Who would have thought that Sebastian Lund would rule the day?
To describe the character as unpopular would be an understatement. Many fans have complained about the neurotic lab technician. I, myself, have criticized his characterization as being one-note.
I believe I noted in a previous review that you can't build an entire character around a single trait, especially when it's a cliche trait, such as a "quirky technical expert."
On NCIS: New Orleans Season 1 Episode 19, Sebastian Lund finally gets to be more than the neurotic lab technician. Unfortunately, his moment of character growth is disserviced by the surrounding cliches and mind-numbing behavior of certain other characters in the episode.
First off, I should point out that this episode immediately reminded me of NCIS Season 4 Episode 24, "Angel of Death." In that episode, Tony DiNozzo and his doctor girlfriend Jeanne were taken hostage in a morgue by a couple of people, who demanded that Jeanne cut open a body to remove the heroin the man was muling. Obviously, the details of this story were different, but the broad strokes were similar enough.
I've been a fan of NCIS a long time, so I was not impressed to have what felt like a remix of a previous story from the mothership.
Setting that aside, overall this episode was as subtle as a sledgehammer. Characters saying ridiculously obvious foreshadowing, like Sebastian complaining about never getting close to the action.
Really, is that the best you can do, NOLA writers? Then Loretta conveniently injuring her hand so Sebastian would be forced to overcome his neuroses in order to save Danny's life.
Then that ridiculously over-the-top FBI SWAT Agent Cutter, who acted like nothing so much as a ticking clock for our heroes to save the day before SWAT busted down the door and went in guns blazing. Because that's totally what SWAT does. Yup.
Got a few words for you, crazy SWAT leader: bean bag rounds, rubber bullets, Tasers, flashbangs. Just a few non-lethal alternatives that SWAT teams actually use in that scary thing called Real Life.
I was also perplexed at the behavior of the victim, Petty Officer Armstrong. Why in the world did he steal all those classified documents, anyway? Was he just grabbing everything he could in the vain hope that one of the files was the one about Marcus Martel's brother?
There just wasn't enough clearly established relationship between Armstrong and the Martel brothers to convince me that Armstrong would destroy his career and likely spend the rest of his life in jail over the report of Nate Martel's final mission. All we really got was a photo.
Finally, I must mention something that I found genuinely insulting: that scene when Patton Plame pulled a phone number off of a reflection Marcus Martel's sunglasses. This was CSI-level technology ridiculousness for the sake of moving the plot along without the script writers having to think too hard.
Security cameras almost never have the resolution required to zoom in far enough to make out that sort of detail for various reasons (mostly cost of the cameras themselves and the digital storage space required for such high-resolution recordings). Secondly, even if the cameras for some reason had the required resolution (don't make me laugh), the image reflected in the glasses probably would be distorted and unreadable anyway.
I really, really dislike it when TV shows do these sorts of things, partly because they give a grossly distorted idea of what real-life crime investigation is like. If you've never heard of the "CSI effect," you should probably look it up sometime.
There were a few things that I genuinely enjoyed in this episode, don't get me wrong.
The exchange between Brody and LaSalle and the Russian doctor, for instance, earned a definite snicker for their problems with the language barrier, such as in this NCIS: New Orleans quote:
LaSalle: How do you say 'lethal injection'?
Brody: Uh, Rosetta Stone doesn't really cover stuff like that.
Who knows? Maybe LaSalle will take up his own Rosetta Stone courses after this.
And then there was the scene at the very end, when Loretta just broke down in Pride's arms outside Danny's hospital room. CCH Pounder imbues her character with such dignity and radiance that to see her in such a state is quite moving. Loretta and Pride must have known each other a long time for her to show such vulnerability with him.
Speaking of Danny, it was nice to see him again, rather than have him being a one-and-done, or mentioned but never seen again. (He first appeared in NCIS: New Orleans Season 1 Episode 16, "My Brother's Keeper.") Continuity is a wonderful thing. Maybe we can get an update on LaSalle's brother now? Pretty please?
Finally, we come full circle to Sebastian Lund. I was so happy to see him get to be more than the quirky geek type, even if the circumstances were poorly set up.
I only hope that this character development continues in a positive direction, and that next week we don't return to the same old neurotic technical expert cliche. As Pride and Loretta noted at the end of the episode:
Pride: Heard Sebastian dug deep today.
Loretta: He did indeed. Sidekick no longer. He's been my silver lining on an otherwise cloudy day.
Tune in when NCIS: New Orleans Season 1 Episode 20, "Rock-a-Bye-Baby," airs on Tuesday, April 14, 2015, at 9/8c on CBS. Until then, you can catch up on all the fun times of previous episodes when you watch NCIS: New Orleans online right here at TV Fanatic.