Nikki (nakeisha) wrote in ncis_gibbsducky,
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Episode Review. Season 7x24 - Rule Fifty-One

Firstly I'd just like to say thank you to everyone who has read my reviews (be it one, all or a handful) throughout this season. Also thanks to those of you who have commented on them (again be it on one, all of a handful); I've certainly enjoyed the discussions we've had. I know there have been times that we haven't always agreed on parts, but that disagreement has always remained respectful and even when I have disagreed with a view, I've found it interesting to see things from the other person's view point and see how they read something - I hope you feel the same.

At the moment I'm sure this will be the last really detailed moment-by-moment review. I think next season I shall stick to shorter, bullet point types. I fear that I'm losing sight of the purpose of watching the episodes: enjoyment and that by dissecting to the extent I do is taking a lot of the excitement away. Maybe I'm just jaded after 24 episodes, but I don't think it's that. I still love NCIS, I still want to discuss it, but I can't see me continuing to do such in-depth reviews, plus I have to get up so early.

However, we'll see what happens in September. But in the meantime let's finish this season.

My thoughts behind the cut.



So this was the 'shocking', 'gripping', 'edge of seats', 'amazing', etc. etc. finale SB promised us? I think Mr. Brennan needs to watch a real edge of seat finale to see just what is shocking and gripping. I recommend this season's double episode of Grey's Anatomy - that was amazing, stunning, shocking, edge of seats, exhausting from just how shocking and gripping it was. It was also a true double episode, unlike NCIS's episode last week and this. I said last week I feared it was being dragged out into two parts and could be done in one, I was correct. And the 'mustn't miss last 30 seconds' still didn't have me shocked, etc. In fact it just had me going 'oh, no, it still isn't over', which is not the reaction I should have had, or the one SB was hoping for - nor the one I was hoping for.

For a finale it was mostly very slow moving, and confusing in parts and unresolved with people doing one thing and saying another or vice versa. There were a few nice exchanges between the team, but they were few and far between. I wanted to up the pace throughout and keep it going and capture the whole feeling SB expected us to have had. That would have been helped had they made Patriot Down' and 'Rule Fifty-One' one episode and not two. Pedestrian at times, sums it up.

Even though I went in not expecting to be shocked or surprised, etc. etc. I was disappointed by it. Maybe I'll feel differently after re-watching tonight, but as it stands, I had to wonder why SB would judge this to be a great finale.

It certainly wasn't as good as I was hoping for as for whether it was a bad as I feared, I didn't fear anything, to be honest.

We begin, as expected, with 'previously' where we got the salient points of the last two episodes - quite amazing two episodes could be covered so quickly. Then Dean takes a bag off Gibbs's head and voilà, we see Paloma Reynosa; they are in a very, very nice, big and clearly expensive house - drugs apparently pay. Outside a white horse. Reynosa asks Gibbs if he knows who she is; he knows her name and that she is the head of the Reynosa cartel. She quotes Tennessee Williams, saying how he said 'We are all sentenced to solitary confinement inside our own skins, for life'. She asks Gibbs if he would consider himself to be a frank man and then we learn she is also Hernadez's daughter (so I was right). She tells him his life will depend on him choosing his words carefully.

At NCIS DiNozzo is holding a small USA flag and saying he doesn't believe it. Ziva has passed her citizenship exams; DiNozzo doesn't seem that pleased about it, but then he was just being DiNozzo and teasing really, after all he's been teasing her all season about becoming a citizen. Ziva says her ceremony is on Friday and she expects DiNozzo and McGee to be there. McGee is genuinely pleased and says they'll all be there - even Gibbs, assuming he's back. They then have a nice exchange about Gibbs and how it's not the first time he'd gone off alone, to Mexico and told them nothing, thus there's nothing new.

Vance arrives at that point and tells them none of them are poker players. He then tells them they need to concentrate on what they do best without Gibbs. DiNozzo asks what that his and Vance just looks at him and says if DiNozzo doesn't know, Vance isn't going to tell him. Vance then goes off and takes McGee with him. DiNozzo says to Ziva that Vance has rejected and slammed him and she says he must feel like the red-headed step-child. He asks her how come she got that idiom right and she says because she's now an American. He says 'not yet' and picks up the phone saying he's going to call his Congressman. That was a nice little scene.

