NCIS: Los Angeles 4×13 The Chosen One Recap and Review
NCIS: Los Angeles 4×13 The Chosen One Synopsis: Callen goes undercover to infiltrate a terrorist group that is recruiting foreign fighters to help carry out an attack in the U.S.
NCIS: Los Angeles 4×13 Guest stars: Adam Croasdell as Jamal Avlurov; Corin Nemec as Anwar Amurov; Luciana Carro as Gloria Seggara; Stoney Westmoreland as LAPD Sergeant Rick Gibson; Christian Svensson as Chovka Zelimov; Ben Begley as Car Rental Agent; Justin Alston as James “Masud” Booth; Konstantin Melikhov as Karim Moussa.
This was an exciting episode which dealt with a Chechnian Jihad cell operating in Los Angeles. They know something is going down, but they’re not sure what, so they come up with the bright idea of Callen infiltrating the cell to not only find out what their plan is, but also to try and stop them. As with life, the clichéd best laid plans of mice and men go terribly wrong, but as with all episodes the day managed to be saved. However, there were a few fortunate as well as unfortunate casualties along the way; one of which was very sad.
NCIS: Los Angeles 4×13, “The Chosen One,” opens with LAPD Sergeant Rick Gibson pulling over a van for, believe it or not, playing rap music too loud! Now here in California there’s actually a law against this, so this was a realistic excuse to pull the van over. The driver tells the passenger to “just play it cool” to avoid suspicion. However, we all know how that works out. You tell somebody not to look suspicious, so what do they do? They look suspicious. The driver tells Rick he’s helping his friend move, so Rick wants to see what they “moving” in the back of their also suspicious looking van. The driver gets out and heads toward the back of the van. Rick has his hand on his gun, just in case. The passenger gets out and comes around and shoots Rick, so Rick shoots the driver twice in the back. It’s revealed later that the driver died at the scene. The passenger gets back in the van leaving Rick to bleed out with the dead driver.
The calm before the storm begins with the usual team banter between the team members. This episode also becomes somewhat of a “fishy” tale with the introduction of an aquarium that’s briefly owned by Deeks. A little old skeleton bobs up and down from inside a treasure chest in the bottom of the aquarium as fish swim happily above him. Seems that Deeks was on a date and went to a carnival where he won a gold fish. His date insisted he keep it. He decided to give it a better home than a plastic bag. After putting the gold fish in the aquarium, it looked so lonely that he decided to buy more fish. Now, anybody who knows anything about fish knows that you really should not mix gold fish with other types of fish. However, … after seeing his lonely fish he “had an epiphany”! “Doppelganger Aquarium”! Each member of the team has a unique fish counterpart. Sam’s a catfish, “doesn’t take crap” from the other fish. Kensi’s an angel fish, “glides all sexy through the water.” Nell and Eric are gourami kissing fish. Callen is the black ghost night fish, “sleek, sharp, mysterious, solitary. Hides in plain sight.” Deeks is the gold fish, “gold, valuable, desirable, beautiful. King of the aquarium!” But one member is missing! Hetty! That’s a problem because small fish tend to be eaten by the big fish. Their fishy discussion is interrupted when Beale whistles them back to work.
They watch the dash cam from Rick’s squad car showing the gun fight. They id the driver as Karim Moussa, a Chechnian citizen with ties to Hakkani (not sure of the name or spelling) network, which is a terrorist group with links to Al Qaeda and the Taliban. They use foreign fighters for their cause. After years of oppression by Moscow, Chechnia has become a hotbed of Islamic terrorism. It’s pointed out that anybody with olive skin and a Muslim surname is racially profiled, in spite of the fact that it’s not supposed to happen. But what, or whom, was in the back of the van they were trying to protect. Hetty points out that Rick’s in the hospital and still alive thanks to his vest.
Kensi and Deeks check out the rental place, where the rental agent has OCD. He fusses with the pens, making sure that all points are inside the pencil cup, and he makes sure that all papers on the counter are straight and precisely aligned with the edge of the counter, as well as precisely a certain distance from the front edge of the counter. I know the actor was trying to make his character distinctive, and while it was moderately amusing I found this to be rather distracting. A Dennis McCready rented the van. He shows them the rental agreement, driver’s license, and credit card. All precisely aligned! Probably a forged license and stolen credit card. They were very precise with what they wanted. McCready was with an African-American gentlemen. He gives them a precise description of what they were wearing. Between 6′ and 6’2″, medium build, fitted crimson T-shirt. Not red! Crimson! Jeans, 32 or 34 waist. Boot cut. Vintage wash. Probably GAP, but could have been Old Navy. But when Kensi suggests that he talk with their sketch artist, “Oh, I have no idea what his face looks like!”
