SEASON SIX EPISODE THIRTEEN
 

BROKEN BIRD

 

 

I was in two minds about this episode before I watched it. On the one hand I was looking forward to it: a Ducky-centric episode (which we haven't had since Season Two when we had LJD and TMP) which should, from what we'd heard/seen, also give us some Gibbs/Ducky moments. Remember how Gibbs was in both The Meat Puzzle and Lt. Jane Doe over his closest friend being kidnapped in one and hurting in the other. Thus, we should get some nice moments.

On the other hand I was dreading it, partly because of the rumours that appeared in a magazine beforehand, but far more because of the subject matter. War crimes is a really sensitive subject, one that should not in any way be trivialised and it needs to have full justice done to it - in forty minutes, is that possible?

And also because I simply could not buy that there would be any circumstances in which Ducky would knowingly and willingly torture someone to death. Of course the term 'torture' can mean different things to different people, like so many words, and can be banded about when it shouldn't be, but even so . . . Him killing someone I could buy; we've seen the steely side to Ducky, French cop of the cliff for one and don't forget in Conspiracy Theory he stalked off to 'have words with the doctor' causing Gibbs to say "Easy, Duck." So, yes, our mild-mannered, caring, gentlemanly Ducky could kill - given the right circumstances and situation and reason. But torture? I just could not in any way see it. And the preview of the episode was not overly reassuring

Not to mention that I and a couple of other Ducky and Gibbs/Ducky fen have discussed this episode based on the c.30 second trailer, analysing each clip and speculating wildly about it, plus having already written stories, well, if nothing else it was set up to be a major disappointment.

So it was with a degree of trepidation that I sat down at my computer with my box of tissues to hand, my notebook and pencil and pressed the play button.

Well I took copious notes, even more than usual and it took me a lot longer to watch it than it usually does. I'm sitting here half numb, I think more being the whole adrenalin levels of the past week or so have finally dissipated - because it wasn't as bad as we'd thought.

It had some wonderful moments in it, some superb acting by DMc, tonnes of Gibbs/Ducky moments, the whole thing was gripping, although having gone from worrying about it before hand, for some reason once it started I turned to 'Ducky didn't do it, well he didn't torture and he's not guilty as such of the charge'.

Generally lots of good moments, lovely to see so much of Jimmy and how much he cares for Ducky. Also some nice snippets between the other kids, of whom we, naturally, saw very little. My one gripe was the introduction of Jordan in the 'carer' role. To my mind (and this isn't with my ship hat on, it's firmly off) this episode was about Ducky and his past and how the team felt, how Gibbs felt learning about his old friend (just friend) and it should have remained a team thing. To throw her in was just unnecessary and jarred what was otherwise a superb episode. There was no reason for her to be brought in, not in this episode, none at all. Her presence was a distraction and as for 'Donny' *shakes head*. Also, why on earth would NCIS bring in a City ME as a temporary replacement? So her presence for that did not ring true.
 


So we begin with a Marine and an air hostess saying 'goodbye'. They kiss and he is clearly smitten with her. She walks off, he turns and sees another girl who tells him how she loves him and he stabbed her in the back, but at least she did it from the front. And lo and behold she stabs him and he falls to the ground.

In the squad room DiNozzo and Ziva are looking at a box on McGee's desk and bantering. DiNozzo declares he's bored and doesn't want to play the game any longer, but Ziva says she is about to open it. (Hang on, hang on, Ziva, you do NOT open other people's stuff - I'm sorry, you just don't, no even your colleague's; it's personal; bad Ziva, very bad). At that second McGee arrives and is happy, the box is a shipment from home and contains his very first computer which he had at age eleven and other ones too (they are Macs). They are chapters of his life; DiNozzo makes a comment about contacting the Smithsonian to see if they can make space for the exhibits of a teenage shut-in. But McGee isn't bothered by this, he just smiles and asks if DiNozzo remembers his childhood, DiNozzo says he does vaguely. McGee says he has no sense of history.

Cue the arrival of Gibbs. "I do. So does Petty Officer Kevin Lim." That's his way of telling them they have a body. And then he tells them: "Grab your mittens, it's cold out there." This line cracked me up every time I watched the trailer - 'mittens'? Now to me mittens are the kind of hand covering small children wear where all the fingers are in one large 'finger' and the thumb is separate (unlike gloves where you have a 'finger' for each finger and the thumb). 'Three little kittens have lost their mittens'. Sorry, it just was such an un-Gibbs thing (to my mind) to say.