Vance and McGee are in MTAC and Vance tells McGee that he's told Rivera that all reports, etc. are to go through NCIS and Hart must not be involved. McGee 'dutifully' reminds viewers (in case they'd forgotten) that Hart works for Bell. McGee says he won't let Vance down. Vance gets Rivera on the line and asks about Bell's plane. Rivera tells him they have found a dismembered body near Franks's destroyed shack and also bodies of Bell's men and men from the Reynosa cartel; his people are processing the scene, etc. in the way Abby taught them to do. Vance says that if Rivera has no objections they'll get the navy to collect the bodies and evidence and bring them to NCIS for processing. Rivera doesn't object. Then Vance says if he's not around Rivera should speak to McGee. Vance then goes. McGee asks Rivera if they have found a trace of Franks or Gibbs. Rivera expresses surprise that Gibbs is in the country - oops, Timmy, I don't think he was meant to know about Gibbs. Having said that, this is McGee; he's very trusting (maybe too trusting at times) and Vance didn't tell him not to mention Gibbs and Vance knows McGee well. In fact I wonder if in fact Vance had an 'agenda'; he did want Rivera to know Gibbs was in Mexico, but he couldn't be the one to tell him. Thus, by leaving McGee to talk to Rivera and not giving McGee an order not to tell Rivera about Gibbs, Vance knew the information would get to Rivera.

Back in Mexico, Reynosa is talking to Gibbs about him solving crimes for a living and she asks if there is the perfect murder; he says he's never found one. She admits to being a killer and torturer if it forwards her cause, she is one very nasty female (the female of the species if more deadly than the male). She then talks about Bell and how (as I predicted last week) he was simply a 'means to an end' i.e. he got her closer to Gibbs. Gibbs then says he doesn't know what she wants, but she might as well put a bullet in his head right now as she isn't going to get anything. As I expected the previews were, as always, mixed up with words being used in scenes they didn't happen in. And she confesses she doesn't want his death; she wants his life. Again, what I've been saying all along: killing him would be too easy; they don't want him dead; they want him destroyed.

Gibbs asks her why she doesn't bring his big crime out into the open; she doesn't want to put him on trial - well she can't for the murder of her father. Instead she thinks it might be useful to kill everyone he ever met. She'll start with Franks and show him a bloody finger; then his mother-in-law; then move onto his colleagues and finally his father. She then says she'll start small and gives him a package to be delivered. And she asks him how many more lives are his convictions worth.

DiNozzo and Ziva go to Vance and he is going to send them to Mexico to take Hernadez's body back and collect the other bodies. McGee appears and tells him Rivera doesn't know where Gibbs is. Vance says he hadn't mentioned Gibbs; McGee has to admit he did. DiNozzo says should he and Ziva bring Gibbs back; Vance tells him the plane will only be on the ground for two hours maximum and wonders if they'd have time. He then touches his eye and he and McGee goes into MTAC. DiNozzo then babbles onto Ziva about how Vance winked at him and how that was saying 'I can't give you the green light officially, but go and do what you have to do'. Very DiNozzo. Nicely done.

Back in Mexico, the Mexican police, together with Rivera turn up at Reynosa's house. Rivera asks Gibbs if Reynosa threatened him and does he want to file charges. She warns him about choosing his words carefully. Gibbs says she didn't not threaten to hurt him - which she didn't. Rivera then takes Gibbs off with him and his men arrest Dean. Gibbs asks how Rivera found him and Rivera admits Reynosa is hard to prosecute. Then they talk about the report; Rivera thinks Gibbs has stopped Abby from releasing it; Gibbs says he wouldn't do that and then, lo and behold, we end up back at Reynosa's house where we learn that Rivera was Hernandez's son and thus Reynosa's brother. I was right again.

We then have a nice little scene between DiNozzo and Ziva that could easily be seen as Tony/Ziva if you like them that way, or just Tony & Ziva as friends, if not when they are talking about her citizenship ceremony. She says she has to renounce all ties with Israel; he says she'll still be her and he'll be there for her on the day. Ziva smiles.

They get into the lift and Abby follows them in. She asks about Mexico and then says the Gibbs had quoted Rule #40. Ziva says Gibbs should write the rules down; DiNozzo says he doesn't need to as most of them are used daily, but once you evoke the 40s, it means something really bad is going down.

