Let me tell you, I was genuinely excited for NCIS Season 14 Episode 12. We don't often get to see Gibbs actually do undercover work, but it's always a treat to see Mark Harmon playing Gibbs playing someone else.
So I felt rather unfulfilled by the rushed and strangely pat conclusion to the episode. I sat there in confusion and actually wondered, "Is that it?".
And there were some really great things about this episode, too. Torres's reverse pickpocket was brilliantly executed, though his lampshading of this fact a few moments later was perhaps a bit over the top.
I also really enjoyed Gibbs's ability to instantly call up a past persona when the need arose. It almost makes you wish you could see a prequel series centered around the undercover adventures of Leroy Jethro Gibbs!
Then there was the bit with Quinn's guilt over breaking the plate. Fortunately, Abby was there to save the day, resulting in this exchange:
Quinn [about a formerly broken plate]: How’d you get rid of the crack?
Abby [innocently]: Crack? What crack?
For me, at least, Abby is always best when she's not being over-the-top quirky. This sort of understated, mischievous, but ultimately sweet moment was great.
And it was followed up at the end of the episode with Quinn's heartfelt apology to Gibbs coupled with his amusing declaration of faith:
Quinn: Do you believe in miracles?
Quinn: Do you believe in Abby?
Gibbs: With all my heart!
So it really was unfortunate that the story was just so rushed towards the end. Really, they could have (and even perhaps should have) either turned this into a two-part story, or cut out the side-story with Bishop.
Given the nature of Bishop's subplot, however, it would be difficult to remove it without the overall long-term arc suffering. Though why every colleague of every law enforcement character to ever lose a loved one always enables obsessive revenge plotlines...
Reeves even remarked how Gibbs would kill him if he found out that he was helping her! And I don't have to remind any fan of this show that Gibbs has been in Bishop's shoes.
Which in turn brings up a better question: why isn't she talking to him? Surely Gibbs, of all people, would be able to empathize with her.
Not to mention the weird aversion Bishop suddenly had to going to Gibbs's home when he wasn't there. All sorts of people have been there when he wasn't around (Ziva, for one), and Bishop is a pretty notorious busybody.
The lady doth protest too much, perhaps?
But the abrupt resolution to the A-story annoyed me far more. It was pretty obvious from right off the bat that there was a mole, which was really, really irksome since there was a mole in the last episode!
(If real-life federal agencies had this much trouble with moles and infiltrators and the like, wouldn't the world have collapsed into utter anarchy by now?)
But Ramsay, the guy who had been on the most-wanted list for fifteen-plus years, ultimately just surrendered and confessed to everything, even willingly told them where he'd buried the long-missing rods and gave them the mole.
Which was very strange, since he had apparently been totally down with selling said rods to a bad guy and then murdering a federal agent only hours earlier. Huh?
Unless there was something else going on here, it just seemed downright bizarre. I honestly enjoyed most of this episode, but that resolution just felt so sudden and forced.
A few final notes before I turn the discussion over to you:
- Gibbs was arranging to have dinner with ex-wife Rebecca Chase! Played by Jeri Ryan, she previously appeared in NCIS Season 12 Episode 11, "Check."
- How to show someone is in a crazy militia? Hang a Gadsden flag on their wall! ("Don't tread on me")
- This episode was ably directed by Rocky Carroll (Leon Vance), who previously directed several other NCIS episodes.
- The original case (said to be one of Gibbs's last undercover cases) was indicated to have taken place in 2001. For those keeping score, NCIS premiered in 2003.
- Check out the NCIS quotes page for some of the episode's notable quotes.
So, what did you think of "Off the Grid"? Did you enjoy Gibbs's brief return to the undercover life? Were you surprised by the sudden wrap-up? Are you intrigued by the hunt for the man who killed Qasim? Let us know in the comments below!