So at the crime scene is the air hostess, she had to come back and found Lim on the ground. She knows who did it: Lim's ex-fiancÚ. Gibbs sends McGee off to canvas the crowd to see if anyone saw her go.

Meanwhile Ducky and Jimmy have arrived and are exchanging mildly heated words. It appears that Jimmy got them lost again because he was looking for 'J' street, which he thought was logical as it came after 'I' but there is no 'J' street in the district. Ducky tells him the only one is in the food court in George Washington University, Ducky goes on to say that maybe Jimmy is spending all his time there when he should be in class. Jimmy makes a, for Jimmy, fairly scathing comment about his education being lacking. Ducky retorts that it isn't his education, it's his observation skills. And then he talks about how in 1791 the design of the city was commissioned and goes on to explain it. Jimmy interrupts telling Ducky he only failed one class and that does not make him a bad student. Ziva has been listening to this exchange and asks why there isn't a 'J' street; but at that moment her phone goes and she leaves.

Jimmy: "I will make up the class."
Ducky: "Make it up to me right now."
Jimmy: "Really?"

A woman is watching very closely.

Gibbs, McGee and Ziva find the woman who stabbed Lim and she is cuffed.

Back at the crime scene Jimmy is talking about the wound and the death and doing pretty well, but he does jump to the conclusion that the stabber was right-handed, Ducky tells him not to pass conjecture. At the end of Jimmy's explanation, Ducky asks him why there isn't a 'J' street, Jimmy says he doesn't know, but Ducky says he'd given him a clue to the answer. The woman is still watching them, she takes off the scarf she is wearing and sees the knife on the ground.

Meanwhile the others bring the girl back and DiNozzo is trying to clear the people away.

The woman then puts her scarf back on, grabs the knife and shouting in her native tongue makes a frenzied attack on Ducky. He puts up his hands to defend and protect himself and finally falls to the ground, she runs off, Jimmy gives chase for a very short distance and then calls for someone to stop her and runs back to Ducky. Gibbs and Ziva push through the crowd, Ziva chases after the woman, but just finds the scarf she dropped, whilst Gibbs goes to the fallen Ducky who is being supported by Jimmy.

Gibbs: "Stay still, Duck." He puts his fingers on Ducky's carotid artery.
Ducky tells him he's okay, saying it is only a defensive wound and then we see the knife had gone right through Ducky's right hand - wow!

At the hospital a very subdued Abby talks to Jimmy asking him how Ducky is. Jimmy falls back on his medical experience and answers her with full medical detail and terminology ending with that he'll need weeks of physical therapy and reconstructive surgery but he should be out soon.

Abby: "So the short answer is, he's alive.
Jimmy (looking at her as if she's speaking a foreign language): "What?"

Poor Jimmy he is clearly really upset and concerned about Ducky. He says she's very calm and she says she has to be because if she keeps going to crazy town every time one of them got hurt she would have to have her mail forwarded. It's a really lovely scene.

At that moment Ducky, with Gibbs by his side, is wheeled out. He sees Abby and thanks her for visiting, he's more than a little woozy and Abby asks if he's been given Morphine, he says just a drop. Er, more than a drop, I can attest to that as I take it every day. Gibbs asks him if he remembers anything and Ducky asks for his glasses, which an indulgent Gibbs pulls out of his pocket and with one hand and his mouth opens them and puts them on Ducky.

Ducky: "Oh, sweetie, you held on to them for me while I was under the knife." Gibbs just smiles fondly. (And yes, I have played that back several times and ashley_pitt also heard 'sweetie'. So, yes, whilst I do actually know what it is like to be drugged that much so you are happy and not really knowing what you are saying, it was still a wonderful G/D squee moment). He then comments as to how ironic it is that the solution to one knife is another. He then asks Jimmy to contact Dr. Jordan Hampton and ask her to cover for him (again why her? Why the City ME?) and he makes a word play on the words 'number' and 'number' (same spelling for two different words - clever). A really, really love scene and for G/D fen lots and lots of squee.

