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NCIS Review: Teddy and Rabbit

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Just when you think the writers of NCIS couldn't get any better than their last two episodes, they bring us "Hit and Run, and knock every aspect of the hour out of the park. 

This episode was poignant and touching, as it revealed some of Abby's sad back story in a memory from what she considered her first "case."

Abby and Tim Image

This episode centered around a dead Lance Corporal and his girlfriend, both of whom were victims of a scam artist that wanted their money for his Ponzi scheme. 

His attempt to pass off the murders as a car accident fell apart once Ducky observed some inconsistencies with some blood spatter and airbag deployment. Abby noticed the cracked windshield and the air freshener that hung from the rear view mirror - and this mirrored a similar cracked windshield and air freshener she had seen as a child, thereby bringing back a host of recollections that effectively threw her off of her game.

Ziva's grief over her father seemed to be gone. I'm glad the writers had Tony and McGee talk about that, rather than just having her continue on as if nothing had happened - that would have seemed too forced.  Some time has passed, and Ziva's had her time in Israel, which kind of makes you wonder what else she did while she was there.  Perhaps there's a story in the making.

Tony, of course, was back to his old comic self. It might have been good to have seen the scene where he made a comment about the deputy director's hair - rather than just talk with McGee about it.  From that conversation ,we can gather that the deputy director is still the unsure and fairly meek guy he portrayed in "Shiva." But is he really?

The star of this show was obviously Abby. What an amazing character: we got to see that she had always been a highly analytical and caring person, looking out for those who were hurting. You had to admire the portrayal of her brilliance in fashioning a crude sort of magnifier with the plastic bottle and water. 

In many ways her perceived failure to help Ricki with her father and grandfather seemed to have help form her determination to find and do good for others, no matter what. It seemed that the obstinate acrimony between the parents of the dead couple in this episode mirrored the intractable anger between Ricki's father and grandfather. The twin dynamics of those relationships were too much, serving to confirm for her the uselessness of her efforts as seen by this dialogue:

Abby: Have the bad things been outweighing the good things all these years and I just ever noticed?
McGee: What do you mean?
Abby: All I ever wanted was to help people with the truth. And I've done that, but then bad still won sometimes. And I just want to file it away, like it never happened so I can go back to being happy.
McGee: There's nothing wrong with that.
Abby: Yes there is McGee because sometimes the Cutwrights and the Dunns, they just keep fighting no matter what the truth is. And sometimes Ricki never gets to see her grandpa again. If the bad outweighs the good then that means that I'm not enough.
McGee: Abby listen to me...
Abby: And if I'm not enough, McGee, then why even try? | permalink

I was amazed at the subtle and careful scene between Gibbs and Abby at the end. Gibbs made exactly the right move when he saw her sitting on the floor, trying to compose apology notes: rather than stand and talk with her, he got right down beside her, becoming the caring father she needed at that moment. 

We had seen her handle that little cloth heart throughout the episode; hearing her talk about it being from the teddy bear she had tried to give back to Ricki was heart wrenching. And there was Gibbs. Silent, almost unemotional Gibbs... who happened to still carry around a fortune from a fortune cookie that Abby gave him on the first day they met.  A fortune she had given him because she wanted it to be about him, not her.

These last three episodes have set the bar high for the writers of NCIS: it's hard to imagine how they can top them. We haven't seen Palmer for a while; we still have the story of ex-Mossad deputy director Ilan Bodnar to deal with and director Vance isn't back yet, so there's still lots of material with which to work. 

Before opening this up for your views and comments, I'll leave you with this heartwarming exchange between Abby and Gibbs (there are more NCIS quotes for you to check out too):

Gibbs: You do something good now, you're not always around to see the difference it makes later.
Abby: I don't know Gibbs.
Gibbs: Abs, first day we met.
Abby: It was a Thursday, seventy degrees, mostly sunny. What about it?
Gibbs: What did you give me?
Abby: I had Chinese food, and I gave you the fortune from my cookie.
Gibbs: Because?
Abby: Because I wanted it to be about you.
Abby: The fortune. You kept it.
Gibbs: The things you do mean something to people. | permalink

What are your thoughts? We always knew that at heart Abby was an amazing woman - did you foresee an episode as touching as this?

Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (301 Votes)

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

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    89 Comments New Comment Subscribe

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    One of the worse episodes I've seen on NCIS. All the Abby stuff was silly and stupid. Thank goodness I had recorded so I could fast forward a lot.

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    Abby's upset and the teddy bear from my perspective.

    Abby carried that teddy bear around so much that it fell apart. How many times did she hold it and think about Ricky and cry? Abby's own extended family sounds so close - reunions and holidays and traditions and recipes - did she go to picnics and imagine what it would be like if her grandfather wasn't there because he and her father wouldn't speak to each other?

    How many times did Abby go back and see that truck again, remembering that Ricky had lost her mother in that accident?

    Abby walked around the passenger side of the PICK-UP (something no one has mentioned yet) in which someone had died. She was fine, chattering to McGee like usual, glances in at the bench seat, then has that angle on the windshield with the pine tree dangling there.

