Nikki (nakeisha) wrote in ncis_gibbsducky,
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Episode Review. Season 7x14 - Masquerade

My thoughts behind the cut.



Again an episode about which I knew very little. The main thing being that darn lawyer was going to be in it again and given how much she irritated me in the last episode and how much I wanted to slap her very hard, it didn't bode that well for it being a really high marked episode. And I'm sorry to say once again she annoyed me from the moment she appeared. Maybe it is partly a cultural thing between Britain and America, but personally I cannot get my head around her unprofessionalism and her attitude and the fact she can talk to people as she does and waltz around as she pleases.

Apart from her, it wasn't a bad episode; again we had an actual case, which was good to see and the focus was more on the case than on any individuals. There was some good team moments and some good banter; all the characters were very much 'in character' with no one being really annoying and in need of slapping down, not overly - there were the odd moment or two. There was some good interaction and little 'spats' of the kind siblings share and they do it so well. And Jimmy *g*

On a shallow note, I did love Gibbs in his blue smart shirt and the somewhat more formal jacket. I do wish he'd wear that kind of thing more often rather than his short sleeve polo shirts. And McGee in a tux jacket and bow tie and that was a real bow tie, as it was slightly crooked. Very yummy indeed.

Dear Mr. Brennan, do you spend time trying to work out how to make the baddie so obvious from the second he/she appears on screen? Do you do this so that the viewer doesn't need to spend any time thinking who might be the bad person and thus concentrate on the character interaction? If so, trust me, viewers are capable of doing more than one thing. You just might like to try to make them a wee bit less obvious, because honestly it's becoming a tad boring to see them so clearly identified in the second they appear on screen - you might as well give them a cap saying 'Hey, I'm the baddie'.

So we begin in a bar with two young men talking; one doesn't really want to be there, but his friend says he's been complaining about not getting dates, now he can. The young man (Alfonso Vega) says he has awful pick up lines; his friend says even bad ones have to be better than none and tells Alfonso to try a couple out. He does and they are appalling. A girl is listening and tells Alfonso to just be himself, she seems to like him and introduces herself to him. He gives her his name, but his attention is distracted by a car chase on the TV. It's his brother's car and it's being chased by the police. Then his mobile phone rings; it's his brother telling him to run. The next moment the car explodes.

At NCIS DiNozzo and Ziva get out of the lift together and they are discussing dancing - in particular tap dancing. DiNozzo has been invited to the National Tap Dancing Championships (!) And seems keen to go, because there will be girls there. He also says about how he followed a Tweet to a blog to a website that was all about National holidays and asks Ziva if she knows how many holidays just slip under the radar.

Then they see McGee who is dressed in a tux jacket, white shirt and bow tie (drools - he looked even more good looking than usual, yes, I can be shallow at times *g*) and they wonder what he's doing. We learn he is participating in an on-line wedding that one of his gaming buddies from Spain set up for people who couldn't attend. DiNozzo and Ziva are teasing him about it, but in a really good natured way, the kind that is wonderful. Gibbs appears and starts to tell them to grab their gear as they have a dead Marine blown up in a car. McGee tells him it's almost over and can he just have a minute. Amazingly really Gibbs allows him to have his moment (a wee Gibbs/McGee moment) and after a few seconds McGee sprinkles 'confetti' over his screen. The wedding is over and Gibbs is ready to leave - he won't, however, allow McGee time to change.

It appears the blast was fairly contained. As they look at the scene, Ziva recognises the scent of the explosive. It had been in the boot of the car and was very volatile and was likely an accident - oh, no, it wasn't! The dead man was Lance Corporal Roman Vega.

Ducky and Jimmy appear and Ducky says they have Vega's body around the corner. However, they'll almost certainly need DNA as all they have is the fact that it's roughly the same build, etc. and there are missing parts. McGee at that moment holds up a bag, he'd apparently forgotten about, and gives it to Jimmy; it's the head. McGee then makes a very un-McGee-like and very inappropriate comment about having found the head by a bowling alley. Ducky takes exception to that (I didn't blame him) and does a 'Gibbs' on McGee, moving very close and trying to intimidate McGee. He says he hopes if the same thing ever happens to McGee whoever finds his head will treat it with more respect. Given how much shorter Ducky is than McGee, he did a great job of intimidating with height (or lack of it) as he stared up at McGee. And McGee was apologetic and did seem intimidated and turns to Gibbs to say Gibbs must know he didn't mean to be disrespectful. One of the few moments when someone needed shaking - but he got 'told' by Ducky, so he didn't get away with it. A nice scene, actually. Go Ducky!