The hospital staff then take Ducky away watched by Gibbs, Abby and Jimmy. Abby is impressed that Ducky can still play with words, but Gibbs is brusque with her (in true Gibbs style when he's worried) and gives her the knife. She questions how she will log it as technically it's the weapon of interest in two crimes. He just turns around and ignores her; she says she'll figure it out. Gibbs then sits down to wait; he is one very worried man.

Back at HQ it turns out that one of the local people captured the stabbing on their mobile phone. McGee, DiNozzo and Ziva are looking at it, trying to figure it out. McGee says he'll try to clean it up and Ziva is watching intently and listening to the language. They are all very subdued, no jokes, no messing, just three worried people. Ziva says that the woman could be using a regional Afghanistan dialect. McGee says he'll get onto an linguist.

Down in Autopsy, Jimmy is talking to Lim, not very well, but he's trying, the poor man is trying. Jordan arrives and immediately puts my back up by calling him 'Jim' (side rant: I have always hated it when people automatically shorten someone's name, it happened to me often with my actual name, it is bad manners and disrespectful, I think. I always made a point of addressing people by their full name unless told otherwise and when I had a new member of staff whose name could be shortened the first thing I'd ask them was how they liked to be addressed. So she started very badly for me - totally out of line). And not just me, Jimmy reacts to the name and we learn that he was named after a baseball player - Jim Palmer - but he's never liked 'Jim' and he's never liked baseball. She stands corrected and says he call can her Jordan adding she was named after a river, but she doesn't have bad feelings towards it - this opening scene with her really irked me so much, it didn't bode well for future scenes. She asks why she'd been called in at such short notice and he tells her Ducky was attacked at a crime scene, she seems upset but also to my eyes something else as well.

Meanwhile in Abby's lab she has the knife and is talking to it. Ziva goes down with the fingerprint sheet and Abby asks if she talks to knives and Ziva tells her all the time. We then have a nice little Abby and Ziva scene (Abby/Ziva fen had a teeny squee) when Abby goes all knife geek - and we know how much Ziva loves knives. There are many prints on the knife. Ziva asks about the scarf, it's old, handmade and Ziva is sure the woman would not have dropped it accidentally, as she would wear it for modesty - she dropped it so that she could vanish. McGee calls to tell her he's heard back from the linguist.

DiNozzo and Ziva (why does it take two of them?) go to the hospital where Gibbs still is, he's been sitting by Ducky's bedside, and hand him the translation. He asks if it is correct; they tell him it is and he goes back into Ducky's room, now looking concerned, and the other two go.

Ducky is awake, but drowsy and he starts to talk to Gibbs about his time in the RAMC (Royal Army Medical Corps) some three decades ago and how he was seconded to an American tank regiment. Apparently hand injuries were common-place and he gave some consideration to making hand surgery his speciality, but in the end chose something with less sensitive clients - he says it's a good job he did, otherwise his career might be over.

Gibbs in a grim tone (his I'm-worried-but-I'm-not-going-to-show-it tone) reads out something the woman said. Ducky recognises it and says it's 'the bringer of death'. Gibbs (in his veiled hill-billy tone asks if he picked up a few words during his time in Afghanistan. Ducky says he doesn't want to talk about it.

Then Gibbs reads out the next phrase: "You killed my brother." And he asks Ducky why she might have said that.
Ducky (his tone hard): "Perhaps because I killed her brother."

Gibbs sits in silence, leaning on the bars of Ducky's bed he looks stunned, worried and speculative.

Back at NCIS Ziva says they've found the woman, but it turns out they have only ID'ed her from her prints. She is Mosuma Daoub and was born in 1973 (was it just me or did anyone else think how like Jordan she looked? At this point I really thought that one of my earlier speculations was going to be proven correct: that Jordan was somehow, in some way, involved with the charge against Ducky). She is married with kids and works at a florists where she hadn't been since the stabbing, nor has she been home.

Gibbs sends DiNozzo and Ziva to bring Mr. Daoub in. He then asks McGee to do something for him: get Ducky's personnel file without disturbing the Director who is in a budget meeting - i.e. he wants McGee to hack. McGee is clearly surprised, but does it.

