Not a bad episode at all. Nothing glaring awful, no overdose on Jenn, no Hollis, no more about non-NCIS people than about NCIS people, an intriguing case and for once I didn't work out the killer as soon as they appeared. Some good team moments, good interaction, good scenes and as always some nice humour. And we got Jimmy too.
One tiny, non-episode as such, concern, I wonder if DMc's leg is hurting him, or he's injured himself or something? The reason for this concern is that when he was examining the body in the abandoned restaurant, he was sitting on an upturned box, rather than crouching down by the body and later on, in Autopsy, when he was talking to Gibbs, once he'd shown Gibbs the various pieces of evidence about which he was talking, he went and sat at his desk. This meant that he really did have to tip his head back to look at Gibbs when he conversed with him, and Gibbs was forced to bend over slightly to keep them both in shot. It just seemed a little clumsy and unlike the 'norm'. So has he hurt himself?
Anyway . . .
Okay, so no obvious killer, but it was clear that the about-to-become-engaged couple were going to find a body in the abandoned restaurant, or rather once the man had knelt down to propose, that he was going to see the body. Lots of Valentine Day's scenes, comments, themes. Also, quite a few Gibbs-Abby moments to keep the Gibbs/Abby folk squeeing and happy.
Fun scene with Ziva trying to teach, DiNozzo, McGee and Lee how to throw a knife properly. And we learnt that DiNozzo used to clog dance whilst at summer camp! Whilst McGee went to chess summer camp. Lovely touch when Lee lines up to throw the knife, looks as though she's going to do really well and then, oops, it goes in the opposite direction and flies straight past Gibbs's nose.
Nice little Gibbs, Ducky and Palmer scene when Ducky's perched on the box, Gibbs crouched down close next to him, and Palmer on Ducky's side, whilst looking at the maggots (I must say they made me shudder too). I do like the way that Palmer comes out with these not often appropriate stories, clearly he's trying to imitate Ducky with his story telling. And I really liked the way that Ducky said, "Well done, Jethro," when Gibbs said that the eggs couldn't have been laid in the corpse's mouth more than a week ago. He sounded and looked really proud; it echoed the way Gibbs looked and sounded in last week's episode, when he said about Ducky being a natural.
They are certainly making the best of the mens' room set, and we get to see it again this week, when Ziva (sent by Gibbs) goes looking for McGee and happily goes in, even though there's a man there, to talk to McGee about trying to overcome his phobia of maggots, but why McGee is phobic, we don't know as he won't tell her.
Good to have a 'proper' Autopsy scene with Ducky and Palmer and then Gibbs joining them. Petty Officer Davidson's liver certainly was enlarged! And when we have this kind of Autopsy scene, we always get a lot of lovely looks between Gibbs and Ducky and lots of non-personal space moments (we should get some nice screen caps). And we get dear Jimmy doing his interrupting and answering Gibbs's question again, and the poor boy gets the usual double Gibbs-Ducky stares, as he prattles on fairly obliviously. And then we get a flash of Ducky anger, at the way Davidson has lived his life.
We had a lovely little scene in Abby's lab where she is talking to and in fact challenging her mass spectrometer, when Ziva and McGee come in. They both seem bemused, but then Abby has to admit that she hasn't got an answer for Gibbs. McGee says that he has to tell Gibbs something.
Abby: "Tell him you love him. It works for me."
Gibbs (coming in): "Not all the time."
I do feel we are now overplaying the 'Elf Lord' thing a tad, which Gibbs again calls McGee; only to have Abby point out that this time the names aren't characters from Lord Of The Rings.
A very interesting DiNozzo/Jeanne scene firstly with her on the phone to her ex - just an ex-boyfriend? Or maybe she's (still) married to him. In fact for one moment I thought the whole DiNozzo/Jeanne thing was going to be sorted, because her ex would end up killing her. I didn't expect it to happen in this episode, but later in the season. I guess it still could, despite the bit at the end where he appears to have finally accepted they are over, and she deleted the picture of them.
