NCIS 12×16 ‘Blast from the Past’: Gibbs is better than a smartphone

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Well, after the supposedly most important episode of the season comes and goes (with many complaints from me), it looks like it’s filler episode time. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good filler episode and NCIS is generally very good at them. Well they kind of have to be because only so many episodes of a season are going to be part of the over arching plot of the season. Again, there’s no clear way of how this season is going to end, so there’s a good chance that a lot of the upcoming episodes will be standard cases. Let’s find out if that’s a good thing or not.

This week’s episode starts with a man driving a car and following the directions of his GPS (always a risky move) and ends up being shot dead through the windshield of his car. Things get interesting when it’s discovered that the victim’s name is Leland Spears, who’s name was flagged by NIS (what NCIS used to be back in the 90s before they changed the name) and ends up being an identity that Gibbs used when he went deep undercover.

CBS

CBS

The identity, which was supposed to be destroyed, never was and was somehow given to this man so he could gather data on gallium nitride, a compound used for military weaponry and is coveted worldwide, mostly by people who want it for not so nice reasons. Things get a bit more serious with this discovery, since intelligence agencies don’t want it or the data to fall into the wrong hands. A second body is found later on in the episode of a man who also had an identity used in NIS undercover missions (the identity was used by Mike Franks in those days).

Gibbs and the team find the woman (who appears innocent at first) who made the IDs for the NIS operations. It’s revealed later in the episode that she was the one who provided the two men (who end up being Serbians) with the supposedly destroyed IDs. And after some more investigating, the team finds out that the two men had a handler and discover that he’s the one who had both men killed (the reason for it not entirely clear).

While it’s a decent and standard NCIS episode, there are semi-important elements that come up that have to do more with character development than anything else. The main theme of the episode is Gibbs constant indifference towards new technology, which has come up in usually amusing ways in past episodes and does here as well. The team is a bit surprised when Gibbs tells them that the identity he was given when he did undercover work with NIS was an IT guy. And we see him briefly do it again in this episode, much to the dismay of McGee (our beloved tech geek). It is relatively amusing to see Gibbs struggle with continuous technological advances, despite it being something we’ve seen before (but to be fair it hasn’t been the center of an episode for quite some time). It reminds us that Gibbs is never going to change (at least in the ways that make him Gibbs).

CBS

CBS

And now it’s time to get to the real critique of the episode (AKA when I start complaining about Bishop). I know I keep saying that we need to get to know Bishop more but only if the information given to us makes her interesting. Having her be someone who can’t even watch most movies all the way through is not going to make her more interesting, it’s going to make her annoying and unrelatable (because while Top Gun might not be everyone’s cup of tea, how can you find Big boring?). I feel like the writers don’t take their time when finding new ways to develop her character. The one kind of interesting tidbit about her that came out from this episode is the fact that she’s scared that aspects of the job (like going undercover) will affect her marriage. While this a normal fear for someone in her line of work, it just doesn’t go anywhere and it leaves me still not really caring about her.

Yes, I still have many problems with Bishop and with how last week’s episode went (it’s going to take me a while to get over that). And while this week’s episode was fine for what it was (a standard NCIS episode with some tech stuff in it), it’s hard to not still feel disappointed. Again, maybe the writers have something devious planned for the end of season 12 (gosh I hope so), but to have such an anti-climactic episode last week followed by such a typical episode this week makes it hard to look forward to what the rest of the season has in store. If I’m being too harsh, it’s because I want the show to do well. And mostly because I hate seeing squandered potential (why do I sound like a disappointed parent?). Here’s to hoping I’m wrong and that this season gets good again.

 

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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