DiNozzo and Ziva are with Ezmaray Daoub and he has no idea where his wife is. He is worried, she hasn't called him and he forgot to give the kids their lunch when he took them to school. He tells them that they are not heavily traditional and his wife didn't normally cover her face. McGee is waiting outside and tells them that Mosuma hasn't made any calls to her husband, but she did call the Embassy.

We now get an 'interesting' in terms of set up scene as we have Gibbs in Autopsy reading Ducky's file. And at the same time we hear Ducky's voice talking about his time in Afghanistan and putting a record on a record player (Ducky still has LPs). His hand is bandaged, but he's managing quite well and we see two Corgis. We flit back and forth a few times between Autopsy and Ducky's home. When Ducky was in the RAMC he was in the Officers Mess when a message went up asking for volunteers for a refugee camp in Afghanistan near to the Pakistan border. He says he was an idealistic kid and wanted to go somewhere where he would do the most good. During his talk Jordan appears carrying a tray of tea and then she goes to light a fire, but suddenly a bird flies into the room - a starling - it flies to a chair and just sits there as the Corgis look at it. Ducky is clearly very troubled by its appearance.

Next we have Gibbs and Kort meeting in the park. Gibbs says he needs a favour and Kort asks why he'd grant him one as he doesn't like Gibbs; Gibbs says he doesn't like Kort either, it's not about like it's about trading. He asks Kort to dig into files to see what happened at the camp in the summer of 1980. Kort agrees and as he leaves he says: "This is going to cost you, Gibbs." The look on Gibbs's face is somewhat heartbreaking, because it's a half-wry look, because he knows it'll cost - and not just in the way Kort means. It's going to cost in far more ways than just one.

DiNozzo and Ziva are at the Afghanistan Embassy and they want to know where Mosuma is. DiNozzo is more than a bit angry and bitter and is pushing hard, Ziva is trying to be more conciliatory. You can certainly see that DiNozzo really cares and is worried about Ducky. The Ambassador admits that Mosuma is there, she is under protection of the government. And we learn that she has made an accusation against Ducky that he violated Article 4 of the Geneva Convention - war crimes. DiNozzo is stunned.

Back in the squad room Ziva is adamant that Ducky is not guilty of war crimes and say Mosuma is lying. McGee obliging reads out that Article 4 prohibits violence against non-combatants. They don't know the full charges or details and will only know them once a charge is filed, as DiNozzo points out everyone will then know. They carry on discussing it; Mosuma could only have been eight at the time so how come she suddenly recognised Ducky, some thirty years later? How come she just happened to be there? And suddenly acted and grabbed the knife and stabbed Ducky. Ziva points out that normally Mosuma doesn't wear the scarf, adding: "She is not so innocent."

DiNozzo starts to tell them what to do so that they can find out all these things, dig into her background and show Ducky to be innocent. (Nice to see the competent DiNozzo). McGee asks him why he's speaking so fast and DiNozzo says it's because his internal clock says Gibbs will walk through the door right now. Of course Gibbs doesn't (that was obviously going to happen - or rather not happen) and DiNozzo says 'now' again, but still no Gibbs. So although we did get to see the competent, caring DiNozzo yet again they have to make him the butt of a teeny joke and it all be so obvious.

Down in Gibbs's basement he is working on his boat and Kort arrives.

Kort: "I hope Dr. Mallard knows how good a friend you are to him."
Gibbs: "Two way street, Trent." (Of course it is).

Kort gives him the CIA file on Ducky and says he'll call in his favour later. And then, as he's going, he also gives Gibbs the CIA file on Vance, and tells him: "You really should learn to polish the brass." He goes.

Gibbs puts Vance's file away and opens Ducky's.

The next scene is at Ducky's house, Gibbs arrives with a case, his presence surprises Ducky and he just swans in without waiting to be invited. He asks what Ducky has in the box he's carrying and Ducky explains about the starling and how superstition goes that if a bird flies into a house there will be a death of someone who lives there, and with his mother no longer living there, he was afraid it might be him. (ETA. I've done some Googling and thus far I can only find 'evidence' that a bird in the house means a death, not necessarily the death of someone who lives in the house).

Gibbs asks after Mrs. Mallard and Ducky tells him the bad days out number the good. He then sits on the piano stool and talks about how he knows as a scientist about how Alzheimers destroys the brain cells. But the philosopher in him wonders if in fact it is the way the brain deals with forgetting bad memories of a lifetime fraught with contradiction.