Back in Mexico we see a photo of Hernadez with Rivera and Reynosa as kiddies. Gibbs asks if Rivera wants to put him in jail, he says that without the report, they'll have to do things his sister's way. Gibbs then tells a riddle about a guy in a room with no windows or doors and only a table and mirror. Dean steps in and quotes the solution, saying it's a stupid riddle (I hate to agree, but it didn't do anything for me). Gibbs says he dad taught him it and whatever has gone down between them, he knows that if things get rough he can talk to his dad - he's trying to goad Rivera. It works as Rivera grabs the gun Dean has (Gibbs's gun) and points it at him. Gibbs knows he won't pull the trigger and says Rivera hasn't killed before, but he has. Gibbs admits that some of his killings still haunt him, but that their father's death hasn't given him one night's lost sleep. Rivera is now crying, a single tear.

The plane lands and DiNozzo and Ziva are about to get out; they are talking about finding Gibbs when . . . Gibbs appears. The plane is on its way back to DC. Gibbs is on one side of the plane, DiNozzo and Ziva snuggled up under the same blanket (nice DiNozzo/Ziva moment). DiNozzo starts to talk to Gibbs; he is really pissed off, that's clear. He's angry because Gibbs didn't tell the team, but told Franks. Gibbs says if they get held up at customs to use his name; when DiNozzo asks where he'll be, he says he's going to clean up. DiNozzo tells Ziva that is basically Rule #45. What is? 'Always clean up after a case', maybe? Or what? Whatever it is, remember, it has to be a really important one and shows something bad is going down as it's a 40.

We then see Vance and McGee; McGee is giving Vance some kind of bug device. DiNozzo and Ziva join them. McGee comments that Rivera (whom DiNozzo somewhat nastily refers to as McGee's new best friend) had called to tell them that Gibbs was in the air with DiNozzo and Ziva and that he'd been responsible for getting Gibbs to the plane, as it was for his safety. Vance asks where Gibbs is, DiNozzo says he's gone to clean up. DiNozzo if then angry with Vance and more than a little out of line, but Vance lets it go - which was a good thing to do. Vance tells DiNozzo to tell Gibbs to go and see him when he appears.

In Autopsy Ducky is working on digging a bullet out of a body and Jimmy is prising open a crate. Ducky calls to him and asks him to open it more quietly as he can't think. Jimmy stops and asks him what is on his mind. Then, somewhat worryingly, Ducky admits that actually nothing is on his mind. Jimmy tries to 'help' by giving Ducky leads to 'this reminds me of . . .' or 'when I was a boy . . . ' etc. etc. Ducky asks what he's doing and Jimmy admits to trying to help. Ducky then says that does remind him of an incident. He then regales Jimmy with a tale about a time he was playing golf and a man tried to 'help' him and offer all kinds of unwanted advice. From time to time Ducky uses a Scottish accent. He ends with telling Jimmy that he learnt something from the 'event': 'Being correct does not excuse a violation of form', which could be some reference to Gibbs and the whole Hernadez thing and Gibbs's behaviour last week, maybe; or not. Ducky then tells Jimmy to take the slugs he's got from Bell up to Abby and to carry on opening the crates as quietly as possible.

We then see Gibbs call his dad and ask him if he can go and stay with someone for a few days.

DiNozzo and Ziva are with Abby and she is testing the slugs, but she thinks it'll take a while. However, to her surprise (not to mine) they get a hit. She says 'oh, no, not again'. Ziva asks what not again, but Abby does not elucidate. So at this point, certainly, neither DiNozzo nor Ziva know about Gibbs killing Hernadez, only Ducky and Abby know. The bullets are from Gibbs's Sig - of course they were. Did that surprise anyone? I was certainly expecting it.

We see Gibbs cleaning and resembling a gun whilst we hear DiNozzo talking. Then we go to Autopsy DiNozzo and Ziva are in Autopsy with Ducky and Jimmy. DiNozzo asks Ducky what he'd say if DiNozzo told him they slug from Bell had come from Gibbs's Sig. Ducky says that someone was trying to present Gibbs as a murderer. DiNozzo says, 'when clearly he is not', but his tone almost belies what he's saying and had a somewhat sarcastic edge to it. DiNozzo knows there are things that he doesn't know, but that other people (Ducky and Abby) know and he doesn't like it. Again that was really well done and consistent, because we know how DiNozzo thinks he has to know everything about everybody and everything and when he doesn't he gets pissed. But he didn't, at least at this point, need to know. A lot was portrayed in those few words DiNozzo uttered - it was extremely well played by MW.

