'NCIS: Los Angeles' Winter Premiere Recap: The Team Uncovers a Plan That Endangers Thousands of Lives
'NCIS: Los Angeles' Winter Premiere Recap: The Team Uncovers a Plan That Endangers Thousands of Lives
Meredith Jacobs
Meredith Jacobs
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
The team finds a possible connection to cyber-bullying in this episode of NCIS: Los Angeles, but they're thinking too small when they wonder if a victim had been planning to use napalm on a high school. Instead, thousands of lives end up being at risk.

Also in "Under Pressure," Deeks is called back to LAPD for a mandatory active shooter course, which doesn't end up involving a video game like it has in the past. In fact, he returns with a couple of bruises -- though that has nothing on what the rest of the team have to deal with that day -- and disappointed upon hearing how the team solved his "educational activity" that's supposed to hone their skills of deduction.

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Did the Victim Just Want to Stop Cyberbullies?

A brushfire leaves one dead, and next generation military-grade napalm is found at the scene. Once they find the VIN of the victim's motorcycle, they're able to ID him as Zack Fuller and find containers for the ingredients for napalm in his closet. (The best part about this? Martha, who rented him his room, brushes off Harley's statement that they're waiting for a search warrant for his room with the fact that the boy is dead and "do your job.")

Zack started navy boot camp in 2015, without completing basic training. Could he have been seeking revenge on a superior who failed him? That would be a no, as he received glowing reviews and an honorable discharge. The program he was enlisted to work in was replaced with a drone program.

Kensi and Harley follow up with a solar company lead from his room and learn from the father and son who run it that they just provided the panels. Carson tells them that he thinks he saw a book with Arabic writing on it on his desk.

Zack wanted to save the planet and had no digital footprint other than his motorcycle registration, so those who wanted to contact him for his aquarium cleaning business either called Martha or found him at the coffee shop he went to every morning. After dealing with an annoying barista who clearly doesn't like cops -- no, Zack wasn't killed by the police and, no, the barista doesn't need a lawyer -- Sam and Callen learn that he sometimes sat with a girl, Amanda. However, she claims that she shut him down when he tried talking to her about how he hated technology and barely knew him.

Callen calls Amanda the "world's worst liar," but that's what security footage is for, and they see that the two did talk and she had an anonymous gossip site up on her computer. She was being cyber-bullied by people from her high school, and it's possible she wants to retaliate, perhaps by torching the school, with her bullies all in one place.

But if that's the motive, it was something Zack decided to do on his own, as Amanda's shocked to find out that he had napalm. She thinks he liked her since no one else would talk to her and he was mad she was getting bullied. Did he decide to burn down the school to defend her because no one else would help?

The book Carson saw turns out to be in Hindi and on oceanology, so that's a dead end. They do, however, find a receipt for 10 cases of foam coffee cups, an ingredient that can be used in napalm. Once Eric and Nell access the security hard drive for that store, they see him leaving with another man, with his face covered by a cap and hoodie.

After assuring Amanda and her mother that her bullies will be taken care of by LAPD, Sam and Callen head out to deal with the missing napalm, only to be stopped by an explosion in a neighbor's backyard.

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Can the Team Save Thousands?

It was an underground natural gas leak, the fire captain reports ... but was it natural? Amanda reveals that Zack drilled a hole down 30 feet in her backyard the week before, claiming he could shut down the school without hurting anyone thanks to the plugged oil well connected to the natural gas field in the ground. He told her there wouldn't be an explosion, just nausea and headaches, and she thought the month off from school was the break she needed.

But since Zack said he'd try a different location when that didn't seem to work, they wonder if he was planning something bigger. Was he planning to pour napalm down the hole, creating a four-mile blast crater? Could he have been planning something that would destroy thousands of homes and lives? But why would he want to?

Identifying Zack's accomplice gives them something to go on -- Carson, from the father and son solar company. They left the job they had been doing, and there's an 'Out of Business' sign on their company's door, near which Sam and Callen find model rocket engine parts. If they shoot a model rocket down the gas well, it'll ignite in seconds and be even faster with napalm.

Looking into the father and son, Eric and Nell uncover a "911 alert for today" post on a dark website for LA, suggesting people stay away from Bayside until after sunset. They take a drone into the area to search it, and thanks to a map with old oil wells that Mosley gets from a friend, they find Gavin and Carson in a garage. Amanda's with them and tied up.

Gavin and Carson have the rocket rigged, and Gavin's holding a dead man's switch, so the team has to be smart. Off Kensi's request, Sam and Callen stall. They're doing this to save the planet, to wipe out LA's natural gas supply, so they have to convert to solar and wind and to thin the herd. They're planning to die as martyrs, and they kidnapped Amanda because they think Zack told her everything and she tipped off the agents.

Once Kensi and Harley are ready, Sam and Callen make their moves, taking out Gavin and Carson. Kensi and Harley pour cement in through the skylight, dousing the rocket and capping the hole so the napalm can't ignite.

A Man, a Car and a Hotel...

Deeks proposes a game that will make them better special agents. He gives them an enigmatic statement -- "A man pushes his car up to a hotel and says I have no money" -- and the others must ask yes-or-no questions to ascertain the truth. Sam's the first one to get a yes answer when he asks if the guy pushing the car knew the owner of the hotel.

By the time Deeks returns to HQ at the end of the day, the others have solved it: it's a game of Monopoly, and the "car" landed on Boardwalk with a hotel and went bankrupt. How long did it take? As long as it takes to Google something.


What did you think of the case? Do you like seeing Harley in the field with the team? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

NCIS: Los Angeles season 9 airs Sundays at 9/8c on CBS. Want more news? Like our NCIS Facebook page.

(Image courtesy of CBS)