Another good, solid, enjoyable episode with a pretty good plot, some good team interaction and relationships, and a nice mix of emotion. Also an episode that answered one question and raised others.
As McGee is, along with Abby, my equal third favourite character (behind my beloved Gibbs and Ducky who are equal first), a McGee-centric episode has to be good, and this was.
Once again at least one of the baddies might as well have been walking around with a sign on her head saying 'I'm a baddie'; maybe I just watch/read too many crime shows/books, but as soon as we saw the cheerleaders, it was obvious that they weren't there just to give DiNozzo something to ogle.
It was good to see his little sister, nice to know that DPB can be consistent and not forget that in See No Evil, he 'introduced' the fact that McGee had a little sister to us. It was also clear that Sarah wasn't going to be guilty of murder, and that she had somehow been drugged, despite it not showing up in the tests. It was also clear that she was going to do a runner when McGee left her for a few seconds. Interesting that McGee has a mug with a picture of his and Sarah's grandma on it - again a nice little touch. It's these little insights into the agents' lives that are so well done and so interesting.
McGee is clearly very devoted to his sister and loves her very much, as he was prepared to protect her, lie for her, cover up and try to solve things himself, and even resign for her. The scene when he stood up to Jenny was a good one, even if it was, as Gibbs told him, her manipulating McGee to force him to resign, because she has to protect NCIS.
McGee's season secret does indeed seem to have been, as I suggested in an early review, that fact that he has come into money from selling his book. A fun little twist that not only is the lead character based on Gibbs, but he has at least two other members of the team in it. With regard to the book, keeping in line with Gibbs's omniscience, I'd say that him handing McGee his own book and telling him to read it, was pretty much him saying that he knew McGee had written it. He does, as he made clear to Sarah, know that McGee writes.
Ziva seemed a little hurt by the fact that Gibbs and DiNozzo were bothered by the fact that McGee was a little late, when she pointed out that she was missing for a few hours before anyone bothered about her. But he is indeed punctual and always where he should be, so when he isn't, antenna begins to twitch.
Nice little piece of humour when we saw that Gibbs had 63 unread emails, including the one from McGee.
A nice scene in the lift between Gibbs and McGee, as well as before it when McGee was riding up and down just waiting for Gibbs. Gibbs really does care passionately about his team, as we know, and he really showed it during that 'meeting'. He was hurt that McGee hadn't gone to him for help, that bothered him more than McGee trying to cover up for his sister. However, he understood fully why, after McGee had told him and basically shown him how much he loved Sarah; his 'apology accepted', told us that.
He's taught McGee well, and that was also shown when he tried to leave McGee behind, and McGee comes back with his comment about how does Gibbs know he won't work the case from home, which basically forces Gibbs to take him with him (which of course he had to do so that McGee could see the empty fish tank).
Gibbs's caring for McGee was also shown in the way he interrogated Sarah; also he showed how well he knew people. He knew that she didn't need his more gentle approach, she needed to be jolted, and in many ways, McGee was the way to do it.
An interesting exchange when he told her that she was not able to hold on to the film clips because she didn't want to, and when she asked him why, he said because he'd been there. A hint of something to come? Is the 'been there' only to do with Shannon and Kelly? Or maybe tied in with the whole Paris affair and the man Jenny killed (although maybe DPB has forgotten all about that).
Also he showed it by how quiet he was during the scene with Jenny and McGee. Also in the way he simply picked up McGee's gun and badge and went after him and told him not to dare let anyone manipulate you like that again, not even the Director.
So do we assume that DPB just forgot that Abby and McGee had told Gibbs in An Eye For An Eye what a blog was (i.e another inconsistency)? Or do we just assume that Gibbs had forgotten what one was? Given that earlier in the season McGee was surprised by the fact that Gibbs had explained something relatively technical and when he expressed his surprise, Gibbs said that it was being around McGee for so long, sadly I suspect it was another inconsistency.
Also an interesting little final line from Gibbs when he tells McGee 'Sometimes, McGee, a little lie is good for the soul', when Sarah is embracing the cheerleader Jeff Petty left her for, and telling her that Jeff had told Sarah how much he loved her, how she was his soul-mate.
Well now, DiNozzo . . . Nice how he made Sarah laugh by talking about hot girls; for once his blatant flirting with anything in a skirt was well placed; it was what Sarah needed.
At one point, when Ziva told Gibbs that the Director had sent DiNozzo home because he felt sick, I was convinced that it was proof that the girl he's dating is indeed part of his undercover operation, the one about which he and Jenny know.
