The obligatory Mike Franks episode. I went into with even lower expectations than I had for previous episodes, partly because of the awfulness of the previous Mike Franks episode, but also because I tire of the man having to pop up at least once per season. Gibbs survived quite happily for about ten years once Franks had retired, but suddenly after Franks is dragged back to DC to see if he can 'reach' Gibbs when he'd come out of his coma and didn't even know Ducky, he then has to appear each year. Also when Franks is around it's often to the complete detriment of the rest of the team; Gibbs goes off and does things all the time with Franks.

However, I am really pleased to say that I was more than pleasantly surprised by the episode. A zillion times better than Deliverance (mind you, it would have been difficult IMO to be worse than that). There was some really good scenes, some nice banter, I didn't want to slap anyone this week, DiNozzo only annoyed me a wee bit - but in the way he always does, i.e. in a good way, not a 'I want to strangle him' way. He's still (sadly) not the DiNozzo we had in eps one and two, but he was much, much, much better than last week.

The 'case' as such was reasonably attention holding. I guessed who was behind the men being sent to Franks once the person was mentioned and I guessed who really shot the men, but I don't think that was ever an issue. We were never meant to believe that Franks had suddenly turned into a cold blooded killer. And again it was actually nice to see some more continuity with Frank's daughter-in-law appearing (although from the listing it doesn't appear to have been the same actress).

We begin on a ship and a man is commenting to the NCIS agent afloat (Agent Cortez) about excitement before they sail and we see a small sail boat that the man works out is hand built. It's the Kelly and on it are two dead bodies.

In the squad room Ziva is asleep at her desk and DiNozzo and McGee arrive (together). DiNozzo is about the mark her face with a pen when Ziva warns him not to. She tells them that Gibbs called her in at 1:00 a.m. to cover whilst he, Ducky and Vance flew to San Diego. DiNozzo comments that Ducky means bodies and is surprised that Gibbs called Ziva to cover.

Are we to assume that Gibbs wanted her there specifically because of the possible case? After all, they don't have a member of the team on-duty every night, we know that. But if the case, given that they had to fly to San Diego, etc. why not let her stay at home, at least for a while, and call her out from there? A little thing, but these little things can add up and they are the small detail I often find leaps out and hits me.

She sits up and a piece of paper is stuck to the side of her face. DiNozzo pulls it off for her and we discover she is studying the US Constitution because she has to become a citizen in order to be an NCIS agent.

It was very nice to see the citizenship thing; I'm glad they are dealing with that. Yes, it's going to happen faster than anyone else (I'm sure) and okay she's already an agent, but as I said a couple of weeks ago, Vance and the SecNav can pull strings and it's happened, this is what we've got, but kudos to them for not just sweeping the whole thing under the carpet.

DiNozzo makes a comment that he's not sure if the country wants her and talks about the constitution in terms of foreign enemies, meanwhile McGee, whose already at his desk apparently working, says how nice it will be to have Ziva. DiNozzo then goes on about the American Dream and how as he's a white male between the ages of eighteen and forty-nine, with a loud mouth and a gun, he is the American dream. I felt there was a wee bit of an edge to his tone and what he was saying about Ziva becoming a US citizen, but overall I thought the scene was a nice one and very DiNozzo, especially the comment about him being the American dream and the 'loud mouth and a gun'.

McGee's phone then rings; it's Gibbs. He tells McGee he is sending the photos to them.

We then move to San Diego where Gibbs, Vance and Cortez are standing on the quay and Ducky (in an ordinary NCIS cap and grey coveralls) is in the boat. The boat that is registered to Gibbs. Ducky's only found money on the two dead men, both US dollars and pesos. He asks Cortez if she moved the bodies and she said she knows better than that. She speculates that the boat came from the south, given the currents, etc. and Mexico is a possibility. Vance then mentions the way the Vikings would set fire to a boat as part of the funeral ritual; in turn Ducky comments that it's more like the Wild West. Gibbs tosses in a comment that if they've already solved the case . . .

