'NCIS: LA': Kensi & Deeks Get a Christmas Miracle as They Plan Their Future (RECAP)
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 12, Episode 6 of NCIS: Los Angeles, "If the Fates Allow."]
Sometimes you just need a Christmas miracle ... or a Hetty Lange (Linda Hunt) to be in your corner, even from an undisclosed location.
NCIS: Los Angeles brings back two familiar faces for the Christmas episode in Season 12: Hetty, for some good tidings and cheer for a certain despondent former LAPD liaison, and Eric (Barrett Foa), with some cool new tech that may prove vital ... or take Ops out of commission in the middle of a case.
Meanwhile, Sam's (LL Cool J) daughter Kam (Kayla Smith) visits, but her reaction to meeting his girlfriend Katherine (Moon Bloodgood) isn't what he'd hoped. And speaking of family, Callen (Chris O'Donnell) reunites with someone from his "G." (remember when he didn't know his full name is Grisha Aleksandrovich Nikolaev) and foster days.
As for Kessler (Frank Military), that sociopath who's now free and wants to kill Kensi (Daniela Ruah), the only update is that his girlfriend Michelle (Izabella Miko) is on her way to Tokyo, so he could be going there, too.
Holding out Hope for a Christmas Miracle
Just as Kensi is ready to celebrate that they got their house, Deeks (Eric Christian Olsen) has some bad news for her: "I did the math, and we can't afford it."
He doesn't have a paycheck with his liaison position terminated and LAPD furloughing him while they figure out the budget. (Kensi suggests Deeks try to get money out of the ultra-wealthy Eric, but the former tech operator is donating it all to charity.) "I can't wait for this year to be over," Kensi laments. "2020 sucks," he agrees.
As for the concern about buying a place in LA with Kessler out there, Kensi reminds Deeks they made their offer under aliases and her job will keep their personal information confidential.
What they need is a Christmas miracle, especially Deeks. "I've never seen him like this before," she admits to Nell (Renée Felice Smith), who has failed to plead his case successfully to the director. She may be the right person to replace Hetty, but she's not Hetty (yet).
Still, by episode's end, Deeks has figured out a way for them to get their house: by selling the bar. Yes, he put his heart and soul into it, but "maybe I should put my heart and my soul into something new," he says. "I want to start a family with you. I want to do it at that house."
Money will be tight, he adds, but she suggests there's always that Christmas miracle. "I don't need a Christmas miracle. I have you," Deeks says. But just because he doesn't need it...
Hetty pops up on a screen, interrupting the couple's moment (reminiscent of Season 7's "An Unlocked Mind"), to say congratulations, and no, she doesn't mean about the house. "Mr. Deeks, I'm talking about NCIS having accepted you into the academy," she explains. He's going to FLETC! Sure, they may have said he's too old, but "take it from me," Hetty advises, "Never let age stand in your way." And "don't make me look like a fool."
"You're going to the academy!" Kensi celebrates as she and Deeks — oh, we mean soon-to-be Special Agent Marty Deeks! — hug.
A (Family) Blast from the Past
Raymond (Demetrius Grosse) and Paula (Shelley Robertson) are on their way back from a doctor's appointment across the border when they're pulled over; the border patrol agent is checking to make sure no one's hiding in the trunk, only for them to discover drugs in Paula's oxygen tank. Hetty gets the case from the DEA and assigns Callen to work it: Raymond was his foster brother. "Because of me, Raymond went to jail," he tells Nell.
As Sam and Callen learn from the couple, Paula needs lung volume reduction surgery (she has COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), and it's cheaper and there was a slot open sooner in Mexico. A clinic in LA referred them, and Raymond remembers that one of the clinic's nurses watched an orderly load the oxygen tanks in their car in Mexico.
Callen keeps his connection to Raymond quiet, but the other man does recognize him on his own, and as we see flashbacks of the two as kids — Raymond intervened when a neighborhood kid was bullying Callen and then the police got involved — the two catch up. After getting out of jail, Raymond went to church and heard Paula's voice. When he asks if Callen's married, the agent says he is seeing someone and it could be serious. Raymond advises him not to wait: "Find something special like that, don't fight it, surrender to it."
Kensi goes in undercover at the clinic, but all we see her do is sit in a room before gunmen open fire on a doctor. Kensi gets her out of there, and the doctor admits to being part of the drug smuggling operation.
Soon after Callen meets Paula and Raymond shows him a photo he has of them as kids at Christmas with their foster family, Nell interrupts with some bad news: the nurse from the clinic has been following the couple and is pulling up to the hospital. Callen takes out two men with guns disguised in scrubs, but the nurse gets all the way to Paula's room before Raymond knocks him out with an oxygen tank. The doctor, Raymond, and Paula were targeted because they were loose ends once the smuggling operation was being shut down (due to problems at the border).
With that, Raymond and Paula (who's been released from the hospital) can go home. And Callen insists on using some of his savings to help pay for her surgery. He thinks Raymond never would've gotten into trouble if he'd fought his own battles when they were kids. But his foster brother assures him that his life is blessed and he has no complaints, considering where he ended up: married to an "angel."
A Triumphant Return? Maybe?
Nell has Fatima (Medalion Rahimi) a little frazzled as she has the younger agent doing inventory (oh no, the solder sucker desoldering pump is missing!) and running protocols in Ops, until it's revealed why: Eric is returning ... on a unicycle, with new glasses and a mustache. (And he has fond memories of the old desoldering pump.)
Eric just signed a multi-million (oh, oops, he means billion) dollar deal with the Defense Department, and he can't tell them anything about it because he'd be violating the NDA and committing treason. But he's there to beta test a new product: Kaleidoscope, the next generation. He's been working on improvements for the surveillance system pretty much for the past decade and now it's an adaptive A.I. that can determine where suspects will be in the future.
That sounds great, only when he goes to use it, it puts Ops into lockdown. Cue one of Eric's meltdowns that Nell didn't want to deal with as he even tries to blame Fatima. That is, until he realizes the problem and fixes it himself. Then he's back to the Eric we've known and loved all this time. When he uploaded the new system, it activated a security protocol that's designed to shut down Ops entirely when an unrecognized software is introduced. Eric designed that protocol himself. And he makes sure Fatima knows he respects and is impressed by her work: "Ops has never looked cleaner or more efficient."
But as great as everything's going for Eric, is he happy? That's what Deeks wants to know when they meet for coffee. As great as the money is, he doesn't need it, Eric says, which is why he's giving it away with the goal of permanently ending homelessness in the state.
And Eric definitely looks more than a bit wistful as he walks around the office. Might we see Eric back in Ops again for more than just delivering cool new upgrades?
A Reunion Cut Short
Kam's in town for the holidays, but things quickly turn a bit sour between father and daughter when Sam tells her he wants her to meet Katherine. They go from celebrating her likely attending the naval academy in Annapolis to Kam running off to meet with friends.
Katherine advises Sam not to push too hard. Maybe he should just be glad Kam's not the type of person to cut the brake lines of the first serious significant other of her parent, like Katherine did with her mom's boyfriend. His girlfriend has also sensed a nervous energy about him lately and wonders if that could have scared his daughter off. Whatever it is — it could just be hard seeing her father with someone else after her mother's death — it doesn't look like Sam can reach Kam at episode's end.
And with that, it was another mostly happy NCIS: LA Christmas. We got cute Densi, an entertaining return from Eric, more about Callen's past, and an update on Sam's love life. Now if only the new year would bring us some answers about what Hetty's up to...
NCIS: Los Angeles, Sundays, 9/8c, CBS