As the season continues, it’s hard not to wonder what the writers plan for the main story arc of the season. It’s hard to tell if one episode will truly be a one-off or if one will actually contribute to the story arc of the season. Not all one-off’s are horrible, and this week’s episode certainly falls into that category. While it does offer a hint of interesting character development, it ultimately fumbles in attempting to develop one of the weakest characters.
From an episode entitled ‘Incognito,’ it’s no surprise that it starts right off with Bishop and McGee undercover pretending to be a couple. And then of course after the title sequence it flashes back to a week earlier. With surprisingly a lot of factors going on in this episode, it basically boils down to the team having to do surveillance on a couple who they suspect has murdered Major Newton, an acquaintance of the NCIS team.
Newton is found dead towards the beginning of the episode. He made contact with Gibbs the night before to talk about something, specifically pertaining to an armory theft case two years ago. He had worked with Gibbs and the team on the case and had a theory about it that he never let go of. Essentially, the case was never fully solved and bleeds into this new one (in a convoluted way).
The beginning of the episode establishes its specific focus on McGee and Bishop. It’s really more about Bishop, especially towards the end, but McGee is important too. McGee manages to accidentally ruin Bishop’s surprise anniversary plans for Jake, creating friction in their friendship. While conducting their surveillance, Bishop reveals to McGee that things are not all well with her and Jake. This begrudgingly insinuates that this is going to come up again in the season. Or at least it better in a way that doesn’t make bringing it up pointless. Having the only thing that the writers can really do with Bishop is have problems with Jake shows that they didn’t put enough thought into her character in the first place. It’s really the only thing she has going for her at this point and it’s getting tedious. Let’s hope their relationship ends so the writers can stop using their relationship issues as a cop-out to avoid any true development with Bishop.
Although despite my rant, it is worth applauding the writers for having Bishop fully defend herself after she’s attacked by the husband they suspect murdered his wife. Gibbs and Tony show up with the intention to save her, but thankfully she handled it all on her own. A lot of shows and movies haven’t really caught on to this insane concept yet, and it’s nice to see it done in this show with their weakest character. It’s the one redeeming aspect of this episode and really of Bishop so far. It’s a shame the writers couldn’t just stick to that aspect instead of the main focus being about her issues with Jake.
The episode itself gets surprisingly dark, with the couple that Bishop and McGee are watching being substantially more sinister than at first glance. The woman who appears to be the wife isn’t actually the wife but a woman that the husband met who decided to team up and do bad things together, like kill the husband’s actual wife. And well, Bishop does find the wife when she sneaks into the house…in a box with her various body parts sealed in bags. While I like seeing NCIS go the dark route, it’d be nice to see it more smoothly integrated into the show instead of randomly slapped on at the end episodes. Especially since a lot of this episode is Tony finding out who his ancestors are and if he’s related to British royalty. Not the most compelling or even that funny of a subplot.
While this episode has its ups and its extremely heavy downs, there is at least a hint of character development with Bishop (despite my angry Jake rant). She does have potential to be a more memorable character, but if the writers insist on having her storyline constantly revolve around Jake then she’s not going to amount to anything special. In terms of McGee, it’s curious that there’s no mention of Delilah in this episode (or in this season yet at all). Not sure what this means, but it could foreshadow some McGee centered episodes. Let’s hope that the writers don’t screw those up too.