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NCIS Review: Teddy and Rabbit

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Just when you think the writers of NCIS couldn't get any better than their last two episodes, they bring us "Hit and Run, and knock every aspect of the hour out of the park. 

This episode was poignant and touching, as it revealed some of Abby's sad back story in a memory from what she considered her first "case."

Abby and Tim Image

This episode centered around a dead Lance Corporal and his girlfriend, both of whom were victims of a scam artist that wanted their money for his Ponzi scheme. 

His attempt to pass off the murders as a car accident fell apart once Ducky observed some inconsistencies with some blood spatter and airbag deployment. Abby noticed the cracked windshield and the air freshener that hung from the rear view mirror - and this mirrored a similar cracked windshield and air freshener she had seen as a child, thereby bringing back a host of recollections that effectively threw her off of her game.

Ziva's grief over her father seemed to be gone. I'm glad the writers had Tony and McGee talk about that, rather than just having her continue on as if nothing had happened - that would have seemed too forced.  Some time has passed, and Ziva's had her time in Israel, which kind of makes you wonder what else she did while she was there.  Perhaps there's a story in the making.

Tony, of course, was back to his old comic self. It might have been good to have seen the scene where he made a comment about the deputy director's hair - rather than just talk with McGee about it.  From that conversation ,we can gather that the deputy director is still the unsure and fairly meek guy he portrayed in "Shiva." But is he really?

The star of this show was obviously Abby. What an amazing character: we got to see that she had always been a highly analytical and caring person, looking out for those who were hurting. You had to admire the portrayal of her brilliance in fashioning a crude sort of magnifier with the plastic bottle and water. 

In many ways her perceived failure to help Ricki with her father and grandfather seemed to have help form her determination to find and do good for others, no matter what. It seemed that the obstinate acrimony between the parents of the dead couple in this episode mirrored the intractable anger between Ricki's father and grandfather. The twin dynamics of those relationships were too much, serving to confirm for her the uselessness of her efforts as seen by this dialogue:

Abby: Have the bad things been outweighing the good things all these years and I just ever noticed?
McGee: What do you mean?
Abby: All I ever wanted was to help people with the truth. And I've done that, but then bad still won sometimes. And I just want to file it away, like it never happened so I can go back to being happy.
McGee: There's nothing wrong with that.
Abby: Yes there is McGee because sometimes the Cutwrights and the Dunns, they just keep fighting no matter what the truth is. And sometimes Ricki never gets to see her grandpa again. If the bad outweighs the good then that means that I'm not enough.
McGee: Abby listen to me...
Abby: And if I'm not enough, McGee, then why even try? | permalink

I was amazed at the subtle and careful scene between Gibbs and Abby at the end. Gibbs made exactly the right move when he saw her sitting on the floor, trying to compose apology notes: rather than stand and talk with her, he got right down beside her, becoming the caring father she needed at that moment. 

We had seen her handle that little cloth heart throughout the episode; hearing her talk about it being from the teddy bear she had tried to give back to Ricki was heart wrenching. And there was Gibbs. Silent, almost unemotional Gibbs... who happened to still carry around a fortune from a fortune cookie that Abby gave him on the first day they met.  A fortune she had given him because she wanted it to be about him, not her.

These last three episodes have set the bar high for the writers of NCIS: it's hard to imagine how they can top them. We haven't seen Palmer for a while; we still have the story of ex-Mossad deputy director Ilan Bodnar to deal with and director Vance isn't back yet, so there's still lots of material with which to work. 

Before opening this up for your views and comments, I'll leave you with this heartwarming exchange between Abby and Gibbs (there are more NCIS quotes for you to check out too):

Gibbs: You do something good now, you're not always around to see the difference it makes later.
Abby: I don't know Gibbs.
Gibbs: Abs, first day we met.
Abby: It was a Thursday, seventy degrees, mostly sunny. What about it?
Gibbs: What did you give me?
Abby: I had Chinese food, and I gave you the fortune from my cookie.
Gibbs: Because?
Abby: Because I wanted it to be about you.
Abby: The fortune. You kept it.
Gibbs: The things you do mean something to people. | permalink

What are your thoughts? We always knew that at heart Abby was an amazing woman - did you foresee an episode as touching as this?

Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (302 Votes)

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

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Casting nailed it when they picked Brighton Sharpino to play young Abby. Good thing they did as she pretty much carried the NCIS brand by herself this week. After 10 years, "our" Abby should be past her overly sensitive, childish years by now. NOT Pauley Perrette's fault! The writers seem to have taken a holiday with this episode. They reverted to the old, clownish Tony also. And, made McGee - an MIT BioEngineering grad - look like an idiot being unable to run a simple GC Mass Spec. (I come from 7 years in a lab and the tekkies can run it). We have all been spoiled by the superb writing in S10. So they stumbled this week. There's always next week!

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@boonies
Your half right half wrong Your right NCIS would not be called in for these The United States Marine Corps Criminal Investigation Division would be called in

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Loved Abby and the concern for her by the team. I thought the episode otherwise weak. The crimes were stacked very neatly, the parents were almost comic book characters in their old anger/love issues and would the cousin 'really' just leave the murder weapon in his trash? Nevertheless, I watched and enjoyed and felt for Abby and the team as they interacted with her. And, I'm stoked for a McGee and Abby ep next week.

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@MCAL...here's what I'm saying. 1) NCIS does not investigate routine traffic accidents even if they involve military personnel.They investigate CRIMES (as John noted).
2) Local LEO's would have been at the scene first.They would NOT have had a Ducky with them to question the blood spatter pattern.They would have marked it down as a traffic accident and closed it.
3) NCIS would, thus, never have even been at the scene to discover later that it involved a crime.
It was a just some writer's clumsy attempt to get NCIS involved when,in real life they would never have been there in the first place.There are a million ways NCIS can get involved in an investigation. This wasn't one of them.

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@MCAL
What has been bothering NCIS fans for many years is not only how the writers have been treated BUT that the non-NCIS fans call them a family which they are not and never have been that what I was saying the wirters have trun NCIS into a sictom instead of the number ONE drama it use to be.

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@boonies
??? Are you replying to John G? I think he just said the crime fit with NCIS. Unless, I am reading it wrong, John?

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@Michael I have no idea what you are talking about. There was a murder and there was a crime, two in fact. A murder and a Ponzi Scheme. Unless, I am mistaken and the episode was nothing but a dream.

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Thank you. My point exactly. They investigate crimes. There's no way they would be called out to investigate every auto accident nationwide involving on or off duty Navy/Marine personnel. NCIS would never have been called out to discover a crime since there was no evidence of a crime having been committed.
However, that's actually the least of my concerns with this episode.
The lame writing/story was the main problem. I want Abby to be the cool, confident, goth-leaning scientist she used to be...not the ditzy, hairbow-wearing 8 year old in knee socks she's become.

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NCIS investigates crimes connected to active duty Navy and Marine personnel and their families. This includes reservists who have been called up to active duty. Crimes involving inactive Marines like the two Dads in this episode don't qualify... unless they also involve active duty personnel, like the Lance Corporal son.

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And, Abby has never totally failed the team for an entire episode -- but she has often been distracted and not given the case the serious attention it has deserved, whether she's taking hundreds of dolls apart for no good reason or figuring out if the crop circles were made by aliens (or whatever scifi junk experiments she was doing, with McGee gathering samples for her, thus taking both of them off the case Gibbs needed them on). So, I think you can justifiably criticize NCIS for playing up the character's "lovable" eccentricities (Tony the clown, McGee the geek, Ziva's English, Abby and her coffin, Gibbs and his rules, Ducky and his stories, etc.) -- and question whether this time they went to far with Abby; but I do think this was a mid-life crisis for the character, at least.

NCIS Season 10 Episode 13 Quotes

Today's new friend is tomorrow's family.

Abby [reading fortune]

Young Abby: I couldn't fix it.
Young Luca: Fix what?
Young Abby: Ricki will never see her grandpa again.
Young Luca: But you did good. You gave her your rabbit. She won't forget that, Abby. She won't.

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