Nikki (nakeisha) wrote in ncis_gibbsducky,
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Episode Review. Season 6x18 - Knockout

My thoughts behind the cut.



I was in two minds about this episode before watching it. One, I don't like boxing and from the previews boxing was going to feature and two, I'm ambivalent about Vance, I quite like the dynamics he has with Gibbs, but . . . and I certainly don't trust him. Thus, a Vance-centric episode didn't sound that good, especially as that would almost certainly mean very limited Ducky - as he's normally the one to 'lose out' when we have a someone-centric episode. On the other hand, the idea of Gibbs and Vance having a 'run in' appealed very much indeed.

As it was, despite some issues with it - I've said it before but I'll repeat it, episodes that seem to constantly flick back and forth from place to place a high speed aren't my favourite - I ended up enjoying it. It was an episode that got stronger as it went on; it started 'okayish' and pretty much 'yeah, we know what's going to happen' and then the pace stepped up. And we now have another mystery on our hands! Gibbs, open the file!

No one actually annoyed me in this episode, unlike Gibbs I didn't want to slap anyone. So for Gibbs/Ducky fen we had several really nice scenes and a dinner date *g*, and so rather than lose out, Ducky did feature quite a lot.

Overall there were some good scenes and banter, and if Vance ever doubted it, he knows only too well that the team is Gibbs's; they are loyal to him.

And we had Jimmy, always nice and his scene with Abby and Vance was fun.

And the baddie was a good one this week, i.e. I didn't spot him straight off. I did, however, guess the Vance/Tyler thing, or at least part of it.

We begin in Chicago (with some awful background music - well by my standards awful *g*) with a woman leading a man to a room - it appears that she is some kind of high class hooker and he's a client. She says she has to take care of business and goes into the room leaving him outside. Another man is in her room, well outside on the balcony and she goes into the bathroom without even seeing him, but she wasn't surprised someone was there. He writes a note for the man outside the door telling him to bend over and read the note. He does and the man in the room stabs him with a hypo. Then another door opposite opens and McGee and Ziva pull the man inside. And then we have Vance going into the woman's room her name is Tara and tells her she has a choice: will she walk out of there or will he carry her. The man in the room was Vance. But interestingly, when he first gets fairly close to her she addresses him as Teek which could be what she called her brother 'Tyler Keith'. Hmmm.

And then, with a change from so many episodes, rather than start with a squad room scene, we actually begin with Gibbs, Ducky and Jimmy in Autopsy, Jimmy is already in his scrubs, Ducky is still in his street clothes and they have a body. It's an African American male in his late 40s; his name is Tyler Keith Owens and he had been underwater for some time. He was fished out of Lake Michigan two days ago. Jimmy obligingly pops up and 'reminds' Gibbs that that is was hours before Vance left with McGee and Ziva to go to Chicago. The famous Gibbs stare quietens him.

Ducky then tells Gibbs he's been asked to perform the autopsy by Leon Vance adding that Tyler's effects are with Abby on the orders of Leon Vance. Ducky is clearly not happy with the situation, that's obvious from his tone, his body language and the way he keeping saying Vance's full name. Gibbs and Ducky exchange one of their many long say-so-much-with-a-look looks and Gibbs states: "Leon Vance is working a case." Nice that Gibbs repeated Ducky's 'Leon Vance'. And it is clearly Ducky who called Gibbs in.

Now we do go up to the squad room to find DiNozzo riffling through his drawers, looking for something. He finds one of his girly magazines and is pleased with that, but still he goes on looking. He turns to address both McGee and Ziva, but they aren't there. He comments that they are with Vance in Chicago and the reason he isn't there was because he'd been to Arizona, it had nothing to do with his lack of prowess on protection detail. Ouch. Poor DiNozzo, he is not a happy bunny and clearly feels very slighted by Vance taking McGee and Ziva and not him. Hey, more consistency as this refers back to the last time DiNozzo was on protection detail with a director - she died.

Finally he gives up looking and stands on his desk, calling out to everyone and demand they all listen to him - they don't seem that impressed - and he announces he's lost his wallet and if someone returns it there won't be any problem and maybe even a small reward. That definitely goes down very badly and they all just turn away from him and get on with their work.

