The truth was out there.
It just wasn't as out there as it seemed on NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 18.
This case involving the Navy's answer to The X-Files was that rare exception when it made sense to let Eric out of Ops.
Sure, Eric got his own spotlight episode back on NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 9. But that was more a case of bringing Eric back into the team after Barrett Foa's sabbatical rather than anything that added to the Beale mythos.
No, a case with a UFO called for a believer within the squad and Eric was the natural choice.
Since the OSP agents were busy chasing down the missing officer, that left the skeptical DIA Agent Raines to fill the role of Scully to Eric's Mulder as they debated the possibility of UFOs, or whatever they're now called. Let's stick with what's simple and works..
Shockingly, the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program is a real if top-secret thing. I wonder how long before it gets appended to the Space Force.
Also, I do find it hard to believe that such a true believer as Anderson would find his niche in the military. But such a unit would have to have personnel at least open to the idea of UFOs.
Raines did aid the NCIS investigation when she explained to Sam and Callen that UFOs are either ours, someone else's, or alien.
Besides, no one other than Eric, and maybe Deeks for about 30 seconds, was pinning Anderson's disappearance on aliens.
Once you toss out aliens, the possibilities for who might have taken Anderson were narrowed to two.
Anderson comparing notes with a kindred spirit such as Ward, who investigated military coverups, seemed unlikely. But that did lead him, and eventually everyone else, to a real-life saucer of a sort.
The question just came down to whose was it?
That was a well-thought-out distraction of having time lost inside Anderson's house, although NCIS would never have gotten the possibility of alien abduction if Deeks hadn't happen to be reading one of Walter's book at just that instance.
Of course, Nell and Fatima were able to restore the missing surveillance footage from Anderson's house. Wasn't it a little on the nose that the Chinese agents were holding him at an abandoned Asian restaurant?
Shouldn't Raines have been a suspect a lot sooner? Probably, because she wasn't making a lot of effort to get her partner back. And isn't there always an inside man, err., woman?
Once again, Eric was out in the field unarmed, so Raines coldcocked him. If not for a late-minute change of heart by the spy in custody, forced by Kensi and Deeks, Raines would have gotten away with it.
It was a hoot to have her tripped up by a homeless man, her cash flying everywhere.
Using Chinese as the foreign agents was more than a little ill-timed, but who knew back when this episode was shot? Chinese agents operating on the West Coast just makes geographic sense.
Besides, probably a misguided third of the country is following the President's lead and have no problem making the Chinese the villains of the piece.
So, what did Nell isolate and show to Eric near the end that made his face light up?
We finally got some followup on the Anna storyline.
A month of living above the Squid & Dagger, eating Deeks' food, was surely enough to drive anyone to desperate measures, even someone who had spent time in jail recently.
At least she penned that Yelp review which Deeks was quoting from so admiringly, even if Kensi did cut off his chance to reciprocate.
Anna expected the CIA to come through on their promise to expunge her criminal record. That was pretty naive for someone with her experiences on both sides of the law.
Callen stashing Anna at his apartment was the team's worst-kept secret, even though I'm skeptical that Kensi, Deeks, and of course Eric ever figured it out.
Hetty knew and she's never at the office.
Still, living above a bar, with free food and drinks, while playing videogames all day does seem taxing. She'd been working in secret around the globe for the CIA for months, and this momentary confinement is what got to her.
You had to feel for Arkady after Anna tracked him down and called him for the first time in months, essentially to say goodbye. He deserved better. So did Callen, for that matter.
Yet Anna's heart was in the right place, as she feared to get Callen, or anyone from NCIS for that matter, in trouble for harboring her.
But, as Sam pointed out, Anna is family at this point, and the squad has shown to what extremes it will go for family. Vietnam, Cuba, Mexico, you name it. "We don't need no stinkin' permission."
Instead, she got herself busted. But even that didn't take, as her records were finally, magically expunged.
So who was the U.S. attorney who gave Anna the good news, then was later surveilling the vodka-fueled celebration at the Squad & Dagger? He's more than he seems.
And her old running mate, Kate Miller, who Anna betrayed, is on the loose? That doesn't bode well for Anna. Hopefully, the resolution for that has been filmed already.
To follow Anna's journey, watch NCIS: Los Angeles online.
What is out there?
How soon did you suspect Raines?
What does Kate want with Anna?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.