After the last few superb episodes including last week's (which plutos_revenge named The Marmite Episode') stunning one, I was expecting a bit of a lull, and a flatter episode with no real high points or edge-of-seat or high emotion stuff and that is just what we got. A so-so episode; not brilliant, but not bad either. The bad guy was really obvious this week, but as I always say that rarely bothers me. Some fun banter and scenes, but overall I felt, even though I was expecting it, a bit flat. Still it wasn't bad.
We begin at a college kids party (for a moment I thought I was watching the wrong episode as it was very reminiscent of how Frame Up began *g* Creeping around in the bushes are a boy and a girl. She isn't keen on being there as they didn't receive an invitation, but he says it's an 'After' party, thus they have a right to be there; he also says they'll be pleased to see them as he has alcohol. They go out to the rest of the group who indeed don't seem pleased to see them, but they aren't looking at them, they are looking at a beaten and bloodied man who staggers out from the bushes and collapses.
In the squad room DiNozzo is using his web cam to record various shots of faces he's pulling. McGee decides he won't ask, but Ziva does. DiNozzo says he's trying to get a 'deep thought' photo, which earns him a 'first time for everything' comment from Ziva. It turns out that DiNozzo is addicted to Ibeatyou.com as site where you put up pictures of yourself in various poses/doing various things to see who gets into top place. He throws in one of his film references (another one I actually get) Saturday Night Fever and refers to Travolta. Ziva doesn't 'get it', and he tells her it's about having fun, a concept he thinks is foreign to Ziva.
She says she knows how to have fun and turns to McGee for support. But McGee is now looking at the site himself and trying to come up with best psycho photo. DiNozzo hurries over to him and starts pulling part of his face to get a better picture (cue DiNozzo/McGee fen) and of course who walks in at that moment: oh, yes, Gibbs who (naturally) asks if they need time alone. He tells them there is a dead Petty Officer in the woods and as they prepare to leave we learn that DiNozzo is in third place for air guitaring. Later on during the episode he is proud to announce he has moved up to second place.
And one thing I have to add here: Gibbs is still bruised from where the bullet grazed his skull and his finger is still strapped - wow!!! That's one of the first times we have ever had this kind of consistency, it was really good to see.
At the crime scene McGee 'obliging' tells us (very much info dump time) that the dead guy is Petty Officer Greg Collins a bosun's mater on the USS Shenandoah. Ziva has found a blood trail and Gibbs works out where it came from and where the road is, simply by listening. He sends DiNozzo and Ziva off to follow it.
Ducky arrives and looks at the body watched by Gibbs and McGee. He says it's odd as some of the wounds have been treated and some not; also some of the wounds are older as they are starting to form scabs. He comments: "It seems like our deceased had an unfortunate accident before he had his unfortunate accident."
Ziva and DiNozzo are with Collins's car which has gone off the road and has bullet holes in it. Gibbs arrives and DiNozzo tells him they've found some partial prints. Gibbs then asks about the time of the crash. DiNozzo starts to say that the college kids didn't hear any shots, so it must have been before that, but Gibbs points to the clock on the dash board which had stopped at 7:22 p.m. (an hour before the party began). DiNozzo may not have noticed that, but he does recognise the make of shoe from the partial print. And he also knows that Collins wasn't wearing that make of shoe, i.e. someone else was there.
In Autopsy Ducky is talking to Collins's body about Greek tragedies and starts to tell the story of the vulture who mistook the bald head of a man for his prey and dropped a stone on him, thus killing him. He says he was known as - and then Gibbs appears and finishes the story by saying 'the father of Greek tragedy'. Ducky is a tad surprised and says he had no idea Gibbs was familiar with the classics and then adds, maybe it is just the tragedies. Gibbs doesn't comment on it, he just looks down at Ducky and asks what he has for him, adding after a fraction of a second 'Duck'.
Ducky tells him that Collins's death was both tragic and unique insofar as he has injuries from the crash and also from before, fist shape bruises, gouges and broken jaw. Gibbs suggest he had been beaten; Ducky agrees adding 'savagely' but also tell Gibbs he'd fought back. They found skin fragments under his finger nails and Abby is running the DNA and it turns out that the DNA on the skin fragments matches the DNA on the bandages. Ducky calls the person a savage and a Samaritan. This scene between Gibbs and Ducky pretty much fell in with the rest of the episode as it was very low key and fairly flat. Nice lack of personal space and some looks, and it's clear Gibbs is still suffering from having to kill Michelle last week.