And of course at that second who should appear but . . . Gibbs. DiNozzo's doing something foolish, so naturally Gibbs will appear - we got that PTB, we got it many episodes ago.

DiNozzo: "Hi, boss. I lost my . . . You're going to say mind or marbles. But I lost my -"
Gibbs: "Job."

DiNozzo looks horrified. Gibbs ignores the look and asks if DiNozzo's heard from McGee and Ziva. Lo and behold the phone rings - it's McGee. Before McGee can speak DiNozzo asks him if he's seen his wallet, but he quickly has to be quiet and listen to McGee who tells DiNozzo to go up to MTAC for a video conference with Vance. Before DiNozzo can pass the phone to Gibbs, McGee hangs up. Gibbs goes with DiNozzo, even though DiNozzo starts to say that McGee only said him.

In MTAC Vance, from Chicago, starts to give DiNozzo orders. He tells him he has to collect a witness (Ms. Tara Kole) to the murder of a Marine and lets him know when the flight will land. And then he sees Gibbs lurking. He sends McGee away at his end and orders DiNozzo and the tech people out too. Then he tells Gibbs he is taking care of the case; the man was a former Marine and he asks Gibbs if he'll have a problem sitting this one out - er, yes, Vance, this is Gibbs; he doesn't 'sit things out'.

Gibbs: "It's your case, Director." There is quite a pause before he says 'Director'. he is clearly not happy.

Back in Chicago we see Vance, McGee and Ziva in the lift. DiNozzo keeps calling to ask what they are doing. Vance asks Ziva what she says and she says she just tells him they are doing their job, as he should be doing. Vance then decides he's going for a work-out.

In Abby's lab Gibbs goes in and Abby tells him that she can't tell him anything and hopes Gibbs isn't going to bribe her. He says of course not, and plonks down a Caf-Pow. And then Abby starts to tell him what she can't say anything about. She also assumes that Gibbs's interest is educational, which he agrees it is and we learn that Tyler was weighted down in the Lake with actual bar-bell weights, which weren't matching one was 15lbs the other 20lbs. Abby says she won't lie to Vance, Gibbs doesn't want her to, but adds if it were his case he'd find out if Tyler had a gun. She then puts on her ear-defenders and tells him to go and find something to do to keep his hands busy. Finally, once she closes the door between them she and he talk by sign language. Clever - she isn't speaking to him. A nice scene, very well done, and while we've had the whole 'I can't tell you xxxx' before when Jenny 'used' Abby, it was fun to see.

Back in Chicago, Vance, Ziva and McGee are in a gym. McGee is holding a bag for a boxer to hit and Ziva is prowling around. McGee asks about Tyler and is told that basically everyone really liked and respected him - he was in fact revered by all. There's a fight going on in the ring and the man in charge, Issac Curtis, is given instructions. Then we have a small amount of by-play, that at the time I didn't think that important, but later learnt it was significant. One of the boxers wants some water and then deliberately spits it out over the face of the bucket holder - Spit - a young man who seems quiet, innocuous and not overly bright.

Vance then suggest to Ziva that she might like to box with him; she declines saying it would break her duties as protection person. He says only if she hit him - oh, she would, Vance, trust me, she would. Issac puts a stop to the exchange by telling Ziva the gym isn't co-ed. Vance then goes into the ring and talks nicely to Spit. Moments later Issac sends Spit out to get a sandwich and asks where his jacket is; Spit says he'd lost it and Vance tells him to take his. Now at this point I thought something was maybe going to happen to Spit because he was wearing Vance's jacket, or he would find something in the pockets. Vance and Issac talk about how things are now 'same old, same old', according to Issac.

Meanwhile DiNozzo is in the car with Tara whom he has duly collected from the airport. She tells DiNozzo how she was 'abducted' by Vance. And she says he's clearly nervous. He says it's because she seems to have had a relationship with their new director and then hastily confirms it was 'new director' and not 'nude director'. She tells him Tyler was her brother and yes, she did know Vance a long time ago. She's flirting with him and is actually making him very uncomfortable. DiNozzo out of his depth with a woman, is rare - not unheard of, we've seen it before if a woman is very aggressive with him and makes the running, he's not that comfortable. She makes reference to St. Anthony who is turned to when something is lost and she knows that DiNozzo has lost something. She may not know her saints, but does know her sinners.

