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MostlyC

S08.E23: Uncaged

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When Sam's wife Michelle is taken from her home, kidnappers demand Sam's arch nemesis, Tahir Khaled, be released from prison in exchanged for Michelle's whereabouts.

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Thank you, Frank Military, for not listening to the sentimental, maudlin fans and delivering a tense, powerful DRAMA show. Maybe this will be the beginning of the "reset."

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The actor who played the Russian Bad guy....didn't he play a DIFFERENT russian bad guy back end of season 4/premiere of season 5?  

I don't object to the casting (because it's been 3+ seasons), but is he?  I am curious.

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I absolutely did not expect this. Still thought they'd pull it off until the sappy music started playing. Holy cripes I even cried!!! 

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5 minutes ago, MostlyC said:

The actor who played the Russian Bad guy....didn't he play a DIFFERENT russian bad guy back end of season 4/premiere of season 5?  

I don't object to the casting (because it's been 3+ seasons), but is he?  I am curious.

No, he's the same Russian bad guy. Siderovs second in command. That's how he could be used to draw Michelle out.

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I absolutely did not believe they were going to do that until they did it. And then I cried. That was hard to sit through, and somehow also one of the best episodes of this show I have seen in a very long time. 

How absolutely devastating for Kensi and Deeks that they had literally been in the exact building hours earlier. And obviously the repercussions for Nell remain to be seen. Excellent performances by all, but especially LL and  Aunjunue. I loved her on the mentalist as well and am very sorry to lose her from this show. 

Finally: major kudos to whoever scored that episode. Gorgeous piece to end the episode. I knew as soon as they started that music piece this couldn't be good and I STILL didn't buy it until we saw her under the sheet. 

That episode reminded more of the original NCIS, which has never been afraid to kill off major characters in powerful and dramatic ways, than of LA. 

ETA: One of the reasons I was sure they wouldn't go through with it was the video feed--my naive self thought, "This is an 8 PM show. They're not going to have us watch her suffocate to death." Oops.

Edited by Jillibean
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Not surprised they killed her off.  I always had a feeling they would, even way back when they first let us meet her.

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Strong story (but it's what you expect from Military). No humor, no sentimentality. Hope this is the start of the "reset" for next season with less of the cutesy antics and silly talk from the couples. Callen has his work cut out for him--a promise to Michelle to take care of Sam (the tables are turned) and I'll be interested to see how this changes/strengthens their relationship. Looks as if Sabatino wasn't the mole; maybe next week we'll find out for sure.

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I absolutely love Aunjanue Ellis, so I am really sad to see her go, although we didn't see her all that much on this show.

I thought it was done pretty well, including the insidious yet sudden realization that they were actually going go through with killing her, then having to watch it all play out. You could tell that Sam knew, too, as they were driving to the warehouse. It remains to be seen whether the fallout will be done as well as this episode, but I think it was one of the best episodes in a long time. I cried at the end.

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2 minutes ago, enoughcats said:

I don't think anyone will forget this year

The fluff is easily forgotten. Granger (especially) and this finale--nope.

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I love the humor.  But a serious episode dramatic episode like this is welcome once in a while.

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I think the show has had too much humor the past few seasons and it distracts from the series (it's a drama show, after all). This season has been better--and the loss of Granger was a tough thing to process and a huge loss--but I hope next season sees less humor and more drama. That doesn't mean no humor, but humor secondary to the drama.

25 minutes ago, ymeagain said:

Callen has his work cut out for him--a promise to Michelle to take care of Sam

I agree. I'm interested to see how this is handled. It'll be new for Callen to be the one who's the "anchor." He's relied on Sam so much to keep him grounded. This could really change their partnership dynamic.

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I'm sorry, because - like Kenzi - I had tears in my eyes, but there was no way in hell I would've let Tahir go, and Sam is my favorite character.

 I think another reason they let Sam communicate with Michelle is because of the psychological torture of watching her suffocate.

And I half expected the marriage proposal as a knee jerk reaction.  It still might be, but I'm glad they didn't do it in this episode.b

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I'm still reeling. I hope it doesn't go so dark that grieving Sam turns on Deeks and blames him for not getting to her sooner. (I'm reaching, I know, but since we're supposed to expect this reset - I'm throwing it out there.) Sam finally came to trust him after the Sidarov kidnap = I just hope Sam remembers that. Kensi is going to need some SERIOUS therapy. I hope they show real repercussions for Nell (ahem, unlike <someone, mumble Bishop, mumble> on the mothership). BRING BACK NATE. They all need a session or two.

