I knew very little about this episode except a) it began with a dead Petty Officer and b) it featured the British navy.
The first thing made me very happy, as it meant yet another real navy case, it's almost like being back in the good old days of Seasons 1 & 2; I keep telling myself it can't last, because I don't want to be disappointed when the forget what the N stands for again.
The second aspect (the British) had me somewhat 'concerned' as to who they'd be written. And sad to say it was everything I'd been dreading, totally clichéd throughout; all with the same upper class accent - no not all Brits speak like that, not even Brits in MI6! I was expecting it and yet at the same time given how well they write Ducky was hopeful they'd actually be written 'real' and not stereotyped/clichéd. The writing did detract a little from my enjoyment as I was teeth gnashing a tad, but thankfully given how good the episode was over all and the case aspect it wasn't as bad as it could have been had it been a non-case episode.
It was another good, entertaining episode with some excellent team interaction, good banter, great scenes and a case that was engaging. The baddie was pretty obvious - the so-called red herring of the Brit was just lame, sorry, he couldn't be that poorly written and a bad guy to boot *g* I did momentarily consider wife and dead guy's best friend, but dismissed that in the same instant as I considered it due to overly-clichéd (again) and used before.
Gibbs, I must say, irritated me a wee bit at times; normally I love his 'gung ho' attitude and never say die and do what he must do to get the job done, no matter whose toes he treads on. But normally he stays just within my mystical 'line' (whatever that is *g). This time he stepped over it - I don't blame Vance for how he acted, in fact I applauded him.
I really felt for poor Tim having to climb into the hot tub - he did have a darn good point about contamination.
The sub-plot of Tony desperate to find out about Ziva's 'friend' was fun, not overly done and not played out too much - just right. Again full marks for consistency; we know that Tony has to know everything about everyone and Ziva in particular so for him to want to find out about her friend was good, consistent characterisation. Also, full marks to Ziva for getting Tim to fix up her computer so it would be able to tell if someone had tried to access if - anyone who worked with Tony would be wise to do that. And a nice little addition at the end when clearly she had a) deliberately set out to log in in front of Tony and then leave, knowing full well what he'd do and b) get Tim to put yet more security on.
Abby is drinking too much Caf-Pow! or something else is wrong with her. She's pretty much always hyper and bouncy and babbles at high speed, but in this episode she seemed to take it to a new level. Normally her speed babbles have some point, in this one I felt they were just put in because they wanted Abby to babble.
Lovely again to see Jimmy and see him being more assertive, but I don't like the inappropriate comments he has to make from time to time. They've developed Jimmy's character so well over the years, but by now he wouldn't I'm sure, be making these kinds of comments. Nice to see some interplay between him and Tony again - I really do find myself wondering if they are setting this up for Gibbs and Ducky to both retire and Tony and Jimmy to 'replace' them.
There were a lot of DiNozzo/Ziva scenes, which were good. Some excellent exchanges between them and gentle flirting, but at a level that could be read either as real flirting or colleagues flirting. Tony does jealousy very well indeed and he was showing it when Ziva was flirting with Malloy, but also he approved and was proud of her for being prepared to use her feminine wiles to at least get on board for a short time.
There were also a nice lot of Gibbs & Abby scenes, with Gibbs in his father role. I wonder if Abby's different babbling actually is tied in still with the whole Mexico thing - she still doesn't feel totally 'right' with Gibbs again? Or feels she shouldn't feel that way? Just a thought.
Again with another whole team centric episode no one took centre stage and over-shadowed all the others (obviously Gibbs will still have the main role as he is the pivotal person, the person around whom all the others rotate). A bit more Ducky would have been nice, that's one thing that has been missing for most of this season; I think we're seeing less of him again.
What was also good is how it naturally fell into 'roles': Tony and Ziva went out and did the leg work and the actual tracking down/examining the crime scene, etc. etc. whereas Tim spent time doing the geeky computer thing.
Even with the baddie being obvious the how they were going to prove this and the whole Gibbs vs. Britain worked well and kept me wondering how exactly it was going to be solved. And it was interesting that although our Petty Officer was killed for money, it wasn't for money in the usual way. Tennison didn't want to personally benefit from the money; just to stop it being used to pay off other villains.
Stealing the money was one thing, killing something totally different. It was possible to see her rationale for the former, although one wonders how someone so naive to believe it would have an impact could get to her position in the CIA, but killing a US marine and setting up a British MI6 agent (even if she thought he was navy) was not acceptable.
- The writing of the British characters.
- Gibbs part of the time.
- Jimmy's inappropriate comments.
- The opening squad room scene with the three younger members of the field team where Tony was trying to get into Ziva's email and Tim and Ziva arriving to catch him out. Lots of great sibling banter between them.
- The crime scene; whilst I felt for Tim very much, the scene was a good one for all the banter involving all seven members of the team. Excellent team work and one of the best team scenes - as it's one of the few that actually have all seven with a real role.
- The Autopsy scene. Nice interaction, as always, between Gibbs and Ducky, closeness, looks, their own voices. And in addition Jimmy cutting up the lung and then his interaction with Gibbs. (The whole inappropriate comments aside). The three work very well together.
- The scene in Vance's office with Gibbs and Malloy - very well done indeed. All roles well played out, Vance was excellent, I felt, top notch Director-mode.
- The little bit in the squad room where they show Gibbs what they have. Clearly it was Tony's idea, from his look and the way Tim didn't really want to go along with putting up 'nothing', but was prepared to do so as it's a team moment. It was a nice, fun scene.
- Vance stopping Gibbs from making the phone call by simply putting his fingers on the phone. It was good to see Vance being firm with Gibbs and standing up to him and being the Director.
- Gibbs and Malloy in Gibbs's house.
- Tony and Malloy's interaction in the squad room. Again so clichéd with all things British, but given it was with Tony and he love of films it actually worked extremely well.
- The final Tony and Ziva scene. Again nice moments, flirting, friendship and then wham the final bit when Tony thinks he's cracked it but finds Ziva is still one stop ahead of him.
There were some nice little throw away touches too:
- Gibbs's "That's my job, DiNozzo," when DiNozzo had commented on Tim and Ziva trying to make him feel inadequate.
- Vance's "Sabres in the parking lot."
- Ziva being Switzerland.
- Gibbs having built a crystal radio when he was eleven.
- McGee pointing out he'd need to hack and then looking at Vance and seeming a wee bit surprised when granted permission to hack.
Ship of the week:
Character of the week:
The team - no one stood out over the others this week. So all seven of them plus Vance.
Actor/Actress of the week
Daniel Gillies (Malloy) because despite being a cliché from beginning to end, it took good acting to actually be the 'Hollywood' Brit and not make me hate him/want to slap him.