I was fairly 'meh' about this episode as it had a named guest star in it and all too often those episodes tend to be a case of getting the guest star and then coming up with an idea and often not a very strong idea. So as much as I like Jamie Lee Curtis, I can't say I was really looking forward to it.
I'm glad I didn't know that as well as Jamie Lee we were also getting Dr. Rachel Cranston back again or I really wouldn't have looked forward to it. Don't get me wrong, I like Kate's sister well enough, but quite frankly once was enough. I'm so tired of TPTB bringing back a character time and time and time and time again.
To my mind Cranston had no real part to play in this episode, not that needed to be her as such. She was there because she was Kate's sister and also because she had a history with Dr. Ryan. I felt her role was very much shoe-horned into the episode, to me that really was clearly as 'oh, let's bring Kate's sister back again. Now what can we get her to do'? And of course with two major guest stars it as always leads to certain of our characters losing out. I watch NCIS for the team, not for all these darn extra characters they keep bringing in.
Plus, I cannot believe that she would be allowed to sit in on interviews as she did. And she should have been a suspect. In fact had she been anyone other than Kate's sister, she would have been a suspect. I put her on my list, simply because she would have been on it had she been anyone else, even though I knew she wouldn't be the guilty one because of being Kate's sister.
Overall I did enjoy the episode, I thought it was solid, the case was interesting, the red herrings were both good and poor. It was so obvious from the off that Baxter wasn't going to be the baddie. Both Mitchell and Wade (so Wade was a good red herring) were under my radar for being suspicious and whilst I didn't suspect daughter, J did. I did believe Mrs. Banks when she said she hadn't know about the $4 million life insurance - but J was sure the daughter had known and she had.
Poor Banks though, what he was being put through and by his daughter of all people. Nasty, nasty piece of work - she certainly was the instigator in this and used the weak Mitchell to get what she wanted. How anyone could do that to anyone, let alone to someone who loved them so much. She deserves to be locked up and the key thrown away. A terrible way to drive someone to take their own life through drugs and sleep deprivation gadgets. And the double tragedy in this was that it wasn't just that Banks still loved his wife, his wife still loved him, but she just couldn't go on living with him due to the nasty piece of work that was their daughter. Suicide by murder in effect, poor Banks and his poor wife too.
It's actually a terrible thought that there are units that are there solely to put this kind of drug/device together and that it's considered an acceptable form of getting information or whatever. And yes, I know that the argument is that if the other side has it, then so do 'we', but it's still somewhat chilling that human beings work on coming up with these kinds of things to be used on other human beings. It must take a certain kind of person to be able to do that, there must at some level within someone who can do this be some kind of amorality about them - you certainly have to wonder whether they can form and keep relationships. And I think that showed to a great extent in Dr. Ryan, in her behaviour, her whole being and her lack of being able to sleep for any length of time and certainly in the matter of trust.
Mind games - there were a lot of them being played in this episode and not just by Ryan's lot. But we know how good Gibbs is at such things!
The wee sub-plot that began in the opening squad room scene and finished with the final squad room scene was fun. Typical Tony to open Tim's play slip, because it was on his desk. I'm 50:50 as to whether he saw Tim's name on it or not and if he did just decided to open it on the grounds it was on his desk. In fact I'm actually 60:40 in favour of him actually seeing the name, but opening it anyway - because that's what Tony does. Of course once we knew he'd 'complained' to Payroll about the fact Tim was being paid more than him it was obvious that it was going to come around and bite him in some way. And it did. Yes, Tim was being over-paid but Tony hadn't had enough deductions deducted - being hit with an instant payment of use over $2,000 was quite the 'bite'. Poor Tony, his face; Tim didn't seem that perturbed by learning he'd been over-paid, which made me think he probably expected it and was waiting for them to discover it. But Tony was certainly hit for six.
I did like how, apart from the wee scene when Tony mistook Ryan for a Payroll clerk, the thing wasn't played out throughout the episode, it simply opened and closed the NCIS scenes, which I though worked really well. All too often these things can be overplayed. But this was well done.