If this doesn't bring Vance to LA, then we might as well put Chegwidden in charge.

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Pure sadism, addressed to an audience who largely did not want it and not fit to what the show had shown so far ..

It's been 6 years that let us spend pleasant moments in a happy end, capturing a largely satisfied audience, and then sadistic and believing you do something like that !!

When the actors want to get out of a show, there's a way and a way to do it !!
Too dramatic and intense for the audience to which it was intended.

Edited by centopercento
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Wow, they really went there. When Kensi and Deeks were running to get to Michelle at the end, I said, "if this was 24, they'd be too late."

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22 minutes ago, betsyboo said:

grieving Sam turns on Deeks

Seriously? With all that Sam will be going through, you're worried about Kensi and Deeks?

 

23 minutes ago, betsyboo said:

Kensi is going to need some SERIOUS therapy.

This is why there are times I wish they would just kill off one or the other of these two. Even when the story ISN'T about them, somehow it is.

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19 minutes ago, betsyboo said:

I'm still reeling. I hope it doesn't go so dark that grieving Sam turns on Deeks and blames him for not getting to her sooner. (I'm reaching, I know, but since we're supposed to expect this reset - I'm throwing it out there.) Sam finally came to trust him after the Sidarov kidnap = I just hope Sam remembers that. Kensi is going to need some SERIOUS therapy. I hope they show real repercussions for Nell (ahem, unlike <someone, mumble Bishop, mumble> on the mothership). BRING BACK NATE. They all need a session or two.

If this doesn't bring Vance to LA, then we might as well put Chegwidden in charge.

Unfortunately blaming Kensi and Deeks might be a logical conclusion in Sam's mind, even if in his right mind he'd never go there. Sam's family has always been his one weak spot and losing Michelle is going to put him over the edge. Like, get fired and go to prison over the edge. I'm not sure there is anybody that will be able to talk him down.

If Bishop got off scot-free on Mothership when Vance works in the same building, then I don't think Nell will be facing much repercussion here. Although I'd bet money Chegwidden will at least become recurring (if not a regular) to help fill the Granger shoes next year. 

I think Kensi and Deeks are both going to need therapy. Knowing that they'd been in the building that morning and didn't realize Michelle was there is a tremendous burden to carry, whether or not it's deserved. And I'm on the "how could you possibly have know, this isn't your fault" train!

This is going to have serious consequences for the entire team dynamic, I'm just not sure what those will be.

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21 minutes ago, centopercento said:

Pure sadism, addressed to an audience who largely did not want it and not fit to what the show had shown so far

Totally disagree. It was difficult to watch, but then terrorists are not known for their kindness, and it's not unexpected from Military. As for the "audience who largely did not want it," that's true for some, but I think they've strayed far too deep into the Densi comedy zone in too many episodes, so I'm glad to see a dramatic episode without any humor or sentiment. It was dark, but sometimes writers have to go dark to make a statement.

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19 minutes ago, betsyboo said:

I'm still reeling. I hope it doesn't go so dark that grieving Sam turns on Deeks and blames him for not getting to her sooner. (I'm reaching, I know, but since we're supposed to expect this reset - I'm throwing it out there.) Sam finally came to trust him after the Sidarov kidnap = I just hope Sam remembers that. Kensi is going to need some SERIOUS therapy. I hope they show real repercussions for Nell (ahem, unlike <someone, mumble Bishop, mumble> on the mothership). BRING BACK NATE. They all need a session or two.

If this doesn't bring Vance to LA, then we might as well put Chegwidden in charge.

I do think the show is going to have to be careful about continuing to have a balance and not swinging too dark. They've obviously set up a storyline for Sam that's going to make it very hard to continue in the buddy-cop sort of setup they've been doing for years. This is a drama, but it's always been the lighter, fluffier cousin of NCIS. This is the darkest I think they've ever gone and I'm already seeing backlash and anger, both online and from people I know personally. My mom, who loves the show and watches it religiously, hated this episode and felt angry after watching it. Obviously, I felt differently, but I get where she's coming from.

