I was looking forward to this episode as I knew it had both Fornell and Jimmy in it and it didn't have EJ in it *g* I was also hoping for a better episode than the last two weeks. I've never been disappointed by a Fornell episode, so I had high hopes for this one and I was not disappointed.

This was an excellent episode from beginning to end with some excellent team moments, the usual two-handed spot on scenes between Gibbs and Fornell, a good, solid, real case, no bitchiness, some good humour, great acting, good banter and top-notch scenes. There were one of two niggles, but overall I thought it was a first rate episode.

The fact that the Admiral was involved was fairly clear from the moment we saw him - he seemed too 'I can't tell you this because you haven't been cleared' type of thing, too quick to say he didn't know what was going on, he was somewhat shifty, I felt, not looking at Gibbs, but not obviously looking away, just enough to make it clear he had some part to play in it.

The hubby I didn't guess at until the book dedication came to light as well as Abby's discovery of the drug in Archer's body, which prevented her from fighting back. A pretty foolish killer and a weak reason really. To kill your wife because she had an affair and more up because she couldn't tell you about her job and then to think you're killing the man she's having the affair with, only to get the wrong person - how shoddy is that? I had no sympathy for him at all.

As for the college kid, she was a right little madam who was in need of some parental discipline in her life - but also a bright cookie, it has to be said. To become Jinn and take over all the terrorist operations and keep it hidden until NCIS got involved takes some doing. Hopefully all three of them will go away for a long time. There'll be no nice golden handshake and retirement package for the Admiral, I think - unless they decide to cover his part of it up in the interests of national security - not Gibbs, he won't play ball, but higher up PTB may be prepared to do so.

I did feel for Keeler, he was a good man who wanted to serve his country, wanted to be not just a good Marine but the best. However, he changed his mind when he found out what was going on and learnt, during Operation Birdsong, how dismissive his superiors were over a case of weapons going missing. The scene in the conference room with him, Gibbs and Fornell when we learnt all the things we needed to learn was quite moving. He clearly believed firmly in what he'd done and did want to blow the whistle on what had happened and what was still happening. Maybe, in the grand scale of things, those missing weapons weren't of the highest priority, but to Keeler they were. I got why he wrote his book; I understood Cassey and Archer's involvement too. They died for something in which they believe and now Keeler has to live with the knowledge that his book got the woman he loved and the man he'd worked with/was friends with killed and also that the truth will never come out - at least I doubt it will.

The sub-plot of secrets and weddings was for the most part fun. It was typical of Tony to want to know who was sending invitations to Gibbs and knowing that he'd received one a week earlier. I'm guessing that as he only noticed two and Gibbs said to Fornell he'd had three, that Diane sent the first one to Gibbs's home and then used the Navy Yard after she got no response. Given how much Diane hates Gibbs (as we know she does) it does seem a wee bit odd she'd want him so badly at her wedding, but maybe it was a case of showing him what he'd lost out on? Interesting that Ziva would want Gibbs at her wedding, but Tony would fear a head slap as he walked down the aisle, but that aside, I really got the impression he wouldn't want Gibbs there.

I thoroughly enjoyed the opening squad room scene with Tony trying to figure out what Gibbs had and Tim and Ziva talking about arresting him as tampering with mail is a federal crime and they are Federal Agents. That was a lot of fun, nice friendly banter, no nastiness, just the three of them interacting as they do so very well.

I also enjoyed the Autopsy scene with Ducky complaining to Jimmy about technology and mobile phones and 'tweets' or his version of them. Also, Ducky talking to Jimmy about how it's not a good idea to know everything about someone else or let them know everything about you, as it can spoil the relationship, some secrets are good. A nice bit of Gibbs & Ducky interaction when Gibbs comes in and Ducky explains with what Cassey was killed and how odd the type of weapon was. Some nice looks and closeness.

I loved how Gibbs knew Tony was heading towards the waste-paper basket to try to retrieve the letter he'd thrown into it without opening it, even though he had his back to Tony. Spot on Gibbs and Tony; Tony won't give up until he knows, no matter what the cost and what the risks and Gibbs is, as we know, all knowing.

The fact that Tony is having a 'relationship' at whatever level with EJ was once again rammed down our throats with the various mentions of her name and Ziva saying how Tony's libido seemed to be happy and also mentioning her name, more than once, and saying she intrigues her. Also the fact that Tony went to the shower room to open Gibbs's letter, gave us another 'hint' (if we needed it) of the fact that he regarded the shower as a place to go to hide from people. An odd choice, I must say.

Ziva following him and finding him and pushing him until finally Tony decides that Gibbs is entitled to his privacy, meaning he wanted to get out of there before Ziva pushed him any further and found out the truth was very well done. It was well put together and well played by MW and CdeP, every nicely done indeed - and I liked that their interaction could, as is so often the case, be read as they are interested in one another as more than just friends or it was purely one friend and colleague intrigued by what another is up to.

Although it has to be said the fact that Tony and EJ have slept together is being forced so much down our throats, it's so blatant, Tony was again just like a kid with his hand caught in the cookie jar, as to be irksome. We got it the first time, we got it last week, we got it the first time this week, it doesn't need to go on being forced on us. We know who EJ is, we don't need the constant references. Or maybe it's because TPTB noticed a distinct lack of spark between Tony & EJ that they are doing the heavy handed 'they had sex' because otherwise we wouldn't get it?

