Nikki (nakeisha) wrote in ncis_gibbsducky,
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Episode Review. Season 4x10 - Smoked

My thoughts on this week's episode.



Overview

They just keep on getting better and better. Certainly the awfulness of Season 3 is fading fast, I'm pleased to say. Mass murderer, cannibalism, Jimmy, Tobias, and finally Gibbs and Ducky making up.

As for the actual serial killer, well, I admit I had my suspicions about her from when we met her, but the big thing that said I was wrong was the fact that her dead husband had a big toe in his stomach.

Primal human fears, for me one of those is cannibalism, apart from things done to kiddies, it's something that can really send shivers down my spine and trouble me. Strange in a way, I can watch brutal murders, mass murders and not just dismiss it, but not be overly troubled and horrified, but cannibalism, it just really affects me.

The whole episode was well done, again good interaction between the team, poor McGee, he seems to have upset everyone except Gibbs and Ducky - but as Gibbs says there's a reason why it's called fiction. And now I want to know just why Ducky suggested that McGee avoided DiNozzo, once the latter had finished the book. It's a shame that the book seems not to be that great, but we aren't necessarily getting the right impression by the way the kids are reading bits out.

Even DiNozzo was shocked by the whole serial murder and cannibalism bit, and as he said he'd seen most things, but this really did shock him too.





Gibbs and Ducky

So finally all is well between them again.

When we had the first scene with them still on Dr. Mallard and Gibbs, I expected that we'd go through another episode with them at odds with one another. Sparks certainly flew when Gibbs told Ducky what to do, and Ducky pointed out that he'd been working with Gibbs for over ten years, and that he did know what to do.

When Gibbs then went off and DiNozzo and Ziva were suggesting that it was time that Gibbs and Ducky made up, I did begin to get my hopes up. I was wondering when one of the kids would say something, as it was so obvious that the old friends were at odds with one another. I'd half expected it to be Abby, as she was so close to them both.

Ducky's comment to Ziva, after she suggested they'd made up, about not being aware they were fighting, was very almost playground stuff when best friends fall out. That was a very interesting scene, as for once the roles were reversed; Ziva and DiNozzo seemed to be the adults and Ducky almost the kid with them pointing out to him that maybe it was time he cut Gibbs some slack (or slacks as Ziva called it). The scene was well done.

However, we have them still at odds when Ducky fetches Gibbs and his team to tell them that part of the reason they can't trace anyone missing during the last three to four months was because he'd made a mistake. Once he'd told his story and said five to six and Gibbs interrupted him, telling him not to be too hard on himself (Doctor), I knew that it was going to be years; nonetheless a nice touch.

Interesting and fun little scene when Ducky is telling the kids about the time he pushed the French cop off the cliff and how although cop was fine, etc. a warrant was out for his arrest, and how he and Gibbs were fugitives for a short time, managing to keep one step ahead of the law, and then they ended up escaping across the channel in a small boat. Now that presents a very interesting image, and lovely to see that Gibbs stuck with Ducky and helped him.

And then we get 'the' scene. Gibbs sitting at his desk, emptying his coffee cup, pushing it off the desk and another one being placed there, clearly by Ducky, we know his hand and cuff links. And then they finally start to talk, and there were some lovely lines.
  • Ducky saying that the day had brought back memories and also made him realise that since his returned he'd been behaving like an . . . 

  • Gibbs saying, as it seemed Ducky couldn't or wouldn't find the exact word that Ducky'd been behaving like an ass.

  • Ducky saying that he didn't want to use the analogy of marriage, basically to explain his and Gibbs's relationship, and Gibbs telling him not to then.

  • Ducky saying that 'You and I have been through a lot together over the years'.

  • Gibbs cutting to the chase and asking Ducky just what he'd done to piss him off.

  • Ducky telling him and us. Going back to when Gibbs left, how he'd asked Ducky to drive him home and then had said nothing, not one word, not even goodbye.

  • Gibbs saying that he was still recovering from the coma, Doctor, but his tone said that whilst that was true, he did now realise how much he'd hurt Ducky.