In the squad room Ziva wants the crime scene photos that DiNozzo was meant to have uploaded, but he's gone out to get a take away. So Ziva goes to DiNozzo's desk and as well as finding those photos she is looking at the ones of him playing the air guitar; McGee tries to explain it to her, but she doesn't get it [I have to say nor do I]. Gibbs then turns up and Ziva puts the photos up on the plasma; at that second DiNozzo with take away comes back and tries to act as though he had been there all the time. He makes a comment about smelling road rage and in turn Ziva makes a comment about smelling take away. And then by accident up pops one of DiNozzo's air guitar photos, which Ziva is sorry about and Gibbs ignores.
McGee says that there has been a call to say that Collins's alarm at his home is going off and off they all toddle. At the scene we have Gibbs and Ziva outside and McGee and DiNozzo inside. There is no one around, but there is a blood stained towel and some teeth on the ground. And then the neighbours turn up - they are neighbourhood watch. The one who seems to be 'in charge' - Adam Parker - instantly tripped my 'radar' and I knew there and then he was going to turn out to be involved somehow.
When told Collins is dead, murdered, they don't seem that surprised and tell Gibbs et al about how the area used to be quiet but Collins then turned up and there were loud parties and fighting that rather than break up, the non-fightees watched and egged on. And then a reference to the film Fight Club is made; DiNozzo says he can't talk about it as the first rule of fight club is 'never talk about fight club'. However, when Gibbs says his name he says he'll make an exception for Gibbs [sensible boy, DiNozzo] and tells about the film. McGee then says that there is a good market for underground fighting videos [shakes head in amazement; people would pay to watch two or more other people punching and beating one another? Why? How is this entertainment?]
Back at HQ, Gibbs and McGee are with Abby who is declaring she will never give up on tracing the DNA etc. She hasn't been able to match the other shoe print yet and even DiNozzo doesn't recognise it, which seems to be a very rare thing - he knows his shoes. But she does then get a hit: Sam Bennett, he has form and he is now part of a salvage crew on a ship that is being decommissioned, the USS Rubicon.
McGee and DiNozzo go to the ship and meet the foreman who after calling them 'navy cops' and getting a sarky DiNozzo comment about sea horses *smiles*, admits that Bennett is not there any longer. When he told Bennett NCIS were going to go and talk to him, Bennett vanished. He also admits that he knows very little about Bennett or any of the salvage guys, he doesn't ask questions.
Back at HQ DiNozzo is trying to put out a BOLO on Bennett but is getting irritated as the person on the other end of the phone seems to be having problems even writing down Bennett's name. Whilst he is trying to get the BOLO set up, McGee is telling Gibbs about Bennett; he has no mobile phone, no email, no driver's license or library card and Ziva adds he has no living relatives. And then suddenly, as DiNozzo gets really annoyed with the person to whom he is talking, Bennett, also beaten and bloodied, turns up.
In interrogation Gibbs is talking to Bennett and DiNozzo and Ziva are watching. Bennett says Collins was his best friend; he stood by him when no one else did. He taught him right from wrong and how to look out for other people. He turned his life around. He then says he won't talk about the fights.
Outside we learn that Ziva had her first fight when she was eight - it was over with one punch (hers) - and the reason for it was because the boy she hit told her he liked her.
Gibbs does get Bennett to talk about the fights and he says they moved around, they had been at Collins's place and Collins won. But at another fight he and Collins had to fight one another - it was just how the draw went. He says he fixed Collins up and then killed him.
Outside DiNozzo says it's too easy; Bennett didn't even get the 'Gibbs glare'. Ziva suggests Bennett might be covering for someone.
Bennett tells Gibbs he's done running and has come to turn himself in, but Gibbs explains how he didn't kill Collins, but Bennett still says he's dead because of him. Gibbs asks if he went in the car with Collins, but Bennett said he didn't and that he tried to get Collins not to drive as his eyes were almost closed shut, but Collins didn't listen. Gibbs tells Bennett about Collins's car being shot up and Bennett gets angry vowing to kill the person who killed Collins. He doesn't know the real names of the other fighters, just their fight names.
Down in the evidence garage Abby and McGee (both in NCIS coveralls) are talking about fighting and Abby says she'd pay to see the right fight. She suggests Leroy Jethro Gibbs vs. McGee suggests Ziva but Abby was thinking more like Terminator. They then go through a few names, but Abby thinks Gibbs would always win and tells McGee to suggest someone even tougher. McGee is thinking and says Gibbs vs. and at that second Gibbs appears behind Abby and McGee just says 'Gibbs'. That excites Abby who asks if it's evil twin or clone. Gibbs lets her know he's there and in true Abby style after jumping she says it's good timing as she has something to show him. That actually gets a half Gibbs smile.
Abby and McGee show Gibbs what they have found - three layers of paint on the back panel of Collins's car. They have put together a mock-up of what they think happened; the first layer, silver, was caused by a silver car driving into Collins, this made Collins skid and fish tail and hit a barrier from where the brown paint came and then the driver of the silver car crashed into Collins again. The good news is that the silver paint should be fairly easy to trace. And then McGee, egged on by Abby, asks Gibbs if he's ever lost a fight. Gibbs replies that he doesn't even know if he's ever won one [poor Gibbs].
