Naturally there are spoilers behind the cuts.
I make no bones of the fact that I do not like EJ; in fact that's putting it mildly, I avidly dislike her. I think she's rude, arrogant, unprofessional, nosey, pushy, unintelligent and simply not a nice person. However, oddly, unlike Gibbs I don't distrust her, as such. I don't think she has an agenda outside of the case. Vance may have a further agenda for her; clearly he and she are keeping something from Gibbs - or were, it may just have been the P2P killer - but as much as I dislike her and hope she goes away at the end of the season, I don't actually distrust her.
It's a shame because yet again the NCIS writers have proved they cannot write a strong female character. In many ways EJ is ELC rehased, at least I think so. And certainly EJ is the most hated character since ELC - in fact she's even more disliked than M. Allison Hart ever was - which is saying something.
I don't like her and unless the writers have something up their sleeves (which sadly I doubt, but I'd love to be proven wrong) the only reasons I can see for her being brought in at this stage of the season are nothing to do with the case/professional reasons.
My take on the reasons for EJ's presence.
1. To make Tony realise how much he regrets turning down his own team and what a mistake he made by doing so. If this wasn't one of the purposes for EJ being around, then the team wouldn't be from Rota. NCIS has agents all over the place, so to choose the one team that means something to someone speaks volumes to me. In quote Gibbs: there's no such thing as a coincidence.
2. To toy with both Tony/Ziva and non-Tony/Ziva fen alike, both in a positive way and a negative way for both sets of fen and in effect to give Tony/Ziva and non-Tony/Ziva lovers what they want. Non-Tony/Ziva fen wanted proof positive that Tony/Ziva couldn't/wouldn't work, well here it is in an overt way with Tony/EJ in a relationship, a very much in-your-face relationship. And for Tony/Ziva fen there is still the 'jealousy' angle, e.g. Tony's face when Ray said Ziva saw Tony as a brother to her, plus Ziva's distrust of EJ and how she kept urging Tony to have a talk to Gibbs, etc.
3. To put a wedge between Gibbs and Tony. Now this could have been done without putting Tony and EJ in bed together, but as doing so ties in neatly with reason two, it works nicely,.
4. Cannon fodder - that covers both her and her team. After all we know two 'agents' are going to die, but with the number of extra people who fall into this category, there's no reason to suspect it's going to be any of our team that dies. I still believe EJ will die and Tony will be offered Rota.
The Season Finale
Okay, so we know that: The final moments of NCIS's eighth season are so shocking, even some cast members are being kept in the dark. Parts of the finale have been deemed "redpage scenes," which means only the specific actors involved and a few key crew members get the script. (A previous "red page" example? The season 2 death of Kate Todd played by Sasha Alexander).Exec producer Gary Glasberg says the :significant Change" that occurs will "affect NCIS in ways people will never see coming". In particular, Gibbs (Mark Harmon) will be reeling. Glasberg notes, "His world is about to be rocked both personally and professionally."
My first reaction, I'm sorry to say was 'here we go again'. We've had this kind of comment about 'shocking' and 'surprising' for at least the last three seasons and mostly they have just turned out to be damp squids. Certainly I never feared at the end of Season Five that the team wouldn't be back together early in Season Six; it was only a case of when and how, not if. Ditto I didn't fear for Ziva at the end of Season Six; again I knew it was only a case of how and when the team would get her back; and last season I never for a moment feared that Gibbs's father would be killed, thus devastating Gibbs on a personal level. So why would this season finale be any different?
However, let's look at what could 'rock Gibbs personally and professionally'.
Using purely canon and taking off any shipping hat something happening to Ducky (his closest friend), Abby (his surrogate daughter and favourite 'child') or Mike (his mentor) would shake Gibbs personally the most. Yes, anything happening to Tony, Tim, Ziva, Jimmy or, I think, even Vance would shake him personally too, especially if he felt in some way to blame, but the shaking wouldn't be so great as if it was Ducky, Abby or Mike. I'd also add to the personal something happening to Fornell or, of course, Gibbs's father, but neither man is in the episodes. Thus, unless they are targeted specifically, it can't be one of those.
My personal take is that it will be Mike Franks who dies (he's my second death).
On the professional front, losing Tony would shake him very much. However, I feel also being wrong about the P2P killer's profile, i.e. EJ is right in how she summed him up would shake him, partly because he is used to being right, but maybe also because it does put into question his methods. EJ said they were 'old-school' and we know that Vance tends to think Gibbs's methods are somewhat old school. I also think being wrong about EJ, i.e. she has no agenda and is trustworthy would shake him professionally as it would mean his gut was wrong. Even more than those two things though, some other things came to mind: being suspended for something would obviously shake him professionally; being under investigation would (maybe someone does die/gets badly injured and his actions are called into question); being offered Directorship; Vance being a bad guy; all of these things would shake him professionally.
