Spoilers behind cut.
Well now that was quite an episode in many ways. It resolved one thing - DiNozzo won't be running of with Jeanne and she will now hate him and probably move on. On the face of it resolved another, but really to my mind it didn't. We were still left actually not knowing who killed La Grenouille, Kort who 'confessed' or Jenny (whom I think Gibbs thinks did it).
It's also an episode full of flashbacks to Season Four and the first episode of Season Five.
It certainly showed how much of a family Gibbs's team are, and that clearly extends to the Director too. It was lovely to see Fornell, I really like him. No Palmer, but I guess there really wasn't any reason for him to be there, given there was no autopsies or actual case. Ducky got to spend the whole episode in his suit.
The episode begins with DiNozzo coming out of the lift laughing he goes past Ziva who is hitting her desk and is then told by McGee to keep his drink on the other side of the room as he, McGee, is backing up three years of case files (they only back up once every three years? Oh, yeah!! Fun moment, but really, PTB give your viewers some credit, please).
He talks about lots of zeroes and ones flying across the room. This leads to DiNozzo pointing out that he is the ones and McGee the zeroes. We then get DiNozzo behaving ultra-stupidly. He messes about and pretends to juggle with his drink and drop it over the machines to poor McGee's distress - but it isn't liquid, it's bits of paper (the things that are in hole punchers, maybe?) What are TPTB doing to DiNozzo? Why is he being so utterly juvenile again? A bit of it is fun, but it's now gone way OTT and is at the stage where I honestly cannot see Gibbs keeping him. Please, PTB, make him believable again.
At that moment Gibbs arrives demanding to know if the phones are working because he's been trying to ring in. They aren't. And at that moment everything starts to close down and go black, much to poor McGee's ultra distress. However, before they can sort out what is happening the lift doors open and Fornell, flanked by several, we assume fellow FBI people, comes out and tells Gibbs NCIS is on shut-down. They've pulled a body out of the water and it is La Grenouille - NCIS is under investigation for his murder.
All the team, save Gibbs who is with Fornell and Jenny who is in her office, are in the lock-up. Abby is not happy and is getting antsy, Ducky is sitting quite calmly; the others are milling around. They are being guarded by one of the FBI men.
Back in the interrogation room we have Fornell and Gibbs. Gibbs asks if Fornell will have a problem given his personal involvement with various NCIS people; Fornell says he won't. There's a nice little exchange when Gibbs sits on his normal side of the table and Fornell tells him to go around the other side. Gibbs does not display any shock over La Grenouille's death and Fornell says that evidence points to someone in the building being guilty for La Grenouille's murder. He asks about the contact the team had with La Grenouille; he knows about the visit Gibbs, McGee and Ziva paid to La Grenouille at the marine and says that the time of death ties in roughly with that visit.
Gibbs then asks Fornell if it is his alibi in which Fornell is interested - which it obviously isn't. If Fornell really believed Gibbs was guilty, I doubt if he would have headed the investigation; plus he knows Gibbs. He knows how far he'll go. Fornell produces evidence that Jenny's phone records show contact between her and La Grenouille on the night of La Grenouille's death and asks Gibbs about that night. We get a flash back to the scene in Jenny's study when she is talking to La Grenouille about her father taking a bribe. And then Fornell asks Gibbs if he is protecting anyone. And we have yet more flashbacks of that evening. Fornell knows that Jenny's 'interest' in La Grenouille was not merely, if at all, case related. Gibbs believes Jenny is innocent and wants to see the file Fornell has on her, in fact he demands that when she's proven innocent, he sees it. Fornell says if she is, maybe he will.
This exchange is being watched by someone, whom we are meant to assume is another FBI man, and yet his stature says he's maybe not. And we soon learn he isn't, as we go up to Jenny's office. He is actually Leon Vance and Sec Nav have sent him; he's the Assistant Director and takes over as Acting Director of NCIS as Jenny is suspended; she duly hands over her badge and gun. When Leon meets Gibbs coming out of the interrogation room we have a teeny little 'fun' exchange as he hands Gibbs some money for a cheese doughnut nine years ago.
