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S08.E01: High Value Target Belly of the Beast Pts. 1 & 2

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High Value Target; Belly of the Beast Part 1

High Value Target; Belly of the Beast Part 2


While being carefully monitored by the Under Secretary of the Navy due to the identification of a mole in their department, the team lands an important case involving a Syrian terrorist.

From WikiDeeks:




Edited by Trey
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What did Nell sneak away and do???  Since she's Hetty's #1 would they even go there to imply she could be the mole?  Or was she creating the back door used later?

Sheesh.  I know "Queen's Gambit," and show did succeed in making me feel old!   I love Hetty so all is good for me but a bit surprised another Hetty arch so soon. 

Granger dumping the phone in water was golden :)

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14 hours ago, anna0852 said:

So, um - Sam has corpsman training? 

I hand-waved that to all SEALS receiving medical training in some degree.

It was fun. The desert shootout was suspenseful even tho we knew how it would turn out. I admit I laughed out loud at Callen's Say Anything pop quiz in the middle of an emergency. And I admit to being nervous for Daniela in that scene as she wrestled under the plane. How did they shoot that and not be at least a little scared of something hurting her/baby?? In some of the "pulling her out" shots, it was definitely her and not a double.

In no way was it necessary for us to see/hear/talk about Deeks pooping out the engagement ring.

I, too, am intrigued by Nell's double secret probation download/upload.

Beale - now is not the time for your whiny "I've never killed anyone before." Then let Nell do it! He totally bugged.

I think it makes perfect sense that Callen wouldn't have a bucket list - hello, the guy couldn't even commit to a home until a few years ago. He has lived his whole life assuming he was going to die any day.

I am so very tired of the mole thing. How - in that entire episode - did they not mention Vance? Just one "I talked to Leon and he said to play along..." would have gone a long way with me.

Any musical theater buffs out there? I couldn't get past Duggan *not* being Brian D'Arcy James. It's the eyes.

Edited by betsyboo
(clicked submit too soon)
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Yeah, definitely some hit-or-miss moments. 

I actually thought it was very appropriate that Eric was hesitant about killing people. He only started training with weapons a year a go and he's only been in the field like twice. Of course he's going to have a hard time with this! Nell practically had a breakdown when she shot someone and she's a trained agent.

I'm guessing that was her real belly when we saw Kensi undercover at the botched exchange. Costuming must have jumped at the chance to not hide it!

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I've never really like Beale.  If there ever was an extraneous character on the show it is him.  I know his "oddness" is played off as cute but I find it annoying.   Plus I've never seen the chemistry between Beale and Nell.  It comes off as awkward and not in a good way.

I agree it makes sense that Callen wouldn't have a bucket list.  The way he was raised without a sense of hope.  Bucket lists are for dreamers and hopers.  "I'm going to do this one day."  Callen is the kind of guy who lives in the now and if he wants something he'll do it now and not wait for a day that might never happen.

Are we doing another vast conspiracy us against the universe story?  

Edited by Chaos Theory
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I thought that was a bangin' premiere!  Worth the wait!  I assumed that Nell's sneaking off was to activate the back door that she and Eric used later.  Smart girl -- I knew we kept you around for a reason ;)  (I kid because I love ;)

The first hour was kind of set-up-y, but had some fun moments, including the bucket list stuff.  I'm always up for a little scatalogical humor, so I thought the Deeks-ring-bathroom stuff was funny and cute, though I hope Kensi doesn't figure it out because ewww :)  Deeks' slow speed bike chase was a bit silly -- it seemed like he would have made better time just running after the guy.  I did love the bad guy just randomly making him take his shirt off, though, because why not if you want to keep your fan base cheerful.  

The Undersecretary who took over was eminently hissable, and I loved all his moments of smug condescension and contempt with Hetty and Granger.  You just know that he is going to live to regret every single "you take your rest now Henrietta" comment.  His horribleness kind of obscured the fact that the OSP really has done a terrible job policing themselves.  This mole has been operating, on and off, for over two years!  It is way beyond time that someone figured out what's going on.

The second hour was really well done.  I loved the cuts between the guys in LA breaking into Ops and the rising jeopardy in Syria.  The stuff in Ops was really well done, and kept the tension ratcheting up nicely, and of course they always do location-action scenes terrifically on this show.  Granger and Nell were particularly stellar -- Granger really does not give an eff anymore, does he?  He's completely invested in the team, and will do whatever it takes to protect them, and consequences be damned. I agree that Eric's dithering over giving the kill order was pretty in character for him -- the others have always emphasized to him that what they do is different than the video games Eric loves, and I think he totally got that.

As for the desert scenes, I thought they were stellar, even though the outcome was 100% predictable.  I just really like watching the team work together, which they did seamlessly.

