NCIS is back this week with an episode that focuses a lot on the past. With the slew of recent episodes that have been more or less filler (last week’s is a little bit of an exception with the appearance of Delilah), it’s no surprise that this one is still on the same lines. Again, there’s no real sense of where the ending of the season is going to take us. I guess after all the bickering I just have to look at each episode as it comes instead of focusing on how the season is possibly going to end (and end in a good way, but I’ll stop now). With that said, let’s get this review going, shall we?
This week’s episode starts with a drive by shooting of a man and woman. The man is identified as a petty officer, yet he is not listed in the navy’s records and it’s discovered that the man was Lieutenant Louis Preston, intelligence specialist. He used Lolita, the woman killed in the car with him, as an asset. It all gets a little complicated when the vehicle they were in was registered to a need-to-know operation that Gibbs, Vance and Tony were conducting.
The op has to do with a bombing that went off in Metropolitan airport in 1979. The case went cold until two years ago when a bomb was discovered in Columbia that was basically the same as the bomb used in the Metropolitan airport attack, therefore the bombs were made by the same person. The op was formed to track down the bomb maker and this is there first real lead since then. Their main suspect is Tomas Orlando, a Colombian drug king. This conveniently leads back to the murder from the beginning of the episode; Lolita was meeting with Lieutenant Preston to give him a hair sample supposedly from Tomas Orlando which would connect him to the 1979 bombing.
While that is the crux of the episode, other little things happen like McGee being pissed off because he wasn’t included in the operation but Tony was. It’s kind of a cop out by the writers whenever they do this to McGee, making him pissy and annoyed because Tony is usually Gibb’s go-to agent. The reason why they do this is because they clearly are running out of things to keep the dynamic going between the team. McGee’s jealousy is a bit out of character, or at least it’s just bringing him back to how he was in earlier seasons (a little arrogant, easily flustered). Last week’s episode, while having it’s flaws, did develop McGee a little bit. This episode, however, does nothing for his development but just makes him annoying (that’s very hard for me to say but hey, it’s true).
The episode then tries to insert some humor by having Bishop and DiNozzo go undercover as parents to get into a class run by a relative of Tomas Orlando’s. While this is mildly amusing, it’s clear that it’s just an attempt to make Bishop feel more like part of the gang and show that she can hold her own while being paired with Tony. It’s a decent attempt but ultimately isn’t too memorable. Despite my complaints, I’m hoping that an upcoming episode will focus on Bishop more so she can become a more interesting and vital character to the show.
The rest of the episode is decently intense, what with the stealth mission to capture Tomas Orlando (which is a dead end because he’s not there). It’s also a bit of a surprise when Orlando shows up at NCIS headquarters, seeking asylum from the US and says that he was set up for the bombing. It ends up being true and the team finds the guy who actually did it (his name is of no real significance because he does not actually show up in the episode).
A reasonable episode at best, but it’s clear that the writers still need to step up their game for the rest of the season. I’ll keep the bickering to a minimum, but fans will only be interested in filler episodes for so long (at least that applies to this fan). I still think there’s hope for the writers to turn all of this around and to end the season with something big. What that something could be I can’t even begin to fathom, but the writers have done it before and I hope to everything that they can do it again. The first step is bringing back the grittiness that was present in episodes towards the beginning of the season. If they can do that, then there is still hope yet.