McGee and DiNozzo are by the car and McGee says how odd it is that he can get a signal if he moves the phone one way, but not the other. DiNozzo says he has a problem in his therapist's office. When questioned by McGee, he says it's a physical therapist and that he heard his knee, kneeling; McGee clearly doesn't believe him. (I have to wonder why DiNozzo would need to see a therapist, unless it's still over Jeanne and he still hasn't stopped loving her and still can't really connect with women, but the idea that he'd go to someone I find out of character). McGee has a Geiger counter and it registers radiation. DiNozzo pulls McGee away from the car.

The entire team are in white suits and DiNozzo is going on about first the plague and now this, someone really has it in for him. McGee, quite rightly, reminds DiNozzo he wasn't the only one around. DiNozzo admits that but says how it could affect his ability to have children, McGee says he knows. DiNozzo says that whilst McGee's kids would be smart, his had the chance to be beautiful - oh, Tony, Tony, Tony, talk about self-confidence and thinking highly of yourself. But it was so DiNozzo; so in character; he thinks he's God's gift and highly attractive and wants to let people know he knows. A good little in-character scene.

At that moment a figure in a yellow haz suit hurries up to them and jumps into DiNozzo's arms - much to everyone's surprise - it's Abby; she hitched a lift when she knew it was the team. A nice DiNozzo/Abby moment. She confirms it was only minor radiation, they'll even get their clothes back, but that Cobalt 60 had been transported in the car - it's used to make dirty bombs. And the big question of the hour is: where the hell is it now?

Back at HQ, McGee, Ziva and DiNozzo all get out of the lift all talking to different people on their mobile phones. They end with the same instruction: don't talk to the press. But it's too late, someone has talked as the TV shows. Gibbs will want information on Vega, once he's finished talking to Vance. McGee says that he and Ziva have done some preliminary work whilst DiNozzo was showering for the third time.

Gibbs goes into Vance's office and Vance introduces Gibbs to the bad guy - sorry to Walter Kane (the I-couldn't-be-a-more-clear-bad-guy-if-I-tried). Kane says he's pleased to finally meet Gibbs and had been tracking him to an extent, oh yeah? Kane (similar to Colonel Bell, is there perhaps a connection?) owns a Private Intelligence firm that deals with countries with whom the US are not at war. The US official intelligence is stretched so much because of Iraq and Afghanistan that they have to 'out source'. There is a group operating out of Peru known as New Liberty Group whom Kane's people think are planning an attack over the US and their interference with drug dealing in Peru. Vega had been seen with known members and Kane is sure there's a cell in DC.

Okay, in that small scene the bad guy as soon as he opened his mouth; actually, to be honest, as soon as I saw him I knew he was 'it'. I swear I don't go looking for the bad guy, I'm too busy taking notes and watching the screen to really consider who might be the bad guy - but they are getting more and more and more obvious. As to quite what he'd done, was involved in, etc. I didn't know, but I knew he was the baddie.

Vance show Kane out and tells Gibbs he has to testify before the Senate about defence bill. He says the reason they don't have real intelligence is that the boys on the hill like to spend money on toys they don't need. At that moment Gibbs's phone rings. Alfonso has logged onto his email account in a hotel.

All four of the field team go to the hotel. DiNozzo asks if Gibbs wants to kick the door into the room where Alfonso, plus some people you don't argue with, are. Gibbs 'reminds' DiNozzo of his injured shoulder (shakes head at DiNozzo) and DiNozzo does the honours. They all go in with guns, telling the other people not to move, and lo and behold the people in the room have guns too. Gibbs shows his ID and then our pain-in-the-butt lawyer Ms. Hart appears. She really is an unpleasant woman and she's not even attractive, physically or in personality and as for this so-called chemistry between her and Gibbs . . . Why can't they find an actress with whom he has chemistry, rather than (as with Mann) one of the few who doesn't? They man has chemistry with his mobile phone, but with her? Nope, nada, zilch, none. She is apparently Alfonso's lawyer. Gibbs sends his team out; she sends 'hers' they are private security guards.

