After the admittedly riveting conclusion to the seventh season, followed by last week's premiere, many fans (myself included) found themselves longing a bit for the NCIS of yore.
We got it and then some Tuesday night in "Worst Nightmare," an entire episode devoted to an intense, complex investigation with plenty of lighter, enjoyable moments throughout.
Our story begins in a classroom where Bernard from Lost is teaching, only to have the entire school temporarily pass out from a gas leak. A 13-year-old named Rebecca is missing.
A flustered Palmer, Gibbs and Ziva in "Worst Nightmare."
Great intrigue was provided by Nicholas Mason, the girl's grandfather and guardian while her parents are deployed. When he goes rogue to find her on his own, NCIS has its hands full.
When Gibbs learns that Mason has been communicating with Rebecca's kidnapper(s) directly, they begin to try to find ... well, either or both. But all they come across are dead bodies.
Whose side is Mason even on? This mysterious character definitely kept you guessing all night, which added a new layer of suspense on top of the search to recover the missing girl.It turns out the kidnapper - Bernard! - was once a member of Mason's field operatives team, a group of highly-trained agents that answered directly to the President, Cold War style.
They operated outside the chain of command, but within the law. Mostly. Sounds, ironically, a little bit like NCIS' own leading man, especially after the Pedro Hernandez story arc.
It's little surprise that Gibbs came around once he realized Mason's true intentions, despite being jerked around at the onset. He's taken things into his own hands on notable occasions.
In any case, once the team completed its mission, they were to return to civilian life and never contact one another. The kidnapper is "atoning for sins" committed on Nicholas’ team.
He used the kidnapping as a way to draw out Nicholas and his old team members, who he knew would be called in for for help. He could also pin everything on Mason this way. Clever.
Not quite as clever as the ruse NCIS devises, though. Confronting the kidnapper at the dropoff point, Ziva pretends to take out Mason from afar so the kidnapper gives back the girl.
His mission seemingly complete, and having been straight up played, our target reveals that Rebecca is in his trunk. Then Mason gets up, wholly unharmed and covered in corn syrup.
Definitely had us going for a second, even if Gibbs & Co. would never blow it so carelessly. Tony asks the kidnapper: Know what you got? Taken down by Leroy Jethro Gibbs ... holla!
Meet Timothy McGee, NCIS brain trust (who should take time away from his brain trust duties to eat more). Just kidding, McGee ... the all-organic diet has done wonders for you man.
Some fun points and random observations:
- Mason was likened to Jason Bourne. So was Kensi later on NCIS: Los Angeles.
- The interns grew on us by the end and definitely made for some fun interaction.
- Abby's list of things the intern can and can't do? Plus the bells? LOL material.
- Is Zack Lively (cocky intern Conrad Zuse) related to Gossip Girl star Blake?
- Gibbs to the kidnapper: “Why are you angry, man?” So calm, so dry.
- Official head slap count for season eight: 1.
- Poor Palmer.
What did you think of last night's NCIS? What were your favorite moments and quotes? Did it feel like the NCIS of old? Comment below with your thoughts ...