Trailers. When they don't spoil the whole plot, they lie out their metaphorical rear ends. Such was the case with NCIS Season 15 Episode 11, more or less.
Happily, I mean this in the best way possible. The trailer for "High Tide" played up Torres's insubordination angle, which turned out to be little more than a brick joke, though more on that in a bit.
Instead, viewers were treated to a downright entertaining turn with Torres and Bishop going undercover to expose the villains behind a drug smuggling operation on Norfolk Naval Station.
Rather than the normal "We got a dead Marine/sailor, grab your gear!", the episode began in media res, with the duo already working their personas to great effect on the hapless Jared.
The sneaky phone-cloning by Bishop while Torres distracted Jared reminded me pleasantly of Person of Interest, where such tricks were often performed at least once an episode.
One of my few complaints stems from the in media res opening, which necessitated some painful expository dialogue between the team and Vance, basically recapping things all of them should already know.
Yes, obviously it was for the viewers' benefit, but there had to have been some way of filling us in on the details than saying what boiled down to, "As you know, Director, we're chasing down drug smugglers..."
Quick survey -- how many of you:
- Suspected the tanks Torres was carting around were a part of the drug operation?
- Guessed that Donnie, Mitchell's supposed lackey, was the guy in charge?
- Thought the innocent-seeming schoolteacher was the mastermind?
- Figured Lane, the boat-owner, was more than just the boat-owner?
Since the introduction of Torres on the series, his dedication to and skill in undercover work has been hyped, referenced, and even portrayed, along with his propensity to get too into his roles.
The initial insubordination of Torres (in order to continue the undercover work) seemed to play into this concept, but by the climax, it was actually subverted, with Torres blowing his cover deliberately.
Donnie even invoked Torres not liking being chained to a desk, but Torres blew it off.
Though somewhat understated in the episode proper, this was a momentous occasion for Torres, willingly going back to the desk, teamwork he initially scorned and even taking his (earned) punishment with grace.
Jack Sloane and Director Vance also directly compared Torres' gut instinct behavior to Gibbs, and it frustrated Vance.
One big difference, though, between Gibbs and Torres? Experience. Torres went with his gut and revealed himself as a federal agent only to be completely blindsided by the reveal that Donnie was the boss.
A viewer may also recall that Torres is not the first member of the MCRT to be compared to Gibbs concerning instinct over training. Tony DiNozzo also held that distinction.
And yet, Torres and DiNozzo are very different from each other, and different again from Gibbs. It will be interesting to continue to watch Torres develop as a character.
Then there was Bishop! She seemed to get even more into the undercover work than Torres.
Gibbs: Any problems?
Torres: None, except Bishop almost blowing up our cover, we’re pretty good.
Bishop: Excuse me?
Torres: You shouldn’t have slapped his hand away.
Bishop: I don’t give out free samples! I’ve got three kids to feed and a sick Nana in Boca. [Torres stares at her.] What? You told me to have a backstory. That’s my backstory.
Torres: That’s actually… that’s actually pretty good.
Bishop: Thank you.
McGee: What’s wrong with Nana?
One questions whether Bishop might be tempted by the allure of the adrenaline rush of constant danger, becoming more like Torres was when we first met him.
Given Torres' character development, this might make an interesting dynamic between the two. Bishop enjoyed her performance, while Torres' felt almost like duty or necessity over fun.
A few final thoughts before I turn the discussion over to you:
- I winced at how Gibbs allowed Lane past the crime scene tape to question him after the boat explosion. In Real Life, that's a no-no for various reasons.
- Ladies and gents, please wear your seatbelts when riding in a motor vehicle. Always. I don't care if you're just driving to the store. Or down the block. Don't want to end up like Donnie, after all. Ouch.
- Be sure to stop by our NCIS quotes page for some of the notable lines from this episode.
I hope you enjoyed this episode as much as I did! You can watch NCIS online to relive the excitement.
Also, check back after NCIS Season 15 Episode 12, "Dark Secrets," airs on Tuesday, January 9, 2018, at 8/7c on CBS!
What did you think of "High Tide"? Did you suspect the true identity of the ringleader, or were you surprised? Did you enjoy Torres and Bishop going undercover?
Let us know in the comments section!
Get your first look at "Dark Secrets" below!