At the hospital, Rick tells Callen and Hanna he didn’t get a good look at the passenger. When he pulled in behind the driver, the driver started driving like “a church lady.” And the driver was all twitchy. He did notice a takeout bag that had a chicken with checkered pants.
So, according to Nell, the only “Mr. Fancy Pants Chicken” is in the Valley. There’s a number of traffic cams in the area, so she and Eric start looking for the van. Eric mentions that their fish are “kissing fish!” Then Nell points out that according to her research they’re not really kissing, they’re fighting! It’s their way of showing dominance. They pinpoint the van’s possible location about a block from the chicken place.
Callen, Kensi, Hanna, and Deeks convene at the van with guns drawn, just in case. When they open the back there’s nothing there. However, Hanna runs his hand along some debris on the edge and discover it’s ammonium nitrate, used to make explosives and bombs, like the one in Oklahoma City.
They all cluster around the light table and look at various pieces of evidence. Hetty tells Deeks, “Condolences on your impending loss.” “My fish is fine,” he says. “I think.” They proceed to discuss possible events happening in LA that could be the target of a bomb hit. They decide “a good old fashioned stake out is in order.” A real “stake out shake out”!
They stake out the van, but can’t get any cell phone or Internet signals from inside the building. This could mean they’ve removed their batteries. Deeks tells Kensi he’s been doing a lot of thinking about his fish. He doesn’t think the gold fish is him. “I need a fish that truly represents my essence.” “How about a canned sardine,” suggests Kensi. “Smelly. Oily. Cheap.” He tells her he knows she doesn’t really mean it. She’s like the girl that hits you in the arm because she really likes you. So she hauls off and hits him in the arm. “Ow!”
Deeks sees Jamal heading out of the building and takes some pictures. Jamal just put a battery in his phone but they can’t isolate the signal to get a lock on him because he’s in a crowd. Kensi goes out to “do the bump” into him so they can get a lock. She doesn’t bump him enough at first, so she pretends she’s lost and asks him for directions. Finally they get his signal and she moves on. Once they get a lock Eric can send a virus to his phone that will download all the information on his phone so they can access it. Clever! They discover another member of their terrorist team is arriving at LAX from London on a EuroExpress plane. “Like shooting fish in a barrel!” Nell says. It also indicates the man will be wearing a red baseball cap. The person who best fits the description is Anwar Amurov. They look at a picture and when Callen finds out the guy is about the same height he decides to take his place. Since Jamal and Anwar never met, they’ll be none the wiser “when I show up in his place” Callen says.
In Hetty’s office, she tells him that it’s a “dangerous game” he’s playing. But he knows Russian. He’s the perfect person. They speak Russian back and forth to each other so he can convince her of his plan. Then she speaks it with a Chechnian accent. He finally convinces her and she helps him hone his accent so he’ll be more convincing. They proceed to dress Callen in similar clothes as Anwar will probably be wearing, but they can’t put a bug on him because they know he’ll be searched for wires and stuff. So they’ll have to get some type of bug to him after he infiltrates them. Anwar is a primary school teacher, married with a 4-yr old daughter named Anya. No special skills, so what part will the guy play? Three guesses, first two don’t count!
At the airport, they intercept Anwar and give his red baseball cap to Callen. As Callen leaves the airport he’s id’d as Anwar and is taken to meet Jamal while Anwar is taken to interrogation.
At the terrorist HQ, Jamal greets “Anwar” in Chechnian. After some Chechnian chit chat, Jamal is satisfied and decides they should speak in English. “Remember! You’re American!” They’re all Americans, like everybody else. He introduces Gloria, who handles operations and support. “My go-to girl for whatever it is I need.” Unfortunately he’ll need something nasty from her before the episode ends. James is the guy who met “Anwar” at the airport, but James insists on being called “Masud” because “James is a slave name given to me by my oppressors.” Jamal says the Jihad is a priority and must take precedence. James hasn’t been with them very long, and it looks like Jamal doesn’t trust him because he shoots him dead. They “can’t afford to take any risks.” Turns out James was more focused on himself than their cause. A nasty lesson to learn. Since he delivered “Anwar” to them, “his job is done. And soon yours will be as well.” Sounds pretty ominous.
