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NCIS Review: Prognosis, TMI

by at .  Updated at . Comments

Well... that was a bit of an awkward blast.

The idea of murderous clowns has got to be everyone's favorite nightmare.  NCIS Season 11 Episode 10 opened with one such clown putting a bullet into a Marine. Then things took a turn for the worse.

An Awkward Situation

In their pursuit of the guy who owned the phone found on the dead Marine, the team tracked one of the incoming numbers, which lead them to a hotel room. 

That's where we all witnessed horror number-two of the episode: Tobias Fornell in his skivvies, putting the moves on Diane. My reaction was similar to Fornell's, oddly enough:

Well tie me up and call me Loretta.

Fornell

You have to love it when the case of the week takes a bit of a back seat to the rest of the NCIS interpersonal dramas. I don't think we've ever seen Gibbs so tortured. How does Fornell not understand that the reason Gibbs is so bad at offering advice (in this situation, at least) is because hearing about Fornell and Diane's sex life is the last thing he wants to imagine? 

I mean, it was cute how Fornell and Diane, in separate conversations with Gibbs, used similar imagery to describe their angst over their resurrected romance, but come on - this is the mostly silent and reserved Gibbs we're talking about. 

And it's not as if he doesn't have a reluctant stake in the whole mess, having been once married to Diane. She accused him of whining, but what I saw was a guy slowly toppling down the staircase of his own sanity, trying to be friends to them both and succeeding at neither, while holding in his revulsion at the whole idea of them being together in a *ahem* carnal way.

Every time the poor guy got home, sighed and threw his keys on the counter or flopped down on the couch, we all knew his day of misery wasn't over. 

The first instance wasn't so bad, with him having to shelter Fornell's daughter Emily for the night. But the second one - where Fornell and Diane wanted his blessing? That was over the top and so unnecessary. You could tell they were sincere, but were they that blind to his pain? 

Evidently, yes. They were.

And speaking of blind, there were two other ridiculously blind moments in the show. 

  1. When Abby came in, all excited and blabbing to Gibbs about the multiple hot messages Diane had been sending to her boyfriend. She's not stupid: how could she not notice Fornell, Diane and their daughter all standing right there in the same room? Comedically, it works but realistically? Not so much.
  2. Bishop did something similar when she burst into the same room with great news before realizing the gravity of the moment... right before Gibbs dropped his cell phone into his coffee. I'm not buying the dumb agent act.

Earlier in the season, during one of our NCIS Round Table discussions, there was a question about our hopes for Ellie Bishop. I mentioned that I hoped she would be someone who would stand up to Gibbs, not in a confrontational manner, but in a strong supportive way. I'm glad to see that this is exactly what happened.

Ellie Bishop isn't looking for confrontation. That's not who she is. At the same time, she has the confidence of her own observations and analysis and she voiced them in direct opposition to what Gibbs had proposed with her plan on how to nab Eddie. And he agreed, which pretty much put Tony and McGee back on their heels.

It's fun to see that they though they all like her - including Ducky and Palmer - they can't quite figure out how she fits in with them yet. And vice versa: Bishop is still trying to parse the group dynamics and doesn't yet have an answer to the question about whether to warn her colleagues when a senior is coming up behind them. She's trying too hard - a fact that Emily was able to relay to her on Gibbs' behalf.

It was good to see Diane again too. She seems to function as catnip to so many guys who are too easily hooked on her. And Gibbs is thinking of forming a club. 

Of all the hilarious NCIS quotes for this episode, this one - about Diane's not-quite-boyfriend's physique - is probably the funniest:

His chest is bigger than Diane's.

Fornell

All in all, an enjoyable episode. 

What did you think? Will Fornell and Diane's relationship work out? What are your thoughts about the resourceful and quick-thinking Emily? Has your impression of Ellie Bishop changed? What did you think of the case? Were you surprised that their prime suspect turned out to be a Secret Service agent?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.2 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (123 Votes)

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

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I tried to give Bishop a try and I just can't watch the show anymore. This is a show that I taped in case I wasn't home for as long as it's been on and now I could care less. Bishop takes up the whole show too She looks confused through out only to come out the hero in the end? Then they give her gun? It DOESN'T work at all and she doesn't fit in with the team at all. I would have rather had them get NO ONE to fill in than her. I'm very sad that I now watch anything but that on Tuesday nights when I looked so forward to it in the past.

