After a lackluster Halloween episode, it looks like the writers wanted to make up for it by making this week’s episode oddly comedic. With some guest stars, including Jessica Walters, it certainly is a strange one, and also suffers from having just a little too much in it.
This week’s episode starts up again in the woods of Virginia where apparently dead bodies like to end up. The body of Lieutenant Hayes is found, who Ducky immediately recognizes by name. Apparently out of his own loneliness and lack of a partner, Ducky joined an amateur detective group named after Sherlock Holmes. Recognizable TV actors play members of the group, including Jessica Walters, and they become a slightly important and amusing part of the episode, especially in their interactions with Gibbs.
Speaking of Gibbs, it’s nice to see the writers utilizing his deadpan sense of humor. Usually he doesn’t get to join in the comedy that often as much as his team, but it’s a very nice change of pace and makes the silly things the writers add in actually kind of worth it. Like the fact that McGee got a manicure and Gibbs is totally okay with it and even jokes about McGee not ruining it while investigating a crime scene. Yes, it’s silly and unnecessary but the writers seem to be experimenting with the humor, testing out certain character participation. It’d certainly be in their best interest to give Gibbs more comedic/deadpan material for the rest of the season.
The character who has nothing interesting going for her in this episode is Bishop (no surprise). As soon as the episode starts, Bishop is immediately talking about Jake and how she’s just glad that he’s home safe, although clearly she doesn’t seem happy at all. And of course it’s never brought up again for the rest of the episode. The writers have to be smart enough to just be doing this as build up to an episode that will be all about Bishop and Jake’s relationship. Let’s just hope that this episode comes up soon because I think most fans are ready for Bishop to talk about more than just her problematic relationship with Jake.
While being a relatively typical NCIS episode (apart from a more comedic Gibbs), Abby becomes randomly involved pretty much halfway through the episode. She apparently messed up several years ago on a case when the wrong man was convicted, and it’s his dad that’s killed at the beginning of the episode who was trying to prove his son’s innocence. It just seemed like she’s suddenly thrown into the episode as an important character, making the ending cheesy and not as genuine as it could be. It really just should have been more Abby focused from the beginning with the ending they decided to go with it.
This season so far has been a bit choppy. The writers are clearly still trying to get there groove back, experimenting with certain storylines and characters. The strongest they have been is in the episode that was all about Vance (who now has been strangely absent for the last few episodes). The fans are certainly just waiting for what the main storyline of the season is going to be. My feeling is that it will involve Bishop and Jake somehow. And Jake himself has got to make an actual appearance at some point instead of just being mentioned by Bishop. While the writers did well with the comedy this episode (more so than in the past), they still need to prove themselves in terms of coming up with a compelling overarching storyline for the season.