Monday, March 12, 2012

"In the Bullpen" with @phillydi - Kensi Blye

Welcome back to In the Bullpen!

That’s our Girl!

   Kensi Blye. When the character was first introduced almost three years ago on NCISLA, we had no idea how complicated and intriguing this woman would turn out to be. With the two-part episode, Blye K., we finally found out what makes Kensi tick. The episode revealed a troubled young woman who has just learned that everything she knew about her father was wrong. Now she is determined to clear his name and bring his murderer to justice-no matter the cost. Kensi almost lost it all…her career, the respect of her peers, the trust of her partner and the belief in herself. Talk about a gutsy lady. Now that she has made it through this incredible journey, how will the experience change her and what lessons has she learned? Fictionista 48 and I decided it would be fun to speculate on what the future has in store for our favorite female agent.

   The story began when Kensi was only a teenager and her mother stole her away from a beloved father she treasured. I wondered what kind of courage and fortitude it would take for such a young girl to run away from a loving mother just so she could reunite with the parent she so closely identified. Kensi was definitely daddy’s little girl…but make no mistake, she was her own person as well ….independent, resourceful and wise beyond her years. Her father left her quite able to take care of herself. But the adolescent that grew into the vibrant woman we all learned to know and love was also a lost soul. Now that she has avenged her father’s murder, she can begin to heal the wounds from this tragic event and bring closure to a very painful period in her life. It was a dangerous gamble but Kensi was willing to risk it all. Fortunately, with the help of the NCISLA team, she forged a new future, one bright with possibilities. What does the future hold for Kensi now that she has gone through this life-altering experience? Let’s start with probably the most important relationship in her life and how it will affect her partnership with Deeks.

If you're on the run alone, desperately looking for answers, seeking either justice or revenge, and terrified you're facing death, who do you call? If you're Kensi Blye, you call your partner. But you don't call for backup. You don't call to beg for help. You call for the sound of his voice. Because something about that supportive sound reassures you, and reminds you who you are. And with the strength that voice brings, you get up and face what awaits you.
   Kensi Blye was a complicated character well before the revelations about her father came about. She was deeply layered with issues and doubts and misgivings about relationships, and she was just the right kind of quietly messed-up. She'd lost her hero, her mentor, her best friend. Her father had been everything to her. And losing him did things to her that would undoubtedly change who and what she was forever. Add to that, an estranged mother and the loss of her first partner, and our favorite female agent had serious issues long before these latest monumental episodes. Then, the bombs dropped.
   When her world fell out from beneath her, there was only one person she truly trusted, and she told him as much. Pleading with Deeks to get her mother to safety, we saw a more fragile, more desperate Kensi than we ever have before. We got a glimpse of who she was before she became the badass agent we all know and love. And it looked good on her, that human side. Vulnerability isn't something we often see in Kensi, but when we see it, it's undoubtedly with her partner and best friend at her side. And the past two episodes were no different.
   No one knows where their relationship is going, but it's incredible to watch as they figure it out a little further each week. Even when things are at their worst, Deeks is able to make her laugh, to take the weight off for just an instant. Just long enough to make her know with certainty that she can count on him. Trust has steadily built between them in the past two seasons. Not only trust with her life, but with her heart, it seems lately. That trust even survived the lie that he had been fired. But it always seemed tentative. Fragile. In these past two episodes, though, she's grown to depend on him more and more as a friend, an ally, and not just her NCIS partner. Now, I think, that trust has been cemented by his unconditional and unwavering support of her, and belief in her, even as she went rogue. A fact that could very possibly change things between them.
   Perhaps after this, her trust issues will be resolved. Perhaps not. After all, she thought she knew her father inside and out. She remembered him with honor and pride, without a single doubt about his character. And she was proven wrong. In the end, she once again sees him as her hero, as the honorable man she knew him to be. And she realizes her mother only lied to protect her. The logical question now would be, how well can she really know a person? Is anyone who she thinks they are? How well does she know Deeks? He's just as complicated as she is, and I imagine she may second-guess her trust in him at some point, whether it's intentional or not. I don't think she has a choice. It's been who she is for far too long.

   We love the flirty, dangerous, give-and-take that is Kensi and Deeks. The banter that leaves us just as frustrated as their characters must surely be at the end of each episode. But what will come of it now that Kensi has been misled by the most important man in her history? How will it change how she sees the future, knowing her early life had been filled with lies? That not only had her father lied to her, but her mother had, as well. How will it affect the way she moves forward? And what will it do to that incredible, chemistry-filled thing she has with Marty Deeks?
   He's always been there for her, since the beginning of their strange, sexually charged, odd-couple partnership, even as she pushed him away. And I don't see that changing. If anything, I think he'll try even harder to weasel his way into her armor and break down those defenses she may still try to reinforce. And I think deep down, she'll to want him to. Even need him to. They get each other, these two broken, damaged, complex characters. They may not know everything about one another yet, but it seems they don't really need to. Somehow, they just understand. And it's pure magic.
   Kensi is one of the toughest, strongest, most kick-ass characters on TV today. But even the strong have moments of weakness. Of fear. Of self-doubt. Was that why the one call she made before contacting her nemesis was Deeks? Because in her weakness and fear, he was her strength? I can imagine a lot of that in her future, with all these new revelations, and I see Deeks at her side, easing her through it with the innuendo and charm, laughter and understanding his character is famous for. How will the past two episodes affect Kensi? It might be a bumpy road ahead for her. But, she has Deeks to hold onto, and I imagine she'll do just that. And that's exactly the way we like them. United. Whether as partners, or eventually something more.