Lauren-hughes

Bishop is so over the top it's unreal, she's so good she doesn't need the rest of the team!

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I think all of us liked ziva,or should I saw most of us but shes gone it was her choice the best we can do is give the new team member a chance you never know maybe we will get to like her.

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The powers that be. Usually the people who produce run or assist the show. Or as Gibbs would say 'The head honchos'

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@ Shane+Vendrell

Thanks.

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This might sound stupid, but can someone tell me what tptb means?

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@ PatrickC

The powers that be.

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I thought Bishop so should have been fired in this ep, and frankly Gibbs needs some serious therapy I think, the man seems to be so depressed he can't even function. Telling Gibbs NO! and then proceeding to explain to him how he should be handling surveillance? Let's just say if Tony or Tim had done that their heads would have been slapped into the next month. Why is he rolling over and playing dead with this person? And then her "brilliance" in autopsy was a slap in the face to Ducky- "See? I can read a book in one night and know as much as you do!" Why would Fornell allow Bishop to do the money drop. "I trust you." Since when? Did he know her before? I didn't hear anything about that in the episode which means he knew of her existence for about two days or less. Very bad form. And then she breaks contact so she can do her "I am a serious analyst and I can figure things out that no one else can" pose. In the meantime, the city burned down. Oh wait...yay! Bishop saved Emily. Anyone with ears would have eventually heard that child screaming behind the duct tape. The van wasn't even locked! Everyone's immediate acceptance of her is so out of character for this show. I can't stand her and wish they would replace her with ANYONE ELSE at this point. I'm not going to hold my breath for Cote to return, even for a single guest shot as much as I would like to see that. But this is becoming the "Ellie Bishop" show and it sucks.

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@ Barfingaswespeak

Really wish there was a 'like' button here so I could push it. Very good and accurate assessment. I never thought I'd see Gibbs or Fornell bow to a probie. I know they had to hire a 4th because of demographics but I was really enjoying the Tony and Tim dynamic and camaraderie in the eps with just them and Gibbs. I thought the point of Bishop was to not be like Ziva only that's what they've done. She too is irrationally and unbelievably superhuman just in an intellectual way and the more senior agents are once again dimmed by the spotlight tptb shine on her. The only thing I like about her character is at least this one isn't 'ship'able with Tony and she doesn't seem to be built in a way that would enable her to purposefullly belittle him. I don't think she will do smug. Nevertheless, it is becoming the Bishop show in the same way it had become the Ziva show but at least with Ziva, they did give her a bit of time as a probie and didn't background the boys in order to prop her up until she had been there for a couple of seasons.

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@ Barfingaswespeak

I don't really want tptb to replace Ellie. I just want them to tone her down. I truly hope that they're not going to create another horrid marysue character. I think that Emily Wickersham seems to be a delightful and talented actress, but if they turn her into another practically perfect female caricature, I will be very disappointed. I really want her to be a probie and need to learn what Tony and Tim can help her with. I don't want her to already be so brilliant and great at absolutely everything that Tony and Tim become once again irrelevant, while Gibbs depends on and respects her far more than he does Tony (at least since season 5). I yearn to see Tony turn back into the agent he was in Don P. Bellasario's days, but I suspect the writers haven't been allowed to "go there" for many season now. They seem to find a million and one ways to make everyone BUT Tony into the smart, heroic, brave, indispensable, respected, admired, and flattered character ever since DPB left the show.

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@ Patircia

That's cool, though I am not as enthralled with EW's acting skills either. She seems to have three expressions: the "I am deeply thinking so my frown furrow can reach the back of my skull look"; the "Little lost and confused girl look" and the "See I told you I was brlliant" look. I don't like others bashing the actors on this site, so I will not resort to that. I just don't care for her and I find her character totally unlikable. I am not sure who you think is "not allowing" Tony to be the "agent he used to be". There have been many episodes sinc DB left that were very pro Tony as a capable strong Agent. This is not a bash to you as it can be applied to everyone but there seem to blinders on people regarding Tony and Ziva: Those who dislike Ziva never seem to find any episode where she wasn't a "Mary Sue" or degrading Tony; and once she came on Tony was only ever a buffoon and her purse and made to look stupid so she

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@ Barfingaswespeak

Patircia, I couldn't agree more. I long to see some of the old Tony and the episodes you mention are among my all time favourites. This season's "Once A Crook" was great, but since then I've been very disappointed and last week Ellie made both Tony and McGee look like incompetent wimps as she stood up to Gibbs and they cowered in the background. Steve Binder has written for the show since the DPB days and should IMHO really know better than to make our much loved team look silly when introducing us to a new character. Very much hope this is not the shape of things to come.

