I wasn't looking forward to this episode at all for two main reasons: firstly, it was going to be Tony and Ziva going off on assignment again - I really am tiring of the 'Tony and Ziva' show, because sadly this is what NCIS is turning into. Tim might as well not be there, he just sits at his desk and does his geeky stuff; Jimmy, when he's in it is there for comic relief; Ducky and Abby barely have screen time now, if we're lucky we have two extremely short scenes for each of them; even Gibbs is more in the background than he's ever been. NCIS used to be a lot more team-centric, but it really hasn't been for some time; it has pretty much (for the most part) turned into the Tony and Ziva show. But I guess the 'glamour' couple is what brings in the ratings and keeps them high. I just want more team stuff and less focus on two characters - and I'd be saying exactly the same if the two characters were say, Tim and Ducky. And secondly we had Dr. Ryan back again and I'm sorry but she just winds me up, her character is appalling, she's in your face and forever pushing what she is.

Well it wasn't as Tony and Ziva heavy as I feared it might have been, which was a good thing; Dr. Ryan, however, was as appalling as ever. There is only one way her relationship with Gibbs will last: if one of them quits their job. As it is Gibbs won't stand for someone who digs into his work and worse still lies to him - which she did more than once. She showed him no respect at all when she kept saying 'I don't know anything else' when it was perfectly clear to anyone watching that she did. Okay, when he called her on it she spilled the beans, but she was disrespectful to him and to his abilities and intelligence; she insulted him by saying 'I don't know anything else'; it showed she doesn't really rate him as a good agent. I was never a fan of her, but I lost any final degree of respect for what she is and what she does by her constantly lying to Gibbs. Had she said 'I know but I can't tell you' rather than 'I don't know' it would have been better - and she did say it once - but she lied. That is no way to begin a relationship.

Why did she have to play games with him? Why the pizza box? Why not just come out and tell him? She seems in some way to be testing him - maybe she is; maybe she has been so badly hurt by Parker's dad that she can't trust, not even professionally. But you don't test a man like Gibbs. You can't treat a man like Gibbs how she is treating him - at least not the Gibbs we know. Either one quits their job or one of them has to change quite a lot - or I don't see this lasting. I don't see how it can last.

And how come Gibbs seems perfectly happy for her to treat him like that? How come he is just putting up with being lied to and played games with and having his cases delved into by her? Is he that desperate to try to find happiness with someone else that he'll just become non-Gibbs and bow to her? This is not the behaviour and attitude of the Gibbs I know and love.

And it certainly seems as if they have a relationship and it seems to be getting serious - but honestly it can't last with them both doing the jobs they are doing. Gibbs meant his 'I didn't say that' comment when she asked at the end if she was forgiven; no she wasn't. As Tim said a couple of episodes ago: 'Never lie to Gibbs'. So she spent the night at Gibbs's and it appears they slept in 'the' bedroom; the one he used to share with Shannon the one (if we are to believe it he never let Diane, Stephanie or his other ex into); the one he wouldn't sleep in and thus made his elderly dad sleep on the sofa. I'm sure the 'someone else used to say that' comment he made to her after she'd said the sun had woken her up had to refer to Shannon.

I want to like her, I really do, but I just can't and don't. Also, who was with Parker when she went to Gibbs's house at the end? She said she couldn't stay the night as she didn't have a sitter, so where was he? Had she again left him in the car and was going to leave him sat there whilst she cuddled with Gibbs? I can get why she doesn't want Gibbs to meet him yet, until she is sure about the relationship she doesn't want to introduce her beloved son to another man. Now that I can totally buy and fully respect - I still think there's more to Parker than meets the eye; I still think he may be in some way disabled. And if he is, then again I can understand even more why she doesn't want to introduce him to Gibbs, and I fully respect her for that; she's a mother; she'll do what she can to protect her child.

The case was okay, nothing really special, but it held my attention mostly - and it was quite some opening with the dead Marine falling from the sky! But it still felt disjointed once Tony and Ziva and the Chaplin had gone off to meet up with Monique and Tim and Gibbs were left in DC. The red herrings weren't too bad either; I wondered about the Chaplin given her insistence on going with them at one point, especially after the drive-by shooting and we were meant to suspect Monique, but once Tony doubted her she stopped being any kind of red herring.

I did like how Tony protected the Chaplin during the drive-by shooting and quite right too; that's exactly how it should have been. Ziva and Monique were capable of protecting themselves and armed, but the Chaplin was a non-combatant and although military for the sake of protection she was the civilian and the one Tony would protect.

Monique was a reasonably interesting character (and she got more interesting at the end when we learnt Ryan wanted to talk to her and Monique had screwed her over more than once - hmmm), quite what has she done? I did get the older sister vibe from her and thought it was quite touching that she wanted to protect Ziva and keep her alive. I thought her parting comment to Ziva 'look to yourself for happiness' was one of the most moving lines in the whole episode.

Will Ziva ever see Monique again? It more than possible the answer to that is 'no'. On the other hand there is some unfinished business between Ryan and Monique, so maybe that will be picked up on. Oh, wait, silly me, this is NCIS; they don't do that; they thrown in such things and we never hear about them again. But that wouldn't bother me. I'd happily see Monique again, but I'd happily never see Ryan again - but that won't happen; she will be back.

I find it somewhat chilling that the CIA use people in the way they do; how they used the Marine (thanks to them he died, okay he was a Marine so dying to protect his country was always on the cards, but this was under-hand) and they used the Chaplin - and nearly got her killed. And I got the impression from the two CIA agents that even had the Chaplin been dead, that as with the Marine it would be an acceptable loss because of all the good stuff they get from being able to track cartels. I thought of Ray during that scene in the van, because really that was his attitude too over the innocent he killed; you clearly do have to have a particular mind-set to be a member of the CIA!

