Character-wise we had some good developments and changes. And some not so good.
He gained in confidence during this season, and it was lovely to see that he had become a published author, and he continued to prove that Gibbs made the correct decision to promote him to full time field agent.
It was good to see that her finally decided that she was going to become a fully integrated team member, and made her choice: Gibbs rather than Jenny. It began in Hiatus firstly with Ducky (of all people) snapping at her for not knowing to which hospital Gibbs had been taken; then with Abby slapping her for apparently not caring; her breaking down and sobbing in Gibbs's arms over Ari and finally in the opening episode of the season Shalom where the entire team stood by her and started from the premise that she was innocent of the crime of which she'd been accused. It was a stark contrast from Probie, where she'd started from the premise that McGee was guilty of the unprovoked shooting of the cop. McGee's standing by her, must have shaken her most of all.
She also improved, at least to begin with, when she stopped blatantly flirting with Gibbs, stopped wearing tight, low-cut tops and stopped fluttering her eyelashes and saying 'Jethro, what shall I do'? For most of her appearances in the first half of the season, I found myself not hating her. Sadly, her character took an about turn when she once again proved to us that she should not be a Director of a Federal Agency over the whole La Grenouille arc. Not only was she totally and utterly out of control on more than one occasion, but she was abusing her position as Director, and even putting her team and her security detail in danger. To begin with, I did have some interest, but it faded the longer it dragged on and we still do not know what the man has done to her to 'ruin her life'. I think that if we had known by now, people may have had more sympathy for her. As it is . . . Sadly I don't care what he did to her; I don't care if Daddy is alive or dead.
He went up quite a bit in my estimation this season, as he matured and actually let us see why Gibbs has kept him employed for five years. And the thing that impressed me most of all was when he turned down promotion because he knew that he wasn't ready. That kind of decision takes real maturity to make, and DiNozzo really did a superb job to realise that at the moment he still isn't ready to lead his own team.
I must confess to actually rather liking his relationship with Jeanne (it's the romantic in me), and to begin with I enjoyed the whole 'is she a case/is she a real girl-friend' theme, and the way that in one episode the former seemed to be certain, in another then the latter was. And I am glad that she wasn't killed off in the season finale, which I know a lot of people were expecting, because I felt it would have been too clichéd. Instead they went for the other cliché, she's La Grenouille's daughter.
However, as with Jenny, it has all gone on for too long. And whereas at one time I really was intrigued now, I honestly don't care if she's a case or not; and if she is whether DiNozzo knows or not; and if he does whether he truly is in love with her (actually, case of not, he has fallen for her); and who knew that La Grenouille is her father; and how Mummy fits in; and what's going to happen now; and if she is a case how the heck he's going to square that with Gibbs.
It's that, plus I don't think he's that much of a bastard to agree to live with a woman who is in love with him just to keep her sweet, that still makes me uncertain that she's a case. I don't think, given Gibbs's reaction when the other undercover op was revealed, and he found out that Jenny and DiNozzo were lying to him, that DiNozzo would do so again. If DiNozzo is doing so, once it comes out, then DiNozzo will only have one option: a team of his own, not in Washington, because I can't see Gibbs ever trusting him again; and DiNozzo would know that. And we know the high-regard he holds Gibbs in. And because of this I tend towards, if Jeanne is a case, then DiNozzo isn't in on it. It's Ziva and Jenny who knows about it, and it explains why Ziva is so concerned about DiNozzo when he's with Jeanne (the other explanation for Ziva's behaviour is that she's in love with DiNozzo - which is possible).
I had real hopes for more Ducky-screen time when he gained his extra degree and looked forward to him conducting 'psychological autopsies'. However, apart from Dead And Unburied, where he actually went up against Gibbs and used his degree, it was forgotten about for most of the rest of the season. Sadly we didn't see Mrs. Mallard and apart from a reference to her cutting herself with a razor and Ducky having to take her to hospital, she wasn't really mentioned.
