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NCIS Review: Devil's Trifecta (With the Devil Always Being the Ex)

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They say that marriage can be a bitch, but tonight's NCIS episode, "Devil's Trifecta," gives that a whole new meaning in my opinion.

It's one thing to have to deal with an ex-wife, pay alimony, and all of the other crap associated with making a bad choice in a spouse, but when that ex-wife actually almost gets you killed, that's a completely different story.

With as many ex-wives as Gibbs' has had, you might have guessed the target would be him, but the poor victim turns out to be Agent Tobias Fornell (Joe Spano). My favorite sidekick of Gibbs had always been Mike Franks (Muse Watson), and ever since his character was killed off, my favorite has been Fornell.

If there is an episode that features Gibbs and Fornell, you can almost guarantee it to be a hoot-feast, and tonight's episode was no exception.

Devil's Trifecta (and Ziva)

As serious as the episode began with Fornell almost being killed, it quickly turned into one laugh right after another when the center of the entire mess turns out to be Gibbs and Fornell's mutual ex-wife, Diane Sterling (Melinda McGraw).

Of course, like every crazy ex-wife of Gibbs and Fornell, she's remarried and now is back to work for the IRS, not as an auditor but as an enforcer. She's investigating an IRS fraud ring involving filing tax returns under fake identities and conveniently uses her Gibbs and Fornell aliases as cover identities, which lands Fornell on the wrong end of a bullet.

The punchline of the entire case involved smuggling goods inside fish of all things, but like most NCIS episodes, the case wasn't the center of the episode (although smuggling crap like DVDs inside fish was, well, an interesting idea), and instead, the focus was on the characters, this time on Fornell, his ex Diane, and somewhat on Gibbs, at least towards the end of the episode.

People can say all the bad crap they want about their ex's but their true colors show when that ex potentially lands in the arms of someone else. In this case, that someone else is our dear Agent McGee. 

This is where things got really weird, and I think it's going to take a long time before poor Timmy's co-workers let him forget about this one. McGee was assigned to protect her, and after being a complete jackass to him initially, she breaks down and admits that her current husband is leaving her and maybe she's a bitch from hell after all, which is why she can't seem to keep a husband.

Tim, being the super-nice guy that he is, ended up comforting her through the night, which is completely misconstrued by the entire team, especially Fornell. As much as Fornell seems to hate his ex-wife, you can't help but see the jealousy in his eyes when he believes that Diane got it on with a cute, younger guy. Yes, on the surface, Diane appears to be the bitch that every ex-husband has nightmares about, but it also appears that Fornell may actually still hold a torch for her, even if it is a small one. I certainly don't think there's a chance in hell they'll ever get back together, but there's still some feelings there.

But, the best parts came at the end with the scenes with Gibbs and Diane. We all know that Gibbs true soul mate was Shannon, and his other wives were only cheap replacements. But, when it is revealed that Gibbs does actually remember how he proposed to Diane, it shows that while he may not have loved her like he did Shannon, he certainly did care - and still does.

This culminated at the end of the episode when Gibbs confronts Diane about her current marriage and what she needs to do to save it:

       "Give Victor a break for being him, not for being someone else"

For those who remember previous episodes with Gibbs' other ex-wives, he's given them similar advice, showing that the man does truly have a big heart. Most men don't give a rat's ass about their ex-wives, but Gibbs is different. He does care, and he wants to help.

The episode ended with Diane asking Gibbs if he just going to end up being alone for the rest of his life. I love his response: "I'm not alone". 

That's exactly right. First, he has the dear memories of his true love, Shannon, and their daughter. And, most of all, he has his NCIS family - Tony, Tim, Ziva, Abby, Ducky, all of them. It may be the holidays and while most of the characters may seem to have relatively empty lives, they have each other, and that's the true spirit of the season.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (248 Votes)
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What a surprise gift this episode was! This time of year when it's easy to get so busy and stressed out, my FAVORITE show makes me laugh hysterically and then sigh at the ending. Great job.

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Tommie -- Not sure if the voice has to do with the weight loss, but it definitely has changed a few times since McGee's first appearance in Season 1. Speaking of weight loss, though, I noticed that McGee's face is a little rounder now. Good -- it was just too skinny before.

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Hysterical episode!!!

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To quote Fornell on finding ex-wife Diane on the sofa with McGee, "Holy 4th of July weenie roast..!" I almost choked to death laughing so hard. Joe Spano was in (very) rare form in this very funny episode! He just kept knocking off one-liners like Pop Tarts. Same for Sean Murray / McGee. When Diane was begging for a hug from McGee, I was screaming at the TV "NO!!! Don't trust her, McGee!" The rest is history. Kudos go to the writer(s) of "Devil's Trifecta." You nailed it, guys - thanks for the early Christmas present!

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Someone mentioned above McGees voice change and I was wondering about that too. Although I've noticed that Gibbs voice has changed as well, but it's not heard as often as McGee...something they're doing maybe? Besides that I really did love this episode. One of the funniest episodes from NCIS, that's for sure. They should really work in Gibbs fourth ex wife though, you know the one who we don't know the name of.

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What a lame storyline... hardly woth the TiVo time !

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I have asked three reviewers about magees voice Change and no one responds. Anyone else out there think it has to do with his weight loss?

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I loved how Gibbs put on the NCIS hat before saying, "I'm not alone."

Gatorgal

Anyone notice the sweatshirt Gibbs was wearing in the last scene? It was old and torn, it had a small handprint and "Papa" painted on it. We know from flashbacks that Kelly called Gibbs "Daddy" but I think Kelly made this for Gibbs.

Gatorgal

@elizmom: I don't think we have met all of Gibb's ex-wives. He has four and I only know the name of three: Shannon, Stephanie, and Diane. Who was the other one? What episode was she in. Also, Diane has been in only one other episode, last year's "Devil's Triangle." Stephanie has been featured in one, and of'course we have seen Shannon many times.

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