NCIS Season 15 Episode 1 Review: House Divided

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It feels like the summer hiatus has been interminable, but it is my pleasure to welcome fellow fans back with this review of NCIS Season 15 Episode 1, "House Divided"!

After leaving Gibbs and McGee to be captured by terrorists at the end of the previous season, the remaining team members (minus Jennifer Esposito's Alex Quinn) kept hope alive trying to find them.

With the action picking up a couple months later, I can virtually guarantee that every viewer knew this episode would be the "how Gibbs and McGee escaped the terrorists" story.

Held Hostage - NCIS

Why did El Jefe keep our heroes alive? Ostensibly to extract information from them to sell to his fellow malefactors. First, though, he had to prove his bad guy credentials by shooting one of his own underlings. Talk about a killer workplace.

I will start by saying that this was a terrible plan. El Jefe would've been much better off if he'd just had them killed immediately. Of course, then they'd be dead and there'd be no story, so...

Ahem. Anyway, I didn't buy McGee's breaking for a minute and correctly assumed that it was part of his and Gibbs's greater escape plan.

El Jefe: You set off the radiation alarm!
McGee: You shouldn’t have let me near the computers.

The only way the terrorists could've screwed up more is if they'd actually given McGee a working smartphone with internet access.

In any event, the execution of the escape plan reminded me of Gibbs's famous Rule No. 9, "Never go anywhere without a knife." In the first scene in their cell, Gibbs wished he had a knife, and later picked one off a terrorist in the phony fight with McGee.

Then, later, he got a huge (mostly) off-screen moment of awesome as he used said knife to escape his cell and kill terrorists until he found McGee.

McGee: Well, we went from a snowball’s chance in hell of getting out of here to a--
Gibbs: --snowball’s chance in Arizona.

I admit that Gibbs's ability to overcome virtually any physical obstacle no matter how unlikely can verge on "invincible hero" status for him, but I'm totally willing to set that aside in this case.

It felt somewhat reminiscent of the rescue of Ziva David in NCIS Season 7 Episode 1, "Truth or Consequences," when Tony DiNozzo gleefully reminded their terrorist captor that their boss was a sniper. (Cue headshot)

While Gibbs's sniper skills didn't come into play here, certainly his ability with knives did. The terrorists weren't the first people he's stabbed to death on this show, after all...

It's been stated in interviews that their time in captivity will stay with or otherwise affect Gibbs and McGee. This makes sense to me. I can't imagine that I would be able to spring back into work after being tortured for two months.

I do question how Delilah feels about the whole thing, though. McGee had the opportunity to evac with the rest of them, but decided to leave the helicopter to back up Gibbs, essentially choosing Gibbs over, well, her and the baby.

This is a matter of opinion, of course, and you're free to disagree with me here, but were I Delilah, I'd have some very, very complicated emotions. Thankfully, McGee returned, but after months of deprivation and torture.

Then there was the Sort-of Case of the Week, which just so happened to have an ever-so-convenient link to our two lost agents! Especially as Vance and company were being hauled before what I assume was a Senate Subcommittee!

Really, the only surprise there was the remarkably pleasant revelation that the seemingly-obstructive bureaucrats were actually on their side once the cameras stopped rolling.

The use of Chekhov's Dating App to find the missing agents was... well... silly. But is it any worse than the Chekhov's Porn Site from the first episode of Chuck back in the day? (It makes sense in context, I promise.)

Before I turn the discussion over to you, my fellow fans, I would like to make a few notes aside.

Was anyone else really, really annoyed when Bishop and Jimmy had to have a phone booth explained to them? Have they never watched a movie or television show from before the turn of the century?

Bishop's "floor time" debuted, mirroring Tony DiNozzo's "campfire" discussions from his stints in charge of the team. Being a short person with tall relatives, I felt rather bad for her much taller colleagues.

Did anyone else feel disappointed that Gibbs went back to NCIS to praise Bishop instead of reunite with Ducky, his best friend for decades? And did Ducky seem strangely absent and detached from the whole thing?

No explanation was given for the absence of Alex Quinn, though Clayton seems to have shifted into the team proper at some point. Someone should really clarify his job at NCIS.

Yes, Torres. Point a gun at the guy who's flying the helicopter. What're you going to do if he refuses? Pull the trigger? He's flying the helicopter!

If you missed this episode, fear not! You can watch NCIS online to catch up! And be sure to check back for NCIS Season 15 Episode 2, "Twofer" after it airs on Tuesday, October 3, 2017 at 8/7c on CBS.

What did you think of "House Divided"? Were you excited by the Great Escape of Gibbs and McGee, or did you find it bland and predictable? Was the team's case link to them too coincidental?

Let us know in the comments section below!

House Divided Review

Editor Rating: 3.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.9 / 5.0 (80 Votes)
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NCIS Season 15 Episode 1 Quotes

McGee: Well, we went from a snowball’s chance in hell of getting out of here to a--
Gibbs: --snowball’s chance in Arizona.

El Jefe: You set off the radiation alarm!
McGee: You shouldn’t have let me near the computers.