In a rather unusual turn of events, much of the emotional heft and drama of NCIS Season 15 Episode 8 actually rested not on a main cast member, but guest star Laura Regan.
Regan portrayed Amber Davis, a woman who initially seemed to be an unfortunate hiker who just happened to find a dead body...until she claimed to be hearing the voice of the dead man.
Amber's inclusion in the case as a psychic witness felt extremely forced and awkward, especially coming in the way it did from Director Vance himself.
That said, Regan's multilayered portrayal of Amber of the initially confused but helpful witness before the reveal as a horrifyingly troubled, fiendishly intelligent, yet still sympathetic murderer definitely highlighted the episode.
Logically speaking, it didn't take long to figure that Amber must have been involved in the murder if one discounted the possibility that she was psychically endowed or otherwise haunted.
It says a lot that Amber's ex-husband remained so devoted towards her, even at the end when he was aware of everything she had done.
One thing I would definitely like to call attention to is the ambiguity surrounding her third and final target, Jimmy Lancaster, AKA "Box Guy." Not whether he was guilty of being a scumbag, but in her actions to catch him.
She used her technological skills (okay, magical hacking abilities) to take control of the psych ambulance and crash it, putting two (completely innocent) people in mortal jeopardy. Then she broke into Lancaster's house and held him at gunpoint until he confessed.
Contrary to claims at the end of the episode, not the makings of a rock-solid case against Mr. Lancaster.
Whether or not Amber's actions and sympathetic portrayal actually glorify vigilantism is a matter of opinion. Frankly, I think it would've been a more interesting end had her actions resulted in Lancaster escaping justice.
Certainly not a happier ending (as happy as it could be in this case), but perhaps more justifiable.
Running just below the Case of the Week came the recurring discussion of whether or not ghosts and the supernatural were real.
Given McGee's glee in the realization that Amber's "ghosts" were in fact suppressed memories of her own murderous deeds, I figured we were in for a bit of a twist somewhere.
To quote Shakespeare's Hamlet, "There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
I have to say, it was a nice treat to have the very brief cameo by Muse Watson. Somehow, it seems just like the ghost of Mike Franks to make gags about ghosts and insanity.
The spirits of the dead have a long and storied role on NCIS, such as after Kate Todd's death on NCIS Season 3 Episode 1, "Kill Ari;" or when the spirit of Mike Franks guided Gibbs on the 200th episode of the series (NCIS Season 9 Episode 14).
Gibbs also saw the ghosts of Mike Franks, Jenny Sheppard, Ned Dorneget, Chris Pacci, Kate Todd, and Paula Cassidy on NCIS Season 12 Episode 23, "The Lost Boys."
Naturally, whether they were actually there or not remains up to the viewer's imagination, but it's worth noting that the vast majority of ghostly encounters have seemed to involve Gibbs.
He has received a lot of head trauma (and other sorts of trauma) over the years...
The last storyline of the hour centered around McGee's desire to discover whether his baby was going to be a boy or a girl. As it turned out, Delilah didn't want him to know, and this meant he couldn't know, either.
This discussion came across a bit oddly particularly after Bishop pointed out that there are only a few weeks left in her pregnancy, so it wouldn't make much of a difference, anyway.
Had this come up, say, several weeks ago, it would've felt less awkward, especially intercut as it was with the very emotionally heavy Case of the Week.
Of course, the whole thing turned out to be a sly set-up to reveal that he's having a boy and a girl! It's twins for Tim and Delilah! A little big soap opera, but still worth the look on McGee's face.
A few final notes and miscellaneous thoughts before I turn the discussion over to you:
- I'm not sure why Gibbs invited Amber to his house after hours to question her. That's odd on several levels. Seriously, a criminal investigator inviting a witness/potential suspect to his house?
- No one ever mentioned that Gibbs had lost his daughter, as well -- perhaps because they didn't want to bring up the fact that he totally killed the guy who did it, too. Awkward...
- That ultrasound McGee showed at the end was definitely not of 8- to 9-month twins. Let's just say that the womb gets crowded really fast by that point in gestation.
- On a related note, Tony DiNozzo will have a field day when he learns that McGee is having twins.
- I confess that I laughed out loud when Muse Watson appeared on my screen. Mike Franks is almost always a win in my book.
Whether or not you believe in ghosts, you can watch NCIS online. Tune in for NCIS Season 15 Episode 9, "Ready or Not," slated to air on Tuesday, November 21, 2017, just prior to the Thanksgiving holiday.
What did you think of "Voices," fellow NCIS fans? An intriguing twist or woefully predictable? Join in the conversation by adding to the comments section below!