You could call this one the Vance Show, as it was mostly all about him. And it was very well done.
Vance decided to team up with Gibbs – and to Vance's surprise, Gibbs didn't put up a fight. There's a good reason for that, which we'll discuss a little later.
NCIS Season 13 Episode 4 gave us the case of a former NCIS Special Agent, now ex-con, named Kip Klugman, who showed up to offer helpful evidence in order to finger a bet-shop boss for the murder of Navy Seaman Apprentice Brian Dokes.
Only neither Gibbs nor Vance was inclined to believe his motives. And as it turned out they were right to be suspicious, because Klugman was merely building an elaborate plan to get ahold of the money Dokes stole.
Klugman was the evil mastermind found in every Bond film. His plan was elaborate, involved many players and was really too complicated and relied too much on luck to ever see him pull it off. He needed to discredit Vance so that SecNav Porter would be "forced" to turn the case over to another jurisdiction, which would then give him the opportunity to intercept it by using a Bluetooth tracking device.
The more you think about it, the more unlikely it sounds.
First of all, even if Vance was forced to step down, it would never mean that anyone would be forced to move the case to another jurisdiction. It was merely convenient to the storyline that it happened at all.
Similarly, if the files and evidence (money) were to be moved, you know there would be cops doing the moving. How likely is it that they would ever find themselves in an untenable situation with a single gunman? They're trained to take down scum, and that's the more likely outcome. It was a lose-lose situation. Yet "Lump" – all by himself – managed to get the drop on Vance and Gibbs. Even though Vance and Gibbs elected to allow him to succeed (in order to track him back to Klugman) the whole setup was a fantasy.
Even the three-hour deadline offered by SecNav Porter didn't ring true.
Still, despite all of those unlikely events, the story was entertaining. And it allowed the viewers to give a collective gasp at the notion that Vance might have to step down. Who would take his place? Obviously Gibbs, right?
It didn't take long for that notion to go away. First off, it's too early in the season for such a major shakeup (though frankly, it still could happen at any time). The changes in the group's dynamics are evident, and we know something needs to change. What we're unsure of is exactly what and how it needs to happen.
Which brings us back to the point mentioned earlier: that Gibbs seemed to have given into Vance too easily when Vance asked to insert himself into the investigation.
Gibbs alluded to his own changed mindset a couple of times:
Gibbs: You said you had nothing to prove.
Vance: Damn right.
Gibbs: Well you're not acting like it. The job changes, Leon. We change, for better or for worse.
Gibbs has changed. He's not kicking against the grain quite so hard anymore because he realizes that everything changes. Everything. Including himself.
I'm still anxious to see how that all plays out. We know for sure Tony is going places, and we know that Gibbs will be the last person to ever stand in his way. Gibbs wouldn't stand in Leon's way either, as was evident in this story.
Gibbs won't even stand in his own way. He's open to whatever life throws at him.
It's a subtle thing, this change in Gibbs. I like how the writers keep bringing it up: it's an important element in the makeup of this show, and it signals that we should expect anything to happen.
The team up of Gibbs and Vance was pretty cool. Especially when it gave us dialogue like this:
Vance: You're the boss, boss. Although when I asked to tag along I thought this was going to be more like, you know, Butch and Sundance. You're the quick-draw, I'm the brains. Kind of co-equals.
Gibbs: Yeah, we're not.
Vance: So what, I'm Robin to your Batman?
Though Vance said it wouldn't happen again, I'd like for that to be a lie. Put them together again. They operate very well as peers.
- Though SecNav Porter is a great character, this story is telling us that she can only be counted upon to do the political thing, whatever the cost to individuals. I disliked her smiling reassurance to Vance that retiring would give him an opportunity to spend time with his kids. That's a crocodile consolation prize, and it served as a low point. She didn't come off looking too good in that scene.
- Last name Stradivarius, first name Kiki.
- I don't know enough about LSD to say for sure that it could cause someone to kill themselves or gouge their own eyes out. You sort of expect it of people high on bath salts but.....who knows? People have jumped off of buildings while high on that stuff.
- Nice lawyer. Too bad she was as crooked as the rest of them.
- As always, remember you can see this episode again when you watch NCIS online
Now it's your turn. What did you think of this Vance-centric episode? Did you like the team up? Jump in and let us know your thoughts!
Douglas Wolfe was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He retired in 2016. Follow him on Twitter.