Duly dubbed beforehand 'The obligatory Gibbs with kids episode'. So this was meant to be one of the most 'shocking' murders ever, okay. Clearly SB and I have differing ideas of what is shocking.
The actual 'killer' didn't really surprise me, I have to say - but then I took against the person from pretty much the moment I saw her. Do kids really behave like that today? Do parents let their kids speak to them like that? Sit on the sofa playing the kinds of games Noah was playing and let them get away with not cleaning their rooms? What happened to the off switch on the TV? Why didn't mom simply turn off the TV and tell him to go and clean his room? Not just 'oh, well, I'll do it'? Okay, so she had to for the plot point - but please, tell me this was merely a plot point. This isn't true to life, is it? Clearly it is a good thing I never had kids, they'd have hated me.
There was a lot of humour in the episode, which given it was meant to be such a 'shocking' murder I found kind of odd - it was almost as if they over-compensated and as such lost any possible hint of 'shockingness'. I imagine that a lot of people got annoyed with Abby (I didn't, not all of the time, she seemed quite in character, mostly), but I would venture to guess others felt her in need of a good slap.
Did anyone else not care about the case? I didn't, it had some twists in it and was okayish, but I honestly didn't really care who killed who or why. I wasn't invested enough in the victim or the Taffets or the other kids.
I cannot believe that DiNozzo was so clueless as to tracking skills, etc. etc. Okay, so he wasn't a scout, but he's worked in law enforcement all of his life, he wouldn't be as 'huh'? as they made him. And boy did his bitching and eye rolling and getting at McGee for being a scout and pretty much demeaning everything grow old soon. Okay, so a lot of it was in the more sibling bickering style, but does he really have to undermine McGee at every single opportunity? Again with the poor DiNozzo writing, he was pretty much a jerk throughout this, why are the writers doing this to him? He has skills, let him use them - so forests aren't his 'thing' but investigative skills are investigative skills. And of course what happened at the end re: the clubs was always going to be the case. There was no way DiNozzo was going to 'get it right' and 'come up trumps', was there? Because that's not how he's been written this season at all.
Some nice banter, some nice scenes, a pretty solid episode - not 'wow' but not bad.
So we begin with Navy Commander Mike Taffet talking to his daughter (Rebecca) from Iraq. And they tell one another they miss each other. Before Mrs. Taffet can talk to him, they lose the connection. She sighs and goes into the sitting room to tell her son, Noah, who is playing some really nasty looking game, to clean his room. He objects, so she says she'll go and do it. But then he gets up and is insistent he'll do it - she's tired of him behaving like that (then don't let him) and rather than let him go and clean it she goes into his room. She finds a box and inside is a porn magazine; she actually doesn't that bothered by it, which is probably the best way to handle it rather than go off at the deep end. But she does take it away and lo and behold also in the box is a gun.
In the squad room DiNozzo is holding up a bottle of glue and pondering as to why it doesn't stick to the bottle, Ziva tells him she doesn't know and it's one of the miracles of modern science. McGee is intent on his computer and when DiNozzo says he's bound to know the answer, McGee says he'll tell him in two minutes and twenty-nine seconds. Of course that brings Ziva and DiNozzo over to his desk and we see he is looking at a set of 'Robert Forgan' hickory shafted, hand forged golf clubs in ultracollectablesandauctions.com. And McGee tells them that he borrowed Ducky's set (exactly the same as these) but before he could even get to the first tee he ran over them with his golf cart - well you should have walked, Timmy - so he wants to get a replacement set. Ziva suggests he just tell Ducky, but DiNozzo doesn't think that's actually a good idea and comments that the clubs might have been given to Ducky by a Scottish nobleman. McGee says he will tell Ducky, once he has a replacement set. He's waiting until the last second to bid, because apparently that's what you do you 'snipe' and no one else can beat you. He basically tells him he has to concentrate and his hope, clearly is, they'll go away - not a chance, Timmy - but of course they don't. As soon as he say that they are fully attentive, but not nudging him or anything, just right. So he does 'snipe' with $950.00. However, (naturally) is is 'out-sniped' and he doesn't get them. I thought this was a really good scene, fun and full of sibling banter and humour and no bitchiness or anything like that. This is how I like to see them interacting. I really enjoyed this scene.
