ONCE A HERO
A good, solid episode with a very good case plot, excellent
humour, good team work, and enjoyable sub-plots, and some mystery.
It was always clear that Brian Wright was not going to be the baddie (and not just from the title). Once Gibbs believed in him, no matter how much the evidence pointed otherwise, he was always going to be not guilty. Equally so it was clear that the Aide was involved in some way. Nonetheless, those elements didn't detract from the story.
The whole under-age sex trafficking was handled in a good compassionate, sensitive, not over-sensationalised way; it was extremely well done.
Although the whole case was central to the episode, in some ways it was more about the characters and how they acted, reacted, interacted, than the case. And there was a lot of humour in this episode, some quite blatant, some less so, but none of it detracted from the horrors of the sex-trafficking, and I didn't feel that it took anything away from the serious nature of the case.
I am more sure now than I was last week that DiNozzo's girl-friend is linked to his secret under-cover on-going operation, (the two mobile phones really made me think that; one to which only she has the number) about which only he and Madam Director know. I don't think she is a straight-forward girl-friend. And I agree with Ziva, he does indeed look run down; but that could well be because he's doing his normal day-to-day NCIS work, and then working on the under-cover operation at other times. One does wonder how long it's going to be before Gibbs starts to notice his absences, high number of doctor's appointments, and his behaviour. When he does, he'll start asking questions.
The scene with Abby taking her sample and persuading the man to give her a demonstration and their exchanges were wonderful. And now Abby wants a new 'toy'; she does love her equipment, and she can certainly persuade people to do most things for her. They were great scenes, and nice ending to them, with her going bowling with the man who helped her.
I also liked the scene with Abby and McGee and how excited she was about the fingertips, and how she quoted McGee to McGee - very nice. And her black teddy, I think it's the one that Ducky bought her, along with the black roses, for her birthday.
Nice to see McGee showing a lot of initiative in this episode, asking the question about how a homeless man, who isn't booked into the hotel can get room-service, and going back to Abby's lab to test a theory of his own. He, like the others, wanted to clear Wright.
The whole Palmer, Lee and Ducky scenes were reminiscent of a Whitehall farce! Poor Ducky, first of all they disappear when he's talking to them, thus leaving him apparently really talking to himself when Gibbs comes in; then the later scene when he finds Jimmy and is talking to him and Agent Lee makes her escape and he hears the doors open and closed. He knows that something is going on, whether he does suspect or not quite what that something is, I know not. However, given how well Ducky does seem to know and be able to read people, I suspect that he has put two and two together and is certainly at three and three-quarters.
The scenes with Ducky and Jimmy were great; I really enjoyed them.
And yet again we still have Gibbs and Ducky at odds with one another, still 'Doctor' and 'Agent Gibbs' and not invading personal space like they always used to, or making eye contact as they once did. There was a slight step forward insofar as Gibbs pulled out a paper towel and gave it to Ducky when he came in to find Ducky apparently talking to himself. And it was interesting how at one point Ducky kept walking towards Gibbs when talking to him, it's about the closest they've got for several episodes. And there was some eye contact and the distance wasn't quite as great as in the last few episodes, at least not physically. However, they are not 'them' and it really is getting too much (which I know I keep saying, but, I keep hoping with every episode that something will happen).
Their scenes were enjoyable, at least they weren't snapping at one another, and it was nice to see more Ducky this week than the last couple of weeks, but their scenes lack the intimacy, even if that is just at a friendship level. Putting aside Gibbs/Ducky in a romantic relationship, them not having their close friendship I feel, personally, takes something away from the episodes, as team interaction has always been an important part of the show.
Some other snippets of humour: DiNozzo at the beginning with 'the whole alphabet here', when he and Ziva were running through all the agencies, etc. that were present. Also, him being told by Gibbs not to eat the evidence. Ziva with her idioms. Gibbs with his not understanding why he can't just spend $100,000 on a piece of equipment.
Agent Lee was excellent in her undercover role. Kudos to Gibbs, who it has to be said didn't have the best of introductions to her with overhearing her comments about him and how she wants to play everything buy the book, for having the confidence in her to put her into such an important role. She looked great and she really played the part superbly, and Jimmy's face was a picture when he saw her all dressed up.
It was great to see so much more Ducky, Jimmy and Abby in this episode.
Yet again I didn't want to strangle Madam Director. I wonder if DPB has deliberately 'toned' her down because he really was aware of just how almost universally hated she was? Maybe he feared he would lose viewers if he kept her so irritating and bitchy.
It was also nice to see how concerned Ziva was about DiNozzo, genuinely concerned.
'Once a hero, always a hero', good to see the phrase was proven to be correct. And more should be done for those who survive and go home.
A jolly good episode, in my opinion.
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