I didn't know that much about this episode except it was again a Tim-centric one (yay! although two in a row is kind of odd, they don't usually give us two character-specific eps after one another, unless it's a story arc) and involved a woman who was as geeky as he was. I did hope that she wasn't going to turn out to be another loony or a psycho or someone just using him - thankfully she wasn't. Although I have to say her using her ex-boyfriend's credit card because he 'owed her money' I felt was totally wrong. Surely that's a crime, even though he owed her money, and did he anyway? Using someone else's credit card without their permission is a crime - one that was just hand waved away and not even mentioned. The whole implication that she was perfectly within her rights to do that did irk me - unless the law in the US is different to here. But she committed a crime and it wasn't even mentioned. She just said 'he owed me money so I used his card' and they okay'd it, well they did so by not saying anything about it.
However, that irk aside I thoroughly enjoyed the episode, I thought it was excellent. The case was interesting and the episode overall had several twists and turns in it that kept you guessing and wondering. And for one I didn't spot the bad guy, in fact I was concentrating on wondering why Vance would assign him Tim to help when Vance knows full well it is Tim who hacks into the Pentagon. I was wondering if it was yet another hint that changes are afoot - following on from the last couple of episodes when Vance has been somewhat 'odd'. Okay, so Tim was the logical person to assign and if anyone could cover his tracks and wrong foot the security guy it would be Tim, but even so - Gibbs clearly wasn't happy that the guy was there and that Tim had been assigned.
There was some great team banter and some lovely humour, mainly concentrated around Gibbs - which you wouldn't normally think of as being the humour-centric person - and his hatred of computers.
I did have to wonder quite why the security guy cut off the fingers and extracted the teeth, but them in a ladies clutch bag. Okay, so he removed them to slow down identification and I assume he was going to dump the bag somewhere, but it did seem a little far fetched that he'd put them in a bag and carry them around to dump. However, in the overall goodness of the episode I can overlook that point, especially as it gave us the fun little exchange with the purse snatcher and the cop. "That's my purse." It drops and fingers & teeth fall out. "That's not my purse." It was so well done, a little thing, added nothing to the plot, etc. was a throw away line by a tiny bit part character, but it added to the episode as it was a fun little scene.
I loved the opening squad room scene, that set the scene in effect for the sub-theme of the episode: Gibbs's hatred of computers. Him trying to log into his emails, although why he bothers given he never reads them I know not, and then smacking the computer was just so Gibbs. Tim telling him not to and then coming to the 'rescue' of the poor, defenceless computer and for once not being able to get in immediately himself again was excellent. It's nice to see when something doesn't go instantly right in situations like that, because no matter how good anyone is at anything there are moments when it won't work instantly. And then poor Tim in such a flap he knocks Gibbs coffee over, offers his own - as if - and the really priceless bit of Gibbs hitting the screen with a baseball bat and Tim telling him it wouldn't help and Gibbs's "It helps me." An obvious line to come up with, but delivered so well and it just worked.
And the scene went on being good with the arrival of Ziva and Tony and the ensuing discussion with Tim about him reading his horoscope that told him to avoid new relationships and to stay at home and a passing reference to last week's episode, so well done. Full marks for the scene from beginning to end.
It was nice to see Jimmy and nice to see he wasn't all about inappropriate humour, in fact not at all. I like when he does come up with snippets of things, like knowing the bag was a knock-off, and later when he tries to get into the conversation with Gibbs and Ducky with the odd word, only to earn himself a look from both Gibbs and Ducky. Now that's the Jimmy I love to see, bright, cheerful, helpful, no longer so in awe of Gibbs he looks like a rabbit caught in head-lights, no inappropriate humour and assisting and adding to the scenes he's in. Excellent Jimmy this week.
It's rare that I don't enjoy an Autopsy scene given my love of Ducky and Jimmy and Gibbs and Gibbs/Ducky, and again this week they were all excellent. The first one when he learnt that our poor Marine had been tortured by stretching on a rack was quite an awful way of killing. I do like how NCIS will show the dark side of people's nature and aren't afraid to go for less ordinary murders. And of course it allowed Ducky to show his knowledge of something else. Some nice looks between Gibbs and Ducky and just good all round interaction between Gibbs, Ducky and Jimmy.