They are wondering where Gibbs is and at that moment Abby appears and tells them to gear up. They are surprised and she tells them a gun has been found on a navy base, they say that doesn't warrant a team call out. And this goes on for a few moments with Abby adding a bit more information, such as she has the gun, it had been recently fired, and they are still saying it doesn't warrant a team call out. And then Gibbs walks in and tells them the crucial bit of information: brain matter was found on the barrel - that does warrant a team call out. He tells them to listen to the lady. Abby hands Gibbs his coffee, which she had tried and hated, saying only he is the master, only he can crack the whip. They field team go and Abby mimes cracking a whip. This was another scene I enjoyed, I thought it was well crafted and the build up was fun - okay so the outcome was obvious, but made a nice change from 'DiNozzo says something out of line and Gibbs arrives at that moment, etc'.
They go to the Taffet's house to talk to Noah and his mom and at that moment we see Rebecca leaving and when her mom tells her she has to be home by 11:00 she retorts that isn't what she agreed with her dad - your dad's in Iraq, you brat, listen to your mom. You still live in her house, you follow her rules. So she got my back up from that second. Plus, it was such a 'forced' scene; it wasn't put in to show us that both kids are brats (or at least at that stage) and mom clearly hasn't got a grip on them, it was put in to make sure we notice Rebecca and her attitude and put her on our radar. I thought that was quite badly done and forced.
Gibbs who always knows just how to talk to kids finally gets Noah to tell him where he found the gun; Noah, who actually is far from the brat we saw earlier and is now a rather scared looking little boy, whom I no longer wanted to slap. Noah says he found it in a storm drain. When Gibbs asked why he took it, mom (Hillary) steps in and says it's because he's obsessed with guns; he denies that and they bicker for a few seconds. Mrs. Taffet did not impress me at all - sorry. Finally Noah tells Gibbs he took it because it seemed 'cool'. Gibbs asked if it's still 'cool' now that it's been used to kill someone. Clearly Noah does not think it is.
Meanwhile in Noah's room we have McGee working and DiNozzo looking at the magazine (Playpen) - of course that's how it would be. DiNozzo says that naked girls and guns are what childhood dreams are made off. McGee says they clearly had totally different childhoods. DiNozzo tells him to say he never had a girly magazine and McGee tells him just that. DiNozzo then asks if he had one of boys (again with attacking McGee's sexuality, but again in the 'older style' bantering way) and McGee says he did - nice one, Tim. It was Scouting Life. DiNozzo and his buddies had a subscription to Playpen from the age of ten. McGee says that if his father had found him with such a magazine he'd had slapped him on the side of his head. DiNozzo comments that is familiar. Oh, yes, Daddy Gibbs (a nice touch). Gibbs then duly appears and tells them both to go with him.
At the storm drain Noah is asked exactly where he found the gun and which way it was pointing. Mrs. Taffet says to Gibbs that he's a good boy and it's not easy bringing them up. Gibbs notices two boys watching them and asks Mrs. Taffet about them; they are Travis and Zane, Noah's closest friends. Gibbs goes over to talk to them. We then have three separate 'groups', Gibbs is taking to Zane, McGee and Ziva to Travis whilst DiNozzo is still with Noah.
Zane is clearly very upset and in the end tells Gibbs that Noah didn't find the gun, Travis did.
Travis, on the other hand, isn't that upset - at least not noticeably - and he know the law, it turns out his mom's a lawyer, so he at first won't answer them. He denies even seeing the gun, but then slips up when he says there wasn't a magazine.
