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NCIS Review: Prognosis, TMI

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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 haven't warmed up to Bishop yet. She is playing it too cutsey, and we have enough of that with the other female character. In my opinion, cutsey detracts from the show. Love Mark Harmon and NCIS though and will stick with it to see how the character develops over time.

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I think it's all just new person stuff with Bishop. Kate tried too hard at first, so did McGee after he joined and Ziva did as well. Even though not one of them knew how to investigate anything , didn't stop them thinking their skills could do the job without training. Or that they were the major focus of the eps cause they were new I was more curious in the Autopsy scene as to why they brought up Bishop can remember nearly everything she reads again but didn't go anywhere with it. Aside from when she looked at the body analytically she was comfortable, when she looked at him as a person who was dead, not so much. The only problem i had with her was from Gibbs, i thought he was too soft on her for the earwig stunt. Clearly she is still more comfortable when she does things on her own but he needed to re-enforce the Team part that she doesn't get and he didn't. But also it only two eps in, we don't know how she will fit yet. The character doesn't know how she fits yet. But she likes being with them but this is a huge change for her. Personally i think she fits but there will be ups and downs with that fit, just like every other member we have watched join.

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I agree completely
it was funny, charming, and the writers are doing a fine job with bishop-
So far? an impressive debut
and I love Diane! and now Emily!
It is nice to see a one hour show with FOUR (including Abby) interesting female characters.
Go NCIS

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Laughed: Not so much! Switched Channel: Yes.

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@Bonnie Maynes - I totally agree. I don't like Bishop either. It's like she's taken over the show, and the rest of the "team" have given up. Her character just doesn't make sense. Supergirl to the rescue - I think NOT.

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I didn't like the episode. I don't like Bishop. She's supposed to be highly trained but she is acting like a stranger. I also don't like the ex wife. So it wasn't my kind of episode.

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Wow, at least the reviewer understood that this was an episode for comic relief. Some of the commenters, not so much. I laughed so much, probably one of their funniest. Remember please, NCIS is a more than just a case of the week procedural. I'm still sensing Ziva backlash from some fans out there too. The writers are trying to incorporate Bishop with the quirks they've laid out for her, and people already think it's too much Bishop. Like we didn't get a fistful of Ziva, in the beginning. I note that Gibbs refers to her as Bishop, not by her first name, which puts her more at a distance, not quite in the family fold. The writers have to find the path for the new team member as the character has to find her way through a new job position. As a new investigator, I would expect her to plow in and read everything she could to help with her understanding what she'll see on the job. Took no offense at her in autopsy, who couldn't read a manual in a weekend, especially if you felt it important to your understanding the job better. Jimmy, though I love him dearly has always been a little self conscious with feelings of inadequacy. Why should that change?

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@ guest+

I agree with you for the most part, but I do have to comment on the autopsy scene. Maybe it's because I'm an MD and have gone through the whole studying process, but the idea that someone could read an autopsy handbook of 600 pages- so, essentially a short version of a pathology textbook- and actually memorize the contents over one weekend really made me laugh out loud. I encourage everyone who thinks this realistic to open a medical textbook and read about three pages. Just my two cents. :)

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@ Cassy

I likewise have medical training, and sometimes I was amazed at what I could retain in study, when I was a lot younger that is. A inquisitive young mind can be powerful, and lets face it, we still have much to learn about Bishop.

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@ Cassy

Fascinating comment. I think I'd be the first to agree with you. One question though: Bishop's behaviour sort of suggests that she has an eidetic memory. Would such a characteristic have made the scene more plausible? (Note: no where in her episodes did anyone say she had that ability: I'm just guessing she does, because it's the only thing that seems to make any sense)

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@ Douglas Wolfe

While true, being able to memorize something doesn't mean the same as having the ability to fully comprehend what was read. That would take more than reading words.