That was some bracelet she bought DiNozzo, platinum is indeed expensive, Doctor or not. I like the 'just between them' message she put on it, and it's reference back to the normal hospital bracelet she gave him - so DPB can have consistencies! Interesting that DiNozzo hadn't bought her a Valentine's gift, as he's clearly in love with her; and also that he didn't lie about the lack of gift, which she actually liked.
Poor Ziva, doing her rather sexy dance in front of DiNozzo, and him not paying any attention to it, nor to what she was saying about the case as he was more interested in trying to find a romantic holiday break.
Ziva: "Where are we going?"
"DiNozzo: "We're not going anywhere."
Ziva: "Who are you taking, McGee?"
And cute reference from the Metro cops who bring Gibbs an 'early Valentine's present'. And interestingly one of the cops, whom we later find out is John, clearly likes Ziva and begins to flirt with her, and DiNozzo does not like it.
We get Hilly-Billy Gibbs in the Interrogation Room when he's talking to Frankie; he is so good at his various interrogation techniques, and it works. It was always obvious the Frankie hadn't killed Davidson, he wasn't even a red herring.
Cute blouse Abby's wearing with it's skull and crossbones on and her short-short skirt!
More of Ziva's fun 'errors'. I like how the writers keep these coming and they are all very natural and all actually not only understandable, but often you think that Ziva's way is more correct than the actual correct version.
I liked the way that Gibbs walked into the squad room and without really saying more than 'he's got something they want' collects his team together and begins to walk out again; then asks the Metro cops if they are waiting for an invitation.
A very clever trick with the laminated card, and quite sick too.
And another lovely Autopsy scene, this time with just Gibbs and Ducky, and Gibbs following Ducky around the room looking at various things Ducky is showing him, and more looks and closeness between them. Very nice and relaxed again together. And then the Ducky sitting on his desk scene which I mentioned at the beginning, and more looking up and down and togetherness. Lovely.
Davidson's drinks have been spiked, and Ducky suggests that it might be a woman doing the poisoning as poison has for centuries been a woman's tool, although they usually put it in food, not drink.
Gibbs: "That would explain why my last ex-wife spent so much time in the kitchen."
Ducky chuckles at that, as Gibbs leaves.
And then we get a shot of Jimmy and Michelle underneath a sheet draped table!
We only get one tiny Jenn scene, when an angry Gibbs, along with Michelle, goes into her office to complain that Michelle is blocking him from getting a warrant and Michelle does argue her case, and we learn she went to Harvard Law School. Still angry, Gibbs leaves when Jenn tells him to find some evidence. Poor Michelle, stumbling several times over what to call Gibbs 'Sir', 'Er, Special Agent Gibbs', 'Er'; she and Jimmy do have a lot in common.
Michelle: "He's right, Director."
Jenny: "He usually is. That's what makes him so damn irritating."
Another intriguing DiNozzo/Jeanne scene, following Jeanne receiving tickets to a romantic weekend, thinks they are from DiNozzo, and then DiNozzo turns up with his own tickets. He is jealous and hurt as they argue over Jeanne's ex, with DiNozzo pointing out that maybe she isn't actually over him. She says that her ex is her problem.
DiNozzo: "This is our problem.
Gibbs and senior Metro cop in Gibbs's 'office'. We could have told the cop not to waste his breath on stories; Gibbs won't be swayed by them.
Stake-out time where we get DiNozzo and John watching the club and exchanging stories. We definitely get more hints that DiNozzo is in love with Jeanne and that he is afraid of his own feelings for her and also that he wonders if he can actually be monogamous. He seems genuinely touched by John's story about his failed relationship and the saga involved.
And the story continues once Jeanne has called DiNozzo to tell him that she was right about her not being over her ex, but that she has now told him about DiNozzo. Nice little 'I love you', exchange when they hang up. Then we get something that might be puzzling, or it just might be DiNozzo. When DiNozzo says that he hasn't asked Jeanne to marry him and John asks why we get:
DiNozzo: "I can't live a lie."