DiNozzo is playing with his sunglasses and actually is doing a far better job than he's ever done with a younger kid before, which was nice to see. He's still clearly not comfortable and still not great, but he actually does a pretty good job. He tells Noah that they know the gun couldn't have been in the drain.
Gibbs then asks Zane where they really found the gun and he says it was next to the dead body.
They, the field team, the three boys and Mrs. Taffet, then go into the woods and Ziva says it reminds her of the forests she used to have fun in as a child. DiNozzo is surprised, not that they had forests in Israel, but that Ziva had fun as a child. Ziva then talks about her father and how he'd take them into the middle of the forest, blindfold them and they'd have to find their way out - that's fun? A very poignant memory, once again it shows the vast differences between Ziva's childhood and the other team members.
They all stop at the place the boys think the body was, but nothing is there and they admit it looks different. McGee then talks to them about scouting and things like where the sun was and any noticeable landmarks and suddenly Zane remembers the body was near a tree that Travis thought looked like a naked lady - DiNozzo is unimpressed during this scene, but, hey, it worked. Don't knock it - but as I said, DiNozzo would know about things like landmarks, etc. even if he's more used to the city. And DiNozzo makes his obligatory film reference. Mrs. Taffet tells Gibbs the other moms are on the way. DiNozzo seems surprised by this, stunned even that Gibbs would let the moms help with the search. Gibbs points out they aren't going to be there for that, but to be with their sons when the body is found. DiNozzo's reaction shows that idea had never even crossed his mind.
Abby calls and Gibbs says he's on his way and he tells Ziva she is with him.
DiNozzo: "Lucky you."
Gibbs: "DiNozzo. You're in charge. Find the body."
DiNozzo: "Lucky me." He did not sound happy at that prospect. And he tells the boys to focus.
They set off, the boys in front, McGee and DiNozzo behind them, the three moms behind them. And we then learn that McGee's father was in the navy, so he lived the whole 'navy' scene as the kids were.
DiNozzo: "Which one were you? The skinny one, the quiet one or the one with the hot mom?"
Cue - they turn around and who should be right behind them, having heard his comment, but the three moms - they do not look impressed, understandably so. Again it was so obvious that once DiNozzo started to speak the moms would over-hear him. It was the obligatory 'foot in mouth DiNozzo comment' but rather than be overheard by Gibbs, this time it was someone else.
Gibbs and Ziva go to Abby's lab. She's run DNA on the brain matter but as yet doesn't have any results, but she can tell who had fired the weapon. She turns to her computer and the first window to come up in the auction site, she comments that McGee has her 'babysitting his auction' (nice). She then shows them a picture of a dead man, Caswell, a postal worker who was shot by a Robert Perry. She then goes on about how it's odd that a non-postal worker went postal and goes on about it for a second or two until Gibbs's stared down. I would venture to guess that was the beginning for some of Abby being annoying. However, the case was four years ago, but it was NCIS who had the evidence, including the gun - ooops.
Back with the 'boys' McGee is once again talking to the kids about scouting and DiNozzo is once again poking fun at it, but still just about in 'normal sibling way'. It was the overplaying of it that really irked me, more than his tone or even his words, another example of 'oh, this is fun, let's replay it and replay it and replay it'. But McGee ignores the comment and starts to tell the kids what skills they could learn and he gives examples.
Then they come across some vomit (one of the kids threw up when the body was found) and the 'naked woman tree'. The kids run off to the place where the body was, McGee and DiNozzo run after them but . . . No body - of course there wasn't going to be. But then McGee finds maggots and a piece of an ear, so the body was there. DiNozzo calls Gibbs to tell him and manages to get another dig in about McGee and his scouting and he suggests getting the cadaver dogs - Gibbs says it's up to him. And McGee finds evidence that the body had been wheeled away, so for now they follow the trail. McGee says he loves the outdoors, DiNozzo (predictably) gets bitten.
