This week’s episode of NCIS: Los Angeles was co-written by Eric Christian Olsen, who spent years crafting his ideas for an episode of the show. In “Mother,” Olsen explores the themes that involve how a life of crime can affect the psyche of someone who may not have been built for this type of work.
When the severed hand of Barrett Fimmell, a former CIA operative, appears at their door along with a mysterious woman, the team investigates to find out what is going on. It appears through intricate notes that the message being brought to them is for Hetty.
The team comes to find out that the operative was killed by a former protégé of Hetty’s named Ahkos Laos. She had molded him into an agent from an early age like Callen, but he was taken to work for the CIA. Seeing how Ahkos’ life changed so drastically makes Sam wonder if Callen has any reason he continues their line of work.
All Callen wants to focus on is watching Hetty, who is meeting with Ahkos at a location that was set up through coordinates given via the woman, Natasha Ali. But when the team’s communication system goes down and Deeks becomes trapped inside a secured unit with a bomb, things get serious. Kensi stays on the phone with Sam as the team urgently relays information to one another, which is difficult to do when they have to essentially play phone tag.
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Being in danger may be something they are used to, but when a bomb is involved, it becomes unbearable for Kensi and Deeks. Thinking he is about to die, Deeks professes how Kensi grounds him when he has trouble sleeping, knowing he can get through anything knowing she is there.
For her part, Kensi is not ready to lose her husband. Throwing it out there that she wants to have children and live in a van, she prepares their vehicle to escape. She fashions a rope to the door of the unit and just in time, she drives off as the bomb goes off.
Long-time NCISLA fans may remember the season 2 episode where Kensi is trapped in a room full of lasers. In one of the first moments of trust between the two, years before they would fall in love and marry, Kensi and Deeks escaped danger as they do here. They also echo iconic lines as well, which left us feeling giddy and relieved. This moment also showcased Olsen’s talent as well. He truly knows the characters and really dedicated his time to this episode. Plus, it is clear he sees how a small moment could mean so much to fans of this beloved couple.
Despite Hetty being taken, as horrified as she is by what Ahkos has become, she still cares for him. Callen has a discussion with her later about how growing up in this field was a different experience for him. He wonders who else Hetty trained besides them. An earlier line from Nell echoes the idea of how playing God can affect those you claim to love. How have Hetty’s choices affected not just the team, but those we have not met?
This was truly an episode that encompassed the different sides to how this line of work affects different people. Callen’s feelings about his job may be different from Ahkos. However, they both had Hetty guiding them at different points in time. How similar could their situations have been if Callen had not stayed with NCIS?
Olsen really dove into the questions surrounding this plot. He makes you think about the consequences this line of work has on people and their mental health. He put together a great script and it was an enjoyable episode, if not tense at times of course.
Some questions have arisen in terms of what is next for the team for sure. We know the emotional roller coaster Nell went on in the last episode is not over. And her line about playing God in “Mother” certainly has us wondering. How is she feeling about her place on the team? Kensi and Deeks are figuring out what they want for their future. Kids may be part of it, but what about the job?
With the fall finale creeping closer, there is a lot up in the air for the team. We’re excited to see where things take them, especially in light of recent events. What do you think about where the team stands in “Mother?” Do you think Nell and Hetty need to have a conversation? What will Densi be like as parents?
Make sure to tune into NCISLA next week and join us @capeandcastle for more content!