Up in the squad room Gibbs is with McGee as his desk while McGee is showing him he'd traced the paint and it is used on a very expensive car. There are only three in the area and two turn out to be black. The owner of the silver car is Tabatha Summers. DiNozzo says she looks rich, McGee confirms she is rich!
When she arrives she has with her her personal attorney [he made me shudder when I saw him] and she was a real bitch. However, DiNozzo in true DiNozzo style smiles at her and flirts with her. Then once she and her personal attorney (Dale Kapp) go up to the conference room he and McGee talk about her in terms of her being a cougar, McGee reminds DiNozzo she is married, but that doesn't trouble DiNozzo; McGee's 'parting' shot though is that he though cougars always liked young guys and walks off leaving DiNozzo blinking and it has to be said almost half smiling.
In the conference room Gibbs (Ziva is also there) shows Ms. Summers a photo of Collins, she says she doesn't recognise it; he then shows her a photo of her car - which she does recognise as 'one' of her cars. We then learn that Kapp is in fact her husband, her fourth husband, he handled her third divorce. They both claim they never left home the evening before as they were having massages but say that any one of their fairly large staff could have had access to the car pool. And then they begin to argue about where they are spending Christmas. [I was wondering at that point how quickly Kapp would become ex-husband number four]. Gibbs asks Ms. Summers for a DNA sample, but is refused.
However, who needs DNA when you have the good old fingerprints on the glass trick? Abby tells Gibbs and Ziva that the match she gets isn't from Ms. Summers but from Kapp - and he is still on base.
Gibbs orders DiNozzo to lock down the front gate, but it appears it was too late. Ms. Summers reappears and says she doesn't know where Kapp is as he went to get the car and just drove off - she passes comment that he's spending his last few hours as a married man. First Bennett ran, now Kapp has run.
DiNozzo and Ziva are gathered around McGee's desk and it turns out that Kapp cancelled his appointment with his masseur and in fact was picked up on a traffic camera running a red light. DiNozzo thinks that proves that Kapp must have killed Collins but Gibbs appears and testily demands a motive, but no one can give him one; there is not connection between the two. Abby then calls Gibbs and he, still irritated, goes off taking McGee with him.
DiNozzo and Ziva then talk about fun and Ziva says she has more adult ways of having fun than air guitaring and DiNozzo comments about reading and asks if she ever has the urge to act:
DiNozzo: "Silly. Stupid. Brainless."
Ziva: "Like you?"
DiNozzo: "Exactly." [To give him his due, he does know what he is and how he acts].
Ziva then explains that they had totally different upbringings. Where she came from one grew up fast, you had no choice. DiNozzo tells her that she now does have a choice [a nice moment].
Meanwhile down with Abby she has found lots of files on Kapp's laptop from chat rooms - but to Gibbs it just looked gibberish [to me too] and Abby and McGee explain it's in IM speak and translate bits of it. Basically it appears that Kapp has spent a lot of time chatting to a woman called 'Jodie' who looks to be a very attractive woman. McGee by pinging the site tracks down her IP address and then her home address, he asks Gibbs if he wants him to go with him, but Gibbs just leaves.
At Jodie's Gibbs and DiNozzo knock on the door and a distant voice tells them to go in; they do. The same voice then appears to answer them and talk to them, at one point telling them she is in the shower and to join them. It's DiNozzo, who Gibbs thinks is about to do as Jodie bid, who finds a lipstick camera - several of them. They go into another room and see a figure behind a shower curtain, but when they pull it back it reveals a mannequin. DiNozzo makes reference to 'one of those voice operated, motion operated thingamabobs, and wonders where a McGeek is when they need him. Gibbs then picks the lock on some kind of cabinet and reveals a lot of computer/recording stuff. They aren't just being watched, they are being recorded.
Back at HQ (with the mannequin) Abby and McGee are explaining to Gibbs and DiNozzo what has been happening. 'Jodie' doesn't exist, basically it's a blackmail scam where 'Jodie' tracked down married men in the chat room - men married to rich women - and enticed them into visiting her and then wham recorded them and demanded money for the tapes. McGee traces the owner of the account and it turns out to be none other than Collins. So it appears that Collins was blackmailing Kapp and Kapp killed Collins because he didn't want to pay.
The team go to Collins's house and there's a car outside, the bonnet is still warm. McGee says he has the front and the other three go around the back only to discover Kapp's body, he's been beaten to death. So someone has murdered the murderer.