Back at the gym Vance and Issac are talking about the old days and Tyler. How he pushed Vance to get on and wanted him to make something of himself. And they are mock sparring. They also talk about Joe Banks, who is a big man in boxing and other stuff. He left the area for a while, but has recently returned. Vance thinks Banks killed Tyler as he was an obstacle. Issac asks Vance if he can find Tyler's killer and Vance tells him he wants Banks in DC and has 'arranged' for that to happen.

Back in DC Gibbs is in the lift and Abby, silently and still signing, gives him a file.

In Autopsy Ducky and Jimmy are talking about Tyler and how whoever dumped his body hadn't realised that in time his body would putrefy and rise to the surface of the lake.

Jimmy: "You know what they say about good intentions, Doctor?"
Gibbs (coming in): "The road to hell was paved with them."

Ducky tells Gibbs that the time of death was between four and ten days ago and Jimmy starts to go off into one of his long explanations, only to be silenced by Ducky who sends him to go and see Abby. Poor Jimmy, he keeps getting sent away when Gibbs goes down to Autopsy. One of these days I keep expecting him to turn around and leave the room as soon as Gibbs walks in *g*

Ducky asks what Gibbs has and Gibbs tells him it's Tyler's file; Ducky expresses a hope that Gibbs won't get Abby into trouble. Gibbs then starts to read from the file and after a second or two, Ducky goes around the table and stands right next to Gibbs (note the lack of personal space - as always) and takes over the reading out. Tyler won eighteen fights and lost fourteen; Ducky doesn't think that's brilliant, he says Tyler seemed like a bit of a journeyman to him. Gibbs says his tax records show Tyler never left Chicago and then we learn there is no military record. Ducky says if that's the case then Vance has over-stepped his bounds of authority. And we have another long, lingering look before Gibbs leaves.

DiNozzo and Tara are in the conference room and he's asking her some questions about the last time she saw Tyler. And she mentions when Joe Banks escorted her to go and see some boxers. DiNozzo picks up on the name and thinks it's from some film or other. He asks her what she does for Banks and she says he knows, but he says she has to go into more details. So she tells him she does for Banks what he does for his boss: anything he asks. DiNozzo then says that Gibbs doesn't ask, he expects his team to figure it out on their own before he gets really angry. She asks what happens if they don't figure it out and he says they get a slap around the head and adds that hasn't happened for a while, so maybe he's getting better at figuring things out. She then says she can help him with his problem and says he's in need.

At that moment Ziva appears to relieve DiNozzo.

DiNozzo: "I'm relieved.
Ziva: "You look it." He does.

Vance then goes into Autopsy and addresses Ducky as 'doctor'. Ducky tells him that Tyler went down fighting and explains how he almost certainly grabbed the barrel of the gun as he had powder burns on his hand. He was shot in the shoulder and abdomen but the kill shots were in his chest where the heart was severely damaged. They agree that the killer was untrained and sloppy. Ducky offers his condolences to Vance, Vance says he hadn't seen Tyler for some time, but were once close. What I thought was interesting in this scene was that when Vance first came in, Ducky remains seated - now I know I've commented quite a lot this season about how much more DMc is sitting, so it could just have been that. However, it also ties in quite nicely with the fact that clearly Ducky was very peeved with Vance for being the one to call him in and using his 'power' to get Tyler's body to DC and not telling Gibbs, so he was showing a small amount of disrespect to Vance, by not getting up to talk to him. But being Ducky, when he offers his condolences, he does indeed get up and go over to Vance.

Vance: "Gibbs was here." It wasn't a question
Ducky nods and Vance asks what Gibbs's issue it and Ducky mentions the lack of a military record.
Vance: "You can't believe everything you read on a piece of paper." Hmmm, so was that comment meant to in some way go back the piece of paper we saw him destroy in 'Judgment Day'?

We then flash to Gibbs in his basement and he has Vance's CIA file. He pauses and we flash away again.