    OK, suddenly there's a rush of memory coming back from when she was a kid, actually years of daily memories, about something that was traumatic to her at that age. She's not expecting it at all. And it's something that is so important that she has kept the felt heart all these years.

    Abby's shaken up, but is ok until she walks up to the bull pen just in time to see these two men fighting, even though both of them have just lost children in that accident. Continuing a feud that's lasted for years is more important than their loss of family members. And that son and that daughter died in the truck downstairs that she has to investigate. And I think that was just too much emotionally.

    As for Bingo, I figured this was a Saturday when they were working the weekend. And should we really criticize someone who hasn't missed a day of work in a decade? Just for taking one day off? Even if it's only a mental health day? Because she doesn't isn't sure she can handle working on that truck that brings up so many memories? After all, the previous day Abby was making mistakes.

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    I wouldn't say it was an awful episode, but I find Abby's behaviour silly. She let a memory affect her friendship with her beloved co-workers who she calls her family! She alienated herself all because of a memory and didn't want to confide in anyone! And someone is right. It wasn't even her family, so I don't get her reaction twenty-something years later. And another thing, didn''t she only find out she had a half-brother? Where did that brother come from. Abby's reaction failed for me. She was annoying me instead of me feeling sympathetic for her. She went and played bingo while her colleagues had to do her work!

    Terrie

    I like how the delved into Abby as a child.........

    I think this season will end with them after ex-Mossad deputy director Ilan Bodnar....I don't think we've seen the last of that......I also think Ziva did a little digging on her own while in Israel.......

    I look for Vance to be back sooner than later.....still shocked about his wife getting killed on the show......

    I also think this season they are moving Gibbs into EVEN MORE of a father figure for all of his team......they've all always looked up to and admired him....

    Wolfshades

    There has been so much back and forth about the strength or weakness of Abby's flashback here that I thought I'd mention that the NCIS round table is now up. This is discussed there between us as well. Enjoy!

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    MCAL - In the early seasons (before the Tony could only be in scenes with Ziva) there were a lot of subtle but extremely cute scenes, some little moments, and looks between Abby and Tony that were rich with humor and an implied friendship. Now the writers don't let Tony near Abby. He doesn't seem allowed to have scenes with Gibbs either, although Ziva gets plenty of Gibbs time. I guess they don't want anything to mess with the idea that Ziva is the only female Tony can spare any feelings for. They seem to give Ziva a BFF or a Zva relates to a guest star scene in every episode this season, but Tony seems doomed be there only to prop up Ziva this season, or of course provide self humiliating humor.

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    @MCAL

    Season 1
    In the JAG episode, Abby asks Tony for a date, he agrees if she finishes processing the evidence by a certain time. Early season one continues the flirting. Tony shows signs of jealousy about McGee's interest in Abby. In "Missing" we see the first time Abby has a "weird feeling" about Tony (before he's in danger).

    Season 2
    Abby and Tony are classic brother and sister. This relationship is made somewhat unique by the fact that they are polar opposites. Abby grew up in the bayou, driving around a beat up old pickup truck and hanging out in junk yards taking pictures of all the burnt out hulks of wrecks. Tony grew up on a huge estate in a bedroom with trump l'oil paintings and a canopy bed. However, the two are right at home with one another and keep each other in line. You find Tony going to Abby when he needs help - he trusts her - something Tony doesn't do easily with women. Abby is different from anyone Tony has ever met, and there are somes things he can't describe her in a way he trusts her, it's like their spirits are in love.

    In "Caught on Tape" at the end of the episode Abby asks Kate, "What? You've never slept with a friend before?" and Tony makes an uncomfortable face.

    Season 3
    Abby worries about Tony when he is in trouble but also gets annoyed with him when he starts acting like Gibbs when Gibbs is absent (as in "Hiatus", Season 3 and the early episodes of Season 4).
    Abby might be one of the only women that Tony hugs and it's not in a sexual way.

    Abby gives Tony black flowers. Tony: I don't know what to say.. Abby: Just say that you don't hate me.
    Tony: I could never hate you. hint hint: there might be more to what he means by this

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    @Doug - Firstly, thanks for your graciousness in responding; no other staff member has done that. I'm a longtime fan, so I've seen a lot of "episodes", and the various styles of writing. I come here often because I enjoy the site discussions. I LOVE the Round Table reviews!! I look forward to hearing what Steve, Eric, etc. have to say about this one. I just simply have to agree w/ the viewer feedback I've seen (especially on the CBS site itself) that this was, indeed, NOT a 5-star ep. 5 Stars belong to the caliber of a "Shiva", "SWAK", or a "Shabbat Shalom" - now THOSE were 5-star worthy, firing on all cylinders. This ep is more forgettable than anything else for S10 thus far (Sorry, Abby!).

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    @S

    A Tony/Abby Friendship? I don't remember stuff like that being feautured prominently during earlier seasons. Could you give me some examples?

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    Cont.

    get a mediocre one and done and serve as supporting cast for the favored two.




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