A very run of the mill episode, nothing to get excited about - one way or another.
The story line was okay, nothing to write home about, but okay. Nice to see Mike again and learn a little more about him - except to be honest I have little interest in seeing Mike's character develop and learn about him. It's the same as whenever we have a focus on an 'outsider' rather than the team; it is always going to lose something. A little bit of intrigue at the very end, concerning DiNozzo and Jeanne, and some fun Gibbs and Abby scenes with the theme of ESP, but otherwise very much a 'settle back and switch off for forty minutes episode'.
Nice little opening scene with dear Ducky in Autopsy in the early morning on a cold, snowy day, talking to the corpse and hoping that just because Corp. Liam O'Neill was from Ireland and Ducky from Scotland (hey, he was an Englishman a few weeks ago, his 'nationality' certainly keeps changing), that there wouldn't be a problem. And generally chatting to him and making tea - I wish my kettle boiled that quickly! And then opens the body bag and the man opens his eyes. Very predictable; I had that down for happening the second Ducky appeared so early, all alone and began talking.
Ducky: "Death rejoices in teaching the living."
Ziva is late for once, and DiNozzo comments on it, adding that it's usual for him to be late, indeed it's expected of him.
DiNozzo: "Tardiness is my middle name... in fact, it's expected of me."
We learn that Ziva is late because she ran a different route and it had taken her longer than she'd anticipated; clearly her change in route was tied in with her involvement with Lt. Sanders - nice to see a little continuity. A little play on rhyming 'Ducky's lucky'.
And we learn that the man in Autopsy is a hard core Marine.
Tiny Gibbs and Ducky scene with them both in Autopsy whilst Gibbs watches Ducky go through his tea making routine whilst Ducky is telling him about the body that wasn't a body, and how he could understand that Metro had thought him dead. Ducky quotes the line:
"Not dead until warm and dead."
Gibbs thinks there is nothing to investigate until Ducky explains the lump on O'Neill's head and the fact that he had been pushed into the snow and held down - then he has Gibbs's interest.
We move to the scene of the attack where McGee and Ziva are watching DiNozzo on the phone, clearly to Jeanne, and we begin one of the two on-going themes for the episode, DiNozzo on the phone to Jeanne. Ziva makes the comment, to McGee, that she calls him more than he calls her, and questions DiNozzo's commitment issues.
Back at the office we have the first Gibbs and Abby scene where the other theme of ESP appears. Abby knows that it is Gibbs who has appeared and when he asks how she knew it was him, she points out that he always appears when she's found something and ponders whether it is ESP and whether she is sending Gibbs a message, consciously or sub-consciously. She closes her eyes and asks him to think something, when she opens them predictably he's gone.
We learn that O'Neill has very recently been in Baghdad, which is strange as he was on leave and had actually returned from Baghdad prior to his leave and was being sent back there, so why would he choose to go again. How he got there is traced to a private air firm - Fast Flights and Gibbs and Ziva go to talk to the owner. Ziva seems to be Gibbs's main 'partner' for this episode as he always takes her with him when they go off to investigate. The proprietor - Nick Taylor - tells them that he did fly O'Neill there, for free (Taylor is an ex-Royal Air Force and so 'did his bit' by flying for no charge a current service person). O'Neill's reason for going, apparently, was that a buddy of his had been injured and he wanted to see him. Taylor then, somewhat reluctantly, tells them that O'Neill had been met at the airport by some less than friendly men.
Ziva gets a phone call - someone is at the hospital, and O'Neill has no next of kin.
The person at the hospital turns out to be Mike Franks, and he reveals that Liam O'Neill was his unknown-until-two-years-ago son. Pretty typical Gibbs and Franks scene; Franks calls Gibbs 'Probie' and asks if Gibbs know who hurt his son. When Gibbs tells him not yet, Franks points out that Gibbs wouldn't tell him even if he did know, which Gibbs confirms. And we learn that there is no real hope for O'Neill to make a recovery.
We then get the first DiNozzo and Jeanne scene with them climbing a wall. At first DiNozzo appears to make a mess of it, but then he quickly catches her up and overtakes her and reveals that he used to spend a lot of time climbing a pine tree, twice as tall as the wall, in his back garden - a nice childhood memory. She says that if he gets to the top first he'll have to tell her he loves her, and if she gets there first he'll still have to tell her he loves her. However, he doesn't, he just swings back down talking about other physical pleasures and leaves her looking very sad.
We then have a nice, touching Abby and McGee scene when they are talking about how difficult it must be to suddenly learn you have a child, especially when that child is likely to die. And Abby manages to get O'Neil's phone to work, but in order to get into voice mail, they need to crack the password.
Abby: "Maybe you should call all your old girl-friends."
McGee: "That won't take long." He then quickly covers it up adding, "I can't imagine anyone of them having a baby and not telling me. Tony, on the other hand -"
They really are so good together; I would like them to get back to being a couple.
From the phone records we learn that O'Neill has been to a loan shark - Shaloub - a man of mixed parentage and dubious background. Gibbs and Ziva learn that O'Neill tried to borrow $25,000 from Shaloub, but Shaloub thought him too big a risk. Ziva pushes him to try to ascertain what his interest rates are, but he won't bite.
Back at the office Franks appears; it's clear that his son isn't going to make it. He asks if he can have O'Neill's effects and wants Gibbs to go back to the hospital with him, he needs a witness and he gets the doctors to turn life support off. He gives his son his dog tags and his mother's rosary back; but once his son has died and Gibbs goes back in, Franks has vanished.
