'NCIS: Los Angeles' Season 8 Finale Recap: Does Sam Finally Stop Tahir for Good?
'NCIS: Los Angeles' Season 8 Finale Recap: Does Sam Finally Stop Tahir for Good?
Meredith Jacobs
Meredith Jacobs
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Sam's wife is dead, but Tahir's not done torturing him on NCIS: Los Angeles just yet. The season 8 finale, titled "Unleashed," sees Sam leave behind his team, his partner and his badge in order to track down the man that has been targeting his family in order to make sure he never does anything to them ever again. But the team isn't going to let him do it alone.

And that means putting their grief aside for the immediate future. When Nell wonders when they get to cry, Kensi tells her, When the job is done. When the bad guys are dead." That's when they get to stop and deal with their loss.

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On a happier note, Kensi and Deeks finally make what has technically been unofficial for over a year now -- the first unofficial proposal came in season 7 episode 19, "The Seventh Child" -- official in a way that's perfect for them.

The Hits Just Keep on Coming

Though Callen thinks that Sam should be with his kids following their mother's death, his partner has a much different plan: hurt people until he finds Tahir. Fine, but he won't do it alone -- except that's (sort of) his plan, as he ditches Callen after leaving him outside a mosque. (Callen really should know his partner better and should have seen that coming.) After arming up, Sam joins Sabatino in trying to track down anyone who might know where Tahir could be hiding.

But what Sam doesn't know at this point is that Tahir has made another move: hijacking the coroner's van that was carrying Michelle's body, just another way to torture Sam. So it's probably a good thing that Sam's not with Callen when Eric tells him what happened because Callen knows that his partner would lose it.

It's also a good thing that Kensi and Deeks are the ones to check out the address Nell found connected to the portable refrigerator Michelle had been held in because there are photos of Michelle on the wall, just waiting for Sam to see them. But Sam's not there for that or going to listen to Callen's message to not be a lone wolf (and, yes, he recognizes the irony).

When Callen joins Kensi and Deeks, the three are shot at, with Callen taking a bullet to his vest, but it's not going to keep him down any longer than a short ambulance ride (not to the hospital) away from the scene. (It's not even a real gunshot wound, and Callen would know since he's been shot five times, he explains to the EMT.)

At this point, the fact that Callen's injuries are minor is the best news they have. Everything else is bad news until they finally get a hit on the coroner's van. However, Michelle's body is still missing and all that's inside is a cell phone, which promptly rings once the bomb squad is done checking the van.

It's Tahir, looking for Sam, and Deeks tries to keep him talking while Eric traces the call. He's better off with a live hand grenade in his mouth, Deeks tells Tahir. Sam's hunting him, he says. Can he call him back? Page him?  But Tahir just warns him that if Sam's not on the phone in two minutes, he'll send his wife back to him in pieces.

With Sam still MIA, all the team can do is put together recordings of Sam in hopes of fooling Tahir when he calls back. And for a moment, it looks like their downfall will be a missing adapter to connect the phone to the tablet. Kensi finds it just in time, and they're able to trick Tahir, but there's still one problem: they need to find Sam.  

Sam Needs to Let His Team Help Him

While Sabatino wants to figure out what makes Tahir tick to figure out how to beat him, Sam's just interested in finding Tahir. After figuring out someone who is either bankrolling him or at least knows where he is and forcing him to talk with a little violence and a few threats, Sam has a lead.

This is where he's going to be leaving Sabatino, though the guy thinks he brought him along because he's "expendable," unlike his team. But that's not the case. "I'm the only one that's expendable," Sam explains as he subdues Sabatino and leaves him cuffed to a recycling bin.

Sam does leave Sabatino with his phone, so he calls Callen to give him Sam's location. Upon finding Sam, Callen tells him about the meeting Tahir wants, but the team's not going to let him go alone. "If it's about you, it's about me and everyone else on this team," Callen tells his partner. Let them help him.

As is to be expected, the meeting doesn't go as planned. With Callen, Kensi, Deeks and Nell set up in the area, Sam waits, only for a tour bus to pull up and the driver to tell him to get on and join Tahir in the back. And Tahir's not alone, he assures Sam. He has people on the bus ready to kill the innocent passengers. In his mind, there's nothing Sam can do, especially once he cuffs them together.

That's where the team comes in, with Nell stopping her car right in the bus' path and Kensi shooting the driver when she steps onto the street. Callen gets on the bus to take out Tahir's people. And the team gets the innocent people to safety while Sam pins Tahir to the seat and demands to know where his wife is. Tahir's last move is a suicide vest, but after Callen shoots Tahir's hand off, he and Sam get out of there before the bus explodes.

Michelle's body is found, in a van where the tour bus was hijacked, and Callen joins Sam at the morgue. "My life will never be the same without her," Sam says, putting her ring back on and kissing her forehead. He needs Callen to take care of Hetty and the team until he gets back. He's going to spend time with his kids.

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A Moment of Happiness

In the aftermath of the tour bus explosion, Nell remarks that she can't imagine losing someone like Sam did. Kensi gets a flash bang grenade from someone at the scene, safely detonates it and, after pulling Deeks aside, kneels and puts the pin on his finger.

"Martin Deeks, will you marry me?" Kensi asks, noting that it's 2017 and he had his shot when he protests that the guy is supposed to propose. "Life is really short, Deeks. We saw that today. We see it every day. And I don't know how much time either one of us has left, but I do know this: I want to spend the rest of what I have with you, so what's it gonna be?"

After a very Deeks-like response ("I don't know, this is a lot for a girl to process"), he says yes, though he did think his "ring" would have more bling to it. But she's more bang than bling, she reminds him, as he knows. Sunshine and gunpowder, indeed.


How do you think losing Michelle will change Sam next season? What did you think of Kensi's proposal? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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(Image courtesy of CBS)