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@ Douglas Wolfe

Good question, been wondering about that myself. I had a few fellow students who actually went to the trouble of learning certain textbooks by heart. However, they certainly didn't do it in two days and they had basic medical knowledge to build on (which Bishop might have, I suppose?).
Also, though this is pretty nitpicky, Bishop demonstrated knowledge about two pathological subject matters: the first one (about lividity) was pretty basic forensic pathology, she might actually have read about that in a short manual. Her second observation though (about diabetes) was very specific. Not sure I believe she would know about that. Either way it seems like a highly remarkable feat for anyone to retain that much obscure knowledge. :D

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Not really my definition of a "suggestion" - rewind your DVR - Bishop says to Gibbs and I quote "That's a bad idea!" Admittedly she goes on to rephrase saying "I think I might have a better idea", but even so when's the last time someone said that to Gibbs and lived! :-) And since what she was suggesting wasn't exactly rocket science, how come Gibbs, Tony or McGee didn't think it already? They've been solving crimes as a team for 11 years, Gibbs and Tony even longer. How did they cope without her? I will bare with her. I want to like her. But they've already given her "skills" that I'm finding hard to handle, which won't be going away any time soon. Just hope TPTB take their foot off her pedal and let her ease in a bit during the next few episodes, so she's contributing, not taking over.

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@ Lorraine64

Thank you! You spoke my thoughts!

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@ Lorraine64

Exactly!

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Actually, I'm glad I didn't listen to the snark opinions about Bishop before watching a funny and intense story....with a little training and patience Ellie will be an asset to the team. Already Tony and McGee seem to look on her as a help...a little-annoying-sister help, but Gibbs has gaged her well and seems to trust her instincts. Just don't pull out your earwig! As for the hilarity that is Diane and Fortnell and their long-suffering daughter, the fact that Emily runs to Uncle Gibbs shows what a trustworthy father-figure he is. Even though this dysfunctional family drove him nuts, I think he will eventually be happy with them back together! A very entertaining episode and a great prelude to the holiday story next week!

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Bishop's had two episodes and everyone is jumping to conclusions. Show a little patience guys. If you can write better shows, do it. As for the episode, it was definitely a left turn from what i expected, but in a funny way. I love the interaction between Tobias, Diane and Gibbs. Emily made it that much funnier. I still don't think this was as good as last year's Devil episode. Case wise, the case definitely took a back seat, but I thought Bishop's part in it was just fine. She's an analyst. She analyzed. Get used to it guys. That's what she is. An NSA analyst turning agent, not Mossad super ninja. She's also the new girl and is GOING to try to prove herself. The show would seem fake if they DIDN'T try to portray her trying so hard. Give it a rest guys.

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@ Justin Sayn

I don't think any one has a problem with Bishop trying to prove herself. My issue is with Gibbs and his reaction to her trying to do things her way. It was my understanding that he was supposed to teach her how to be a Field Agent and a team player, not roll over and play dead while she proceeded to show everyone how to do their jobs. The writers are doing this actress and this character a serious diservice by writing her this way. They are making Bishop the star of this show, and it is annoying. I get you didn't like Ziva, but she was never the main focus of the first few episodes she was on, and I include "Kill Ari" parts one and two. Yes, she had a significant presence in those first two eps, but they weren't about her; unlike these two eps with Bishop. Ziva wasn't even in the next episode, and then she shows up in "Silver Wars" and she most definately wasn't greeted with open arms by anyone, unlike Bishop. The writers and producers are shoving this new character down our throats and demanding we love her. She would do better to be given out in small doses.

NCIS Season 11 Episode 10 Quotes

Well tie me up and call me Loretta.

Fornell

Bishop: I mean, I might have a better idea. Look, Eddie is coming back. If he was ditching his car, there are easier places to abandon it than at an airport. We should put it back and watch it. And when he comes to pick it up----
Gibbs: We grab him.
Bishop: Absolutely not. We follow him, see what he does, where he goes, then we grab him.
Gibbs: Works for me.

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