I loved Ducky's knowledge about hanging and how Gibbs let him ramble on telling the entire story.
I didn't quite get why Gibbs insisted they couldn't use their computers and had to do it all by hand so to speak. I know it was partly down to trust after what he read on the file Ryan gave him, but to be honest it seemed OTT and OOC even for Gibbs with his dislike of/sometimes I think fear of/lack of trust in computers. It didn't actually ring true, to be honest. It was meant to be fun and amusing and it was to an extent to see Tim so far out of his comfort zone. But it didn't work. Especially as it seemed it was perfectly okay for Abby to go on using her computer. One of those things you have to hand-wave, but it didn't really work for me and irked me a little.
I'm actually glad Ducky proved that Banks's neck would have snapped seconds before the bullet hit him. I rather 'liked' the inept burglars in a way. They just had something and they did call 911, so that has to be something. I'm glad it wasn't their bullet that killed him. Of course the moral to that is: if you are going to commit burglary never, never, never take a fire arm with you - it's too tempting to use it and you could end up being imprisoned for manslaughter rather than just burglary because you got spooked and fired the darn gun.
It was nice to see Vance's office 'toy' again - lock down the whole room.
It was also good to see Fred again.
I did find Ryan very annoying and 'in your face' which is what she was meant to be. I can't say I cared for her character, but I didn't hate her as such - I did want to shake her a few times. But she got shaken, figuratively at least, by Gibbs.
*Smiles* at the pancake reference because of course this episode will air in the US today on Shrove Tuesday (AKA Pancake Day).
I thought Sean Murray looked and sounded really ill - his voice was so low and almost croaky and he looked a lot paler than usual. I wonder if Tony's comment about him always being indoors was put in because he was unwell or if it had always been intended to be there? I definitely thought he seemed to be suffering with something.
Not an episode that will go into my top ten overall episode (or even top twenty) and certainly not my top five for the season, but it was solid enough. It held my attention for the most part and I was mostly engaged by it. There was nothing really hugely outstanding but also nothing really, really annoying - for me the most irksome thing was Kate's sister's 'role'. I feel somewhat 'flat' after it.
- The opening squad room scene from beginning to end.
- The crime scene with Ducky telling the story about the perfect way to hang someone/yourself.
- The bit with the burglars being arrested. I loved the idea of burglars with a conscience and also the little bit as they were leaving under arrest where one says to the other 'Next time I'll choose the house'. It as a throw-away line, but just so good.
- Tony and Dr. Ryan's first meeting.
- Gibbs and Abby in her lab with the pills under the pots.
- Gibbs and Ducky in Autopsy.
- Gibbs with his 'I like paper' line to Dr. Ryan.
- Gibbs turning up at the party.
- Gibbs waiting at the school. I loved the way he just stood there with that little smile on his face, basically making Dr. Ryan talk and talk. Very cleverly done.
- The final squad room scene.
- The final phone call between Gibbs and Ryan - interesting too. And I'm sure we all know the diner to which he referred, don't we?
We learnt and had some things confirmed too:
- Another rule. Rule #42: Never accept an apology from someone who's just sucker punched you.
- Tim gives a lot of money to charity and Gibbs knows about it.
- The presence of Rachel Cranston. She had no real role other than to have a spat with Dr. Ryan. To me her presence was solely 'oh, look, let's use this character again. After all, we've used her before so let's use her again - as sadly happens with so many guest stars.
- Gibbs not letting Tim use his computer.
- Gibbs smashing the bug like he did. It was evidence; he would have taken it whole to Tim.
- And the famous 'do you have kids' line, yet again. Okay, so that was partly Ryan playing with Gibbs as she already knew, but even so it does irk.
- No Jimmy.
- Too little Ducky - although the Ducky scenes we did get were both good.
- Too little Abby.
- Too little Tim.
Pairing of the week:
Gibbs & Dr. Ryan
Character of the week:
Actor of the week:
Jaime Lee Curtis