Kensi's still not physically strong enough to come back to the force full-time, as evidenced by her training sessions with Nell (Renee Felice Smith), but she did snap out of her funk long enough to drop by the office holiday party with homemade cookies to the surprise of everyone, including Deeks (Eric Christian Olsen).
It's clear that the comeback was as much about Kensi wanting to see her old pals as it was about her wanting to remind them all that her leave of absence is temporary, since it seems like Anna (Bar Paly) is getting quite cozy in her spot as Kensi's unofficial replacement. That point was hammered home with a mildly amusing (albeit ridiculous) fantasy sequence in which Kensi sparred with Anna, first verbally and then physically, eventually throwing her into a table of holiday treats. Ah, office politics.
But in reality, their encounter went much more smoothly, with Anna telling Kensi that she's as eager for her to come back as everyone else is, and that things just aren't the same without her around. And it's good that these two can play nice, as it seems like Anna may be sticking around for a while even once Kensi does come back full-time. Callen (Chris O'Donnell) invites her to Christmas dinner, the first one he'll be spending with his father, and if that's not an indication that sparks are flying between these two, I don't know what is. (Either that or Callen just wants a buffer for his first awkward family holiday.)
At the beginning of the episode, Callen and Hetty (Linda Hunt) have a conversation in which Callen notes that the team has only 30 days left on their deadline to identify the mole. Hetty responds by noting that she works well under pressure, like Mozart. I think it's a safe assumption that Hetty's investigation has not turned up any leads so far.
And in Nell and Eric (Barrett Foa) developments, Nell is thrilled to hear that she got into a Women in Technology mentorship program, but unfortunately, it coincides with a Dickens fair in which Eric is performing. Beale is super bummed -- not because Nell is choosing to go to the mentorship program over his performance, but because he didn't know she had applied for it in the first place. Nell reminds him that, just because they're in a relationship (which apparently they are, officially), they don't need to know everything about each other's lives. To reiterate, she gives him a gift of a pendulum clock, which will keep time on its own but fall into sync with another pendulum clock if they're placed on the same wall. Symbolic! That seems to placate Eric for now.
As we head into the holiday hiatus, ponder this question: Do we think Sam (LL Cool J) was happier about Kensi's return, or finally scoring Hamilton tickets?
NCIS: LA returns with new episodes in January.
(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS.)