Much like he did his first time around, Thapa passes on some sage advice to Deeks about his relationship with Kensi when he shows up again on “NCIS: Los Angeles” in the Monday, Feb. 23 episode, 616, “Expiration Date.” However, this episode doesn’t have the same hopeful ending for the Gurkha.
This “NCIS: LA” episode is a surprisingly emotional episode – and that’s not even taking into account the fact that Sam is shot in the opening scene and in surgery for a great deal of it. Thapa is back, but unbeknownst to him, he’s a target. Meanwhile, after their relationship has been pretty much completely off-screen since they finally decided to go all in in the Christmas episode, Kensi and Deeks have their first official fight as a couple. The two main plot points known going into the episode – Sam shot, Kensi and Deeks’ fight – play out quite predictably. Obviously Sam isn’t going to die. Obviously Kensi and Deeks aren’t going to break up after just getting together. But that’s okay. It’s still a great episode and not all of it plays out quite as expected.
It all begins when Sam gets shot just after he and Callen run into Thapa while they’re picking up Ella, a scientist defecting from India. Thapa was sent to bring her home – and he refused to kill her, he tells the team – and she has been promised an analyst job in exchange for information on India’s nuclear program. Based on the bullet’s path, Sam wasn’t the target; that could be Ella, to keep her from revealing secrets, or Thapa, to get to Ella. With Ella in their hands, Thapa’s mission is now to help the team, and he recognizes the ballistic algorithms the sniper used because he created it. The only people who are trained to use them are Gurkhas. When he, Deeks and Kensi encounter a group of shooters and Kensi’s fancy knife work saves them from being blown up, they learn that these Gurkhas are no longer Gurkhas. They’re killers for hire, and Thapa’s their target.
Callen’s been busy trying to get answers out of Ella because he knows that she’s hiding something, going so far as to tell her Sam’s dead and the CIA no longer wants to deal, but before Callen can make any real progress, her CIA handler shows up and puts a stop to it. He also bans Thapa from going near Ella after he attacks her trying to get answers about what’s really going on and why he’s really there (and he doesn’t need that blade or gun he leaves outside the room). After that, they have to figure out if Ella’s a double agent and everything that has happened is just a setup to make her seem more valuable to the CIA. But first, they have to deal with a team of Gurkhas at the hospital because Ella put a tracker on Thapa, which means that Sam’s pretty much right out of surgery and his life’s in danger again. The team comes out on top, but it’s at a high price, as Thapa takes a bullet, and there’s no coming back from this one like last time. There’s also no way Ella can explain her way out of that one, and the CIA isn’t bailing her out anymore, so Callen is going to get the information he wants.
As for Kensi and Deeks’ first fight, it comes the morning after she introduces him to her friends, which she says “was a mistake.” As she explains it later to Thapa, who becomes Densi’s couples therapist, freaking out when meeting her best friends leads to wondering if he accepts all of her or just part of her. (Then Deeks tells her she sounds “crazy,” which is just a big NO in the relationship handbook that these two will never read/follow.) One minute, she’s kissing up his arm, the next, any and all cuddling is over and she’s telling him they’re moving too fast. This is Densi, so that makes sense. “We are around each other every day,” she points out. “We see each other every night.” To all of that, his reply is it’s “awesome.” “This isn’t normal,” she argues. “We’re not normal,” he argues back. “Our fondest moments include Taliban bullet holes and Hetty Lange.”
They both have points. They seem to have gone from putting their “thing” on permanent hold and not discussing it to practically living together, as it sounds to Thapa when Deeks turns to him for advice. They’re spending every day and every night together, and in a way, that is normal because most couples do that in the beginning to make it feel real before it actually is. Their relationship may not be normal, but the speed at which they’re taking it is.
Just like Thapa gave Deeks advice about the frozen lake in season 5’s episode, he has some words of wisdom about what “home” really means, and it’s not a pace. It’s a feeling. “It is my wife’s smile, my children’s laughter, the friendship I never expected,” he explains. “I built my home on these feelings so I’d never have to leave.” “Home is not in the heart,” Deeks realizes. “Home is the heart.”
Later, after the case is over and Thapa has died (RIP Thapa, you will be missed), Deeks and Kensi are on the same page when it comes to spending a night apart every once in a while, and it would be so easy for them to just plan that for another night, for them to put it off since Deeks is dealing with losing Thapa, and sure, he’ll probably call her, but they do still leave for their separate homes. They’re actually talking about their relationship in an adult way, and maybe this makes sitting through all those metaphors worth it.
He begins to tell her what Thapa said – “Smiles are – never mind,” he cuts himself off. Before she leaves, however, he tells her, “Your smile’s so perfect,” and, when she smiles at him, “And there it is.” She leaves, telling him to go home, but “I’m already there,” he says. Home is the heart.
“NCIS: Los Angeles” season 6 airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on CBS. What did you think of episode 16 “Expiration Date”?