McGee is on his way to see Fornell and as he passes Gibbs, he asks what he should say. Gibbs tells him to tell the truth as he has nothing to hide. And we get a flashback to the night Gibbs told McGee to hack into the CIA computer and gives McGee a 'get out of jail free' card. We soon learn that Fornell is aware of McGee's hacking, but also that he doesn't care, he just wants to know who got McGee to do it. He suggests Jenny, but McGee confesses it was Gibbs. He also admits that Jenny did pursue La Grenouille aggressively and Gibbs suspected that was because Jenny thought La Grenouille was responsible for her father's death.
Fornell then asks about DiNozzo's undercover assignment and if that was why he was put undercover. He also asks about McGee's relationship with DiNozzo, says it must be a professional one. And then we get several flashbacks, which are about as far from professional as you can get and must have had the DiNozzo/McGee fen squeeing as we had several DiNozzo/McGee moments, including the Brokeback Mountain comment, the exchange of shirts and the mock fight. However, McGee, once he comes out of his memories says, "Very professional." He also says he knew nothing about the operation at all, but his mind goes to 'Blowback' just before an 'undercover' Ducky meets La Grenouille.
We then, in Fornell's next words, switch to him with Ziva and he's asking her about Canada and the mission. He says he knows her background and what she is and is she ever mis-understood. She says "Once in a blue lagoon." Fornell says he thinks he'll understand her and again asks about Canada. We get another flashback from Ziva's POV with her ready to take La Grenouille out and just waiting for the order. Fornell says he knows she was there to kill La Grenouille on Jenny's orders and was only stopped by Kort - another flashback to Jenny getting the call to do just that. He says that Jenny manufactured the mission just so she could put a bullet in La Grenouille's head.
And with another high-speed switch, we have Ducky being interrogated by Fornell - these switches work really well and added to the tension of the scene. Ducky admits to only having met La Grenouille once, but also to have been 'rather taken by him'. He asks if he can see the body, but Fornell says 'no', but Ducky does learn who did the autopsy (the ME from Maryland). Fornell questions Ducky about him doing psychological profiles, and asks if he did one for the case. We get the flashback to Ducky in Jenny's office when he tells her his profile and she won't believe it and accuses him of having his judgement clouded. And he says that it isn't his that's clouded.
Fornell then asks what Ducky thought of Jenny's state of mind and we have another flashback to Ducky and Gibbs in the lift following Ducky's meeting with Jenny when Ducky is telling Gibbs how Jenny is and how obsessed she is and how she'll take it 'as far as it takes'. He does tell Fornell that he'd mentioned her obsession.
Then we go back to the lock-up and have a nice little Gibbs and Ducky eye contact scene across the table at which Ducky is sitting, the kids are all huddled together leaving their boss and Ducky together. Ducky tells Gibbs that Fornell is trying to compile the case against Jenny, and Gibbs says Fornell is holding something back. Then Ducky asks Gibbs if he thinks Jenny did it; Gibbs does not answer. Instead he walks away and tries to leave and we have a little by-play between him and the FBI agent standing guard, when Gibbs deliberately puts his hands on the man and it's clear he's picking his pocket. Leon arrives and tells them that all those who have been interviewed by Fornell can go; he also tells Gibbs not to investigate the case. Gibbs isn't going to; he's going to investigate the FBI.
We then move to Gibbs's basement, which is where a lot of the episode then takes place. Gibbs is hunting for something and it turns out to be an old computer, a very old computer, covered with dust, which he blows off. He then gives the computer to McGee to work his magic on and brushed the dust he blew onto McGee from McGee's clothes (cue squee from Gibbs/McGee fen - I was saying to one just the other day that it's almost canon and they aren't even my ship). McGee seems a little perturbed by the 'gift' but if anyone can work his magic, McGee can and he sets off to do that very thing.
Gibbs then calls to Ducky, who was there off screen and says he needs the ME's report.
Ducky: "I'll have to be charming."
Gibbs: "Don't strain yourself."
Lots of nice eye contact and lack of personal space (as always) for us Gibbs/Ducky fen to enjoy. Plus, Gibbs gets his hands on Ducky again, he touches his arm and then put his arm around Ducky to guide him to the stairs. He tells him to go out the back way through the hedge - Gibbs, Ducky's older, he really shouldn't be scrambling through hedges! But actually Ducky is rather keen on it and quite excited; he runs up the stairs - he's still fit (see 'older not dead') and talks about the cat and mouse game. Then (and it's almost inevitable really), he stops, comes part of the way back down and starts to tell a story.
