SEASON FOUR EPISODE FOURTEEN

BLOWBACK

 

 

My first feeling is that I'm rather disappointed, as I'd heard that this was meant to be a Ducky-centric episode. However, given that he didn't appear until we were twenty minutes in, and then not again for several minutes, I would not agree. In fact it was a Jenny-centric episode.

It did, however, finally clear up DiNozzo's undercover operation and get it out into the open.

It also raised more questions, concerning Jenny, both about her and 'Frog' and her and Gibbs from the past. Also about the CIAs involvement, and possible even the FBI, given that they had a photograph of the once-believed-to-be-bad-now-known-to-be-CIA-man.

The episode had some excellent and sharp dialogue and exchanges and some very good scenes. There were several movie/TV references (St. Elsewhere; Casablanca; Pirates Of Caribbean. The case plot line, I felt was pretty good, and it was executed well, and it's nice to have got DiNozzo's undercover operation out in the open. However, as an episode it wasn't what I was expecting, or indeed hoping for.

However . . .

Intriguing beginning when you see the van chasing 'Goliath'. It must be very scary to be chased by a car or van - especially if you do have something to hide. The intrigue continued when the chasers and captors took off their balaclavas to reveal themselves as Ziva and DiNozzo.

Cute little reference to St. Elsewhere (in which Mark Harmon appeared).

The scene on the plane was good and fun. Gibbs, DiNozzo and Ziva did a good three-way act. The dialogue was slick and they showed how well they do work as a team.

Fun moment when after Goliath said 'ARES' (pronounced Aries), DiNozzo says 'Cancer'; Gibbs 'Virgo'; and Ziva 'Scorpio'. Again, a fun touch.

A nice little Abby and McGee in synch scene, but poor McGee gets a Gibbs-like head slap from Abby. It was also amusing the way Gibbs told Abby and McGee that even he could download email, when they had to confess to having trouble actually getting into Goliath's computer, and then it was Gibbs who knew that user name and the password.

Abby: "Gibbs, you slayed Goliath."

Gibbs: "Abbs, it was either him or you."

The look on Abby's face was a picture.

The scene between Gibbs and McGee, with Gibbs managing to finish just about all of McGee's sentences and pre-empt him, McGee was getting more and more confused and in awe of Gibbs. It was another good exchange.

Gibbs sends DiNozzo and Ziva to bring Harrow in . . . Except, DiNozzo is missing (again), so Gibbs sends McGee with Ziva and goes to find DiNozzo, and indeed overhears part of his sexy conversation with Jeanne. So he really does know what DiNozzo isn't sick, and he's annoyed with, even angry at DiNozzo, as is clear in the scene back in the office.

And then DiNozzo's cover is pretty much blown. He is a good agent, we've seen that he can work very well undercover, he can lie well. But he gave himself away completely when the picture of the man he and Jenny had had under surveillance came up on the screen and he froze and just stared at it. Then when Gibbs asked him if he knew the man, he denied it. However, Gibbs knows his senior field agent well, and knew that DiNozzo was lying. And all he had to do was to wait and DiNozzo would do something to basically give himself away.

And DiNozzo did, well he had to, he had to go and tell Jenny what he had found out/seen. He goes up to Jenny's office and walks in to see Cynthia fixing Jenny's bra strap that had broken. And then we had another sizzling Jenny and DiNozzo scene with exchanges that could be taken more than one way, and more hints that they have had some kind of non-working, intimate relationship.

He tells her about the man (Charles Harrow) who is selling ARES and also reveals that they finally have a name for the man they have had under surveillance - Trent Kort - but it has suddenly appeared on the FBI's wanted list, and yet when DiNozzo had originally checked all the agencies listings, the man hadn't appeared. The tension starts to build very well in this scene. And it increases when DiNozzo tells her that Gibbs has sent Ziva and McGee to bring Harrow in, which does not make her happy at all. DiNozzo also admits that he doesn't like lying to Gibbs, because Gibbs is his boss. And Jenny assures him that his ass is covered because she's Gibbs's boss and she can deal with Gibbs.

Jenny buzzes Cynthia to tell her to find Agent Gibbs ASAP and . . . as expected Gibbs comes in. And Gibbs is not a happy bunny. Very astute of DiNozzo to vanish at that point - anyone would have done the same. Jenny orders Gibbs to call McGee and Ziva off and basically turn a 'bring Harrow in' into a 'follow Harrow'. Fireworks pretty much fly in the next scene, and in every scene in which Jenny appears thereafter.