Now Vance goes into Abby's lab where Jimmy is. He asks if Gibbs has been there and Abby says she can detect a scene of Old Spice (more continuity, we saw him toss a can of Old Spice shaving foam to McGee in 'Iced' when he tells McGee to go and shave) and sawdust. She goes on to say it could be and pauses. Jimmy steps in and says that the ethanol they've been using could give off gases and that would explain the Old Spice. When Vance asks about the sawdust Abby announces she's taken up woodwork and is going to build herself a coffin. Jimmy beams and adds 'She is'. Vance asks if she's done any work, other than woodwork. She tells him Tyler was killed eleven days ago, and Vance says that is 'fight night' at the South Side gym and it was the last time Banks was seen. Abby couldn't get any fingerprints from the gun or anything, but she did find a feather on Tyler. Vance asks if there's anything else and Abby says no and adds she's been completely candid with him; Vance actually smiles and goes.

Abby: "Great, now I have to build a freaking coffin."

Another very good scene, nicely done and Jimmy was really good in this - they didn't pull the wool over Vance's eyes, but they did a good job and also showed him where their loyalties are. A really nice scene.

In the conference room Ziva is showing Tara a picture of 'that' man. She says he's a long way a way and travels a lot. Tara comments that long-distance relationships are difficult and Ziva says she doesn't know if it's a relationship. Tara suggests she look closer to home for someone. Then Vance comes in and Ziva goes out; Tara is not happy with Vance and she knows she's the bait to get Banks there, she's not there for protection. She says that Vance basically dropped Tyler and her when he moved on and now his worse fears have come to life: he's afraid of himself and the past. Again this is, I think, meant to be a very relevant exchange. She also is sure that Banks did not kill Tyler; she knows Banks.

Vance goes out and tells Ziva to take Tara to a safe house and to set up a rotation with McGee and DiNozzo. He's going to go home, because his wife will kill him if he's late for dinner. Er, you're the director of NCIS, Vance, it isn't a nine to five job!

Outside his house he notices a car, but doesn't pay it any attention. It's Gibbs's car - the one his dad rebuilt for him! We see it again *g* Vance goes into his house and calls out to the kids. They come running and we see how much of a family man he is, he hugs them and gives the little girl a box of mints and gives his old boxing gloves to his son - who points out they smell awful *g* Wifey then appears and sends the kids off to wash before dinner and she and Vance kiss and then she asks him why he didn't let her know a friend would be dropping by.

Pan to Gibbs. She goes and Vance tells Gibbs he has a policy of not bringing work home - again with the Director, no way could you do that job properly and work steady hours and not take work home. Gibbs was as unimpressed, as was I, and comments that might be Vance's policy. Vance says Gibbs disobeyed him and hijacked his case. Gibbs says that was an aggressive choice of words. Vance demands an explanation and Gibbs says how the previous director used the seat for a personal agenda and he won't let that happen again - more continuity! Vance asks if there's anything in his past to make suggest he might. Gibbs says he doesn't know enough about Vance's past and holds up the still-unopened CIA file. He says that as Vance gave him the option of giving Vance permission to read his Marine file ('Deliverance') he was doing the same. Vance asks what if he says no. And Gibbs say it's his call. And he again asks Vance who Tyler is. Vance gets out a toothpick (yuck) and at that moment his wife appears and says he knows she doesn't like it when he chews them (sensible woman) and she takes it and tells Gibbs he is staying for dinner.

After dinner Mrs. Vance gives Gibbs the 'history of how we met'. She also says Vance was in the Marines, which surprises Gibbs as he thought he could always spot an ex-Marine. Vance, however, says he never actually served; he had to resign his commission because of a detached retina. She then tells the story of them meeting at a basketball match when both in college and at times the kids chime in with bits of information - clearly a story they've heard many times. Gibbs seems bemused by this 'feed'; she winds down and sits on the arm of the sofa next to Vance, kisses him then take the kids off to wash up leaving Vance and Gibbs alone. Talk about an information dump scene - and we leant some very important facts: Vance supposedly was a Marine and he had a detached retina. He is also very much in love with his family and they are with him.