And this, at first, carried over into the scene between him and her when she was asking him why he hadn't tried to sleep with her, despite the fact that they'd been dating for a month and it was their eleventh date. Although, having said that, when she came out with 'the month' it made me think that maybe she wasn't his undercover case, as that case has been going on for a lot longer than a month, as it started whilst Gibbs was away - and we know we was away for four months. So...
However, then we move on to the scene when he goes to Jenny and asks her advice (because the only other person he could go to was Gibbs and he knows Gibbs's track record with women) and talks about how important the woman was and that fact that he hadn't done what he normally did; but how attracted he was to her and vice versa.
Now unless that was a coded conversation between them, with him in effect telling her that the undercover operation girl now wanted him to sleep with her', etc. etc. then it points to the fact that the girl isn't part of the operation, and that it's a genuine relationship. And yet the intense eye-contact between DiNozzo and Jenny could be explained away by it all being a code (unless they are really attracted to one another). Really, I know that it has to be undercover, DiNozzo would hardly go to Jenny for advice; and he was telling her how far the case had got, but even so...
I'm left in a state of 'I really don't know', having been certain she was his undercover operation, moving to 'she most certainly isn't, I'm now havering. Hence the raising more questions. Interesting.
Nice bit of humour when DiNozzo was trying to operate the feed and get to the correct place and failing. Fun, but another one of those minor inconsistencies, I think; I seem to recall him being able to work it at other times. Okay, I know we needed to get McGee back up there, so that he could see the cheerleader go to Sarah's bag, but... Amusing as it was, a little weak, I feel. One of those times when fun was made of DiNozzo in an unnecessary way.
Gibbs and Ducky
So things are still not resolved between them *sigh* (this is really getting boring). We are still 'Gibbs' and 'Doctor Mallard', and yet Gibbs still refers to Ducky as 'Ducky' when talking about him.
However, this week their interaction sparked another 'all is not quite what it seems' thought in me. Up until now, it has been clear that they are at odds with one another, even if we don't quite know why, but this week there were conflicting hints.
The still at odds was clear from the lack of anything outside of work exchanges, and the names (or lack of them). However, when Ziva told Gibbs (who was clearly not happy) that the Director had sent DiNozzo home, their eye contact was firstly intense, and secondly very much like in the first three seasons; they exchanged a look that seemed to go beyond what was necessary, and beyond what we'd seen during the previous episodes in this season. It didn't last for long, but there seemed, to me, to be another conversation going on between them.
They also shared more close and deliberate eye contact in this episode, i.e. they didn't keep their looking at one another to when they knew the other wasn't looking at them, than in other episodes. And, when Ducky was talking about when he was an Officer in the Regiment, Gibbs did smile to himself as Ducky was rambling.
I didn't really care for the fact that Abby was talking to Jenny about her date with Marty and please, Jenny's explanation to Gibbs for why she was in Abby's lab. Really, talk about a weak and totally unbelievable explanation, the Director of NCIS playing 'lab assistant'! Come on, DPB, give us credit, please. You surely could have come up with a better 'lie' than that!
In one way an amusing little scene when Abby was imitating Gibbs and Jenny arguing over her sending DiNozzo home; although I didn't really like it when she said about the kids (hee, fanon again become canon) not liking it when Mom and Dad argued. Yes, we know Gibbs is their 'father', but Jenny is not their 'Mother'. Plus, up until now Abby has shown nothing but mild dislike and a degree of tolerance and not very much respect for Jenny.
And clever Abby again 'solved' the case, by finding out that Sarah had thrown up in the cab, and testing the remains of it to prove that she had been drugged.
Lucky Abby, she gets yet another kiss from Gibbs.
Also her little 'sprung' 'sprang' spring' thing was fun. In fact that whole exchange about the goldfish and 'kicking the habit' was nice humour, whilst also containing useful information.
Ducky calling Abby his 'little lotus blossom', nice.
Interesting that Abby seemed averse to getting Ducky via the link for Gibbs. Just her playing with him, as part of the whole scene? Or has is she trying to force them into the same room at the same time?
A shame there was no Jimmy.
Not as much Ducky or Abby as I would have liked, but then it was McGee's episode.
What there was of Abby was lovely.
Too much Jenny. Even though most of the time she isn't irritating me as much this season, most of the scene with her really aren't that necessary; the one in her office was, of course.
Really good Sarah.