NCIS: “It didn’t work, but A-plus for the ‘MacGyver’”

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November 18, 2009

9:08 PM

This week’s installment of “NCIS” was called “Power Down.” Need I say anything more? I think the episode title does a fine job of explaining the major backdrop for this episode: there’s a citywide (and regional) blackout that happens during a case.

This episode opens with an absolutely priceless (and perhaps far too familiar here at the College of William and Mary) scene involving an overenthusiastic — and too-involved — gamer playing some video game in what is presumed to be his basement. Right when he’s about to break his high score or whatever it is that was exciting him (and causing him to speak in a cartoon-like voice), his internet connection is lost. Epic fail. He freaks out and calls for — you guessed it — his mother. That’s right: the gamer lives with his mom. It’s a trite and overused cliché, but somehow the writers managed to make the scene funny. I credit more, though, the actor’s delivery of his lines. (My favorite in his little tirade: “What the hell’s wrong now?” I totally sympathize, man; internet connections can be wily like that.)

It turns out that our favorite new gamer lost his internet connection because a shoot-out is going on at the headquarters of his internet provider. (Sorry, Mr. Gamer, but I think the company would win this one in court.) And it’s not even just him that’s affected — the entire Metropolitan region (and for you non-NoVa folks, that’s D.C., northern Virginia and part of Maryland). The team arrives on the scene; where they find a Navy lieutenant, Emma Paxton, handcuffed to a pipe and dead. Unable to fully assess the scene due to a lack of power, and therefore an inability to work their equipment, Gibbs pulls out his bag of investigation supplies that appears to have come from at least the 1990s — you know, because that’s really so far back in the past. Polaroid cameras, some camera-like contraption — it’s a good scene that provides for some laughs, particularly due to Tony and McGee’s facial expressions.

The case is pretty basic from there, although trying to pick out a subject was somewhat difficult. The team first talks to the Emma’s husband, who swears his wife was nothing more than a victim. Then, Tony and Ziva are sent to talk to the victim’s commanding officer (who happens to be allergic to Tony’s cologne, another comedic moment in this episode) and learn that the victim was seen walking down the street with another man (aka: not her husband) when she was supposedly on sick leave. The husband’s questioned again, and we find out that he had a private investigator follow Emma because he was afraid she was cheating on him. But it turns out that she wasn’t — she just rented out a trailer-container thing where she kept an entire arsenal plus multiple fake passports without his knowledge.

And then, all of a sudden, McGee catches a glimpse of a guy on the surveillance video provided by the PI (he watches it in MTAC, which still has power thanks to generators) who had been following Emma for days. Turns out that that guy, Donovan Graham, was one of the people involved in the shoot-out at the internet company. The team goes out to his house and finds him, along with his accomplice in the shooting, dead. This is not looking good.

Somehow, the case comes full circle, with the team believing Emma’s husband having become the prime suspect once again. They go back to the internet company to let the injured security guard (who had been shot during the shoot-out) that they suspected the husband. However, this turns out to be a scheme to catch the real suspect in the act: the security guard himself. Apparently, he let himself be shot and arranged the shoot-out as a diversion from what he was doing — stealing some part of the internet system (a modem or hard drive, maybe? I don’t know, I’m not tech-savvy at all). And the husband was right: Emma really was just a victim. She was a National Security agent working undercover as a Navy lieutenant. She was forced to take place in this break-in/shooting; she even tried to sabotage it by overdosing on a drug that would prevent her from being able to use the retinal scanner to get into the internet company. Case closed.

While this was a fairly case-centric episode, there were many great scenes and one-liners for our beloved characters and many entertaining moments. Here are a few of my favorite things about this episode:

I got elementary school flashbacks when Abby, in the midst of the region-wide blackout, used lemons to power a machine. I miss when science was actually fun. Those were the days.

* Gibbs: “Book ‘em, Dan-ozzo.” Oh, Gibbs. How I adore you when you make pop-cultural references. You should do it more often.

* This is really random, but the hat Ducky wore at the crime scene? Yeah, well, it looks exactly like the one my grandfather wears, and it reminded me of just how much I want Thanksgiving break right now. Like right. Now.

* Can I just say that I loved Ziva’s jacket at the end of the episode? So pretty. I hope she wasn’t wearing it all through the blackout, because it’s really too cute of a jacket to wear when people can’t compliment you on it.

* The expressions of pure joy and elation on the faces of Tony, Ziva, and McGee when the power came back on and they could use the internet made me think of our own facial expressions while we use Facebook. They must be similar, right?

* Tony: “That’s a regular Jason Bourne “Ident-a-kit.” Oh, Tony. Words cannot describe my love for you. Or the Bourne trilogy.

Next week’s episode has all the makings of a good one: child prodigies (does anyone else immediately think of Spencer Reid from “Criminal Minds?” Anyone?), Tony being his fabulous self and a think tank. Oh, God, do I love this show.

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