Ducky: "It reminds me -" He is cut off by one of Gibbs's stares. "Of a part of my life I will share with you later," (more squeeing) and he runs off.
McGee has indeed worked his magic and has managed to hook the computer up and along with his mobile phone thinks he should be able to get somewhere, but he'll still need ID and then we see just what Gibbs lifted from the FBI man: his ID! He also asks Gibbs how he'll get the boat out of the basement (an ongoing question asked by quite a few people), Gibbs says 'just break a bottle'.
Back in the evidence lock-up we have Abby and DiNozzo, the only two left. DiNozzo is hungry and Abby finds him something to eat from the evidence and also finds some tarot cards and they settle down to do a reading. At that moment Fornell appears to take Abby away. DiNozzo reminds her that Gibbs left her a task; to do what she does best.
She's to keep Fornell busy. And she does! She points out that no one could have killed La Grenouille without Gibbs being aware of it and then starts to explain to Fornell that she has a theory about Gibbs, he's involved with dark magic because he's always appearing, always knows what's going on and whenever she has evidence, he's there. Fornell suggests maybe he's bugged her lab. She says no - adding she'd checked. A very nice, fun scene. A really good Abby scene. Fornell then asks Abby if Gibbs ever gets angry (you think, Fornell?) a question to which he already knows the answer. We get a few flashbacks of Gibbs head-slapping DiNozzo, also of Gibbs demonstrating how to break someone's neck, but Abby calmly says "No." And still she goes on talking.
Meanwhile we go back to Gibbs's basement. McGee has hooked up the computer and is ordering Ziva where to move to as she's holding up the various wires that is allowing him to connect. Poor Ziva is stretched right up, her arms way above her head and of course that's the perfect position. Gibbs moves in very close to McGee and together they look at the data (more squeeing for Gibbs/McGee fen); McGee has found a witness report.
During this Ziva points out how much her arms are aching and finally she's allowed to put them down. Gibbs hands Ziva his knife and tells her to go and deal with the FBI agents watching the house - adding she's to slit the tires, not their throats. Nice one, Gibbs. She trots off and McGee says if they had a printer they might be able to . . . and lo and behold Gibbs dumps an ancient computer into his arms. Gibbs looks utterly pleased with himself at this, it's a lovely look on his face.
Back at HQ, Fornell is now with Leon outside the interrogation room and they are watching Abby, who is very close to the glass and making faces. Fornell is saying that he always doubts she's all there. At that point though Abby 'remembers' something, and she tells them about Jenny getting her to run prints on a glass and whiskey bottle and reveals they were her dead father's. Leon points out to Fornell that Abby is far smarter than Fornell thinks, which is kind of countered by Abby again pressing her face to the glass and looking 'weird'.
And then we flash to Gibbs meeting someone from a taxi: it's Jeanne.
Back in Gibbs's basement Ducky has laid out photographs of La Grenouille on one of Gibbs's work benches - the boat has been sidelined, and he's talking to the 'body' as he does. He's saying that he wishes they could have met again whilst La Grenouille was alive and looks at the evidence and talks about the residue of gun powder around the wound in La Grenouille's forehead, meaning he must have stood there and let someone get really close to him, or it was a left-handed suicide. He's surprised that La Grenouille would let anyone get close enough to put a gun to his head.
McGee then looks over the banister and asks if Ducky was talking to him, Ducky says no. McGee starts to say something, then changes his mind and says he'll go away. He does. Ducky returns to talking to La Grenouille saying the FBI are sure it was murder, but Ducky wants to shed some light on it the mystery, as the finger is being pointed at a mutual acquaintance. And then he sees a mark on the back of one of La Grenouille's hands.
We move to Gibbs and Jeanne and she asks about DiNozzo, it's clear she's still in love with him.
