Poor Jimmy Palmer. Usually relegated to brief comic relief moments, it's easy to forget that he's more than just a walking ball of awkward. But NCIS Season 14 Episode 13 placed the spotlight squarely on him this time!
While "Keep Going" may have been a self-contained clip show, it also served as a vehicle for character development and answered one of the oldest questions fans had about Jimmy Palmer: when is he going to finish his medical training?
The answer: he already has!
Logically speaking, the setup for putting Jimmy out on the ledge was downright ludicrous. For my own part, if I ever see someone on a ledge ready to jump, my instinctive reaction would be to point and say loudly, "Look up there!"
Of course, had Jimmy done that, it would've been a pretty short episode and we wouldn't have gotten so many fantastic quotes to work with.
Ryan Smith: What is this, self-help karaoke?
Jimmy: Honestly, I’ve got a million of these. I can do this all night long!
It also seemed rather silly that no one thought to give Jimmy a rope so he could at least secure himself from falling. I'd imagine any real firefighters watching this episode probably had fits of hysterical laughter over the situation.
Frankly, though, despite all this, I really enjoyed this episode. Other viewers' mileage may vary, of course, depending on how much you like Jimmy Palmer as a character, but, yes, I liked this episode quite a bit.
There wasn't a lot to it; most of the story was just Jimmy on a ledge with Ryan Smith (guest star Spencer Treat Clark). Even the death of Ryan's father was a case of simple road rage.
The situation provided the opportunity to show Jimmy's perspective on the team through flashback clips. If there was a one false note, I think it was that there was not enough emphasis of the relationship between Jimmy and Ducky.
Indeed, Jimmy cited Gibbs over Ducky (specifically, in regards to the fallen-through adoption). While this may make sense from our perspective as viewers of a show where Gibbs is the lead character, it felt a little odd for Jimmy, who's a lot closer to Ducky than Gibbs.
Though Ducky's words earlier in the episode did get the final say in the end:
Ducky: Forgive me, Mr. Palmer, but I can’t resist the urge to give you one of my all-time favorite pieces of advice: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
The biggest revelation was, of course, that Jimmy had actually finished his education and some point and was, in fact, a fully-qualified medical examiner:
Ryan: So, you’re an actual doctor?
Jimmy: Yeah. And nobody at work knows!
Really, it's not so much a surprise; Jimmy's been on the show since 2004, and it had been getting a weird that he was still Mr. Palmer after all these years.
The strength of the moment rested in the heartwarming notion that Jimmy was just so happy working at NCIS with Ducky and the rest of the team that he specifically chose not to go somewhere else that would likely pay better.
To be perfectly honest, it was also refreshing to have Jimmy do something that didn't result in him being the butt of the joke. A lot of times, it's like the writers don't know what else to do with him.
This sort of played out in-universe, too, with many of the other characters being surprised to learn that that Jimmy's more than just the Autopsy Gremlin.
Brian Dietzen was excellent in this episode, showing off Jimmy's insightful side, such as when he realized quite quickly that Ryan didn't want to die when he helped Jimmy back onto the ledge.
The reveal that Jimmy's a fully-qualified medical examiner does bring up the recurring question of whether they might be setting up for Ducky to retire. Don't get me wrong; I love David McCallum, but he's around 83 years old and getting no younger.
As for the case itself, it was almost certainly for the best that it turned out to be a simple instance of road rage turned deadly, rather than some huge conspiracy or plot that would have distracted from the drama of the ledge.
Not that the unfortunate Captain Smith isn't any less dead, but sometimes from a viewer's perspective it's nice for a break from the big stories and watch a more personal one.
Future’s coming with or without you. Might as well *be* there.Jimmy
A few final thoughts before I turn the discussion over to you:
- Hopefully, Gibbs will make sure that Jimmy gets the raise he deserves.
- There were a lot of great lines in this episode; be sure to check out our NCIS quotes page!
- There was no mention of Bishop's ongoing quest, nor did Vance or Reeves make an appearance.
- For those who may be curious, Brian Dietzen is 39 years old, which shouldn't be nearly as surprising as it is given how long he's been on NCIS.
If you missed this episode, be sure to watch NCIS online to catch up!
The show is taking a week off before returning on Tuesday, February 7, 2017 at 8/7c on CBS with NCIS Season 14 Episode 14, "Nonstop."
So, what did you think of "Keep Going"? Did you enjoy having Jimmy as the focus? Were you surprised to learn he had already passed his ME tests?
Let us know in the comments below!