Ziva has pulled the Perry's file and the case had been one of Paula's. They had the case as Perry worked for the navy. Perry had stolen the gun from Peter Draper and used it to kill Caswell. After the trial and all the back and forth dealings the gun was returned to Draper. However, his wife apparently didn't want him to have a gun that had been used in a murder so he took it to a pawn shop. Abby appears and says that the gun has been linked to two convenience store robberies. She decides it wasn't the pawn shop owner who did them and then in a deeper than usual voice (she was playing at being Gibbs) she tells Ziva to pull the records and find out who bought the gun. Ziva looks at Gibbs who says: "You heard her." Ziva duly toddles off to follow out the order. Abby then comments she could get used to it and Gibbs quietly tells her "Don't."
Back again with the woods, the kids and their moms have been sent home and DiNozzo is still making disparaging comments about the scouts and how he thought they were involved in helping old ladies and stuff like that. McGee says how he leant to read trails. Then they find some bird faeces and McGee sees birds circling - buzzards; there's a body nearby. For someone who seems to have watched every film in existence how come DiNozzo appeared not to know about buzzards circling over dead bodies? They appeared often in Westerns. His total lack of any kind of trail following, I'm afraid, was totally unbelievable for someone who has been in law enforcement for so long. I know it was all meant to be fun and allow McGee to actually shine in field work and to be able to do something DiNozzo couldn't, or do it better than DiNozzo (which obviously isn't normally the case) and I liked that. It's about time he did get to show skills beyond his computer ones and to be better than DiNozzo in some kind of field work. But that DiNozzo was so clueless I just found hard to swallow. It seemed all about 'make DiNozzo look the total idiot' to me. I feel they could have done it better, still allowing McGee to shine, but not for DiNozzo to be so clueless.
They go off to where the buzzards are circling and there is a body - of a dead animal. Poor McGee; he admits defeat and tells DiNozzo to call the cadaver dogs and whoever he wants. DiNozzo says he's going to call the rescue squad. McGee says no one needs rescuing and DiNozzo points behind him down an incline to the body of a man. He actually, despite all his scout comments, sounds quite proud of McGee at that moment; of course he then had to throw in a comment about McGee should look more, but that was just usual banter.
In Autopsy Ducky is talking to the body about The Lion King asking if he'd ever seen it. He says his mother loved it and comments that it wasn't Mozart or Verdi but nonetheless it was quite good. The body is an example of why the film resonated with Ducky. Ducky goes on to say how it was the circle of life and how animals would have fed on the man's body and how his death must have made a mammal or two happy.
Cue Gibbs who comes in commenting "And a whole lot of others miserable."
The dead man was Dillon Bates, aged nineteen with a criminal record. He had a lot of enemies, and Ducky says one of them was himself. He shot drugs, he drank and smoked, but none of those killed him - a single shot to the head did that. Gibbs asks for a time of death, but Ducky says he can't take a liver temperature as there wasn't enough liver. He then goes off on one of his tangents saying how he used to love liver as a child and how his mother cooked it with anything. (Oddly enough, as a young child 5/6/7, I really liked liver, but as I grew up I stopped liking it).
Ducky: "That was Mother's favourite. I preferred calves liver."
Gibbs: "Time of death."
Ducky tells him between two and three weeks and he'll be able to tie it down to a twenty-four hour period when the larva McGee collected, which is now with Abby, hatches. Gibbs goes. A nice little scene, as always we had lots of looks and closeness and one of Ducky's tangents, but for some reason it didn't amuse me as much as his tangents normally do. Fun though.
In Abby's lab we have another scene which I suspect made some folk want to slap Abby. She's looking at the larva and saying how cute they are and she's named them - she hopes they are all boys because little girls can be a pain. Gibbs comments that so can big ones *g* And he says he's interested in the slugs. Abby hasn't tested them yet and then she goes on about how the gun is evil and how she knows that Gibbs will say people kill people guns don't, but this gun is a killer. And to top it all off she has sage burning to try to calm the whole aura. Okay, this scene did annoy me - not the bugs, but the whole thing about the gun and the sage burning.