Another tiny Gibbs and Abby scene sees a despondent Abby who has information that she knows Gibbs won't like - Franks's fingerprints were found in O'Neill's car.
We learn that McGee told his father pretty much everything, which doesn't surprise DiNozzo, who in turn told his father as little as possible. Gibbs goes off to see Franks, not taking anyone with him as he says Franks is a friend, not a foe.
At their meeting, rather poignantly and tellingly which takes place with a chain link fence between them, we learn that Franks gave his son money, but he claims he doesn't know what it was for. Clearly Gibbs knows, as we do, that Franks is lying. When Gibbs pushes, Franks throws Kelly at him, wondering how he didn't go crazy when he'd lost her and adding maybe he had, maybe he still is (well we know that Gibbs did and we know that Franks knows that Gibbs did). Basically Franks says that he's still looking out for his son.
With Gibbs gone, DiNozzo returns to trying to contact Jeanne; he's left her three messages and she hasn't replied. Ziva challenges him, first of all making one of her lovely errors:
Ziva: "Did she give you the cold elbow?"
DiNozzo: "Cold shoulder, and no."
She then suggests that maybe he said something he shouldn't have said. Or indeed didn't say something he should have said. That clearly jogs DiNozzo's memory and he tries her again, this time learning that she has already left the hospital and gone home.
DiNozzo, again taking advantage of the boss still being out, goes to Jeanne's home, which is in a mess. And we have a small confrontation; he admits he knows what has upset her, and she challenges him saying that she's said she loves him plenty of times, but he hasn't, at least not unless it was after they'd had sex. She also tells him not to insult either of them by saying it now.
DiNozzo: "Even if I mean it?"
She says that he doesn't know what he means or wants. He tells her that he doesn't want to hurt her. Again she tells him she loves him, but tells him to go away and decide just what he does want.
Throughout all the DiNozzo and Jeanne links, when trying to call her, etc. we see that Ziva is concerned for him. So we're back to the question, why is she so concerned?
- Because she cares for DiNozzo as more than just a colleague?
- Simply because he's her colleague?
- She knows something about Jeanne?
Again the theme of the psychic link with Gibbs and Abby, only this time Abby says that it's failed as she hasn't got anything for him. And then her machine bleeps and she tells him that he knew it before she knew it before it knew it knew. And she also tells him that he and Franks are very alike.
And we have another tiny Ducky scene and even tinier Gibbs and Ducky scene. With parallels to the first scene, Ducky is again taking to O'Neill's body, saying that this wasn't the outcome for which he was hoping. Then we have another hint of the psychic link, but this time not Abby and Gibbs, but Gibbs and Ducky as the doors to Autopsy open, Ducky has his back to them and before Gibbs comes into sight - even before we see him - Ducky says:
"You're two hours early, Jethro. I'm only just beginning."
Their scene is interrupted by the phone; it's McGee trying to find Gibbs - so naturally he tries Autopsy ;-) - to tell him that he's cracked the code on O'Neill's phone. Once Gibbs has gone, Ducky taps O'Neill on the face with his scalpel saying:
"Just making sure."
The voice mail reveals that Taylor had left a message. A visit to Fast Flights reveals three bodies; Taylor and two others and an abandoned Koran. Gibbs cuts Ducky off mid-question:
Ducky: "Jethro, do you think -"
Gibbs: "Not speculating, Duck. I want evidence."
It's an interesting mix of dead bodies, apart from Taylor one is an army guy who had deserted, the other a criminal. It seems as if Taylor was running a passenger service for 'less than good guys'. So again, why was O'Neill involved with him?
Metro find Franks's car and inside is a gun, a Glock, which has been recently fired.
Gibbs comes back into the squad room as the team are discussing whether Franks killed the men. DiNozzo says it was revenge for his son; McGee points out that revenge is still murder. Gibbs had to have overheard McGee's words, and it must have taken him back to his own revenge killing, which really has again been an on and off theme throughout the season.
They drag Shaloub in, because although the man files excellent tax record and everything with the IRS is above board, it turns out that he's had several flights with Fast Flights, but has never shown the flights or expenses on his tax returns. Turns out that he had put money into the firm, which was failing fast and his only way of getting any money back was by free flights. Claims he didn't kill Taylor and the others, however, residue on his shoes, tested by McGee, reveals the same traces of residue that were found in the gun that had been found in Franks's car, the gun that Abby had to clean before she could fire it. They residue was from a glass factory next to the air craft warehouse.
Gibbs is waiting outside Franks's hotel, as once he'd seen the residue in the gun that Franks's must have witnessed the murder, or been there soon after and had been going to leave the gun in Shaloub's car and then call Gibbs. And the twist is that yes O'Neill was trying to do business with Taylor, but to fly his Muslim fiancée out of her country to be with him, and she couldn't get out any other way as her family said she'd disgraced them. As Gibbs is walking away a baby cries, he looks back and see the woman has a baby; Franks is taking them to Mexico with him. Gibbs just walks away smiling.
The final scene is of a woman sitting by a computer transferring picture of DiNozzo and Jeanne, including one of them kissing at the top of the wall they recently climbed. Who is the woman? And do we assume that she's the same person as the one who was taking photos outside Jeanne's bedroom a few episodes ago?
Very run of mill. Nothing to love; nothing to hate.
Far too little Ducky - never good.
Virtually no Gibbs/Ducky interaction of any kind - not good.
No Jimmy - not good.
No Jenn - always positive, even though she's far better than she was in Season Three, the story line never misses her.
No Mann - extremely positive.