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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: 4.2 / 5.0 (302 Votes)

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

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first car or your first crush or your first job and the events surrounding her first case do make the way she behaves today (Not necessarily in this episode) make sense. As for number 4, while story wise, it was just a means to connect the two stories, real life wise it is never that simple. When cops or agents or whomever investigate a crime, you start with family whether they are involved or not. Irregardless, NCIS found two victims who at first glance seem unrelated, so they needed to find a connection. They found a connection through family. They brought the family in for questioning in which they unfortunately discover the family feud which then makes the connection between the two families more pronounced. They didn't suspect either family at first, but as they found out more info, it became increasingly obvious the reason for murder might come from one of the family. It became the obvious lead and their only lead at the moment. So logically they had to investigate that lead. Sure, in the end the feud was unrelated (Although one can say the victims got killed because they were seeking a way to get away from both families), but you don't just put down a lead just like that. So in the end I think I may have went on a rant there, but you are free to criticize my answer and point out if you may have felt offended. Still, I tried to be as logical as possible.

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@boonies While I agree with number 5 and number 6 (Although if the mass spec thing is a running joke, it really wasn't a problem with this episode) But for number 1, are you 100% sure that is the case. I don't disagree completely, but do you know that for a fact. For number 2, I connect what Abby said about good and bad to what she said when Dearing bombed NCIS. Add that to the fact about what we know of her character and the eerily similar crashed cars and is isn't completely out of the realm of possibility. As for number 3, we humans are impressionable as children. And just because the reason behind something is obvious, doesn't mean someone can't feel bad about it. While a little extreme, if you knew the reason why say a family member killed another family member, does that automatically mean you don't feel bad about it? Also considering it is what she considered her first case, it isn't hard to believe it made the biggest impression on her of all. It's like when you get your first car or your first crush or your first job and the events surrounding her first case do make the way she behaves today (Not necessarily in this episode) make sense. As for number 4, while story wise, it was just a means to connect the two stories, real life wise it is never that simple. When cops or agents or whomever investigate a crime, you start with family whether they are involved or not. Irregardless, NCIS found two victims who at first glance seem unrelated, so they needed to find a connection. They found a connection through family. They brought the family in for questioning in which they unfortunately discover the family feud which then makes the connection between the two families more pronounced. They didn't suspect either family at first, but as they found out more info, it became increasingly obvious the reason for murder might come from one of the family. It became the obvious lead and their only lead at the moment. So logically they had to investigate that lead. Sure, in the end the feud was unrelated (Although one can say the victims got killed because they were seeking a way to get away from both families), but you don't just put down a lead just like that. So in the end I think I may have went on a rant there, but you are free to criticize my answer and point out if you may have felt offended. Still, I tried to be as logical as possible.

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Good news everybody. This episode got 21.82 million viewers making it the second most watched episode of the season, which means it beat Shabbat Shalom and only came down 1 million viewers from last weeks Shiva.

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@boonies -- I don't agree with you mostly, but it's tastes/opinion stuff I can't argue. Do agree that I don't like when Tony is presented like you cited, but on one of the DVD sets the show's head honcho says Tony interprets and plays his character like a clown. Anyhow, just jotting this reply to point out that the mass spec only working for Abby has been a running joke/plot device for many seasons and if it had worked for McGee, that would have been unrealistic to the suspend belief aspects of NCIS story telling (I think anyway).

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Sorry, but they can do so much better than this drivel.

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OK, I posted earlier that it was awful and here's why I feel that way.
1) Since when does NCIS investigate all traffic accidents involving Navy/Marine personnel? They don't. Locals would have investigated (without an ME present at the site) deemed it an accident and hauled everybody off. The end.
2) Abby has probably investigated dozens of accidents. No problems till this one? Why?
3) Abby was raised in the South. She loses her mind because she realizes she didn't solve the problems of racism 30 yrs ago in the South? Puleeeze.
4) The whole family feud nonsense meant nothing to the case. It was just inserted to fill time between Abby flashbacks. It was a garden variety murder over money.
5) Tony was made to look idiotic AGAIN with that goofy fight announcer scene. No purpose other than to make him look ridiculous AGAIN.
6)McGee has a degree in biomedical engineering and can't run a mass spec?
So, yeah, other than these it was a great episode (sarcasm intended). Sorry, but they can do so much better than this drivel.

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No kudos for that brilliant young actor who played Little Abby? Seriously, what a talent. She got PP's mannerisms and body language to a "T" and her way of speaking and communicating was so believable as the child who would grow into the Abs we love.

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I really enjoyed the episode. The longer NCIS runs the greater opportunity to really know the characters. Little Abby was great! I loved the end with Gibbs and Abby. The writers of NCIS are a talented group and of course Pauley did an awesome job too! With sweeps coming I would say there will be another 2 episodes coming that will be awesome.

Wolfshades

Me too, Blu. The family dynamic always hovers in the background when the team is investigating a case, but the emphasis over the past three episodes has been great to see. In real life, past memories can be as easily triggered by something as seemingly innocuous as a sound, such as the far-distant drone of a lawnmower during the summer, or the scent of a perfume. So it wasn't a hard stretch to believe that the combination of the cracked windshield and the air freshener could provoke a memory for Abby. It's actually quite a good thing to see the wide variety of opinions on this episode. It means (I think) that the writers are doing something right when this happens. Some found it cloying and way too sweet, while others like me found it endearing and amazing. The worst thing possible would be for everyone to not care at all - that's the death knell of any series. Or movie for that matter.

Blu

I think they struggled at times to make reasonable and realistic correlations as far as transitioning between the flashbacks and how they were triggered by the present. I also think the flashbacks felt incomplete somehow. But I stol felt this was a truly beautiful episode. It was unbelievably touching and invoked the appropriate emotions. It was fitting for an Abby episode. I thought the young Abby was brilliant. Startlingly good mannerisms. I loved the transition from grieving Ziva to a more at peace one, and that it was acknowledged and not forced. Not too many shows pull off the transition between gut wrenching drama and everyday humor like this show. I absolutely LOVED the scenes with Abby and McGee but especially her and Gibbs. Their moments always make me smile but it was especially beautiful. I continue to enjoy the extra emphasis on the family dynamic this season.

NCIS Season 10 Episode 13 Quotes

Young Abby: I couldn't fix it.
Young Luca: Fix what?
Young Abby: Ricki will never see her grandpa again.
Young Luca: But you did good. You gave her your rabbit. She won't forget that, Abby. She won't.

Today's new friend is tomorrow's family.

Abby [reading fortune]
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