I really must stop saying how much I dislike a character, how much they spoil the episode and how I hope never to see them again. Because if I say it, the person has this habit of turning up again just to annoy me *sighs* And that was the case with this week's guest star Diane Neal playing Abigail Borin again. I've just re-read parts of my review for Jurisdiction. And I see I really disliked her, was annoyed by her from start to finish, annoyed at the recycling of a plot and wanted to slap her because as usually NCIS PTB take something that could work to begin with and over-play it.

Thus, needless to say I was not looking forward to this episode in the slightest; in fact I seriously considered not bothering to get up earlish to watch it. However, I did. And I am happy and surprised to say the episode and Borin were better than I had expected. TPTB had toned her down considerably so she didn't mimic Gibbs every two seconds and what things in common they did have actually worked well for the most part. I can't say I care for her as a character and I found all her interactions dry and drawn out, but a zillion times better than her previous appearance.

It was a pretty solid episode, not the best of the season, but not the worse with a genuinely, real, not shoe-horned in NCIS case - that always makes a good impact on me. The story-line was fairly interesting and solid, although once again the baddies were pretty easy to recognise from the first time we saw them - even if I hadn't figured out how sister was involved.

There was some good banter and exchanges between the team, that were fun and very in character. So nice moments over all. And yet more consistency, again Tony being somewhat peeved over Ziva's friend and wanting to know more about him, in true Tony fashion of having to know everything about everyone. Nicely done.

The Nolan family were portrayed as your typical ultra-rich from nothing to something family, where one member decides to cut loose and go it alone. I had no sympathy for any of them, apart from our Marine and was glad his father changed his will and also in turn our Marine changed his will to make the business a charitable one. Very clichéd, but so many things are - there are only so many story-lines. But at least in the end the murderers didn't benefit at all.

I like how Tony and Ziva were the ones sent out to do the interviewing all the time to the same people. I like the continuity in a case that this brings be it Tony and Ziva or Tony and Tim or Gibbs and Ziva or Gibbs and Tim or Gibbs and Tony. To me it makes sense for the same team members to interview the same people. Tony and Ziva do work well together and did so again especially in the fight scene in the club - I can't think of many places worse than being there.

I wasn't thrilled by it and it's not going to make me gush over it. But it was better than I thought, because Borin was better than I'd thought - a lot better. I don't see the point of her being there, she wasn't necessary to the case, she didn't bring anything extra to it that needed her and that NCIS couldn't have done. It was just a case of TPTB thinking she was a popular character and wanting her to appear again - so she was shoe-horned in really. Not necessary at all.

A solid episode. Not a bad episode to start the new year with. I have nothing to really rant about, nothing that had me wanting to tear my hair out or slap people. And hey, a real case. That is what is really, really good.

Favourite scenes:

- The opening squad room scene. They are nine times out of ten fun and this was no exception. I loved how Tony was so surprised that you could build up over-time and take it as leave rather than money. It's utterly in character that he wouldn't have bothered to read the manual, so very Tony, we know how he works. So very good. Lovely interaction between the three of them, nice sibling banter with no nastiness, etc. Spot on. I also liked how Tony said he didn't need any more money, but he did need more time and talked about all the girls he could have dated if he'd claimed his over-time as leave.
- The first scene between Gibbs and Borin - good exchange.
- Tony with his 'rendition' of Albert Finney as Hercule Poirot in Murder On The Orient Express. A film reference I not only recognised but have seen and love. Thus it has to be up there with favourite scenes.
- Gibbs and Tim on the boat when Tim is trying to stay awake and then Borin arriving with coffee. Loved how Tim said Gibbs and Borin had things in common and Gibbs asked what those things were.
- Ducky talking to the dead body about celebrities and how they have changed over the centuries and now you can be famous for being famous. And then the continued scene with him and Gibbs and him telling Gibbs the story. Lots of closeness and looks and smiles and fondness.
- Abby giving Borin the condolence card for the dead CGI mascot and the wee story about mascots. Then Gibbs saying Abby is the NCIS mascot.
- Borin telling Tim to write down "Never make excuses" as Rule #01 and Tim telling her he would be there are already two Rule #01s. Nice to see TPTB acknowledge that.
- The final scene. Very moving and real. And interesting to see just who the photos behind Gibbs are: Marines that have meant something to him, even if he doesn't know them.

There were some nice little throw away touches too:

- Gibbs's "You can sleep when you're dead," comment.
- Ziva having a bat nap. And the pen scene - very well done indeed. No way was Ziva going to miss the pen or hurt Tony when she threw it back - we know how good she is with a 'knife'.
- Tony waking Tim up by slamming his desk drawer and the little interaction between them.
- The look Gibbs and Tim and Tony and Ziva exchange when Borin takes over and starts talking all geeky about water and coasts.
- Tony looking for his notepad and then pen when interviewing lawyer and CEO and Ziva giving him hers.
- Gibbs fixing the fire in the Board Room.
- In the final scene Tony being so tired he puts his backpack on before his coat and then walks/stands looking like the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Minor irks:

- Borin. She was better than last time, but she still irked me.
- DiNozzo interrogating the waiter. I hate his style; as Gibbs said you have to love his results, but his style gets my back up and sets my teeth on edge. I don't think it's professional. But it is consistent; it's the way he does it and he does love getting under people's skins. But it always annoys me.
- Tim telling Borin he doesn't think Gibbs has any friends. He does three: Ducky, Fornell and Mike Franks. And then correcting himself by saying maybe Fornell and Franks. Er, what about Ducky, Tim? He is Gibbs's closest friend - that, my dear boy, is canon.
- Gibbs calling Borin 'Abbs'.
- No Jimmy.
- Too little Ducky and too much Borin.

Ship of the week:


Character of the week:


Actor/Actress of the week:

Michael Weatherley

Storyline: 8.00




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