Meanwhile, Hetty has a different assignment for Callen in "Getaway," one that offers him the opportunity to get a different perspective about an ex -- and possibly new information about a certain missing person connected to the mole hunt -- and be proud of how his team operates without him around.
This is Why Eating Around Other People Can Be a Very Good Thing
A man is killed while he's enjoying dinner and tequila (but maybe he should have enjoyed that drink a bit faster) in a private dining room. He probably should have done his homework on his dinner companion, since the other man's the one to inject him in the neck before leaving through the kitchen. (And considering what we learn about the killer later on, maybe he should have expected this.)
The man who was killed, Logan, was suspected of being responsible for a cyber-attack on the US Treasury Department. Eight terabytes of data were downloaded of ongoing counter-terrorism operations and undercover IRS agents and their investigations. The other suspects are the Nelsons -- Paul and Tara -- with over 20 years of tech experience between them but no criminal records.
Dave Flynn (from the Red Team), now a digital forensics specialist, comes in from the cyber office in San Diego to work Ops while Eric and Nell go undercover at the couples' retreat where Paul and Tara are. It's a place to get away from their screens and reconnect as a couple in nature. They're keeping the Nelsons in play in hopes that they can catch the buyer. They can't let that data change hands.
And when the assignment begins, it brings disappointment to both Eric and Deeks. Eric has to wear pants, while Deeks can't believe that he and Kensi are stuck on overwatch duties in an RV. Kensi, however, loves it and tries to get her partner to see how great it is that they can cook while on their stakeout.
Sam and Anna check out Logan's place and find a complicated computer set-up, perfect for extra data back-up, according to Dave, and a photo of him on what looks like a double date with the Nelsons.
Soon after arriving at the retreat -- and giving up their phones, though fortunately they can extend the signal radius of their comms even with their cells locked away in a closet -- Eric and Nell make contact and hit it off with the Nelsons. In fact, Tara's even the one to suggest they "quad up" for the first exercise.
For that exercise, they have to tell their partner the moment they knew they were in love with them, and Eric has chosen to go first. He talks about Nell subbing in on bar trivia night and being amazing with his friends and with him. Tara then begins talking about Paul meeting her family, and her sister finding a bird with a broken wing, and gets pretty emotional. And when Nell tries to talk to Tara afterwards, she seems upset before excusing herself. In fact, Paul too finds a way to abruptly end his and Eric's conversation at the same time. Did the buyer contact them?
Gibbs' Rule #12 Clearly Doesn't Apply to This Team
While Deeks is dreaming about an overwatch assignment near a beach so he can surf, Kensi likes that they're out in the woods. She even gets him to warm up to the idea and go outside to build her a fire to roast marshmallows for her s'mores, with the promise of their own couples' retreat.
Back in LA, they manage to get an ID on their killer, Trevor Young, thanks to video taken in a garage of Logan meeting with him the week before his murder. He's a freelance broker and suspected hitman, and it's likely he's the guy moving the data. Once Logan introduced him to the Nelsons, he became expendable. Trevor too became expendable as the middle man, it seems, as Sam and Anna find him dead in his home. They do also get a lead, thanks to a bracelet on a guy that Sam ends up shooting when he tries to flee the scene.
The bracelet leads to Almawt, a religious brotherhood suspected of funding terrorist activities in the US. They were recently denied tax exempt status, and it looks like they wanted the hack done to get the names of potential undercover IRS agents in their organization. After a photo surfaces of Trevor meeting with the Nelsons two days before Logan's murder, Hetty tells Eric and Nell to bring the couple in, but there's one problem: thanks to a guide at the retreat checking on them during a scavenger hunt, they lost the Nelsons.
They do find them again, at a ranger station, which would be the perfect place for an exchange, but this is when Eric and Nell get the whole story. Tara's sister was kidnapped, and they're just doing what they have to in order to try to get her back. A man just left with the drive with the data, and while Eric and Nell take after him on foot, Kensi and Deeks briefly chase him in their RV. But their vehicle wasn't made for a high-speed chase, so it's up to Eric and Nell to find him.
And they do, with Eric being the one to shoot the man's car and cause it to go up in flames. (Sam and Anna, meanwhile, save Tara's sister, thanks to the guy that Sam killed using the GPS in his car and returning to the same address three times in the past four days.) By the time Kensi and Deeks catch up to them, Eric and Nell are kissing. Deeks takes photos.
Just as Eric and Nell are having a moment in the boat shed over the truths they shared in the woods, Dave interrupts to say goodbye before he heads back to San Diego. But it's nothing that can't be postponed, they assure him before inviting him to stay for a cup of coffee and share stories.
Callen Only Has So Much Furniture to Turn into Firewood
While everyone else is working the case, Hetty sends Callen off for his own assignment. He waits outside the address to see who lives there and watches as a man, a kid and Joelle (?!) get out of a car in the driveway. (Maybe this will be what it takes for Callen to get over the gut punch she delivered with the CIA reveal instead of having to wait a year like Sam did with his cars? After all, he doesn't seem to have any furniture left to destroy.)
Callen approaches her, and Joelle pretends that he's someone from work before promising to meet him and sending him on his way. They meet at the boat shed -- and no, Joelle, no one's going to knock you out this time. "You changed," Callen comments, and that's true of more than just her outfit. Why isn't she in prison? He can't help but wonder. But she just reminds him (with unnecessary attitude) that she was doing her job.
So is the guy she was with her next mark? No, he's her husband, Joelle reveals. And, yes, that kid is her son. When they were together, she had a 3-year-old son at home, Callen realizes. Before she leaves, he asks about Sabatino, but she claims that no one's heard from him. Don't show up at her house again, she says, leaving a card if he needs to contact her.
When Callen returns to the office at the end of the day, he finds Hetty sitting on the couch near their desks. The view from there is different from the one from her office, she remarks. She's getting a new perspective, just like Callen did. Facing one's pain head-on is true bravery, Hetty explains. Ignoring it just leads to more heartbreak. It doesn't even matter if that family was really Joelle's. What matters is that Hetty can see the sunshine coming through the cracks in the wall that Callen has been rebuilding around himself.
Which undercover episode do you prefer, "Neighborhood Watch" or "Getaway"? What did you think of Callen and Joelle's conversation? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
NCIS: Los Angeles season 8 airs Sundays at 8/7c on CBS. Want more news? Like our NCIS Facebook page.