She challenges Gibbs over him not going by the rule of law; he says he doesn't have a problem with the rule of law. Vega apparently contacted Hart a week or so ago and after his death, Alfonso called her. The private security men just happen to be Colonel Bell's men. She says he owed her a favour after she extracted him from Mexico, where Gibbs had dumped him. Gibbs says it wasn't him; it was the rule of law. He wants to talk to Alfonso; she says he can but only with her present.

Gibbs is in the interrogation room with Alfonso and Hart and McGee is watching. DiNozzo, carrying cans of drink runs in and asks if they'd started. McGee asks where Ziva is and DiNozzo tells him making popcorn - a really fun moment and I'm sure it was organised by DiNozzo, but McGee and Ziva were happy to go along with watching Gibbs kick Hart's backside.

Meanwhile in the room, she still keeps calling Gibbs 'Mr.' and finally he corrects her, pointing out it's Special Agent - she doesn't seem impressed and she keeps addressing Alfonso and bitching about Gibbs and saying he's trying to intimidate Alfonso; totally unprofessional, out of line and a hack comes to mind. As I said when she first appeared 'Hollywood Lawyer style' - gives all lawyers a thoroughly bad name. Gibbs asks Alfonso if he knew his brother was involved with the terrorist group. Alfonso did; Hart didn't. Alfonso decides to talk, despite Hart telling him not to; he wants to know the truth about his brother as he knows his brother wasn't involved with drugs and he wants answers. He tells Gibbs he works for a cell phone company and Vega asked him to back-trace calls to a warehouse. Vega told Alfonso not to trust anyone, and he hopes he's not making a mistake in trusting Gibbs. Hart makes a scornful noise.

Gibbs goes out and tells McGee and DiNozzo at least Alfonso is telling a story - he'd just not sure whose. At that moment Ziva runs up with the popcorn saying she burnt the first lot. She comes to a stop, but Gibbs seems more amused than anything, he takes some popcorn and tells DiNozzo and Ziva to go to the warehouse. Then Hart appears and Gibbs looks at McGee who realises Gibbs wants him to go and say he's going to go and get a haircut. Hart tells Gibbs he has no right to hold Alfonso; he says he does as it's on suspected terrorist charges. She says if he stays, so does she. He tells her she's just gone by the vending machine.

DiNozzo and Ziva are discussing who'd come out on top between Gibbs and Hart with various weapons. They agree Gibbs with gun or hand-to-hand, but maybe it's not quite so clear cut with a knife. DiNozzo thinks Hart would be good with a blade. He has a Geiger counter with him and tells Ziva to pick the lock of the warehouse. She points out they don't have a warrant; he says as it's a repossessed building, thus the city owns it, so it's okay. She doesn't think Hart would approve, but she does pick the lock. DiNozzo says that not everything is black and white when it comes to protecting a way of life.

Once they are inside, Ziva starts to talk a little about her time in Somalia and how Saleem justified the things he did to her in similar terms of protecting a way of life. She's seen first hand what happens when convenience wins out. DiNozzo drops his frat boy act instantly and is genuinely interested in what Ziva is saying and concerned about her. He says she's never talked about it; she says there's nothing to say; what Saleem did was bad enough, she doesn't want to become like him. They look at one another, a very nice DiNozzo/Ziva moment, or just as friends. It was a very moving moment and showed their closeness. They find fresh food and also evidence that whoever was there left in a hurry and they find evidence of a fire, wires, timers and accelerator.

McGee is with Abby, who for some reason is still in the haz suit, and she confirms that the things DiNozzo and Ziva brought in, prove there is definitely a dirty bomb as Cobalt 60 was found on everything. She's still wearing the suit, apparently, because it's too cool to take off and makes a good noise when she moves. Abby is a strange girl at times - but it was Abby. They do seem to be struggling at times to know what to do with Abby this season. She's also has a laptop that's totally burnt, but she's sure she'll get something off it.

