I confess, I love Bruce McGill, so his appearance in NCIS Season 14 Episode 19 charmed me from first irritable complaint (particularly calling the conference room a "table room," repeatedly).
Does it make any sense to murder two people over flooring? Nope, not really. But since I'm a sucker for a good emotional punch, "The Wall" worked for me much more than it didn't.
There was no reasonable explanation for O'Leary to murder Maya and the unfortunate Corporal Beck with such an exotic method other than for the sake of novelty.
The viewers were also supposed to simply accept that O'Leary immediately leaped to "murder" as the most obvious solution to the problem of the contaminated flooring.
Because suing the supplier who sold you said formaldehyde-tainted flooring is so unreasonable, I guess...?
To add to the head-scratching, nothing she did actually solved the problem. The flooring was still contaminated, and people were going to get sick. Inevitably, the illnesses would be traced back to the flooring, her company, and her. So what was the point?
Bottom line, O’Leary killed two people over some really ugly flooring.Quinn
Surprisingly, there were no fewer than three other storylines running through this episode, and they were balanced really rather well, all things considered.
First off, let's address the Quinn-Torres hookup rumor-fest. I'm guessing that attempting to address how inappropriate McGee and Bishop were would be irrelevant, and it's not like this sort of intrusive gossip-mongering is new to NCIS.
Bishop: If it did happen, and that is a big “if,” I wonder if Top Gun beach volleyball was involved, because I can totally picture Torres running around the sand in tight jeans…
Gibbs: Fantasize on your own time, Bishop!
I totally expected that there would be a "surprising" twist at the end, revealing that Quinn and Torres actually did hook up; what actually happened was rather more ambiguous than that.
Did Quinn and Torres have a torrid, short-lived fling back at FLETC? This actually feeds into Quinn's previously established character trait of apparently attracting all the guys, like a female Casanova.
While I've read some negative comments from viewers about this, it does provide an interesting contrast with, say, DiNozzo, who was definitely known for his playboy attitude (particularly in earlier seasons).
Is it a double standard for viewers to criticize a female character for having a similar attitude when it comes to sex? Or are the viewers' opinions colored more by a lack of emotional connection with Quinn as a character?
The other major story of the episode revolved around the aforementioned Bruce McGill, who played grumpy Vietnam veteran Henry Rogers. He provided some utterly hilarious moments throughout the episode.
My favorite line, though had to be this:
Bishop: Mr. Rogers--
Henry Rogers: I’ve told you twice, it’s Henry! I’ve nothing in common with that sweater-wearing pacifist!
(Check out our NCIS quotes page for some of this episode's best lines.)
And Henry giving big, bad, MI-6 Officer Reeves the slip and basically driving him absolutely batty for two days straight? Definitely worth the price of admission.
While I find it dubious that law enforcement would hold a senior citizen hostage in such a way (I suppose they could try for a material witness warrant...), the story provided genuine emotional impact.
Folks of my generation, most of us were raised to respect and honor those who serve in uniform. My dad told me about how truly awful it was for the soldiers returning home from the Vietnam War, how badly they were treated, and it just breaks my heart.
I live just a couple miles away from a military base, and two of my cousins are retired Air Force. My grandfather served in World War II.
So, while the ending with Reeves providing Henry with a proper homecoming was sappy, it actually touched my heart in a profound way.
The story also gave a major props to Honor Flight, a real-life non-profit organization dedicated to giving veterans the chance to visit the memorials for the conflicts in which they sacrificed so much.
To learn more about this remarkable program, visit www.honorflight.org.
The episode's C-story with Reeves branched off from the Henry story and provided Reeves with probably the most character development he's had since we first met him.
Reeves being an orphan from a young age actually made sense. (Plus it naturally draws connections to another famous fictional MI-6 agent known for martinis shaken, not stirred, though Reeves told Henry that he doesn't drink. I sense a story there.)
Gibbs did what Gibbs does and called Reeves on his death-seeking tendencies and drew on the importance of the family you choose.
You, me, Henry. We’re all the same guy. You’re just a few decades behind.Gibbs [to Reeves]
I found this scene the tiniest bit frustrating because we haven't had a lot of Reeves consistently across this season with his sporadic appearances. The exchange would have felt more "earned," if you will, had we seen a more established connection between him and Gibbs.
If you missed this episode, no worries; you can watch NCIS online to catch up! Not many episodes remain this season; tune in on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 for NCIS Season 14 Episode 20, "A Bowl of Cherries."
What did you think of "The Wall"? Did you find it emotional or merely overwrought? Were you intrigued by the insights into Reeves's past? Did Quinn and Torres actually share a fling?
Let us know in the comments section below!
Update: It was pointed out that I mistakenly referred to the affair between Quinn and Reeves, rather than Quinn and Torres. This has been corrected. Thanks for the knock upside the head!