1 minute ago, ymeagain said:

Seriously? With all that Sam will be going through, you're worried about Kensi and Deeks?

 

This is why there are times I wish they would just kill off one or the other of these two. Even when the story ISN'T about them, somehow it is.

Everyone is entitled to have favorite characters. For that matter, this is an ensemble show and it's perfectly fair to think through how events affect all characters involved. It's fine that you don't like Kensi and Deeks. Other people do and that's also fine. 

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2 minutes ago, anna0852 said:

I think Kensi and Deeks are both going to need therapy. Knowing that they'd been in the building that morning and didn't realize Michelle was there is a tremendous burden to carry, whether or not it's deserved.

Again. all about them. Well, you know, maybe it WAS their fault. But, of course, Sam--who just lost his wife--and Callen, his partner and friend for more years than Kensi and Deeks have known them, will be just fine. Let's make sure Kensi and Deeks are okay. I sure wish one of them would quit the team, but since that's unlikely, maybe Kensi will get pregnant in the show and go on maternity leave. That would be great!

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1 minute ago, Jillibean said:

I do think the show is going to have to be careful about continuing to have a balance and not swinging too dark.

Again, disagree. If some people don't like it, they can watch something else. It's a show, not a way of life. If I were an actor or writer, I'd want to stretch my creative wings a bit and do things that hadn't been done. There's nothing more boring than staying in a rut. I don't dislike Kensi and Deeks; it's just that everything isn't about them--and there must be other viewers who feel that way because the episodes where they had prominent roles did not do well in the ratings. They've become a big bore to a lot of viewers.

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20 minutes ago, anna0852 said:

I think Kensi and Deeks are both going to need therapy. Knowing that they'd been in the building that and didn't realize Michelle was there is a tremendous burden to carry, whether or not it's deserved. And I'm on the "how could you possibly have know, this isn't your fault" train!

This is going to have serious consequences for the entire team dynamic, I'm just not sure what those will be.

I agree.  I really felt for Kensi and Deeks at the end there, knowing they had failed to get to Michelle in time and knowing that Sam was on his way to find his worst nightmare.  I also saw something in Kensi's eyes that made me think a proposal isn't going to be well-received at this time...a glance of fear or dread or something that read to me as "I couldn't do this" (as though breaking off with Deeks would change how she would feel if something happened).  We shall see.

Also, as someone noted above, it will be interesting to see how this impacts Deeks/Sam.  

I think its a good idea to shake things up a bit, everybody being happy/stable, etc., can get stale.  And since the actress isn't available anymore (she's still on that other show isn't she?), you might as well make her lack of availability meaningful.  And wow, she was fantastic in the episode.  My only concern is that I think LL is not the strongest actor vis-a-vis emotional/subtle scenes.  The revenge stuff, yeah, he'll nail that. 

Next week should be interesting!:)

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28 minutes ago, ymeagain said:

Seriously? With all that Sam will be going through, you're worried about Kensi and Deeks?

No. That is not what I said. I did not mention Kensi at all in this part of my comment. What I said was that I hope Sam didn't turn on Deeks. He has a long history of not trusting Deeks and treating him like an unwanted member of the team. They seemed to have finally turned a corner after Deeks didn't rat out Michelle when they were kidnapped a few seasons ago. However, Sam will be grieving and looking for someone to blame. He would never turn on Kensi, so the obvious - but not fair - choice would be Deeks to turn his anger toward. 

32 minutes ago, ymeagain said:

This is why there are times I wish they would just kill off one or the other of these two. Even when the story ISN'T about them, somehow it is.

Well, considering her year, and her friendship with Michelle, and her history of taking on guilt for things she can't fix, it seems likely that Kensi will need some therapy. Again, this is my opinion.  You must have not read the rest of my post where I mention both Nell and Nate.  Or my earlier post where I commented that I cried when Michelle died. 

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1 hour ago, betsyboo said:

I'm still reeling. I hope it doesn't go so dark that grieving Sam turns on Deeks and blames him for not getting to her sooner. Kensi is going to need some SERIOUS therapy. 