McGee is about to go, telling her to let him know as he has to tell Gibbs, but she stops him. Her machine should have pinged when she mentioned the 'get something off'. It dutifully, a tad late, pings. Two things are on it: Solitaire and an encrypted video. The video shows Vega talking about 'the package'. Abby says that with Vega dead, they have some time. However, Ducky appears at that moment, a very flustered Ducky, saying they may not have as much time as they thought. He gives Abby a specimen dish and says he has to talk to Gibbs.

He clearly finds Gibbs as they are talking outside Autopsy. The doors open and they see Jimmy dancing and he has his IPod headphones on. He suddenly realises they are there and stops, saying that DiNozzo had invited him to . . . And then says it doesn't matter and it won't happen again. Rather than be irritated, Gibbs just seems amused or bemused by Jimmy.

I'm actually getting more and more convinced that both Gibbs and Ducky will be leaving at the end of this season and that the show will try to stagger on with DiNozzo as 'Gibbs' and Jimmy as 'Ducky'. The fact DiNozzo had invited Jimmy to go to the Tap Dancing championship is another of those 'bread crumb' moments that seem to point to us losing Gibbs and Ducky. But personally, I have to say if MH does go, then it is the end of the show. But things really do point to it, and not just in the episodes. Gibbs does seem to be taking more of a back step - even putting aside his arm being in a sling, which couldn't have been very comfortable at all to act with all the time. Kudos to MH for such a good job. If they do go, at least it'll save me having to get up so early each week.

Ducky takes Gibbs to the body and tells him that they were correct about the cause of death, dismemberment, but that he found a wound that pre-dated it and he shows Gibbs a cigarette lighter from the car sticking into the body - Ducky says it wasn't self-inflicted. Vega wasn't in the car alone; the other person got out. And then he drops the bombshell. The dead body has perfect teeth - Vega didn't have. The body is not Vega's - thus he can give whatever orders, whenever he wants. The scene ends with a lovely look between Gibbs and Ducky.

Gibbs and McGee are in Vance's office. The actual dead body was one John Cook, who had been dishonourably discharged from the Marines. He made the bombs, it appears, Vega did the rest. He is running through the records on the screen when Gibbs and Vance stop him simultaneously. For a man with perfect teeth, it appears Cook was going to a different dentist every two days. McGee says he'll find out why.

Vance tells Gibbs he has to brief the Joint Chiefs and dutifully, for the viewers, 'explains' about a dirty bomb. The actual radiation is negligible, the blast would kill more people, but the really big problem is panic: that's why dirty bombs are called 'weapons of mass disruption.

McGee and Ziva are with a dentist (another clear baddie from the moment he spoke) Dr. Damon Shore. He remembers Cook and goes into raptures about how wonderful his teeth were. Then he asks if Cook had anything to do with the robbery - that's why he thinks McGee and Ziva are there. Two days after Cook had appeared, someone broke in and stole their 15 x-ray machines - and they were the good kind. They were all Cobalt 60 machines. Oops. Except, who better to 'steal' the machines than the dentist himself? Shore goes and McGee tells Ziva there are all kinds of sources, legal ones, to make dirty bombs. And that these would make six.

DiNozzo is on the phone, McGee has called him and DiNozzo is telling McGee that he should tell Gibbs about the five bombs; he also tells him to get back as there are computery stuff that needs doing - very DiNozzo. Fun. At that moment Hart appears and wants to know what Gibbs would be told. DiNozzo comments "You're still here, how nice." I loved DiNozzo at that moment *g* Okay, how come she can just walk around the building as she likes? She again calls Gibbs 'Mister' and sits at his desk and looks at a photo. She then asks where Gibbs gets his hair cut, saying you can discover a lot about a man based on where he gets his hair cut. DiNozzo asks where she gets hers cut and she tells him her sister has cut it for years. She says DiNozzo no doubt spends more on hair products than a third world family would on food for a year. Ouch - but probably true and in character (remembers the $100 tie). She says Gibbs no doubt has his hair cut at the same Mom and Pop store he's always gone to.