And now it's DiNozzo's turn to be interviewed by Fornell. Fornell kicks off by asking about Jeanne and DiNozzo, in true DiNozzo style says that Fornell is asking for pick-up tips, but he can't tell him as it's an old family secret and he's sworn to secrecy - it's DiNozzo's turn to keep Fornell taking and distracted as long as possible.(Not, I must say I believe for a moment that Fornell does not at least suspect what Gibbs is up to). Fornell asks DiNozzo if he was ordered to sleep with Jeanne and we get a flashback to the conversation in Jenny's office when he's asking her about it. Fornell pushes and says he knows DiNozzo had feelings for Jeanne and wonders how he felt when he had to break her heart.
Back to Gibbs and Jeanne, she says she'd been to Africa, but it didn't help her. They talk about La Grenouille's death and Gibbs said the FBI are convinced he was murdered. She then drops the bombshell; she say the murder.
Back in Gibbs's basement.
Ducky: "I only let Jethro call me that, Ziva." (More squee moments for us G/D fen and just remember that, kids - no trying to call Ducky 'Duck' that's Gibbs's pet name for him, I hope McGee or Ziva tell DiNozzo, because he's done it once).
McGee though explains that Ziva wasn't calling Ducky but telling them to 'duck' and join her with her reconstruction of the marina. There were no blood splatters and he didn't even flinch; it had to either be suicide or someone La Grenouille knew. McGee wonders why he'd let someone get that close and he and Ziva act out the scene with McGee being La Grenouille and Ziva the killer. The gun must have been concealed when the killer walked up, but even so when he/she pulled it why didn't La Grenouille flinch or jump over-board or . . .
Back to Fornell and DiNozzo, Fornell is still talking about love. DiNozzo denies knowing whether Jeanne was in love with him and Fornell calls him on it saying he's a better liar than that. DiNozzo admits not only that Jeanne was in love with him, but they were both in love and we get several flashback scenes to them confessing that and kissing, etc.
Back in the basement Ducky shows Ziva the photograph of the mark on La Grenouille's hand; she recognises what it is and kindly demonstrates on poor McGee how someone makes that kind of mark and whilst doing it she raises a 'gun' to McGee's head - duly watched by Ducky.
Back to Gibbs and Jeanne; she asks her who she saw kill her father and she says . . . Tony.
Back at HQ, Fornell accuses DiNozzo of the murder of La Grenouille.
Once more in the basement, and Gibbs is back and he's told the team about DiNozzo. They agree he had motive, means and no alibi - and we have flashbacks to DiNozzo being missing and not in contact. Gibbs and Ducky are again communicating as much by looks as words and we have lots of intensive looks as Ducky talks, again animatedly, about how no two suicides are alike and how the mark on La Grenouille's hand was also on the back of Jasper Shepard's hand.
Gibbs grabs his phone and watched by Ducky dials, saying.. "Someone's missing from this party."
Once more in Jenny's office, she's angry because the FBI are tearing apart her home and won't tell her why. Leon tells her they are looking for her 9mm Glock, because La Grenouille was killed by one and her 'for personal use' one is missing. She says she can explain and says La Grenouille took it with him the night he died, and we get a flashback to her giving him the gun and telling him to take it and protect himself. Leon asks if there are any witnesses and she tells them Gibbs was there and we duly see Gibbs in another flashback. Fornell is happy once he knows that, and goes on to say that they have a witness to DiNozzo killing La Grenouille. And the witness is Jeanne.
Jenny is stunned by this as well as angry and demands to see Jeanne; Fornell says no; Leon says yes. Why is Jenny suddenly so almost in a mild panic? Is it just because she's concerned for her team or is it because she knows Jeanne is lying and there's only two ways she can know.
The scene between Jeanne and Jenny is being witnessed by Leon and Fornell and Jenny's entire conversation is, to my mind at least, on two levels. Everything she says to Jeanne, although on the face of it being about Jeanne and her feelings about her father and her feelings about his death and how she just wanted to get away and yet wanted to see him one last time and lies and deception etc. etc. etc. was also Jenny talking about herself and her father - at least I think so.
She gets Jeanne to finally admit she didn't see her father, thus she didn't see DiNozzo and Jeanne then says she killed him, but again Jenny talks about how it only feels that way and it's not true and about self-blame, etc. more Jenny talking at two levels. Jeanne says she made the wrong choice, she wanted to see him but was sure if she went, he'd find her as he always did, but he didn't. Jenny goes on about having one moment to live over and over again and then says with total sincerity that La Grenouille loved Jeanne.
