The end of NCIS season two and the beginning of season three are among the very best episodes, and among the hardest to watch. Even though we watched season two late, when we already knew how it would end, it still didn’t make it any easier, or even any more obvious what was going to happen.
So we knew Kate would die, but the way they set up smoke screens, pretending to kill DiNozzo with the plague, and then offering up snakes and bombs and the need to protect Gibbs, meant we were as confused as they wanted us to be. I saw an interview with Mark Harmon on the eve of the last episode, and he claimed not to know who was going to die. It could have been him. Or so he said.
Twilight is as strong an episode as any, and it stands the passage of time well. It’s still exciting to watch, despite us knowing how and who and why. That penultimate shot when we think Kate has died, quickly followed by the killshot is pretty good.
There is humour, despite the fear and the danger. That’s what makes NCIS; the plot as such might be mediocre, but the script and the dialogue is first class.
As for Kill Ari, I had to watch part one three times before I felt even vaguely normal. It’s the one that has affected me more than any other. Yet again it’s the strong writing which makes it what it is, more even than the acting, which is also fantastic.
The team are shattered in more ways than one, it is raining (it always rains when things are bad) and Gibbs is nice. DiNozzo is right, we don’t want a Gibbs who is too nice, but it was quite fun to see what a nice Gibbs might be like. He doubts his own abilities, while the rest of his team daydream about Kate, the way they each saw her.
They have Ari to chase, while fighting the FBI’s view of him as an ally, and Gibbs has his old partner return without warning as his new Director. Ziva turns up and confuses DiNozzo, and we have that priceless scene in Ducky’s Morgan, with the useless Gerald almost wrecking it.
You don’t often get a really bad bad guy who can also be as interesting and as charming and normal as Ari. We sense that he is ice cold and cruel, but there is still a sense of humour.
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