Spoilers ahead for Episode 17 of NCIS: Los Angeles Season 10, called "Till Death Do Us Part."
The much-hyped wedding episode of NCIS: Los Angeles finally delivered the event that many fans have been waiting for all season: the marriage of Kensi and Deeks. The characters went from reluctant partners to friends to love interests, and they got to tie the knot after nine years. The episode did more than deliver the nuptials, however, as it also delivered the return of a beloved character who has been missing for almost the entire tenth season: Hetty Lange.
Yes, Hetty is back! Fans who were worried that the longtime leader of the Los Angeles branch of NCIS would miss one of the biggest events in the show's history had to be relieved when she turned up. Here's how the show pulled it off. Buckle up, because it is a wedding day ride. Hetty Lange got to save the day!
In true NCIS: LA fashion, "Till Death Do Us Part" saved the big Hetty reveal until toward the end of the episode, which was filled with all kinds of action even as Kensi and Deeks prepared to drop their "I dos" in front of friends, family, loved ones, and of course, the various criminals who just had to crash the wedding.
Deeks got a surprise visitor in the form of Anatoli Kirkin, who continues to carry a torch for Deeks, much to the amusement of Sam, Callen, and yours truly. Seriously, if NCIS: Los Angeles was going to bring back a recurring bad guy for the wedding episode, could there have been a more perfect baddie than Kirkin?
Kirkin tried to give Deeks an out on the wedding; unsurprisingly, Deeks wanted to go ahead and marry the woman he loves rather than run off with the Russian mobster. Fortunately, Callen and Sam were on the scene (along with Nell and Eric) and all-hands-on-deck to guarantee that the wedding went off with as few hitches as possible. It fell to them to deal with the various other mobsters who turned up at the wedding to try and get their hands on wedding crasher Kirkin.
One throwdown at the venue, damaged wedding dress, and ass-kicking from Kensi in her formalwear, and the agents were still in trouble, as some bad guys had Deeks, Sam, and Callen at gunpoint. Luckily and awesomely, this was the time for Hetty to save the day! Never subtle when it comes to big moments, Hetty plowed through the wall in a car and took out the criminals, freeing up Kensi and Deeks to finally tie the knot.
Yes, Kensi and Deeks were ready to say their vows, and Hetty wasn't done contributing. She was on board as the officiant, and she got a kiss from both the bride and groom for bringing them together. Despite all the odds -- and a morning rain shower -- the wedding was a beautiful beach affair with Hetty back, Kirkin in attendance without objecting, and none of the good guys getting shot. Kensi's damaged wedding dress even looked great!
Hetty came back to marry Kensi and Deeks! What a far cry from the days when Kensi and Deeks were concerned that they wouldn't be able to work together if they became public as a couple.
In case you were wondering what Hetty was up to for the last 15 or so episodes, Hetty wasn't feeling forthcoming. When Callen and Sam asked at the reception where she'd been and what she'd been doing, she simply said that because she cared about them and this was a day for love and happiness, she wasn't going to spill the beans. Hetty returned, but there are still a lot of mysteries.
Before "Till Death Do Us Part," Hetty hadn't appeared on screen since the Season 10 premiere, when she managed to pull off a minor miracle and stop some of the agents from being killed. A lot has happened since then, and all signs pointed toward the character returning in the not-terribly-distant future.
When actress Linda Hunt explained why she wasn't appearing in Season 10 as the episodes passed, she did state that she would be back before the end of the season. Daniela Ruah, who plays Kensi, more recently confirmed that fans could "expect to see her sometime this season." Still, neither actress (or any other member of the cast) revealed that Hetty's very special return would be in the very special episode.
The episode didn't reveal whether or not Hetty would be sticking around. It's possible that NCIS: LA only managed to bring back Linda Hunt so that she could participate in the pivotal episode, and Hunt still needs time to recover from last summer's accident. Besides, Hetty has plenty of contacts and such a shady past that it's never difficult to believe when she has to disappear to deal with an issue.
Then again, the episode didn't show Hetty running off into the night, saying goodbye to any of the agents, or leaving a message before slipping away. Could she be back for good? Only time will tell. As she intended, the episode was a happy affair. It finally revealed the contents of The Box as a letter from Kensi along with her father's wedding ring, in a gesture so sweet and touching that Deeks immediately started crying and worrying that his vows were going to be totally inadequate.
"Till Death Do Us Part" didn't actually show their vows in entirety, but they did include nods to some of the most unforgettable Densi moments of the whole series, including the "sunshine and gunpowder" line and Deeks' mostly-asleep suggestion back in Season 5 that their story is "a love story." Oh, NCIS: LA-style romance! Now, how about that honeymoon?