Nikki (nakeisha) wrote in ncis_gibbsducky,
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Episode Review. Season 4x21 - Brothers In Arms

My thoughts on this week's episode.



A Jenny centric episode, or I should say another Jenny centric episode *sigh*. Why does she get two episodes where she is the focal point and Ducky doesn't get any?

Her behaviour in this episode certainly just confirms what I've always said, she should not be Director of NCIS. She was more than out of control in this, dangerously so. She has completely lost her focus and her determination to capture La Grenouille is obviously purely personal (what did the man do to her?) and for the NCIS Director, that is simply not permitted. Ditto the fact that really she was prepared to risk the lives of Gibbs, DiNozzo, McGee and/or Ziva with her instructions not to shoot. I'd say that at the moment she is dangerous, maybe nearly as dangerous as the man she's trying to bring down.

Several times in this episode my feelings were that she's lucky that she and Gibbs have an history; no other team leader would have stood for what he put up with. And also, that she was using that history to get away with things that other team leaders wouldn't have stood for.

Jenny and the case

She sets up a meet with someone, whom we later learn is Troy Webster, and goes out alone, without telling anyone where she's going or what she's doing. It is the sign of total obsession; the dangerous kind. And naturally, before Webster can pass on whatever it is he's gong to tell her, he gets killed. At least she does call the team out after that, and she and Gibbs have the first of what are several 'head-to-heads', and poor Ducky walks into the middle of one, and Jenny stalks off. Leaving Ducky to say to Gibbs that it wasn't anything he'd said.

She takes over Gibbs's team, ordering McGee and DiNozzo to do things, cutting across Gibbs's own orders (that were almost certainly going to be the same, but that isn't the point). It's another sign of extremely poor management, and again shows how dangerous her obsession with La Grenouille is.

At least she apologies in a fashion to Gibbs when he follows her to her office and also grudgingly thanks him for not calling her out, when he had a perfect right to do so. She is being completely reckless, Gibbs knows it, and if she doesn't then it's another sign that she's in the wrong job. Gibbs basically tells her that her personal feelings have clouded her judgement as it's only now that she realises that Webster might have been the bait to get her, not the man who set the trap.

Abby and McGee, working on Webster's phone, have managed to basically blow up a computer, as the phone had a virus that caused the serge protector to kick in, thinking that it had been struck by lightening. And all data has been lost. Jenny is furious and Abby goes to hug her and gets snapped at and she and McGee are blamed for what happened. Jenny again talks about more lives being ruined by La Grenouille, and Gibbs wants to know just whose life the man has ruined.

What is Jenny's secret? And when did it happen? There are many possibilities, some of which could be:

- Did he rape her?
- Did he kill someone whom she loved?
- Did she have a child as a result of her affair with Gibbs and La Grenouille killed that?

Jenny has managed to get, or so she thinks, a member of the CIA to come to NCIS, which surprises Gibbs. And then he turns up; it's Tobias, who is on attachment to Homeland Security. It doesn't take him more than a second to know that something is going on that goes far deeper than Jenny is letting on, and he and Gibbs share several telling looks. But he does agree to try to set up a meeting with the CIA man who is undercover as La Grenouille's man.

Ducky also tries to talk to Jenny when he goes to her office, after the man who had been driving the car from which Webster had been shot, has been found dead in his apartment She's talking about his autopsy report on the man Gibbs found in the apartment, he's not. He tells her that the man won't be able to give her what she wants. She gets irritated with him and calls him Dr. Mallard.

Ducky then goes on to give her a psychological profile on La Grenouille, pointing out that the man is highly intelligent and cultured, and basically would not resort to violence to solve his problems, violent murder is not his style; he would use his intelligence and sophistication. Jenny does not like that at all, and accuses Ducky of being blinded by the fact that he actually found La Grenouille charming, and maybe that is clouding his judgement. Ducky retorts that it isn't his judgement that is clouded. She won't accept that, still, and says she knows him better than Ducky does. More evidence that she really has lost her way completely and the mission to bring La Grenouille down is utterly personal. A luxury she does not have.