However, Ducky 'reminds' Gibbs that he's only taken one holiday that year. Vance gets in on the act saying that Gibbs sailed the Gold Coast to Mexico and took a one way ticket back.

Gibbs: "Did I have the fish or did I have the lasagne?" And he says how he left the boat with Franks as a gift for his god-daughter. Cortez doesn't know what's going on, but Vance tells her to sort things out and get them passage to Mexico.

One thing that was really good to see in this scene was that Ducky and Gibbs in particular definitely both looked as if they had indeed been wakened and dragged from their beds in the middle of the night. They both (Ducky in particular) looked less than their usual alert/awake selves. It's always nice to see the small touches like this.

Gibbs, Vance and Cortez are in Mexico. They get to the beach and Frank's no-longer-a-shack and Cortez draws her gun; Gibbs tells her she won't need it, but she ignores him. She and Vance go into the house, Gibbs goes down further onto the beach and looks at wood and stuff, and then out to sea. Vance appears and tells them there's no one there. Did you really expect there to be, Leon?

Back at NCIS, we see McGee, Abby, Ziva and DiNozzo getting out of the lift; they are in the evidence garage and there is the Kelly. They all stare at her. Abby, in particular is really excited by the prospect of getting her hands on the Kelly, saying that it's all hers. They think she's referring to the case, but she's not. She tells them they can get on and solve that, but she has a chance to figure out how Gibbs gets his boats out of his basement. A really nice little scene, even though it was obvious Abby was excited over solving the mystery of Gibbs, not the case.

Vance is with Gibbs and we learn the two men were killed three days ago. They were both ex-military and both had dishonourable discharges. One was Calvin Blanchard, he was ex-army; the other Roy Keenan was ex-navy. Neither had any official connection with Franks. Vance says he'll give Gibbs some lea-way as Franks is a friend and it is Gibbs's boat (thus his mess) but adds his patience evaporates quickly if another body is found. While I still don't really care all that much for Vance and still don't totally trust him, I do like his interaction with Gibbs (I always have) and he does at least do things as a director should.

Gibbs then goes down to Autopsy where Ducky tells him he has only just started and that Gibbs is jumping the gun. Gibbs gives a 'Ducky indulgent' smile and comments on Ducky's choice of words. Ducky says it was a Freudian comment and Gibbs calls him on it, saying: "Was gonna say deliberate." Ah, how well they know one another.

Ducky goes on to explain how they were both shot multiple times, one five times, the other six at close range with a large calibre weapon. He says it was reminiscent to the way Billy Clanton was shot at the OK Corral. Gibbs asks him if he has anything against cowboys. Ducky says that he's always been fond of the way that certain element manifests itself in Gibbs, but he's never been too certain about the psychological aspect of Gibbs's mentor. He goes on to talk about Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday and how it is a fine line.

Gibbs tells him to cut to the chase and Ducky says that Franks has crossed the line. Gibbs says it's too soon to accuse Franks of being an unthinking killer and Ducky says that on the contrary, the crime and the set up crime scene were not at all unthinking. A lot of thought had gone into staging the crime scene; the bodies were dragged onto the boat - the whole scene, including the boat ending up where it did was completely intentional. Gibbs looks at him and leaves.

Another fine example of how no one but Ducky can talk to Gibbs like that. Ducky was in this very gentle way somewhat annoyed during this scene, both at Franks (who he clearly has pegged if not as the out and out murderer then at least as in the know) and Gibbs himself for his loyalty to Franks. Also, he knows that if Franks has indeed crossed the line, that it will hit Gibbs extremely hard and hurt him badly and Ducky does not want to see Gibbs hurt.

Gibbs goes down to the evidence garage where Abby is up on the boat working on it. She's still excited and assures him she's handling it with the proverbial kid gloves and respecting the craftsmanship that went into it and she makes a nice little word play on 'craft' and then goes on about 'slid' or 'sled' and what Ducky had said about the bodies getting onto the boat. Gibbs cuts her off and asks if the men were killed on the boat. She doesn't know for sure, but has figured out they were killed execution style, and were on the ground when the bullets were fired into them. Gibbs spots another slug mark on the outside of the boat, that's possibly a .22 and we learn the boat was not in the water when that slug hit it. Abby says she'll take great care of the boat, Gibbs in turn tells her to take it apart.

