NCIS Review: Shell Shocked and Awed

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While NCIS has been a primarily character-driven show, "Shell Shock Part I" was a exception, with the focus on the case. It was a very good one, too. Captain Westcott appeared to be suffering from severe PTSD, attacking a random person for no reason.

But there was more to the story, as the person he attacked was one of the men in the ambush in Afghanistan that made him into the damaged man he is today.

"Shell Shock, Part II," meanwhile, was unique in that the case was still fantastic, but we also enjoyed a good deal of the episode focusing on the characters as well, primarily Gibbs.

Abbs and Gibbs Photo

I've watched NCIS since the beginning of the series, and we don't often get to see an emotional side of Gibbs. The man is brilliant, solves cases, rarely smiles, and gives Dinozzo head-slaps on a regular basis - but that is it. This episode was an exception. 

While his focus continued to be on tracking down Cursey and neutralizing his plans, he became just as devoted to Westcott and making it clear to him that he's not alone; there are people who care about him.

This was especially important because Wescott's own father doesn't even given a damn, and his primary concern is just leaving so that he can get back to work. Gibbs truly cares. 

As he said himself, he used to be be on the other side and sent men like Westcott home all the time, hoping that they would be okay. This time, he had the chance to help. And he did.

Abby's ittle virtual reality experiment didn't help much in jogging Wescott's memory, but Gibbs was pure genius in his interrogation of Cursey when he got him pissed off enough to spit on Westcott's team member's picture, throwing Westcott into a rage and triggering the memory that Cursey's girlfriend is the accomplice.

That then triggered the memory that Cursey didn't drag Hall away with Hall begging his Captain for help. Westcott pulled Hall out of the line of fire instead. He didn't make it, but he certainly wasn't the coward he had always thought he was.

Harmon did an absolutely excellent job in this episode, as it shed a light on a part of the character that we rarely see. The only other recent episode I can remember where we get to see this side of Gibbs was the Season 6 episode "Broken Bird," where Gibbs helps Ducky deal with the trauma of knowing that he euthanized a man out of mercy while being in the military as a physician. As cold as Gibbs may seem at times, there is truly a big, warm heart underneath.

And, don't worry, Tiva shippers, I haven't forgotten about you. "Beach picnic, impromptu dancing, and the Opera" - the big three. 

DiNozzo was just obsessed to find out who Ziva is going to the opera with. After enough harassment, she finally revealed she was going alone to honor her deceased sister because she loved the opera so much, and it was her birthday.

The downside was the opera being out. What DiNozzo did next should tell us all that he truly does have deep feelings for Ziva. She didn't get tickets to that opera, but he made a CD of it for her to listen to, making it like she was there. Now, that's real chemistry going on there. 

Some say this is going to be the season for Tiva, and I can't wait to find out!


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (201 Votes)

This two parts was awesome in every way
The ending where Tony did that was so touching it made me tear up a bit Im all for more things like that it was awesome!!!


Good episode. I loved how deeply concerned Gibbs was about Westcott.... And I loved seeing Brad Beyer. I loved his character in Jericho some years back, and I just wish he'd show up more often. Also, WHY didn't Tony stay to listen to the opera with Ziva? The way she had finally opened up about Tali, you'd think she could have dealt with him being there.


I didn'tike the show. I usually love it but I gut the war thing is depressing. I know it's real but I'd rather not watch shows about it.


Oh, just one more thing -- how can Tiva be sinking the show when neither this weeks' moment, or the one last week, were featured in the promo? Perhaps if they had been featured in the promos, the ratings would have been much higher.


@Michael Michael, my lad, if you want to go ahead and voice your -- opinion -- I say go ahead. I think it has been shown that you are pretty much in the minority here, but hey, so what? Go ahead and keep posting.


Just give Mark Harmon next year's Emmy already!


NCIS is one show that never fails to give us quality. This ensemble cast and great writing makes NCIS the fine show it is and it never disappoints. This two parter was a mystery until the end and I personally enjoyed it to the fullest. Also DiNozzo also shows he can be thoughtful and kind and did show that he has feelings for Ziva with the opera music to soothe her sadness for her yearly tribute to her deceased sister and not being able to get tickets for live opera.


Clearly most of y'all missed a BIG point of the show. They dropped the D. It is now PTS no D. It is not just a disorder, PTS is a serious condition.
Dropping the D should take some of the stigma that comes with admitting you are suffering with this debilitating condition.
To all the vets and their families who deal with PTS daily, I thank you for your sacrifice and pray for you on your road to your new normal.


I loved the aria. It is one of my favorites. I wish there that there would have been enough time to finish it. As far as PTSD is concerned, I wonder if the hawkish politicians that push us into these winless wars would be so anxious to have America go into these wars if they had to go themselves. PTSD will effect their immediate family and if the children observe this, then they will in turn think it is a normal way and become abusers themselves. Let the politicians go to war and spare our youth.


Wow. The writers are back on track! Solid episode, good coverage of PTSD. No guest stars taking up too much screen time and character development away from the team we love. Gibbs was perfect, he dealt with the shell-shocked veteran with such compassion. He even had some empathy for Tony, telling Ziva, "Hey, cut the guy some slack. It's the Opera. One of the Big Three." Very nice understanding between Tony and Ziva developing. Good to see that, the writers had made Cote's character too B!+(#y in the past. @Michael. You are sooooo . . . strange. Find another show to watch on Tuesday nights and spare us your childish tantrums.

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