Gibbs arrives at that moment and tells her to get out of his chair, but she doesn't to start with. She really is a seriously nasty character, who needs to vanish ASAP. He asks DiNozzo if he's spoken to McGee and DiNozzo tells him 'five'. Hart then says she can file suits against NCIS and Gibbs personally for all kinds of violations. To DiNozzo's surprise Gibbs orders him to let Alfonso go.

However, Gibbs being Gibbs has a plan and DiNozzo and Ziva are tailing him: Gibbs is using Alfonso as bait - Hart will not like that. DiNozzo sees Vega talking to Alfonso and with both Ziva and he having guns on them, they get to take Vega to NCIS.

Vega says he wants his lawyer, Gibbs says she's on her way. Vega says Gibbs can't ask him any questions; Gibbs agrees. He just sits there and Vega starts to talk. He says he's not a terrorist; Gibbs shows him the video Abby found. Vega says he'll talk and Gibbs gives him an attorney waver form to sign. Vega tells him he'd been hired by Cook (whose real name he didn't know) who said he was working for the Department of Defence and had all the credentials, as they needed native Spanish speakers to perform in a top secret training video. Cook took him to the warehouse and he recorded all kinds of messages; Vega thought it was fake - Gibbs tells him it wasn't. Then Vega noticed someone was following him, he got suspicious and started asking about the training programme - no one had heard of it. So he got in touch with Hart. His recruiter turned up one night with a gun and forced Vega to drive. He deliberately ran a red light to get the attention of the police, then got out of the car. Cook had no choice but to go on, he called Alfonso and then the car exploded. He asks if Gibbs believes him and says he better as he has no idea where or when the attacks will be.

Gibbs and DiNozzo are with Abby and she has pictures of Vega in Peru with a very pretty nurse. DiNozzo goes into his normal mode and decides because she is so pretty, Vega can't have got her, it's all a cover - whereas actually she is Vega's girlfriend, thus explaining his trips to Peru. DiNozzo, however, isn't convinced and looks at Gibbs who does concur it's all about board; so naturally DiNozzo changes his mind to fit with Gibbs - a nice touch and very in character for DiNozzo.. Ziva appears to tell them that Shore appears to have been the bombers' second choice; he left his dentist surgery at lunch time and hasn't been back. She's put a BOLO out on him.

ZNN is running a message send via email purporting to come from the terrorists saying that if the US doesn't stop the anti-drug campaign in Peru, they will explode a dirty bomb each day. The reporter says that Homeland Security are telling people not to panic. Ziva starts to trace the email; DiNozzo to arrange a meeting between Gibbs and Metro's Chief; McGee will find the dentist. Vance appears and wants a sit rep and tells Gibbs he's banned Hart from the building - good for you Vance - and that sadly there have already been fatalities with people trying to get out of the city.

McGee has something. Shore has been accessing a website that is a 'meeting' place for people interested in oral hygiene. He has uploaded photographs of a bus station. The IP address appears to have come from Peru.

They all go off to the bus station. McGee hands out bomb detectors, but says they'll only work if the bomb isn't shielded. The bomb squad will get there too late, so Gibbs tells DiNozzo and Ziva to liaise with the LEOs and tells McGee to go with him to find the bomb.

DiNozzo: "Don't make me say it, McGee."
McGee: "I'll be careful, Tony."

A really lovely little moment that shows how much they all care about one another. You can tell by the little exchange and the looks on DiNozzo and Ziva's faces.

McGee goes inside the station with Gibbs and together they start to look for the bomb. McGee gets a hit and finally opens a case that was lined with lead. DiNozzo calls to say everyone is safely away; Gibbs tells them to stay outside. The bomb has 32 seconds on the clock. McGee tells him if it's tamper resistant then whatever wire Gibbs cuts will mean the bomb will go off. He says they could run; everyone is safe and the bomb will do minimal damage. But that's not Gibbs. He orders McGee to go, McGee says it's an order he's refusing to follow. He's about to tell Gibbs to cut the black wire, as on two seconds, Gibbs cuts the red - the bomb doesn't go off. There's a very nice smile between Gibbs and McGee.

