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NCIS recap: Don't mess with Gibbs' kids

Entertainment Weekly logo Entertainment Weekly 1/29/2020 Sara Netzley
Sean Murray, Mark Harmon are posing for a picture: NCIS © Eddy Chen/CBS NCIS

A Lamborghini tears through a residential neighborhood, endangering residents left and right before plowing into a happy jogging couple.

Alas, that couple is Bishop and Torres, and we’re in for an emotional hour of NCIS.

At the hospital, a shell-shocked Bishop provides Gibbs and McGee with eye witness evidence before confirming that Torres shoved her out of the way, and… “it’s bad.” He never regained consciousness following his head injury and the best neurosurgeon on the East Coast is being choppered in to oversee his care. Then Gibbs watches in horror as Torres starts to code and the medical team rush in to stabilize him.

To keep themselves occupied, NCIS tracks down the Lambo driver, who’s been using the neighborhood as his personal race track for a few weeks. Thanks to the partial plate Bishop remembered and a sliver of carbon fiber from the aftermarket spoiler taken from Torres’s neck in surgery, they zero in on wealthy Russian d-bag Xavier Zolotov, whose Insta is full of shots of him on his private jet and brandishing a gold-plated AK in front of a mansion. Heck, his wife even has a pet baby tiger.

The trust-fund monster travels with his own private security force, and he’s always managed to escape punishment despite the string of victims he leaves in his wake, including a 15-year-old girl who overdosed at one of his parties and a bouncer he left paralyzed. In fact, when Gibbs and Bishop arrive at his ultra-mod apartment to arrest him, he drops his towel and parades around in his altogether. Gibbs, of course, is unruffled.

In questioning with Bishop, Xavier says he regrets hitting Torres…because it’s so hard to find someone who can repair his fancy car. So yeah, he confesses to drunk driving, hitting Torres, and fleeing the scene, yet soon enough he’s swaggering through the big orange room as a free man while Bishop seethes. Xavier Zolotov truly is the world’s worst human.

Vance explains that Xavier has sovereign immunity thanks to some old-school royal blood, and the State Department doesn’t want to contest that claim because “God forbid we upset the Russians.” Bishop storms out in a fury, leaving Gibbs to snap at Vance, “These are the only kids I have left.” Oh, Gibbs. So many feelings there.

But Vance didn’t just give up Xavier without a fight and in fact, was halfway through his resignation letter when he decided to pull some strings instead. Vance asks Gibbs to keep Xavier from leaving the country while he works his connections.

The plan: arrest Xavier’s wife for possessing a tiger without a license. But Xavier, wildly cheating at pick-up basketball with such a large gold chain around his neck that it’s a wonder he can get any vertical on his jumps, laughs off the idea that he’d stay behind for his wife, who angrily waves her cuffed hands at him from the backseat of the car. If you lie down with tigers, you get up with fleas, lady!

Bishop, meanwhile, gets the report after Torres was taken into emergency surgery to remove fluid that had accumulated in his lungs during his medically induced coma. The doctor warns that this procedure worked, but if it happens again, he’s in real danger. At this point, she’s at her breaking point and tells McGee that she wants to extract her own justice by killing Xav.

This fires up the ol’ NCIS gossip chain when McGee tells Sloane and Sloane tells Gibbs that Bishop’s dealing with PTSD and should be taken off duty. When Gibbs coldly says he’ll handle his own team, Sloane suggests that Gibbs himself might need to take a step back since he likely won’t cope well with the bad guy going free in this instance.

But Gibbs handles it in his own way, pulling Bishop aside the next morning and asking bluntly, “Did you do it?” At first, she laughs that McGee took her murder threats seriously, but Gibbs shuts down her over-the-top protests. She drops the act, demanding to know why, after a lifetime of extracting his own justice, Gibbs is now protecting Xavier. He points out that he’s actually protecting Bishop, keeping her from doing something she can’t recover from.

“Do I look happy to you?” he asks, pointing to his life of bourbon and the boat in the basement. “You don’t want to become me.” “Too late,” Bishop retorts. The emotions! Too many emotions, guys! But hey, at least Torres is awake, hungry, and asking about Bishop — and Sloane suggested a new way to stall Xavier: his constant need for sex and adoration almost certainly means he has a girlfriend in addition to a wife.

A review of helmet cam footage that a Ducati-rider took on the day of the accident reveals the Lambo with a blonde in the passenger seat, and McGee recognizes her as Colleen Kennedy, the mean yoga lady who lives down the hall from the Russian entourage.

When Bishop joins McGee and Gibbs in kicking down Colleen’s door, they find Xavier’s body in her tub with a through-and-through gunshot wound to the head. Look, I don’t usually revel in murder, but this could not have happened to a more deserving piece of garbage. Palmer, bless his heart, pulls a long blond hair from the tub and announces a lack of a spent bullet, shell casing, and gunpowder burns, which indicates a killer with weapons training. The tension is palpable as McGee looks at Bishop, who insists she didn’t kill Xavier. Yes, she took delight in plotting how she’d do it, but she didn’t actually follow through.

And whaddya know, she’s not the only blonde with a motive. NCIS Great Lakes suspected Colleen of injecting her sister with dirty heroin to claim a family inheritance, and the agent sent undercover to bust her was none other than Torres. New evidence had recently surfaced in the murder case, which means Colleen’s trial was actually going to move forward with Torres as the star witness. What looked like a hit and run was actually a targeted hit, and Torres is still a target.

Cut to Colleen creeping into Torres’ hospital room and injecting heroin into his IV. But of course, the IV isn’t connected, and he’s not really sleeping because it’s a setup. As NCIS haul her away, she hisses, “You’re the worst boyfriend I ever had,” which is saying something since she dated walking nightmare Xavier.

With the case resolved, Bishop perches on the edge of the bed and takes Torres’ hand, confirming that she knows he risked his life to save hers. Y’all, the good ship Ellick has got to be setting sail soon.

Back in the big orange room, Bishop and Vance make up, and then she again tells McGee that she didn’t kill Xavier. Well, if she didn’t and we’re to believe Colleen’s insistence that she didn’t, who killed that human crapbag?

Cut to a grim-faced Gibbs stepping onto the elevator, having successfully protected his children through the conclusion of another case.

Stray shots

  • Big feels tonight, people. Big Gibbs papa bear feels.
  • Don’t forget that this isn’t the first time Bishop’s gone Revenge Barbie in pursuit of elusive justice. She took it upon herself to see that the man who killed her boyfriend Qasim got what he deserved (and what he deserved was “diesel generator goes boom,” apparently). She’s been flirting with darkness for a while, is what I’m saying, but it’s always good to watch Gibbs nudge her back toward the light.
  • Do people really laugh that much while they run? Ellie and Nick were the happiest I’ve ever seen them in that opening scene. I thought running was mostly labored breathing and waiting for it to be over.
  • Honestly, my only sadness with this episode is that we didn’t get to spend more time with the illegal tiger. But even without a big cat, I thoroughly enjoyed this solid, character-driven hour. And even if McGee doesn’t relish seeing his sister-figure Ellie pair off with his brother-figure Nick, I’m hoping those two at least start talking honestly about their feelings now that this scare is behind them. Do you feel similarly? Let me know in the comments!

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