Oh, boy, we have a very scary scene with Gibbs looking at a bridal magazine!

Jenny: "You gotta be kidding."
Gibbs: "Old habit."

No, please. The look on his face when Mann mentioned settling down was one of horror, and now he's looking at bridal magazines! *Shudder*

The meeting in the car between Jenny, Trent Kort,the undercover CIA man, Gibbs and Tobias confirmed pretty much what Ducky said about  La Grenouille not resorting to violence. Kort is sure he wouldn't have ordered a hit, but still Jenny won't have it. She really is utterly out of control and behaving totally unprofessionally; if it were a member of her team acting as she was, she'd have suspended them or whatever. She's using her position and her past with Gibbs to get away with it. She forces Kort to give her a name of someone who, had La Grenouille ordered a hit he would have used and Kort tells her of Jones.

The showdown between Gibbs and his field team and Jones again was highly predictable. It was always a dead cert that they'd turn up, something would happen and Jones would end up being killed by one of them, despite Jenny's explicit orders that he wasn't to be killed.

Gibbs again, after Jones's death goes to Jenny for a 'little talk'. He is even more forthright this time, pointing out that she is the Director (and saying how he would never want to be, not that according to her he'd ever have the chance), and she is letting her personal feelings interfere with the job and that basically the title 'Director' will not be on the door for much longer.

That could be taken two ways:

- One that he is giving her a warning that he'll only let her push so far before he takes it further, for her own safety and the safety of his team; she would be suspended.

- Two, that she is risking losing the job because she loses her life.  She still won't tell him what La Grenouille did to her. It is far, far, far more than just wanting an arms' dealer to be put out of business.

Whilst Gibbs is talking to Jenny about her not being Director for too much longer, Ducky is with the field team. He has talked to Webster's physician and from the conversation learnt that La Grenouille used sophistication as a weapon even more than Ducky had thought he'd do. It was clear from his conversation with the physician that a) said physician did know about Webster's tumour and b) he had been bribed and was very scared. He also said that Webster must have known that he had a terminal illness and that knowing that one has that makes one want to atone for one's sins, and he would have known the end was near.

Abby manages to track down the encryption coding on the last phone call Jones made and finds a link with La Grenouille.

Jenny and Kort meet, and Kort confirms that he has learnt that not only did La Grenouille not order a hit on Webster, but that he wanted him to be kept alive; Jones killed Webster without orders. La Grenouille either has a forger or a third world General who gets the paperwork done to allow the arms to keep coming into the country.

Gibbs and Fornell are keeping an eye on the Jenny and Kort and talking about what's going on. Fornell knows that Gibbs knows nothing too.

And they find the forger, an art teacher, and we have a fun little Gibbs-Jenny two-hander in the interrogation room. But the forger, although confesses to doing the forging, does not ever know the date and location, La Grenouille adds that himself.

However, they do track the location down and the entire field team and Jenny go off to where it's being delivered. Again, it is so predictable, because Jenny thinks she has La Grenouille this time, and even says so, but we know that either the consignment case is going to be empty or full of soft toys or something or fake guns. And the guns are indeed fake, they are squirt guns, with just a note from La Grenouille. So still it isn't over, and Jenny stalks off.

How long can Gibbs let this go on before he does something?

Gibbs & Ducky

We have a lovely Autopsy scene that begins with Ducky talking to Webster's body in his usual style; this time he's talking about spies in general and Marta Hari in particular. Gibbs walks in as Ducky is talking about the oldest maxim of a spy. (Nice little link with The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and DMc's role as Illya.)

Gibbs: "Don't be a spy?"
Ducky: "Trust no one."

Ducky tells Gibbs that he would not have made a very good agent provocateur, which Gibbs takes as a compliment and thanks Ducky. There is some lovely eye contact and smiles, and as always Gibbs is so much softer around Ducky, and lets his feelings show.

Ducky has called Gibbs down to show him something 'inexplicable', and throughout the conversation and moving around Autopsy, with Gibbs following Ducky around, there is a lot of eye contact, no regard for personal space and an overall feeling of closeness and deep affection between them. It's about the only time in the episode that Gibbs looks in any way relaxed.

