WRITTEN BY: Frank Military
DIRECTED BY: Terrence O’Hara
The spoilers have been excruciating. The rumors were agonizing and the wait….unbearable. The fans of NCIS Los Angeles have endured a rough summer waiting for the exciting conclusion to last season’s closing episode Decent. From the title of this opening episode, we can only hope that the team will emerge victorious like the phoenix rising or ascending, in this case. Yet, if we can believe all the spoilers, there’s going to be some painful times ahead for this team in order to return to normal, if ever again. We can only assume that the recovery time will be a long one. On top of all that, the team still has to recover the missing nuclear weapons that were left in the hands of Sidorov. So much to mend, so little time!
We pick up where we left off last season with Kensi trying to save Michelle from the Russian Bond girls. Once Michelle is safe and on her way back to Sidorov, it was satisfying to see Kensi and Granger working in tandem in order to find Sam and Deeks’ tortured bodies in Sidorov’s hideout. When Kensi finds Deeks I just couldn’t stand to watch the sad, imploring look in his eyes when she tells him she has to leave him there for a bit longer. It’s distressing to see Deeks’ face particularly disfigured and not surprisingly both Sam and Deeks are physically hurt, disoriented and dazed.
Michelle Hanna…Hide your Barbie Dolls!
Once Michelle finds Sidorov, she has to convincingly prove to him that she didn’t know Sam was a federal agent. You think Michelle was badass before all this? Well now she doesn’t blink an eye when she shoots Sam and Deeks at point blank. Talk about insult to injury. (Although I never did figure out how they survived those gun shots to the chest…any ideas?) But she proves to Sidorov she is for real and even Sidorov is a bit scared of her now. Aunjanue Ellis was brilliant in that scene. No Barbie dolls for her!
When the team finally comes back for Sam and Deeks, Sam is still demanding from Deeks if he gave Michelle up. Sam is not sure about his partner. The hospital scene was gruesome and brutal. Deeks couldn’t stand to be touched by the doctors or look into Kensi eyes. He was already suffering from the stress of being brutally tortured. He was still searching for Sam’s approval, even after all he went through.
Callen, Janvier and Revenge!
In the mean time Callen and his team are using Janvier to complete the arms deal to the Iranians. The gold is exchanged for the bombs and all parties go their separate ways including Janvier, who escapes in the most disgusting way possible….he cuts the patch of tracking spray off his own neck! Janvier is still playing chess with Callen and lives to get his revenge against the agent even if it comes at Callen’s own hands.
Heartbreak and Atonement
Sam….Deeks…. hospital room. Probably the most poignant conversation I have heard between any two characters on this show….ever. Watching Deeks begin to cry as Sam leaves his room just broke my heart in two. For Deeks to say he didn’t want to be a cop…well you know he was suffering and in a very bad way.
At the Mission, Eric and Nell are tracking down the bombs and discover that the devices are bound on a ship to Iran. The team splits up to follow the dealers to see which one will lead them to the ship first. When Sam finds out that Michele is still in Sidorov’s grip, he doesn’t waste any time tracking her down even if it means discharging himself out of the hospital.
First a cop….always a cop!
Sidorov is on his way to San Diego where a plane will take both him and Michelle away to spend his millions in luxury. But Michelle has been made after Sidorov realizes she lifted his phone to get a text back to NCIS. Luckily, Sam never follows orders when it comes to the safety of his family and colleagues. With Michele’s life hanging in the balance again….Sam goes in with Kensi to save his wife and kill Sidorov once and for all. The dance with all parties on top of the helopad was wonderfully choreographed. With everyone circling the black top, Sirorov is threatening to kill Michelle if Sam and Kensi don’t lay down their weapons. But like the great first responder that he is….Deeks comes in to save the day! Amazing. Our LAPD Detective is back! He may be beaten but he’s not down! Everyone’s good. Right?
In the end, Callen never gets to give Janvier his wish for revenge and an easy death but knowing that Janvier gets a triple life sentence will have to be enough. As Janvier says to Callen they consume each other and so the feast continues. The game is not over.
The final scene between Deeks and Kensi was probably their first genuine talk ever. Even though both of them were still holding back for different reasons, it was beautiful music to my ears. Did you see the infamous box in the background? A talisman that will always stand for their relationship. Nice touch.
