This was Abby's Day Out.
She had bugged HR and Gibbs to outfit her with some better digs for her lab. Since that wasn't forthcoming, she took the opportunity to visit a pharmaceutical company to advance her investigation of a suspicious compound. Instead of just picking up a phone.
Cue the Ebola auto-shutdown of the place, guns firing and the general mayhem that ensued.
NCIS Season 13 Episode 5 introduced us to the case of a band of robbers who took advantage of a well-meaning corporate whistle-blower who hired them to steal some data to prove the company's evil intent to sell generic drugs that don't work.
The plan was for the whistle-blower, Dr. Janice Brown. to initiate a shut down of the Ebola complex, thereby allowing the thieves to access the server room and grab the data (plus whatever else they wished to steal).
They had other plans, however, and decided to murder everyone who knew about them, possibly including Brown herself. We're not sure why – probably just being careful, I guess.
It was great seeing Abby putting her intellect to hard work. She typically is shown finding the elusive "needle in a haystack" to most of the NCIS cases, and often at that, only shows up briefly. After collecting her traditional drink – and sometimes a peck on the cheek – from Gibbs, she's rarely seen again.
Putting her in a place where there was no outside connection to the world, with gunmen looking specifically for her to kill her, ratcheted up the tension nicely. That was vintage Abby, thinking out loud to herself as she scrambled to find ways to foil their evil plans.
The cat-and-mouse escapades, with her hiding in the server closet, building a stink bomb, getting a message out to Gibbs before locking the system down and hiding in the closet again, was fun to watch. I was a little on edge watching that, knowing that chances were very high she'd be caught eventually. I mean, who wouldn't go and investigate a smell so loathsome that you had to leave the room?
Also, what happened to the stink later? It seemed no one cared about it. Even Abby removed the clothespin from her nose. (Speaking of which, where did that even come from?) (Edit: thanks to some eagle-eyed commenters: I stand corrected. That was a paper binding clip, not a clothespin - easily obtained in any office environment)
The crawl through the ventilation system back to Dr. Brown's office seemed a little over the top and cliché. It's been done many times before in various shows and movies. But we can ignore that, as it was important to move the story along. I suppose there's a good reason why she had to use orange smoke for the second ventilation part of the story, and not crawl through that as well.
Still, the plot highlighted not only her genius but her commitment to her principles. She was determined to get the best of the bad guys by any means possible, short of death. Her heartfelt session with Gibbs near the end raised the question: what if she was indeed faced with a decision where she had to take a few lives in order to save a bunch of others? That question wasn't really answered.
Speaking of clichés, there were a couple in this episode, once again. Tony the clown was back, as was Palmer the stumbler. Both of these tiresome memes make their appearances now and again, to the point where we just have to roll our eyes in annoyance. Scenes like the one where Tony says the wrong thing and insults Gibbs, or stumbles madly to get out of the way when Gibbs is trying to get out of the trailer, are getting ridiculous.
The same goes for Palmer's socially-ignorant displays. The writer is treating him like he's a 12-year old. It's past time it stopped.
Thankfully, those scenes were brief, and were overshadowed by the Abby plot.
The case itself was a fascinating breadcrumb-crawl through a maze of facts. The discovery of the captain's body – and the fact that he had some behavioral problems – served as an interesting entry into the case. Ultimately, it wasn't directly about him at all, but the story took a while to get us there.
In fact we didn't know until near the end that the reason for his bad behavior had to do with the ineffective antidepressant drugs he'd been taking. And that was tied into Dr. Brown's intent to expose the greed of the pharmaceutical company who'd deliberately left out the active ingredient in their drugs.
All in all, it was an enjoyable and entertaining episode.
- Abby is the NCIS Batman. In one shoe she has a fire starter kit, and wonders why other people don't. And in another she has knockout gas. You have to wonder if her parasol has some other hidden goodies.
- It was disappointing to see that she elected not to get some new digs for her lab. A change in scenery, with sunlight involved, would have been a cool change.
- She's got Gibbs wrapped around her little finger. We always knew this, but it was good to see once again.
- Be sure to tune in next week when we take a look at NCIS Season 13 Episode 6, entitled "Viral"
- As always, you can see this episode again when you watch NCIS online
Now it's over to you. What are your thoughts on this Abby-centric episode? Hit us up in the comments!
Douglas Wolfe was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He retired in 2016. Follow him on Twitter.