It was a thought-provoking flashback double-header.
For Sam, it was an ending. For Callen, it was more of a revelation.
Sam ended up getting drafted into a case of Lance Hamilton, Sam’s favorite agent at another agency.
Sam and Lance go way back, with Lance even trying to recruit Sam into the Department of Justice at one point.
They might even be a better pairing than Sam and Callen if that’s not blasphemous to say.
Anyway, Lance had a big ask of Sam this time out as part of a compelling case.
The son of a southern crimelord, looking to get out of the business, offered to sell a notebook of his late father’s, which listed all the dirty federal agents he had on the take.
Lance’s young partner Scott bought the notebook, but he got shot and killed, and the notebook was stolen.
Scott’s dying words were the name Percy Vander, who was the mentor to Sam’s undercover persona Switch.
Throughout, the operative question was whether Sam was too sympathetic toward Vander or if he would be able to take down Vander.
As Kilbride pointed out, undercover agents sometimes get too close to those they are investigating, and the lines blur.
Reactivating Switch wasn’t without an element of risk for Sam. He hadn’t used the persona since NCIS: Los Angeles Season 9 Episode 19.
After being reassured by Dana King that she hadn’t spilled his secret, Sam brought Switch back to life, as he and Lance robbed a Korean biker gang to announce his return.
Sam said all the right things during the investigation. Yet, in the end, he tried to save Vander from himself. But Vander had nothing doing with being arrested, choosing to be cut down by Lance instead.
Even though Sam was aware of all the bad that Vander had done through the years, he remembered the good times they had had together and mourned him.
With Sam on a mission with his buddy Lance and Callen tailing his former foster mother, that left the rest to take down a not-so-bright aerospace engineer attempting to sell classified schematics.
Despite the superior intellect of which she seemed so proud, Ryan was dumb enough to think that all she had to do was create a website on the dark web, and criminals would come flocking to her to buy what she was offering.
Fatima correctly pointed out that anything that looked too good to be true would appear to be entrapment to criminals, who wouldn’t buy from someone without a proven track record.
This case of the week felt like just so much filler.
At least the second episode tied into the storyline of Callen tracking Katya while attempting to learn more about his past.
How odd for the team to be pulled into art theft, although the concept of artwork being sold to fund terrorism certainly wasn’t a new one.
No, what made this case interesting was that Katya had a vault in the storage facility that got robbed, and whatever was in her vault got taken.
So for that reason alone, Callen was in.
The best part about the episode was the return of Kim Cho, last seen on NCIS: Los Angeles Season 11 Episode 5.
Kim had never guessed that the then undercover Kensi was a federal agent. So Kim was willing to make some calls for Kensi while spreading snark all around.
After hearing the description of the man who bribed appraiser Elena, Kim was able to give Kensi Gerard Dupont, who became a key if reluctant part of solving the case.
Kensi’s art background came in handy when she uncovered the stolen work of art necessary to get Gerard to cooperate.
The slippery Gerard admitted that he had been hired by Katya using one of her many aliases. But he doublecrossed her, instead selling the haul to an art fence, Hieronymous.
Somehow, Gerard was able to get Callen, dressed in a sportscoat, into an art auction featuring all manner of the criminal elite.
Naturally, that went sideways when Gerard substituted a fake for one of the pieces. Still, Callen, Fatima, and Roundtree were enough to capture all involved (but Gerard) without damaging any of the precious artwork.
Most importantly, Callen recovered the film reel from Katya’s vault, which Hieronymous had considered junk.
That film continued Callen’s trip through his repressed memories. First, he recalled his foster mother turning him over to Hetty. Then he remembered being punished just like the girls in Katya’s Noble Maidens film.
Also, Kensi and Deeks inched closer again to getting a child.
Rosa, who Kensi rescued on NCIS: Los Angeles Season 13 Episode 8, was taken in by a distant relative, temporarily dashing their hopes again.
But Rosa left Kensi a gift of a worry doll with Pilar, another girl looking for a home.
Can’t you read the writing on the wall?
To revisit Kensi and Deeks’ parental journey, watch NCIS: Los Angeles online.
Is Switch gone for good?
Is Callen getting closer to the truth?
How many episodes until Kensi and Deeks start fostering Pilar?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.