Ooooh, boy. How does one even begin to talk about NCIS Season 14 Episode 16?
It's pretty much a guarantee that the level of enjoyment most viewers got out of it depended on how much they liked Bishop.
Because, really, "A Many Splendored Thing" was all about Bishop and her grief over the death of Qasim.
Getting flashbacks of Bishop and her burgeoning relationship with Qasim felt like too little, too late for trying to establish their connection and showing the viewers why Bishop was just so consumed by her quest for revenge.
Bishop's behavior – acting like she's the only one who Chen hurt, and that her problems are the only ones that matter – did little, if anything, to endear her to me.
Yes, we get it. You feel guilty over putting the breaks on your relationship with Qasim.
But does that justify going rogue, betraying the trust of your team, and putting who knows how many lives at risk for the sake of payback?
Not to mention the fact that she is totally guilty of several very serious crimes, including theft, unlawful imprisonment, and manslaughter.
All of this seemed to completely escape her (as did any type of punishment for her actions). Gibbs did warn Bishop that she would still pay the price.
But that sounded more like the emotional cost than professional. Frankly, she should have been fired. At least.
What gets me is that everyone seems to forget Gibbs knows better than anyone how she feels. How consuming the desire for revenge is. He took his revenge.
There have been mixed messages over the years about whether or not Gibbs's revenge was the right choice or not. Here, Bishop clearly had total tunnel vision regarding Chen.
Even Reeves, her staunchest ally in her mission, had more clarity.
Bishop: I’m not afraid of Gibbs.
Reeves: Well, actually, *I’m* afraid of him.
Chen himself didn't help the matter, showing up at Gibbs' house to taunt them about how untouchable he was now that he was pals with the CIA.
On a side note, I do have to ask how all the bad guys keep finding Gibbs' house. It's not as if his address is listed, is it?
But back to the main storyline. Maybe there will be fallout for Bishop on the way. But somehow I doubt it. (Frankly, if I were her boss, I'd fire her, if not prosecute her.)
Part of the problem, I think, was that Chen never came across as nearly as intimidating a villain as I think he was supposed to be. This becomes especially apparent when you compare Chen to the archetypal NCIS villain, Ari Haswari.
Chen never had a clearly-defined motivation other than "being evil." When your villain is doing evil simply because it's evil, you're doing something wrong.
We didn't have much opportunity to see Chen and fully connect him with his villainous deeds. Sure, we heard how he was probably responsible for some bad stuff.
There's an adage in writing: "Show, don't tell."
If you want to do evil businessman, maybe take a gander at Raymond Reddington over on The Blacklist for a few pointers.
The aforementioned Ari, meanwhile, wanted payback against his father (and his father's country and allies by extension).
At some level, it's easier to define Bishop as a villain than Chen!
"Emotionally damaged by the murder of her lover, a federal agent betrays her team and oath to hunt down the man responsible and take her cold and calculating revenge."
A few final thoughts before I turn the discussion over to you, fellow NCIS fans:
- When Chen taunted Gibbs about having nothing on which to arrest him, he was wrong: Chen was, after all, trespassing. Gibbs probably could have shot him.
- What is it with the CIA's ability to find the worst people in the world with which to work?
- How did Bishop get the virus onto a 3.5" floppy disk? When was the last time you saw one of those drives, anyway?
- Check out our NCIS quotes page for the most notable lines.
If you missed anything, be sure to watch NCIS online to catch up!
And tune in March 7, 2017 at 8/7c on CBS for NCIS Season 14 Episode 17, "What Lies Above."
So, what did you think of "A Many Splendored Thing"?
Was it a satisfying end to Bishop's quest for revenge? Were you disappointed that Chen went out in such a manner?
Let us know in the comments below!