I loved the first scene (well and all the scenes thereafter) with Fornell and Gibbs. They just play off one another so very well, the chemistry they have is superb and it's always a pleasure to see them interact. I particularly liked the Archer crime scene because Ducky was involved too, and Jimmy but he was just there. I'd said yesterday to a couple of friends who much I would love a Gibbs, Ducky, Fornell and Jimmy in Autopsy scene; I didn't quite get that, but this was close. And I liked then how we learnt from whom the invitation had come when Fornell asked Gibbs about it and of course Tony was there all ears, just waiting, until he got the Gibbs stare and hastily vanished. Absolutely perfect; I just love how Gibbs can say so much with one look.

The Gibbs/Fornell shipiness was once again in full flow. I loved this little exchange:

Fornell: "Jethro, if it wasn't for Diane we wouldn't have the kind of relationship we have."
Gibbs after looking at Fornell: "Tobias, you've always been a glass half-full kind of guy."

And of course we get the 'revelation' that Fornell will no longer have to pay Diane alimony; which means all the stuff in S1&2 about Gibbs paying alimony to three ex-wives was indeed rubbish. I always said he certainly wouldn't be paying it to Diane, because she'd remarried and I still doubt he'd have to pay it to two women who were both capable of working and who didn't have kids. It was one of those 'fun' things that one can hand-wave, but still irritates to an extent.

And we had the obligatory Gibbs & Fornell lift scene, they are always good with Fornell's comment about he thought Gibbs was going to buy him a nice lunch! But no, just a take-away.

The scene with Gibbs, Fornell and Abby in Abby's lab was really good too. And that's when the case starts to really come together, when we learn about the prototype weapon.

It was a fun conversation between Tim, Ziva and Tony about Gibbs and his wives and which wife Diane was and the mix up between two and three. Well, unless they've changed it again (as they did early on) she was wife number three, but ex-wife number two.

I did enjoy the scene in Abby's lab where Abby and Tim are working on the computer puzzle and Ziva and Tony are arguing about the best way to do a real jigsaw puzzle, work from the outside in or the inside out. I tend to find the outside pieces first, to get the frame, but then I don't necessarily work from the outside in, then I do chunks as I find them. They all do work very well together and the division between computer and 'real' was logical and right.

I really disliked the 'sweet little thing' but I also had to admire her for the way she didn't let Gibbs and/or Fornell faze her at all and how calm she was and stuck to her guns - no pun intended. So yes, she is an arms' dealer, she is responsible for deaths, albeit at arms' length, but she was indeed innocent of any involvement in the murders of Cassey and Archer.

And then we had the final scene in Gibbs's basement. Fornell turning up because Gibbs hadn't arrived at the dinner or to pick Fornell up or whatever and Gibbs carrying on with his woodwork having already ordered pizza - Fornell's favourite - because he knew Fornell would turn up was just wonderful from beginning to end, an absolute slash-fest for Gibbs/Fornell fen. Fornell's comment about being 'all dressed up with nowhere to go' was fun. And Diane is marrying someone from Homeland Security, she likes her law enforcement men. Gibbs orders pizza, but Fornell pays and they'll drink a toast to Fornell's beautiful daughter.

It was quite a shippy episode in many ways, very heavy on Gibbs/Fornell but also quite a lot of DiNozzo/Ziva interaction as well, plus the constant references to DiNozzo/EJ

The overplaying of the marriage 'theme' did get a tad tedious, but it stopped short or really irritating me.

However, overall apart from a few minor things (the biggest being the whole forced thing about Tony having had sex with EJ) that irritated me somewhat, the episode was an excellent one. Not a filler, unlike last week, but a good, solid, believable case with some top notch interaction, all the characters were spot on, there was some excellent banter and humour.

Favourite scenes:
- The opening squad room scene.
- Ducky and Jimmy in Autopsy and then joined by Gibbs.
- The Archer crime scene from beginning to end.
- Gibbs and Fornell in the lift.
- Gibbs, Fornell and Abby in Abby's lab.
- Tim, Abby, Tony & Ziva in Abby's lab each 'pair' working on their part of the puzzle and then the arrival of Gibbs and Fornell.
- The final squad room scene with the kids waiting for Gibbs to see what he was going to do re: the wedding rehearsal dinner.
- The Gibbs and Fornell scene in Gibbs's basement.

There were some nice little throw away touches/things we learnt too:
- Tim still appears to be dating the on-line gamer.
- Ducky calling Jimmy 'hon'. Hilarious.
- Gibbs telling Jimmy to marry Brenna.
- Gibbs knowing Tony was on his way to the waste-paper basket to get the invitation even though his back was turned.
- Fornell using Gibbs's computer once he was sure Gibbs had gone. I wonder if that was to email Diane, accepting the wedding invitation posing as Gibbs?
- Abby talking about burning books (a horrible thing) after you read them not before.
- Keeler's comment about an alphabet party.
- Gibbs's one happy memory of his marriage to Diane being the time she caught her finger in the car door - ouch.

Minor irks:
- Jimmy using his mobile phone via his hands-free head-set at the crime scene.
- The fact that Tony & EJ have had sex being constantly forced down our throats every two minutes.
- Too little Ducky.

Ship of the week:


Character of the week:


Actor/Actress of the week:

Joe Spano

Storyline: 9.75

Enjoyment: 9.75




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