NCIS Season 12 Episode 2 Review: Kill the Messenger

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Looks like we're back to the formulaic body-of-the-week storyline for which NCIS is well known.

It's not all boring, though - how can it be when the dead lieutenant was on his way to visit his b-ball buddy, the President?

NCIS Season 12 Episode 2 also introduced a side plot involving Vance and some worrisome news about his health. Also, Abby may have a new love interest.

With all of that going on, it was impossible to sit back and expect just a regular episode. Let's begin with Vance...

It turns out the man is still mourning his wife, as evidenced by the fact that he doesn't have his affairs in order. Maybe this scare will shake him out of his complacency. 

I don't mind saying it: I was scared right along with him. So many of us have been touched by cancer, or by loved ones who've contracted it - the familiar news, particularly the way it was laid out in this episode, kind of makes your heart sink. I was certain after his CAT scan that Vance was on his way out. 

What a relief to see that smile on Ducky's face after the biopsy showed that Vance was suffering from a relatively harmless virus instead, one that mimicked the appearance of cancer on x-rays and CAT scans.

The case of the week wasn't all that remarkable. Once again, we have government secrets involved and a company that wants to keep everything hushed up, along with a company management type who is willing to commit murder to ensure that happens. If anything, it was anti-climatic.

We got the usual misdirection, first with the mugger and then with the dead man's wife. I knew as soon as we met the company CEO that he or one of his underlings was the culprit. Boring and predictable.

Maybe after meeting the new big bad on NCIS Season 12 Episode 1, the bar's been raised too high; and we're not satisfied with anything less than a truly evil antagonist. 

There were some bright moments, however.

Abby and her new-found love interest, for one. Both have tattoos and both seem to shine at each other. I hope this is going somewhere - it'd be cool to see Abs in a relationship.

Then there was this:

Tony: If you think about it, science is amazing. I mean video phone sex. You and Jake ever---
Bishop: Wow. You have no boundaries.
Tony: Come on, I'm messing with you.
Bishop: Did you miss the sexual harassment seminar?
Tony: Every year.

Finally, there was the scene where Special Agent Tony Francis pulled an ancient "Tony" trick:

Francis: Can I ask you a question, Bishop?
Bishop: Sure.
Francis: You enjoy working for Gibbs? I mean I heard he's tough. A real hard-ass. He's standing right behind me, isn't he?
Bishop: Yeah.

Haven't seen a scene like that in a long time. Guess Tony's no longer the butt of jokes - and someone else can take up the mantle. Good to see.

What did you think of this episode? Do you think Vance is ready to move on, and take care of his life and his kids the way he needs to?

Watch NCIS online to catch up, and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Kill the Messenger Review

Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.7 / 5.0 (96 Votes)

Douglas Wolfe was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He retired in 2016. Follow him on Twitter

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NCIS Season 12 Episode 2 Quotes

Vance: Surgeon didn't pull any punches. He asked me if I had my life in order.
Ducky: And do you?
Vance: No. Since Jackie's death I haven't been able to focus. I haven't redone my will, nor have I made any provision for the care of my children.

Francis: Can I ask you a question, Bishop?
Bishop: Sure.
Francis: You enjoy working for Gibbs? I mean I heard he's tough. A real hard-ass. He's standing right behind me, isn't he?
Bishop: Yeah.