Firstly I apologise to anyone who has been using my episodes reviews to help them stay caught up with NCIS or understand things you may have missed when viewing it.

I mentioned at the end of last season that I may be changing my way of reviewing and indeed that is the case. I will no longer be doing a full bells and whistles review of the entire episode interspersed with my comments. Nor will I be doing a fairly in-depth bullet point review. Instead, I'll be doing a overall 'this is what I thought', what scenes stood out for me kind of review. I do hope it will still evoke discussions and comments as I enjoy those and I know other people do too.

So again my apologies but for once I decided I had to put myself first and getting up so early and doing the full review was have a detrimental effect on me and also on my enjoyment of the show - I'm hoping that by doing it this way I can still enjoy NCIS, indeed get caught back up in the show in the way I once was.

I've been somewhat 'meh' about canon NCIS for some time now and the finale to last season didn't help that. I'm tired of Gibbs's past or Mexico and of episodes that seem to have little bearing on the 'N' in NCIS. Thus I wasn't expecting much from this episode.

I was, however, pleasantly, very pleasantly surprised. I'm all the more surprised I enjoyed it given centre stage wasn't the team, but Gibbs, his father and Mike Franks - normally things that have me sighing. Not this time.

I never feared, nor even for a second, for Jackson, I never thought he'd be killed. I thought either Gibbs would be there or he'd have someone where, but in fact it worked out even better than either of those options. The episode showed exactly from where Gibbs gets his tenacity, his determination and a lot more of his character.

I thoroughly enjoyed the interaction between Gibbs and his father and seeing how their relationship has regrown and how they are now once again family, acknowledged by both - a nice touch when Jackson called Gibbs 'Jethro' and not 'Leroy'.

I thought the episode was well paced, it kept me watching intently and not clock watching and wondering when it would be over.

I liked the touches of humour in an otherwise tense episode.

Although there weren't many of them, I did enjoy the team moments, the interaction is still there and still good.

There was no ELC and even though her name was mentioned, I really hope that's all it will be a mentioned name from the past and she'll never appear or be referred to again.

Paloma's death at the hands of her brother, who thought he was in fact avenging her death, was clichéd. However, I actually thought in the context of this and in the hopes of ending the whole Mexico thing that it worked and hopefully it will now bring closure to Mexico and dare I hope for Gibbs's past?

A very, very good season opener, far better than the drawn-out two part season closer. I thought the 'previously on NCIS' actually covered all the salient points very well. So there wasn't an NCIS case as such and the 'case' was taking them away from their real work. But for this round up and finish off of the whole Mexico thing (I'm sure it will be totally, but for this arc I think it has) it worked extremely well.

I really do hope this is the launch pad for the rest of the season and we can expect a season of good, solid, enjoyable episodes. I also hope that this 'lack of the 'N' in NCIS' is a one-off and now we can return to what has been done so well in the past - and remembering what the 'N' stood for.

Some things that stood out for me:

- Jimmy being involved and being more assertive, but still being Jimmy.

- Gibbs being just like his father.

- The whole 'fathers' link (again). Pappa Gibbs; DiNozzo's father emailing/IM'ing him; Vance firstly on the phone to and then getting a text from Eli David.

- When Gibbs finally acknowledged McGee was back and how happy McGee was.

- How awful McGee looks. He needs several good meals - I am somewhat worried about SM. He's lost far too much weight, far too quickly. He looks awful.

- The fact that the Day Of The Dead Dolls were left for Ducky, Abby and Jackson, the three most important people in Gibbs's life. This one really stood out for me.

- Vance telling Rivera that he ought to leave for his own safety and when Rivera asked who was threatening him, Vance said he was. Very nice to see Vance does have the teams' backs.

- That Vance did, as I fully expected, have a copy of Abby's report and that he carefully hid it away.

- And the 'I've found him' text from Eli David that asks more questions than it answers. I wonder if in anyway it's going to be connected with Vance's possible 'shady' past and the boxing?

- No one actually annoyed me beyond the 'normal for their character' annoying, which if wasn't there would mean the character wasn't the character I love.

- Not many shippy (as in romantic ship) moments as such. DiNozzo/Ziva and Gibbs/Abby (which I see as Gibbs & Abby) are the two that stood out, with the former being more obvious.

- The unwritten rule, probably far more important than all of the other rules put together and one that actually makes sense - not all do. "You do what you have to do for family." Spot on and perfect.

Minor irks:

- Abby saying she hadn't got another copy of the report when clearly it's on the NCIS system. Okay, so she was saying it to Rivera for a reason, but it was a foolish and unnecessary out and out lie that stretched credibility. In fact Abby's continued behaviour over the report. She acted as if she truly believed no one else had seen it. We know how intelligent she is, so her attitude was a tad irksome.
- No actually Gibbs and Ducky scene, but that was to be expected I guess.
- The cliché nature Rivera planting a bug and then the whole setting him up, etc. It worked well, but it was a cliché and a well-honed plot.
- The fact we were meant to think Franks was dead, when there was no way he was going to be.
- The fact that it looks as if we are going to get both Ziva and DiNozzo's fathers appearing again.

Favourite scenes:

- The opening scene in Jackson's shop. I too would have left; he would have shot her.
- The first scene between Gibbs and Jackson in Gibbs's house. Lovely interaction and so underplayed by both of them. It was as if they'd been doing this for months, which they had been. That was first rate acting and came over so well; here was two men who as much as they did care about one another were tired of doing the breakfast thing and wanted to go back to living their own lives. Lovely to see them together and a family and close again.
- Ducky and Jimmy in Autopsy over the body and the various stories from both of them.
- DiNozzo and Ziva's 'welcome home scene'.
- The car park scene when Gibbs is escorting Abby to her car, duly trailed by Abby's guard and Ducky's appearance.
- Abby and Ducky in Autopsy drinking tea and talking about Ducky and Gibbs's first case and Abby wondering what will happen and Ducky using Winston Churchill's speech as an analogy.
- Gibbs and Pappa Gibbs in Stillwater cleaning up the shop and Gibbs quoting the 'unwritten rule'.

Ship of the week:

Gibbs & Jackson

Character of the week:

Jackson Gibbs

Actor/Actress of the week:

Ralph Waite

Storyline: 9.75

Enjoyment: 9.75



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