  • Ducky saying that Gibbs hadn't said one word about Kelly and Shannon, about having a family, not even to him.

  • Again, although as Gibbs said he no longer had a family, again his tone told us that once more he knew he was wrong.

  • Gibbs moving around in front of his desk and him saying that Ducky knew how he felt about apologies.

  • Ducky's reply about it being a sign of weakness.

  • Gibbs saying 'not between friends', and him saying he was sorry, and admitting that he should have said something.

  • The handshake with Ducky saying that there was something he should have said months ago 'Welcome home' (okay, so I guess we couldn't get through an entire episode without a small inconsistency, I return you to Shalom when Gibbs comes back, albeit supposedly temporarily, to help Ziva, and guess what Ducky says to him? 'Welcome home/back, Jethro'.) But I guess we can partly overlook that and say that he hasn't actually said it since Gibbs really came back.

  • And then the hug *sighs happily*.  A lovely, full hug, not a swift one, but a lovely, long double hug, and Gibbs's lips right on Ducky's ear, as he held him. So wonderful. (Fangirl squees were so excited, that J actually came out with 'so they've made up, have they'? I was watching the episode alone and he was at the other end of the house - oops).
And all is once more well. Back into their old relationship, full affection eye contact, lack of personal space, little touches, 'Jethro' and 'Duck', and Ducky once more looking at Jethro all the time whilst he explains and a warm, loving, happy feeling all around.

My pairing preference aside, until I watched the post-make-up scenes of them together, even I hadn't realised how much their lack of friendship and their distance was blighting the episodes, albeit not necessarily at a conscious level.

Lovely scene when Ducky is in full happy rambling mode and it's Tobias who interrupts him, whilst Gibbs just smiles.





DiNozzo

So the mystery regarding him, his girl friend, Jenny and the undercover case seem to be getting more and more involved all the time.

Interesting look and smile on Jenny's face as she watched Tony in his undercover as a bag carrier role. Proud 'mommy' or 'lover' smile?

The way that Tony referred to Jenny as 'Jenny' when Ducky explained how a bright NCIS agent had managed to sort out the warrant for his arrest and clear things up, and procure the boat. Again, the smile on his face was a picture, and his quick 'er, the Director'.

Ziva seems a tad jealous and put out by the new relationship between Jenny and Tony, as when Gibbs asked how long had DiNozzo been running errands for the Director, she commented since Gibbs had retired, because Jenny seems to trust Tony. And when he asked about them and Ziva said he'd have to ask Tony, she seemed quite put out, which implies that she doesn't know what's going on and is hurt. Not necessarily as a colleague, but because it seems that Tony has usurped her place in her friendship with Jenny.

The scene outside Tony's girl friend's apartment; once again I'm back to it not being part of his undercover operation at all, and that that bit is a red herring and that he really is in love with her. Him telling himself not to screw things up. Or was it still him telling himself not to screw the case up, that he was going to make love to her, and had to make it realistic? I have to say that this week I am coming down on the side of her being a real girl friend and him finally really falling for someone.

He was rather put out that so much had happened whilst he was off carrying out the Director's errands, the look on his face when he came back and found the FBI man at his desk.

The scene between him and Ziva was, I have to say, overplayed and corny. It was obvious that what Ziva was saying had nothing to do with her really being interested in Tony, but maybe that was meant to be the case. We the audience knew it was all an act and that what she had in mind was something unpleasant to do to him, rather than the opposite.





Fornell and the FBI

I really like Fornell and tend to think that his presence improves any episode and I really liked his involvement in this one, both on a working level and as showing us more about the friendship and and Gibbs share.

It was nice to see them sharing the case, well a slight stretch of the word 'sharing'.

Tobias had been after the man for 12 years, and still hadn't found out his name, and had wanted him for 14 murders, and he'd been missing for 5 /12 years, as that was the last time he'd killed.