On a final note, I love the fact that they have created a second purpose-built storyline to account for Daniela Ruah's pregnancy.  First, because in the first half of the episode, I thought their attempts to hide her baby-bump were pretty unconvincing.  All the staging of Daniela standing behind things and people just seemed so obvious.  But more importantly, I love that for both of Daniela's pregnancies, the writers have taken it as an exciting creative challenge to find an interesting, storyline-driven way to deal with the actress' condition.  It sounds like they see it as a chance for inventiveness and character development, rather than an inconvenient hassle.  I think that positive attitude shows up on screen, and I give them all props for it.

Anyway, bring on the rest of the season!

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"Badges? We don't need no steenkin' badges!"

The meerkats were really in synch this episode.

I forgot what time the show came on and missed the first half hour.  But we got caught up and figure we hadn't really missed too much.

I really enjoyed the episodes, especially the second part in the desert. 

I do get tired though of the team (and on the other NCIS shows too) always being investigated by somebody. It is just so overdone.

Is this really the end of Hetty?

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Was it like '80s movies homage night at CBS?  There were too many to remember, and I had some wine so I've forgotten most of them today.  The most shocking was Callen doing the bit from Say Anything, but Beale had his "nobody puts Beale in the corner" bit from Dirty Dancing.  I know Deeks had at least one, and probably Sam.  And, of course, the most excellent Blazing Saddles reference, though that movie was from the '70s.

(Later on, in the MacGyver premiere, they had a spot on Raiders of the Lost Ark reference.)

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45 minutes ago, anna0852 said:


I did like that neither Callen nor Sam batted an eye at Deeks referring to Kensi as his fiancee. They had to figure that was coming.


Oh I think the rest of the office has been two steps ahead of "Densi" for a while now :) Remember when Kensi was disappointed by the non-reaction to their moving in together, and Callen simply said "I though you already were living together."  I liked the fact that Sam was especially solicitous of Deeks during the whole trauma, and that Deeks basically held it together, though you could see he was this far from completely melting down.  All very in-character.

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5 hours ago, Misslindsey said:

If he only sang "You'll be Back", he might have proved to me he was a Brian D'Arcy James doppelganger. I think you are right that it is the eyes.

<shoulder shrug><shoulder shurg>

"Da da da dat da dat da da da da ya da
Da da dat dat da ya da!"

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 His horribleness kind of obscured the fact that the OSP really has done a terrible job policing themselves.  This mole has been operating, on and off, for over two years!  It is way beyond time that someone figured out what's going on.

Yes! Honestly, with three moles in two years and the last one still going unidentified, it actually makes total sense that the agency would get taken over. However, this is the second time this has happened since season six, and both take-over administrators have been mustache-twirling, over-the-top ridiculous. It's almost like they feel they need to make the take-over team awful to mask the fact that they really more or less deserved to get taken over both times. It felt like Granger and Hetty were barely even looking for the mole last season, even though he/she was apparently putting everyone's lives in danger and compromising national intelligence. Yeesh. 

I really enjoyed the Syria helicopter crash plotline--I felt like we really got to see the team in action under tough circumstances. Their loyalty has been so well-earned over the years. I also really appreciate the way the show chooses to write in Daniela Ruah's pregnancies rather than have her just disappear for a short time. I'm sure the Kensi storyline we're about to see will be some great material for Daniela and ECO.

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So, I just watched this sucker again, because it turns out I really, really loved it.  Especially the last 45 minutes.  And I have to say that my very favorite moment is the beat where they've got Kensi out from under the wreckage, and Deeks tells Sam and Callen they should go.  He says that if they stay, they're all gonna die there, and "I'm totally cool with that."  Then he explains that of course he doesn't want to die, but obviously he can't leave Kensi, so he is going to die with her, but the others don't have to.  And, of course, Sam and Callen completely dismiss the idea of leaving.  There is so much character there in just a few lines of dialogue.  Deeks has thought this through, and has accepted that he will die if Kensi does, but he at least wants to give the others an out even if he knows they would never take it.  Kinda like going out to an expensive dinner with a rich friend who you know is going to pay, but offering to split the check at the end of the meal, even though you know they will brush you off.  It's not taking the friendship for-granted. 

And then, right after that, when Callen points out they have Asakeem as a hostage for leverage, and all of them suddenly come to the simultaneous sick realization that they have left their high value target alone, unrestrained, for hours without a second thought.  Even though the team are so effective and so professional, they completely boffed this one because they were all completely involved in saving Kensi.  It's a powerful demonstration of the fact that  they are all so personally committed to and invested in each other that sometimes they lose their professionalism completely.

So much character in a short scene with a few lines.  Loved it!

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At first I didn't like this- I thought the way they went backwards and forwards between the crash and the ops building was choppy. I would have liked to spend more time in one location before switching. 

On rewatching, I really enjoyed it. Wish we had more scenes of the team pulling together like that!

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