It was a Middle Eastern version of Whack-a-Mole.
That’s because the OSP team, along with Harm and Mac, needed to deal with the fallout from the ISIS false-flag missile attacks on NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 1.
First off, Hetty was back in all her glory, and the long darkness has lifted after the better part of two seasons.
No more wondering who’s in charge in a given episode. It’s Hetty’s world and we’re all just living in it.
She just elevates any scene she’s in with her connections and her been-there, done-that cool.
It was evident that everybody’s knows her name. And she can pull together a swinging party anywhere on Earth.
The action just picked up from the cliffhanger on NCIS: Los Angeles Season 10 Episode 24, which meant that the agents were scattered about the Middle East trying to stop ISIS.
The episode offered an enjoyable setup as agents were teamed up with other recurring characters and sent out on separate missions.
Related: NCIS: Los Angeles Season 10 Episode 24 Review
The biggest culture clash came during the search for proof of the false-flag attack in possession of Vuvivier and Pliyev.
Sabatino and Wallace quickly discovered what an acquired taste Deeks and his rambling monologues are.
As usual, Deeks went on and on about his surroundings, fearing the local wildlife despite the fact it was ISIS fighters who kept firing on them.
Yet, out of respect for Kensi, they tolerated him and his jibber-jabber.
Still, the quartet was effective together, as they kept running into ISIS units while being a step behind Duvivier and Pliyev until it was almost too late.
It was clever how they rigged up the machine guns to automatically fire; then they blew up the bunker once most of the ISIS reinforcements had been drawn inside.
Sabatino’s sarcasm is always welcomed, and the SEAL Wallace was a strong addition as well.
The standoff on the Allegiance got resolved rather quickly, and the captured ISIS convert Skinner offered little of value other than being an object lesson.
It was good that Harm was allowed to leave his post on the Allegiance and head off to help out Sam and Callen.
Otherwise, how would we have gotten the long-anticipated reunion with Mac as the NCIS agents scooted away to give them privacy?
They didn’t stay together long as everyone went off in different directions to avert a crisis.
Pairing Callen and Harm worked well, with Harm interrogating Callen about his relationship with Elianna, one of his exes.
It was obvious there was still some spark between Callen and Elianna, which is good, since she’ll return in NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 2.
At least she and Harm enjoyed a good laugh at Callen’s expense.
Naturally, there had to be a gratuitous brawl with the bodyguards of an Israeli wiseguy Elianna was bringing them to see.
Sam and Fatima in Tehran made for an exceptional pairing.
Related: Watch NCIS: Los Angeles Season 10 Episode 24 Online
Sam was able to smoothly analyze Fatima’s comfort at being in a place where she was surrounded by other Muslims.
Being Muslim himself, Sam was able to relate to how she felt.
But being in a society where women have fewer rights surely would have grated on her sooner rather than later.
Fatima was able to connect with Laleh, the saleswoman about disconnection with family members.
It was amusing to watch Fatima impertinently grill TV royalty Mac about her relationship with Harm.
It will be interesting to see what happens with Fatima this season.
It seemed she was destined for Ops if either Eric or Nell didn’t return. But Mac noted Fatima, based in San Diego, had applied for a post in Washington.
Too bad, as Fatima would have supplied some much-needed new blood.
And since Alyssa Diaz, who played Jasmine, subbing for Eric and Nell, is still among the cast of The Rookie, it seems likely that the Meerkats will be back in Ops sooner rather than later this season.
Hetty and Mac had the easiest assignment, meeting with Prince Kamal, who Hetty’s squad had saved on NCIS: Los Angeles Season 10 Episode 3.
Kamal would have done anything for Hetty, but even he needed more proof than her say-so.
Fortunately, after that misstep with the truffle hunters, Kensi and Company were able to deliver that proof just in time.
The party scene was a nice capper, with Hetty a contented matriarch while watching the tableaux play out in front of her.
As she talked with Sam and Callen, it was clear she was happy to be back on the throne.
It’s intriguing to see what’s keeping Sam and Callen in Tel Aviv next episode.
The episode offered no closure, or promise when it came to Harm and Mac.
Mac hinted at something more in her short talk with Harm. Harm mentioned something about an NCIS post in San Diego, although he didn’t seem very interested.
Related: Get CBS All Access via Amazon Channels for Hit Shows, Exclusive Originals & Live TV!
CBS did everything in its power to ensure its military-legal drama The Code was DOA. So there’s certainly a genre opening for a JAG reboot.
But whatever would be its premise, with both the lead characters seemingly content with their lives as they are?
To review the Harm-Mac triology, watch NCIS: Los Angeles online.
What did you think of the Harm/Mac reunion?
Which pairing did you like best?
Do you enjoy when the team is split up and goes on separate missions?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.