In the squad room McGee and DiNozzo are standing by the plasma screen and McGee is talking about the two dead men. DiNozzo wonders why they went after Franks and McGee comments that they clearly didn't know Franks very well. DiNozzo approves of the comment, but McGee says he was only joking. So DiNozzo goes on to say how some of the best idea started from jokes: mood rings and pet rocks. Ziva say they are bad ideas, DiNozzo concurs but explains how they made their inventors a fortune. And again he goes on about the American Dream and how you can go from nothing one day to everything the next. He talks about the capitalist system, how it gives people hope and 'Orphan Annie'. He then tells Ziva she should be writing all that down as there are essay questions for the citizenship thing; she holds up a broken pencil and says she can't. A nice little exchange.

Gibbs walks through and DiNozzo calls out to him that McGee had a good idea, McGee comments that DiNozzo hadn't said what it was as he'd been talking about something else. DiNozzo follows Gibbs to the lift and says that maybe the men didn't know Franks. As the lift doors close, Gibbs tells DiNozzo to find the connection. Very in character for both Gibbs and DiNozzo.

Down in Gibbs's basement, Gibbs is looking at a photograph when he hears a noise from upstairs. He goes up and there is a woman and a child. It's Leyla Shakarki (Franks's daughter-in-law) and her daughter. Leyla tells Gibbs Franks is right behind them. He tells her she can put the child down to sleep and she goes. Franks then appears and asks Gibbs if he's going to stand there glaring at him, help him with the bags or shoot him. Gibbs says he has some questions to ask; then he'll shoot him. Again very nice. He asks Franks why the men he killed were after him and Franks says he hoped Gibbs would tell him that. Ooops.

Gibbs and Franks are then sitting at Gibbs's table with a drink each and Franks says how he found out the men were asking about him at the cantina. He pulls out his cigarettes, but Gibbs tells him not to even think about it. Franks didn't like doing it, but he deliberately used the Kelly so as to get Gibbs to investigate the case. Gibbs asks where the girls were during the shooting and Franks says inside. Gibbs tells him (keeping with the 'outlaws' and 'cowboys' theme) that it might be time for him to hang up his spurs. Franks says that will only happen when he's dead. Leyla then appears and we learn that Franks brought the girls to Gibbs for safety and that he's said he'll leave Leyla and his grand-daughter if it is the only way to keep them safe, as he'd promised his son he'd protect them. Gibbs tells him to leave it the professionals now.

In the squad room professionals is echoed as McGee and DiNozzo are telling Gibbs and Ziva about the two dead guys being professionals. We learn how Blanchard cracked up and couldn't get it together and how Keenan had major problems with authority. Both were kicked out, but both found new homes and DiNozzo comments that is what Ziva is trying to do; thankfully a Gibbs glare shut him up. As the NCIS PTB seem so fond of doing, the whole 'American Dream' and 'new home' thing was overdone. I really hate how they take something that is fun the first and second time and then overplay it.

Blanchard and Keenan's new 'home' was with Colonel Metro Bell's private security firm 'First Defence PMC'; the firm is well known and has a massive amount of big contracts - including for the government. Unfazed as ever, Gibbs tells them to bring Bell in. However, Vance appears and asks if they know the location of Franks. Gibbs says: "they don't." And they don't, Gibbs isn't lying. Vance mentions that Leyla and her daughter have been living with Franks and how odd it is that a fugitive is on the run with an Iraqi woman and a child and as yet hasn't been picked up, but hey, don't bother about that, let's drag Bell in instead. Gibbs asks if it's okay; Vance says it isn't and they go off to Vance's office.

