This didn’t hold much of what’s expected in a season finale. Still, it was fun.
NCIS: Los Angeles Season 12 Episode 18 was jam-packed with such oddities as militarized dolphins, inept Russian gangers (beholden to Deeks, no less), and, most importantly, the return of Hetty.
Not nearly enough of Hetty, but Linda Hunt made those few short moments count.
Strangely, the two separate bizarre cases in this episode actually came together in the end.
Most importantly, fun, which has been a stranger to the OSP for most of the season, reappeared at the last possible moment.
Deeks got more to do than making doe eyes at Kensi about their failing parenting prospects and her elusive, psychotic stalker. And it was a pleasant change of pace.
In the past, Deeks has oftentimes been the comic relief. This time, he got to be the straight man around whom the crazies revolved.
The aforementioned crazies were the remnants of Kirkin’s criminal organization. They abducted poor Marty in the midst of an enjoyable day off of surfing.
Deeks being handed a designer hood to put over his hood on the way to pick up bad burritos wasn’t the weirdest thing to happen to him during his little solo adventure.
No, that would be Kirkin making his “dearest Martin” the ruler of the late criminal mastermind’s empire. Making a law-enforcement officer the head of such an organization made little sense.
Neither did his abductor, Igor One, Kirkin’s former lieutenant, expecting Deeks to heal a schism in that group by recovering stolen illegal weapons from Igor Too, who had left the organization.
Then Deeks was released to gather forces from NCIS. Callen, who loves a good caper, approved the team’s involvement.
Deeks’ new career quickly became the running joke of the office, which is saying something when Marty is involved.
At this same time, Sam, seeking distraction from his son Aidan’s final test flight, took on the odd case of a shot dolphin. Dolphins are naval, right?
Callen, hoping to delve into Hetty’s paper files before they disappeared, brushed off Sam and sent Roundtree instead.
First, the dolphin was found to be implanted with a microchip by the Russian military. Then the Coast Guard picked up a Russian sailor, who just happened to be the trainer of the dead dolphin (of course).
After some offscreen interrogation by Roundtree, it soon became clear that the weapons that Deeks was seeking were those same militarized dolphins.
Thanks to Eric’s special program, Deeks was able to use smell to narrow down the site of the Russian hideout.
It turned out the thugs were all softies who removed the implants and freed the dolphins. One idiot accidentally shot a dolphin attempting to wound the trainer. Deeks shoved him into a tank of sea turtles, warning him they were sharks.
Yeah, these were two weak cases that came together and wrapped up early, leaving lots of time for, well, personal stuff.
What was Eric doing there anyway, beyond the fact that it was the season finale? He showed up in his new Italian sportscar hoping to talk Nell into becoming the co-director of his cybersecurity foundation’s Toyko office … with him.
He was obviously hoping she would forget all those years of working with him. Fortunately for him, he had caught Nell at a crossroads.
After a season of her hemming and hawing about filling Hetty’s role, Kilbride hit Nell with an ultimatum about the operations manager position.
Nell didn’t want to take the job with Hetty’s blessing. Kilbride had no patience for such touchy-feely concerns. He’s from the military, a top-down organization that likes its management positions filled, so those further down the food chain aren’t running about willy nilly.
That is why he detests the way Hetty, and now Nell ran and run the OSP.
After much soul-searching, Nell opted to go with Eric. At least she got him to shave off that hipster mustache as part of her signing bonus.
It’s a shame to see Nell go. But if that means Eric is gone as well, it’s a small price to pay.
We finally got Hetty back, if only for a few minutes way late in the finale. She explained to Nell that having her fill in for Hetty was basically to boost her confidence, not to make her Hetty’s heir apparent.
It was frustrating that we got zero explanation of what Hetty was up to. And it appeared that she wasn’t done yet. However, her making Kilbride put all her tchotchkes back in place seemed to suggest she’ll be back in position for NCIS: Los Angeles Season 13.
Lastly, Fatima finally explained to Roundtree why she had been such a crank to everybody all day long.
It was the anniversary of a seminal event in her life, one in which her best friend had been killed and that she had survived. She walked away from acting and built a new life for herself. It did explain a lot about how she went from acting in a nighttime soap to being a government agent.
This really didn’t feel like a season finale. There was no cliffhanger and very little personal trauma.
It did fit the bill as there were cast changes with a couple of exits and one significant return.
To revisit Season 12, watch NCIS: Los Angeles online.
Were you happy about Hetty’s return, and is it permanent?
What do you feel about Nell’s departure?
Were you annoyed that quite a few storylines got left hanging?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.