SEASON EIGHT EPISODE THIRTEEN
NCIS tackle another sensitive subject the abused wife, strong
on one level, but as Ducky says weak in other ways, and does so very well
indeed. It was a good episode, not as good as the previous one, but then that
would take some beating this season. But it was strong and had some twists and
turns in it, it kept my attention and I got involved with and caught up in the
case. And a case it was, a real naval case again. I think someone finally
reminded TPTB what the 'N' in NCIS stands for.
There was some excellent team interaction, some nice banter, although not as good between the three younger members of the field team as in previous episodes. There was something lacking, for once the opening squad room scene won't make a scene of the week. There were flashes of humour, again not overplayed and it worked because of the severity of the episode.
However, why, oh why do they have to rehash plots with Tim having someone using his credit cards and spending lots of money yet again? Why? That was a real weakness of the episode because we've been there, done that, got the . . . And as for the ending when Tony turns up with the brat who'd done the fraud and it's all just swept under the carpet and Tim goes off to a bar with them? Please, if that was meant to be amusing it totally wasn't. It showed a really poor example to young people; it's okay to go around stealing someone's ID and spending their money because hey, it's fraud so they'll only be in for $50.00. That brat needed some serious parenting. To break in, okay he had the keys, but in essence it was still breaking the home of a tenant in his mother's building, use his CCs to rack up charges of $10,000, make him worry and wonder what's going on, you can't tell me the FBI are just going to shrug that off. Tim is going to find it hard for the next while, he'll have to prove the kid did it. Honestly, there has been some weak storylines and some WTF moments/ideas, but this one is one of the worst. No thought has gone into it at all - zero in fact - of the true implications of the storyline and the kid. What does he turn to next? And why, oh, why, would two Federal Agents just calmly go to a bar with him. Utterly shocking!
I also didn't like how dismissive Tony was about what had happened. He didn't care, he almost seemed to think it was a joke, he didn't show Tim the support of a friend. I know he'd dealt with dozens of cases like that as a cop and maybe was jaded by them, but that was quite some time ago, it shouldn't have had an impact. But that aside Tim is a colleague and a friend, he could have been a bit more supportive and less dismissive and uncaring. To be honest because of his attitude I really did think it was him who'd done it. Yes, it was nice to see him find the kid and show he was competent, as we know he is. However, his behaviour and attitude before finding the kid and after finding him totally negated the good for me, which was a great shame *sighs*
Also and finally on that point, I find it hard to believe that after having it happen to him once, Tim was still careless or whatever and left things around for the brat to find. Okay, so he had the firewall that would show if he'd been hacked, but did he really place all his trust in that? Is he that much of a geek? I don't think so, he's a Federal Agent.
That aside I did enjoy the episode.
The baddie was fairly obvious, but also in a successful red-herring way. It was clear it was him, but the misdirection was also believable in ways it often isn't. It was quite sad in a way that he didn't know Georgia as well as he thought he did. Killing Travis for her he thought he was doing something good, something to protect her, something she would thank him for. But she didn't see it like that. Yes, she'd been an abused wife, yes, he'd finally pushed her over the edge by threatening to make sure she didn't see her son again, yes, she'd closed herself down emotionally, yes, it was beginning to affect her work, but as much as she hated her husband or whatever she felt for him, I don't think she was capable of hating him for most of the time, he was still the father of her son. A son she loved so much. And she didn't want Travis dead. That was very well done and very gripping.
I found Georgia an amazing character. To begin with I didn't take to her, this cold, hard, distant, aloof woman who didn't seem to care about anyone or anything, not her dead husband and not even her child. But that changed and she got under my skin. I'm not sure I liked her as such, she kept you so far at arm's length 'liking' wasn't easy, but she really touched me. The scene in Autopsy with Ducky and Gibbs when she wanted to see Travis and making Ducky pull the sheet down and then telling them they could keep him as she couldn't afford a funeral was a powerful one. Another thing that stood out for me during that was the conversations Gibbs and Ducky were having with nothing more than looks.
The scene between Gibbs and Ducky in Autopsy when both looking at the body after they'd discovered Travis had been abusing Georgia was extremely well done. MH and DMc do act exceptionally well together. Again understated, under acted, under played. No great gestures or emotion, just done on the right level. The lack of condemnation for Georgia killing Travis, as they thought at that moment, was honest, but as Ducky said it still didn't make it right. And had she been guilty, Gibbs would have arrested her, would have taken away Jacob's second parent. I liked that we finally touched back on what had happened to Ziva in Somalia and Ducky was correct, she was the right person to try to talk to Georgia, because she and she alone knew what it was like to be under the control of a man and feel helpless and cut off and shut down. That's what Ziva became and to an extent still is. It was interesting how Ducky talked about Georgia's strength but also her weakness. It was an excellent scene.
