NCIS 12×14 ‘Cadence’: Flashbacks galore


NCIS is back this week with a very character themed episode. While it’s not my favorite character (McGee will always be my number one), Tony DiNozzo episodes are usually pretty good so I was not too disappointed.  NCIS knows how to do specific character episodes very well, and always manages to reveal more about each character. Even though the show has been on for so long, it’s still able to give us good character development which is a very lovely thing.

This week’s episode starts with the discovery of the dead body of Private Wallis, a young cadet who had just graduated from a military prep school and had started his official training. It’s revealed that the prep school he went to, Remington Military Academy, is the same one that Tony attended (hence why it’s a DiNozzo episode). So Tony and Bishop go to the academy (which is set in my home state of Rhode Island, oh yeah) after finding out that the private still had connections there.



While the main focus of the episode is on Tony and his strained relationship with that part of his life, there are some minor subplots that are kind of important (and when I say some I really mean one). Bishop and her husband Jake (yes, Jake makes another appearance) want to take Tony, McGee, and Gibbs out to dinner so Jake can get to know them better. While it is a nice gesture, it still doesn’t really make me like than anymore than I should. The only interesting thing that comes out of it is that Bishop and Tony get caught up in the case and end up not making the dinner, which leaves Jake and Gibbs to eat on their own (McGee shows up briefly and then hilariously bails). Gibbs and Jake seem to have a good time, but mostly because Gibbs asks Jake (in confidence) if the NSA has any information or current operations going on that involve the Russians (I’m guessing mainly Sergei Mishnev). It’s a nice nod to whatever is going to happen with that story arc.

Continuing my rant about Bishop, I still find her a bit superfluous (and really not that interesting). Again, I think her whole purpose in the show is to serve as a soundboard for other characters problems. But even then she’s very awkward about it, like when she’s trying to talk to Tony about his time at military school. Maybe that’s supposed to be part of her character, but if it is it doesn’t really do anything to make her interesting. And even her relationship with Jake is boring, seeing as the only other time he shows up is so the two of them can interact and have dinner with the rest of team. To make them more compelling they need to be able to hold their own. Part of me feels like I’m getting too into this so I’m going to stop now and move on to other things.



Like the flashbacks of Tony during his time at the military Academy. I’m not sure if we’ve seen a young Tony before (at least not that young). It’s interesting how this season has focused on past events with some characters (most notably the Ducky episode from earlier on in the season where we also see his younger self). It let’s us see a side to them that hasn’t been shown yet, in this case it’s a part of Tony’s past that he tries to forget. But the reason why he wants to forget it isn’t as substantial as it should be. It kind of fits with his character but at the same time it doesn’t make us sympathize with him that much. He explains why he doesn’t talk about his time at Remington (something about not fitting in). For wanting to forget that part of his life completely, it just doesn’t seem like a good enough reason, which makes his acceptance of it at the end of the episode formulaic and not really character driven.

Despite my minor bashings of the episode, it was nice to see more of Tony’s past. Plus we find out where he got his movie quoting habit from (Coach Tanner, the one person from the Academy that looked out for him). In terms of the actual plot of the episode, it throws in some good twists and turns that fit in well with what was already established. Tony’s former coach and now the provost of the school becoming a suspect was kind of an obvious red-herring, but it did help to add to Tony’s character development. The outcome of the case was decent, compared to past episodes where I felt the conclusion was lacking. It seems that the writers have telepathically heard my plea.

With about nine or ten more episodes to go, I’m glad to say that season 12 has ultimately been a strong one so far (despite my minor complaints). For a show that’s been going on for 12 seasons, it’s good to see that the writers are still able to come up with original and (at times) compelling story lines. But the main determinant of how the season will fare overall is going to be the final showdown between Sergei Mishnev and Gibbs (and whatever leads up to it). Let’s hope the writers bring back the momentum they built up from the Diane episode and are able to bring it home in the last few episodes.



Sarah Lord

is a college student in New York City. Her extreme knowledge of British comedians and TV shows almost surpasses her general love for film. When she’s not sitting in her apartment/nerd cave reviewing movies and TV shows, she sometimes makes time for long walks in the moonlight. Check her out on YouTube, Twitter and Tumblr as TheSplord.

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