Vance knows Bell from the Hill and he's not a man to be trifled with. He says Gibbs is too transparent and they don't want Bell to think they are harbouring a fugitive. Gibbs then tells Vance Franks and the girls are at his house. Vance says Gibbs had better send agents to protect them, Gibbs agrees he'll do that when he's found a more delicate way to approach Bell, unless Vance wants to help him with that. Vance picks up the phone and says it's as if they were reading one another's minds. They exchange a small smile and Gibbs leaves. Another nice Gibbs and Vance scene.

At Gibbs's house, DiNozzo walks straight in, only to find Franks by the door with a gun in his hand. DiNozzo says he did try to call, but Franks didn't answer the phone; Franks points out he is a fugitive, thus answering the phone wouldn't be a good idea. They then banter back and forth about there being no lock on the door and someone being on the other side with a gun because there wasn't a lock until Ziva arrives and pushes between them saying it was very educational. Franks calls her Lady Ziva and says he's glad she's there and asks if Gibbs sent them. She comments they are there to sit on the baby (I cannot believe in all the time there she has not come across the term 'babysit', so an attempt at humour that failed. DiNozzo offers Franks a mint and says McGee is outside to drive Franks to NCIS. Leyla is concerned, Ziva takes the child from her and Franks assures Leyla it'll all be okay. Then as he goes (DiNozzo is now eating the mint himself) he suggests DiNozzo puts something in front of the door. DiNozzo says he'll just stand there with a gun. I liked the banter between Franks and DiNozzo very much in this scene. As with Ducky, I get the feeling that DiNozzo isn't a huge Franks fan. (I guess he hasn't forgiven Franks for bashing him over the head in a previous encounter).

Meanwhile Vance and Bell are talking. Bell's firm have spent a lot of time in Iraq and Afghanistan and they often act as local liaison people with the local tribes; indeed that's what Blanchard and Keenan were. And it isn't all negative stuff, they can also help with new schools being built, etc. We then pan to Gibbs who is leaning against the wall by the door. He expresses surprise at the people Bell employs; Bell admits he isn't as rigid as the US military. Gibbs jibes that as the US decrease the number of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, Bell gets to increase his men. Vance warns Gibbs, but Bell tells Gibbs how some of his best men are Corps rejects. Gibbs says Bell employs men who are undisciplined and have problems. Gibbs clearly does not like Bell or what he does/stands for. He then cuts to the chase and says how Blanchard and Keenan went to Mexico with weapons supplied by Bell; Bell says he knows as they were carrying out a contract. However, when Franks is mentioned he is very surprised and asks who Franks is.

McGee and Franks get out of the lift and Vance and Bell pass him; Bell comments that justice needs to be done. Franks goes to Gibbs's desk and asks if Bell is the man who set up the hit on him. Gibbs tells him there never was a hit; the two dead men had been hired by Leyla's family to find her and they'd gone to Franks as he was their only lead. If Franks wasn't to know who the bad guy is, he should look in the mirror.

Up in Vance's office, Vance says Franks doesn't seem the least bit remorseful that he killed two men in cold blood. Franks asks Gibbs if that's how it seems to him; Gibbs says he doesn't know as he wasn't there. Franks tells Vance how Leyla's family disowned her when she became pregnant by his son, thus why should he shed any tears. We learn that somewhat surprisingly it's Leyla's mother - Shada Shakarki - who is the head of a tribe as she has buried virtually every other member of her family. Franks says she's vindictive and Leyla was never meant to have a happy ever after.

Vance asks Franks what he used to kill the men; Franks tells him a Magnum 45. Vance asks how many shots he fired. Franks says how he'd used the boat as a decoy, set it up to look as if he was on her and then when the men took the bait he fired from the porch and put three bullets into one, two into the other, reloaded, dragged the bodies onto the boat and put three more bullets into each body. It was self-defence. Vance and Gibbs exchange a look and Vance hands Franks a piece of paper telling him his statement better confirm everything.