Back at NCIS HQ, Kensi is interrogating the real Anwar. She informs him they know about the cell, it’s location, the bomb, and why he’s there. “You know so much,” he tells her, “yet understand so little.” Then she plays the wife and daughter card. If he cooperates he might see them again. He knows he will see them again, “in the afterlife.” Kensi quotes and then says, “The Karan says whoever kills a person unjustly it is as if he has killed all of mankind. When you kill in the name of Jihad you defile all of Islam.” He throws it in her face. She talks of the Karan and immoral acts, when America drops bombs with impunity and the American president gets a Peace prize. Is it right to make them look like clowns and defile the name of Alla. She doesn’t care about politics, she just wants to save innocent people who want to live their life. He tells her he’s had enough. “I have a right to see a lawyer.” That’s right, he does, she tells him. If the situation were reversed and she was captured by Jihadists the only right she would have is to have her head severed. She asks him if he considers that just. “No,” he replies, “but it’s a good start.” Nasty! Ouch!
Callen and Jamal are praying to Alla. Afterward Jamal tells him he’ll be very pleased when he learns of the target and the world will take notice. “Anna will be made very proud of her father,” Jamal says, no doubt trying to catch him. But Callen’s too smart! “Anya,” he corrects.
And the plan to get a bug to Callen is successfully pulled off when Deeks, dressed as a pizza delivery man, arrives with a pizza. They have guns drawn behind the door, but Deeks is insistent that he’ll be fired if he doesn’t deliver the pizza. They go to throw it away, but Callen tells them he’s dreamed about an American pizza since he left Chechnia, so they give it to him. As a ruse, he invites them all to join him, but only Gloria asks Jamal if she can join him.
As Gloria eats pizza with Callen/Anwar, she tells him about watching the Malcolm X movie when she was 14. She had run away and was going to start doing tricks, but it was raining so she went to a friend’s house and saw the movie. Malcolm X ran the streets and did drugs, but when he submitted to Alla, he was washed clean, “and that’s all I wanted. To be washed clean.” Malcolm X led her to the mosque and she’s never looked back. She was accepted and loved. She’s talking too much, so Jamal steps in and takes her away. “You know better than that,” he tells her.
This was enough of a diversion to take their eyes off of Callen, who turns over the center insert that was in the pizza to reveal a bug cam which he puts on his shirt. The team is happy when they see that it’s working, but apparently he didn’t get the ear wig because they can’t hear what’s being said. Jamal tells Callen it’s not right for a woman to be near a man she’s not betrothed to. Then he takes him to the van and shows him the back filled with ammonium nitrate. “You’ll be a hero,” he says, then kisses Callen on both cheeks and hands him a folder. “You will be loved.” Back at HQ they wonder what’s in the folder, but Hetty knows. “His martyr letter. An explanation to his family. Anwar was brought here to be the suicide bomber. His talent is The Chosen One.” Sometimes being undercover isn’t such a good deal!
Jamal has a very special task for Gloria, and hands her a gun. Callen holds the camera on a map of their route, but then Jamal puts the bomb vest on Callen covering up the camera.
The van is on the move. Deeks and Hanna follow it, cut it off, and end up killing the driver, but when they open the back it’s empty. They hear a report of a freeway shooting and see that Gloria has killed herself on the 101 freeway, shutting it down near the Santa Fe exit. Very sad. All cars will have to exit there and drive past the warehouse where the van is, including their target, a Mr. NewBeal (not sure of spelling) who is speaking against Jihad and Al Qaeda. So it turns out the real van never left its location. The one thing they didn’t think about is whether Anwar was right or left handed. Duh! And that’s what gave him away. He used his right hand, the wrong hand, to sign the martyr letter. Jamal doesn’t remember much about Anwar, but he does remember that he was left handed because all the left handers, including Jamal, sat together in the last row.
Jamal has him on his knees with his arms spread out and handcuffed on each side to the floor. The sirens will announce when the heretic is near enough to set off the bomb, and a federal agent is an added bonus. The benefits of independent Jihad is to be very adaptable. They improvise as much as they need to. But instead of sirens, Deeks, Hanna, and Kensi barge in and kill Jamal. However, when they go to release Callen they discover he’s kneeling on a pressure plate. Which wire to cut? Red? Blue? Black? Hanna cuts the red one. Hurray! Callen is saved!
Back at NCIS HQ, Callen contemplates Gloria and remembers her comments about Malcolm X. His story inspired her, but they twisted his message into something that made her life more hopeless than it ever was. Malcolm X walked away from extremism. Jamal pushed her toward her. Everybody has a choice, and unfortunately for Gloria she made the wrong one.
And back to the fish! The aquarium is gone! Oh, no!!! Where could it be! Ah ha! Hetty has it! And she’s decided what her fish should be; a little guppy. But to me it looked more like a Beta, which is more Hetty than a guppy, if you think about it! If it really was a Beta, then you can’t put a Beta in a tank with other fish. Although maybe a female Beta would work. Anyway, “why are you staring at me? Get back to work!” What a ride! The end!
Cecelia Lawshe is a web developer/programmer and has won two Webby Awards. She can be contacted via Cecelia Lawshe on Facebook.
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