Gibbs is, understandably, not happy that things have been kept from him, and isn't happy about having a part time senior field agent, and feels he should have been told about DiNozzo's undercover operation, after all, he has been back some months. Then we have Jenny quoting some of Gibbs's rules about secrecy and not telling anyone back and him, and then an interesting exchange.

Jenny: "Never screw your partner."

Gibbs: "Never screw over your partner."

Jenny: "I never screwed you over. And I'm not your partner, I'm your boss."

So a lot of double references in this one, and yet another hint that something went down in Paris or at least somewhere that Jenny did something to Gibbs. Maybe it's tied in with when we see him being arrested and her standing across the street with that smile on her face. There is still a lot of bitterness between them, on both sides, that rears its head from time to time.

A spot short exchange then between DiNozzo and Jenny.

DiNozzo: "Think he'll ever forgive us?"

Jenny: "Send me a hard copy."

DiNozzo. "Yeah, that's what I think too."

DiNozzo feels particularly bad now. Up until then he's seemed to enjoy the operation, and hasn't really thought through the consequences, but now he knows that Gibbs knows, now he has had to face not only lying to Gibbs openly, but also face up to the fact that Gibbs knows he's been lying ever since he came back, he realises what they've done to Gibbs.

We then have a scene in the mens' room over which I'm sure the Gibbs/DiNozzo fans are squeeing like mad. DiNozzo follows Gibbs, which Gibbs basically calls him on, and DiNozzo proves that by not being able to 'go'. And finally Gibbs tells him to just say it, and DiNozzo apologies and says that he didn't want to lie to him, and that Gibbs has taught him everything. Gibbs doesn't do what he usually does at time of apologising, quote Rule Four. Instead he says it's okay and that he would have done the same thing.

DiNozzo: "Would you?"

Gibbs: "Yeah."

DiNozzo: "Would you have lied to Mike Franks?"

At which point Gibbs just leaves. Which pretty much answers that question and also tells DiNozzo that whilst Gibbs has, on the face of it at least, accepted his apology, indeed was even trying to make DiNozzo feel better about it, that Gibbs himself lied and yes, he's hurt.

The Ziva and McGee scenes, whilst tracking Harrow were fun and worked well.

Firstly, McGee insisting on driving because he'd been with Ziva before and valued his life.

Then him calling her 'sweet cheeks' as she was about to tell Harrow that he had to go with them, and how, although surprised, she managed to keep the cover and follow his lead. Not as well as one would have thought she could have done, but it was fitting with Ziva's character really.

Ziva also manages to give the whole game away by proving that she's more than just an attractive female, by taking on the two men who accost her. And Harrow runs and collapses with a heart attack.

The others, including Jenny turn up, and Jenny really shows her hand and lays into McGee and Ziva over how they chased Harrow and now he's dead, there should have been another way.

Ziva, interestingly, responds and gets rather sarcastic when she goes on about 'other options', i.e. letting him get away, sell ARES, etc. And Jenny turns on her and calls her Officer David.

Jenny then makes a tactical mistake by calling on DiNozzo for support for another way for McGee and Ziva to have dealt with it. He starts to speak and say they could have, and then Gibbs interrupts with 'shot him'. From there is almost becomes a farce as they go through Ziva resorting to her Mossad training and putting a bullet in his heart, or as she adds, three bullets. Gibbs goes on about McGee not wishing to be outdone would also, and McGee comes in with put three bullets in him.

Basically, Gibbs's team close ranks and gang up on Jenny, for a fleeting moment, despite the fact that it was her in the wrong and that she deserved it, I actually felt a flash of sympathy for Jenny. They are Gibbs's team; whatever Jenny may be; they are Gibbs's - even Ziva now.

And finally Ducky appears, and walks in to the whole argument and asks if he's interrupting anything, as Jenny and Gibbs are now glaring at one another. Jenny calls him Doctor twice and she is furious and showing it.

After she's stalked off, Ducky moves closer to Gibbs, gazes up at him and asks what is going on.

Another nice scene with Ziva and DiNozzo on their way to Harrow's house and finally Ziva sees a picture of Jeanne, and wants to know her name, even offers DiNozzo a deal to tell her. A few more Zivaisms, 'Needle in a needlestack', and DiNozzo talking about 'size doesn't' matter'. And a cute little:

DiNozzo: "How did we get here?"