Tobias calls Ducky 'Ducky' and vice versa; IMS that's the first time we've actually heard them address one another. It's one of those pretty obvious things, given their shared friendship with Gibbs and Tobias frequenting NCIS from time to time, but nice to have confirmed. Also nice how Ducky basically called Fornell 'FBI's finest'.

I like the way that Fornell takes over Gibbs's desk.

Gibbs telling Fornell that a few bottles of bourbon would be a nice touch.

I loved the little exchange in Abby's lab where McGee is in geek talk mode and Gibbs interrupts him and tells him to just show them with the do dah. Fornell says 'Do dah'? and Gibbs's 'Yeah, it's a technical term, Tobias'. Again, even in such a nasty case, there is humour - it is one of the things that really makes this show work so well.

Gibbs and Fornell do work well together, as we've seen before.

Interesting how it was Fornell who froze completely when the dead man's wife opened the front door, because she looked so like the victims, and it was Gibbs who took over. But I guess when you've been tracking a guy you think is a serial killer and cannibal, things are going to affect you more. So actually a very nice and realistic touch.

I loved this exchange between Fornell and Gibbs:

Fornell: 'I'm familiar with stick, charming bastards.;

Gibbs: 'Probably why we get along so well'.

Lovely.

I liked Gibbs's explanation to DiNozzo as to why it was the FBI doing the digging and turning up four more bodies, NCIS were getting FBI to do their manual labour.

Good as one 'What've you got' when they come back into the squad room, aimed at their respective agents.

Interesting little scene in Jenny's office. Her comment about who had Tobias slept with to get the orders changed so that the FBI got the body, was an interesting one - would she know about doing things like that? Obviously Gibbs had something up his sleeve, because he was so relaxed about it all.

And the final scene with them both at Gibbs's desk, was quite fitting for the case. And Gibbs was correct, he did top Tobias's 'You know what freaks me out, if her husband's body hadn't gotten caught up in the chimney, she'd have gone on killing.'

Gibbs's 'What was the toe doing in her husband's stomach?' most certainly did top it. And was a very good end to a powerful and quite creepy episode.





Miscellaneous

So what has Abby got/did have in her bedroom that McGee didn't include in the book, and he wants to know if she still has it?

McGee was clearly jealous of Marty, even though he doesn't know who Marty is. Come on Abby and McGee, get back together.

Nice to see Marty again. I liked Abby's comment about how she'd kill for half of the stuff in his lab and he wanted to know what she'd do for all of it! And the look on her face when she saw the lab, child in sweetshop time.

Nice how Gibbs sends McGee to Abby, whilst Ziva and DiNozzo work with the FBI.

Rule 22: never bother Gibbs in the interrogation room.

Gibbs head slapping DiNozzo again.

Nice little scene with Jimmy and Ducky after the 'Mallard Inn' comment when Jimmy was asking what made people do that kind of thing and Ducky at first talks about brain tumours, etc. but then begins to talk about evil in the world. And then remembering that he'd forgotten his bag and asking Jimmy to fetch it for him before he goes home.

And again we get Palmer and Agent Lee, actually having sex in the Medical Examiners van. Did Ducky have his suspicions? Is he 'helping' the romance along? Or did he just want to get Jimmy out of the way so that he could go and have his make up talk with Gibbs?





Overall

For me this is the best episode thus far. It had a jolly good case that really had some impact; it had some good team interaction, some nice touches of humour, lots of Ducky, nice Abby scenes, Jimmy scenes, lovely to see Tobias. More on going intrigue with DiNozzo and his girl friend and some interesting touches of jealousy.

I'm tempted to give this top marks for story line (which covers both the case and the non-case) and enjoyment, but if I do that, where else have I to go if there is something better? Hmm. So at the moment, I think I'll hold off quite that high, but might well upgrade one or both parts after viewing it for a second time. I thought the McGee and his book bits were getting overplayed a tad, so that would take the odd percentage off the enjoyment marks.

Storyline: 10.00

Enjoyment: 10.00

Tags: non-fiction: episode reviews, season 04
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