I wasn't really looking forward to this episode, mainly because of the introduction of this other agent, especially as she is going to be a recurring character - which means certain member of our team will lose out by her being there. Plus, after last week's absolutely stellar episode, I thought there would be a dip, so I went into it with very low expectations.
And sad to say I'm glad I did as I was more than a little underwhelmed by this light-weight, fairly substance-free, filler episode :-( I found the case boring and it didn't hold my attention at all I kept looking at the timer to see how long there was left. I felt that many of the scenes lacked cohesion and were disjointed, to me it seemed to have been written by half a dozen people, not one, which given who wrote it was very strange. I also found the spinning of the cameras quite distracting, rather like constant flashbacks. For me part of it is the eye issue I have whereby my eyes won't adapt quickly enough to that kind of change. It's a style that doesn't work for me, but does for others.
Sadly, I couldn't even get any real interest that a temporary NCIS agent had been killed, especially when we learnt he was stealing from NCIS anyway. So he lost his job, sadly, it happens - people don't go around stealing from their employers because they were let go (well I didn't) especially when they were temporary in the first place. So the fact I didn't really care about him didn't help the whole case aspect. Leona Phelps did nothing for me at all, I had no sympathy for her and had the man killed her I'd have shrugged it off as she got what she deserved, the nasty, life destroying woman - I was totally with Tim with what he had to say about her. And she was very unpleasant about Tim and Ziva - errand boy indeed!
As for EJ, yep, my worst fears were confirmed, she annoyed me from the second she appeared - she reminded me in some ways of ELC in the way she interrupted conversations and kept sticking her nose in. So just like the end of last season, the end of this one is going to be somewhat spoilt by her appearing in several episodes. Although at least she provoked a strong reaction in me, rather than a 'meh' one, which is always a positive thing. Also, what bothered me more was the fact that she and her team have been reassigned to DC - why? - I'd thought she just had some temporary reason for being there, stopping by so to speak, but the fact she's been reassigned is, I admit, more than a bit worrisome.
However, it wasn't all negative, not at all. There were some superb moments with our team and some lovely interaction between them, really excellent mostly two-handers with virtually everyone. I felt the focus was more on these two-handers than team interaction and most of them were great fun. But it seemed that the case was just thrown in, made simple, no real twists or intrigue or caring to allow the team moments to be at the forefront of the episode. And maybe that was the point of the episode, maybe it was felt for MW's first directorship, to make it a simple, frills free case and to focus on two-handers was a good thing, easier for him and that makes a lot of sense. There really was some excellent team interaction - but also some missing team interaction.
There was some nice humour and lots and lots and lots of film references, amazingly I did know several of them. But sad to say there were too many, I rarely get Tony's film references, but mostly even if I don't get them they are fine, but in this episode there were too many - for me.
Boy were those kids young - 12, 13 at the most? I even wrote down 'two kids necking'.
The opening squad room scene with Tim making his 'time to hit the shower comment' and then the ensuring discussion with Ziva assuring him he didn't smell, Tony arriving and declaring he only showers three times a week to preserve his natural odour (yuck!) followed by them all leaving to find Gibbs in the lift and him noticing that one of them smelt was great fun. The first of many excellent team interaction moments.
And the whole shower theme was continued at the crime scene with Jimmy confessing he showers 18 or 19 times a week - wow! - and the look on Tony's face. I did fear the shower thing was going to be overplayed, but thankfully it wasn't. Poor Jimmy getting stuck under the car, that was another fun scene with more excellent team interaction as Ducky wasn't exactly overly sympathetic to Jimmy's plight, Tim discovering the key didn't open the car and Jimmy starting to panic mildly but in his 'don't rush on my account way'. That was so well done, really fun to watch. And if that wasn't enough we have Tim going off with Gibbs and babbling on about his showering habits and getting a stiff neck if he had wet hair, but not wanting to blow dry it because Tony would never let him live it down, poor Tim - as I said a lot of fun.
Ducky, Jimmy and Tony in Autopsy was a lot of fun. I always love it when Ducky shares his knowledge with us and the others - even when it was surprising knowledge! And poor Jimmy, for once he wasn't enjoying Ducky's story whilst Tony was revelling in it. A great scene, even if I didn't get why it was Tony who was there and not Gibbs.
Wow, Gibbs knocked on Vance's door - that was quite something, as Vance commented. That scene was again setting us up for what's to come. The fact that Gibbs partly addressed the changes in Vance recently and also made a comment about any changes on his team. A good scene, very underplayed by both men, both sizing one another up, power shifting one way and then another, we are either being fed a lot of red herrings or the end to this season could be extremely interesting.
It was very interesting to see Tony and Ziva's first reaction to EJ. How they were both irritated by her initially, interrupting a private conversation, but how Ziva certainly picked up negative vibes and things she didn't like. Was this just because it was another woman? Or was it partly because she knows Tony and knows that young, attractive(ish) woman and Tony'll make a play for her at some point and she doesn't want that? I guess we are going to get some Ziva being jealous, just as we'll get Tony being jealous when Ray appears, that does seem to be how it's going to be played out. But I did really enjoy how it was for that moment them against EJ. I loved how they scuttled off to join Abby and Tim.
The scene with Abby and Tim talking about leather, well Abby talking about leather and flesh and clearly trying to distract Tim and succeeding, again more hints about their relationship and Tim finally asking her if she wants him to stop what he was doing and pay attention to her was great. Really excellent interaction between them. And it continued when Tony and Ziva joined them. That was a nice four-handed scene, excellent to see the four of them together like that.
