NCIS Review: Be It Ever So Humble...

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Simply put, this was one of the best NCIS Season 10 episodes so far. And it was almost exclusively the Tony show too. So many things to talk about...

In "You Better Watch Out," the team was called in to investigate the death of an unemployed Navy husband, who - as it turns out - had been stockpiling new unreleased $100 bills and running up enormous debts. Only he ended up trying to use a few of them before he was meant to, which turned out to be very bad for his health.

Because the crime involved currency, the Secret Service had to step in, specifically Special Agent Ashley Winter. Though she seems entirely narcissistic (as evidenced by the fact she's clawing her way to the top of her career), I really hope we see her again. In fact, you have to wonder if maybe she might prove to be a good romantic foil for DiNozzo. Gas on fire perhaps?

The bigger surprise was a visit by Tony Sr., who blithely chose to bunk with his son instead of staying at a hotel. End result: we got to learn so much more about them both. 

Junior and Senior

Tony has always sort of tolerated his dad. Marginally. And we got a peek into why that was:

McGee: You should appreciate your father. I never had family traditions.
Tony: Well. We haven't had them for years. Traditions kind of died with my grandfather. Senior was kind of an absentee parent, you know? Longstanding customs kind of disappeared. Along with a certain family signet ring. It was always passed on to the next generation on the Christmas of the son's 21st birthday. I never got it. Senior claimed it was stolen. "I was mugged, Junior." But I think he pawned it during the bad times. | permalink

His ambivalence toward his father involved more than just the ring of course. But that seeming betrayal symbolized all that he disliked about him.

We also got to learn about Tony's private life:

Tony Senior: That's your bed?
Tony: Yeah.
Tony Senior: Not much room for play.
Tony: Well when I come home, dad, I sleep. Alone.
Tony Senior: You're serious?
Tony: Dad this is my sanctuary. Okay? If I'm going to see a lady I will stay at her place. That way I can leave when I want, and nobody overstays their welcome. | permalink

This thing about his apartment is important... only his father didn't seem to get it. He didn't respect his son's sense of solitude about the place, and ended up bringing Tony's anger to a boil when he hosted the woman across the hall - and did so in Tony's bedroom! Not cool, dad. I truly felt Tony's pain about that.

It was hard not to notice Ziva's keen observation of the two of them, as well. It's like she's gathering information about Tony all the time now, watching him to see what makes him tick. Even the innocent comment about never having been invited to his place (near the beginning) hinted at a question mark, didn't it? And she seems to treasure Tony Sr. almost like a father. I loved the scene where she ends up laying her head against his chest, smiling.

Tony and McGee's visit to the landfill site brought to mind the truism that probably everyone has at least one person in his lives who keeps them grounded and humble. For Tony it's his father. And for McGee... it's Tony. I laughed out loud when Tony's eyes lit up upon learning that McGee was the college mascot at MIT.

This excellent episode rounded out so nicely after Tony discovered that his father did in fact give him the family signet ring, as a means of atonement. The shared "I love you's between father and son put some dust in my eyes.

There's so much more, but it's time for you to share your thoughts. Before you do, some final notes:

  • There are a bunch of NCIS quotes from this episode that you might want to check out, some funny, some thoughtful.
  • This is the first time we've seen Tony's apartment, ever. It's elegant, stylish and military-neat. I was surprised to see that his small twin bed was perfectly made.
  • There was a lot of great Christmas music throughout the episode. Many were jazz pieces by Andy Williams, but there was one remarkable song that played near the beginning when Abby was in the lab: a rendition of "Away in a Manager" by Plan 9.  Great tune!
  • This is Tony Senior's fourth visit. Hopefully we'll get to see him many more times.
  • Tony has a goldfish. He talks to it. It's named Kate.


Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (210 Votes)

Douglas Wolfe is a staff writer for TV Fanatic Follow him on Twitter



I found this to be a mediocre episode, and I'm not sure why. I think perhaps Tony was over the top a touch when dealing with his father in the apartment. (Gorgeous apartment. Interesting that it has a step down at the entry, just like Ziva's apartment did. Um, even when people sleep alone, they often do have a double bed, so it seems a little forced that Tony only has a twin.) And clearly, Tony wanted nothing to do with the nosy neighbor, but Senior in bringing her into Tony's apartment and bedroom, he disrespected Tony's privacy (among other things!) Loved Tony's glee when learning more about McGee from Stewie at the dump, though I'm not sure why they were pushing the Osama Bin Laden anniversary right now (apart from that almost no one remembered it). I liked Ziva's take on the holiday season. Being Jewish, I have a lot of mixed feelings about it (Hanukkah is really a relatively small holiday and not supposed to be about gifts—not that I turn them away!).


So, this episode we have a father trying to make amends and in the end, succeeding. The next two-parter is Eli trying to do the same with Ziva, but I doubt the results will be the same, unless he dies protecting her life, and in his dying breath asks for forgiveness and gives his blessing for her new American life- I can see him dying, maybe even to protect her. But the rest- NAH!


Tony Sr is Tony Sr and he did what was expected BUT I understand "not in my bed". The Christmas show was good, not too mushy, really like a real family. We all have expectations that are not met and sometimes we have to get over them and let the love fly. In the end that what happened, the love came out.


The thing with the ring reminded me (and I really think was intended to remind people) of the scene in Seven Years in Tibet when the Brad Pitt character tracked down and returned the family watch/heirloom to his "friend" years after Pitt's character had conned his friend into trading it out of selfishness to keep the _several_ junk watches Pitt had accumulated. What it symbolized in the movie was the transformation of Pitt's character, which was what the movie was about. I think Senior's tracking down the ring and passing it on to Tony was the same idea.


Great episode. I thought it was funny that tony has a gold fish named Kate that he talks to and said was getting fat. It was great that toneys dad gave toney the ring he was suppose to get on the Christmas he was 21. Toneys place was nothing that I expected. Can't wait till the show returns.


Not a great episode to me it was just OK. Tony was wayyyy over the top in this show and it came across as forced to me. I get the impression that Michael Weatherly just loves Robert Wagner and tries so hard to impress him. I don't think he does his best work like that. They have had such wonderful Christmas shows ( Silent Night). I guess by the 4th time that Senior's been on in Tony's adult life I don't see the reason for his dislike of his father. Forgiveness goes a long way. I agree it might be time to give Robert Wagner a year off although I thought Mr. Wagner was great last night acting like Santa giving out presents, making cookies, dinner, etc. Just didn't make Tony look very adult in this show.


The one thing I noticed about Tony's apartment was that there are no pictures on the wall. I think I saw a movie poster, but that was about it. I don't get it when people do that. i think it makes the place so 'cold'. That's how his apartment felt to was clean, neat and sophisticated....but it was very lacking in 'warmth'. In a sense it was Gibbs-like.
I also noticed that Ziva had Tony's school days photo taped to her computer. Cute.


Good Christmas episode.


it was xmas episode not bad didnt like ashley winter at all nice the way @michael tony never loved kate.he does love ziva.


OK I love NCIS Christmas episodes. This one was my least favorite Senior episode though. I really was getting angry at Tony for being so mean to his father. I guess everything that happened in our state of Ct this week I just found his behavior petty and very un-Tony like and a ring made the difference not the dinner that his father was cooking or the fact he came to visit. The plot line was weak but the interaction between the characters was great as always. I really hope though that they give Wagner a year off. It is beginning to stretch now that Tony resents his fathers behavior from 30 years ago. The next episodes sound great though and very intense.

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NCIS Season 10 Episode 10 Quotes

Stewie: This was one crazy dude in college. Really knew how to have a good time.
Tony: Shut up. No way.
Stewie: Did he tell you he was the school mascot?
Tony: No! What was the MIT mascot?
McGee: Really. Does it matter?
Tony: Oh yes it does. Stewie?
Stewie: A beaver. He was Tim the Beaver our senior year.
Tony: Please tell me you dressed up like a beaver.

Tony Senior: What can I say? I'm me. I'm not gonna change.
Tony: I know. I know you're not gonna change. And I don't know why I was smiling because there's nothing funny about this. Dad this is my home. I told you my rules, okay? And you broke them. It was a mistake having you here for Christmas.
Tony Senior: You want me to leave.