I'd like to give a warm welcome to Maria Bello, whose Special Agent Jacqueline "Jack" Sloane made a rather amusing debut in NCIS Season 15 Episode 4. Gibbs got her good, didn't he?
There's a lot to unpack from this story, so let's get this show on the road!
When I was watching her "infiltration" of Gibbs's home, I spotted the thread immediately with the way she flashed her ID. It was a rather conspicuous giveaway, since we see the same gesture every single episode when our heroes show their NCIS badges.
At first we were very cleverly led to believe she got the better of Gibbs, with him acting unsurprisingly aloof. There were, however, clues that he knew exactly who she was, such as the fact that he freely gave her his house keys.
Sloane: You’re gonna leave a complete stranger alone in your house.
Sloane: I could rob you blind.
Gibbs: Lock up when you’re done.
A much more subtle clue came near the beginning, when the team discussed undercover work (versus the plain dress-up and wearing masks on Halloween).
Oh, it's ever so easy to forget that Gibbs has done plenty of undercover work himself. He certainly pulled it off on Sloane!
To be honest, Sloane's initial deception rubbed me the wrong way. Theoretically, isn't she supposed to be analyzing crime scenes and criminals, rather than the agents investigating them?
Gibbs, however, took it all in stride, having been told in advance by Ducky that she was coming. And, boy, was it beautiful when he gleefully turned the tables on her at the end.
Though Sloane is flagged as a series regular, it's unclear to me at the moment exactly how many episodes she will appear in. Given that she's not a member of Gibbs's team as such, I hope they don't over-use her.
This episode set up some pretty interesting backstory, including a past history with Vance for which she apparently owes him for some mysterious unspecified debt. Is there a connection with the nasty scars on her back? I wonder.
The West Coast was mentioned multiple times during the episode. While you might be wondering if this is some reference to spin-off series NCIS: Los Angeles, it's more likely that they're talking about Vance's previous gig in San Diego before becoming Director.
Much more eyerolling was Abby's insistence on being prepared for the zombie apocalypse, as if such an event were at all likely or, well, possible. It only served as a cutesy way of getting the lowdown on the killer to Torres and Bishop.
I'm not sure that the criminals' plan was a problem with the writing of the episode, because I've read about real-life criminal plans that were even more stupid than this.
Seriously, how did Smitty plan to get off the ship with the payroll cash? It would take 0.68 seconds to figure out who stole it, after all, once it was discovered missing.
"Commander, our payroll's been stolen from the Disbursing Office, and Petty Officer Smitty is UA!" "Notify NCIS!" "Aye aye, sir!"
I wish I could complain about the banker guy (seriously saw that one coming) whacking poor Helen over her dumping him to go back to her husband... but, once again, I've read of people doing stupider things in real life.
I will complain about the unfortunate under-use of Gates McFadden as Helen's money-and-status-obsessed mother. One scene was too short a time to spend with this Star Trek: The Next Generation alum.
The interaction between Bishop and her former high school bully (now Navy commander) Buckner presented a curiously nuanced situation.
On the one hand: bullying is never a good thing, and the psychological effects of serious bullying can last decades.
On the other: Bishop's behavior towards Buckner during the investigation veered into unprofessionalism.
Buckner clearly had no idea that his behavior in high school had such an effect on Bishop. To his credit, he admitted his past poor character. I do have to wonder, though, what he did that was so bad that Bishop's brothers broke his fingers.
This subplot got a mention of Bishop's late boyfriend Qasim... though, oddly, not Jake Malloy. I would have thought Bishop's own messy divorce would've merited more of a reference in this case.
In any event, stop by our NCIS quotes page for some of this episode's memorable lines.
A few final notes before I turn the discussion over to you, fellow fans:
The organ music at the start of the episode is the very famous Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by Johann Sebasian Bach. It happens to be one of the most memorable pieces from the Disney classic Fantasia.
Rocky Carroll directed the episode, which was written by Jennifer Corbett. I have to say, I liked the rocking, off-kilter way they filmed the scenes on the ship.
Gibbs quoted Rule 39, “There’s no such thing as coincidence.” (It's been awhile since we've heard a Rule quoted, hasn't it?)
If you want to relive this episode, you can always watch NCIS online! Meanwhile, don't forget to check back after NCIS Season 15 Episode 5, Fake It 'Til You Make It," slated to air on Tuesday, October 24, 2017 at 8/7c on CBS.
What did you think of "Skeleton Crew"? Are you excited for the addition of Maria Bello's Jack Sloane? What about the insight into Bishop's past? Did you enjoy the Case of the Week?
Let us know in the comments section below!