The episode was better than last week's (not that that's saying a lot), but still rather run-of-the-mill, not overly gripping and somewhat predictable in parts. It started well I felt, in an intriguing way, had some good concepts and a pretty good main plot line, but it failed to deliver on its promise.
It's not one of my favourite episodes, pretty much because of Lt Colonel Hollis Mann and her irritating interaction with the team generally. When we last saw her I said that I got mixed vibes as to her feelings for Gibbs and his for her; one minute they were giving off interested vibes, the next, nothing. I felt that in this episode all the sparks between them had gone and their interaction seemed really forced. I find it interesting that Gibbs who flirts with and has sparks with just about anyone (man or woman) and anything, seems to have no sparks with the two women (Jenn and now Colonel Mann) whom DPB seems to insist he is interested in. Now he did have sparks with both Melissia (My Other Left Foot) and Karen (Doppelgänger) and has had with other women, including the 'mysterious redhead', and yet somehow he fails to with Jenn and Colonel Mann. I quite liked the Colonel in Sandblast, but her character this time left a lot to be desired; it was really forced.
Anyway . . .
Some good scenes, some good team exchanges, some nice humour and other touches in this episode.
An intriguing idea of Major McGuire to get the street lights to flash SOS, even if it was something few people would know. A nice fun little scene when they've found McGuire's dead body where Ducky launches into one of his explanations about SOS, and DiNozzo then says it was a good thing that he didn't use a longer message as no one would have understood it; then hurries on, after one of Gibbs's glares, to add 'present company excepted, of course'.
Another nice little Ducky talking to the corpse scene about eyeballs when Gibbs and DiNozzo arrive. There was a lot of lovely eye contact in this scene (and in the other couple they were both in) between Gibbs and Ducky. I do like the way that Gibbs spends far more time looking at Ducky than at the corpse. Squirmy bit about the torn out eye being self-inflicted and that Ducky found the eyeball in the Major's stomach (yuck); and then Gibbs asking Ducky if he happened to find a toe in there too (hey, continuity for once, referring back to Smoked). And DiNozzo manages to get himself another Gibbs's stare as he makes a fool of himself again during the scene.
I swear that Abby's launching hugs get harder and harder, Gibbs seemed to nearly stagger under her first one, but lovely to see as always. Cute conversation between Abby and Gibbs with her asking his advice about tattoos and saying that he knows her best of all, and Gibbs suggesting that maybe he isn't the best person to ask. I liked the way he then, somewhat wickedly asked her where she was planning to have it, at which point she decided that he wasn't the person to ask.
More continuity from previous episodes with Gibbs calling McGee 'Elf Lord' when they arrived at the bowling alley. I liked the way McGee's eyes lights up at the sight of the various gaming machines, before he hurried off after Gibbs. Fun, if a tad predictable scene when Gibbs and his team burst into the office/room in the bowling alley and everyone is yelling and telling each other who they are to put their hands up, until Colonel Mann arrived and suggested that they all lower their weapons as they were on the same side. Nicely co-ordinated. And so we find out that it leads back to Sharif.
Cute scene with DiNozzo and Ziva finishing Gibbs's sentences for him before going off to carry out his orders; the Colonel is correct, Gibbs is a good teacher.
The scene in Jenn's office was superb - talk about bitchy from both women - I felt the temperature drop just watching it. If looks could kill or freeze, they'd both be dead or frozen! The two of them in effect 'fighting over Gibbs'. Oddly enough it was one of the Colonel's best scenes, she seemed 'real' in this scene and more relaxed than in other scenes. And Gibbs, rather wickedly, read the situation immediately and made matters worse by deliberately antagonising Jenn with him comments about the Colonel liking to be on top (am I mis-remembering, or did Gibbs and Jenn have the same conversation at some time, about Jenn liking to be on top?). Both of them were so jealous of the other and really making it clear, and it continued once Gibbs and Colonel Mann had left the office with her question about how long he and Jenn had worked together and then her look and then Jenn's look when she came out of the office. Hilarious to watch, it really was. Probably the scene of the episode; in fact it's one of the scenes of the Season.
And their second little exchange in MTAC was also full of double sided bitchiness and trying to get one over on the other.
DiNozzo's phone call from Jeanne was intriguing, as was their meeting later. Yet another twist seems to have been added to that relationship. Is her ex-flame threatening her? Was it him who was taking photographs last week, maybe? Was DiNozzo just reading her email because he was jealous and worried? Or is it another hint that she is part of an assignment?
