Perhaps this episode will mark the beginning of Fatima’s metamorphosis.
What a female Muslim submariner ended up enduring on NCIS: Los Angeles Season 14 Episode 12 caused Fatima to doubt her faith.
For Fatima, the new of being at OSP has long ago worn off. Being with NCIS has too often shown her the dark underside of life, leading her to become more jaded than her junior partner, Rountree.
But the case of Lt. Zahra Mahmad hit particularly close to home for Fatima.
Like Fatima, fellow Muslim Zahra had done everything right to be accepted in the United States. According to her commanding officer, Captain Alonso, Zahra had become an exemplary officer.
On a side note, why was Kilbride trying to recruit Alonso for NCIS? Is this a storyline that will immediately be dropped because of the show’s impending conclusion, or is it a future direction for the franchise?
Pro Hall of Fame football player Tony Gonzalez, who played Alonso, gets added to that list of actors who have portrayed different characters on separate series in the NCIS franchise. He also played NCIS Special Agent Tony Francis on four episodes of NCIS from 2014 to 2016.
Based on the circumstances, Zahra’s disappearance was immediately linked to her involvement with an upcoming top-secret mission, which certainly made sense.
Alonso being evasive with Kilbride put unnecessary pressure on the team to find Zahra in a ridiculously short time to save a SEAL team from a dangerous mission.
Fortunately, Kilbride knew people. In this case, it was Col. Jackson Ladd, the double amputee Kilbride had saved from the bottle back on NCIS: Los Angeles Season 14 Episode 2.
Thanks to Kilbride’s influence, Ladd had landed at the Space Force with an impressibly long title that told little about what he actually does. But what he did have that Kilbride needed was the proper security clearance.
Kilbride’s calling in a favor allowed him to establish that Zahra’s abduction had nothing to do with her position and everything to do with her religion.
The team probably should have figured that out sooner. But an honor killing wouldn’t quickly spring to any agent’s mind, even Fatima’s.
Understandably, the agents were confused by some developments in the case, including Zahra withdrawing $20,000 in cash and her boyfriend being restrained and tortured. Since Ted was deeply in debt, it was impossible to say who laid the beatdown on him and if it connected to Zahra’s disappearance.
But once they established who had rented the SUV that was sighted outside of Ted’s house and was used in Zahra’s abduction, it became clear that Zahra was in over her head.
Zahra’s peril was all thanks to a marriage arranged by her family. Surprisingly, it wasn’t organized by her family, who acted squirrelly while questioned by Kensi and Deeks.
They must have been aware of the arranged marriage, but they seemed more concerned with their son, Omar, who they couldn’t admit had dropped out of college in London.
Nope, Zahra’s situation arose from her falling in love with someone outside her faith. So she planned to buy her way out of the marriage with that $20,000.
Instead, her uncle, who had arranged the marriage, sent three of her cousins, members of an ultraconservative Islamic militia, to kill her for her defiance to restore her family’s honor.
Unfortunately, all this intel came late in the game, resulting in Kensi and Fatima being in the right place at precisely the wrong time. They were outnumbered and outgunned, all the while attempting to protect Zahra’s parents.
Not appreciating the uppity females, the three Muslim gunmen chopped them down and took them to the uncle’s recently-acquired junkyard.
This event led to that heartstopping finale when Sam and Callen could not reach the car containing Fatima and Kensi before it blew up. Of course, the female agents barely escaped in time.
But that was especially hard on Deeks, exiled to Ops by Kilbride. Might this be the first step toward Deeks deciding to move into another line of work?
It was refreshing to see the two female agents take down the misogynist Muslim leader, Hasan, and rescue Zahra, with Sam and Callen finally cleaning up afterward.
All of what transpired over the day left Fatima conflicted. Sam attempted to get her to see the good in the world but admitted that change was far too slow to come.
Fatima seems dissatisfied and ready for something new but what? There are about three months left to determine the answer to that question.
The episode did an efficient job deploring honor killings without being overly preachy.
It was surprising to see that Fatima was still in touch with ONI Officer Akhil Ali, introduced on NCIS: Los Angeles Season 13 Episode 5.
Ali had agreed to a meal with Fatima but had only been mentioned in passing since then.
It had appeared to be a lousy pairing back then, and it remained so now. Ali is way out over his skis in a relationship with Fatima.
He’s a comfortable, nonthreatening option for her. But how long before she’s looking for someone more exciting? Like maybe her partner, Rountree?
To follow Fatima’s relationship with Akhil, watch NCIS: Los Angeles online.
How long before you determined that Zahra’s disappearance was religious in nature?
Why did this case hit Fatima especially hard?
Should Fatima move on from Akhil?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.