NCIS Review: Be It Ever So Humble...

at . Comments

Simply put, this was one of the best NCIS Season 10 episodes so far. And it was almost exclusively the Tony show too. So many things to talk about...

In "You Better Watch Out," the team was called in to investigate the death of an unemployed Navy husband, who - as it turns out - had been stockpiling new unreleased $100 bills and running up enormous debts. Only he ended up trying to use a few of them before he was meant to, which turned out to be very bad for his health.

Because the crime involved currency, the Secret Service had to step in, specifically Special Agent Ashley Winter. Though she seems entirely narcissistic (as evidenced by the fact she's clawing her way to the top of her career), I really hope we see her again. In fact, you have to wonder if maybe she might prove to be a good romantic foil for DiNozzo. Gas on fire perhaps?

The bigger surprise was a visit by Tony Sr., who blithely chose to bunk with his son instead of staying at a hotel. End result: we got to learn so much more about them both. 

Junior and Senior

Tony has always sort of tolerated his dad. Marginally. And we got a peek into why that was:

McGee: You should appreciate your father. I never had family traditions.
Tony: Well. We haven't had them for years. Traditions kind of died with my grandfather. Senior was kind of an absentee parent, you know? Longstanding customs kind of disappeared. Along with a certain family signet ring. It was always passed on to the next generation on the Christmas of the son's 21st birthday. I never got it. Senior claimed it was stolen. "I was mugged, Junior." But I think he pawned it during the bad times. | permalink

His ambivalence toward his father involved more than just the ring of course. But that seeming betrayal symbolized all that he disliked about him.

We also got to learn about Tony's private life:

Tony Senior: That's your bed?
Tony: Yeah.
Tony Senior: Not much room for play.
Tony: Well when I come home, dad, I sleep. Alone.
Tony Senior: You're serious?
Tony: Dad this is my sanctuary. Okay? If I'm going to see a lady I will stay at her place. That way I can leave when I want, and nobody overstays their welcome. | permalink

This thing about his apartment is important... only his father didn't seem to get it. He didn't respect his son's sense of solitude about the place, and ended up bringing Tony's anger to a boil when he hosted the woman across the hall - and did so in Tony's bedroom! Not cool, dad. I truly felt Tony's pain about that.

It was hard not to notice Ziva's keen observation of the two of them, as well. It's like she's gathering information about Tony all the time now, watching him to see what makes him tick. Even the innocent comment about never having been invited to his place (near the beginning) hinted at a question mark, didn't it? And she seems to treasure Tony Sr. almost like a father. I loved the scene where she ends up laying her head against his chest, smiling.

Tony and McGee's visit to the landfill site brought to mind the truism that probably everyone has at least one person in his lives who keeps them grounded and humble. For Tony it's his father. And for McGee... it's Tony. I laughed out loud when Tony's eyes lit up upon learning that McGee was the college mascot at MIT.

This excellent episode rounded out so nicely after Tony discovered that his father did in fact give him the family signet ring, as a means of atonement. The shared "I love you's between father and son put some dust in my eyes.

There's so much more, but it's time for you to share your thoughts. Before you do, some final notes:

  • There are a bunch of NCIS quotes from this episode that you might want to check out, some funny, some thoughtful.
  • This is the first time we've seen Tony's apartment, ever. It's elegant, stylish and military-neat. I was surprised to see that his small twin bed was perfectly made.
  • There was a lot of great Christmas music throughout the episode. Many were jazz pieces by Andy Williams, but there was one remarkable song that played near the beginning when Abby was in the lab: a rendition of "Away in a Manager" by Plan 9.  Great tune!
  • This is Tony Senior's fourth visit. Hopefully we'll get to see him many more times.
  • Tony has a goldfish. He talks to it. It's named Kate.


Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
  • 5.0 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (210 Votes)

Douglas Wolfe is a staff writer for TV Fanatic Follow him on Twitter



Has anyone noticed how much Tony Sr. and Tony Jr. look alike in the eyes. It is amazing. And I for one would like to see things start clicking between Tony Jr and Ziva. They blend so well together. How about Gibbs and the Coast Guard Investorgator getting closer. They are so much alike that it could be interesting. Great season so far.


