That was a pleasant change of pace before the holiday hiatus
The three sets of partners did some much-needed opening up to each other on NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 11.
The upshot of it: No one's changing anything, except maybe Hetty.
Having some downtime during the case of the week was the perfect pretense for allowing the agents to vent to one another.
Let's start with Eric and Nell.
They haven't been right since late last season, when Nell's mother got sick and Eric received a tempting private-sector offer.
With a scatter-brained sister such as Sidney, much of the burden of dealing with a declining parent has fallen on Nell.
Also, with Eric entrenched in his temporary role as a private tech consultant, he wasn't able to be of much support to her, either in San Francisco or back in Ops.
That left Nell having to do it all, both at home and at work. No wonder she's been a little fried.
To top that off, Eric was off playing field agent while Nell was struggling too many things when she could have used the help of her "boyfriend."
So it's little wonder that she subconsciously started to resent him. How else to explain the decision to invite Sidney to move in with her and request Eric to move out?
Because let it be known that Eric is at fault for any problems with their relationship. With all that tech at his disposal, he couldn't figure out how to contact and be supportive of Nell from a distance?
No, he got caught up with being in a videogame come to life and dropped the ball when it came to Nell.
Probably Hetty's to blame as well. Not only did she did Eric in harm's way but, whether intentional or note, she also gave Nell a taste of what being in charge would be like.
Nell really didn't need anything more of her plate.
n the end, Nell made a wise choice, for them to take a step back and keep their relationship casual. Which is good, because Nell needs the whimsy that being with Eric provides.
Kensi and Deeks were continuing their ongoing discussion about starting a family.
It took Kensi a long, long time to get aboard the baby train. But now that's she's willing, she's freaking out because it didn't happen quickly.
To make matters worse, one of her friends is having trouble conceiving, planting all kinds of worst-case scenarios in her head.
I felt bad for Deeks, which is a rare thing.
After spending years to get Kensi to come around to his point of view on children, Deeks now to tell her to pump the brakes when it comes to her expectations.
He even proposed alternatives, which she was in no way ready to hear yet.
Kensi did get the Deeks floodgate of feelings to open, although she probably was sorry she did. Let it be said they both had fears and doubts.
Suffice to say they were both primed to go shoot up something when the call finally came.
This promises to be an ongoing storyline until likely a season-ending miracle occurs.
The most fun, however, was Sam and Callen, the two bros, talking about what the future might hold for them.
Sam was all in favor of Callen taking care when Hetty retires, in part because he was little interest in the job.
Sam is a man adrift, as he has been since Michelle died.
There were sparks between him and insurance broker Katherine, but he just didn't seem ready to move on yet.
But the other way of looking at that is that Sam has nothing tying him to Los Angeles anymore. A change of scenery might be just what Sam needs.
Callen seemed shocked that Sam had even contemplated leaving him (and the team).
Sam had already dismissed the idea of moving to Justice and teaming up with Lance Hamilton. That backup pilot wouldn't interest me.
But Callen taking over OPS and Sam serving as a training officer, molding a young agent or two in his image, that has potential. Sam has too much experience to just squander it.
Callen's main argument against taking over is that him being in charge was Hetty's vision all along.
It makes sense that Hetty would be training both Callen and Nell for the job. Always have a backup plan!
So the sticking point for Callen was that he didn't want his life to be predetermined by anybody, including Hetty.
Sam correctly argued that a little permanence, that putting down roots, would be a beneficial thing for Callen.
He pointed out Callen's waffling about Anna, a touchy subject for Callen, which caused him to snap at Sam.
Yet, by the end, Callen had resolved to search for Anna, to give their relationship one more try.
Yup, like it or not, the Callen-looks-for-Anna storyline was inevitable. It's just easier than building him a new love interest.
No Hetty again, but that was the point, wasn't it, to allow the squad to ruminate about life post-Hetty?
Was there a point for the opening scene, other than to get the Love Island host back on CBS during a ratings month that counts for something?
No that I could see.
The case of the week was equally forgettable, other than to meet the weekly action quota.
To review the first half of the season, watch NCIS: Los Angeles online.
Which pairing did you enjoy the most?
Is Hetty retiring?
Who should take over?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.