This episode effectively made the point that more differently-abled people should be able to enlist in the military.

This was done by having a deaf engineer help with an investigation on NCIS: Los Angeles Season 12 Episode 16.

Right from the opening scene, it was evident that SIenna had almost all the physical skills needed to serve her country. The fight without sound was a revealing touch.

All but one. She couldn't pass the physical requirement of being able to hear beyond a certain threshold.

So this talented, well-trained woman from a family with a long military history couldn't offer her services.

As the daughter of a military father, Kensi knew exactly where Sienna was coming from. That was why she doubled back to invite Sienna to join the investigation.

Deeks thought it was a bad idea, and Nell shot it down. But crusty old Kilbride made an executive decision and brought Sienna aboard.

And she was a great asset on this case. She had already proved she was tough enough when she took down two thugs involved in the robbery. She also knew the players and the technology.

Sienna turned out to be more useful than Deeks, who largely got sidelined for this case. After all, there's only so much screen time to go around. And this one wasn't a great fit for Deeks' skill set of fast-talking and undercover characters. (Likewise, the absent Roundtree, since Sienna was filling the role of probie.)

As usual, Kensi was magnanimous with a younger "agent," Sienna, in this instance. The big difference was that Sienna was cut out of certain aspects without security clearance, which made sense.

Sienna could participate in interviewing and deducing. She broke the case open by identifying the smell of ipecac syrup at Owen's house, raising the possibility that he was lying about being sick.

Not that that was a huge leap in logic. Only two people involved with the project remained alive. So if Sienna wasn't the inside person, then ...

Owen was quite the amateur when it came to industrial espionage. He couldn't hide his ill-gotten $3 million better than that? And he couldn't pick up a tail when it's Fatima's flashy sportscar?

But identifying the traitor in the operation was only the first step. There was still a buyer to be found. Fatima's following Owen soon provided that.

Sam and Callen's shootout at the abandoned club yielded more clues, as the club's owner had the deep pockets and the need to make a splash for such an operation. Not surprisingly, Rahman, the aforementioned owner, showed up to meet with Owen.

Sienna couldn't take part in anything dangerous, which included Kensi's role in the high-speed pursuit of Rahman.

The case wrapped up fairly early, in part because that wasn't at the heart of this episode. Instead, it was the quiet moments featuring Sienna and the team members.

Kensi's kind gesture allowed Sienna to be part of a Naval operation, something Sienna was reminded of when she visited the Boatshed.

Sienna's stellar performance made Kilbride, that old salt, question the regulations that would keep someone such as her from serving her country.

It was great to see Kilbride again. Although shouldn't someone who detests California as much as he does learn how to conduct a Zoom meeting?

But if he did that, he wouldn't be able to watch Nell in action, would he?

Kilbride appears to have made turning Nell into a confident operations manager his pet project. He seems determined to drag Nell out of Hetty's simultaneously tiny and large shadows.

He emphasized that she needed to quit asking "What would Hetty do?" throw out the Hetty playbook, and create her own leadership style.

Nell has already developed a very hands-on style, not letting go of Ops and leading from there. Go with your strength, I guess. Eric's mostly gone, and Fatima is capable but isn't ready to replace either of the Meerkats. Besides, she's too good in the field to keep her exclusively in Ops.

Nell's handling of Sam's special day revealed that she's finding her own way of making things happen.

Sam was having a hard time compartmentalizing, and his distraction likely played some role in his getting shot.

Kam's graduation was the first big family event since Sam lost Michelle. So it was little wonder that he was set on finding the perfect gift for her in his missing anchor pin.

It was touching to see the usually buttoned-up Sam emoting about his past and Kam's future.

Still, Sam seemed to be the only person who could speak Kilbride's language.

TPTB did viewers a favor in minimizing the Densi moments in this episode. 

Kensi probably appreciated that too. Deeks can be a lot, and he rightfully understood she needed a break from his intensity and a chance to forge her own identity for a time.

Also, the starting-a-family talk appeared to undergo a seismic shift. They both seemed resigned to if it happens, it happens.

When they give up hope, the surprise pregnancy (it's twins) will occur. Probably on the same episode when Hetty reappears.

To check out Kilbride's appearances, watch NCIS: Los Angeles online.

How did you like Sienna?

What did you think of solo Kensi?

How is Nell doing as a leader?

Comment below.



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