|Index||3 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As par the norm, NCIS is in season ending mode with the last 5 episodes. This episode is the #2 of the 5. They introduced the new team which I found to be a bit lack luster but, it is not supposed to take the focus off of the main team. It is to act as an antagonist. I am agitated. Like most of the viewers blogging on CBS we do not like EJ for being there. Vance has given her the case although she has not been able to solve any of the 6 murders involved. If he is looking for an excuse to get rid of her, he is getting a good one. They are all Naval officers, present and retired. Vance is clearly not thinking if Sec Nav is all over him to solve it and these new team members are not doing it. Vance has taken a turn for the worse in the trust relationship with Gibbs. Tony finds an eyeball in the drink someone sent him and now they find out at the closing of the show that it opens the door to MTAC. So whose eye is it? Has to be an employee of NCIS with high enough security clearance to enter MTAC as all employees cannot enter. The end makes you want the next episode all the faster but, alas we must wait 3 weeks.........
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The second part of what proves to be at least a three-parter, continues
the arc superbly, especially with the shocking side-lining of Team
Gibbs, who get assigned to a totally separate case, while Team Barrett
continues the investigation of the Port to Port Killer. And what a team
she has! Tony and McGee are completely emasculated by Barrett's agent
Cade, a hulking brute who happens to be more intelligent than Tim, and
agent Levin, whose movie knowledge and *experience* far supersede
Tony's. To make things worse for the guys, Abby takes liking to Cade,
making McGee jealous. Long-time viewers rooting for team McAbby *feel*
his pain. Meanwhile, Barrett proves to be of the jealous type, grilling
Tony about his time with Ziva, who's suddenly a threat to her as a
newly single woman. After the Tony-Ziva-Barrett scene one wonders why
Tony would ever choose Barrett over Ziva. Considering the latter half
of season 7 was littered with hints of an intimate night in Paris.
Plotwise, the Port to Port Killer arc builds up and up, but the murder Team Gibbs are assigned to be proves out to be a complete fiasco. Not only is the resolution mundane, but the seemingly impossible murder is solved with a simple use of the most hideous of all TV tropes, The Enhance Button. Without being able to enhance the security footage from Pentagon, Abby would not have solved the case. Unfortunately, zooming in on a pre-recorded image (still or moving) and revealing hidden details is *factually* impossible. Contrast with The Closer, where Buzz is often asked to zoom in on a *live* camera feed to reveal details. *That* is not only possible, it's normal. What *no-one* can do, is change the focus of a pre-recorded image. The up-scaling Blu-ray Disc players that make DVDs "high definition" also lead the viewer astray, since the up-scaling does not increase the *information* of the DVD picture as the BD players use algorithms that "guess" what the picture would look like in HD. Look it up, this is not the place for a lecture.
What the use of The Enhance Button sadly means, is that the solving of Team Gibbs' case is *dependent* on magic, not science, and thus loses half of its stars. Fortunately, Team Gibbs' case is only half of this episode, and Team Barrett's case makes up for it. Team Gibbs, 4/10, but Team Barrett, 9/10. As a whole, this episode gets a 7/10, with yet another great end reveal making one want to see the next Port to Port Killer episode ASAP.
TV series get stale with time, and the usual reaction on the part of
the production team is to introduce new characters to liven things up,
as witness the upcoming addition of my upstairs neighbor Jonathan Cake
to the DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES' front line. In the case of NCIS, itself
famously a JAG spin-off that outran its predecessor and already has
spawned a Left Coast version, the three new antagonistic cast members'
spotlight was a turn-off for me.
Sarah Jane Morris is of course a beauty, there to spar with Gibbs and present an unconvincing romantic interest for DiNozzo. There should have been at least some bodice-ripping or other prime-time TV indication of sex between her and Michael Weatherly, but the NCIS masterminds decided on an unsatisfying more cerebral approach to romance. Sometimes taking the high road translates to taking the dull road.
Gargantuan footballer Matthew Willig was stunt casting as the ridiculously intimidating hulk/genius -it's as if Peter Lupus and Lou Ferrigno were combined with a Mensa IQ (the cat even has a photographic memory); result is silly. Having him bonding (at least implied) with Pauley Perrette is flirting with "jump the shark" territory for this series.
Third member of the team made little impression at all, as Alimi Ballard was given neither Morris's cover girl magnetism (boy division) nor Willig's triple-threat imposing status. Add the three together and it seems like a return to '60s tokenism in casting, not necessarily a bad thing (as witness Nichelle Nichols' breakthrough on STAR TREK).
As a long-time fan of the series I found the new characters distracting -of course they're supposed to be, but it got in the way of both the segment's narrative and the ongoing chemistry between the REAL lead characters we know & love. It's different when a guest star shows up -you usually suspect they'll be killed off colorfully or be shipped out of the lives of our favorite players by the final commercial break. But these three klutzes seem to be hanging around for the duration.
It adds up in the short-term to a pandering to the modern audience's alarmingly short attention span, and the pernicious trend to multiple story lines and arcs which make me long for the good old linear approach to storytelling. In the case of NCIS, we have Morris & her minions poring over a serial killer case which just hangs there, getting in the way of the current material and on this episode not advancing itself in the slightest. I know it's blasphemy to the mission of the NCIS story editor, but I would have preferred a one-off episode with just the new team, letting them wrap up their case, and then back next week to our heroes who make NCIS worth watching.
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