I watched this episode when it aired but am just now catching up. There is always something special about the holiday episodes, never fail, and this one of course was so very SPECIAL. Love Robert Wagner as Sr, they couldn't have chosen a better actor for this part. This show and cast are so good and adding the family relationships just adds to the quality of the show.


I finally had a chance to watch this ep, and I loved it. However, I cannot come at those expounding the virtues of Agent Winter. I saw nothing in her character in this episode that makes me want to see more of her. She was cold and hard and brittle. I really want a romantic interest for Tony (sorry not a Tiva fan) but I don't see this going anywhere.
And just to cause ire :-) I actually miss JLC. Many hated her character, but she has been the only one to challenge Gibbs since Shannon, with the slight exception of Lt Col Mann(? I think this was the army CID lady?). And I want an explanation and ending to her storyline relating to the violent ex husband. Gibbs in protective mode is Gibbs at his best, after all. Just my opinion!!!


I can't say these spoilers that I have been reading for the rest of the year have pique my interest. With so much focus Having Sex with coworkers , the producers and writers seem to be treating X like a farewell season. So far, "You Better Watch Out" has been the highlight of the season. I'm sure we all would like a return to real story-telling and greater emphasis on core characters like Tony and Gibbs Abby and Ducky. A arc showing the depth, complication, and sophistication of these much-beloved character would be welcome to take us to the season finale.


Mind. Blown.


I have one more comment. This may cause rebuttal, but I would like to see more NCIS featuring Tony. Maybe we can see something exciting like Under Cover or Nature of the Beast. Watch NCIS always including marathons on USA and Cloo.


Thank you for the review. I'm a Tony fan and in total agreement with your comments on the blog. The December 18th episode was enjoyable because of the acting ability of all characters, Christmas decorations, music and Robert Wagner. Tony's apartment is smart and stylish. Felt the pain for Tony when his father decided to have a friend over in Junior's bedroom. I'm glad that Senior and Junior reconciled and that Tony received the Signet ring. Loved the fact that he has a pet goldfish named Kate and that he talks to her. Don't a vast majority of pet owners talk to their pets?
May I please make a comment about Michael Weatherly? MW spent the entire hour tweeting to his fans on a LIVE TWEET. He is always so connected to his followers. My pleasure is that I'm following NCIS and Tony MW.


Boy some of you guys have long memories; how many years ago was that ep where she didn't invite him over? People do change & over the years they've obviously grown closer.


I've been waiting for this ep to finally see Tony's apartment and I thought it worked ... except for the bed. I get the point they were trying to make, but they could've done so in a less ridiculous fashion. The unexpected reaction I had was to scream at my TV when Ziva mentioned never having been invited. All I could think about was how dare she when she was the one who purposefully omitted him and only him to her home when she cooked supper for the team in the ep Boxed In. She sent a clear signal then she did not wish his presence in her home, so how on earth could she expect he'd invite her into his after that slap in the face. Ugh! Where's Jesse Stern when you need him!


Gone put me to sleep. I love Tony, but can't say that I loved Tony on the floor either. I enjoyed You Better Watch Out though. I like serious Tony centered episodes that don't revolve around tiva.

Tags: ,

NCIS Season 10 Episode 10 Quotes

Stewie: This was one crazy dude in college. Really knew how to have a good time.
Tony: Shut up. No way.
Stewie: Did he tell you he was the school mascot?
Tony: No! What was the MIT mascot?
McGee: Really. Does it matter?
Tony: Oh yes it does. Stewie?
Stewie: A beaver. He was Tim the Beaver our senior year.
Tony: Please tell me you dressed up like a beaver.

Tony Senior: What can I say? I'm me. I'm not gonna change.
Tony: I know. I know you're not gonna change. And I don't know why I was smiling because there's nothing funny about this. Dad this is my home. I told you my rules, okay? And you broke them. It was a mistake having you here for Christmas.
Tony Senior: You want me to leave.