Tis the season for themed episodes, and with Halloween in just a few days all the TV shows are coming out with their specific Halloween themed episodes. NCIS is usually good at this sort of thing, but it’s a new year and a new season. Let’s see if their knack for capturing the Halloween spirit is still there.
This week’s episode starts off with the murder of Petty Officer Adam Myers who is supposedly killed by a serial killer known as the Tri-State Sniper. But of course the team discovers that the murder is made to look like it was committed by the sniper and in fact it’s not. Because the case itself is pretty simple and straightforward, it’s no wonder that the writers stuck in some subplots. But instead of adding to the actual episode, the subplots only provide clutter, not clarity.
The first subplot that dwindles towards the end of the episode revolves around the fact that Delilah and McGee are moving in together. Things aren’t going well in that department with McGee not too willing to compromise. Not the most exciting subplot, especially since it doesn’t really amount to anything except that McGee does eventually learn to compromise (duh).
The other subplot that really throws off the episode revolves around Bishop and Jake. Jake is off on a need to know NSA trip and Bishop is not happy about it. So much so that she somehow finds out where he is (Dubai), and the hotel he’s staying at is bombed and Bishop spends most of the episode not knowing if Jake is alive or not. While by the end of the episode Bishop finds out that he made it, it’s still not a very satisfying ending, especially since it needlessly took away from the actual plot of the episode.
It’s unclear why the writers decided to throw in the whole Jake possibly being killed subplot into this week’s episode. It definitely could and should have waited to be the main plot or at least main subplot to an episode instead of being shoehorned into this season’s one and only Halloween episode. Obviously Jake and Bishop’s relationship and his near death experience will continue on to future episodes, but it doesn’t seem worth exploring unless the writers really do something compelling with it instead of just sticking some of it needlessly into an episode.
In terms of being Halloween themed, this week’s episode is not very Halloween-y. I’m still praising last season’s Halloween episode with the young girl who turned out to be the killer. Now that was worthy of being a Halloween episode. But unfortunately ‘Viral’ could have been any old NCIS episode, the writers just decided to throw in some Halloween decorations in it every so often. It also doesn’t bode too well for the direction that this season may take. Unless the writers can really pull off something interesting and new, fans aren’t really going to be interested in a season revolving completely around Bishop and Jake.
Despite my disappoint, it’s nice to see that Rocky Carroll (Director Vance) directed this episode. It’ll be interesting to see if any of the other actors will take on the challenge, but it certainly is a treat to see what Carroll is capable of behind the camera. In terms of the actual content of the episode, there’s a lot that could have been improved upon, and hopefully the writers get that and will make sure to make the rest of the season worth watching.