Ducky says that as a friend and colleague he likes to think the best of Jethro, thus he doesn't like to think he would kill a man. And he goes onto say that as a scientist he knows Gibbs didn't go it. DiNozzo asks how he knows and Ducky points out that Bell was shot in the head and then dismembered, not just to hide his identity but also to hide the identity of the person who killed him. He says that Gibbs tells them not to believe in coincidences and so when he found the same serrated edges on Bell's dismembering as on Macy's throat, he knows who killed Bell. Bell was dismembered by the same knife Dean used to cut Macy's throat. They know where Dean is; with the drug cartel. They wonder how Dean got Gibbs's gun. Ziva says Gibbs said there was only one way. Jimmy looks puzzled and Ducky obliges with 'Pry it from his dead, cold hand'.

In the squad room Ziva is saying to DiNozzo about how they have to assume Gibbs and Dean met. She then leans over DiNozzo and looks at what he's doing. He's trying to trace Bell's movements, saying it's something McGee should be doing; Ziva reminds him McGee is still with Vance and DiNozzo is not very pleasant about McGee saying he's just hanging around waiting to pick up stuff Vance drops - not the kind of thing one colleague, whose meant to be a friend, says about another. McGee is with Vance because Vance asked him to be; Vance is the boss. I know DiNozzo's concerned, but really I was not happy with in in a way I haven't been unhappy with him for quite some time :-( Although, having said that, again it ties in with him knowing people know things he doesn't and he probably thinks McGee knows things he doesn't, because McGee is the one Vance wanted to help him; the one Vance trusted. So his nose is feeling somewhat out of joint, so his attitude and tone can be explained.

Ziva then sees the records DiNozzo is looking at and they realise that Bell is apparently making calls from his mobile; it must be Dean Ziva says she'll try to do McGee's thing and see if it's still on. DiNozzo comments they are doing things without him. Gibbs appears at that moment and asks 'without who'? DiNozzo does a typical DiNozzo babble, making no sense whatsoever. He then tells Gibbs Vance wants to see him. Gibbs is on his way up to Vance when Ziva, who has done 'McGee's thing' says Dean is making a call now. She's about to see if she can find out to whom when Gibbs's phone rings. Vance is watching. There were some really nice DiNozzo/Ziva touches in the scene with leaning over one another.

Vance and Gibbs are in Vance's office. Vance asks if Gibbs needs to get the call and Gibbs says it'll go to voice mail and he throws the phone onto Vance's desk, Vance picks it up and fiddles with it. Vance then goes on about having spent a lot of time that year in LA setting up the office, Gibbs says he'd notice. Vance mentions someone (I'm assuming from NCIS: LA) was able to get them a tore of a movie set where there were lots of old props and costumes going all the way back to Casablanca. Gibbs suggests Vance tells DiNozzo.

Vance then says when he first started at NCIS he wondered how he and Gibbs would mesh, given they had totally different ways of working. He could see them as Rick and Louis, with Gibbs as Rick. Vance, however, is tired of being Louis. He's fed up of Gibbs sneaking around behind his back, it doesn't work for him. Which allows Gibbs to say maybe he shouldn't work for him. Vance orders him to tell him what's going on; Gibbs refuses. Vance says he's going to bench Gibbs and says his whole life doesn't revolve around Gibbs and calls him an ego-centric son of a bitch; Gibbs says it sounds as if it does. Vance says Gibbs doesn't like him because with one call Vance can end Gibbs's career. At that point McGee appears to tell Vance Bell's plane has left Mexico and Rivera is on one behind it. Gibbs then take the mobile phone and goes. Vance is has something from Gibbs's phone in his hand (I thought, at the time, it was the SIM card).

Gibbs goes down to Abby and there is an armed security guard there, guarding Abby. Abby says she doesn't know why, but her 'act' is not a convincing one to anyone. Gibbs nods for the guard to leave for a moment and he does. Gibbs then tells Abby he's sorry and she tells him not to as it terrifies her as he's breaking his own rules (he broke if for Ducky when he apologised to him, now he's breaking it for his surrogate daughter; very fitting). She tells him the finger was Franks's, it's his trigger finger and Ducky is fairly sure Franks was alive when the finger was severed - it was actually shot off. Gibbs gives her a long hug and at that point I thought it was a 'goodbye' hug'. A very tender, moving scene with a lovely father & daughter moment.