I feel that she was really short-changed this season, thanks to the whole Jenny and Jeanne getting so much screen-time. We learnt in In The Dark that she is giving up Caf-Pow, but no reason for this is ever given. And in fact no more is said of it after that episode.
He was another character who also lost out through Jenny and Jeanne, and although he had two character changes: going off to Medical School and having a relationship, that seemed only to exist at the office, with Michelle Lee, his appearances were far too few, leaving you wondering why, if they can get by several weeks without him around, does Ducky actually need an assistant.
I know he p***ed off a lot of Gibbs fans this season, who turned from really liking/loving him to actively disliking him. I also know that some people felt that most of the season could have happened without him. I didn't stop loving him or caring about him, but he's not the Gibbs we knew in the earlier seasons, and I felt that because of the whole Jenny, Tony And Jeanne Show, that his role too became relegated.
Gibbs and Ducky:
Turning down promotion because he knew he wasn't ready - as I said above, such a mature thing to do.
Making her choice and becoming a full team member.
Becoming a published author.
As Acting Director in Trojan Horse. Poor Cynthia.
Favourite Scenes: (Other than Gibbs and Ducky ones)
That just about every ship had at least one scene over which they could squee. Some really blatant, others less so, but they were pretty much all catered for.
If they are going to give Gibbs a female love interest, why can't they find someone with whom he actually has a spark of chemistry? Not only that, but I found her character very difficult to believe in. Here we have this Lt. Colonel, a member of the Army CID, a woman in a man's world, used to investigating, used to reading people, used to understanding people, acting (In The Dark and Skeletons) like a fourteen year old virgin, who whined and pouted until she got her own way. When you have two men (J and my father, both self-processed non-body language, sub-text readers) saying 'can't you see he's not interested in you?' 'Don't resign expecting a future with him', and other such comments, throughout every scene she appeared in in SkeletonsGrace Period and mostly In The Dark, you have to ask why she couldn't see it.
On the one hand, as I said, I liked her, but again aspects of her character just didn't add up. You have this highly intelligent doctor, who again acts at times like a spoilt fourteen year old. The whole calling DiNozzo with a 911 simply because she'd been given twenty-eight day's notice to get out of her apartment, had even me going 'huh'?
Why can they not keep their own time line and canon straight? Surely, as I've said before, it is not beyond the whit of man to employ a constancy person. And as for having one within an episode - I think it's shocking.
The top three that stood out for me were:
The overplaying of several things:
The show deteriorating into the Jenny, Tony And Jeanne Show:
One of the strongest points of NCIS is that it is really a team show, or at least it's Gibbs Plus His Team Show, and that changed during this season.
Too much focus, including episode specific focus on non-team members:
Mike Franks, Jeanne, Mann and Jenny (because as Director she's really apart from the team, to my mind). At one point there were three episodes in a row where the team were very much relegated to the side-lines.
Thus we had:
Gibbs's character, at times:
There were occasions when some of things he did/said were very hard to justify, even with his 'the second B's for bastard' credo.
Giving both Gibbs and DiNozzo long-term love interests:
I don't think it works when you have leads suddenly developing a long-term love interest. Again, it throws the balance off and detracts from the rest of the show.
TOP FOUR EPISODES:
=2nd Dead And Unburied
= 2nd Escaped
4th Trojan Horse
2nd Dead And Unburied
= 3rd Escaped
= 3rd Trojan Horse
2nd Dead And Unburied
4th Trojan Horse
BOTTOM FOUR EPISODES:
24th Angel Of Death
23rd In The Dark
24th Angel Of Death
=23rd In The Dark
=23rd Grace Period
24th Angel Of Death
23rd In The Dark
=21st Grace Period
Graded Table - Season Four Episodes
So, few weeks on from the final episode, I stand by my Current Show Fandom post where I say that, sadly, I'm ambivalent over the fact that there will be a fifth season.
It's still a show I love, it has my beloved Gibbs/Ducky, but . . . I'm so saddened by some of the canon things DPB has done, and how basically the standard has deteriorated after the first two seasons. I'd hoped Season Three was a blip, and for a while it seemed that was true. But then things changed, and not, I feel, for the better.