Gibbs: "Yeah, brain can do that."

Ducky then talks about the bird again and how odd it was that it flew into the house and how it had all happened slowly, how it hadn't seemed bothered by the dogs.

All the way through this Gibbs is unpacking his case and is setting up some kind of projector. Finally he asks Ducky if he's heard about the possible war crimes tribunal in The Hague. Ducky comments that The Netherlands is a lovely place.

Gibbs: "You're not going, Duck." Flat, clear, determined, decisive, simple. Gibbs will move heaven and earth to protect Ducky and keep him safe.

Ducky then asks what Gibbs has brought and Gibbs tells him it's CIA footage from the camp. Ducky talks about all the suffering there and how he'd gone to save lives. Gibbs simply in turn asks if he has a sheet.

Back at HQ, DiNozzo is saying how the Mosuma's colleagues all say how calm she is; so how unlikely it is that she'd suddenly just, out of the blue, attack Ducky like that - they still think she planned it. He is still staring at the footage and McGee points out it won't change, there's nothing new. DiNozzo simply says there has to be.

Back at Reston House Gibbs and Ducky are watching the footage. We see a man 'interrogating' (make that torturing) another man who Ducky says is not Mosuma's brother. Her brother's name was Javid and he first went to Ducky with a series of lacerations which Ducky thought he could have got in a knife fight. But Javid came back as they'd reopened. Gibbs asks who the man is conducting the interrogation and what his role was; Ducky said he never knew what his official capacity was and adds that he knew him socially - they used to play chess together. The man had a medical condition whereby he was unable to feel pain and thus didn't know when something went wrong. Gibbs asked if a lot of things went wrong in Afghanistan. Ducky tells him he was never in the room, but he started to become suspicious when Javid went to him for a third time and he started to dig a little. It was then he learnt that the man with whom he played chess was known to all but Ducky as 'Mr. Pain'.

We then see Javid being tortured and Ducky says Javid knew nothing of spies and troop movements, but Mr. Pain went on and on 'interrogating' him and sent him to Ducky each time to be stitched back up. It was Ducky's first experience of that kind of technique, but one he has, sadly, got more used to over the year.

Gibbs turns the footage off: "Are you going to make me ask again?" he sounds weary and a little sad.
Ducky: "I suppose it's inevitable that we'll reach the tripping point where your curiosity outweighs your courtesy."
Gibbs (now angry, but in his 'I'm angry because I am so worried way): "What the hell is wrong with you, Ducky? Your life is in the balance here."

And then he does ask Ducky what he did out there. Ducky says he only did what was required. Gibbs asks if he's protecting Mr. Pain. Ducky, now taking the sheet down, says he's protecting no one. He does not want Gibbs to unravel strings, he wants him to leave them unpulled. (Oh, yes, like Gibbs is going to do that, Ducky; you mean far, far, far too much to him).

Gibbs leaves and bumps into Jordan; he looks surprised and not particularly look happy to see her, and looks back at Ducky and then at her again. She calls out 'Donny' (yuck) which stops Gibbs in his tracks and also seems to annoy him a tad. She says she's found some ground that shouldn't be too hard; but suddenly the starling flies out of the box and that makes Ducky happy, although surprised. Gibbs then tells Jordan Ducky has been waxing philosophical and tells her to keep an eye on Ducky.

Back in the squad room Gibbs arrives to find the team looking at old crime scene footage to see if they can spot Mosuma anywhere, thus proving it was a pre-meditated attack. He says it's a good idea, but they have found nothing. Gibbs says it wasn't pre-meditated, it was fate and he gives McGee the film and asks him to ID the man on it.

McGee: "Sounds like more of a job for, Tony."
Gibbs: "No. He's a genuine bad guy, not an actor." Ooh, that was a little uncalled for, Gibbs, but given the circumstances and also the way this season is running totally 'in character' and to be expected.

Then Jordan calls Gibbs to tell him Ducky has gone and she doesn't know where he is. Gibbs does.

Gibbs goes to the Afghanistan Embassy where Ducky is sitting. "Let's go, Duck."
Ducky: "No."

