I knew next to nothing about this episode, in fact the only thing I did know was that several people had it billed as 'a good old-fashioned case episode' and it was indeed that. A jolly good real old-fashioned case with some nice twists and turns and being led up the garden path. I enjoyed it a great deal and found the plot very interesting indeed.
There was some excellent team interaction too, with some nice humour and very in-character antics and exchanges and it was interesting to see the 'new' Probie Ned Dorneget again - and kudos to TPTB for actually making him gay. I did wonder if they were ever going to have an NCIS agent come out and admit to being gay, even if he's not out out to the whole world of NCIS. It felt real and not just a 'oh, look we need a gay character as an agent let's just throw one in'. I thought it came over well.
I liked Dorneget and with Tim having grown so much into the job, we do need to see someone who is green and wet behind the ears from time to time. I did love how he wanted to try to impress Gibbs. Nice little idea of brining him coffee, but as Gibbs said it wasn't coffee - bless him. He did try. What was with the handkerchief though opening the men's room door and pressing the lift button? Don't tell me they are going to thrown in a male Nikki Jardine? That would be foolish. Poor boy leaving his flies open and who has to tell him but the man he's so desperate to impress. But clearly Gibbs has seen something in him, because despite the coffee and flies he did give him a chance.
I thought the interaction between Tim and Dorneget was excellent and I foresee if we do see Dorneget again then Tim will be the one to in effect take him under his wing and help him - because Tim can no doubt remember what it was like to be in his position and be so green and so eager. It felt right, even the not having a pen and forgetting his weapon (but he did have his hand-cuffs) often that kind of humour feels forced and shoe-horned, but it actually worked well. I found it believable, even him borrowing Tim's pen and not giving it back so that Tim was the one who had to ask for it to sign Ava's release.
I also liked what Dorneget said to Tony after Tony asked what Ava was like. He did as Tim said; he didn't lie. He told Tony the full truth about what she was like. The fact he wasn't affected by her beauty, her accent or her sexiness was immaterial; he told the truth. And I liked how Tim said Tony would be delighted by Dorneget being gay as it was less competition - which was also true for Tim as it meant he now knew nothing was going on between Abby and Dorneget. And I liked Tim's own Rule #01 - 'Never lie to Gibbs'. Although I do have a feeling that maybe, just maybe, Gibbs will somehow learn that Ava got away before he told Tim to release her.
It was good to see Tim actually out in the field this week and not just stuck behind his desk all the time.
It was a clever twist to actually make it Ava who was the real bad-lass rather than Agah Bayar on this occasions. Of course once she'd checked out of her hotel and 'run' it seemed pretty obvious she wasn't just the pretty face on Bayar's arm, that she was involved in some way or other. I did like how Gibbs refused to let Tony be the one to go and collect her and the way Tony sulked, it was excellent. Utterly in character of course Tony wanted to be the one to pick her up and make a fool of himself whilst flirting with her and being far less than the suave man he'd think he'd be. Of course had he not been quite so desperately eager to collect her, Gibbs might even have let him go - but then that wouldn't have been Tony, would it?
And why should Abby have called Tony when she had found out who Ava was? Gibbs had told Ziva to find her and meet her, not Tony. But again that was all part of the whole 'Tony obsession with the sexy, British lady'.
Okay, so the 'I want to go to the loo' bit was pretty clichéd and at that point it was obvious something was going to happen to poor Dorneget - even though he did know the protocol of checking inside first. It was actually very good to have her use the term 'loo' as she certainly would have done so. I often complain about Brits and the writing thereof in US shows, but both Ava and our MI5 Inspector were pretty well done this time with believable accents for who they were and the kind of education they would have had. So for once I didn't flinch over the Brits.
I did not see the extra twist whereby Ava was in effect being set up with false information for the Russians coming. Nor that for once it was Bayar who was the middle man - the man who was paid by the Russians and by an American Federal Agency. Are we to assume it was the DIA paying him given they were the main member of the alphabet soup involved with the case? For some reason during the final scene with Gibbs and Bayar I was reminded very much of Trent Kort and his accent. I have no idea why.
It does make me wonder how security is managed in the US when the sister agencies don't actually talk to one another! It's very much playground stuff in a way. Pissing Gibbs off is never a good idea as I'm sure the DIA will learn at some point.
I enjoyed Gibbs and Vance's interaction very much. They seem finally to have settled down and whatever differences they had seem to have been put to one side. I like Vance's style as a director. I like the fact that, unlike Jenny, he has never commented on Gibbs calling him 'Leon', he just accepts it and he's also distanced himself from the team as time has gone on; like Tom Morrow (whom I still miss) he lets Gibbs get on with doing his job and Vance does his.
I thought the conversation in Vance's office (and note how Gibbs now actually knocks, even if he doesn't wait for a 'come in') about Jackie Vance wanting Leon to take time off and have a holiday and Gibbs telling him to listen to him (physician heal thyself, Gibbs *g*) also how Vance commented that when he's either booted out from the job or dies in the chair that Gibbs must not take it. Also I thought him telling Gibbs that he envies him as he doesn't have to get involved with politics - I thought that was interesting and very heart-felt. It does make you wonder if the worst person to become a Federal Agency Director is someone who has been a Federal Field Agent?