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@ Barfingaswespeak

I appreciate your post. What I mean by them not allowing Tony to be the agent that he was when DPB was the show runner, is that we never see episodes where Tony's skills are highlighted as the main theme. It seems his character is mostly used to support some other character's (usually Ziva) big drama. We no longer have stand alone episodes where Tony's brilliance is highlighted or featured. They've definitely toned down his butt monkey status this season for which I am grateful, but obviously Gibbs no longer respects his Senior Field Agent designation, as we had Gibbs giving Tim the lead in his absence. I would love to see episodes like Chained, Missing, or Bait where we see Tony being brilliant, but instead he brings up the rear while others make all the important connections.

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@ Barfingaswespeak

Sorry, hit the wrong button: Made to look stupid so she could shine. And by the same token, it is infered on this site that all Ziva fans only see her at her best and never see the darker sides of this character. Not so for this fan. I see all sides of these characters, good and bad. I also see how different writers interpret them, some good and some bad. But as far as Bishop goes? Right now she is a single faceted caricature that needs some serious tweeking. I hope all of that made sense. It did in my brain anyway.

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I find it interesting people say 'NCIS isn't the same without Ziva' or 'I'm not watching until Ziva returns' still know enough of the episodes with Bishop to make criticisms.

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I think the love triangle Gibbs-Fornell-Diane is sooooo silly. No comic relief there for me. Give me the banter in the team any time. I dislike the Diane character, because she is too much over the top and so NOT a femme fatale. That scene with the blessing was childish and made Gibbs and what he (and the show) stands for look stupid.
Why can serious drama shows only find comic relief in sex and stupid women anyway? On Bishop: I kinda like her, eventhough they overdo it with the cleverness. Is she autistic? No, but she seems to have traits like it. But they do turn her into wonder woman, which is unreal. And she makes Tony and Tim look like newbies, which is silly. Being a brilliant analyst does not make you a good field agent automatically and certainly not ahead of the rest like that. It's a sure way to degrade the characters of all the others (like with Ducky and Palmer in the autopsy room - so NOT funny, but kinda sad).
I don't care for Ziva being gone. I loved Kate and was not happy with her replacement, but Ziva did grow on me. Never bought into the Tiva stuff - I still think the show did not need the love tension stuff, although there were some good moments with it. But it's true that at that time many ppl were unhappy with Kate leaving and did not like Ziva in her place, so nothing's new here with Bishop. I will give her a chance, just hope the writers will tone her down. (I would have loved it Abigail would have joined, but maybe the actress wasn't available yet and with her comment needing to do some more within the Coast Guard, they maybe did set her up for later?) And please get rid of Dirty Diana :) (wink to MJ's song not accusing the actrice).

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@ Amiche

I really want to like Ellie, because I couldn't stand Ziva. While Ellie isn't being written as a smug nasty self impressed shrew like her predecessor, I think that the writers are making her too brilliant to be believable. I fear they are going down the same path that they went with Ziva, only without the unpleasant personality. I hope they tone her way down and give her weakness that aren't really subtle flattery. We don't need another uber perfect wonder woman, who essentially neuters Tony and make both he and Tim irrelevant and inconsequential. I was so happy to see Tim and Tony allowed to be smart and in the field and now it seems they're just there to be impressed by Ellie's wonder skills.

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@ Pat

Very well said. I couldn't agree more!

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I hate the Emily character. Appeared to make Gibbs question his decisions in the past he would never had an untrained agent in a position of danger. Like putting Abby in the field with a killer. She is one dimensions and way to quirky

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@ Dolly Engstrand

And Abby isn't???

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Well at the moment, viewership-wise, this season of NCIS is doing as well as last season and better than season 9 so no real tremendous decrease in viewership like I initially thought would happen.