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NCIS - The Lost Boys - Review: "A significant loss?"

NCIS aired the penultimate episode of its twelfth season last week, and the episode continued the arc started in "Troll". It was also revealed who the significant loss was that was teased in various interviews and spoilers.

The episode immediately continues on last week's cliffhanger. Following the bus explosion, which everyone but Bradley Simek survive, Gibbs sees a young boy at the crime scene and chases after him, but he escapes. Afterwards, a briefing with some intelligence officers all over the world reveal that the terrorist group is an Iraqi-based group called "The Calling". They recruit children as young as 10 years old through the internet, acting like an evil Peter Pan recruiting his lost boys. One of their leaders is Matthew Rousseau and an email from him reveals that The Calling is looking for S-mines on the black market, a mine used by the Germans in World War II. To try to identify a potential buyer of the mines, Gibbs calls arms dealer Agah Bayar and offers him a deal. He accepts, but Vance later tells Gibbs that the DIA stops the deal because they already have Bayar in active operations. Meanwhile, Ducky realizes that a tattoo on Bradley's body was similar to that of a terrorist group in Syria. The team stopped that group from assassinating an Imam in the episode "The Enemy Within". Now all members of that group are dead except for Sarah Goode, the American citizen who pretended to be kidnapped by the terrorists.

Goode reveals that The Calling started as part of their terrorist group, but it became less about religion and more about damaging the system so the faction broke off. Goode wants them stopped as well, and reveals that the guy Bradley had been chatting with is Sadiq Samar, who is great at recruiting others. Bishop finds an old warehouse that was bought by Samar, so her, Gibbs and Tony go check it out. They find the murder weapon used to kill Ensign Wilt and also find the boy that Gibbs saw at the crime scene. The boy has a gun, but Gibbs calmly approaches him and manages to talk him out of doing something he would regret. The boy turns out to be Luke Harris, who was reported missing by his adoptive parents. Luke refuses to talk to Gibbs, but the team learns that his real parents are from Iraq and that Luke is bullied at school. Luke was also communicating with Samar, and the latter also told him to go the building. That building has a storage bunker underneath it, so Abby, Bishop and Tony head to the building. Abby learns that Samar has been experimenting with linking the S-mines to one another and being set off by a pinpoint laser.

Meanwhile, McGee and Dorneget have been sent to Cairo to represent NCIS at an Interpol meeting. They learn that Matthew Rousseau has been captured and is being transported on an aircraft carrier, and McGee volunteers to interrogate him. In the US, Gibbs uses Agah Bayar's mother to blackmail him into helping NCIS. Meanwhile, Ducky gives a profile on Luke and finds a handbook from The Calling that urges members to take out anyone close to them that is not a fan of The Calling's ideologies. In Luke's case, that means his parents and he already wrote a letter to them, but he didn't finish it. When Gibbs shows it to Luke, he finally starts talking. However, Abby has found another chat with Samar that says Luke is a traitor. So when Gibbs takes Luke to see his parents, he finds both of them dead.

Elsewhere, McGee interrogates Rousseau, who claims to know nothing about the S-mines. However, he says McGee misses the party in Cairo so McGee quickly asks for a phone. He calls Dorneget, who quickly starts evacuating and gets a lot of people out. Sadly, Dorneget sees a suspicious man who activates the pinpoint laser, and a man runs past it. This triggers the S-mines and causes a large explosion all around the hotel. Dorneget is rushed to the hospital, but Bishop is later informed that he didn't make it. She and Tony also meet with Bayar, who tells them that Cairo was just a test and The Calling is planting bombs in major cities worldwide. A car pulls up and shoots Bayar, but he is rushed to the hospital and is expected to pull through. Later, the team goes to the airport to meet McGee and the casket with Dorneget. Gibbs briefly sees some ghosts from his past standing with Dorneget. When the coffin is carried into the car, another car pulls up with Dorneget's mother. And, surprise, surprise, his mother is CIA Officer Joanna Teague. She tells Gibbs that they have some work to do.

