NCIS: New Orleans Season Finale Review: Checkmate

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Now, that's a cliffhanger.

Pride was in peril right up through the end of NCIS: New Orleans Season 4 Episode 24.

I'm betting the idea of just running a bar and playing piano looks a whole lot better to him now.

Elvis Returns - NCIS: New Orleans

We finally got the see the mastermind behind the machinations in New Orleans pretty much for the last two seasons.

He was Eric Barlow, the self-serving, entitled Associate Attorney General, who seemed to believe that the city was his own private fiefdom.

And he appeared to have put together the best scheme that money can buy, by hiring and subverting a hit squad to both ruin Pride's reputation and inflate his own.

Related: NCIS: New Orleans Season 4 Episode 22 Review: The Assassination of Dwayne Pride

Why Pride? Because Pride has kept getting in his way. Barlow was the puppeteer holding Hamilton's strings on NCIS: New Orleans Season 3. So he took personally Pride's subverting the potential shipyard.

Barlow probably figured that Pride would continue to get in his way if he pulled anything borderline criminal during his planned ascent in Louisiana politics.

So Pride and some of his associates had to go in the name of "progress."

Special Help - NCIS: New Orleans Season 4 Episode 23

Fortunately, only one, Captain Estes, paid the price for Barlow's hubris so far (I'm assuming Pride lives).

Too bad about Estes. It took him a good while to come around on Pride, and look at the thanks he got.

Estes had to go so that Barlow's pawn, Gossett, could move up. Thinking he could jump straight up to mayor was a bit ambitious, I thought.

It was a well-developed scheme which Barlow hatched. Entice a third party to develop documents about Pride to Oliver Crane, then kill her. Kill the guy who seduced said third party.

Related: Watch NCIS: New Orleans Online: Season 4 Episode 22

Force a grand-jury indictment of Pride based on Crane's expose. Mess with Pride's team by subjecting LaSalle's company to an IRS investigation.

Then, lastly, make it appear that rogue cop Pride was behind an attack on the mayor at a major municipal event.

Too bad he didn't account for all the friends and colleagues that Pride had made over a storied law-enforcement career.

A Sinister Plot - NCIS: New Orleans

What an A-Team Pride gathered: hacker Elvis, muscle Sydney, muckraker Oliver, Loretta and lawyer Fred, admittedly the weak link. Combined with his usual squad, once they wouldn't take no for an answer, he had all the talent he needed for this uphill battle.

The highlight had to be their infiltrating Barlow's law office, with the heist-sounding music in the background. It wasn't nearly as well-executed as it needed to be, but at least they were able to scrub the surveillance footage.

Elvis and Patton had far too much data to comb through, but at least they were able to isolate the general target by the end of the first hour: Tricentennial Fleet Week.

Related: Ch-ch-changes: How to Handle Evolving Casts 

In the second hour, I was sad to see the extra help leave, "for their own good," except for Sydney, who apparently listens to no one. How did she last in the Green Berets for as long as she did?

No, Sydney was determined to protect Pride at all costs. And it was nice to have someone who wasn't overly (or at all) concerned with legal niceties around for those "special" jobs, such as surveillance, beating down civilians and breaking and entering.

Too bad she was down to one arm early on after her brawl with Parsons. The NCIS team could have used her help.

But wasn't she cool when she encouraged Barlow to kill himself to avoid ongoing humiliation?

Left in Charge - NCIS: New Orleans Season 4 Episode 24

First, Barlow arranged for LaSalle to be distracted by the IRS audit, even though it appeared there's more going on there than first met the eye. Christopher, the first rule of business is to call your lawyer, who we've seen once all season.

That left Gregorio and Sebastian, the newbies, to figure out what Barlow was up to.

Fortunately, Loretta managed to get Mayor Taylor and Gossett to let Pride back in the game. Unfortunately, he got paired up with Gossett, Barlow's mole.

That whole digital masking trick framing Pride was wild. At first, I thought it was Lonzo in a latex Pride mask, but I guess that's too old school.

It took Pride too long to piece together the frame, but, in his defense, it had been a long few days. He's at his best when most desperate, so he managed to take down Gossett and Lonzo.

Related: Get CBS All Access via Amazon Channels for Hit Shows, Exclusive Originals & Live TV!

Gregorio figured out the target sooner and got Loretta and the mayor to safety.

Kudos to the powers that be for not doing the obvious things and wrapping up everything neatly.

I was betting on a big musical finale, with Pride handing Sydney her NCIS badge.

Him being shot by Parsons I didn't see coming. Why wasn't she handcuffed to her hospital bed?

Now left up in the air are Pride's fate and the fate of LaSalle's company. Since the unit promised to be shorthanded, I can see Sydney formally coming on board next fall.

To review the entire season once again, watch NCIS: New Orleans online.

Was Barlow a villain worth the wait? How did you enjoy Pride's off-the-books team? What's up with LaSalle's company?

Comment below.

Checkmate, Part II Review

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Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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NCIS: New Orleans Season 4 Episode 24 Quotes

Gregorio: Are you OK?
Sydney: I'm better than her [referring to Parsons].

Boy, you people really are intrusive!

Sydney [to Gregorio]