Does this refer to it being a case? Or just DiNozzo because he doesn't think he can be monogamous? I'm guessing that latter really because of the look on his face when John expands again on losing the love of his life and doing so because he was drunk.
Another cute scene in Abby's lab, that is full of Valentine's gifts, well the kind Abby likes, black roses, also read roses, with black bows, black hearts, black balloons with skulls on, and then the chicky baby doll, which confuses and bemuses Ziva! And a scene that will have the Gibbs/Abby fans really squeeing, Gibbs brings Abby a Caf-Pow! with a red straw in it and a heart saying 'I love you'.
Interesting touch that the blood that was found on the laminated card with Davidson's body was from a woman who'd been dead two months! Intriguing. And then we discover that she was killed the same way as Davidson. And we further learn, thanks to McGee pulling the case up, that the single footprint found by the dead woman had been left deliberately, and that it was a message. Abby folds it and it reveals the message and is the same as the back cover as Men Magazine.
Okay, I Googled Men Magazine, and if I found the correct one (which from the Metro cop's reaction when Gibbs asked if he'd read it) it's a gay magazine. So we gather from this comment that Gibbs has read it, or at least seen it; McGee has definitely read it, because he makes a comment about his mother finding them and burning them; and Abby has because she also recognised it; and that Ziva hasn't read it. Hmmmm. Interesting touch.
ETA I've just learnt that apparently Gibbs was referring to Mad Magazine. Shame :-)
I really liked the way they used McGee's 'status' as a known writer to get him into the club, along with his women (Abby, Ziva and Michelle); it was a very clever touch and good to see it being used, nice to give McGee a little more prominence, even if only very briefly.
Gibbs still seems more than a little put out with DiNozzo over the whole undercover thing, as DiNozzo got treated to several Gibbs's glare during the episode and a rather sarcastic comment when they were watching McGee and 'his girls' going into the club and McGee really being fawned over my the door man.
DiNozzo: "I've gotta write a book."
Gibbs: "You should read one first."
Ooh, cutting, Gibbs, cutting! (And DiNozzo has read at least one book; he's read McGee's *g*).
It was clear that the club owner was going to kill Delgado once she started to threaten him; it's always dangerous to try to blackmail someone whom you know has few, if any morals, and is dangerous.
The shoot-out scene again showed us another side to DiNozzo, he was clearly upset by John's death, 'there but for the grace of God' time, as well as it being a fellow law enforcement person who'd died doing his job. I guessed he'd go to Jeanne afterwards, which again shows his feelings for her, you do tend to run to the one you love. But I'm still left wondering if her ex is really going to let her go?
Nice touch with McGee, Abby and Ziva in Abby's lab with Abby berating herself for not finding the link earlier and them talking about it being kind of ironic that the killer was forced to drink his own poison. McGee's little comment about it making a good story line, was also a good touch, as it lightened what would have been a very sober ending.
I enjoyed this. It worked for me. It wasn't as predictable as so many have been. It was well balanced; pretty much the entire field team got equal air time; the Metro cops didn't take over, instead they blended well, it was still an NCIS episode. There was nothing that really jarred with me. It's not the best episode, but it's quite high up, IMO.
We had Jimmy this week, which was great.
Several Gibbs/Ducky scenes which, as always, were lovely.
A little more Abby than in recent weeks - so that is good.
And also a little more Ducky, which again is always good.
ETA 2: I do wish that I had a better ability to actually recognise people, it would really help *sigh*
When I was watching this episode and the whole interplay between DiNozzo/Jeanne and Jeanne/her ex and DiNozzo & John, I thought to myself 'Ah ha, that man is Jeanne's ex'. Then at the end when we see her delete the picture, I decided I was wrong, as it wasn't him, so I didn't make a note of it at the time, and by the time I got to the end of writing my review, it had filtered itself from my mind.
Now I find out that the picture was John, so my hunch was correct.
Mind you, if I can sit through virtually an entire film in which MH is starring waiting for him to appear, why should I expect anything different!