I loved how Abby was collecting for Tim's defence fund in case the security guy was able to prove it was Tim who'd hacked into the Pentagon and not a computer virus as Tim tried to persuade him it was. The scene with her and Gibbs and Gibbs saying Tim wouldn't go to prison and Abby asking if he was 100% certain and him dropping a coin into the jar and then being 'persuaded' to part with $5.00 because Abby had to do something Tim normally would do which Abby adds to the fun, was wonderful. And again I liked how that carried on and later we see the jar completely full - thus showing how popular Tim is
Poor Tim trying to stay out of Maxine's apartment and then learning what a grade-A gamer she is was cute. I thought it was so well done how we moved from him not wanting to go in, to him getting all excited about her gaming skills, nice and relaxed and gentle and just a slight low, you felt and then wham - the shooting. Lull us and then grab us straight back - again excellent timing.
And also poor Tim trying to hide from the security guy, who was then trying to be so very helpful - and amazingly he still didn't trip my radar as being a bad guy. He was annoying, the way he kept trying to be 'helpful' and he clearly seemed out to get Tim, but other than that he didn't do anything for me *Prods spider sense*
If Abby and Tim don't get back together by the end of this season I will be amazed and also more than a little irked as yet again we had evidence that they still really like one another. The scene between them in Abby's lab when she was probing him for information on Maxine and how she said if he wanted to date her she didn't mind and then the cut off bits with her trying to cover up what she might have said, totally showed that. Abby does not want Tim to date anyone else and Tim doesn't want to date anyone else - we really are having this thrown hard at us.
The scene with Gibbs, Tim and Maxine when Tim and Maxine started to talk geek and Gibbs just sat there looking at them was fun, very nicely done and again linked with Gibbs's hatred of computers.
I thought the twist of the arms dealer paying Snyder was a good one. (I knew I recognised his voice, I can't say I recognised him - well I wouldn't - but I knew his voice was familiar, that's how I normally recognise people, by voice. I can't say I instantly remember him from 'Broken Arrow', but his voice was so distinctive.) It added another layer of complexity to the case and the scene with him and Gibbs was superb, he wasn't intimidated by Gibbs - well I guess in his 'business' he wouldn't go far if he was easily intimidated; he gave as good as he got. And it was Gibbs in somewhat laid back mode. I always like how Gibbs's interrogation technique varies from one suspect to another depending on the person.
The squad room scene after Tony and Ziva have returned from getting information on Snyder and they know he's under investigation, but no one can prove what he's doing and Tony talks about crossword puzzles but has no idea what that means and Tim explaining about how they were used in the war to hide code was fun. Nicely done; it is something Tim would know and something that Tony wouldn't necessarily know; the banter between Tony and Tim was good, with Tim explaining and Tony "Well if he'd put it that way I'd have got it earlier," was great.
Jimmy trying to explain video games killing to Ducky and how to kill a zombie was really good, I don't blame Ducky for not really wanting to know how it's done. Gibbs turning up and Jimmy trying to step in to get a double look from Gibbs and Ducky and saying he was sure Dr. Mallard would explain further was again really well done. Fun.
Another good scene was with Tim and Tony going to track Snyder down. There was some good banter there and it was both nice and a wee bit sad when Tim asked for sarcastic Tony to return. Poor Tim, he really does have a very bad dating record. And also when Tony pushed him and he was reticent, my feeling was it was because he still had feelings for Abby, not because of Maxine, but didn't want to tell Tony. The reason his dating fails and he wants to get out of it for a while is because of Abby.
The next Autopsy scene was another good three-hander with Gibbs, Ducky and Jimmy. The three of them do some excellent scenes together. And we learn Snyder was mutilated in the same way as our dead Marine. So we have a multiple murder.
