This was another episode I was in two minds about. On the one hand it had Fornell in it; Fornell always makes an episode a win episode. On the other hand it had Diane in it. Canon leaves us in no doubt that she's a bitch and I wasn't really looking forward to seeing her and her interaction with her two ex-husbands.

However, my concerns were completely unfounded. It was a superb episode from beginning to end. There was just so much to love about it and virtually nothing to dislike.

I enjoyed Diane's interaction with her exes, it was very well done. And although she didn't make me change my mind about her being a bitch and I still say emptying Gibbs's and Fornell's Bank accounts as well as other things was out and out wrong, I did feel for her over Victor, whom I thought she truly loved. What a nerve the woman has though, she was a pain to live with, stole from Gibbs and Fornell, didn't treat them well and yet who does she turn to when her third husband goes missing: Gibbs and Fornell. I did have to smile when she got on her high horse about Gibbs having investigated her; she went to him for help, she should have known he would dig and dig into everything including finding out about her trips to the Caymans Islands to meet Victor and thus cheat on both of them.

However, to give her her due I a) believed her when she said she had never meant to hurt Fornell and b) when she said Gibbs was her 'Shannon'. That was a very powerful way to end the episode; very moving indeed. And she gave Gibbs his grandfather's watch back, which was a nice gesture. I ended the episode not actually hating her; instead I even felt a wee bit sorry for her.

I did fear at one point during that final scene that she'd confess to Gibbs that Emily wasn't Fonell's, but instead was Victor's - we all know the writers' can go OTT at times with the personal angst. But I'm glad they didn't play that card; had they done so I am sure that would completely close the door on any contact between her and Gibbs; Gibbs would truly have hated her for that and wouldn't have forgiven her. He can forgive her for what she did to him, but had she told him Emily wasn't Fornell's, he wouldn't have forgiven her.

The case was interesting enough and held my attention, although I admit that was mainly because of the connection to Gibbs and Fornell. I knew Victor wasn't guilty and I didn't want him to be. Despite everything and in spite of myself I wanted Diane to end up being happy, I didn't want to see her third marriage fall apart, not after she finally met someone who loved her and not his job.

And I found Victor a very believable character; I had no problem believing that he kept his money a secret because he wanted to be sure a woman wanted him for him and not for his money. After all with the best will in the world he's no hunk, nor does he have an exciting job; he's very much a home-bod, who does his job and comes home to the woman he loves. Ditto him doing what he did because of the threat to Diane was totally plausible. I even found his touch of innocence and naivety appealing - I had to laugh when he hugged Fornell but Gibbs managed to get out of the line of fire. Diane may not love him as she love(d) Gibbs, but he'll make her very happy and he'll give her the home she's always craved.

I had the baddie pegged early on too; he was another oh-so-obvious one. But again, it isn't a problem in a good story, it doesn't detract. And I certainly hadn't worked out why he was the baddie. I thought he was working for himself and it was all for money. But no - another possible line that has been left open to return to in the future, maybe? Could it even in some way tie in with the open-ending of the opening episode? Probably not.

I loved the team interaction in this. It was such fun and totally free from any bitchiness or talking down to one another or playing foolish tricks, etc. etc. It was just absolutely superb. I really loved Tony's latest obsession: hair loss and how concerned he was about his own potential loss, but also how he went around looking at and even feeling other men's hair to. So good and so Tony and although it lasted for the entire episode, it wasn't over-played, I didn't get tired of it. It was spot on.

Abby and Ducky were both very competent, as we expect. I liked the little reference Ducky made to not having slept well during the past week but then just wanted to move on from that. Very well done, dropped in as a moment of consistency, but not dwelt on. Carol's reason for being there was very believable and logical and I liked how what we saw of her was really her being there professionally (her gentle flirting with Fornell aside) and not just because of friendship with Abby.

The humour was stella throughout; I laughed many times. It was mainly centred around Tony and his hair obsession, but it wasn't done in an idiotic way. And some also centred around the Gibbs-Diane-Fornell triangle and a wee bit with Gibbs and Abby. It was extremely well played and handled. And the Gibbs and Fornell interaction was, as always, absolutely wonderful. So much humour whenever they get together, so very dry and understated.

I could wax lyrical about this episode for some time, but I won't. I'll just say once more: I loved it. I really, really loved it. And as much as I have, for the most part, thoroughly enjoyed most of this season's episodes and am happy to see we have 'old school' NCIS, this is the first one I'm almost sorry I watched it with J as I can't now watch it a second time with him (as I used to do when I watched first on my own). I'm not sure he'd want to watch it straight off again.

Favourite Scenes:
Where do I start given I loved the entire episode?
- The opening squad room scene with Tony being so obsessed about his hair loss
- Gibbs and Fornell at the coffee stand and Diane turning up
- All the other Gibbs and Fornell scenes
- Gibbs opening the door of the conference room to find Tim, Tony and Ziva trying to listen
- Gibbs and Abby when she tried to question him about Diane and then asking him if they could start again and him obliging
- Gibbs, Fornell and Ducky in Autopsy
- Gibbs and Diane in his basement with Fornell then coming out of the shadows
- Gibbs and Fornell in Abby's lab with Carol 'flirting' with Fornell. Poor Fornell seemed somewhat uneasy.
- The shoot-out on the roof with Gibbs and Fornell in accord, plus the wee bit before that when Gibbs mentions the condom in Fornell's wallet
- The final scene in Gibbs's basement between Gibbs and Diane

We learnt some things too:
- Another rule: Rule #69 - Never trust a woman who doesn't trust her man
- Fornell was married to Diane in 2004
- Diane calls Gibbs 'Leroy'
- Diane cheated on both of them (I'd always thought she cheated on Gibbs)
- Gibbs never loved Diane (I guess we did suspect that, but we've now had it confirmed)
- Diane never loved Fornell and apparently doesn't love Victor (or at least not in the way she loved Gibbs)
- Gibbs is Diane's 'Shannon'

Minor Irks:
- The implied inconsistency that Diane (having started off as ex-wife #03 and then became ex-wife #02) was in fact ex-wife #01. Although having checked the script for 'Twilight' it shows that Gibbs says 'When you married my second wife' not 'second ex-wife'. So okay, it isn't an actual inconsistency, just one that has festered throughout the series, mis-leadning us, as much with the changes in the time-line as anything else.

Pairing of the week:

Character of the week:

Actor of the week:
Joe Spano

Storyline: 10.00

Enjoyment: 10.00


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