Happy Holidays, folks! In NCIS: New Orleans Season 1 Episode 10, Agent Pride and his team faced two different challenges: hunting down the person who killed a man who hunted down people who pretended to have served in the military, and locating a missing explosive ordinance expert in Afghanistan.
On the personal front, LaSalle is facing difficulties in finding his own brother, who he hasn't seen in years.
Join TV Fanatic panelists David Taylor, Amanda Wolf, Douglas Wolfe, and Kathleen Wiedel as they discuss NCIS: New Orleans's first ever Christmas episode! Be sure to add your own thoughts to their discussion in the comments section below!
1. It seems that LaSalle may have finally tracked down his missing brother. What do you see in store for him when the show returns in the new year?
David: I hope he finally does track him down in Des Moines and LaSalle gets him some help. LaSalle does good for lots of strangers so now it's time for him to do good for a loved one.
Amanda: I want to see him find his brother and am interested in the reasons why he went missing. I am hoping that it doesn't have to with some case or crime though, I would like to see it be something a little more personal.
Doug: I fully expect him to finally find his brother. There’s a reason he went off the grid like though - to the extent that he changed his last name - and I don’t imagine it has anything to do with his bi-polar disorder. I’m looking forward to LaSalle solving that particular mystery. The bigger question is: will he be able to forgive his brother?
Kathleen: I, too, predict that he'll track down his brother. Though Doug does bring up an excellent point: why did LaSalle's brother so completely vanish? He seemed psychologically stable enough to hold down that job at the bar, though he may just have been good at faking until he couldn't anymore. Regardless, I don't think that the LaSalle Brothers reunion will be smooth.
2. There were two almost totally unrelated cases in this episode, the murdered imposter hunter and the missing EOD specialist. Should they have each had their own episode to themselves, or did you think it worked out well the way it did?
David: I think it was fine to have one case lead into the other; it's been done in other procedurals. However, I can see that perhaps viewers in military families might think that the stolen valor aspect was given short shrift.
Amanda: I agree with David. I think it's fine to have one case lead to another. The team would not have known about one crime without investigating another, it seems realistic. I thought the imposter case was more interesting though. It is something I have never heard of before and something petty that I believe would be on the rise these days.
Doug: It’s a great question, Kathleen - I’m of the opinion that, while in this episode the two stories meshed well together, they really should have had their own episodes. The stolen valor topic is huge these days, and it deserved its own full episode spotlight. At the end of that story we learned that, yeah, the guy who killed the guy would get jail time, but basically the writer painted him as somewhat of a sympathetic person - someone who wanted to serve but couldn’t.
There are still a lot of glory hunters out there pretending to be something they’re not, and some of them are just in it out of greed, while others are just massaging their tiny little egos. There are all kinds of websites dedicated to hunting down these contemptible people - so it would have made sense to dedicate a whole story to the topic as well.
Kathleen: I think that maybe this could have been turned into a two-episode story, with the first case leading directly to the second in the same manner (via the jacket found in the imposter's girlfriend's apartment) but simply spread over two full episodes. That way they could have done justice to the stolen valor storyline and perhaps taken a bit more time to locate the missing EOD specialist. As it was, the latter case in particular seemed rushed (he'd been missing for how long, after all?).
3. Were there any scenes or quotes that stuck out for you?
David: I was gratified to get answers about LaSalle's missing brother and to see how frustrated LaSalle is at the fact that he can't locate him, despite that sort of thing coming so easy to him professionally. LaSalle's always so happy-go-lucky and supportive of others that we need reminding that he too has issues. Also, I kind of liked seeing LaSalle with the lady military officer at the end. I'd like to see something happen with them, even if they have to work together from time to time and perhaps put personal feelings aside; to me, it seems a better option than LaSalle and Brodie who have to work together all the time.
Amanda: I agree with David again. LaSalle's frustration at not being able to find his brother, despite it being what he does professionally. Who wouldn't be frustrated in this situation? It would make me question my abilities.
Doug: Honestly, I’m falling in love a little bit with Addie Watkins - the Navy Lieutenant who’s been showing interest in LaSalle. Her stance is entirely military yet she’s quite accessible and doesn’t appear to miss a thing. Plus, as she said of LaSalle - she’s easy on the eyes. I like how she drew LaSalle’s story out of him without saying too much at all. Despite her stated inability to read him, she seems to know what makes him tick. I’m predicting a good future for the pair.
Kathleen: Call me a sucker for Christmas miracles, but I really liked the reunion between Chase and his family. If only more real-life stories like that had such a happy ending!
4. Was there anything about this episode that just didn't work for you? Why?
David: Well... once again, an impromptu trip clear across the globe and back in what seemed like less than 24 hours; oh the wonders of television. Also, the ramblings of the assistant ME (I'm blanking on his name at the moment) got on my nerves.
Amanda: The Afghanistan story did not work for me. I felt like the whole story hinged on the somehow superior competence of the NCIS team over the military who actually work in Afghanistan. It was fair that they discovered he was still alive by discovering his jacket, but the whole part about the type of bomb and how that lead to them discovering he was still alive didn't sit with me. The trip to Afghanistan in what seemed like a day did not sit with me either. Also, the team was leading the Zach's rescue mission. I love TV, but I can't stand it when it thinks it can get me to believe anything.
Doug: There were two things, actually: while I enjoyed the action of the Afghanistan segment, I felt it was way too short, and therefore unrealistic. As mentioned before, the stories each deserved their own episode - and this one could have been shot entirely on the “Afghanistan” location (wherever that really was).
The second thing is something that always bugs me: remember when Bower first escaped the team when his girlfriend picked him up on her motorcycle? LaSalle drew his gun but then stopped when he saw a bunch of other people in the laneway. Now tell me: was his intent really to shoot a man who was escaping? If he had done so, surely he would have been court-martialed.
Kathleen: Even though the unlikely globe-crossing jaunt is hardly unique to NCIS: New Orleans, it still bugged me, too. I highly doubt that Pride's and LaSalle's presence with the rescue team would have added anything the SEALs couldn't handle in that situation! Plus, there's that little issue mentioned by David and Amanda with travel times. Have any of those writers actually flown that far? It takes forever!
5. LaSalle is normally a huge holiday fan, but Christmas just isn't his thing. Are there any holidays you just can't get into?
David: Living far away from my family, I don't do much celebrating at holiday time, but if I had to pick a holiday that makes me cringe a bit, it would be Passover (I'm Jewish). It starts off festive enough with two ritualistic and hearty meals but it goes a bit south after that. The origins and symbolism of the holiday lead to restrictions on what you can eat (e.g., no leavening; certain grains are prohibited) and the substitutions people make just don't cut it. It's actually pretty rough on some people's digestion, including mine.
Amanda: For me, there are no holidays that I can't get into. I love them all. I don't like my birthday too much. It's too much attention and there are all of these expectations that you will have a good day.
Doug: David’s thoughts on Passover are fascinating. As for me… well, for years I hated the commercialism and frantic pace of Christmas. I’ve since learned to avoid the shopping malls from about mid-November onwards, and so the hatred has diminished to a take-it-or-leave it deal.
Kathleen: I can't stand April Fools' Day. That holiday just always seemed too easy to abuse with cruel "jokes" that strain or completely violate good taste.