NCIS: LA “Exchange Rate” Review (Season 7, Episode 18)


I wanted more Arkady, and figured he’d come back later this season, but it was a welcome sight to see both he and Anna again so soon in. In fact, much of NCIS:LA Season 7 has thrown away the norm of having a huge time gap separate appearances of certain recurring characters. The past 5 episodes have revolved around previous storylines: Kensi’s past with Jack, Callen’s search for his father, Sam’s relationship with Jada, and now Anna taking up Hetty’s offer of working a job. I find this very welcoming as I believe these outings always end up being stronger than the normal case of the week. And while I wouldn’t rank “Exchange Rate” above the most recent batch of episodes, it continued on certain plot threads I wasn’t expecting to be tackled so quickly.

Both of said plot threads involve Anna. I’m not sure I remember a recurring character being brought back so frequently in the way Bar Paly’s Anna is, but it’s not surprising. With her connection to Arkady, and the fact that she’s basically a female version of Callen, it adds a different dynamic to the team. Not to mention that Paly and Chris O’Donnell have great chemistry (seriously, look at that scene between Anna and Callen in the boat shed with Sam watching their exchange). I don’t think she’ll become a series regular, but I have a feeling she will pop up sporadically, probably doing jobs for Hetty, to continue the “will they or won’t they game” between she and Callen.

Speaking of the illustrious Edna Mode, I should have realized before the meet-up scene that she was the one who hired Anna to break Pena out. The two major signs being: she hadn’t shown up to the office that day and she had spoken with Anna previously about doing jobs for her. Not to mention the fact that the plan totally screamed “Hetty.” It’s exactly like Miss Mode to not let anyone in on her motives until the last possible moment. That’s another thread that has been recurrent in many of our stories the past year or so, and I’m curious when the sh*t will hit the fan. Will it happen to coincide with the discovery of the NCIS mole?

More Thoughts Before I Go Fly Fishing With Arkady

– I mentioned the lack of Arkady in my “Matryoshka Part 2” review. This episode made up for it. The scene with him handcuffed to Hetty’s car was hilarious, and I could have watched an hour of Callen and Hetty giving him grief like that. One weird thing though: for a man who was being held prisoner in Russia not too long ago, he recovered physically and mentally very quickly.

– Anna Plot Thread Number 2: so Callen gave her a call, huh? On the one hand, I find it interesting he made the first move since he presents himself so relationship-averse. At the same time, maybe he’s finally ready to settle down in the way that could work for him. And unlike Joelle, Anna is of a similar mold and understands his not-so-normal life situation. That being said, Anna is a bit younger than Callen and seems to be more on the move, and it makes sense why she did not return said call.

– I can’t decide if I liked the opening scene with Kensi and Deeks or not. On the one hand, the banter played very well between the two of them. On the other… Kensi, LA has a water shortage. Stop wasting it!

– Is it too much to hope that the whole Eric and Nell thing will be dropped? First off, we have Kensi and Deeks. And even NCIS stopped the Abby/McGee stuff. I do think Eric’s heart was in the right place in standing up for Nell (even though I agree with her in that she didn’t need it), but 9 times out of 10 his interactions towards her come off too strong. The only reason the show excuses them is because Nell likes him return. And you know what, that’s not a legit enough reason for me. It’s a trope on television that needs to be put to rest.