It was good to see though that Ziva and Tony had no intention of coming home without the Chaplin - be she alive or dead. NCIS (well Team Gibbs) do seem to follow the Marine code of not leaving anyone behind. And it worked out okay at least for the Chaplin and her family as she did come home alive. And I suppose the Marine's family will at least know he died doing his duty and serving his country - which I presume will be of some small comfort to them.

I did think it was clever writing and directing the way we didn't see all the bangs and shooting as they rescued the Chaplin, in fact we didn't see anything of it from their point of view; we just saw Gibbs and Tim in MTAC watching the big explosion and Tim tracking the bug Tony had planted and then we cut to Ziva, Tony and the two Chaplins - that was extremely well done. Very underplayed and far better to let us imagine how it might have gone rather than show us it in full details, because after all we know how good Tony and Ziva are and how well they work together and I'm sure Monique is every bit as good as Ziva. So that was extremely well done.

The sub-plot: Jimmy's wedding outfit and who will be the best man was fun. Oh, boy, that bowtie in particular! I mean really how awful. And why are they getting married in Florida anyway? They both live in DC. I really had hoped that Ducky would have been Jimmy's best man because given he is Jimmy's mentor and the closest person to him within NCIS I felt Jimmy asking anyone else would have been an insult to Ducky.

But I do like how that was handled. I loved the conversation between Ducky and Jimmy in Autopsy when Jimmy was asking Ducky if he'd wear the tux, fully expecting Ducky to say no, but of course Ducky didn't. And then Ducky making it clear that whilst he would be honoured to be asked to be Jimmy's best man, he really didn't want to be - well he certainly didn't want to plan Jimmy's bachelor party and felt that a mentor does not make a good wing man. And I certainly got the impression from Jimmy's 'I was going . . .' comment that in fact he had decided to ask Ducky. So I was very happy with that.

I thought the discussion between Tony and Ziva in the squad room when Tony, in true fashion, thought it should be him, as he'd be the best person and Ziva's comment that it should be Tim as he and Jimmy are so alike, both highly intelligent and caring was lovely. And all that whilst Tim was just tapping away at his computer - very sweet indeed.

I loved Jimmy's little comment in the opening squad room scene when he was telling Tim and Tony to just tick grooms man as he had decided on his best man and Ziva said 'Gibbs' because her phone was ringing and Jimmy waxed lyrical about how much he'd like it to be Gibbs - very sweet indeed.

I thought Ziva was very sensible when she said she wasn't going to help Jimmy choose his best man, that she wasn't about to give him advice! Well said Ziva.

And then he chooses Abby; which was certainly in fitting with the weirdness of the setting and the outfits. I did like Gibbs's comment that he chose the best best man and the prettiest. And when it comes down to it, actually I can understand it, because one thing Jimmy didn't want to do was to offend anyone. Ducky had already ruled himself out; in effect Jimmy would never have asked Gibbs; so how better than to risk offending either Tim or Tony than to ask Abby, a female, to be his best woman?

I loved Abby's comment about her and Major Mass-Spec splitting up - wonderful.

As for the wedding - something will go wrong; I'm fairly sure of that. Quite what will go wrong I haven't decided. I don't know if we'll end with an explosion in the chapel (or wherever they ae getting married) and it won't be until the next season when we learn who lived and who died - and Breena is dead. Or they'll get to the crucial point in the ceremony and everyone's mobile phones go off and they all have to race off or what. But I'm sure this wedding will not happen as it's been planned to happen. Something will go wrong, I'm fairly certain of that.

Overall it was a middle of the road episode; nothing to really hate and nothing to really love. An okay episode with some good moments and lines and great interaction between our team - but I'm never a fan of splitting the team up episodes, so with that and Ryan (okay she wasn't quite a in your face as she had been in the previous Ryan episode) even with the whole wedding sub-plot it isn't getting high marks. It's not an episode I have the urge to run off and rewatch - but also not one I'm dreading re-watching when we get the DVDs later this year.

Favourite Scenes:
- The opening squad room scene with Jimmy in his suit and all the talk about the wedding.
- The crime scene with Ducky arriving and addressing Jethro only to have Ziva tell him Jethro wasn't there. Quite a surprise to all of them that Gibbs was actually late for a crime scene!
- Ducky and Jimmy in Autopsy talking about the wedding - a wonderful scene. I loved it.
- Tony and Ziva talking about who should be Jimmy's best man.
- Gibbs with the dustbin lid again when he whacks the CIA mule. (I swear that wasn't Sean Murray running but some kind of double).
- Jimmy and Abby's hug after he asked her to be his best man and Gibbs's arrival and his comment and the now almost weekly cheek kiss.
- Gibbs and Tim in MTAC when the are both smiling and Gibbs claps Tim on the back after they learn all is well; the rescue mission was a success.
- Ziva and Monique's parting; so underplayed and so very moving.

Things we learnt/had confirmed:
- Gibbs apparently doesn't have coffee in his house because he always gets it at the diner? Well I don't buy that, I have to say. Plus, we know he always takes his own beans from home when he goes on an over-nighter.
- Ducky was seconded to a parachute unit.

Minor Irks:
- Too little Ducky
- Too little Abby
- Too little Tim
- Dr. Ryan, especially her constantly lying to Gibbs
- Gibbs putting up with the way Ryan treated him
- Gibbs saying he doesn't keep coffee in the house

Pairing of the week:
Ducky and Jimmy

Character of the week:

Actor of the week:
Brian Dietzen

Storyline: 7.00

Enjoyment: 8.00 (for the wedding sub-plot)


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