I agree with much in Doug’s review. I do give them props for trying something newbut it’s not something I’d like to see oft repeated. The show had previously admitted to having two rule #1’s and it was again McGee that pointed it out to Borin in Ships in the Night. She gives him her rule #1 and he counters that rule #1 has already been taken twice. And as to having multiple rules to cover the same thing, in Collateral Damage, Tony tells the new recruit Dwayne Wilson that Gibbs has 7 rules about lawyers but that you only needed one, #13, as it was the umbrella rule. I agree the flashbacks were unsatisfying but admit to not caring for flashbacks scenes in general. The only one I can recall liking was from A Man Walks Into A Bar when, in autopsy with Rachel, Tony flashes back to his time with Kate in Paraguay because the flashback used a scene that originally ended up on the cutting room floor from An Eye For An Eye so it was new material. At this point I’m not sure how many new viewers NCIS is garnering so I presume the audience is overwhelmingly long term viewers who are very familiar with material in it’s first and repeated runs. And I feel the same way about the rules. We all know them. Not much need for a primer for this particular audience but still, it was trying something different. McGee is a character that I appreciate from a rounding-out-the-team kind of position. He has a valuable skill set and his softer personality is needed amongst a group of such strong personalities in the same way neutral colors are needed to calm and give the eye rest amidst a sea of busy colors in say, room décor or a painting. So while I do value him, I don’t think he has a compelling enough presence to carry a centric episode. This time I was engaged with his part. Having this ep for him center on an examination and comparison/contrast of his father and Gibbs,and fathers and sons, and how perceptions change with maturity was a very good way to go with him. I was engaged in his observations and reflections and it felt believable. Which is more than I can say about the crime part of the plot but that’s ok because it didn’t much pretend to be more important than it actually was as a vehicle for the real point of the story. And yeah, the teacher’s abrupt u-turn did not work on any level. I would’ve liked to have seen his teammates being more openly supportive of him though. Abby had a moment but I didn’t think that scene really worked. Would’ve love a nice McNozzo brotherly moment. I expected more out of Gibbs when he stood behind Tim as Tim blew off steam. But at the end when Gibbs harshly admonished McGee for not having already left saying “your dad made time for you, return the favor” was a bit hard to watch knowing the place inside Gibbs that drove that comment with it being his own first Christmas not having the same opportunity with Jackson. Having lost my own father at Christmas, this ep hit all of those same emotional buttons for me. All in all, this was billed in a way like Life Before His Eyes, referred to something as a love letter to long term fans. For me, just like LBHE, it didn’t really live up to the hype but I still give them props for mixing it up and trying something new. And really, I’m a long-term and loyal fan who completely accepts I won’t love them all. And even when I don’t love them, I still love them.
I don't want Layla to die. Sure she has a bad storyline and has had from day one, but I really like her voice - especially now that they're letting it be heard in more emotionally stripped-down way. I'd rather hear her than Rayna. I like Rayna's character but she's not the best singer. Rayna's half of Baby It's Cold Outside was so weak they couldn't even produce it up enough to match Luke's vocal delivery. Happy that Avery and Juliette tied the knot. He's good for her. Ready for Juliette to come back to the spotlight. Will just needs to come on out and be done with it. It's hardly a big deal anymore. In the real celebrity world he'd go on Ellen while his reality show taped in the background where Ellen and the media would proclaim him brave and courageous and yada yada yada ... which would propel him into another 15 minute Hollywood darling moment until the next celebreality B-lister made the next 15 minute media hashtag moment.
That was my first thought as well. I'know I've said this before but the NCIS writers really want to put the characters through the daddy drama wringer don't they? Interesting that all the dad relationships are bad. Sure Gibbs' and Jackson's got better but only near the end after prolonged silence and avoidance, and Abby did describe her parents as having been pretty idyllic but then the writers decided to make her adopted so no idea what they may yet pull out of the hat as to her bio parents. And all the moms too are gone except maybe McGee's and Palmer's. (no idea about Bishop) My assumption is that it's purposefully orchestrated to subtly insinuate LJG into a subconscious Papa!Gibbs role in their makeshift little family.
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