Ziva: "I drove."

Back at HQ, Gibbs finds Jenny in MTAC, indeed brings her coffee, and tells her that she was out of control, which she was. And Jenny basically has to admit that she is obsessed about La Grenouille (or Frog as Gibbs insists on calling him), but won't tell Gibbs what he did to her.

I like Abby's enthusiasm over all the computer stuff they'd brought back from Harrow's house. Interesting place to put micro drives - in the condoms, and clever how Harrow had a new computer in an old skin. Abby and McGee were both impressed. Lovely to see them hug.

Cute scene when McGee is hacking into Harrow's email from the Internet Cafe and DiNozzo asks if he can do it to any email, and McGee points out that it's terribly illegal and he isn't even doing it now.

Jenny's obsession is now making itself known to the entire team as she goes on about not letting La Grenouille get away from her now. And then they decide that Ducky as an Englishman in his sixties will be able to do the job of being Harrow.

We learn that Ducky had a moustache (which doesn't really suit him) when he was in Singapore. And it was really amusing how Ducky was far more concerned about the pronunciation of the name 'Harrow' than learning anything about ARES. Which was probably more sensible really, as there wasn't anyway he was going to learn all the intricacies in such a short time. Far better to have McGee feeding him the information over the earwig.

An Abby and Ducky hug - very nice.

I liked how Ducky asked for the window seat.

And we did get a lovely little bit of eye contact between Gibbs and Ducky.

Another hint that Ziva at least thinks there was something non-working between DiNozzo and Jenny.

Ziva: "Jenny had you undercovers."

DiNozzo: "Undercover, not undercovers."

The noise Ziva made in her throat of disbelief and 'you're kidding me', was quite obvious.

Jenny obviously isn't happy that all her hard work and DiNozzo's undercover work comes down to Ducky; indeed, she says so. And her little exchange with Ducky and the comment shows that, she is more focussed on catching La Grenouille than anything else.

Gibbs's face shows where his main concern lies, not with catching La Grenouille, but with Ducky not being killed or hurt or 'made'.

Then a really lovely little scene:

Kort: "You have ARES?"

Ducky: "You have the 20 million?"

Gibbs with a really happy and proud smile on his face: "He's a natural."

Jenny not happy or proud: "He's making me nervous."

Kort clearly is uneasy about Ducky, but at that point we don't know why, or indeed know the truth.

Ducky's conversation with La Grenouille is superb, first class undercover work really. He even covers up his slip when he gives the name 'Ducky' and clearly La Grenouille believes him. Nice scene in Ducky's car with the cognac. La Grenouille genuinely seems to like Ducky and Ducky seems to if not like him then have a kind of respect for him, so much so, he even forgets to ask for the diamonds.

And then, once ARES has been 'approved', Gibbs realises that Jenny never planned to snatch La Grenouille.

Tense moment with Ziva and DiNozzo waiting for Jenny's orders to shoot and Jenny's phone rings, and finally she tells them to stand down and we think that Kort as a baddie has made Ducky, as he knows his real name.

We then find out that not only is Kort CIA, but Harrow was too. And we then also find out that cleverly Ducky handed over the cognac th La Grenouille had given him, rather than the diamonds. (He is a natural).

And NCIS now know that they have been screwed/stung by the CIA.

The final scene in Jenny's office, still leaves questions unanswered and gives us more little hints about Jenny's personality. She does tell Gibbs something she doesn't need to, and also in a round about way tells him that she trusts him, which I think was her way of a kind of apology for the whole secrecy thing about DiNozzo's operation.

And the final exchange keeps the tension alive.

Gibbs: "Some people need to have someone to hate."

Jenny: "Not me."

Gibbs: "Then you should have let Ziva take that shot."

OVERALL:

I wish that I hadn't known that this was meant to have been a Ducky-centric episode as I'm sure I would have enjoyed this episode more had I not been expecting one. It had some really excellent moments in it, some great tension, excellent exchanges, and whilst answering questions left us with even more as well as giving us some intriguing hints.

A great shame that there wasn't any Jimmy in this episode, that makes three weeks in a row.

Several Gibbs/Ducky looks and exchanges; nice, but not any real 'them' scenes

Far too little Abby.

For a meant-to-be Ducky-centric episode too little Ducky and too much Jenny.

Storyline: 8.00

Enjoyment:
7.75

 

 

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