Back with Abby and the boat; she has taken Gibbs at his word and taken it apart. McGee arrives and is shocked she's done that, but she assures him she's doing it like an archaeologist would, making notes, etc. and she's sure she'll be able to put it back together again. He 'reminds' her she's using a chain-saw; she knows. She was hoping for a zipper or slots, but she had to use the saw. McGee asks if it had been worth it. She has found a secret stash box where Franks would have had a gun. McGee says Franks 'stashes' a lot of guns; it had taken them fifteen minutes to get through Security; they finally found a gun in Franks's boot heel, but it wasn't a .22; McGee says Franks wouldn't carry anything that small. Abby has found a very strange thing: a double slug. One bullet hit another. McGee says it's an impossible shot; Abby agrees - at least if it was in the air at the same time.

McGee and Abby then call DiNozzo who goes down to Gibbs's basement as he doesn't want to talk in front of Leyla. Abby gets carried away and 'forgets' the case for the moment as she wants DiNozzo to check for false walls or even a tunnel. McGee keeps trying to focus Abby back and as they are talking they get a 'ding'. The bullet wasn't a match. McGee comments he thinks they've got another shooter.

Ziva is talking to the little girl and saying how she has peace in her eyes. Leyla appears and explains that's why she they left Iraq; she didn't want her daughter to see the horrors and violence; she wanted her to keep the peace in her eyes. Ziva talks about difficult choices; Leyla says sometimes it's most difficult when there isn't a choice. She tells how she knew the cost of even speaking to Liam,but she loved him. Ziva asks if she misses her homeland; Leyla says she left for the right reasons.

A poignant little scene because whilst Ziva was talking about Leyla and her leaving Iraq at the same time she was also talking about herself and her choice to leave her homeland and settle in the US.

DiNozzo appears at that point and makes a comment about Ziva also having left her homeland. Ziva gets up and goes to the window. And DiNozzo then asks about the shooting and what she did. Leyla says like any mother she went to her child; but when DiNozzo pushes her as to where Ameria was, she doesn't answer. And then it was clear that Leyla was involved in the shooting of the two men.

Back in the squad room, McGee is telling Gibbs about Shada Shakarki how she is one of the most outspoken voices on Iraqi tribal enemies. Franks is at Gibbs's desk writing his report and Gibbs tells him to go on writing. Gibbs's phone then rings, but before Gibbs can pick it up, Franks grabs it. It's Ducky; he's looking for Gibbs. He needs him in Autopsy.

Gibbs goes down and there along with Ducky is Abby.

Ducky: "Ah, Jethro. You know we have enormous respect for you and for loyalty you exhibit towards your friends."
Abby (putting her hand on Gibbs's shoulder): "Gibbs. We love you very, very much." (Yes, Abby, we know. And we know how you love him in your own different ways *g*)
Gibbs: "What the hell is this?"
Abby: "An intervention."

Ducky then says how Gibbs's loyalty to Franks is clouding his investigative skills. Abby says how it's understandable as it's built on a huge gut instinct. Ducky cuts in to say that Franks is lying to them. Abby comments that it's bad enough when people they don't know lies to them. Ducky adds but when a colleague and friend (there was a slight hesitation an and edge to Ducky's voice when she said 'friend') does it; it's a betrayal. Abby then points out the 45 slugs one after the other. But then then also found a partial 22 slug. It's Ducky's turn again and he's about to tell Gibbs what happened. However, Gibbs cut in to say that someone else shot the men with a 22 long, then Franks shot through the holes in the already dead men to destroy the evidence. Franks didn't kill them. He goes leaving a surprised, even stunned, Ducky and Abby.

I really loved this scene; it showed how vital both Ducky and Abby are because of the different way in which they react to Gibbs and the different relationship Gibbs has with both of them to the one he has with the rest of the team. It was a really good scene and showed us a lot about the way they all care about one another and the liberties actually both Ducky and Abby can take with Gibbs. Ducky and Abby's two-hander in the way they kept switching was great fun and Gibbs's 'I already know' was excellent. A great scene.

