I thought I would give it at least week to let the dust settle so I could properly digest the final episode of NCIS Los Angeles’ fourth season. The writers already have the conclusion to this cliffhanger neatly tied up in a bow since the first episode of season five was shot directly after they finished the finale. Unfortunately, the fans will have to spend the summer agonizing over the brutality of Sam and Deeks’ torture, praying that Kensi can rescue Michelle and wondering if Callen will enact his revenge on the Chameleon once and for all! I’ve read all the reviews and pondered over your comments and no matter how many different ways you dice and slice this show it all comes down to one thing…. trust. As Sam says to Sidorov “We have trust issues.” And boy, do we ever!
Trust Doesn’t Come Easy to Callen
Of course trust has always been a tattered ribbon that has weaved its way in and out of this show from the very beginning starting with the resilient G. Callen. Having endured the shortfalls of the foster care system as a child, Callen is often known as the lone wolf. Having to depend on help from other people does not come easily to him….if Callen could solve all the crimes at NCIS by himself I think he would prefer working totally alone and in a bubble. Despite his better judgment, Callen must put his trust in one of the greatest adversaries of his career and this misplaced faith may result in the death of his closest friend and confident, Sam Hanna. His actions may have dire consequences for the rest of the team as well, along with the possibility of nuclear annihilation if the bombs get in the hands of the wrong people. There has never been any love lost between Callen and Janvier but what will Callen’s next step be once he finds out the fate of Sam, Michelle and Deeks? The scars Callen obtained during the drive-by shooting from season one will be mere scratches compared to the wounds that will be left behind if this mission fails. Janvier may get his death wish, but who will be left to pick up the pieces for Callen?
Sam Wrestles with his own Little Green Monsters
Sam also seems to be wrestling with his own feelings of insecurity when it comes to his wife, Michelle. Not sure if Sidorov wants an assassin or a lover, Sam has little tolerance for any man standing between him and his woman, even if she is working undercover. Despite Michelle being a trained CIA operative, Sam doesn’t agree with her desire to get back into the game. Sam has trouble trusting her decision but when fate gives him no other choice, he struggles over how he will protect the mother of his children from these monsters.
It’s this intense fear that precipitates the hostile reaction he has to the announcement that Deeks will be his new partner. He has worked with Callen for so long he’s only comfortable with his trusted partner by his side. Having to rely on Deeks is a whole new ballgame. This attitude didn’t just start with the final episode though; Sam has had a hard time taking Deeks seriously from the very beginning. We finally find out what’s really behind all the insults he has been dishing out to Deeks over the years. He calls him different; he has a problem with his character because of the way he looks. Sometimes being a product of the military system means you are so use to taking orders, it’s hard to think outside the box, or in his case, accept anyone outside the box. Sam’s fear has exasperated the situation but Deeks finally calls him out. Sure, he feels more secure with Callen by his side, but not even his partner will be able to protect the people Sam loves with the stakes being as high as they are in this mission. Hanna will get to find out if his instincts are right (or wrong) about Deeks. It was heartbreaking to watch him struggling in pain while begging the LAPD Detective with his eyes not to give into the indescribably torture and reveal Michelle’s cover to Sidorov. He has no choice but to trust in the man who he has repeatedly criticized in the past for being different. Ironic how things come around full circle.
Densi, Trust and Matters of the Heart
Finally we come to our favorite couple, Densi who reinvented the term dysfunctional when it comes to fear and trust issues between a man and woman. In the previous episode, Parley, Monica Davis has both Kensi and Deeks contemplating the true connection they have between each other. She’s not questioning the lack of professional trust between partners but the lack of trust that comes from unresolved matters of the heart. Everyone who works alongside the couple can see there’s a love affair going on here… except Kensi and Deeks! Even Hetty decides it’s time to give her blessing. Let’s face it, Kensi has been afraid of intimacy ever since she was abandoned by her fiancé, Jack and paralyzed by the loss of her dad as a young girl. On the other side of the coin, Deeks tends to agonize over his undercover persona, Max Gentry and whether Davis was right. “You know you can’t trust him,” she tells Kensi. Does Gentry come from a part of his personality that he keeps hidden and locked away? Kensi would never trust Gentry but can she truly trust Deeks?
As Deeks watches Kensi prepare for her trip to Iran, he is afraid if he can’t accompany her, he won’t be there to protect her if something goes wrong. In the past, Deeks has always had great faith in Kensi’s readiness but now he is in love with the woman and this is a huge game changer. Kensi recognizes there is something different in his anxiety over her safety this time and she doesn’t know how to respond to his love and concern. Instead they dance around their feelings and the meaning behind their veiled words to no conclusion. It’s all too frightening for Kensi because she really doesn’t know how to give her heart to Deeks after all of her loss. Even though she tells Davis she trusts Deeks with everything, her reaction to the kiss is a perfect example that she is still struggling. Kensi may have been a bit stunned by Deeks impulsive method of communication, but the mission was a convenient excuse to act like the kiss never happen and run quickly away. As she motors off into the distance not knowing the fate that awaits Deeks, what will happen when she finds out her partner is near death or dying from the torture he endures at the hands of Siderov? Will this lack of trust and uncertainty turn into overwhelming grief, misery and ‘what ifs’ for the agent?
There is no doubt that all the members of this team will be severely changed by this mission. The entire group dynamics will be affected. You can’t expect to overcome brutal torture, unbearable fear, anger and unrequited love and still be able to survive all that carnage unscathed. Without a doubt, these men and women will be transformed…and I believe one or two of them substantially. We can only hope that the resiliency of the human spirit will win out in the end.
Some final thoughts:
I found it funny that Sidorov trusted Janvier because he is a sick bastard. I guess there is honor among thieves.
There have always been trust issues between Granger and the team and between Granger and Hetty. Despite the high stakes of this mission, Granger’s executive decisions may also cause the team to continue their estrangement from the Assistant Director. Oh, it’s lonely at the top.
Assuming he survives, will torture affect Deeks’ personality the most? Will this change his laid back, sweet disposition? Could it force him to withdraw or will it strengthen his resolve even to the point of finally taking Hetty up on her offer to become an agent? Deeks wants the respect of his colleagues, especially Sam, which is why he has taken his crap for so long. I wonder if a Special Agent Deeks would be seen differently in the eyes of Agent Hanna?
If Sam and/or Michelle are still alive next season (!), what will be left of their marriage after this mission? Will she still want to continue as a CIA agent and will Sam be able to accept her decision? Whatever the answers, things are going to be changing in the Hanna household and safety issues will become a top priority.
I know many of you have expressed concern after watching the torture scenes. I don’t think it was gratuitous violence and it was there for a reason. Although not exactly easy to watch, it will set the team up for some real soul searching as we go into season five. If you want to find out what makes these characters tick you have to put them in indescribable circumstances and watch them find the courage to fight and crawl their way back to the light. The original definition of courage comes from the Latin word cor, meaning to share your whole story with your whole heart. When these characters triumph despite all odds, we applaud and cheer and when they fail we cry. You can tell the writers of this show love these characters and it’s important that they put all of their strengths and weaknesses on the screen. It’s how they emerge out of the other side of the darkness that is the true test of their metal. This act of courage is an act of storytelling….and it’s the best on television today.