DiNozzo and McGee are taking Tara to a safe house, Ziva has let them know all is clear. Still Tara is making DiNozzo somewhat uncomfortable and suddenly she finds his wallet on the back seat. He wants it, but she says he'll have to prove it's his and she'll open it. And then she notices a circular crease in the leather. McGee comments 'ah, that', DiNozzo snatches the wallet back and tells McGee Tara knows what it is. Tara wants to know why he doesn't want her to see it - is it because it's nearing its expiry date. She gets out of the car and McGee casts a knowing look at DiNozzo and they kind of smile at one another. DiNozzo denies it, saying she doesn't know anything and tells McGee to get out of the car. Ziva is there and tells Tara to get behind her as a town car appears. Tara comments that Ziva doesn't miss a thing.

Back with Vance and Gibbs, they are outside, Gibbs is going to his car. Gibbs says Vance has a nice family and Vance says that the kids want to rescue a pit bull terrier from the shelter, he talks about them tearing up your house and dumping all over stuff. Gibbs comments that he thinks pit bulls have a bad reputation and that actually they are smart, affectionate, loyal and keep you safe if you treat them right. He adds that you shouldn't lie to them - so we have an analogy with Gibbs being the pit bull. Vance says he isn't lying, Tyler was a Marine and he doesn't know why there isn't any paperwork. And when Gibbs offers him his file, he tells him to keep it, saying it'll keep him honest. Gibbs says if he wants to know anything, he'll just talk to Vance's wife.

In the squad room McGee and DiNozzo are discussing Tara and how she has a one track mind; McGee comments he wishes her boss would come and get her. And then DiNozzo goes into film speak again, this time from The Untouchables and at that moment Mr. Banks appears; and DiNozzo seems to totally lose his mind as he completely gets taken over by film-speak and the name Joe Banks.

Gibbs, fortunately and predictably appears, and asks if DiNozzo has a brain problem. McGee comments that it is probably from repeated trauma, obviously referring to the head slaps DiNozzo used to get regularly. Gibbs tells McGee to take Banks away and turns to DiNozzo who is still babbling. Gibbs head slaps him and DiNozzo comments it's been a while and there's been no physical contact for a while from Gibbs. Gibbs says: "I know." But still DiNozzo babbles until finally Gibbs slaps him again and tells him to snap out of it.

Vance and Banks are in the interrogation room, Banks remembers Vance once Vance tells him his name as a fighter. He says Vance could have been big time; Vance says he is. Banks says people a lot bigger than Vance have tried to take him down. Vance is basically accusing Banks of murder and shows Banks a picture of Tyler - Banks says he's sorry and asks how it happened.

Gibbs and Ziva are outside watching.
Gibbs: "He's not who we think he is."
Ziva: "What do you mean?"
Gibbs: "His worst days are behind him."

Question: to whom was Gibbs referring with the 'he'? Vance? Or Banks? Interesting.

Vance reads out Banks's file, he's been charged with murder and other things but has always got off. Vance accuses Banks of being a pusher, a fight fixer and a murderer and says Tara will talk and tell the truth. Banks says she has nothing to say and then drops the bombshell that she's actually his wife.

Vance is with Tara and he is furious; she didn't tell him because she wanted to know what he'd look like when he found out. She is certain Banks didn't kill Tyler, Tyler was family and his death was a shot at Banks too. She and Banks fell in love. She says he's not the same and Vance says that when a man like him loses his step there's always someone waiting to take over. She says he's not hiding from prosecution, he's out of the game. She comments that the one in charge always has to watch his back and that sometimes you can't protect the people you love. Just Banks or something a little deeper and also about Vance?

Down in the squad room McGee, DiNozzo and Ziva are looking at what Chicago PD think are crime scene photos. There is blood and it was on the way to Tyler's home. Vance has let Banks go, but is still holding Tara. McGee comments that the big boss was wrong. Ziva then makes another of her 'mess ups' when she comments that you can't make an omelette without breaking legs. DiNozzo corrects her and says he'll never let her cook him breakfast.

And we then have another Autopsy scene with much squee-worthiness for G/D fen. They are standing either side of Tyler's body which they've pulled out of Ducky's storage cupboards.

Ducky: "Did you resolve things with Director Vance?"
Gibbs: "We made a break through."
Ducky: "He let you in?" He sounded surprised.
Gibbs: "No. We had dinner." He has his 'fond Ducky smile'.
Ducky: "Well, that does tend to alter a relationship." [Pause] Then: "It's been far too long since you and I had dinner."
Gibbs: "I tell you what, Duck. You do me a favour and I'll buy."
Ducky: "Name it."
Gibbs: "I need you to re-examine the body."
Ducky: "Is there something specific you want me to look for?"
Gibbs: "Evidence of surgery." And he goes, Ducky looks surprised.