Meanwhile in Autopsy, Ducky is showing Hart Bell's back and she identifies him from a tattoo. She says no matter what people in NCIS think, she thought Bell was a good man. Ducky says he doubts she'd have worked for him if she hadn't thought that. Oh, well done, Ducky, that's it, play her nicely, do the 'caring doctor' and get her to talk - because he doesn't for a moment believe what he said. She thanks him for his consideration. Ducky then talks about what she'd done for Bell, by finding out about Gibbs and wonders if now she's wondering if she backed the wrong man. She says she's just remembered Ducky has a psychology degree.

In the squad room McGee is telling Gibbs, Vance, DiNozzo and Ziva they've tracked the plane. Vance sends McGee, DiNozzo and Ziva off to meet it and bring Dean in, putting DiNozzo in charge. During this Gibbs gets a text message saying 'Am I safe?'

At the airfield, DiNozzo and McGee have their handguns and are on the ground; Ziva is above with a big gun. There are a couple of other NCIS agents. The plan lands; headlights are turned on; DiNozzo calls out to Dean to give himself up; Dean assumes Gibbs betrayed him and there is a fire fight. Both the 'non our team' agents get shot and Dean also gets shot. McGee has scratches on his face.

Meanwhile Gibbs is breaking into a crate and he pulls out a package, the one Reynosa gave him to deliver.

Vance is with Ducky and Dean's body and Ducky asks what Vance thinks. Vance thinks Dean killed Macy and Bell and played some part in the shoot-out between the cartel members and Bell's men; he may have killed Franks. Ducky asks if dead or alive are Franks's whereabouts still undetermined. Vance nods; Ducky tells him he did retrieve .45 calibre slugs, which was Franks's weapon of choice, Vance reminds us. At that point Jimmy says he'll go and double stack the drawers. Dear Jimmy.

Gibbs is sitting on a bench with the package beside him when Rivera arrives. Rivera had come to take care of things, but Gibbs's people got there first. Gibbs asks Rivera if he told Dean he was in the clear. Rivera just gives a half smile. Gibbs then says it's smart that Dean will take the fall for all the bodies and quotes his 'Never underestimate your opponent' rule. Rivera says he should write it down. So the second foreshadowing about 'writing the rules down'. Rivera says he and Gibbs are on the same side (huh?). Gibbs says he has the package because Rivera and Reynosa has Franks. Rivera is surprised (or not) that Gibbs didn't open the package. Gibbs says he didn't need to and hands Rivera a piece of paper with a quote on it. 'We have to distrust each other; it's our only defence against betrayal'; Rivera comments about his sister and her quotes.

Vance then appears saying they make a man feel left out. Rivera shakes his hand; Vance asks about the package; Rivera says it's candy, no doubt laced with drugs. He's about to go, but stops and asks about the report; Vance said Abby sent it straight to the task force. Rivera then goes.

Vance then sits next to Gibbs plays back part of the conversation Gibbs had with Rivera. Gibbs hands him the old battery from his phone and Vance, it was the bug we saw McGee give to Vance earlier. Vance says that Gibbs had made it clear his hands were tied without saying anything. Gibbs says he couldn't as he knew the package was a test and he thought he could buy time with it. Gibbs said he had a lot of trust that Vance would follow his lead. Gibbs says 'every day, Leon'. Vance asks if Gibbs thinks Franks is still alive, Gibbs says he thinks Franks left the beach shot-out in pieces.

They get up and start to walk away. Gibbs says he knows Rivera is lying about something and also that he's seen people with vendettas and the results of them. Vance says it's those who hide in plain sight, who they can't arrest, who they should fear most. Vance then tells Gibbs a story about Humphrey Bogart that he hopes was true; how he was called back to the set to do one scene; a scene where all he had to do was nod. In the film it's where Lazlo wants the band to play the Marseillaise. He looks at Rick who nods. Vance says it was the turning point for the whole character, all he had to do was nod. Gibbs asks if Vance got a copy of Abby's report. Vance says he has no interest in a 20 year old cold case in Mexico; it's not his business. He then says that if something has to happen with Rivera, Gibbs doesn't have to say a word. They continue to walk away with Vance humming The Marseillaise. Wow, that was quite a scene, Vance was making it clear he was totally on Gibbs's side and had his back - despite everything.

McGee, DiNozzo and Ziva are waiting in Vance's office. He asks when the ceremony is, Ziva says first thing tomorrow; Vance says they'll debrief second thing tomorrow and tells them to go home. It's late. He then asks DiNozzo to wait.

