Tag Archives: Beginnings and ends

NCIS beginnings and ends – Hiatus and Shalom

Close on the heels of the death of Kate comes Gibbs lying injured in a hospital bed. I mean, as episodes Daughter tries to avoid watching because they are just so sad… Both parts of Hiatus are sad, but they are also funny and enjoyable, while being dramatic and quite upsetting in many ways.

Gibbs and Ziva

That’s what good writing is. I know I keep coming back to this, but it’s true. So once you overlook the sight of Gibbs biting back a sob when he realises (again) that Shannon and Kelly are dead, this is fun. The drama doesn’t feel synthetic.

As I’ve said before, Abby’s monologue in front of the ICU nurse is priceless. Director Shepard is good in the same spot, but Abby is wonderful. Ziva’s threatening the ship’s captain is just right, and our first look at Mike Franks wears well.

On to Shalom at the beginning of season four and we return to Franks and his Mexican paradise. Camila brings the phone a second time, mirroring the call in Hiatus. It’s the first time we have seen a relaxed and almost normal Gibbs, and he does another ‘Mark Harmon thing’ by being on the roof, mending it for Franks.

Seeing Ziva both vulnerable and strong works well, and I’m glad she called in Gibbs’ debt so soon. As for her girl-on-girl fight at the end, it was rated 18 on YouTube at the time, which is ridiculous, but shows how good it is. The mirroring of Kate and Ari when Ziva is lured to follow the motorbike is another excellent move.

Did I mention good writing?

And we like Gibbs with a beard. The shirt is borderline, but the beard is just right. Could we have the good old days back, please?

(Photo © CBS)

NCIS beginnings and ends – Reveille and See No Evil

Season one of NCIS ends fairly strongly, although you need hindsight to see where it might lead. There is the mirror effect at the end of season two, which you won’t know about if you watch in the right order.

Written by Donald Bellisario and featuring Ari for the second time, it’s strong and annoying at the same time. DiNozzo’s stupid fascination for the fake Swede is irritating, and I have never felt easy with Ducky’s description of the old case which upset Gibbs.

But Ari is good, and his relationship with Kate was always interesting. I keep wondering what would have happened if they’d lived.

Kate and Ari

Since this episode was shown not long before the start of season two, the cliffhanger wait was reduced. And there wasn’t even much of a cliffhanger, unless you’d got as worked up about Ari as Gibbs had.

Which is lucky, since See No Evil was pretty good, but had no real connection to Reveille.

My main problem with See No Evil, is that it can only be watched once, and work. When – or if – you watch it again and you know what happened, it loses all credibility, and the feelgood factor of how the team worked the rescue seems pointless.

It is also a little too sugary on ‘kid with disability.’ Fine, let her be both pretty and talented and courageous. But why be surprised?

This was the start of Kate and DiNozzo being mean to McGee, and I hated them through most of season two, because they went from almost normal (for television agents) to childish and petty.

Kate and McGee

But the heatwave and the air conditioning breaking down is used with great effect. Putting the computer in autopsy to keep it cool is a ‘cool’ move. Having two endings is also effective. First the obvious one, and then the real one. But as I said, you can only use that trick once.

(Photos © CBS)

NCIS beginnings and ends – Yankee White

I’m doing a beginning-to-end survey of NCIS. It’s a tough job, but someone has to sacrifice their summer for such a worthy project. One summer isn’t long enough to watch every single episode while we wait for season ten, and since I had some issues with the ending of season nine, it seemed like a good idea to go back to old endings and see how they connect with their subsequent beginnings.

But first we need to deal with Yankee White, the 40 minutes that began my new life as a nerd. OK, there were the JAG episodes, but they almost don’t count.

It is all down to Donald Bellisario, whose writing of the first seasons is second to none and which made NCIS what it is. There may have been problems later, and maybe things weren’t perfect, but you can’t fault the writing.

Gibbs

There is much that makes Yankee White stand out. Although looking back, you see the discrepancy of Fornell and Gibbs meeting for the first time. But that’s OK. Also, Gibbs is not as Gibbsy as he became soon after. Nor is Abby fully formed. But the then Director is great, and DiNozzo is likeable. And Ducky is more assertive.

You can’t help but love a plot set on Air Force One, with a pretty passable George W Bush. Perhaps someone really should have thrown themselves in front of the President’s diet. The Secret Service come across less well than you’d expect, although that could have been intentional, I suppose.

Some shows need a few episodes to prove themselves. NCIS was loveable from the word go.

Yankee White - Kate, Ducky and Gibbs

I’m still loving it, but they will need to pause and think about what they are doing. It doesn’t have to be Bellisario writing, but it does need to be someone else good. Changing backgrounds as happened with Gibbs and Fornell is also OK. But someone writing for season ten needs to know what happened in season five.

(Photos © CBS)