A very nice scene indeed; many looks and a nice conversation - not forgetting the promise of a dinner date (smiles happily)

In Vance's office he is looking at fight pictures, including those of Tyler and a Marine in uniform. Gibbs comes in and Vance tells him Tyler wasn't just a friend he was the one who taught him how to survive and not just live. He was Vance's hero. He also goes on to say how the catching murders rate has dropped dramatically due to drive-by crimes, etc. Gibbs pulls him back to Tyler and suggests that whilst he might have been a hero to Vance, he was also just a man and maybe they should look at that aspect of the crime. But Vance says nothing was missing, he goes through the various things and then comes to 'coat'.

They go to Abby's lab and Vance calls: "Duck down." Abby does that very thing and then confesses she did talk to Gibbs. Vance says he doesn't care what she told Gibbs, as long as she also tell him and asks if the feather was duck down. She confirms it was. He goes saying that Spit didn't lose his coat, he dumped it because it was covered with blood. Gibbs tells her she's done a good job and she says he's never to put her in that position again; he says he won't and also goes. On the way out he offers to help her with her woodwork. She calls it's a coffin not a boat. What a nice touch, to keep up the pretence she and Jimmy put together, Abby actually went out and bought wood to build a coffin. Lovely.

Vance calls Issac to tell him, but before he can say anything Issac spots Spit's body on the floor.

Back with Vance and Gibbs, Vance tells Gibbs how Spit bragged about having taken Tyler down and a couple of fighters took the law into their own hands; it's not known if Spit will live. Spit wanted to get on too quickly and thought that if Tyler was out of the way, he'd be noticed. He is going to drive to Chicago with Tara for the memorial service and asks Gibbs if he needs anything before he goes.

Gibbs: "Nothing that can't wait." Vance goes and Gibbs looks at the Marine on the wall.

Ziva is talking to Tara about driving all the way to Chicago, but Tara says it's not bad. DiNozzo then arrives and says he'll escort Tara. Once in the lift he pushes the button and turns to her. He says that somehow she can see through his mask. She asks how bad is the dry spell and he tells her arid. He goes onto explain it's bizarre he's never had it since Lisa taught him to play doctor in the second grade (the second grade! that's what seven? Methinks he's playing it up somewhat). She asks what changed.

DiNozzo: "Real doctor. Real love. Real bad break-up." I knew he was still in love with Jeanne and yes, so some of his odder than normal and juvenile behaviour can still be put down to Jeanne. She truly loved her and still isn't over here. Poor, poor DiNozzo. She really was 'the' one.
Tara: "Messed you up pretty good, huh?"

DiNozzo then goes on about how he is constantly dating, but it doesn't get beyond that. He can't get it right, he can't close the deal. Nothing works. He's making all kinds of rookie mistakes, talking about Jeanne and his feelings; he's scaring them off.

Tara: "Crying?"
DiNozzo: "DiNozzo men don't cry." As your boss once told a young boy, Tony, tears aren't anything to be ashamed of.

She says clients should open up and tears are often the first stage. But DiNozzo wants the last stage. She tells him to pick the right woman. They move closer and are about to kiss when the doors open - it's Ziva. She asks if everything is okay, DiNozzo says it is and once again shuts the door.

And then we keep flipping back between Vance in Chicago talking about Tyler and Gibbs in the squad room. Some of Vance's speeches are going on when we see Gibbs, which makes this part not the easiest to document. But . . .

Vance is in the gym, in the ring with a picture of Tyler, talking to the mourners. saying how it's a struggle to become the man you want to be, it's harder and longer than you want and it takes more out of you than you want it to.

Back to the squad room. Ducky comes up with the results of his re-examination: Tyler had a silicon band around his right eyeball. Gibbs comments ocular surgery - he was the one with the detached retina. Ducky asks what it had to do with Tyler's death and Gibbs tells him the truth: nothing. They share another long, long look. I knew that was going to happen, somehow I knew that Tyler was the one with the retina. So is Vance Tyler or . . .?