Gibbs, looking gorgeous in a suit, opens the door to Hart. She comments on his suit and says he doesn't normally hang around the house like that. She also calls him Special Agent Gibbs - a first. And she asks if he really believes in right and wrong, protect and serve. She asks why he really became a cop and then produces Abby's report.

At the ceremony all the about to be new citizens are swearing in. The whole team sans Gibbs and DiNozzo are there.

DiNozzo is in Mexico.

Back in Gibbs's house Gibbs says he has his own rules; Hart says that doesn't work. She say the bullet (the report) is the one that should end him, and asks if he thinks she wants that. He says he didn't ask her to intercept the report and asks if she wants him to say thank you or sorry. She says why not, he says it's a rule. She says it's stupid. He says maybe.

Back at the ceremony they are sworn citizens and the team are clapping Ziva.

Hart says she wanted to know Gibbs as a person, oh yeah? Like we believe her. She goes saying speaking as an officer of the law I think we can beat this. No, no, no, does that mean she is still going to be around next season? I was hoping to lose her - in any and all ways - this season.

We then go to Mexico again and Franks appears and gets the 'jump' on DiNozzo. He asks DiNozzo what his assignment is, DiNozzo says director's orders to observe and report; Franks says he'll take it over and calls DiNozzo 'Probie' (nice touch). He assures DiNozzo he can pull the trigger with his thumb. Do we assume he's about to kill Rivera?

Gibbs is then upstairs and he flashes back firstly to Shannon finding his box of rules; she reads out Rule #44 'First things first. Hide the women and children'. Then we are in the here and now and the bedroom is all packed up, nothing but boxes. So has he not slept there since Shannon died? Does he in fact sleep in the spare room or even on the couch? But, don't forget he's had three more wives and this is the house he lived in with Shannon and Kelly. Thus, what happened when he was married to first wife, Diane and Stephanie? Did they not live in this house? If not, how come he could afford a new mortgage? Did Shannon's death pay out so that he could pay off the mortgage and thus he kept the house but didn't live there? Or did one or both of them inherit money at some point so again he could pay for the house outright and live elsewhere? Don't forget for one of his marriages he claimed 'it cost him a house', which does maybe imply they did live elsewhere, or he had to buy ex-wife a new house. The whole thing about this house being the one he lived in with S&K just doesn't add up for many reasons - I guess it has to be put down to yet another inconsistency from the NCIS writers - oh, how dare I say that?

Gibbs sits down on the bed and flashed back to Franks, whom he sees and hears (as with Shannon). Franks says there's no such thing as an ex-Marine and he's not going to ask Gibbs where he's been, but where he's going. Gibbs says he doesn't know. We hear Franks says Gibbs makes him sick as he's full of loathing and self-misery. Gibbs says he hasn't gone to Franks to mope, but for a job. Franks asks if he can let go of stuff he's learnt and learn new things. Gibbs says he thinks he'd be a good cop. He's looking through the box and as well as rules there are photos of Shannon and Kelly. He picks up Rule 13: 'Never involve a lawyer'. And then he circles it several times, turns it over and writes: 'Rule #51 Sometimes - you're wrong' on the back of it.

I really, really, really hope that doesn't specifically mean he was wrong about lawyers and thus in the new season he and Hart are going to get together. It implies it, given that was the rule he wrote on the back off and by the way he'd circled it. More of ELC? Oh, no, please.

Then we cut to Gibbs's dad's shop. Jackson is puting sweets into a jar, sweets (so I was told) which were Mexican ones. Were they the same ones that were in the package Gibbs brought to the US? If so, how did Gibbs get them back? We saw Rivera walk off with them. Does that imply Mike killed Rivera and than brought the package to Gibbs who then along with his father agreed this 'set-up'. The door opens and Reynosa comes in. He asks if he can help her and she turns the sign to 'closed' and says, "Yes, Mr. Gibbs, I think you can."

So that was the 'don't miss' final thirty seconds that would be so shocking and surprising. Yes, I was somewhat surprised to see Gibbs's father and then to see Reynosa appear, but not to the extent I'm sure I was meant to be. I think the episode had just drained any shock or surprise out of me as overall it was neither shocking nor surprising.

