I know other reviewers probably thought this episode was The Best Ever, but NCIS Season 14 Episode 7 for me came across as preachy, heavy-handed, and uneven. To make matters worse, the crime the team was investigating (when they weren't childishly fighting over Tony's apartment) was painfully predictable.
While it was nice having Robert Wagner back as DiNozzo Senior, his appearance simply could not salvage "Home of the Brave" for me.
The issue of people who illegally entered the country as children, infants even, is definitely a painful and sensitive one. However, I would argue that Victor Medina serving as the representative of such individuals did not exactly have much nuance; the man was practically a saint, and even the thing he supposedly did wrong (the bar assault) he did right.
Perhaps it would have made for more interesting television if the man had not been so painfully perfect in every way aside from his immigration status. The situation was barely helped by the cardboard ICE agent, who claimed he was "just doing his job." Real life is rarely so clear-cut as the instance depicted here.
The simplistic manner in which the situation was presented really didn't do justice to the complexity of the situation, which involves millions of unique individuals who came to this country as children and call it home, and have been here far longer than they ever were in the country of their birth.
There's a lot of charged political rhetoric being thrown around right now, and I can only imagine the sort of reaction this episode would have elicited had it aired as originally scheduled two weeks ago, before the election.
As far as I'm concerned in this review, however, whether or not I agree with a particular message is less important than whether I believe the delivery of said message was effective. And I really think that it was way too heavy-handed to be truly effective.
Contributing to my rather ambivalent opinion regarding this episode were the mind-bogglingly unprofessional attitudes displayed by Quinn, Bishop, and McGee over the course of the story.
Let's look at each of them:
Quinn: Had a sexual fantasy dream about her boss, and then told all her coworkers about it. And she allowed her discomfort regarding said dream to materially interfere with the performance of her duties.
Did you just read an ellipsis out loud?Quinn
Bishop: Verbally harassed and bullied Torres into driving to Ohio. She also encouraged Medina to join in the harassment until Torres gave in.
McGee: Used his recent engagement with Delilah in a blatant and in my opinion incredibly low tactic to guilt Senior into gifting him Tony's old apartment. Seriously, McGee?! Bishop's essay was at least not nearly so... cheap. Despite being Senior Field Agent, he also participated and encouraged office gossip (of a sexual nature, no less!)... involving their boss!
McGee: What are you doing?
Anthony DiNozzo Senior: Changing the subject!
Really, I felt bad for Gibbs by the end, to judge by how fed up he was (particularly with Quinn's behavior in the interrogation room).
The actual case they were supposed to be investigating during all these absurd shenanigans was hardly inspiring, either. I easily pegged the rich teenage brat son as the guilty party from pretty much the moment he opened the door.
The sudden appearance (and equally sudden demise) of the hit man towards the end of the episode came almost completely out of left field, too. So rich guy who's been covering for his trouble-making son felt totally cool jumping over the moral event horizon himself by hiring a hit man to murder a witness?!
It felt completely contrived as a way to reveal and catch the bad guy(s).
Plus, the Arthur Jankowski detour (the guy who fled when our heroes tried to talk to him) felt completely pointless since he was obviously a red herring.
A few thoughts in closing before I turn the discussion over to you:
- Ducky quoted the famous To Be Or Not To Be monologue from Hamlet Act III Scene 1, which compares sleep to death in contemplation of suicide.
- CPR when done properly, can indeed result in cracked and/or broken ribs.
- The obnoxious rich brat calling Quinn "Mrs. Robinson" was a reference to the 1967 film The Graduate, in which a young man was seduced by an older woman.
- Why would trained and experienced federal agents call the name of a guy they intend to question in a robbery-homicide while they're still a dozen yards away? This is a pretty common and inexplicable behavior among fictional law officers, actually.
- A wild hit man appears! Bishop uses Sidearm. It's super effective!
- No sign of Clayton Reeves yet.
- Why is it that almost every single male character appears to think that Quinn is the hottest babe on Planet Earth? Both Senior and Bratty Teen Murderer got in on the action in this episode.
One final note: the Marine Corps celebrated its birthday on November 10, and November 11 marked Veterans Day, so I'd like to extend my deepest appreciation to the men and women who have dedicated their lives to protecting us.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
So, what did you think of "Home of the Brave"? Did you find its story poignant or over the top? Were you surprised that Torres gave the keys to McGee (and Delilah)? Did you predict that the rich guy's son was the murderer? Let us know in the comments below!