Back to Vance. He's still talking about Tyler how he doesn't know if he became the man he wanted to be, but he wanted to be the man he ultimately became. He was a leader, a teacher, he taught hard lessons to many of them. Helped them to see it might be possible to be someone else; to be better than you might have dreamed. Their dreams got bigger because he told them it was possible to. He hopes Tyler's legacy lives on in each of them. He knows Tyler will always live on in him.

During this we flash back to the squad room a couple of times to Gibbs with Vance's CIA file and we think he's going to open it, but . . . It end with him still undecided; looking up and wondering.

So if we assume that Vance was telling the truth about Tyler being an ex-Marine and the photo in his office would confirm that, ditto the detached retina and the fact that Gibbs didn't recognise Vance as an ex-Marine, and we take Vance's speech about 'it being possible to become someone else', do we assume that in effect Vance and Tyler swapped identities way, way back? Before Vance and his wife met and he 'sold' her the story about having to leave the Marines because of a detached retina?

And if they did swap identities and become one another, why? And how come Issac didn't know? Did the swapping happen before he joined the gym?

Is Vance being totally honest when he says part of Tyler will live on in him? Is he Tyler? But how can he be? Tara was Tyler's sister. So, no, they can't actually be one another as far as birth, etc. goes. And yet at the beginning she did ask 'is that you, Teek?'

So did they literally just swap names and backgrounds? Did Tyler see something in Vance that made him think he'd go far, but knew he needed something else, a clean back-ground, maybe or something? So he 'allowed' Vance to be him as far as ex-Marine and the eye thing went? And was that why Vance in effect cut himself off from his past? Just what is the truth in Vance's past? The truth that would have stopped him from getting to where he is today?

Is this what's in his CIA file? Is Gibbs ever going to open it?

Is it to do with the paper he shredded?

And when Gibbs said 'he's not the man we think he is', just about whom was he talking?

Well, we have another mystery, to be revealed.

Well my opinion of Vance has altered somewhat - I now trust him even less than I did before! But care enough about him to want to know what the whole mystery is and about his background.

OVERALL

I actually enjoyed this episode more than I thought I would before hand and at the beginning of the episode, despite it being fairly Vance-heavy.

I know that we had very little of the field team, well certainly of McGee who was virtually non-existent this week, very little Ziva, albeit a tad more than McGee. There was reasonable amount of DiNozzo, although his role had nothing to do with the actual case at all - and was all totally personal to lead up to the Jeanne confession. Work-wise not he most shining moment, but to know how deeply he cared, okay to have him admit it - we knew it - showed yet another layer in the man who is Anthony DiNozzo.

The case was really neither here nor there, it was just a vehicle to lead us to the whole 'just who is Vance' and to see another side of Vance. The passionate caring family man and friend. But also to see how he did 'dump' his old friends, once he'd moved onwards and upwards. Which isn't that unheard of.

Lovely to see Jimmy and I really loved the scene with him, Abby and Vance.

A nice lot of Ducky - as I said I wasn't expecting that - and lots of G/D *bounces*

Abby was good, still with 'old style' Abby, when she's Abby but not 'more Abby than Abby'.

The Tara scenes with DiNozzo did annoy me by the end, well, actually long before the end. Again it was overplayed and forced and another case of 'oh, this is a good idea, let's do it to death'. But deep down she did seem to want to help. So clearly she still works as an 'escort' or whatever, even though she's married to Banks.

It gym scene, all things to do with Vane and his past aside, was very touching indeed. A lovely memorial to a man who was deeply cared about.

I'm not quite sure I really bought the motivation as to why Spit killed Tyler, but then again it's a totally different culture, background, etc. etc. etc. People have killed for far weaker reasons.

The feather thing seemed rather contrived, but as I said the case wasn't the factor here.

Vance's wife was . . . um . . . OTT comes to mind. And her sudden information dump about how they met came out of the left field. Do people normally launch into that kind of full explanation with their husband's subordinates? I'm not surprised Gibbs looked bemused - I was!

Storyline: 8.50 (after a slow start)

Enjoyment: 9.00
Tags: !creator: nakeisha, non-fiction: episode reviews, season 06
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