'NCIS: Los Angeles' Winter Finale Recap: Why Did Someone Take Down the Entire Power Grid for West LA?
'NCIS: Los Angeles' Winter Finale Recap: Why Did Someone Take Down the Entire Power Grid for West LA?
Meredith Jacobs
Meredith Jacobs
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
It's time to celebrate the holidays in the winter finale of NCIS: Los Angeles season 9 -- well, once the team investigates a ransomware attack that takes out the entire power grid for west LA. Who's behind it and why?

Also in this episode, titled "All is Bright," Nell is determined to decorate for the holidays (but Mosley's against it), Callen finds a stranger where Finn should be, and Kensi and Deeks disagree about presents this year.

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Elsewhere, it's the first holiday season for the Hanna family without Michelle, but Sam still plans to spend it on his boat. With his kids coming into town, however, Eric suggests he at least get a hotel room (it can be a staycation), and Callen opens up his house to the family (to stay or just for Christmas dinner).

While Sam does take Eric's advice and gets a hotel room, he's decided that he knows he and the kids need to figure out the holidays without Michelle on their own.

They Just Wanted to Decorate for the Holidays

Eric and Nell just want to bring some holiday cheer (in the form of a decorated, very lit palm tree), but Harley warns them that Mosley won't like it. And when the power goes out in the building once they turn the lights on, they worry they're to blame and flee the scene.

The real cause of the power grid from the Palisades to Playa Vista going dark is a ransomware attack on Westside Electric, and those responsible want 20 million in bitcoin to release the system. Since NCIS is in the center of the blackout zone, they need to be sure they weren't the intended target. And they have to investigate while dealing with traffic and everything that goes along with a power outage.

While the hack seems to have originated in Ukraine and Nell found a Cyrillic character unique to the Russian alphabet, a native wouldn't make that mistake, so someone could be trying to push them in the wrong direction. At Westside Electric, Eric discovers that whoever hacked in was advanced and had access to every password needed, so they could be looking at an inside man. And it just so happens that one of the workers, Edgar, went home sick that morning after clocking in -- and he tries to run when Kensi and Deeks go to his house. She tackles him.

Edgar immediately tells them he's guilty; in fact, he wonders what he has to do to get locked up for longer than he thinks his sentence will be. He hijacked the power grid because a woman at his mother's rehab facility paid him to do so, and he needed the money for her medical bills. However, the woman who paid him didn't seem to even care about the 20 million in bitcoin since she didn't even give him a bank account number.

Once they get security footage of the woman, Sam identifies her as Alicia Fuentes, the sister of the heir of the second largest drug cartel in Mexico. Her brother, Jose, was locked up five years ago, and the bloodshed slowed down. A lot of people can get hurt if she revives the cartel.

For Family

However, once they realize that Jose is in a prison within the blackout zone, Sam and Callen go to talk to him, only to find that the guy in his cell isn't Jose. The three minutes between the outage and the generator kicking in was enough time for a look-alike to be put in his place. It looks like Alicia broke her brother out so he could get back into the family business.

Kensi and Deeks head to Alicia's, only for her to drive off, leaving them to follow on Deeks' motorcycle. Thanks to Kensi's driving (which he hated enough to want to call Uber) and his shooting, they stop the car and get her.

But where's Jose? He wasn't going to run the family business, Alicia reveals. He took the fall for their family, and now she wants to make that sacrifice. Her first memory was watching her father be taken away on Christmas Day. Will that be the memory that Jose's son has?

No, thanks to the team. While they do go undercover at his welcome home party and have to take down a few of his men to get to him, Deeks, dressed as Santa, tells his son that he's needed at the North Pole to help make toys. Callen gives Jose some time with his son while they sort everything out.

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Spreading the Holiday Cheer

Mosley spends most of the episode anti-decorating -- she even burns some tinsel! -- while Nell tries to convince Harley to help her convince the boss to let them have their tree. They don't always get to spend the holidays with their real families, so they spend it with this one -- and this one has been through a lot lately, Nell tells her. They don't have Hetty or Granger there this year, so they need this.

And when the team returns after closing the case, Mosley and Nell have gone all out and decorated HQ and made eggnog.

Though Kensi and Deeks disagree about how to celebrate this year -- she suggests they only get one present each since they have to save money for their wedding -- they decide in the end to compromise since that is what most successful marriages are based on. This year, they'll do it Kensi's way. But next year, Deeks plans to go all out.

As for Mosley, it's easy to see why she may not be in the most festive mood, considering she's not spending the holidays with her kid. (All she has is a photo.) Like she says to Sam at one point, they all put up walls, and that doesn't mean there aren't surprises behind them.   

Before Assuming the Worst...

Finally, Callen discovers that Finn's been renting out the apartment he leased under his alias' name. Nell ran his financial records not linked to Dexter, and he owns a van, which was ticketed twice that week. (Callen insists that he does not have Mad Dad face, like Deeks says he does, since he's not his dad or mad. But he does at least a little bit.)

When Callen finds the van, he thinks that Finn stole the items inside. But as he learns later on, Finn's been renting out the apartment so he could buy presents for the other kids at the shelter. He wanted to give them one year where they weren't reminded that they were passed over. Callen joins him in passing out the gifts. Anyone else want to see more Finn?


What did you think of this season's holiday episode? How would you compare it to the previous ones? Were you happy to see Finn again? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

NCIS: Los Angeles season 9 returns Sunday, January 7, 2018, at 9/8c on CBS. Want more news? Like our NCIS Facebook page.

(Image courtesy of CBS)