We learn that Webster was shot in standard execution style by an expert, basically showing that had Jenny been the target, Jenny would now be dead. But we also learn that Webster had an inoperable brain tumour and very little time left to live. And the lights go off and the back-up generator kicks in.

There's another lovely Gibbs and Ducky scene after Ducky leaves Jenny's office. Gibbs is watching him and basically Ducky indicates that Gibbs should join him, and they meet in Gibbs's 'office' and it's Ducky who stops the elevator.

He tells Gibbs how she didn't appreciate Ducky's thoughts and that she is still convinced that Le Grenouille  killed, or was responsible for the death of, Webster. Gibbs says so is he. But Ducky says that Gibbs would listen to him, and he would change his mind once he had the facts. Jenny, however, will not. Ducky says that she's obsessed, and when Gibbs asks how far she'll go, Ducky tells him as far as any obsessed person. She really is dangerous.

Other scenes

An intriguing little scene in the garage where Abby finds a pair of panties in the glove compartment of Jenny's car!  And she is not going to be the one to give them back to Jenny. She decides that it's DiNozzo's job, as senior field agent, and that's hastily backed up by McGee and Ziva, who get some little digs in about DiNozzo always reminding them that he is the senior field agent. He declares they should draw straws - very DiNozzo. Jeanne calls to interrupt this little exchange with the news that her mother is in town and wishes to meet DiNozzo.

DiNozzo obviously loses the straw drawing as he appears in MTAC before Jenny has called him. She has learnt that the bug he planted on the suitcase has been discovered. And we learn that the CIA drew straws to see who got to deal with Jenny over the whole La Grenouille affair, which she finds surprising that grown people would draw straws in respect of her. At that point DiNozzo doesn't pursue the panties issue. A nice touch of humour, but even that was tinged with an out-of-control Jenny.

Cute Abby scene with her taking a photo of her and her new 'baby', and as always she has some useful information for Gibbs, basically that the man in the car whom Jenny shot was a 'mutant' and thus she can trace him through it. And she gets another Gibbs kiss.

But of course when Gibbs and his field team arrive at the man's apartment, he's dead. Although we do get another nice touch of humour with Gibbs yelling 'Federal Agents' and McGee trying to tell him that Agent Lee had told him to remind Gibbs that he should wait fifteen seconds after calling. Gibbs just kicks the door down.

The restaurant scene with DiNozzo, Jeanne and her mother was interesting. Wow, that woman really is unpleasant! Her first comment about his over-priced shoes was amusing, in fact clearly the whole scene with them was designed to put a touch of humour into the episode. She asked him outright how long he'd been sleeping with her daughter, was, until he got in first, going to ask about whether they were using protection; said that Jeanne had told her everything; says she knows he's in love with Jeanne by the way he looks at her, but is worried because she also sees the look that says even he's not sure how long the relationship will last and she doesn't want Jeanne hurt in the way he ex-husband hurt her. She is very bitter about her ex-husband, and I'd say that whatever happened has actually soured her to all men. Is she the one taking photographs? I'm not being serious - at least not really.

OVERALL:

Another difficult episode to grade really. Sadly, despite her overall improvement this season, I know I tend to automatically take slightly against a Jenny centric episode. And as her behaviour in this was just so way off mark for someone in her position, it does tend to take something away from what otherwise was a reasonably tense, albeit once again fairly predictable story line, with some parts being ultra-predictable.

No Mann - excellent (although the bit with Gibbs looking at a Bride's Magazine was scary).

No Jimmy - not good. I do hope we see him again this season.

The touches of humour were really forced this week for the most part.

Tobias was there - that's always good. I really like him.

Much more Ducky this week, lots more. That was great. That made it more enjoyable than it might otherwise have been.

A couple of nice Gibbs and Ducky interactions with the way they look at one another; always so wonderful to see.

Tentative grades, until I've re-watched it:

Storyline:  7.00

Enjoyment: 7.25

Tags: non-fiction: episode reviews, season 04
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