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NCIS - Episode 11.07 - Better Angels - Review

     On this week’s episode of NCIS, Ralph Waite returned as Jackson Gibbs in an episode that had fans begging THE Gibbs to do what his father wanted. The only week point of this episode was the procedural element of the week. I tend to get a little tired of the case of the week, but this episode’s case was simply… boring and forgettable. So, for the sake of good (I hope) reading, I’m going to stick to the serialized portion of this episode.

     The episode started off with a focus on the case, but ended with a focus on Jackson and a man named Walter Beck. Walter is explained to be a kind of war buddy of Jackson’s. The only twist is that Walter was a member of the Luftwaffe, while Jackson was in the United States Army Air Force. This revelation, however unrealistic and overly idealistic, served a great purpose in painting a wonderful picture for the audience. The only problem with it all was Leroy Jethro Gibbs.

     His insistence on not helping his father through this difficult time not only slowed the story, but also frustrated me. While it’s not unlike Gibbs to stick to a case until it’s finished, I think the idea that he would wish to desert his father during this time, is extremely uncharacteristic of the Gibbs that we have come to know over the past eleven seasons. It’s as if Gibbs has taken the exact opposite stance as he did when it came to his father’s relationship with Leroy Jethro Moore. His argument then was that they were not getting any younger. Now, when presented with an opportunity to reunite his father with a long lost friend, he scoffs at the idea. Considering the amount of loss that he has suffered in his life, I would expect Gibbs to be the first to recognize the importance and overall dominance of a life/death family matter vs work. I know many would argue that the NCIS team is Gibbs’ de facto family, but someone as smart as THE Leroy Jethro Gibbs should realize the importance of this to his father. For someone like Gibbs’ father to beg his son like he did should really show Gibbs how crucial it was for Gibbs to meet Walter.

     Meanwhile, Tony and McGee feuded over who should take point on the case in Gibbs’ absence. While I always thought of DiNozzo as the number 2 to Gibbs’ number 1, it was entertaining to see the bickering that makes the show so enjoyable at times. My personal favorite part of all the bickering was when Tony added McGee to his phone call with Gibbs. While using the moment for the obvious comical relief, it also gave some time to add to the all-knowing, omniscient mysticism that is Leroy Jethro Gibbs. I’m sure this scene will be added to a YouTube montage within the next couple of weeks.

     However, I thought that the very last scene was the best. For the majority of the episode I was sure that Walter Beck would die and Gibbs would not be able to meet him as Gibbs Sr so wished. For this reason, I was very happy to see Gibbs finally meet Walter. While the scene was clearly meant to be very sad (and was), by the time it was over it felt right. The scene was reminiscent of the episode ending scene with Bob Newhart from season 8, but given the background, had even more meaning to it. Disregarding the serialized part of this episode, this was a fantastic episode. Anything that has to do with Gibbs’ past is normally pretty good, but a combo of excellent acting from the main cast and specifically Ralph Waite made for a superb episode.

Rating: 9.2/10

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