Of course, this holiday episode was full of Christmas miracles.
We got to meet the former foster brother who had the most impact on Callen on NCIS: Los Angeles Season 12 Episode 6.
The rest of the team got to face challenges as well.
After hearing veiled references to Callen's 30-plus foster homes, it was fulfilling to meet someone who was there to experience young G.
Using flashbacks to young Ray and callow Callen was an effective way to explain their back story.
How pray tell did Hetty learn of Raymond and Paula's arrest for drug smuggling from whatever patch of the jungle she's been visiting? Or is that just a Zoom background?
She truly is the poster woman for remote work.
And having to supply Linda Hunt with only one outfit for six episodes has got to be beneficial for the production budget.
It was heartbreaking when Raymond didn't even recognize Callen after Callen so fondly remembered what Ray had done to protect him, and for which he paid the price, so many years ago.
But once Raymond pieced together who the fed interviewing him was, the years fell away, and they were chatting like the "brothers" they once were.
Two Americans taking part in medical tourism became victims of drug smugglers taking advantage of their need for an inexpensive surgery.
Callen got unexpected help as both Sam and Kensi were trying to forget about their personal problems.
And how did those geniuses expect to recover the drugs after Raymond and Paula got arrested? Instead of writing off that attempt as a loss, they shot up a clinic instead. How did coming after the Lewises benefit them? Morons.
The only thing that raid accomplished was that the doctor involved spilled her guts after being hunted.
That, and the annual NCIS: Los Angeles tradition of knocking out crooks with giant holiday decorations, continued as Callen swung a mean candy cane.
At least Callen got to find out what had happened to Raymond. Ray had moved past his youthful indiscretion, one that haunted Callen to this day.
He had married the woman of his dreams and urged Callen to do the same. But, of course, Anna was tied up with her soul-cleansing house building effort and wouldn't be around for Christmas.
Perhaps Callen and Anna are right for each other, but the course of true love never runs smooth.
Yes, we were all hoping that Hetty would make her triumphant, in-person return before the holiday hiatus. And she did play a key role in this episode, propelling the necessary transition to one future storyline in particular.
Because let's face it, mopey was not a good look on Deeks.
Manic Marty is enough for Kensi to have to deal with. Depressive Deeks is so much worse.
After all the noise about taking a giant step into adulthood (the bar doesn't count), Deeks was ready to toss in the towel on homeownership because of a financial hiccup.
I kept waiting for Kensi to say, "Honey, can we put a pin in this? I've got a national-security problem to deal with that I can't talk about with you."
Not that Kensi's idea to raise money was that spectacular, asking Deeks to go shake down Eric.
Fortunately, the appropriately shamed Deeks came up with an adult solution, selling his hobby to finance their future. But good luck unloading a bar in this economy.
Thanks to Hetty pulling strings, however, it may not come to that. And think of the best part of Deeks becoming a recruit: he may have to get his golden locks cut.
Kessler's stalking of Kensi was neatly handled, with Nell's quick mention, and then it was gone again. Just remind us, but don't dwell on it until you're ready to wrap that storyline.
Even Sam, the most well-adjusted of the bunch, had a family issue with which to deal.
Daughter Kam wanted him to keep his hands off her application to the Naval Academy. That, and she had no desire to meet her new "mommy," Katherine.
The former was very mature, the latter not so much.
Katherine wisely counseled Sam to rein in the forced family time and let Kam take the lead when it came to their meeting.
Now what to make of Eric's return?
First, it was pretty clear that he's gone from the OSP. He's a rich man who no longer has to work. Also, his mission to stamp out homelessness in California promises to keep him busy.
Still, Barrett Foa got to bring out familiar Eric riffs, screaming at everyone when he blacked out Ops because he forgot to account for a security protocol that he himself created.
For a couple that had been so close, whatever there had been between Eric and Nell seemed to have just disappeared overnight. She's grown up now that she's in charge, and he's moved on, working with his fellow techies to create a better world.
As Nell said, a piece of him will stay behind in the updated surveillance program that he installed.
There really wasn't room for three in Ops, and Eric was the logical one to go.
To revisit Eric's career, watch NCIS: Los Angeles online.
Are you sorry to go Eric go, if indeed he's gone?
What did you think of Raymond?
Were you at all surprised Deeks got into the NCIS academy?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.