Ducky arrives and says Kapp has a fractured skull. When Gibbs asks if he was beaten to death, Ducky says that he'll offer his usual disclaimer that he can't confirm it until he gets Kapp 'home'. But Gibbs is not happy with that and demands to know if the killer used fists, Ducky says it was something harder with an edge and a piece of wood is found.
And lo and behold our neighbourhood watch man - Parker - turns up [oh, yes, by now my spider sense was doing more than tingling]. He tells them that he saw another man there earlier and describes . . . Bennett (how convenient). But it's true, Bennett did indeed threaten to kill the person who killed Collins. But I wasn't buying that, it was too slick.
Back in the squad room they are talking about it and DiNozzo doing a swagger (I'm not sure who he was trying to impersonate, but I'm sure it was someone from one of his many films) and suggests it's old style work, they need to ask the right questions. Gibbs tells him to ask. And DiNozzo wants to know why Kapp went and left his wife. And they get into a conversation about how Bennett must have lured Kapp to Collins's house by telling him he'd found some photos of Kapp. Kapp did get a call from Collins's house after he left NCIS. And McGee also finds that Collins had received several calls from Western Dock where the USS Rubicon was being decommissioned.
The field team all go to the boat and for some reason DiNozzo starts to talk very loudly, but is hushed by Gibbs. They split up and of course the lights go out. DiNozzo finds were Bennett has been sleeping and a rat runs by; DiNozzo makes a comment wondering why there are always rats on ships (a reference to Chimera) - another nice continuity touch.
We then switch to McGee tracking Bennett and then nothing. Gibbs calls for McGee, but silence, he asks if the other two have heard from McGee - they haven't. And then there's a cry. Gibbs, Ziva and DiNozzo go in the direction from which it came and there is Bennett on the floor with McGee bending over him. DiNozzo confesses to 'almost being impressed' by the fact that McGee took down a fight club star. And McGee (nice, honest - remember Gibbs said in Probie than McGee can't lie) admits he would be too if Bennett hadn't tripped when trying to get away. And that gets another Gibbs smile [they have been few and far between this week - again which is really good to see. I have to say I'm impressed with the general continuity so far in this season.]
Back in interrogation Ziva is questioning Bennett and Gibbs is watching from by the door. Bennett is adamant he did not kill Kapp [I believe you].
Meanwhile in Abby's lab, she is running things on the computer and McGee is really close to her (nice Abby/McGee moment). Gibbs has basically got her testing anything and everything and she tells McGee when she gets something he'll be the second to know. She's found an anomaly in the blackmail's header and is trying to track it down. And then she gets a ding, except it's not just a ding, it's a leach.
McGee goes into the interrogation room, where Ziva is still pushing Bennett to confess and whispers something to Gibbs. Gibbs then asks Bennett if he knows what a line up is.
Parker is brought in and from outside interrogation identifies Bennett as the man he saw at Collins's house and then the tables are turned, well the lighting, and outside interrogation is lit up and Bennett identifies Parker as the man he saw killing Kapp [yes!]. Parker asks if Gibbs is just going to take Bennett's word, Gibbs says no and McGee explains how Collins didn't password protect his WiFi thus anyone could use it. Parker did, which is leaching but if anyone traced the signal it would end up at Collins's. Parker was not only the blackmailer, he also killed Kapp. Kapp didn't want to pay up, went looking for the blackmailer and found Collins whom he killed and in turn Parker killed Kapp. Gibbs handcuffs him and takes him away.
Then DiNozzo tells the person recording the interrogation to turn of the tape and Bennett tells his story. He'd gone to Collins's house, thought he'd stay there and look after his stuff. He hears someone arrive and hid, he saw it was Parker; he heard Parker calling someone and then Kapp turned up. He stood and watched as Parker hit and hit and hit Kapp - he didn't try to stop it, because he wanted Kapp dead too. Very poignant; a young man whose life had indeed been turned around by someone and that someone was now dead.
The final scene is DiNozzo leaving to go to the cinema he asks Ziva if she wants to go she declines. Once he has gone she gets up looks around her carefully, looks around her again and then . . . Somewhat predictably begins to air guitar.
Probably what was needed after the Michelle-arc, a rather flat, not overly emotional or deep episode.
Solid, a fair case not overly interesting but not snore-worthy. An obvious baddie in Parker and a fairly obvious one in Kapp.
A clever 'moral' i.e. don't use your WiFi un-password protected.
Some nice interaction between various characters; good sibling banter on the whole.
No Vance, but then it wasn't anything he would be involved with so good to see they don't just throw him in each week to 'be there'.
Very high marks for the continuity with Gibbs's injuries and with how he is feeling, that was really good.
More Ducky would have been nice, but it wasn't really possible given the crime.
No Jimmy - which always makes me sigh. I like Jimmy.
A 'flat' episode. A filler really.
And this review is like the episode: flat :-)