NCIS Review: Shell Shocked and Awed

at . Comments

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
  • 4.8 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (201 Votes)

This weeks episode was superb! Fine acting by Harmon and loved the guy who played the Captain-there are so many soldiers out there that have been damaged because of the war and have PTSD. As for the TIVA moments..can I just say aweeee???! What a sweetheart Tony was to let Ziva have a CD of the opera. Goes to show you hat underneath all that funny exterior that there is indeed a true sweetheart and a caring individual. It was nice to see this side of Tony for once..and I do love his funny side as well..but that little moment with him and Ziva in the end had me going awe. I can't wait to see what'll pan out next for these two!

Sue ann

I do not understand why anyone bothers to read what Michael says. He is an idiot and a provocateur. Ignore him. Responding just feeds his fantasies. One point no one has thus far mentioned, and which occurred to me last night watching the episode, was how brilliantly the young actor portrayed the soldier with PTSD. He really was wonderful. I don't know who he is, and have not seen him before, but I believed him, 100%. Superb.


This was a fantastic episode. I love how Gibbs wouldn't give up on Wescott and how Wescott found out he didn't run away. I liked the Tiva moment at the end. Tony was so sweet and I think he has matured a lot in the past 2 years. I can't wait for next week's Abby and Ziva girl power episode. Pauley and Cote got their wish! @Michael- Your last comment made no sense. What's your problem? Are you a fan of the show or just a hater that likes to annoy all the other fans? You spend all your time saying that the writers should kill off characters or how much you hate Ziva. If you hate the show so much, why are you still watching it? Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but your claims are just ridiculous.


It must really suck to be in charge of a show in this day and age, between one group of fan base that is closed minded and does not want the show to change at all and only want what they want. Then there the fans who ask for something new and say how the show is the same thing every week. Everyone say Hollywood has run out of idea but I think the real issue is we the people are so dam selfish that no matter what Hollywood they lose.


Very good episode. MH was amazing-such a good actor. Loved his scene with DM.Gibbs and Ducky are always something to watch.
Thank you NCIS for trying to shed some light and understanding of PTSD.
Tony and Ziva's scenes were-WOW!!. MW and Cote work together so well. What Tony did at the end was very loving.


I love how only pro Tiva people can have a voice when it come to NCIS just like people who are pro life can only tell us what to do with our children

Josie leeds

Michael: you so consistently disparage NCIS,especially Ziva, I can't help but wonder why you bother to watch? Are you a closet masochist? Or are you just a professional whiner? Please--do yourself (and the rest of us) a favor and get a life...somewhere else.
As for this 2-parter--it was superb! Just the right balance of all of the characters, the subject matter timely and handled very well. As often as I growl at the writers, they did a bang up job on this one. Nice job letting Tony show a tiny streak of maturity. Just don't get complacent.


@ Michael -- I don't know if you mean something else (NBC won the November sweeps, could that be it?), but the ratings report for last night on this site, TV Fanatic, has The Voice at 9.3 million and NCIS at 16.4 million.


I"m not a fan of Tony. I find him annoying and wish he would grow up. Last night's episode was the first time I found him to have more than one dimension and found the end touching.


@ellen sheehan The aria was "O Mio Babbino Caro" from Gianni Schicchi by Puccini. It's lovely and has been one of my favorites for a long time :)

Tags: ,