Gibbs did what he had to do in order to stay alive and keep the team alive whilst he tried to find a way out of it. Vance had Gibbs's back (and clearly has put 2+2 together and got 4, but doesn't want to officially know about Gibbs killing Hernandez); Ducky believed in Gibbs; the team did what they were told to do; Abby sent off her report; Hart changed sides at the last minute to save herself. I can't say that to my mind Gibbs's moral code was broken in this any more than it has been in the past. He didn't kill anyone, he pretty much behaved as a Special Agent.

The biggest surprise was that it's no over *sighs heavily* I really hoped and thought this would sew Mexico and 1991 and Shannon & Kelly and Hernandez's murder up and we could move on next season to something else. Sadly, no.

And it left so many things unanswered: did Gibbs leave a bullet at the crime? If so deliberately (which is what I think we've meant to assume from the conversation he and Ducky had last week) or accidentally? Does Abby not have to file her report anywhere within NCIS? I find that hard to believe, or is Vance just going to magically make that vanish? What about 'paper trails', etc? She did the work there, all the trail will be there.

OVERALL

Another very disappointing episode. As I said at the beginning, SB needs to watch surprising, shocking, edge of seat episodes to know what one is - because this wasn't. Again it was pedestrian at times and really didn't answer any questions at all; just left a whole lot of new ones to be answered.

The one 'high' point was there was more Ducky than I'd been expecting; I thought there would be far less as I thought most of the episode would take place in Mexico with Ducky and Jimmy left behind. So that was positive.

DiNozzo irritated me several times - even though I knew why he was behaving as he was - and I wanted to shake him more than once; he hasn't done that in the way he did for quite some time. He always irritates me but normally in the 'this is the way I like him to irritate me'. A shame.

Nice to see it ended full circle with Ziva now a citizen, but poor thing not to have either Gibbs or DiNozzo there. I don't think the ceremony really added anything to the episode as such, it wasn't part of the plot, but nor did it take anything away (after all plot-wise the Ducky & Jimmy golf scene added nothing). But I did like how it ended the season with her now a citizen, as we'd been working on that all season. I think it was poor writing that neither Gibbs nor DiNozzo were there; they didn't both have to be missing, the scenes could have been written differently. But I guess that was just an additional bit of angst that SB wanted to drop in - again shoe-horned.

I really liked Vance in this episode and for Gibbs/Vance shippers there was a lot of fodder.

Hart just needs to vanish off the face of the earth - now. She was less irritating this week, as at least she wasn't waltzing in and out as if she owned the place and calling Gibbs 'Mr'.

Mark Harmon did a good job, but I felt even he wasn't really stretched - not in the way MW said he was going to be. Nothing we haven't seen before. Good and solid and definite 'character of the week' but not phenomenal in the way we were led to believe. None of them seemed stretched in this, there was no urgency, no real need for exceptional acting.

A very poor finale, IMHO. And sad to say my over-whelming feeling was 'thank goodness this season is over and we can have a break from the weekly episodes' :-(((

Am I worried for next season? Nope, not in the slightest. Will Gibbs save his father? But of course. In fact I suspect either Gibbs himself is there or maybe Mike (if the sweets were the ones in the parcel) or even someone from the FBI, and it is all a set up. Jackson is in no danger at all.

Will we lose any of the team? Well I guess for three that'll depend on the contract negotiations.

The really 'surprising' thing was that Gibbs's father's name didn't appear in the opening credits. Kudos to whoever was involved in agreeing that - it reminded me of the Buffy episode when Giles's name didn't appear in the opening credits and he too appeared at the end.

Maybe I'll feel more positive after I've watched it for a second time tonight. I do hope so.

Irks

- The lack of resolution.
- The fact we haven't put Mexico and this whole thing to bed.
- Hart's continued presence.
- How confusing it was.
- DiNozzo at times; even though I understood he was frustrated, felt shut out, wasn't in the know (when others were) and worried, his attitude still irked me at a few points. That may just have been just part of the whole 'meh' feeling about the episode.

Best scenes:

- The opening squad room scene.
- Ducky and Jimmy in the first Autopsy scene.
- Ducky, Jimmy, Ziva and DiNozzo in Autopsy.
- Gibbs and Abby in her lab.
- Gibbs and Vance in the park.
- Ziva's ceremony.

Pairings of the week:

Gibbs/Vance

Character of the week:

Gibbs

Actor/Actress of the week:

Mark Harmon

Storyline: 6:00

Enjoyment: 6:00
Tags: !creator: nakeisha, non-fiction: episode reviews, season 07
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