I, for one, am happy to see this episode come and go. The spoilers and pictures of all the pain and carnage the whole group goes through weighed heavily on the entire fandom for months. Awaiting the fate of all these beloved characters was enough to give anyone who cares about the show an ulcer. Now we can all take a big breath and watch how friends like Nate and Hetty come in and work their magic and hopefully try and put Humpty Dumpty together again. They certainly have their work cut out for them.
- It was hard to pick out just one or two because everyone one gave such great performances. It was a first class episode all around. Bravo to Frank Military and Terrence O’Hara as well. But if I had to pick the most gut wrenching moment it would be in Deeks’ hospital room with Sam. That scene will always make me cry.
Best Lines of the Show:
Michelle: You sent Barbies after me? I hate Barbies! I use to pull their heads off when I was a kid?
Sidorov: How did you find me?
Michelle: A Barbie told me right before I pulled her head off.
- Normally our bromance section centers around Callen and Sam but this week Deeks and Sam are in the spotlight as they are forced to take their past relationship into account particularly after Deeks proves that Sam’s prejudices in regards to his character was all wrong. Deeks will have Sam’s thanks and Sam may owe him one but will he ever get his respect? I think there is still more to come on the future of this relationship.
Deeks: I think I’m done being a cop.
Sam: That would be a huge mistake. You’re a great cop and you’re going to make a great agent.
Deeks: I never thought I’d hear that coming from you.
Sam: Yeah, that was my mistake. I won’t make it again.
Poor Densi. The heartbreak is just beginning in this relationship and as Shane Brennan has promised… don’t expect a happy ending…at least not yet. So many areas threaten to rip these two apart now and it will be interesting to see how and IF they can fight their way back to each other despite all they have been through. After witnessing the kiss between Deeks and Kensi, fans have had a hard summer speculating on what it all means for the endearing couple. Our heart breaks along with theirs as we watched their conversation at the end…… It’s going to be a bumpy ride this year and all Densi fans should be prepared.
Kensi: Listen, I know what you’re going through.
Deeks: I really hope that you never do.
Deeks: Kens, I just want you to know that the place I went to in my head to stop the pain was you. I just kept thinking about your smile and your laugh…everything. That’s the only thing that got me through for whatever it’s worth.
Not much about our favorite teckies this episode due to all of the action swirling around the other character but I am starting a Neric section to the review particularly in lieu of all of the teasers we have gotten about Nell and Eric’s relationship heating up later in the season. Let’s see what happens, shall we?
Check out my interview with Danny Gonzalez who guest starred on last night’s episode. Find out about his time on set and working with Daniela Ruah and Eric Christian Olsen. Also I have an updated interview with Tim Murphy as well, who told me what it was like returning as one of the show’s greatest villains, Sidorov. As we get further into the season, the drama relating to this episode will only continue and it will be interesting to see how our favorite characters recover from this ordeal and if in one piece?! Come back next week for our review of Impact (5X02).
You can find me on Twitter @Phillydi
Interview with Daniel Gonzalez for NCISLA Magazine
by Diane (@Phillydi)
Daniel Gonzalez loves being a firefighter but this real life hero now wants to get back to the profession that he fell in love with when he was still a young boy. Being a paramedic and firefighter for the city of Los Angeles can be a rewarding job and never a dull moment according to Gonzalez. Although it’s an interesting and fun job, it can also be very scary at times and very physically demanding. Having gotten the bug as a child actor, Danny decided to return to acting in the past two years, and loves getting to play different characters for a living now. While continuing his day job as a firefighter and paramedic, he has landed guest star roles in popular shows like Castle, Touch, Parenthood and now NCIS Los Angeles. We invited Danny to talk to NCISLA Magazine about his return to acting and what it was like to work on the set of NCIS Los Angeles. Welcome Danny to the NCISLA Familia!
When did you develop the desire to become an actor? Your brother is also a performer…is it in the family genes?