This was an excellent episode and a pretty dark one too. We already saw last week how Bradley was driven to destruction when he blew himself up. This week, we got some more insight into how the terrorists operate and how they recruit children like Bradley and Luke. It's really dark to use the vulnerability of teenagers against them to turn them into doing these dark things, but sadly it's what happens in the real world as well. With Luke's parents now dead, it is of great importance to help him resist The Calling's influence on his life. Besides Luke's story, we also have another dark storyline in this episode: the death of Ned Dorneget. More about that in a minute, but the death scene itself was perfect. Dorneget saved as many lives as he could, but he had to give his own to do so. The music that accompanied this and the previous scenes, also fit like a glove in the tone of the episode. There were several other exceptional moments in the episode. Most notably was Gibbs seeing the six dead agents at the airport. See the picture below, and for those wondering, from left to right: Paula Cassidy, Mike Franks, Kate Todd, Dorneget, Jenny Shepard, Christopher Pacci. It was an emotional moment for Gibbs and also a great reference to previous seasons. Another interesting moment was Gibbs telling Luke a story about Kelly.

And now regarding Dorneget's death. Honestly, I am glad it was him and not someone else. Due to all the interviews and spoilers that teased a significant loss, I was genuinely concerned it was a major character. I went back and forth between thinking a series regular would die or a major recurring character would die. I even considered Fornell and Ziva as possibilities. Now that I know it was Dorneget, I can only say one thing: this death was incredibly overhyped. Even though he is a recurring character, we have not seen enough of him to really care about his death. I, for one, don't mind his death and am just glad it was just a minor recurring character. Obviously Dorneget appeared in four episodes prior to returning this season and he was mentioned on various occasions throughout seasons 9-12, but he is really not a significant loss to me. It might be a big loss for the team and the agency, but not to me.

This brings me to my last point (this review is quite a long one, so I hope you stuck with me). The season finale is shaping up to be another Gibbs-centric one. We have had so many centered around him already that I am not sure they can come up with anything original. From season 7 onwards, basically all finales and finale arcs involved Gibbs in a major way: the Reynosa Cartel, Mike Franks' murder, Harper Dearing, the DOD investigation and his father's passing. I could also include the Sergei Mishnev arc earlier this season. And now Dorneget's loss seems to propel another Gibbs-centric season finale and I am not happy about that. From the promo and information we have, it almost seems to be a mix between the season 8 and 10 finales. Mike Franks is back as a hallucination to guide Gibbs or whatever it is that he does. While I am fine with Franks returning (though I believe they shouldn't have killed him off if he keeps reappearing every season), I don't want this to be a repeat of what we have already seen. Also, the promo seems to indicate that Gibbs gets shot. If that will turn out to be the cliffhanger, I will be mad because we all know Gibbs is not going to die. In general, even though Gibbs is the main character of the show, I am getting a bit tired of these Gibbs finales. Some originality would be nice here and if the writers can't come up with something, I have plenty of ideas for them, like giving Tony his own personal nemesis or McGee.

What did you think of "The Lost Boys"? Do you think it was a good follow-up to last week's episode? What are your thoughts on the arc in general? Do you agree that it's pretty dark to recruit children through the dark web? Were you surprised that Dorneget was the significant loss? And lastly, are you looking forward to the finale? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.

The season finale airs Tuesday at 8/7c on CBS. Here's a promo for the episode:

About the Author - Daniel van der Veer
Daniel van der Veer is a Dutch university student studying Psychology. On SpoilerTV he is a reviewer of NCIS, The 100, Stalker, Madam Secretary and the upcoming show American Odyssey. He also enjoys LOST, Arrow, NCIS: Los Angeles, NCIS: New Orleans, Nikita, The Blacklist, Scorpion and How To Get Away With Murder.
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