Gibbs is his father's son. Executive producer Shane Brennan drilled that point into our heads all summer, but true fans already knew it beforehand. Jackson Gibbs said it best Tuesday on NCIS' season premiere, "Spider and the Fly," when told that he's just like Jethro:
"No, ma'am, he's just like me."
Despite the precarious situation we left him in last May, you knew the elder Gibbs wasn't going out like some punk. About thirty seconds into season eight, he proved us right.
You knew Mike Franks would turn up at some point, too.
After Jackson thwarted Paloma's attempt to kill him in the store, we fast forward several months to find him still living with his son under around-the-clock security detail.
Jethro suspected Reynosa would return to finish the job, and he was right. Having gone rogue for months, Mike Franks had the same gut feeling and showed up to help.
Watching Gibbs, his father and his mentor all plotting together was a real treat. Their line reading is always pitch perfect and we learn much about our hero through them.
Together, they devised a plan to draw out and trap their adversaries, and with a little help from Vance and Alejandro's lust for revenge, this fishing expedition was a success.
The bogus note Tony handed Vance, then left for Alejandro to find was the final clue. Well executed by NCIS, but a bit far-fetched that he'd fall for it hook, line and sinker.
"Spider and the Fly" refers to Paloma walking right into Gibbs' trap, in this case a safe house. Again, how would they know Alejandro would shoot the place up from outside?
In any case, we liked that Gibbs & Co. never had to shoot anybody. Gibbs already killed Pedro Hernandez. Merely outfoxing his offspring was a fitting resolution decades later.
Vance often clashes with Gibbs, but he has his back.
In addition to Mark Harmon, Rocky Carroll was terrific in this episode, particularly when Vance got in Alejandro's face, then carried out the team's incredibly risky ruse to snare him.
Vance remains a complex, intriguing character. If there were any questions about where his loyalties lie, however, they were largely answered in the closing sequence Tuesday night.
His burying of Abby's report on the Hernandez case in the warehouse was reminiscent of the classic ending of Raiders of the Lost Ark, and hopefully keeps Gibbs' secret safe for good.
With nuanced acting, sharp writing and some high-powered action, this was a solid episode of NCIS, wrapping up last season's long-running story arc appropriately and dramatically.
Next week, we'll hopefully return to more traditional episodes with heavier doses of Tony, Ziva, McGee, Abby and Ducky, all of whom were great, but in ancillary roles last night.
Random thoughts and observations:
- How intrigued was Tony by Ziva's lack of tan lines, and how jealous was he about her new "friend"? This guy does not know subtlety; watching him squirm is always fun.
- What will the return of Eli David entail? Who/what did he find?
- Remind us, if we're ever trying to establish a drug pipeline across North America, to wear bug spray and only eat at Chili's, TGI Fridays, etc. Then we could be anywhere!
- When did Abby get that car?
- Poor Tim, always out in the cold.
What did you think of last night's NCIS season premiere? Were you happy with the resolution? What did you like and/or dislike the most? Comment below!