Gibbs goes back to the squad room and take Franks's statement, which Franks had been about to sign. Then he 'reminds' Franks of a case they'd worked on in Gibbs's second year. How a Marine Sergeant and his friend had taken the Sergeant's son shooting and how there had been a terrible accident; the son's gun had gone off, killing the friend and how the Sergeant had covered it up by firing again into wound that had killed his friend, thus protecting his son. Franks had never charged the man. Now Franks tears up his statement.

McGee meanwhile is watching and now calls Gibbs over to tell him that Shada is on her way to DC. (Gibbs does his leaning over McGee act in this).

McGee is at the airport holding up a sigh saying Shada Shakarki. A woman, dressed all in black in traditional Iraqi wear appears, tells him she's Shada Shakarki, walks past him and drops her bag, leaving him to hasten after her as he welcomes her to Washington. Another nice, fun little scene.

Shada is in the Interrogation room and Gibbs, Vance and Franks are watching. Franks asks what she's doing there and Gibbs says she's come to find her daughter as her first attempt lacked finesse. Vance asks how the statement is coming along and Franks admits it was a load of crap. Vance states that Franks lied, but isn't surprised or unhappy by the fact - at least there are no more bodies. Franks says he'll protect his family.

Vance says the whole thing is a family thing and suggests Franks goes to talk to Shada. He goes in and she says she knows who he is; she likens him to carrion and admits she has tracked his every move since he 'took' Leyla. They are very hostile towards one another. She admits that as she's buried so many family members, things have changed and she wants Leyla and her grand-daughter to go home with her. She blames him for it turning violent, he says he didn't fire the first shot. She doesn't believe him at first.

Then he explains how he and Ameria were on the boat as Ameria wanted to put her name on the side when two men appeared and stood over them with guns. Leyla say them from the house and unloaded six shots from a .22 hunting rifle; five hit their target - the sixth lodged in the boat. Shada didn't know Leyla could shoot; Franks says he taught her.

Franks: "Never under estimate a momma bear when her cub's in danger."
Shada: "That I believe."

Franks says the girls are safer with him and then she looks troubled and confesses she has already made a payment to Bell and he assured her the contract would be completed. Franks turns to look at Gibbs who pulls out his phone. Bell has a chip on his shoulder; he will see this through, no matter what the cost.

At Gibbs's house Ziva gives Leyla her back-up gun and tells her to take Ameria downstairs. DiNozzo asks if she can shoot and it's Ziva who affirms Leyla can.

So do we assume that despite DiNozzo pushing Leyla as to where Ameria was when Franks was shooting the men and also knowing there had to be another shooter that somehow he hadn't figured out it was Leyla? I have difficulty believing that one. But why on earth would he have asked otherwise if she could shoot? And it wasn't his 'joking' tone, it was his genuine enquiring tone.

At that moment the fuse is turned off, plunging the house into darkness; a smoke bomb is thrown through the window which then shatters, throwing DiNozzo through the air; Ziva calls his name. We then see men in calling out for them to keep down, Ziva who is also on the floor tries to get her gun, but one of the men kicks it away. Then he addresses her by name and she knows him; as does DiNozzo. He's Marine Corporal Damon Werth whom we (according to IMDB), last saw in Corporal Punishment).

(Checks own episode review). Ah, in fact he was the main non-NCIS person in the episode and was in fact he is the man to whom Gibbs gave his own medal, because the Corps 'withdrew' the one they were going to give him when they discovered he had been injecting himself to make him into 'super soldier'.

Werth says they are there to rescue a woman and her daughter; Ziva says they'll be abducting her. The other man wants to get on with the job, but Werth, after a few punches and kicks, shuts his 'colleague' up and listens to Ziva and DiNozzo.

We then see two cars: Bell is in one; Werth, Gibbs, Ziva and DiNozzo get out of the other one. Werth tells Bell he quits and Gibbs say someone will have to clean up his house as there's one hell of a mess. Bell suggests he and Gibbs go punch for punch, but Gibbs shouldn't forget the arsenal he has under this command. He says he hasn't broken any laws. Gibbs adds. "American laws." The Federali want to talk to him; apparently bounty hunting is illegal in Mexico. Gibbs cuffs Bell and tells Werth to get a haircut.