I think Deeks deserves to be blamed. He did a crummy job of searching that warehouse even when Kensi pointed out the three phones. If he'd been lookin for Kensi, he's have torn the place apart. Guess Sam's wife doesn't warrant the same effort. If I were Sam, I don't know that I'd forgive him--or want to work with him again.

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32 minutes ago, pennben said:

I agree.  I really felt for Kensi and Deeks at the end there, knowing they had failed to get to Michelle

Also, as someone noted above, it will be interesting to see how this impacts Deeks/Sam.  

My only concern is that I think LL is not the strongest actor vis-a-vis emotional/subtle scenes

Kensi and Deeks failed big time (especially Deeks). I'm much more interested in  how Callen handles things than Deeks/Sam; I'm thinking Sam is going to be too focused to even bother with Deeks, but Callen made a promise to Michelle, and you know he's going to do whatever needs to be done to keep it. As for LL, he was terrific in this episode IMO and every bit as good as any of the other actors in the show when they've had emotional scenes -- and better than some. I was impressed because I wasn't expecting him to be that good.

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39 minutes ago, pennben said:

I agree.  I really felt for Kensi and Deeks at the end there, knowing they had failed to get to Michelle in time and knowing that Sam was on his way to find his worst nightmare.  I also saw something in Kensi's eyes that made me think a proposal isn't going to be well-received at this time...a glance of fear or dread or something that read to me as "I couldn't do this" (as though breaking off with Deeks would change how she would feel if something happened).  We shall see.

Also, as someone noted above, it will be interesting to see how this impacts Deeks/Sam.  

Next week should be interesting!:)

Yes, I also think, but it would be "for good and for evil" and every time she shows doubts or issues.

I reiterate that after 6 years of happy endings, more or less comical, sweet jokes, you have the public for that thing, not so dramatic.

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52 minutes ago, Chorusgirl said:

I was completely disappointed.   To  pull a "girl in the fridge" literally at the last minute with a strong female character becoming just a means to focus on Sam's need for revenge and not her http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/StuffedIntoTheFridge

She may be a strong female character, but she's not in this show, so why not kill her off if it helps move a character who actually IS in the show in a different direction? 

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Oh wow.  I don't quite how to react to that!  On the one hand it was an incredibly intense and effective hour of television.  On the other hand -- they really went there?  I couldn't quite believe it when I was watching it, and I'm still having trouble wrapping my head around it.

One of the reasons I've enjoyed this show so much over the years is the light-hearted banter in the bull pen between the whole team, and between the partners when they're doing their investigations.  And I'm just not sure how much witty banter Sam is ever going to be up for again after this -- seems like every time he mentions his home, his family or his personal life it's going to be overshadowed by the tragedy of this horrific moment.  And that would mean that the whole tone of the show may have to change.  And frankly, if that's the reset that Gemmill has in mind, then I think it sucks :(

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It occurred to me that all three NCIS shows have rumored to be killing off a female character:  Michelle, Delilah & Sonya.  I hope I'm wrong abt the other two.

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5 hours ago, 123BP said:

I think Deeks deserves to be blamed. He did a crummy job of searching that warehouse even when Kensi pointed out the three phones. If he'd been lookin for Kensi, he's have torn the place apart. Guess Sam's wife doesn't warrant the same effort. If I were Sam, I don't know that I'd forgive him--or want to work with him again.

Sorry,but  kensi?

superagent?special agent,federal agent?Wonderwoman  ?

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5 hours ago, 123BP said:

I think Deeks deserves to be blamed. He did a crummy job of searching that warehouse even when Kensi pointed out the three phones. If he'd been lookin for Kensi, he's have torn the place apart. Guess Sam's wife doesn't warrant the same effort. If I were Sam, I don't know that I'd forgive him--or want to work with him again.

But who was it that detected the hidden room where Michele was being held? Oh yeah, that was Deeks.  Not so crummy after all.

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57 minutes ago, Jaybird said:

But who was it that detected the hidden room where Michele was being held?

Yea, but only after Michelle remembered something special, so that wasn't so great. After all, if Deeks (and Kensi) had maybe considered that the guard could be involved--you know, cuz he was working at the building--they might not have been satisfied when the guard showed them the one freezer and noticed the wall of plywood. So, yea--he detected the room. He searched just like a rookie.

Edited by 123BP

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1 hour ago, centopercento said:

Sorry,but  kensi?