I started acting when I was ten years old. I did a bunch of projects when I was a kid. I joined a theatre troop called The Santa Monica Playhouse. Through that I was introduced to an agent and started working in a few television shows and made for television movies. Then I got into high school and it was decision time at that point because I played baseball and football and I had to decide if I become a normal high school kid that plays sports or do I continue on with acting and go on auditions afterschool. So I decided to become a normal high school kid and stop pursuing acting. My father is a fire fighter here in LA so when I got out of school I decided to go down that route to be a fire fighter. It wasn’t until a year and half ago, after being a firefighter for 10 years that I would decide to try acting again.
My brother is kind of going the same route with the fire department, he’s a paramedic as well. We’ve always known him as a funny guy but he’s actually an introvert. About the same time I decided to go back into acting, he kind of blindsided us and said he was going to try an open mike for standup comedy. I have a younger brother too and we have always been full blown hams and it kind of manifested itself with me and acting and Ben with his standup comedy.
So far you have done television and theater….what’s your experience been so far?
Theater, television and film all have their good and bad points. I really enjoy the energy of being in front of an audience and I did that a lot when I was a kid. But with my job at the fire department and having to go to rehearsals, theater is out of the picture right now for me but I enjoy it. With television I have had small co-star parts and a few lines and it’s nice to be able to come on a show where there is already camaraderie with the staff and the actors and get to meet so many interesting people. I haven’t done much film, only one 7-8 years ago called Body Shots; I had a small part in that. I like the idea of having a project to work on for a couple of months and then moving on to something new. I definitely want to get into film but I like television as well. It’s a lot of fun.
You attended your first table read for your guest star role on NCISLA. Can you tell me what that was like?
I never really know what to expect with that since I never done one before. It was actually kind of funny because our scene we actually did before the table read. We started to shoot the scene early in the morning and then the table read was after lunch. I didn’t get the full effect because I had read the script at home but it was a totally different experience with the actors there reading each part around the table. It was a cool experience. Everyone was there, from the people who had smaller parts like mine to LL Cool J! I can see how going through the script can be very beneficial like that especially for someone who is on the show regularly to see how the whole thing plays out. It was a great experience for me and I always enjoy learning more about the business and with each job I do I learn a little bit more.
The pictures you posted on Twitter showed that you were having a great time with the cast! Who did you work with and what was that experience like?
My direct interaction in the scene was with Eric and Daniela. The way the scene plays out, Miguel Ferrer is also in the scene along with LL Cool J but my character was working with Deeks and Kensi. They were all great. You can tell that everyone on that set are good friends. Some sets you get on and there is a certain amount of tension on the set or one of the actors is known as a diva. But here everyone was just welcoming and talkative and warm. Eric and Daniela were really nice and talkative. When I met Daniela I walked up to her and said “Hey I’m Danny” and she said “Whoa, I’m Dani too!” It was a really light, fun time with them.
It seems art was imitating life since you played a paramedic on the show and you are also one in real life! That must have been fun!?
It’s kind of funny because this may be the first paramedic role I’ve gone out on and you would think my being a paramedic would be a benefit but in reality the way I would do stuff on scene for the fire department, especially somebody who had been tortured like Deeks is a lot different than how a writer writes it for the show and how it plays out on television. So what I would normally do might not play well on screen. The order of things is different and how I would treat a patient is different. So they asked me a few times what would you do if you actually had a patient like this, and the director told me this is not really going to work. It was nice because I’m really comfortable taking a blood pressure cuff on and off and those kinds of things come natural for me but the scenes are definitely Hollywoodized for sure.
How about some fun stories you can share either on or off the set regarding your experience working with this cast and crew?
Hanging around with them was great and anyone I stopped and chatted with like the director or assistant director were all nice. I’m kind of new to the business and it’s still exciting for me to meet all these actors. So I walk a fine line between being a fan and colleague when I’m on set now. I want to act like I’ve been there before. But I want to squeeze in a picture. I am a LL Cool J fan and wanted to get a picture with him. I’m also a huge fan of Miguel Ferrer too. I think he’s a wonderful actor. In between takes Eric (Olsen) was sitting in the chair where he was being tortured and Daniela is squatting down in front of him in our scene so I asked if I could take a picture with them and instead of having them pose I kind of laid down on the floor between them both and held my phone up to take the picture and we were giggling about that. With LL he had a very dramatic scene and he did an amazing job and I was trying to figure out a way to go up to him and ask for a picture without pulling him away. So I kind of meandered over and he happens to catch my eye and I asked for a picture and he was super cool. I told him what a fan I am and he really appreciated that. Miguel is so talkative and so friendly with everybody and when we wrapped our scene I caught him walking off to his trailer and I called out: “Mr. Ferrer?” and he said “My name is Miguel, call me Miguel.” He was great and I got my shot. Everybody was super nice. It was really a good vibe on that set.