I loved the opening Autopsy scene with poor Ducky complaining about how much he hates the whole idea of on-line wedding lists and all you have to do is choose something and it's gift wrapped and everything and you really don't have to do any work. That is so, so Ducky - utterly and totally. And although I do do nearly one hundred percent of my shopping on-line, I do occasionally dislike the fact I can't actually handle the present I'm buying and I have to rely on what it looks like - and I do like to gift wrap myself. It was totally Ducky.
Golly Reardon was good! Not just at what he did on the technical side, it's fascinating and scary to believe that it is possible to kill someone like that - killing by remote control (assuming it is of course), but also on the whole physical outrunning and out-jumping Tony and Ziva. Tony in particular must have felt it given he is a Phys Ed graduate. Of course we knew Gibbs was going to appear, didn't we? As soon as it was clear there was no way Tony and Ziva were going to catch Reardon J and I were just waiting for Gibbs to appear in some way. Now we know why he ran the way he did from the door: to get the car.
That Autopsy scene with Gibbs and DiNozzo was scary and I have to say I felt it was way over the top, even given what Reardon had done. I found it a bit too brutal. I was more than a bit surprised Ducky did go off to get a cup of tea. I know he would trust Gibbs explicitly, but I got the feeling he thought it was out of character too that he condoned such brutal bullying. Even though he didn't say anything and did go, the only small saving grace (as far as Ducky goes and it's a very small one I still think he was wrong not to intervend and it was out of character for him not to do so) is that he clearly wasn't happy - the look on his face confirmed this. I foresee a conversation between Gibbs and Ducky over that scene (okay I foresee it in fanfic *g*). I also knew that Reardon wasn't lying when he said he didn't know Bayar, anyone would have cracked under those circumstances.
The scene made me very uncomfortable. In fact I've never been so uncomfortable during and after a Gibbs method of getting information before. We've seen him hands on before, many times, we've seen him threaten physically and psychologically, but I've never felt so much dislike towards him as I did during this scene. It really did trouble me. Of course it didn't help that Reardon looked like a teenager. I know they threw in the humours moment of Ducky saying 'I'm just going to get a cup of tea, does anyone want one?' and both Gibbs and Tony saying 'yes', so enthusiastically - as the two people least likely to drink tea are Gibbs and Tony, but even that did not manage to make up for what was an appalling, out and out bullying scene.
I did not like Katzenbach, I actually thought he was involved, he was a very good red herring, I thought. Very slimy and sleazy - definitely the type of Solicitor to do adverts, a real ambulance chaster. I did like the scene with him, Vance and Gibbs when he asked if they'd seen his adverts and they both said no.
I liked the bit about Ziva going to give a talk and how nervous she was about it. Again, very believable, it's outside her training, outside her experience so even though she can kill terrorists with breaking a sweat, this was completely different. But she would be the right person to send to do it, she'd do it very well - as she clearly did. I love the fact that she's agreed to go back and do it again.
And we had yet another wee Tim being jealous about Abby with another man after he'd learn Dorneget had been to her place and left his gloves there - and in true Abby fashion she was playing with Tim. She likes him to be jealous. Oh, please, get those two back together, it's been going on for long enough.
I loved the opening squad room scene with Dorneget trying to get Tony's signature for the evidence garage and Tony is true Tony fashion messing around and refusing to give it, trying to put the onus on Dorneget and then Tim with his forgery. That was just the sort of thing Tony himself would do, if he'd thought of it. So very well done.
Abby and her sixteen year old NASA friend was fun - I'm sure Gibbs will agree to the other two things he wanted.
I liked how the final scene the meeting between Gibbs and Agah Bayar answered some questions but left more up in the air. I'm sure we'll be seeing Bayar again - and on a shallow note, he is a sexy bad guy.
I really did enjoy this episode. It definitely had a Season 1 & 2 feel to it with an excellent and interesting case that had twists and turns, some good red herrings, some lovely team interaction and banter.
- The opening Autopsy scene, so very Ducky.
- The opening squad room scene with Ziva being nervous re: her upcoming speech and the whole Tim can forge Tony's signature.
- Vance and Gibbs in Vance's office talking about politics and Vance taking a holiday.
- Abby and Tim in her lab with Dorneget coming to get his gloves.
- Vance and Gibbs's double act with Katzenbach.
- Abby, Gibbs and Tony in her lab re: her NASA friend.
- Tim and Dorneget's scenes.
We learnt and had some things confirmed too:
- It seems they've decided that Rule #01 is, after all, going to be 'Never screw over your partner' rather than the original 'Never let suspects stay together'.
- At least Rule #10 'Never get personally involved on a case' hasn't changed.
- Tim has his own rules, well one of them: 'Never lie to Gibbs'. I like it.
- The whole 'James' Palmer thing. We know Jimmy is not James!
- No Jimmy
- Too little Ducky
- Gibbs & Tony's attack on Reardon in Autopsy - it really made me very uncomfortable.
Pairing of the week:
Tim and Dorneget (gen)
Character of the week:
Probationary Agent Ned Dorneget
Actor of the week:
No one really stood out this week - they were all good.
Enjoyment: 9.50 (I'm taking .50 off for the Autopsy scene with Gibbs and Tony as they really were out of line)