It was a bad time for the team to be hunting a pair of explosive-running brothers.
No one’s head was totally in the game on NCIS Season 18 Episode 6.
And Jack has certainly picked the wrong occasion to depart because her teammates need someone with whom to talk.
The aftermath of the whole Merriweather storyline has been more interesting than the storyline itself.
It was more front and center than the hunt for the Duncan brothers and their explosive bricks.
Likely, the Duncans were in the background most of the episode, and Craig was dead fairly early on.
It wasn’t even apparent why this was even an NCIS case, other than Gibbs was sniffing around for a distraction. I’m sure it came up, but the minds of everyone (including viewers) were elsewhere.
Nope, the fallout from the incendiary events of NCIS Season 18 Episode 5 was effectively showcased instead.
It even trickled down to Palmer, usually the most level-headed team members, who seemed determined to use feng shui to change the squad’s luck. Kacie was stuck having to talk him down.
Jack was attempting to take everyone’s emotional pulse, but most responded monosyllabically like Gibbs.
That didn’t mean all the field agents weren’t pretending it was business as usual.
Only McGee stayed home like he was supposed to, but even then, he was incapable of relaxing with Delilah and the kids being gone.
Both McGee and Gibbs focused on how close events had come from turning out very badly.
And while both were taking the public position that Gibbs did what had to be done, it was difficult for them to internalize that thought.
Obviously, Gibbs was flustered when he actually thought Palmer, Kacie, or Jack would know to where Torres and Bishop took off.
Granted, the pair were chasing down what they thought was the longest of shots. Still, shouldn’t they have clued in someone (maybe Vance) on their plans since they were heading into the hinterlands where cell service would be spotty?
Instead, all Gibbs had to work from was a dead Duncan inside the NCIS car, abandoned miles away from the Duncans’ hideout.
Not having any of his agents around only highlighted how much Gibbs depends on them, especially when it comes to technology.
Wasn’t that a perfectly Gibbs moment when he pulled a cartful of computer equipment into McGee’s apartment, only to have McGee explain that he had already remoted into those computers?
That and Gibbs trying to work the remote for the big screen.
So it’s not like McGee could actually take time off, not with Bishop missing out in the hinterlands. Kacie tried, but she’s number three on the technology roster.
McGee got Gibbs the lead he needed by uncovering that Ellie had received a tip that morning that ultimately led them into the trap into which they fell.
That led to the tipster connected to the Duncan brothers, who Gibbs browbeat into giving up what he knew about where Torres and Bishop were.
McGee also was the poster child for working from home to crack Torres’s nebulous “notable” clue.
Of course, Gibbs arrived just in time to arrest Jesse Duncan when he was ready to depart with the explosive.
This should have been the episode when Torres and Bishop expressed their feelings for each other. They didn’t even have to look each other in the eyes while doing so.
I mean, how much more in peril do they have to be, with Ellie’s foot keeping a bomb from exploding?
Instead, they just internalized what they were feeling.
Nick felt guilty because he didn’t arrive in time to rescue Bishop. So he overcompensated, hovering around her like she’s a fragile flower.
Which is the last thing that Ellie wants since she’s been treated that way too often since joining NCIS.
She fought hard on her own against Merriweather and came out alive. There’s been some hint in the last couple of seasons that she may develop into a Ziva-level hardass. Maybe that’s still coming if they’ve finally covered the ground meant to be covered on NCIS Season 17.
So it was more of the same, with the pair pretending to be just partners when they could become so much more. Not that they have a boatload of chemistry together, but enough already. Get them together or give them other love interests.
I blame Tony and Ziva and a decade’s worth of will-they-or-not-they.
They did make the right call in negotiating with Jesse so they could walk away from a very dicey situation. All’s well that ends well and all that.
I still have to believe that a couple of low-level criminals such as the Duncan brothers wouldn’t have last even that long if the team hadn’t been dealing with their recent trauma.
The question now is whether that will be for examing the fallout from the airport or continuing through the next few episodes. It would be more beneficial if it were the latter.
To revisit the Merriweather storyline, watch NCIS online.
Do you expect any of the team to have lingering aftereffects?
What did you think of the case of the week?
Will Gibbs be back to being, well, Gibbs?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.