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)

what was the opera??? what was the name of that aria?


I think season 10 will be on in the UK in Jan. If u download a program called Hotspot shield u can watch it on cbs website. The program allows u to watch anything in the US.


Something this episode made me think about is a difference between Tony and Gibbs, both of whom were described by Vance as (paraphrasing) old school and alike, as opposed to McGee who is a new model agent with computer skills. Tony is always doing things like the opera CD, such as tracking down the kid using McGee's credit cards, or his trying to help the bookstore girl who was ricin pellet poisoned; but Gibbs is more intense/focused and easily offers a place to crash, but I think has tended to expect people to then help themselves ... except every once in awhile he's more mellow regarding a veteran -- like that Christmas episode involving The Wall. It just struck me that this is a change for Gibbs, recognizing that he's on the home side now and there are things he ought to do, like he might do more of them.


BTW, it was revealed in the 2-parter Kill Ari that Tali had died...the victim of a suicide bomber at the age of 16.


Excellent 2-parter for NCIS. The case is important but the personal interactions so much moreso. PTSD is a big problem for some returning vets and also for other folks who just suffer terrible, traumatic events. I am glad to see it being treated with such intelligence and caring for the victims. Gibbs does have a big ol' heart hidden under his gruff exterior. Harmon did an excellent job of showing just how frustrating it can be to try to help folks sometimes. And the moments between Tony and Ziva were most revealing, at least to this long time TIVA fan. Tony taking that big step during their conversation in the car about how he thought they were now to a point where they could talk about "things that matter." Which then led to his extremely sweet and caring gesture in the office with the Puccini CD. I do hope this is the year of TIVA. We've waited a very long time.


@tiva hi tiva glad you liked the episode last night think the next episode will be great.


really sad that NCIS got it ass kick by the Voice over at NBC I hope these is a sign to the writers that Tiva is killing the show and their fanbase


This is why NCIS is a top rated drama series. PTSD is a real problem that you don't hear much about. I hope if anything comes from these episodes it's that the people know there's help out there and that there are people who care. I was fine with not seeing Gibbs Thanksgiving set up because that really wasn't what the episode was about even though this is Thanksgiving week. Sure they could have went with that at the end, but I'm glad they didn't. As far as Tony/Ziva....I'm tired of how they are dragging that out.......put them together or not already......


Ziva will hopefully get a bare-bottom spanking with panties-down cornertime from Tony, showing just how much he loves her!


would love to know when season 10 starts in England

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