NCIS delved into the world of video games, torture devices, dismembered digits and high-stakes hacking last night in what was certainly an interesting episode.
While it was difficult to invest in the action taking place largely virtually on computer screens and some plot details bordered on hokey, it was an entertaining ride.
The title, "Kill Screen," took on a dual meaning after the climactic scene. As much as you knew that was coming, it was fun to watch Gibbs unload on that thing.
It had to bring our fearless leader such satisfaction to put a dozen rounds into the mainframe, punctuated by the coup de grace after it threatened to crackle back to life.
How did we get to the point where Gibbs navigated through a maze reminiscent of a 21st Century Legend of Zelda labyrinth to take down a computer? Let's review:
Marine Corporal Troy Amstrong is found dead with his fingers and teeth gruesomely removed. He was also tortured to death, all stemming from a credit card purchase.
One, it turned out, he didn't even make.Maxine Edwards, played by Leverage star Beth Riesgraf, was recouping money he owed her by using the credit cards and playing video games, at which she's amazing.
Naturally, she was immediately pegged as a love interest for Tim, despite his efforts to take time off from dating after last week's debacle. Fortunately, that didn't stick.
After an attempt on her life, we learn Maxine reached the kill screen - where a game simply shuts down because it can't handle your awesomeness - of a popular game.
That screen revealed a set of codes that someone was clearly after. But who put them there and for what purpose? This is where it got a little confusing and out there.
The programmer was identified but also found dead, leaving Martin, DOD advisor and private security guru, the prime suspect, something that should've been obvious.
After all, he had been hovering in the office throughout the episode, under the guise of investigating NCIS security issues, and talking in a really creepy, raspy voice.
Either one of those should have been tip-offs, and you'd think Gibbs would have been wise to that sooner. In any case, he did figure it out, but it went beyond Martin.
The reason he whacked two people was that the Pentagon nearly was cyber-bombed and extremely vulnerable, which would've resulted in millions of lost contracts.
But the programmer set it up so that if he didn't check in one day, the virtual attack on the Defense Department would commence, sparking a race against the clock.
As NCIS episodes go, this will never be considered among the best, and as climactic scenes go, Gibbs was running through a maze a la James Bond was a bit silly.
Just the same, it was suspenseful and fun enough. Not every episode can hit the nail on the head, and this was certainly a departure from the norm if nothing else.
It became clear after a minute or so that the McGeeminator could only go so much and only Gibbs' last resort would suffice. The man hates computers, after all.
Best of all, Tony set McGee up with Maxine for a laser tag date. Here's hoping she recturns and this actually goes somewhere besides Tim getting his identity stolen.
Other thoughts and observations:
- Vance's absence felt strange when the Pentagon was being hacked and the stakes were this high. That revelation came about quickly, but nevertheless.
- Think Maxine could take Barney from How I Met Your Mother at laser tag?
- Ducky's encyclopedic knowledge of zombie lore? Amusing and unexpected.
- Palmer spotting a knockoff Chanel purse instantly? Yeah. Don't even ask.
- McGee thought Gibbs might relate to Pong. Even that was a stretch.
What did you think of last night's NCIS? Discuss!