The Ambassador arrives and Gibbs tells him he can't arrest Ducky, because Ducky has been falsely accused. The Ambassador says he's been accused of war crimes and asks if Gibbs has any proof he didn't commit them, so no, the course of action for a tribunal has to be set. Gibbs says if he arrests Ducky, he'll be forced to petition for the arrest of Mosuma. The Ambassador says that would cause a diplomatic incident (Gibbs won't care, all he cares about at the moment is getting Ducky out of there and to safety) and adds that he's surprised the State Department hasn't been in contact - so he knows Gibbs is going alone at the moment. He then asks Ducky if he has brought Counsel with him.

Ducky: "I don't need Counsel. I've come here to surrender."

Later Ziva comes to the Embassy to see Gibbs, who has been there all day. Gibbs quotes Edmund Burke saying: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." He is clearly very, very worried and seemingly out of ideas as to what he can do. Ziva tells him that even he can't apply enough pressure on the Ambassador to bend him - but she also adds that he hasn't contacted the State Department either; he doesn't want this. Gibbs asks her if she's giving him a lesson in Middle Eastern diplomacy and she says that the Ambassador cannot appear to be the aggressor; he needs an out. She says that Gibbs has seven hours in which to get Ducky to open up.

In Abby's lab she and McGee are running a facial recognition program that McGee has tweaked and enhanced on Mr. Pain. She says she'd heard about his shipment and was shocked. McGee says he wants to be more than just a geek; she tells him she likes his geeky parts, but he wants to be more than just a walking search engine (you are, Timmy, you are, so much, much more). And then he asks why she is shocked and it was because he was a Mac guy (a nice, teeny touch of lightness as well as a nice Abby/McGee mini-scene).

They get a hit: Marcin Jerek, his Agency ID card shows he was born in Poland and fled to the UK. He lectured on interrogation techniques and was an expert at breaking people - now they have to break him. We then have a teeny DiNozzo/McGee moment when DiNozzo puts his hand on McGee's shoulder and then touches his head - which McGee tells him not to do.

Back at the Embassy Gibbs tells the Ambassador they need to talk to Ducky. But the Ambassador tells him that Ducky has said he doesn't want to talk to Gibbs (ouch), but it isn't Gibbs who wants to talk to Ducky (well clearly he does, but . . .) and they bring Jerek in to see Ducky.

Jerek comments that he was taken from his home by Feds, brought to the Embassy, accused of war crimes and it is just Ducky. He says that when Ducky left Afghanistan they'd been in the middle of a chess game and asks if Ducky remembers; Ducky does - right down to the move.

Gibbs, the Ambassador, DiNozzo, Ziva and Mosuma are watching and listening to the exchange.

Ducky says that he has surrendered for what he has done and knows that Jerek can't feel pain because of his condition, but he should feel remorse. He says he went to the camp to save lives, Jerek was there to destroy them.

Jerek counters that he saved thousands of lives with his methods and then asks Ducky how many he saved and how many he took. He said his technique was necessary and he needed to keep the people alive so he could torture them. He says that Ducky ran from Afghanistan. And he says his curse was also his gift; he needed to know to what lengths a person can be put until they finally break.

Ducky says he has seen the tools of Jerek's trade. Jerek counters that he'd seen Ducky's too. And we learn that Ducky did indeed kill Javid. He gave him an over dose of Morphine to prevent any further suffering, and he wasn't the only person he 'helped'.

Meanwhile Mosuma says that Javid knew nothing, he could give Jerek nothing. But Gibbs says he could.

Back with Ducky and Jerek, Ducky admits he ignored Javid's infection and instead gave him the over dose of Morphine that killed him. He says it was an agonising decision for him to make.

Jerek says that if Ducky had kept the men alive, he could have continued to make them suffer and accuses Ducky of being the bringer of death. Ducky asks what the point of continuing to torture Javid was. Jerek says he didn't want anything from Javid, he was merely a tool to break a man. Ducky was a bleeding heart; he eased fear and without fear Jerek could not do his job. Jerek was in fact torturing Ducky; he wanted to change him, but he took too long to break. Ducky comments sadly and softly that he might have saved Javid.

Mosuma says she has heard and seen enough.

Shortly after that Gibbs and Ducky come out into the hallway of the Embassy and there are Mosuma and her husband. Ducky and Mosuma locks gazes and much is exchanged in the look: both offer understanding, acceptance and forgiveness to each other. The Ambassador tells Ducky he is free to go, the charges against him with not be pursued.