In the squad room McGee is still trying to get a set of clubs (I found it rather strange that for something so 'rare' there were a hell of a lot of them around, apparently), but he keeps getting interrupted at the crucial moment. Cue Gibbs who calls his name.
Ziva then appears, a rather annoyed Ziva, she's back from the pawn shop. She says she hit a stone wall and when DiNozzo corrects her to 'brick wall' she tells him it was definitely stone, she reversed into it. Now that was nicely done, a Ziva-screw up of the language that wasn't. Well done writers! The gun was sold to an Eddie Felson. DiNozzo then makes a reference to 'Fast Eddie Felson' and as Ziva is asking if DiNozzo knows him, McGee is looking it up, it's from the film The Hustle. A false ID was used to buy the gun. DiNozzo hands Gibbs the case file and there are five pictures; one of them (Ronald Nowakowski) matches the picture on Felson's ID.
DiNozzo and Ziva have Nowakowski in the interrogation room and start by talking about the convenience store robberies. He's surprised they are going after those, and they then show him Bates's picture. Nowakowski says Bates got what he deserved, he was a nasty piece of work, but says he didn't kill him. He'll cop to the store robberies, but not murder - he was telling the truth. He says he ditched the gun about a month ago in a dumpster.
In the squad room they are watching the footage and indeed see Nowakowski dump the gun, or at least something. Then another man, dressed in a fast food uniform comes out to throw away some rubbish. He sees the gun and they see him pocket it; his name is Joey.
Back in Abby's lab she is playing some really lovely classical music to the larva, as she says playing classical music to babies is good for them, but it's driving her mad and she's about to turn into a psychopathic murderer if she has to listen to any more. She turns it off and puts her usual 'noise' on - I'll take the classical over Abby's stuff any day, thank you. Cuteish. And then we learn that whilst the slug Ducky pulled out of Bates matched the gun, the brain matter wasn't Bates - there's a second body somewhere. Again Abby says the gun is bad news.
Back in the squad room McGee is now trying, without success, to match the tire marks they found in the wood.
DiNozzo and Ziva return from 'Chirpy Chicken'. The manager ID'd 'Joey'. His name was Joseph Ellis and he hasn't been seen for two weeks. McGee puts Ellis's details up and he was a 'navy brat' who wanted to join the navy himself, but he had a criminal record for armed robbery when he was a juvenile and so he couldn't.
Gibbs sends DiNozzo and Ziva to bring in. McGee suddenly looks up from the computer as he's 'got it'. But there is no one whom he can tell - even Gibbs has vanished.
Down in the evidence garage McGee is unloading a load of wagons from the van; Abby appears and asks if he's holding some kind of wagon derby in town. But McGee tells her they are not just any wagon, but some special kind of wagon boy wagon. He has his arm around Abby's shoulder (cue Abby/McGee teeny scene) and it explaining about the tires, etc. He's really excited, as Abby says he's like a kid on Christmas Day. He's got the wagons from the base and is going to test them for blood - that isn't visible to the naked eye. Abby apparently had always wanted a wagon as a kid, but instead they had a tortoise called Herman that they used to ride around on. Her dad said they could have a wagon when Herman died, but tortoises live for a long time. They do find blood.
