With the Monday, April 18 episode of “NCIS: Los Angeles,” 7×22, titled “Granger, O,” is it any wonder that it explores a storyline for which the seed was planted in an earlier episode? With North Korean spies in LA, who better to turn to for possible answers than Jennifer Kim, the young woman who just so happens to be Granger’s daughter?
Overall, it plays out like a typical “NCIS: LA” episode, though it does seem to drag at times. Everything is building up to the scene in the hangar, to Granger having to witness his daughter being held hostage, and to the final scene on the beach between the two of them, but the details of the case and the team putting the information together seems to be at a pace slower than usual. Fortunately, there’s some grade A banter between Sam and Callen throughout – about Callen’s night out at a rock club with Anna and about Sam’s cryotherapy – to help move things along, but other exchanges are just baffling.
Eric’s logic that something’s going on between Granger and Jennifer Kim seems to come out of nowhere (and not just because their relationship is known to the audience), and everyone can agree with Nell’s reaction to it. (At least Eric has that basket and his three years on varsity to point to as a win in this episode for non-work related business.) “Cory’s” girlfriend still thinking Kensi could be his “slutty side piece” and then thinking they’re looking for him because they think he copied his designs for jeans is eye-rolling inducing, but the former helps explain the latter.
With the title of “Granger, O,” of course the focus is on Granger, and this may be the most emotional work from Miguel Ferrer in the entire series. His struggle with how to deal with Jennifer is even more obvious due to the small interior of their plane; there’s only so far they can get from one another, even sitting on opposite sides. But the hardest part comes when Jennifer tells him that she, not her mother, didn’t want him there for her 10th birthday. Her mother was both parents for her, and Granger was just an American sitting in a hotel room calling on the phone. He admits that he told himself that it was her mother keeping them apart and that made it easier for him to reconcile not being part of her life. “I’m so sorry about everything,” he tells her, but while he may have missed the opportunity to be her father, he can be her friend – something they’re both in short supply of.
In a way, it’s that scene and their initial reunion in Utah that make him giving her his backup gun (and him knowing she took a fork from the plane) and their final conversation on the beach (including her telling him her name) all the more poignant and important. When it’s all said and done, Granger and Jennifer watch everyone else on the beach get to be carefree and happy, and she tells him she wants out. She’ll tell him everything she knows, and he’ll protect her, help her cut ties to North Korea, work with Justice on her incarceration, perhaps make her an asset – and most importantly, help her find her mother. And yes, they’re on their way to being friends (well, best they can, considering he’s the Assistant Director of NCIS and she’s a North Korean spy).
But first, they have to deal with the very real threat on Jennifer’s life. When the second to last name on Hobbs’ list is taken out, the team hopes that Jennifer could help them track the shooters down. They initially think that there’s one more name for them to take out, only for Sam and Callen to discover when they find him and get shot at that Han Cho (a.k.a. Cory Sung) is running the operation. That means there’s a new mark, and that can only be Jennifer Kim. Granger has her send an email that she killed him and took control of the plane and is rerouting it to Burbank, but he’s not filling in his team because he’s worried about the mole, something Jennifer picks up on pretty quickly. Since Nell’s monitoring his plane, she picks up on the change of direction, but by that time, the plane’s landing, leaving Granger to deal with any trouble that comes their way on his own. And he and Jennifer do, thanks to a fork she pilfered from the plane.
The mole problem is really becoming an issue (and not just because of how long they’ve stretched it out). Yes, Granger and Hetty are working on it, but since obviously it’s not going to turn out to be one of the team (unless “NCIS: Los Angeles” really wants a major twist), why not fill them in and have them actively pursue this other than to save it for some big reveal later on/an episode like a finale/premiere/etc.?
Finally, there’s Kensi and Deeks oh so casually talking about their wedding like it’s an actual event that will happen (likely) sometime in the near future. They’re already working on the guest list and have picked a location, and even though Deeks’ “proposal” wasn’t very official and lacked a ring, it really seems like a foregone conclusion that they’re going to get married – and they’re both on board with that. (So when is Deeks going to actually propose with a ring?) There’s no awkwardness or hesitation from either of them as they talk about what they do and do not want, who they need to invite and how “absolutely incredible” a beach wedding sounds. Again, writers from other TV shows could learn from these two; there doesn’t need to be unnecessary drama once a couple gets together. Let them be happy and let the relationship fade into the background a bit, giving moments like this one every so often. It works.
“NCIS: Los Angeles” season 7 airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on CBS. What did you think of episode 22 “Granger, O”?