Ziva going to talk to Georgia and admitting she too had been under the control of a man and how she knew all about shutting down and her attempt to try to reach Georgia and break through her barriers was powerful and intense, again though not dramatic, not overplayed. Two women who did understand one another, even if one couldn't admit to anything. Two women who have been hurt, who are still hurting, whose pain may never go, two women who in different circumstances could have become friends, who have power, strength, fortitude and yet both with more scars than anyone who knows them will ever know.
Another scene that I thought was so powerfully done, again so underplayed, under acted and yet poignant was Gibbs and Georgia in interrogation. Gibbs is so good, he knows just how to handle each person. And finally he did break through her guards just a little with the reminders of what Travis had done to her. To see her finally crying was almost painful. To hear what she'd endured and yet to know she'd have gone on enduring it had he not made the threat about Jacob was so incredible. The woman was a Marine, an outstanding, amazing woman, powerful, strong, but weak as well. Human.
Tony and Ziva's bickering in the bar was well done - it's true, they do argue like a couple. I liked the interaction very much, again that wasn't forced as some of the moments are. In a way they are a couple, they are partners, and that doesn't have to be in the romantic sense. They spend so much time together, they bicker, they know one another, they know what buttons to press, they are intimate, just as Tony and Tim are and Gibbs and Ducky and Tim and Ziva (although that's to a lesser extent). So yes, they will argue like a couple. It doesn't mean they are. And Ziva's right about Tony's jealousy, but again that doesn't have to be because he wants Ziva, it's just Tony through and through. He'd be the same if it were Tim dating someone and he couldn't find about it.
I love Jimmy, I really do and I love seeing him and wish we had more of him. However, I hate what they are doing to his character; now all he is is someone to make inappropriate remarks and have odd humour all of the time. Not just once, but all the time. I never thought I'd say it, but if that's how they are going to keep writing him, I'd rather we didn't see him all that much :-(
And another negative was the teenagers leaving the two dogs untethered whilst they followed Travis's dog. Totally out of line and no responsible dog walker would have done that. One of them should have stayed or there should have been a moment or two when they were tied up somewhere. It's a small thing overall, maybe, but a very big thing in terms of believability, reality and shows sloppiness by the writer.
Abby's enthusiasm and bounciness was just right this week. I liked how she'd named the heads, but wouldn't call one Travis as it was disrespectful. And good to see her up in the squad room later on.
Travis was a real bastard, a nasty piece of work. Not content with beating his wife, he also had a girlfriend and got violent with her too - but she gave as good as she got. She was an interesting character, not a lot of good points, a poor history, but at the same time not a total bitch or a complete disaster. She was a balanced character; you didn't like what she'd done, even what she was, but she also had her vulnerabilities. A well written character.
There were some shipping moments, mainly Gibbs/Ducky, Tony/Ziva and Tony/Tim and Gibbs & Abby and again they were well done and gentle and balanced.
The whole Tim and his ID theft/stealing CCs and the brat who did it aside, the episode was a very good one. I must try not to let the brat thing dampen it too much as that really was only the ending and before that whilst I was 'why are we rehashing this', it was more an irk than anything else.
The case was good, the storyline gripping, the misdirections were good, the team interaction was solid and the whole subject matter of domestic abuse was sensitively done.
- Tony and Ziva in the bar when it's Tony who makes a reference to being old. Good banter and bickering.
- Ducky and Jimmy in Autopsy when Ducky's telling the story about Mr. Penn. And Gibbs arrival. Nice closeness with Gibbs and Ducky and looks.
- Ducky, Gibbs and Georgia in Autopsy.
- Gibbs and Abby with the fake heads.
- Gibbs and Ducky in Autopsy later on in the day when they talk about Georgia being an abused wife. A very powerful scene indeed.
- Ziva and Georgia where Ziva tries to reach Georgia and opens up herself.
- Gibbs and Georgia in interrogation.
There were some nice little throw away touches too:
- Tony saying him and Tim weren't dating.
- Ziva not liking to see Tim and Tony fighting.
- Tony knowing where the deflate button on the back of the doll was.
- Learning Tony was pool champion with Baltimore PD in the late 90s.
- Learning Gibbs made a chess set.
- The whole stealing of Tim's ID and his landlord's son sub-plot - and that wasn't a minor irk.
- Tony's attitude to the Tim's ID theft.
- The dog walker and her boyfriend just left the other two dogs without tying them up when they followed Travis's dog. No responsible dog walker would do that!
- Tony saying he doesn't answer his phone after 7:00 p.m. I can't believe that. Maybe he just meant he doesn't answer it to Tim. But what if it had actually been a case and Tim had been calling him on orders from Gibbs? Nope, doesn't stack up.
- Jimmy's humour.
Ship of the week:
Character of the week:
Actor/Actress of the week:
Christina Cox (who played Georgia Wooton)
Even after my second viewing giving ratings for this episode is really difficult. If only they hadn't re-hashed the ID/CC theft. But even worse than that was the way they condoned it in the final scene. That really had such a huge impact on me, more than I thought, that I am going to have to rate it down with a note to the fact that it would have received higher marks but for the stupidity of the ending :-(
*This would have received higher marks but for the condoning of ID fraud.
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