It was an amazingly powerful scene, especially as it was between two characters about whom I don't really care. I was really moved by it, moved to hard swallows and found it very poignant. It was really well played out, acted and intense, and it was all on two levels. Whatever had happened, whoever is dead or not, Jenny and Jeanne have something in common. Only Jenny can truly know what Jeanne is going through at the moment.
And then Gibbs turns up and he has Kort with him. We get more flashbacks of Kort and Jenny and then Kort says that La Grenouille was killed by an associate who stopped him and has now taken over from him. And Kort has a 'get out of jail card' - eyes only for Fornell and Leon, Gibbs doesn't see it. Kort said the death was sanctioned, La Grenouille wanted to retire; he has been. Kort gets to walk free for the murder (if he did it). Gibbs then grabs Kort and presses on his hand in the way whoever killed La Grenouille and Jasper Shepard (assuming the latter wasn't suicide) pressed on their hands. He asks who killed Jasper Shepard and Kort says "Jasper Shepard."
Gibbs and Fornell walk down the corridor together talking about Kort and Fornell asks about the night, the gun and how La Grenouille got it, assuming that Kort must have taken it from La Grenouille and used it on him. Gibbs asks to see the file now that Jenny has been cleared, but Fornell only says 'maybe'. Hmmm, there is still more to this matter.
In the squad room DiNozzo hits Kort telling him he didn't just kill a drug dealer, he killed a father. And then Jeanne walks out with one of the FBI men. Ziva sees DiNozzo and Jeanne deliberately avoiding one another and then tells him to be the man, to go and tell her what she needs to hear. He goes to her and they look at one another; it's completely clear they are still in love, they know it and Ziva knows it.
But it's not to be. Jeanne asks him if any of it was real and he says 'no', he has done what Ziva told him to; he told her what she needed to hear. And for that moment he proved why he is such a good agent, why Gibbs kept him around and we saw the DiNozzo of Season Four and we saw just how well he could lie. He lied to her for her own sake - because a lie it was; the love was real. Not surprisingly she says she wishes she'd never met him; now she can begin to heal over her father and DiNozzo.
Back in Jenny's office, Leon is packing up and we learn that Jenny is going to take a couple of week's personal leave, which is interesting and we assume tied in with the blood tests. Leon leaves as Gibbs comes in.
Gibbs: "A fairytale ending."
Jenn: "The frog is dead, the jester kicked out of the kingdom."
Gibbs: "The Queen is back on her throne."
Jenny says if he's looking for some kind of knighthood he's out of luck as her sword has been misplaced.
Gibbs; "Maybe it's with your gun."
Gibbs then talks about how La Grenouille, despite what he was never carried a gun.
Jenny says not until the night he was killed. We get her flashback of her giving La Grenouille the gun and telling him to take it.
We then get Gibbs's flashback that goes that way until La Grenouille puts the gun back down on Jenny's desk and we hear La Grenouille saying Jenny is signing his death warrant.
Jenny asks if Gibbs remembers something different from what she remembers.
After a pause Gibbs simply says: "Long live the Queen."
It looks as though it's Paris all over again; for the second time he knows she killed someone, okay he can't prove it, and he's going to let her get away with it.
So who did kill La Grenouille?
I have to say that my take was Jenny.
A really excellent episode, IMO. Very powerful on so many levels. It showed the family, it showed how important they all are, what they'll do for one another. It managed, despite it's serious nature, to have splashes of humour in it.
It had Fornell, which is always a plus.
It had the extremely moving scene between Jenny and Jeanne.
It showed us a flash of the grown-up DiNozzo again at the end. And the scene where he does lie to Jeanne was also incredibly moving and powerful.
And the final scene in Jenny's office was in some ways rather chilling.
A superb Abby scene with Fornell.
Even the flashbacks weren't annoying and they all fitted so well.
It even had several nice ship moments mainly for Gibbs/Ducky and Gibbs/McGee fen. Oh, and DiNozzo/McGee for the flashbacks in McGee's mind.