I hadn’t seen the promos for this episode of NCIS, so when, shortly before airing, I saw that Lily Tomlin was going to be on, I was more excited to watch. I must say, the last two weeks have left me a bit disappointed. I haven’t seen the action or the camaraderie within the team. Ziva has been pretty much non-existent all season, and Abby has been relegated to her lab again for a quick analysis, and then she’s not seen until the next week. Palmer, on the other hand, has been getting more and more face time—or I suppose I should say mouth time. He never shuts up. That’s about the only continuality between each episode. They aren’t building on season-long themes or issues.
So I had high hopes for this episode, with the always stunning Lily Tomlin. Was anyone else kinda hoping just for a quick Ernestine, the telephone operator, appearance?
See what else I thought after the jump.
As usual, a Navy officer, John Booth, is shot and the team “gears up.” McGeek does his usual thing by tracking bank accounts and phone records. But when he traces the number of the last known caller of the victim, he races out of the bullpen with no explanation. Soon, McGee and Tony, who apparently caught up with the exiting Tim, confront a vibrant, mouthy Lily Tomlin…I mean, Penelope “Penny” Langston. Tony is shocked to find out Penny is McGee’s grandmother. The interaction between Lily Tomlin and Sean Murray was okay. It wasn’t great chemistry, but maybe he was a little starstruck, too. McGee did momentarily find his manhood and stood up to Gibbs when he thought Gibbs was questioning his grandmother too harshly.
If you weren’t paying attention to all the players or just kinda zoned like I did occasionally, the premise of this episode may have gotten a little confusing. In short, a group back in the 60s was creating hybrid insects as weapons of mass destruction during the Vietnam War. “Technology with Nature.” Penelope was the first woman in the group, but soon learned what she was actually a part of and fled, but not before vowing to out this group to the public. But the war ended, and she gave up her quest until the group was re-established and the young Navy officer, John Booth, contacted her again in hopes of getting her help. This is kinda where I drifted off. But in the end, the bad guys were caught, as usual.
A very underlying tone of this episode was fathers. In one scene Tony, Ziva, and Tim are discussing their fathers and birthday celebrations. Tony’s father plans his own parties, but Tony must pay for them. Tim and his gifts were never good enough for his Navy Admiral father. And Ziva’s father was always around, but had other things on his mind. In the end, Penny says goodbye to her grandson, but pushed for him to call his father. As the good little boy that he is, Tim follows through and phones his dad.
I’m glad Sean Murray was given his own episode, but his character doesn’t have the personality to hold it on his own. Next week, I hope to see more group interaction besides just on the current case.