In the interrogation room is Noah and a lady and his mom is with McGee watching. Gibbs comes in and gives the lady (D'Arcy McKinna) a can of drink, she's touched he remembered. She tells Noah that it isn't a formal interrogation and he doesn't have to say anything. Then Gibbs begins to gently question him by asking if he knows about Forensics, he does - fingerprints and stuff. Which leads Gibbs to talking about finding his fingerprints on the wagon, which isn't surprising, but they also found blood. And he says that again Noah has lied to him and he wants to know who Noah is protecting. Noah is getting very upset and Ms. McKinna tries to stop the questioning, but Noah says no. And he confesses to the murder of Bates. He says he did it because Bates was always picking on him and his friends. He said he found the gun, but can't remember where. Gibbs asked what Bates said just before Noah shot him, Noah says he can't remember and Gibbs says he must love the person he's protecting very much, but until Gibbs knows who it is, he can't help. And now Noah admits his dad killed Bates to protect Noah. The kid was really good during this scene, I felt, really good acting and just the right balance of the scared little boy and the brave boy who only wants to protect his dad. A very powerful scene.
In Abby's lab she is still watching the larva and one is about to give birth and she's telling it to 'push' and other such things. Then she calls to Ducky who comments about the miracle of birth. Abby puts the new born into a dish and duly names it 'George' and then takes a picture of Ducky with his first child. She says 'smile', Ducky says he is and Abby says she meant George. Ducky looks more closely at George with a magnifying glass and suggests Abby might want to rename it to Georgina. The important thing is they now know what it is: a blow fly.
Gibbs and DiNozzo are in MTAC talking to Commander Taffet about what Noah says. Taffet denies murder, but admits he did threaten Bates. Gibbs says that Noah must have overheard him threaten Bates and concluded that he killed Bates for Noah. When challenged as to why he left town so suddenly he says they needed the money so he volunteered and took another slot. Someone hands Gibbs a note and he puts Taffet on hold.
He goes out and there is Ducky who tells him the larva have hatched and Bates died fifteen days ago, which was three days after Taffet deployed to Iraq.
Ducky: "Well, I'm afraid you'll have to hatch a new theory as to who killed Bates." A meant to be nice play on words that didn't work for me at all. It just seemed so forced and just not really Ducky.
Down in the squad room DiNozzo is leaning all over Ziva (DiNozzo/Ziva squee moment) they cannot trace Ellis. A Year Book shows a picture of Ellis and Bates playing basketball on the same team. McGee has traced his mom, she too is on deployment, and his dad died when Ellis was a kid. There are also no unsolved murders in Norfolk over the last month, not the bullet to head kind. And Gibbs says that until proven otherwise Ellis has to be their prime suspect. Then McGee tells Gibbs that although Mrs. Ellis has been on deployment for three months, phone calls have been made from her home as little as two weeks ago. Gibbs sends DiNozzo and Ziva to the house. Gibbs looks again at the photo and then hones in on one of the cheerleaders. He grabs his coat and says, "Come on, scout boy, you're with me."
At the Ellis house, DiNozzo and Ziva can smell something.
We then do the old trick of a door opening, but it's Mrs. Taffet. She says they can't talk to Noah, but they don't want to. They want to talk to Rebecca.
Back at the Ellis house, DiNozzo and Ziva find Ellis's body - he's dead, very dead and has been from the body and the stench, that even affects Ziva, for some time.
DiNozzo calls Gibbs to tell him and Gibbs tells him that there's a bullet in the left temple. When DiNozzo asks how he knows, Gibbs says Ellis was a southpaw - he wasn't murdered; he committed suicide.
Gibbs now asks Rebecca about Ellis. She admits she found the body and that he'd been her best friend. Bates had bugged him his entire life, made his life a misery, bullied him, undermined him and made him take part in the armed robbery, which ruined his chances of following his parents into the navy. She then hands them Ellis's suicide note, which is addressed to him mom.
She says he took the gun to show Bates what Ellis had used to kill himself and to tell him he'd driven him to it. He tried to grab the gun and it had gone off. She then breaks down and cries in her mom's arms, meanwhile Noah looks on and looks a little upset. So did he do anything other than find the body? Did he help Rebecca move the body or did she do it alone? From the look on his face I'd say he didn't do anything, in fact he's just had his little world shattered because he truly believed his dad loved him that much that he'd killed Bates for him. That was my take on that.
