What’s worse in this NCIS: Los Angeles episode? The fact that Sam and Callen have to go undercover unarmed or the fact that Callen gets stuck in coach while his partner gets to stretch out in first class? It probably depends which agent you ask, as the partners go undercover in “767” as businessmen on a flight to Tokyo to prevent an engineer from selling classified data.

Meanwhile, NCIS: LA continues to prove that a TV show can have its former “will they/won’t they” couple be happy in love and together without unnecessary drama as it continues to be a matter of when, not if, that official proposal will happen for Kensi and Deeks.

‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ Recap: Is Kensi Ready to Return to Work? >>>

The Leg Room in Coach is the Least of Callen’s Worries

After an RV explodes, it’s up to the team to figure out if it was an accident of if the civilian engineer owner, Sheldon Rhodes, was intentionally targeted. Since he was running an elite group of engineers tasked with developing systems for stealth ships, the chances of it being the former are slim to none.

One of the engineers that was part of Rhodes’ team booked a last-minute ticket for a flight to Tokyo after Sheldon’s death. Is he a spy trying to sell the plans for the stealth ship? Did Rhodes find out what he was up to? Sam and Callen are going undercover as businessmen on that flight and keeping Aiden Tinker in their sights, but because of their backstopped identities, they can’t apply for a diplomatic pouch (because it may alert the wrong people), meaning they can’t have guns on the plane or on the ground.

It just gets worse for Callen who’s stuck in coach while Sam gets to relax in first class with champagne, hot towels and fresh fruit. They need to cover the whole plane, his partner reminds him, and Callen is left to settle in the back with only the offer of a drumstick from a passenger across the aisle to keep him company.

But Sam and Callen aren’t in their seats for long, as Callen follows Tinker to the back of the plane. When he gets there, however, Tinker’s gone, a flight attendant is dead in a bathroom and a man puts a gun to his back. After Sam disarms him, Callen finds his badge: Air Marshal Miguel Salazar, confirmed by Eric, thanks to their comms piggy-backing off the plane’s Wi-Fi. They catch Miguel up, and he fills in the captain, who then fills in another flight attendant, Cheryl. The captain needs them to tell him where he should fly to, and while ideally they’d like to return to LA, they don’t want the passengers to know. Fortunately, this captain flew for the navy and can make that happen.

With Sam going international, that leaves Kensi and Deeks to meet with his SEAL friend who directs them to the likely supplier of the explosives used to kill Rhodes. Two men had stolen the supplies from that company, and fortunately, they get clean images of the men off a motorcycle security camera across the street.

One of the men was at the gate in LAX for the flight to Tokyo and hacked into the ticket scanner to get his partner on the flight. But when they compare the number of people who boarded the plane to the number of people on the manifest, they find that there are four people who shouldn’t be there. It looks like the flight attendant found them hiding in the back for takeoff.

The Most Exciting Flight These Passengers Will Ever Be on

But they can’t let Sam and Callen know this because their comms are out while they’re going down to the cargo hold with Miguel for weapons. Unfortunately, the men holding Tinker down there start shooting at them first, and Callen only has Miguel’s weapon to use in defense after the air marshal is hit.

Sam and Callen retreat back upstairs with the injured Miguel, and Cheryl helps them block the door to the cargo hold with a cart. While Sam stays with Miguel in the back, Cheryl takes Callen to the front of the plane and the second air marshal on board; Vanessa’s job is to make sure no one gets into the cockpit.

Kensi and Deeks track down the guy who hacked the ticket scanner, Aric Weber, a hitman, but when he takes a hostage, Kensi has to shoot him. He had surveillance photos of Rhodes and his RV in his house, as well as detailed files on everyone who worked with him. It looks like he killed Rhodes as a show of power to keep Tinker in line. Steal the plans or die like Sheldon.

But why haven’t the men on the plane killed Tinker yet? They must have his computer with the plans by now. Eric figures that out. There’s a fail-safe built into the plans; if someone doesn’t know how to disable the data file, the plans are deleted. The men must know they won’t be able to walk off the plane with the plans, meaning they’re going to have to try to send them to someone, either using the plane’s Wi-Fi or a sat-phone against a window.

They can take down the Wi-Fi, which also turns off Sam and Callen’s comms. The agents have more immediate concerns, however, as two men burst into the room where they’re tending to Miguel’s injury. Callen shoots one, and Sam tackles the other out into the aisle in front of the passengers. (The passengers should, by now, figure out that the “loud noises” the captain claimed came from cargo shifting during turbulence were actually gunshots.)

After Sam subdues the guy he’s fighting, another man comes out, with Tinker as his hostage, and threatens to start shooting passengers. Thanks to the captain’s flying and a hatch in the floor of the room where Miguel is leading down to the main section of the plane, Callen jumps down and takes out this guy. But they’re still missing one: the hacker trying to send the plans off the plane using a sat-phone against a window. He’s easily knocked out.

Toasting to a Better Future

When Sam and Callen arrive back at the office, Hetty’s waiting for them, with something from her private stash to toast with. “Oh, the past 12 months for our family here. They’ve just plain sucked,” she says. “There’s no better way to say that. Moments that I felt were the darkest, they were eclipsed by complete blackness. But today, days like today, what you did on the plane, what the rest of our team did on the ground, when our purpose is clear, these are the good days. We will write the pages of this year’s book together and let’s make it one hell of a story. … And to hell with last year.”

Morning and Surprise Plans Ruined

Kensi and Deeks are looking to start their morning off right. She slept well, but she’s not in the mood to celebrate with his frittatas. After Kensi thanks him for “everything,” Deeks protests, “You were the strong one. I was just along for the ride.” But unfortunately for the couple, sex (and what sounds like sex for the first time since Kensi was injured) is going to have to wait because of work.

Later in the episode, Kensi suggests they take the train up the coast for the weekend, but Deeks just wants to stay in L.A. and tries his hardest to not tell her why. When she keeps pushing, however, he admits that Kat, Mindy, Mandy, Tiffany and Tiffany are coming to town to celebrate her recovery. Maybe next time, he should have a better cover story prepared for why they have to stay in L.A. for the weekend?

Are you worried that Kensi and Deeks have been too happy lately? Does something have to happen to ruin it?

NCIS: Los Angeles season 8 airs Sundays at 8/7c on CBS. Want more news? Like our Facebook page.

(Image courtesy of CBS)


Meredith Jacobs

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

If it’s on TV — especially if it’s a procedural or superhero show — chances are Meredith watches it. She has a love for all things fiction, starting from a young age with ER and The X-Files on the small screen and the Nancy Drew books. Arrow kicked off the Arrowverse and her true passion for all things heroes. She’s enjoyed getting into the minds of serial killers since Criminal Minds, so it should be no surprise that her latest obsession is Prodigal Son.