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NCIS - Double Trouble - Review: "Change is hard"

The latest NCIS episode shed the spotlight on Director Vance, as a figure from his past returned with information on a new case. The situation led to some tense moments that threatened the future of Vance at NCIS.

The episode began with a robbery at an unofficial bookmaking ring at the backroom of a lingerie shop. The thief, Brian Stokes, is later found dead on the scene of a single-car accident. Since he was a Navy Seaman Apprentice, the NCIS team is called in. In his car, the team finds a crate of grenades and a bag full of money. Also, one of the victim's eyes are missing. Back at HQ, the case gets an unexpected lead when former NCIS Agent Kip Klugman walks into the building with information about the case. Klugman stole evidence a couple of years ago, and he was subsequently imprisoned thanks to an investigation led by Vance. Anyway, Klugman says that he knows a bookmaker named Kobe Carver, nicknamed "Beef", and that Stokes stole money from Carver, which likely led to his untimely death. Vance doesn't trust the former agent, but McGee and Bishop go check out Beef's lingerie shop anyway. There, they find Beef's lawyer Laura and his employee Lump, but the backroom turns out to be just some regular lingerie inventory. Meanwhile, Abby finds out that Stoked ripped out his own eye and that he was on LSD when he died. However, his father is a drug addict that he wanted to help out by stealing the money, so Stokes was probably drugged.

After work, Vance boxes in his own house when the doorbell rings. It's Klugman, who has been severely beaten and who accuses Vance of doing that. It's a lie, of course, but it's enough to have SecNav Porter bring Leon a house visit. She reveals Klugman will drop the case if Vance steps down, so Porter offers him early retirement. The case will also be transferred to Alexandria P.D. So instead of sitting this one of from his chair, Vance asks to join Gibbs in the field. The two go out on a stake-out and follow Klugman from the hospital to his lawyer, which turns out be Beef's lawyer Laura. Laura asks the duo to come in, while also alerting SecNav. When Gibbs and Vance get the opportunity to search for clues in Laura's room, they find video footage of the robbery. However, Secretary Porter puts a clock on the investigation when she threatens to announce Vance's retirement the next day. Abby finds a tracker in the money bag that she traces back to Beef's lingerie shop. Beef is arrested and accused of Stokes' murder, which is confirmed by the LSD pills the team finds in his safe. However, he also denies that the tracker's is his, realizing instead that Lump planted them. Vance suspects Lump and Klugman worked together to steal the money during transportation from NCIS to Alexandria P.D.

With Gibbs and Vance driving the evidence van, Lump indeed holds them up along the way. Gibbs secretly brings a gun outside, but Vance tells Lump about it. Lump subsequently has Vance ditch both the gun and the tracker in the evidence box. Lump then gets away, but fortunately Gibbs placed his cell phone in the box and with the help of McGee, Bishop and Tony, they head over to the location of the tracker. That turns out to be Laura's office, who is also involved in the robbery. Lump pulls a gun, however, and shoots Vance in his bulletproof vest. Laura, Lump and Klugman are all arrested, and even though Porter caught Vance lying about being in the field, he will stay on as NCIS Director. Because, you know, change is hard.

I really loved this episode! It was great to have a spotlight on Vance and to learn more about him. Being framed for a crime he didn't commit is not something that we have never seen before, but still it felt rather unique in its own way. I also liked how nobody, not even Porter, questioned his innocence for one second. Speaking of Porter, it was nice to see her again. I actually like her character and she also appeared in NCIS: New Orleans the other week, which was great to see (now get her to Los Angeles and let her meet Hetty!). Anyway, back to the episode. Seeing Vance out in the field made for some funny moments, but there were also quite some serious ones. It was obvious that Vance was not going to leave as Director, but the prospect of possibly leaving still made for a return to the theme of change that we've been seeing recently. I can't help but think that Gibbs' statement about change being hard also refers to himself. Now Vance also talked about changes and how he thought he might have to prove himself. Maybe it's a glimpse of things to come. By the way, did you all catch the return of Vance's (in)famous toothpick? Great continuity here, writers!

What did you think of "Double Trouble"? Did you enjoy the episode as much as I did? Are you happy Vance is staying put as NCIS Director or would you have preferred a change? What do you think Gibbs was trying to say when he said "Change is hard"? Was he referring to himself? I would love to hear your opinions in the comments below.

The next episode, "Lockdown", airs this Tuesday at 8/7 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, Madam Secretary and Quantico. 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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