I did like the scene at the warehouse and Tony totally in his element with Steve McQueen's sunglasses and all the other things, you just know he wanted to touch and play with everything and part of him envied the guard who got to spend all his time with the lovelies. And from the pleasure Tony got, I liked how underplayed him telling Ziva that EJ's team should have been his, that he'd been offered it. It was done in a very mature way, no great histrionics, Ziva knew from Tim that he had been offered a team, just not where. It must have been incredibly hard for Tony to come face to face with the team he should have had - especially as we know he deeply regrets not taking it, as it may have been his one and only chance, Jenny did say the offers don't come along very often. So that was a really well played scene.
And later when Gibbs lets himself in and they go down and Ziva and Tony talk about William Faulkner, with Ziva admitting how much she loves his books and how it was worth learning English to read them and Tony confessing he doesn't like the books, but does like the films he made of other peoples' books all whilst Gibbs is on his back under the desk checking it out. Very well done - very much in character from all three of them.
Why it was Tony and then Tim and Tony who went down to Autopsy and not Gibbs, I know not. Completely out of character and a major departure from the vast majority of the series. Tony has gone down there alone before, but when he was temporarily leading the team. So why do that? Was it yet another hint of changes to come? Are we actually going to lose Vance and they put Gibbs in the chair? I can't see Gibbs wanting to be Director, he doesn't play politics - he can, but he doesn't like them. But that was a really extreme change to the norm.
The car chase was kind of fun, but had in inevitable outcome. But Gibbs is truly unfazed about everything and he knew just how hard to nudge the other car to let it know he was there and his intentions, i.e. I'm not stopping, you will. Nicely done - I also liked how the guy surrendered to him.
The final scene with Tony and EJ (returning to the shower theme that we'd begun the NCIS part of the story and we had already had a hint that she showers at work when we saw her with wet hair) was interesting and set us up for what could happen: the attraction between both of them was there, well meant to be there. I confess for pretty much the first time ever I saw no real spark between Tony and a lady.
I was glad that Leona got her comeuppance at the end, that whilst she tricked them into letting her out of prison so she could go home to her empty house and find her ledger from a hidden panel she was then defeated by her own cleverness. She tried to swindle one person too many, so all nicely tied up with a neat bow; she'll go to prison for life and the man who was going to kill her will also get justice for what he'd done in the past. But although I was glad it was resolved, I was more glad the story was over :-(
I had to wonder about Vance's meeting with EJ, he's clearly brought her to DC - one has to ask why? And fascinating that he calls her 'EJ' and not by her surname or Agent Barrett. I wondered what was in the file that had been open when she was in the room, but then closed by Vance when Gibbs went in. There is definitely something going on and I think it goes back to Vance persuading the SecNav to give him the job as Director and the deal they struck up.
And interesting that we get signs of changes afoot and people being let go - but others being brought in, I really do think we are leading up to something. I almost wonder if there's a red herring in this 're-signed contracts for multiple years' for at least one person and in fact we aren't going to have the full team back next season, or if we are whether they'll be in the same roles. And we are, of course, still waiting to learn if CdeP and RC are going to be kept on/re-sign their contracts. Tony's comment to Gibbs at the end about 'making a good director' and Gibbs looking up at Vance saying 'we already have one of those', did make me wonder more. Tony was talking about a film director; Gibbs about NCIS directorship. We have had things hinted at all season and the hints are getting more and more heavy.
There were some nice shippy moments for a few ships: Gibbs/McGee, Abby/McGee, DiNozzo/Ziva, DiNozzo/McGee, DiNozzo/EJ (although that seemed very forced to me, there was no real spark between them - as I said incredibly rare, if now unique for Tony not to spark with a youngish, attractive-ish female).
So overall some excellent banter and team moments, better than in some previous episodes, the episode was extremely strong on that front. However, it was over-shadowed by a boring, case and the introduction of EJ. For me not the best episode of the season by some way. It wasn't out and out awful or cringe worthy, for the most part I didn't want to slap any of our team (apart from Tony at a couple of points when the film references got too many). However, for me very much a 'meh' episode. It was a filler episode, light-weight, great fun in parts, but that was all.
- The opening squad room scene.
- The entire crime scene scene.
- Ducky sharing his knowledge with Jimmy and Tony about the background to the film Psycho.
- Tony and Ziva talking about the case with EJ constantly making comments and how irked they both are. Nice little moment when Tony put his arm around Ziva to lead her off to go and find Abby and Tim.
- Abby and Tim in her lab, then being joined by Tony and Ziva.
- Tony and Ziva in the warehouse then Gibbs, Ziva and Tony in the warehouse with the desk.
There were some nice little throw away touches/things we learnt too:
- Tim smells of lilacs.
- The dead man's boss's comment that Gibbs would be terrible at customer service.
- Tony calling Ducky Duck-Man as Abby does.
- Tony not recognising body parts.
- Gibbs calling Ducky 'Duck' when talking to Vance.
- Tim's 'Where are we going, boss?' after Gibbs sent Tony and Ziva to the warehouse. It was very proprietorial.
- Tim commenting he'd never had a good time in a women's prison.
- Tony admitting he had been a jock in college.
- Gibbs saying Ziva is about the bite.
- Gibbs again showing his knowledge of all things wood when he knew you don't use dove-tailed joints and nails.
- Too little Ducky.
- No Gibbs & Ducky scenes.
- The over-playing of film references.
- Tim's waffle about the history of the previous heist was totally OOC.
- The weird Tim and Tony pacing around Autopsy whilst Ducky and Jimmy worked on the second body scene.
Ship of the week:
Character of the week:
Actor/Actress of the week: