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NCIS Review: 101 Uses for a Dead Mole

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This week's Ducky and Palmer Show was a welcome change from the usual NCIS storyline. 

They were forced to take a slight "Detour" when the accomplices of the dead Navy mole kidnapped them in an effort to try and figure out where he hid a USB thumb drive that contained sensitive information. Ducky employed his knowledge of corpses to figure out a plan of escape and, after Palmer shot one of the spies in self-defense (only to find out he was wearing a bullet-proof vest), they were rescued by Gibbs, Tony, Ziva and McGee.

Palmer and Ducky Picture

I expected to be bored with this plot, but found myself intrigued instead. 

The idea of the two medical experts using their expertise to foil their kidnappers was inventive and different. Relying on the gastric acid from the corpse's stomach to burn through their leg irons was smart, as was their plan to escape the kidnappers by placing a cigarette butt with gauze in an oven in order to produce an explosion. 

I have no idea how the latter idea was supposed to work, but have to imagine some other body fluid from the corpse was key to that as well. This episode was pretty much a MacGyver entry almost all the way through: emptying the corpse's heinous stomach contents in order to clear the room so that Ducky and Palmer could hatch their plan was brilliant.

The same can be said the re-engineering of the body's hearing aid to create a sort of microphone, which was used to listen in on the spies' plans.

I thought the explanation for the mole's suicide was sketchy at best: he had gotten into a fight with the husband of a woman he was seducing in order to access military secrets, after which police began to notice him. 

So instead of meeting his handlers as planned, he stumbled over to a plumber's truck and chugged down some drain cleaner. Ziva's explanation that his secrets would otherwise be exposed seemed barely logical. If the authorities caught him and discovered that he was impersonating a Navy officer, and if he was then renditioned or sent to Guantanamo, perhaps his secrets would come to light. 

Those are big "ifs," though - certainly not threatening enough for a spy to want to kill himself. Wouldn't the more rational choice have been to figure out a way to pose enough lies to buy some time?

Ducky and Palmer's innovation was once again admirable when they concocted the idea of the spy having swallowed a gym locker key in order to protect his secret, knowing full well that the key was to Palmer's own gym locker. I laughed when I saw the female spy pull out Jimmy's jersey with his last name emblazoned on the back.  Good plot twist there.

Palmer is such a gentle soul too, isn't he? His plan to "take a stand" and use one of the kidnapper's guns to take down their enemies was engaged when he emptied the gun at one of them. His imminent PTSD was curtailed once he realized that his target had been saved by his bullet-proof vest. Sort of a win-lose dichotomy. ("Hey, I didn't kill anybody. Darn, he still wants to shoot us.")

Missing from the picture was Director Vance and Deputy Director Jerome Craig. Also, Tiva. No sparks there at all: I know. I checked.

The most compelling scene of the episode was Jimmy Palmer's adamant refusal to leave Ducky to the mercy of their kidnappers. 

Palmer: Doctor, I respect you more than anyone in the world, so please forgive me when I say - go to hell. I'm not leaving you. | permalink

What was your take on the episode? What did you think didn't work? Do you think we'll ever find out what country/ group was behind the mole? Did you buy the idea of the mole committing suicide to protect his secret? Did you find this episode boring or engaging? 

Note:  Our NCIS Round Table discussion is up!

Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (271 Votes)

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

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Once the skin moles area is prepared for its removal, the mole and its surrounding tissue is cut out and the resulting wound, stitched close. If the mole is very deep, your doctor may use dissolving stitches. If the mole is not so deep, stitches will be placed on the skin surface, which are removed by your doctor later on.

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Also, Ducky said that he could find no physiological reason for the hearing aid. They never explained why the dead guy had it.

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with the most unbelievable plot line known to man! NCIS you opened the TIVA DOOR time to let us into and stop the "Tiva" tease.
It's as if the cast needs a Gibbs smack as well.. Let me help. Vance, BORING. JIMMY, ANNOYING. DUCKY , ugh and Abby: has gone back to season one Abby with her attitude (which I like) but grow her up already. Tough criticism I realize that and I don't say it because I hate the show, I say it because I LOVE IT.
Move On GG - move on writers and get us out of this plot rut.

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Why is it that most can not simply say, "I did not like this episode"? I really do not understand the knee jerk defense ..if the episode was bad, which this one was, just say it - trust me, Gibbs is not lurking behind you to smack you in the head!
Horrible..not one person I know sat through that episode and was transfixed at the screen, not one! And yes, I have watched and loved NCIS since day ONE!
Let's get the plot out of the hands of Ducky and Jimmy and Abby.. please..I know, I know another sacred cow of 'don't say a bad thing about those characters'.. too bad, I did. I am beginning to wonder as I have stated before if NCIS needs to wind it down..we can predict what these characters are going to say before they say it at this point and plots are just ssdd.
TIVA TIVA TIVA TIVA and did I say TIVA !!! Do we mean we have to have them front and center throughout the episode? no..but lets not throw that beautiful chemistry out the door so we can watch Ducky and Jimmy in a cabin with the most unbelievable plot line known to man! NCIS you opened the TIVA DOOR time to let us into and stop the "Tiva" tease.
It's as if the cast needs a Gibbs smack as well.. Let me help. Vance, BORING. JIMMY, ANNOYING. DUCKY , ugh and Abby: has gone back to season one Abby with her attitude (which I like) but grow her up already. Tough criticism I realize that and I don't say it because I hate the show, I say it because I LOVE IT.
Move On GG - move on writers and get us out of this plot rut.

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@ravie: Regarding your second comment, by that reasoning, all the guy had to do was go off somewhere isolated where he could die, without worrying about being saved and spilling his little secret along with his guts (sorry, couldn't resist). And, judging by the location of the wound and the collateral tissue damage, his death would have occurred in rather short order and without, as I stated earlier, all the drama. I think the writers were just going for the "ick" factor, which is usually not their habit. Still, all in all, I rather liked this one; the great David McCallum can still carry an episode. Who else can make that claim at his age?

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DeeAnn and Kevin, I agree with both of you. Tony provides comic relief, and I enjoy it. I've seen some episodes with serious Tony, and there was one in particular I remember not liking at all. I was praying for him to laugh. People, be careful what you ask for. Serious Tony does not a happy show make. I like the mixture of comic relief with all the seriousness of the deaths going on. Also, I do not agree that Ziva is made to look good and Tony bad. Some people look too much into things. Enjoy the show and stop shipping Tony and Ziva, and leave funny Tony alone. I enjoyed the banter about the tickets as well. Nothing was wrong with it. I don't hate McGee at all.

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@Wolfe, I think you misunderstood something, unless it's me. The victim got shot while fighting the woman's husband, and it seems he realised he was going to die. So instead of sitting around waiting for the police to come, to possibly save him and then get the secret out of him, he decided to finish himself off. He also realised his handlers wouldn't get to him in time. I don't think suicide was his first plan.

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Wait, people actually ship tony and Ziva? Wow. I never saw any chemistry there. All I saw and still see is just friendship with a colleague. You shippers are too much. And Wolfe, why did you expect this ep to be boring, because it wasn't all about Tony or Ziva? I enjoyed every minute of it. Sometimes people's expectations are too much.

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@Michael
Write in proper sentences. I have no idea what the hell you are trying to say.

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@MCAL
It okay MCAL we are both wrong and right you about the Tickets and me about Ziva

NCIS Season 10 Episode 16 Quotes

Palmer: Oh my God.
Ducky: What?
Palmer: I just realized that I missed my nine-month wedding anniversary. Breena's going to kill me.
Ducky: You do know I have a heart condition.

Doctor, I respect you more than anyone in the world, so please forgive me when I say - go to hell. I'm not leaving you.

Palmer
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