building whilst protecting herself with a bomb/flammable resistant blanket.
“Men are so predictable.”
Kensi is left in charge of Ops (rather than Nell) and with Eric’s discovery that CIA Officer Sabatino planted a Trojan Horse in an email to Kensi during the White Ghost mission, she and Nell set about securing the boys release. Unfortunately it is an action that leaves Kensi exposed. Enter her rehab buddy Sullivan. In a neat twist, he turns out to be a bitter, revenge driven psycho who kidnaps Kensi, drugs and ties her to a wheelchair. The transformation of Sullivan who was a easy going, slightly arrogant cheeky chap, to his real identity of nasty CIA Officer Ferris is amazing. And clearly Kensi hasn’t already been through enough this season – she now faces having her leg chain-sawed off!
The exposition in the scenes with Hetty, Sharov and Sabatino, and the closing scene between Kensi and Ferris, is required to make sense of why the CIA want to destroy the team. There have been no previous hints of this, although Hetty, Granger and Callen regularly piss off other agencies. Amusingly, Sharov tells Hetty that their job is to chase after drunk sailors and wayward Marines. Apparently the Office of Special Projects repeatedly venture into the Middle East where the CIA are most active and (unwittingly) interfere with clandestine operations. It could all lead back to the White Ghost of season five, as sniper Kensi shot Ferris thinking he was Taliban one Boxing day. The confusion arises as his says her team were with her but since the show started this is the only time anyone has been in that area during Christmas. The rest of the team though, were in LA.
There is further food for thought when previous episodes are recalled. Granger originally introduced Sabatino to the NCIS team in S3 The Watchers. Both he and Hetty are ex-CIA, as is Callen. Michelle Hanna was also CIA and worked with Sabatino. Sabatino could have taken Callen down in S6 Active Measures, and Sharov could have done the same to Callen and Sam in Russia last season (S7 Matryoshka Part 2). Who can really be trusted? Even Ferris’ reference to Lex talionis is a call back to S7 finale Talion, where an ‘eye for an eye’ directly impacted Sam and his family. The location of Kensi’s captivity seems to be a former classroom or possible children’s home. Joelle Taylor (Callen’s ex) is a school teacher as she makes an appearance in the next episode with the press release teasing that Callen is betrayed by someone close to him.
Among the multiple twists, was the predictability of Internal Affairs Officer Whiting’s shooting. Her fate was sealed when Deeks volunteered to confess all if she released him to save Kensi. Will she take Deeks’ confession to the grave or remain silent, knowing that he did a bad thing for the right reasons? (Note that Deeks said he shot Boyle with his own gun as he was going to try and kill that girl (Tiffany) – does that make it premeditated? Deeks’ dance with Internal Affairs may still live to see another day once the mole arc has been put to bed.
There were so many great lines and scenes in Under Siege, ranging from witnessing how three different character deal with being in custody, to Hetty’s spectacularly manipulative ways and Carl’s monkeying and knocking himself out. The acting was excellent from all but especially Adam Bartley (Carl), Kurt Yeager (Sullivan / CIA Ferris) and Linda Hunt. Their scenes were enthralling. Carl’s unhinged, egotistical arrogance is creepy and Ferris sent send shivers down the spine. Hetty’s subtle facial expressions during her scenes where Carl talks incessantly are wondrous.
It is a cruel world though, when CBS make viewers wait three weeks for the concluding part of this three episode arc. Kensi’s screams as Ferris moves a chainsaw towards her legs is reminiscent of Deeks’ screams in the S4 finale – at least there is not a summer hiatus to cope with…