It was kind of a "Freaky Friday" situation this episode.
Nell and Eric were assigned to the couples retreat in the woods, while Deeks and Kensi provided support on NCIS: Los Angeles Season 8 Episode 18.
These choices by Hetty made perfect sense to me. It was a lot easier for Nell and Eric to embrace the outdoors than for Deeks and Kensi to become genius-level at technology.
The plot was more than a little convoluted. As I followed it, a mess of data was stolen from the Treasury Department, including a list of undercover IRS agents. And apparently, an Arab religious/terrorist group wanted that list bad enough to kidnap Tara's sister. Which is why she ran off teary every time her sister was mentioned.
OK, that makes sense, kinda.
But really, this was just an excuse to get Nell and Eric alone together so that they could bring out their feelings about each other. It's been obvious right along but never seemed to be developing all that much.
But this time, with them totally out of their element and stripped of their devices, the emotions poured out. Clumsy Eric was even smooth as he reminded Nell why he fell for her.
As was hammered home throughout the episode, they do make a cute couple.
And, as Dave Flynn pointed out, two co-workers can have a relationship. I mean, it's not like Kensi and Deeks are a state secret.
I will never buy Eric as a field agent. But he did create a big explosion this time out. Thank God for all those shooter games.
It was good to see Dave again, from way early in this series as part of the non-starter NCIS: Red team.
But not every spin-off flies, even one emblazoned with NCIS. It took a while for NCIS: Los Angeles to find its way and NCIS: New Orleans is still searching. The TV screen was littered with failed Law & Order spin-offs, and eventually, the CSI label lost the magic, as well.
Now just wait for the reboots. (Aren't the Chicago series just Dick Wolf's way of rebooting Law & Order in a different city?)
Hetty sent Callen on a mission of self-discovery, even if it took him a while to figure it out.
I thought we were done with Joelle/whatever her real name is. She was a bad idea as Callen's normal girfriend and a worse idea as a CIA plant.
But no. Hetty decided that Callen needed to purge his soul of her so that he could move on. Such a touchy-feely idea for a non-touchy-feely guy.
So will Hetty's gift of showing Callen Joelle's real life be enough to drag him out of his cave and his funk? Maybe. Maybe not. With his background, Callen could keep Nate busy trying to straighten him out for the rest of his career. It's good that Callen's in a career where he can channel his anger.
And Anna made the mistake of trying to get Sam to help her understand Callen.
Sam is more loquacious than Callen will ever be. But he's still from the "rub some dirt on it" school of dealing with feelings, who sees nothing wrong with burning furniture.
I remain on Team Anna. Like Kensi, and Nell before her, she seems to hold her own in combat against men much bigger than her. Maybe Hetty could come up with something a little more formal for her than Designated Substitute.
Thank God Kensi and Deeks are back to being the fun couple again. Whether it was Deeks' celebrity impressions or Kensi trying to chase down anything in an RV, they provided some much-needed comic relief. It was almost like most of this season never happened.
This was a welcome standalone hour. A viewer could check in without watching any of NCIS: Los Angeles Season 8 and still enjoy themselves without all the complicated storylines that have mostly been resolved.
That meant zero mention of the terrorist Asakeem and the mystery of who's after him. And it doesn't appear that it will be coming up again soon, either. They must be saving it for season's end.
To follow the hesitant relationship of Eric and Nell, watch NCIS: Los Angeles online.
How do you think Eric and Nell did undercover? How about Kensi and Deeks as backup? Are you ready for Callen and Sam to be reunited (and it feels so good) on NCIS: Los Angeles Season 8 Episode 19? Comment below.
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.