What projects are up next for Daniel Gonzalez?
Every day I go out on auditions and I had an audition today for a new HBO show (ed. update: Danny was booked as a guest star on the Sarah Silverman HBO Special, Sleepy Hollow and a role on Intelligence as of this posting! He also has a recurring role on the Bold and the Beautiful.). I would say I go out at least 2-3 times a week for different auditions. For every one part you get there are at least 30 auditions, which is the way Hollywood is. Or you go out on an audition and they call you back and the next day you read for the producers. On NCISLA they called me back a few days later to tell me I had the part. But when you don’t get the part you don’t get called back at all. You just move on to the next one. But I feel like now things will get rolling again and it’s going to be a good year!
Thanks go out to Danny and we wish him a lot of luck as he pursues his acting career and future projects. We look forward to seeing Danny on the small and large screen soon! You can follow Danny on his Twitter account @dannygonzo34.
Interview Timothy V. Murphy for NCISLA Magazine
by Diane (@Phillydi)
Timothy V. Murphy loves staying busy so much that we had to grab him on the run for a short but sweet interview regarding his return to NCIS Los Angeles. With the opening episode of season five we may see the last of Sidorov, so we wanted to circle back and ask him some final questions about his return as the nasty villain we all love to hate. Here’s what he told us about his time spent on the set of NCIS Los Angeles:
Welcome back to the set and your return as Sidorov! Like Christopher Lambert’s Chameleon, you play one of the longest recurring villains in the history of the show. Were you able to develop this character a bit more over the course of last season and leading to the new season by working with the writers and cast?
Thank you! Yes, I was over in Monte Carlo this summer and met a lot of rich Russians I could base my character on and add to what was already there last season and what is in the script.
Those torture scenes got a lot of attention for a network television show. Were you surprised by some of the backlash from the fans and was there a lot of discussion on how to play the scenes with the director, Eric Christian Olsen and LL Cool J?
I actually didn’t see the backlash. There was not much of a discussion with the director but torturing people comes naturally to me 😉
We enjoy your work on Sons of Anarchy. What’s the difference working on a procedural show like NCISLA and a character driven one like SOA? Do you like one style better over the other?
It’s all acting…you just do it with confidence and believe you are the smartest one in the scene!
What was it like to return again to NCISLA to play this wonderfully layered and multi-dimensional character?
It was great…they are a great bunch of actors and crew…very welcoming
Sidorov was described (by Michael Synder) in the episode Rude Awakenings as a disciplined sociopath. How do you get into the mind of such a character?
I play “bad guys” but I don’t ever look on them as bad…they always have a reason for doing what they do.
Did you have to work with a language/dialogue coach?
There was a great dialect coach on set.
How do you prepare for a procedural drama such as NCISLA?
I read the script, learn my lines and treat the other actors with respect. They are so talented; they make my job very easy!
What was your experience working on the set with this group of actors and crew? Any stories you can share with our readers?
It was great working with Chris as a director. I’ve been a fan of his work since Circle of Friends and Scent of a Woman.
Can you tell us a little bit regarding your next role, The Frankenstein Theory and any projects you are currently working on?
The Frankenstein Theory is a found footage movie I shot in Alaska being released this month. I haven’t seen it yet but hopefully it’s scary! Also out in limited release this month a great film I actually shot a few years ago called The Treasure of the Black Jaguar. I love a good western and have a few coming out this year including Disney’s The Lone Ranger this summer and the indies To Hell With a Bullet and Hot Drink Stiff Bath. I just shot a wonderful short by the Funk Brothers called Looms in Osage, Iowa. Iowa in February is freezing! And in addition to going back on NCIS LA, I’m also shooting a spoof on Taken called Tooken and developing a TV show. I love staying busy!
Thanks go out to Timothy V. Murphy for taking some time out of his busy day to speak with NCISLA Magazine.
You can find out more about Tim by going to his IMDB site: Timothy V. Murphy