And Ziva was really attracted to the man they went to interview - lots of sparks there. Typical DiNozzo comment about Ziva wanting his number.
Fun Abby and McGee scene when they were talking about the supposed vibes between Gibbs and Colonel Mann, and them playing with the baby/child generator. I also loved the double act they went into, which annoyed Colonel Mann no end. We know that Abby never likes any woman who comes in and interferes with what she sees as 'her' men, but we also got the feeling that Mann wasn't over keen on Abby either.
Predictable scene in Gibbs's basement, where he has started on yet another boat - jolly good question, how did he get it out? Or has he destroyed it? The latter seems very odd as he'd named it Kelly. But . . . Their banter here was good, just lacking in the sexual vibes. She is a match for him and he knows it. So they aren't going to kiss until after Sharif has been caught, because they feel it might interfere with the case and also as Colonel Mann says with Gibbs's team. It's interesting that she has already picked up a) how important he is to his team and b) how important his team is to him. That she's somehow in competition with the whole team.
So Sharif calls and surprise, surprise he's been to Gibbs's house - I really wish Gibbs would act like a Federal Agent and lock his door, anyone could put anything inside (and they have done).
Nice touch that it was Ducky to whom Gibbs went, and took Colonel Mann, to get checked for gas; the scene was a touching one. I loved the way that Abby again hugged Gibbs and totally ignored Mann, and how Colonel Mann said about being all right too. Talk about Abby making it blatant how she feels; she does not like the Colonel.
Gibbs was certainly angry over DiNozzo being missing - again.
And then Gibbs starts to have flash backs relating to when he resigned (which we know from Jenn's comment was six months ago), and on to him killing Shannon's killer. So we know that something has affected him, and he's feeling odd. So why didn't he, once he knew that the BZ gas had been modified so that it could only affect by ingestion and by touch, didn't he figure out that he was affected? After all, Sharif had told him he'd been to his home; Gibbs was having these strange feelings and flashbacks, and although Ducky had cleared him, he did also know that the affects could be dormant for up to 36 hours; not the finest things he has ever done - but I suppose it's typical Gibbs.
It's quite chilling to have confirmed what you probably already know, but don't ever want to admit, that disasters, such as hurricanes, etc. make huge amounts of money for some people/organisations, and that it was money behind the whole stealing of the BZ gas and passing it to Sharif.
Another lovely scene with Gibbs and Ducky when Ducky goes up to the squad room to fetch Gibbs and his team. He often does that, goes to find Gibbs rather than just calling him. A really lovely look when Gibbs turns round in his chair and looks up at Ducky when Ducky first arrives. And then down in Autopsy, again Gibbs's attention is focussed on Ducky virtually the whole time, while Ducky explains the latest find. Poor Ducky thought still talking to Gibbs and he and Colonel Mann have already gone off to see Abby.
Talk about mutual dislike again when Colonel Mann cuts Abby off mid-explanation.
Interesting point that DiNozzo does indeed suddenly know a great deal about money laundering; must be the link with his undercover operation with the man and woman on the plane and in the restaurant.
Sharif using Agent Gibbs as his handle for the on-line video game, hardly novel.
The scene in the Amtrack Station was indeed so very predictable; I knew how it was going to pan out: Gibbs brushed past Sharif; something clicks in his mind; they both look at one another; Sharif tries to leave; guns pulled; Sharif throws contaminated money to make people get in Gibbs's way; Gibbs would catch up with him, but the gas would suddenly really start to take affect; half-hearted fight; Gibbs disarmed; Sharif about to kill him; Colonel Mann to the rescue.
And then the ending scene in her apartment. Again more than a little stilted and no real spark between them at all. Let's hope this is the last we see of her and she isn't going to become ex-wife no. 4.
A great shame that there wasn't any Jimmy in this episode, that makes two weeks in a row.
A little more Ducky than last week, but again not really enough.
Several Gibbs/Ducky looks and exchanges; nice, but . . .
Not enough Abby.
The focus wasn't on the NCIS team, but on Gibbs and Colonel Mann. Something that, with the exception of Fornell, never works. The show is about the team, the way they interact together, an outsider having such a prominent role never really seems to work. Although, as in Sandblast is was interesting to see how the whole team were uneasy about the Colonel, how they resented her and the way she took Gibbs away from them.
Enjoyment: 6.25 (mainly because of the scene in Jenn's office)