The loss of Ned Dorneget probably came as a kind of sad relief to many.
After Gary Glasberg and Emily Wickersham both hinted at the loss of a memorable character, the floodgates of speculation opened, and we all were sure one of the core NCIS team members was going to bite the bullet.
Turns out the loss wasn't as severe as we feared.
Mind you, I liked Ned a lot, especially in NCIS Season 12 Episode 22 and this one. This guy who was able to adopt a different persona to deal with his insecurities was someone you could truly appreciate.
Even Tony was amazed at him. (You could tell because you could see the wheels turning in his head once he learned of Ned's method. That Gilroy Libbs character was pretty awesome.)
Still, I'm glad we didn't lose Vance or Ducky. So... small mercies, right?
NCIS Season 12 Episode 23 continued the three-part story about a terrorist group called "The Calling" who were recruiting kids to their cause. The team learned that the group was also purchasing S-mines on the black market, and re-engineering them to act in daisy-chain concert, using encrypted WiFi technology and laser trip wires.
Unknown as yet is the entire plan for the group, and the number of targets involved. Presumably by now they've recruited more than enough kids to effect whatever goal they have in mind.
Speaking of children....what a truly evil (and entirely plausible) method they're employing. Building on the natural teenage and pre-teen angst that affects so many children, "The Calling" is attacking their fragile egos and self-esteem to effectively win them over to their nihilist belief that nothing is worth anything. And that they themselves are worthless.
When it comes to beliefs, I'm certain there's a grand plan or ideology behind all of the terrorists' efforts, other than Sarah Goode's thought that they're "rooted in nothing but the desire to reject authority and paralyze the system." There's much more to be discovered about their true purpose.
So now we know of a guy named Rousseau who is partly responsible for the bombing in Cairo, and we know of another cell leader named Sadiq Samar. The problem is that these are only two heads of the hydra – the team has yet to figure out how wide the group is, and the identity of the ultimate mastermind.
On last week's NCIS Round Table I was wrong on two counts:
- That the person who would be killed off would not be Ned.
- That the killing would happen in the season finale.
So now I'm going to make another prediction, on the premise that "the third time's the charm": on NCIS Season 12 Episode 24 the team may end up capturing the two leaders mentioned above, but they'll discover that the movement is so wide spread that they'll spend the next season dealing with them.
The sub-plot involving Luke Harris was heartbreaking, wasn't it? Gibbs worked so hard to turn him around and basically just show him what he was doing, and how it was affecting his parents. Those two scenes – one at Gibbs' home and the other at the office – were compelling and so hopeful. Yet, just when he showed a renewed interest in living and tackling life with a positive attitude, the boy's hopes were smashed beyond repair once he saw his dead parents. Even Gibbs told his handler to stay with him. No way could he trust him to be alone after that.
Despite the few humorous moments, this was a very dark episode. The scene where we saw the S-mines ascend in slow motion before they detonated put the stamp of dread on it all.
I'm left wondering how next week's episode will follow up. We know it's going to be fairly tense.
- It was great to see Agah Bayar again. We last saw him on NCIS Season 9 Episode 17 "Need to Know." Before that he was on two episodes during NCIS Season 8 ("Broken Arrow" and "Kill Screen").
- I hope that was shame we saw in Tony's eyes when Bayar said he would have provided help regardless of pay or blackmail. But then again, you never know with international arms dealers....I mean he even talked about how working pro bono can only go so far.
- Now we know why Gibbs doesn't talk a whole lot: "Talk a lot and too many people end up thinking they heard things you never said." I'd like some examples please.
- We also learned about a time when he had to chastise his daughter. It's not surprising that despite his woodworking skills, he never bothered to fix the cupboard door that she defaced: it serves as a welcome reminder of her presence in his life.
- You knew that Ned's alter ego Gilroy Libbs is almost (but not quite) an anagram of Leroy Gibbs, right?
- The "Gibbs! Gibbs! Gibbs! Gibbs! Gibbs!" thing is getting overused. Maybe it's time to maybe give it a rest.
- Kudos to whoever picked that amazing song to play when Gibbs found the dead parents: "Friction" by Imagine Dragons
- Remember: you can refresh yourself on the major plot points for this second of a three-parter when you watch NCIS online.
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Douglas Wolfe was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He retired in 2016. Follow him on Twitter.