They both did a poor job of searching the premises (especially not noticing the plywood wall), but at least Kensi noticed the phones and made comment. What did Deeks say? Oh, yea, "He has three phones. So what?" or something equally astute.

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12 minutes ago, 123BP said:

They both did a poor job of searching the premises (especially not noticing the plywood wall)

I was suspicious when the guard wouldn't show them the security footage. They weren't? And they still weren't when they called and couldn't get anybody in the middle of the day? And then he took a bribe and let them? How many red flags do you need to see?

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Considering Kensi is the senior agent in that partnership, if she wanted to check the warehouse, she should have checked it. 

Quite frankly when they couldn't find the van the very first thing I thought was that it didn't go as far as they thought and when Michelle only remembered the car engine but no one asked her about anything else (road conditions, traffic noise, etc.) I really thought it was close by.

I did like the Italian Job call-out with the Corolla switch outs. And the fact that the other agents who were helping with tracking wanted a name (and apparently not Heddy's) before they stood down. That made me laugh.

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This is definitely a reset button. The only way this could have been reset more is one one of the Main Four had been killed. The bedrock of Sam's character will change, in ways we probably can't fathom yet.

Callen has a major challenge in front of him, holding the team together overall and keeping Sam out of prison.

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1 hour ago, callie lee 29 said:

but no one asked her about anything else (road conditions, traffic noise, etc.) I really thought it was close by.

Actually, I think Callen did ask Michelle if she remembered anything, including sounds.

1 hour ago, callie lee 29 said:

Considering Kensi is the senior agent in that partnership, if she wanted to check the warehouse, she should have checked it.

True, but considering how out of control Deeks was when Kensi was abducted, to see him so polite in this situation was an interesting commentary on his character.

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11 hours ago, Chorusgirl said:

I was completely disappointed.   To  pull a "girl in the fridge" literally at the last minute with a strong female character becoming just a means to focus on Sam's need for revenge and not her http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/StuffedIntoTheFridge

I'm a cold cynic but I actually had to laugh when I realized that they had literally fridged Michelle - that was so meta that I couldn't take all the drama seriously. Not sure why they thought it necessary to go there but since all crime shows are madly in love with 'this time it's personal'-plots I shouldn't be surprised.

Edited by MissLucas
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I think that we have some people who don't like a storyline or a character.  We also have people who like other storylines or characters. 

Last night, it was a powerful episode.  No one who is posting seems to be stifling a yawn.  I think that's considered a win for the writers. 

The power of this episode is that viewers got emotionally involved, and our personal feelings have colored what we took away from last night.  I don't like shows that are constant angst and darkness all the time, but in a show about like this, not having a dark episode, or more, wouldn't feel authentic.  If it goes on too long, I'll opt out and check in now and again to see if the show has gone back to a place that I feel comfortable with.  If there's too much silliness and lovey-dovey stuff, I'll also wander off for a while because this isn't supposed to be a rom-com. 

It's my thing.  I don't like to get into a show that moves too much away from what made it great in the first place.  But I also don't like things to stay stagnant, and have no growth or advancement.  I admit, it's a delicate balance.  I wonder if the show has moved into that place where the writers are frantically trying to up the drama and constantly top themselves.  I'm old enough to have seen it happen more times than I can count.  But if the writers can restrain themselves and hold back, this might be a good thing for the show.

I bet there's a whole slew of threads on TV Tropes on this.

Edited by Zahdii · Reason: added missing word
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A lot of viewers just thought Descent and Ascension were terrific episodes, and ECO was just fantastic! A lot of the criticism about this episode is, IMO, not just because it was dark, but also because it focused on Sam and it's taken away from the focus on Densi and the proposal (all the comments about how this will affect those two and so few about how this will affect other team members--especially Sam's partner or Hetty or the "secret squirrels.") Nope, it's all about K & E still, and if the reboot takes the focus off them, some folks will be upset and others will be grateful. This episode was all about Sam, and what happens to the team members--and how this affects them all--comes later.

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15 minutes ago, Zahdii said:

 I wonder if the show has moved into that place where the writers are frantically trying to up the drama and constantly top themselves.

You wonder that from one episode?