Abby confirms the bomb was meant to have been tamper resistant, the cut should have detonated it. However, it appears that, fortunately, whilst the terrorists get an 'A' for terrorising, they get an 'F' for chemistry. The first bomb went off too quickly, this didn't go off when it should have done. DiNozzo decides it's the dentist that did it, as after seeing Marathon Man he always thinks it's the dentist. (A film reference I actually got *g*). Shore is, however, dead. His body was found under a bridge; it's apparently suicide and he left a note confessing to everything - but we know differently, don't we?

Vance and Gibbs have Kane in Vance's office. Vance tells him that Gibbs thinks they shouldn't do anything about these bombs. He explains how the end result of the 'terrorism' was to push through a Bill that would never get through Senate otherwise, a Bill that would give away millions of dollars in defence contracts. Gibbs challenges Kane, saying how his company would have made ten million if the Bill goes through. He says that everything they knew about the so-called terrorist group came from Kane's company; the only independent bit they found was a 13 year old boy with a website. And he adds that they traced the IP address from which the photos of the bus station were uploaded to a computer in Kane's offices. Vance says Kane has ten seconds to admit it, if he does they'll ask the Attorney General to wave the death penalty, if they doesn't they'll decide which vein they'll stick the needle into. Gibbs begins a countdown. When he says 'five seconds', Kane says he wants to talk to his lawyer first. At the moment Ziva comes in to tell them they have traced the IP address to a computer in Kane's company.

Gibbs goes home and there if Hart in his living room. He asks if he's the only person who needs a search warrant; she says the door was unlocked; he says it won't be soon - oh, please, do lock your door Gibbs, it would be logical. She asks Gibbs how he dare use Alfonso for bait and they argue about him putting away innocent guys and her letting guilty one get off. He then compliments her on her suit, saying the likes of Vega didn't pay for that, but the likes of Colonel Bell did. She says everyone has a right to be defended and says she does lots of pro-bono work. He knows, but of the five cases that cross her desk each week, she only goes for the ones that'll bring her into contact with him. She tells him he's conceited. And he says he has a job to do and she keeps getting in the way. He'd moved closer and closer to her during this and the episode freezes with them maybe about to kiss.

Well we know he's playing her to see what's she and Bell are up to; but is she also playing him, I wonder? I mean playing him beyond the connection with Colonel Bell. She seems set on in someway trying to harm his career and catch him out or lure him into some kind of trap with Bell. But is she also playing him for her own ends as well? Has she got more than one agenda? I won't bother ranting about lack of any chemistry whatsoever, as I've already done so.

OVERALL

An okay episode overall, not as good as some this season, but better than others.

Some great team moments and interaction and some good and fun scenes.

Some small ship moments, not a great many this week for any ship, but also lots of friendship moments.

The sooner Gibbs finds out what Bell is up to the better; that way we might not have to live though too many more episodes with Hart in them. Except, I doubt that'll happen until the final episode.

Irks.

- Hart. She reminds me of 'fingernails down the blackboard' that's the reaction she causes in me.
- The once again beyond being obvious bad guys.

Best scenes:

- The first squad room scene.
- Ducky 'doing a Gibbs' and intimidating Gibbs.
- The 'drinks and popcorn' for the 'show' (the bits not in the Interrogation room).
- Ziva and DiNozzo in the warehouse.
- Jimmy dancing.
- Gibbs getting Vega to talk, but being . . . Gibbs.
- McGee, DiNozzo and Ziva pre-McGee going into the bus station with Gibbs.
- Gibbs and McGee with the bomb.
- Gibbs and Vance getting Kane to confess.

Pairing of the week:

There wasn't much at all ship-wise, but I'm going for Gibbs/McGee as we had more of them than any other.

Character of the week:

Gibbs.

Actor/Actress of the week:

Mark Harmon.

Storyline: 8.50

Enjoyment: 8.00


Tags: !creator: nakeisha, non-fiction: episode reviews, season 07
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