Ducky and Gibbs turn to one another.

Gibbs: "You're forgiven."
Ducky: "For the crime, Jethro. For the act there is no forgiveness."

Ducky then leaves and Gibbs just watches him; a very troubled and worried Gibbs.

The final scene is in Autopsy, Jimmy is trying to make everything perfect for Ducky's return but Jordan tells him Ducky is not the man who wants a big show off affection. Jimmy asks what kind of man he is.

At that moment Ducky arrives and Jimmy is really pleased to see him and starts to tell him what he'd learnt about 1791, Ducky tells him to take the rest of the day off and go outside. At first Jimmy doesn't seem to understand, but then he does, but he still insists on telling Ducky what he learnt and why there is no 'J' because at the time the 'I' and the 'J' were so alike, they could only have one - as they didn't want people getting lost.

He goes. Ducky is sitting, unmoving, just staring. Jordan goes over to him and puts her hands on his shoulders and he begins to cry.

So Ducky did indeed kill, but only to prevent the people from suffering even more horrific torture, which is something that a good friend of mine suggested. And he played no part in the torture, although he did become aware it was going on. I can live with that. I was expecting/fearing something so much worse, including this not being over in this episode - I didn't see how they could cram so much into one episode.

I'm not entirely convinced an eight year old girl would recognise Ducky some thirty years later, but I guess we have to accept she did, otherwise there would not have been a storyline.

OVERALL

I certainly can't say 'too little Ducky' this week. Lovely to finally get another Ducky-centric episode and one that was also so Gibbs/Ducky heavy (but equally all the scenes could be read as Gibbs & Ducky too). So many, many, many Gibbs/Ducky squee moments.

Lovely to see Jimmy - we need more Jimmy on a regular basis - and his and Ducky's argument at the crime scene was really good. And I loved how Jimmy was at the hospital.

Nice to see how adamant everyone was that Ducky was not guilty of war crimes. It was lovely to see just how much Ducky is cared about by all members of the team.

Abby was spot on in this episode. And I loved the teeny Abby/McGee scene.

No Vance - fine. But on the subject of Director Leon Vance, now we have the additional snippet of just what is in his file that Kort thought Gibbs would like to see? I guess this is going to be the on-going theme for the rest of the season. At some point, no doubt, Gibbs will read it.

A true Gibbs/Ducky episode pretty much from start to finish.

A nice teeny Abby/McGee moment.

And for other ships: a small DiNozzo/McGee moment and an Abby/Ziva scene

As I said at the beginning the introduction of Jordan was, to my mind, unnecessary and irked and jarred - and with the 'Jim' and 'Donny' - not the mention the fact (again) I didn't get why she would stand in for him. Interestingly when we were discussing her role in the episode on a LJ community, I did say that maybe she was there to cover for him. But it didn't really seem likely. I guess it has to be said that Ducky did need someone to make him tea, and with the kids and Gibbs all tied up, it had to be someone, but she jarred, she really did. And there was something about her that just made my 'spider sense' tingle; something was 'off'. I do hope that she is not going to reappear, I really do.

But that relatively minor thing aside, and the whole eight year old remembering thirty years later, I felt it was an over-whelming powerful episode, probably the most powerful they have ever done, actually. My concerns over the whole war crimes and torture thing were mostly alleviated. I am immensely glad Ducky wasn't actually guilty as such - okay so yes, he killed, and now that it's out in the open he'll pay for that, but he did it to save and prevent further suffering.

Did I enjoy it? Is it my favourite episode ever? In answer to the second question, no, it's up there near the top, but not at the top. In answer to the first question Umm, pass. How can you 'enjoy' this episode with it's over-riding concept? I can't say I sat and enjoyed it - some of the moments I loved and thoroughly enjoyed, but overall?

There are, no doubt, other questions to be asked; okay so no one had made her accusations official, but will it just stay with the Embassy? What about Mr. Pain? Not the mention the whole ethical debate as to whether was Ducky did was right and just.

This is certainly an episode that needs rewatching to catch everything.

Storyline: 10.00

Enjoyment: 10.00 (I know what I've said above, but I'm taking a few liberties with the word 'enjoy'.

 


 

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