My take on the professional is Tony is offered Rota and decided to take it. And also Gibbs's methodology is called into question. I think at least one member of Team Gibbs will get shot (again we know there will be more than one person shot and I think these will be in addition to the ones who are killed. And it maybe that one of the people shot is not a field agent. These would shake Gibbs professionally.
Jesse Stern's tweeted about 'Swan Song' I'm not quite sure what we've made her. I've never seen an episode like Swan Song before. Of anything. It's either brilliant or terrible. And again it didn't really bother me, as I sincerely doubt they can pull off something unique, which is what his tweet implies, plus again we've heard similar things said.
However, Brian Diezen's behind the scenes interview about 'Swan Song' did actually give me pause for thought, mainly because of the look on Gibbs's face as he stands in the pouring rain watching a body being loaded into the ME's van. And what is interesting is that Gibbs is not in his work attire; he's in his off-duty attire, as if someone has called him urgently and he raced out of his house dressed just as he was.
The look on his face says it's someone he cares about, which means: his dad, Ducky, Abby, Fornell, Mike Franks, Tony, Tim, Ziva, Jimmy or even Vance - it certainly isn't EJ or her team. Unless they are keeping the presence of his dad and/or Fornell a secret (which I doubt) we're down to the team plus Vance and Franks. But Franks isn't meant to be in 'Swan Song' he's meant to be in 'Pyramid', so how can it be Franks? Which does make me start to worry somewhat.
Except, then I tell myself that they nearly always put this 'teasers' together out of sequence and so actually Gibbs standing there with that look on his face and blood on his shirt might actually not tie in with a dead body being loaded into the van. Also, BD's comment about loading a dead body into the van doesn't necessarily tie in with Gibbs being there - in fact it would be odd if it did, given the usual way of doing things. Not to mention the fact that it's been 'released' with approval and we know how much TPTB like to play with us.
I've rewatched it several times and it does look as if he is looking at someone he knows and cares about. But just because someone is being loaded into the ME's van, does it necessarily mean they are dead? It may be the quickest way to get them to hospital. Yes, BD talks about a lot of death in the last few episodes, but they two things don't have to be connected. Also, does that scene have to be from 'Swan Song'? Just because BD said they were filming 'Swan Song' and there would be a dead body, it doesn't mean that this scene is from that episode, the other scenes aren't. And we do know how TPTB like to tease and totally mislead us. So if it isn't from 'Swan Song' but from 'Pyramid' then it could easily be Mike.
But that said, yes, this little scene did give me more cause for concern than anything else that has happened, except for one thing. PP tweeting to say she had to do a crying scene. And as we know from 'Twilight' Abby does not cry, never ever, okay, so that has changed somewhat over the seasons (like just about everything else). She cried over Kate and Jenny and has teared up over people, but she's not the kind to just cry over anyone and everyone which to me implies if Abby is crying something has happened to Gibbs, Ducky, Tim, Tony, Ziva, Jimmy or to Mike Franks, whom we know she's very fond of. I can't really see her crying over Vance and certainly not over EJ or her team, not even Cade whom she has 'dated'. I think it has to be a member of team Gibbs or Mike Franks.
Yes, I do keep coming back to Mike Franks. I am afraid we are going to lose him; he'll be the personal shock for Gibbs.
Am I really worried that something fatal will happen to a member of Team Gibbs? Even after all the 'fans will be shocked', etc. etc. etc. comments we've had from MW, JS and now BD and PP's Abby's crying scene? No, I'm not. *Swallows hard* Yes, at least one of them will be injured, maybe badly, maybe badly enough to have an affect on their career with NCIS, but not fatally.
There is one more possibility that came to mind as to something that might rock Gibbs's world both personally and professionally and that is the identity of the killer. What if it turns out to be someone Gibbs knows, someone he trusts, someone he likes either from his past or his present. Mike Franks? Stan Burley? Tom Morrow? Tobias Fornell? One of his ex-commanders or fellow Marines? Another ex-agent? One of his ex-wives? All would rock him both personally and professionally, but it seems far fetched.
Two other crazy ideas I had were:
a) I did think of Vance for some unbeknown reason, but had no evidence at all, other than it certainly would do some rocking around the agency in general.
b) Another crazy idea I had, not actually tied in with Gibbs, was that it was Brenna (Jimmy's girl-friend) well we know she's a mortician, so she'd have experience of cleaning and dressing bodies. But again there is no evidence or no reason, plus the vast majority of serial killers are male - not all, but most. But if the NCIS writers really did want to surprise, then make the P2P killer female.
If the killer was someone Gibbs knew, especially if it was also someone we, the viewers, knew (even if only by name and/or reputation) it would shake him and it would be more of a surprise and shock to us than if it was someone totally unbeknown to us.
However, I'm sticking with:
- Mike Franks and EJ die.
- At least one member of Team Gibbs gets shot and hurt.
- Tony is offered Rota and accepts.
- Gibbs is wrong about the P2P killer's profile, making EJ right.