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Personally I think they all deserve to be blamed, including Sam. At the very beginning of the episode when they couldn't find the van on an surveillance cameras, my first thought was that they didn't go anywhere. But no, on a show where they can always track everyone and eveything on traffic cams they decide they just managed to avoid them instead of the logic conclusion that they aren't on cameras because they didn't go by cameras. 

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12 hours ago, anna0852 said:

Knowing that they'd been in the building that morning and didn't realize Michelle was there is a tremendous burden to carry, whether or not it's deserved. And I'm on the "how could you possibly have know, this isn't your fault" train!

 

4 hours ago, callie lee 29 said:

 

Considering Kensi is the senior agent in that partnership, if she wanted to check the warehouse, she should have checked it. 

Quite frankly I thought when they couldn't find the van the very first thing was that it didn't go as far as they thought and when Michelle only remembered the car engine but no one asked her about anything else (road conditions, traffic noise, etc.) I really thought it was close by.

 

 

23 minutes ago, 3girlsforus said:

Personally I think they all deserve to be blamed, including Sam. At the very beginning of the episode when they couldn't find the van on an surveillance cameras, my first thought was that they didn't go anywhere. But no, on a show where they can always track everyone and eveything on traffic cams they decide they just managed to avoid them instead of the logic conclusion that they aren't on cameras because they didn't go by cameras. 

Lots of blame to share on this one, but a lack of professional detachment as well.  Detachment wasn't going to happen with Sam and maybe not with Callen, BUT all the others....step back and think.  

Nobody stood back and did a multiple working hypotheses scenario,  OK, you guys go looking at a ninety mile radius, but what if.....

The massive door to a nothing warehouse, the snappy dressed guard, a warehouse with nothing in it, a particle board wall, all those phone lines, even the sun angle on the black car driving by the warehouse...she was snatched early morning......

For this, I'd almost blame the merecats, who should have more faith in their science.  

Going back to the "sometimes a boat shed is just a boat shed"  sometimes something isn't there because it really isn't there.  

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1 hour ago, ymeagain said:

A lot of viewers just thought Descent and Ascension were terrific episodes, and ECO was just fantastic! A lot of the criticism about this episode is, IMO, not just because it was dark, but also because it focused on Sam and it's taken away from the focus on Densi and the proposal (all the comments about how this will affect those two and so few about how this will affect other team members--especially Sam's partner or Hetty or the "secret squirrels.") Nope, it's all about K & E still, and if the reboot takes the focus off them, some folks will be upset and others will be grateful. This episode was all about Sam, and what happens to the team members--and how this affects them all--comes later.

I ask this respectfully - and not combatively - but I'm curious why you've stuck with a show that you can't stand at least 20 minutes per episode? I'm serious - I'm asking. Is it Sam/Callen that keeps you coming back? I was that way about Scandal - I stayed way too long based on my love of Olivia Pope. But finally had to walk away. Do you just ff through Deeks/Kensi scenes? I do that with Abby a lot on the mothership - you always know she will figure it out so all you need to see is Gibbs kiss her temple and walk out.

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What I'm interested to see the shift in team dynamics next season. The blame game aside, Sam is not going to be the same person he was. He just won't be. Not only losing his wife but having to basically watch her die and directly because of his job isn't something he's going to be able to handle and move on from. No sane person could. All these years they've been so careful. We've heard Sam talk time and again about the precautions he takes to keep his family out of the line of fire and ultimately it didn't work. Michelle is dead. And she was the one most likely to be able to defend herself. If Michelle could be taken and killed, what could happen to Aiden and Kam? 

So what happens next? How does Sam keep doing this job? *Does* he keep doing this job? How will he interact with his coworkers and how will that affect the team dynamic? A huge part of this show is the chemistry. Yes, people have been lost before. Dom died in the first season, they killed of Hunter in the 3rd and we've lost Granger this year. But while Sam might mourn and miss them, that is *nowhere* near  losing his wife. No SEAL training is going to somehow prepare him for that. 

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General Mod Note:

This episode was intense and somewhat polarizing as a result.  Therefore:

-Be mindful that PTV's credo is "be civil."  

-Don't be argumentative.  Respectfully state your opinion and move on.

-Keep the discussion on the episode itself.  There's a speculation thread somewhere...if you want a separate one that is spoiler-free, let me know.

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