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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: 4.3 / 5.0 (301 Votes)

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

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How they manipulated the story for that flashback was for the adult, mature, worldly Abby to realize as the windshield brought back that long ago memory, that Nikki was still never going to see her grandfather again, that Abby's clever solution didn't change that. Her whole life thus hinged on an empty gesture ... which I think is significant, even significant enough for Abby to fail the team.

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Abby is all about people. She's the one who has made the NCIS team into a family. She's the one who comes down on Ziva for not being grateful enough to Tony for all he did to track down where she was (which actually was mostly giving orders to her and McGee, but she, as per her personality, gives more credit to Tony being the driving force). She's a mother hen -- and surprise! she always was. That's what we got to see. That's also how I took what @JustSayin was saying.

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@Boonies -- I don't think it was a minor disappointment. I think a little girl who was decidedly pleased with her cleverness from creating a magnifying glass to tracking down all the parties involved to where she would make "THE" decision about what she was going to do with her life, which was even re-enforced by her switching stuffed animals so that the little girl could keep the memory of her grandfather.

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Its almost like the writer can't or have forgotten this is a show about crimes and murder

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@Just Sayin...WRONG! I totally "get" the Abby who did her job for the past 10 years through Kate's death, Gibbs getting blown up and leaving, Jenny getting murdered, Tony being framed for murder, Ziva being taken prisoner, Ducky being kidnapped, McGee getting taken hostage, etc etc etc. What I DON'T GET is an Abby who goes to pieces and leaves the team in the lurch when they really need her just because she can't handle some minor disappointment from 30 years ago! If you "get" that then you really don't know the character.

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@boonies: 1) Not sure about this. NCIS investigates ALL deaths of naval/Marine personnel. Once NCIS started digging, an unfortunate traffic accident looked less and less likely. 2) Apparently, the configuration of the windshield crack stirred up a memory. 3) Yeah...I don't get this one either. I cringed a little when she confronted the grandfather thinking she could solve family problems with a toy. Sure she was an idealistic kid, but how do you NOT pick up on adult vibes? 4) Agreed--and the father of the Marine was a macho, chauvinistic pig who deserved to lose his wife. 5) His class clown antics get on my last nerve too. 6) Yeah...strange. He HAD to have taken his share of chemistry classes; he should have known how to use it.

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I think they are trying to push couples to much this year. Right now Tiva is way overboard and now it looks like they are going to try to push McAbby. Ok Tiva will happen because it has been pushed since Cote came on the show. But McAbby? I am sorry not a good couple. McGee follows Abby around like a lost puppy and Abby just uses him for her own good. McGee needs to stand up to her and they need to bring in a new person for McGee to have a relationship with that can last. Though I hope they don't bring back Dr. Ryan for Gibbs that was a train wreck from the start!

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If you didn't get the episode, you don't get Abby. Plain and simple.

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I didn't care for this episode. It felt fragmented. I think the writers missed the boat on this one.

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Sure, in the end the feud was unrelated (Although one can say the victims got killed because they were seeking a way to get away from both families), but you don't just put down a lead just like that. So in the end I think I may have went on a rant there, but you are free to criticize my answer and point out if you may have felt offended. Still, I tried to be as logical as possible.

NCIS Season 10 Episode 13 Quotes

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.

Today's new friend is tomorrow's family.

Abby [reading fortune]
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