Another good scene was Abby, Tim and Gibbs talking about Snyder selling his hacking programme and Tim putting it into language Gibbs would understand. And I liked how it was Gibbs who, after Abby and Tim had said that it would take a computer a million years to work though the coding, suggested what would happen if it was on a million computers. And I liked how it was Tim who suddenly realised they had someone who might already know about this programme.
Tim interrogating the security guy, in Tim's very gentle way and Gibbs coming in but giving Tim the front seat and chipping in from time to time was again good. It shows how Gibbs trusts Tim. Ah, the good old fake we-have-your-finger-prints game, ooops, no we don't, but hey you confessed. In truth that wouldn't be enough and wouldn't actually mean anything, but it's another thing that comes below my 'line' of fiction and real life, plus it does all have to be sewn up in c.42 minutes.
The entire scene with Tim in MTAC and Gibbs, Ziva and Tony in Snyder's place trying to disarm the main frame was superb. I thought it was excellent that Tony and Ziva were cut off, it wouldn't have worked so well had it been all three of them. Then we had Tim trying to give instructions from MTAC and Gibbs following them, Tim yelling at Gibbs to get out of there and being so concerned about him, Tim suddenly realising it was a video game (having told Tony earlier that it wasn't) and then missing one of the 'triggers' so poor Gibbs gets a bit bloodied up and then hearing the shots but nothing from Gibbs for several seconds and his obvious and clear concern only to discover Gibbs's unique way of turning the programme off - assuming that actually did it. I was laughing aloud at bit where Tim was about to talk Gibbs through how to turn the computer off via the command prompt and voilà Gibbs solves the problem: he shoots it to 'death'. That was an excellent piece of writing and so well done. That really was a excellent scene. And I'm so glad Gibbs didn't get concussed again - once again the preview gave us 'false' information.
And the full circle with Gibbs once again 'threatening' his computer and Tim telling him not to shoot was fun. I wasn't certain if Tim actually was pleased or not that Tony had set him up on a date with Maxine. He was clearly touched that Tony cared enough to do it, but I couldn't really read him as to whether he really was that interested.
I really did enjoy this episode. It was well done from start to finish. Nothing really jarred, no one was bitchy or superior or catty or needed slapping or anything negative. It was full of great banter, lovely team interaction, humour, a solid case. It was nice to see Tim and Tony working together and Tim and Ziva and Tony and Ziva, it was nicely balanced out and worked for me because the 'teams' were all doing different things. It wasn't as if one pair had started with one person and then another pair took over. It was well balanced overall. There were some nice shippy moments too, mostly Gibbs/McGee but also Abby/McGee, Tony/Ziva and DiNozzo/McGee, plus of course I can always see hints of Gibbs/Ducky *g*
And although it was a Tim-centric episode, it wasn't so Tim-heavy that all the other characters were just seemed like bit players and there to fill in the non-Tim moments. It was a great team episode, where no one lost out and no one dominated to the expense of others - as can often happen with a character-centric episode. Yes, Tim was front and centre more than in some, but not to the detriment of others. Everyone had their parts and I didn't feel anyone got sidelined.
- The opening squad room scene firstly with Gibbs and Tim and then with Tim, Ziva and Tony.
- The first Autopsy scene with Gibbs, Ducky and Jimmy.
- Abby and Gibbs in her lab with her collecting for Tim's defence fund.
- Abby and Tim when they talk about Tim possibly dating Maxine.
- The crossword puzzle squad room scene.
- The second and third Autopsy scenes.
- Tim and Tony tracking down Snyder.
- The main frame scene with Tim in MTAC directing Gibbs and Gibbs 'turning off' the computer.
There were some nice little throw away touches/things we learnt too:
- Jimmy knowing the clutch bag was a knock-off. Come on, I want to know how he knew. I want to know that story.
- Tony actually thinking that the fake wills and perfume our dead guy 'used' as a dating tool was a stroke of genius.
- Tony commenting that he does dumb ass things.
- Tony and Ziva having spent several hours locked in together and Tony's "You loved it," to Ziva. A nice wee bit of flirting.
- The fact no one commented on the fact Maxine had illegally used the dead Marine's credit card.
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