Have we all become victims of Rule #36?
First there was the tease that we were going to lose a "fan favorite"......except that the term was used, as it turns out, very loosely. Ned Dorneget was a neat guy, but honestly – did we really know him enough for him to become a favorite?
Then there were the rumors and hints that not all of the dying was done, and that we were going to lose someone else.
And so, on NCIS Season 12 Episode 24 we saw Gibbs get shot twice.
As a season "cliffhanger" it wasn't much of one. There's no way we're going to lose him.
For starters, Gibbs was still blinking before the camera faded to black. And for another, the shot looked like it got his left lung, and not his heart.
Sure, Gibbs could die, but can anyone see that happening? Really?
It would have been more frightening if Ducky or Palmer had been shot, or hit by a car or something. (Not that I'd wish that on either of them).
If anything, Gibbs will come back from this with the understanding that he needs to trust his gut. When his conscience (in the form of Mike Franks) berates him for trusting someone, he'd better take it to heart.
It seems the kid got under his skin the way no other enemy has ever done. Yet part of him still reserved judgment and demanded caution.
Perhaps another lesson can be learned from this too. Someone who is brainwashed doesn't suddenly become un-brainwashed just because you show him a little love and care. Clearly Luke Harris was still under the influence of "The Calling" – it just took a little nudge to start him up again.
Another thing: when Luke was taken from Gibbs' home, who was it that brained the woman who was looking after him? We were told that she ended up needing stitches in the back of her head, and we know that when Sadiq's young emissary came calling, the woman was facing away from Luke. My guess is that Luke did the dirty deed, and then went willingly off with Sadiq's "friend."
The guess here is that we have the makings of Season 13's new arc with this story. When you consider the plethora of images of "targets" that came out of the back end of McGee's video game, it's a fair bet that Daniel Budd isn't just a misguided Peter Pan – even though he presents himself that way.
First off, there's the location to think of. The man is headquartered in Iraq for a reason. It's a little inconvenient – not to mention dangerous – a place for a disgruntled First World malcontent to hole up.
Secondly, neither he nor his main lieutenants (Sadiq Samar and Matthew Rousseau) have given any credible indication about what their beef might be. Sure, Sadiq talked about the notion that age is the enemy of enlightened youth.
I'm not buying it though. There's a larger complaint at work.
If I'm wrong, and a Peter Pan ageism is Budd's game, then it's the weirdest most unbelievable premise I've ever seen. I mean, look at all the targets they have in mind. They want to bomb all of those places because adults are passé and "enlightened youth" are where it's at? If that isn't a prime example of the perfect sneering hipster, I'm not sure what is.
While it was enjoyable to see Mimi Rogers play Dorneget's mother, the purpose for CIA Agent Joanna Teague appeared to be plot rather than character-based. Her only use was to make the story flow better: they captured and were able to interrogate Sadiq, and they learned who the mastermind was, only because she was privy to a months-long CIA investigation. Oh, and because she wasn't afraid to employ "enhanced interrogation techniques" to learn what she needed to know.
Presto! Here's the information you need, Gibbs. Now go get 'em!
There were some great performances in this episode.
Notably, Adetokumboh M'Cormack (who played the sneering and contemptuous Matthew Rousseau) was brilliant. You could easily buy his patronizing patter as he doled out bits of horror, in both this episode and the last.
The man who played Sadiq Samar (Babar Peerzada) was no slouch either, when it came to putting Gibbs on the defensive.
All in all, the three part story (now three plus plus, I imagine, given that we won't know the end until the next season) was at the very least, interesting. As sure as I am that Gibbs will survive, there's enough of a doubt there that would bring me back next season for at least NCIS Season 13 Episode 1.
- Tony still appears to be a chick magnet, or at least a draw for women with daddy issues. Bishop didn't believe him at first – did she miss the way the girl grazed Tony's arm as she smiled at him before walking away?
- What was that scene in Vance's office all about? Do we really care that Joanna Teague went off the reservation with her CIA bosses in her desire to hunt down her son's killer? What was the purpose for that?
- Tony was genuinely glad to see McGee back. While McGee sort of accepted his warmth you could tell that a part of him still doesn't trust him completely. That's consistent with his character.
- I wonder how long it took for the disgruntled kids to learn whatever new kind of morse code was involved with the songs they were given?
- On that same note – encoded songs? Really? Seems like a lot of effort when an encrypted email can say so much more.
- Remember: you can catch up any of the NCIS Season 12 episodes when you watch NCIS online.
Over all, and despite the flaws, I liked this episode, except for the ending. That just wasn't a cliffhanger. What it was, was an unfinished story.
I could be wrong though, and maybe Gibbs is gone. What do you think? Vote your response in our poll.
And then let us know your thoughts on the season finale in the comments below!
Did Gibbs die?
Douglas Wolfe was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He retired in 2016. Follow him on Twitter.