   Now that Kensi’s primary reason for joining NCIS is no longer a factor in staying at the job, how will this affect her career going forward? It’s pretty clear she has found her calling as a law enforcement agent among this elite group. She has risen from a junior position to a full-fledged member of the team. They respect her as an equal, and protect her like family. I don’t think that will change. Callen and the team will have no problem acknowledging the strength and tenacity she brought to this dangerous but very personal mission. Whether it was adrenaline or the will to succeed against all odds, this was an incredibly and determined Kensi, one that we’ve never seen before. The way she used both brawn and brain to subdue her predators was fascinating to watch. For the first time she became the lone wolf and the team was scrambling like crazy just to keep up with her. Actually, Callen surmised all along that Kensi was the one running the show and her father’s killer didn’t stand a chance as she relentlessly pursued him. They have always had faith in her ability to handle herself in difficult situations, but now there was no question in her ability to match them on every level. Just look at the half smiles on the collective team’s faces when Granger tells them she has escaped protective custody. The only thing missing was a communal fist pump! Kensi brought her ‘A’ game to this long-term mission, which means she will never again have to prove herself. She has the skills and mind set to become a senior member of the team and one day lead a new generation of field agents. I can also see her wanting to work with kids who have had a parent taken away from them under tragic circumstances. Who better to empathize with their pain and suffering? Kensi is definitely the poster girl for indomitable women everywhere and has much to share with the world around her.

   Despite all of this, it’s easy to forget how young Kensi is, and how much she has yet to learn. Kensi is a work in progress and it will take time to ease into this newfound confidence, as some of her doubts and insecurities will resurface from time to time. Fortunately during those times she has a fabulous mentor and role model in Hetty. Wouldn’t we all like to have a Hetty in our back pocket? She will always be able to count on her friend to stand up for her and alongside her when needed. Hetty understood that despite Kensi’s being “determined and lethal” she needed a friend more than a partner. Until now Hetty played the mother figure that was sorely missing from Kensi’s life. With Kensi and her estranged mother moving towards reconciliation, it will be interesting to see how their relationship plays out. Yes, it could be awkward at first, but I think they will fully reconcile and Kensi will once again have the security of a close family member in her life.

   What about Granger? Who would have anticipated him to become Kensi’s new champion? It looks like the assistant director will be sticking around -- much to Hetty’s chagrin. But that doesn’t mean he’ll make life easy for the new Kensi. He’s going to drive every member of the team just as hard as before, testing their mettle and skillfulness every step of the way.
   Now that Kensi can put the sad death of her father behind her life will never be the same. But as Sam says, that’s a good thing. There is no doubt she will stay at NCIS for now because she’s good at her job and she knows she can make a difference. When facing future bad guys, to paraphrase Deeks, “It sucks for them.” Kensi knows her net worth. And now she has some resolution to the driving issue that was preventing her from moving forward in her career and personal life. As Hetty said to Kensi, “Why you came to NCIS isn’t important but it’s what you do moving forward from here. You’re not who your past says you are….you’re who you choose to be.” I think it’s a pretty safe bet that Kensi will choose to become an honorable and spirited woman and one her father would definitely be proud of.

   How appropriate when Sam recited the gospel of John to Callen which says “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” Now this truth will allow Kensi to explore a whole new life with her team, her partner and the world around her. Amen.

Thanks to Fictionista 48 for helping me out this week and another big thank you to Lynn H. for her support and input to this column!
And of course a shout out to sindee, our fearless team leader for being at the helm!

Come back next time for In the Bullpen when Maxie Kay and I answer the burning question: Romance or Bromance? Which do you prefer?

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Anonymous said...

Nice reflection on the things that happened the last few episodes! I watched some earlier episodes and it's a slow but clear development of friendship between Kensi and Deeks. As in real live these things can't be managed, you have to commit or you don't, the dynamics between these two will change either way. That's the downside of this sexual tension.
The writers have to go all the way, you can't keep these developments on a personal level apart from the normal grow of people. Look at the silly NCIS-character of Tony, after 9 (!) years being an agent still a clown. Not realistic for someone his age and live experience. I know it's just a TV-show, but it doesn't feel right.
IMO it would not be realistic to keep the attraction between Kensi and Deeks as it is for the next few years. If things don't work out between them there will be a change in the team.
Both actors have ambition to play on the big screen, it wouldn't surprise me if one (or both) of them pursue a career outside the world of television.

Just my two cents ;)

Diane said...

Good ideas and I agree with your assesment! Thanks for your thoughts...Di