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NCIS Review: Be It Ever So Humble...

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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.

Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
  • 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (210 Votes)

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

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I know that no one can be as stupid or as offensive as Michael - this has to be someone who is putting on an act, trying (and succeeding) to be the most ignorant of human beings. is there no way he can be blocked?

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Lust is a sin people and it scare me how many of you are Okay with what Tony dad did hell its part of one of the 7 deadly sins What he did was wrong and he need to pay for it.

Gatorgal

@ Michael
December 19th, 2012 12:35 PM, who wrote: Did anyone see tha picture Ziva stole of Tony and his mother to burn what a bitch I cut and pasted your comment and didn't bother fixing your spelling and grammatical errors. You really are living in an alternate reality than the rest of us. I usually ignore your comments because they are adolescent and insulting. I don't like your language, it is vulgar and rude. Where are the monitors for this site?

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coco14: I have a twin bed, too. But it's more out of necessity: I have a small bedroom.

Dreamrose

@Can't Eat Fish - Setting aside the personal belief that sex should be a very personal, meaningful act between two people, DiNozzo Sr. at least broke basic house-guest etiquette when he invited the neighbor into Tony's apartment without Tony's knowledge. As Tony told his father most emphatically earlier, this was Tony's private sanctuary. He'd never even invited his own team-mates and close friends to visit his place. DiNozzo Sr. had no business inviting the amorous neighbor inside for even a drink, let alone sex.

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The understated (and gorgeous) elegance of Tony's apartment surprised me. It shows that the "frat-boy" image is a front, that he has, in fact, grown up. To a certain extent. The twin bed tells me that he still isn't ready to let anyone in to share his life. Watching Tony baby-talk a goldfish (Kate!) was hilarious. With the work hours he keeps, I can see why any other pet would not be practical, though. I guess he still misses Kate.

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I'll need to watch this one again, but aside from a few bits (including the final scene) that made me smile, I'm not finding myself overly fond of this one. I get that Tony's relationship with his dad is still awkward and that Senior is pretty well entrenched in his bad habits, but their interactions still felt a bit off to me, somehow. I'm hoping the last scene means they're finally going to start interacting more normally from now on.
Loved Ziva's scenes with Senior; I think she's pretty much adopted him (and vice versa). :)
Also loved seeing more of Palmer this time around. He's often overlooked, which is a shame because he is so darn loveable (not to mention hilarious). :)

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@RachelW: Flush the goldfish? I love it! Very funny. I also like the idea of Tony Sr. "breaking in" (or "burning") Tony Jr's bed. And I agree: what's the big deal? It's just sex; it's not like he committed murder or some antisocial, bizarre act on it. Although I will agree that it puts a whole new spin on the idea of a father and son "sharing their DNA." Lighten up people and have some fun with it.

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Did anyone see tha picture Ziva stole of Tony and his mother to burn what a bitch

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I not sure what viewers expect from a TV show - I watched with no expectations and loved every minute of it. NCIS never disappoints. Lighten up everyone. Oh, by the way, I am single and have a twin bed - what's the big deal?