Back in the squad room Ziva is asking why when two people are struggling does the gun always just 'go off' rather than someone pulling the trigger. Gibbs comments that Abby said it was an evil gun. McGee says there's a good chance Rebecca will face a charge of involuntary manslaughter. Gibbs says she'll need a good lawyer, but that's okay Travis's mom is going to represent her. Ziva asks DiNozzo if that was the mom he was hot for.
DiNozzo, however, is concentrating on his computer, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. He hits a key, says he's a sniper and makes a gleeful cry. He has 'won' a set of the golf clubs McGee was looking for. McGee is surprised (and was there anyone who didn't know something was going to go wrong?). The clubs were $1,200 and he wants a $100 finder's fee from McGee.
Gibbs then asks if they are exact copies of Ducky's. And then we get the fallout as Gibbs tells DiNozzo that Ducky is a righty - the clubs DiNozzo has bought are for a lefty.
DiNozzo (looking more than a tad woebegone) comments: "Maybe Ducky swings both ways." *g* He then says the McGee can have them for $1,000 and when McGee asks why he'd want clubs Ducky couldn't use, DiNozzo says because if he doesn't buy them then he just might tell Ducky how McGee destroyed his vintage, hand-crafted, one of a kind (except they clearly aren't) golf clubs. As he's talking McGee's face drops and Gibbs's eyes widen.
Gibbs: "I think you just did."
And there is Ducky in hat (a new hat that to me didn't really suit Ducky) and coat, a marginally menacing looking Ducky. He goes to McGee and looks at him. Then he says that they'll call it even. When McGee expresses surprise Ducky talks about a rare, old, original jazz record that McGee leant him - a signed one. McGee asks what happened to it.
Ducky: "Good question." And he walks off leaving an open-mouthed McGee staring after him. A wonderful ending line - and Ducky got the final word!
Not a bad episode, not brilliant, but not the worst of the season.
Some nice moments.
Some good sibling moments and banter and team work.
The humour was good in parts, but in other parts I felt it was over done and somewhat forced and really too much for one episode.
It was a shame to see DiNozzo written, again, so poorly and really there just to be the foil and the fool at times. The ending was so predictable (rather like the will and the money). He was never going to come out on top. And whilst it is fun and amusing, it's a shame they keep doing it. It would have been nice for once for him to have got it right. But there's no point keep saying that because that isn't how TPTB (and MW) are writing/seeing/making DiNozzo this season.
The case I didn't care about at all.
The kids to begin with annoyed me and I wanted to slap them - hard! But after the initial scene I really did take to Noah and thought he was well portrayed and a well drawn kid.
Several ships had moments:
Gibbs/Ducky (as always *g*)
And for all the teasing about scouting, etc. that really did go on too long, I got the impression that, as I said, DiNozzo was secretly proud of McGee and recognised the skill he had.
Not a bad amount of Ducky.
Gibbs was . . . Gibbs.
Ducky was Ducky in parts, but almost over-joyous in others and not quite Ducky.
McGee I loved throughout - he was one of the ones I didn't want to slap. And a nice snippet that he came from a naval family. Although, as much as I loved it all I do have to think 'poison ivy' *shrugs* But we do know McGee was a scout, that has come up before - but yes, if he was that good and clearly he did really know his stuff how come he failed to recognise poison ivy that first time? I can totally get him being allergic to it, even if he was a good scout, but surely he'd have recognised it? Ah, yes, it's the 'I' word again. Shame.
Abby I loved at points and wanted to slap at others. Nice bit about the tortoise.
Ziva was subdued, I felt. But I did like the little story about her childhood - a nice little glimpse.
DiNozzo - I wanted to slap, shake, hug, but mostly I winced and felt bad about the way he was written.
Overall yes, I felt it wasn't bad. Although given the number of people who irritated me and I wanted to slap and the fact I felt the humour over-played I'm beginning to think I might have been a tad 'off' today. *Looks at calendar*