During the final scene we switch between Gibbs and Vance in Vance's office and Mexico. Gibbs does most of the talking as we flip back and forth.

Firstly we see Leyla and Ameria playing on the beach. Vance wonders if the grandparents can work it out. Then Gibbs begins to tell his story, one his dad told him. It was about his Great, Great Grandmother and Father and was set about thirty years after the Civil War. His great, great grandparents had fought on opposite sides during it, they probably even shot one another on the battlefield. But they did manage to come together and live together and they spent most of their time sitting in two wicker rocking chairs on the front porch. Vance says they have better things to do than try to sort out Franks's family; Gibbs gets up to leave and Vance says he supposes Gibbs's relatives worked out their differences. As he's about to leave Gibbs tell him that the way he heard it, they never said a word and he goes.

During this we see Shada come out onto Franks's porch and wave to her grand-daughter. Then finally she sits down as does Franks. Nothing is said, but at one point she looks at him and after several moments he looks at her. And the whole thing is choreographed to fit in with Gibbs's speech.


I did enjoy it, far more than I was expecting to. It was a fairly light episode really with no major trials and tribulations or angst or soul searching (and no 1991) for anyone. It flowed well, the pace was good, nothing lagged, there was some great banter and some excellent scenes. A lot of evidence of friendship and trust and caring. It was really nice to see how the team (especially Ducky and Abby) cared deeply about Gibbs and were concerned for him in respect of his belief and trust in Franks.

The case wasn't really a case as such as I never for a moment thought Franks was going to be the 'real bad guy' and if he did kill the men, he would have had a reason.

Franks's presence wasn't as overwhelming as it has been in other episodes and we didn't really lose Gibbs when he went running off to solve it with Franks.

Gibbs was actually present and 'present'. It was good to see him in more the hitherto AWOL Gibbs we've had so much of this season and during the last part of Season Six.

A few shippy moments for several ships (Gibbs/Ducky, Gibbs/McGee, Gibbs/Franks, Gibbs/Abby, Abby/McGee, McGee/Ziva, DiNozzo/Ziva, DiNozzo/McGee) but only fleeting and in passing and blink and you'll miss them. Really the episode wasn't ship heavy at all.

I have to say I don't know enough about guns and bullet holes, etc. to know whether the whole 'double' shooting with two different guns was viable and realistic. But I do have to wonder why Ducky hadn't noticed some discrepancy with the wounds when he did the autopsies and how they were both made from a distance and up close. I know the Magnum is a darn powerful handgun, so I'm only assuming that its sheer power would be enough to have convinced Ducky that the wounds were made by one gun and not two. But the more I think about it, the more unlikely Ducky not spotting something was amiss it is. But given that I did enjoy the episode, I can kind of 'let that one go', at least to an extent. I think it has to be a weakness, but given I don't know that much about guns, maybe I'm wrong.

Also the thing about the .22. It seems strange to me that Gibbs could have seen the slug in the boat and somehow failed to notice it wasn't a slug from a small handgun (going by McGee's comment about Franks not carrying anything as small as a .22) but a slug from a rifle. The .22 long and .22 handgun talk got me a wee bit not confused, but wondering how it was possible to mix them up like that. Will go and do some research on Google into .22 guns.

Minor irks.

-The 'American Dream' and whole thing about Ziva finding a new home became a tad overdone.
-The whole 'Gibbs calling Ziva to cover' thing; I just didn't 'get' that at all.
-No Jimmy :-(

Best scenes:

- The first scene with the kids and the boat and Abby's excitement.
- Franks and DiNozzo banter at Gibbs's house.
- Abby and McGee with the chainsaw.
- Gibbs, Ducky and Abby in Autopsy (for me this was the scene).

Ship of the week:


Character of the week:


Actor/Actress of the week:

Pauley Perrette

Storyline: 09.00

Enjoyment: 09.50


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