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NCIS - Flight Plan/Sound Off Reviews

29 Jan 2020

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17.12 - "Flight Plan”
Written by Brendan Fehily
Directed by Tawnia McKiernan
Reviewed by KathM

I would like to apologize for my negligence, I thought I'd posted this review much earlier!

Aaaand Ziva has left the series! We now return to our more normal-type episodes.

So, we have two things going on this week: a story that ends up being more than it appears, and a story that annoyed me because it was so sophomoric.

So, I will say this: McGee got a vasectomy, okay? He accidentally brought it up with the wrong person (Torres) and the next thing you know is what everyone’s opinion of what he’s going to do and what they’d do or have done, etc. I found the whole thing boring and, I don’t know, unnecessary. While I do see that having more children would be a concern for the McGees, I just thought the way it was handled was not to my taste. I would have preferred Tim be the calm one who made a decision he and Delilah were comfortable with, and see how the others reacted around him. Particularly Torres. But that isn’t what they did, and now let’s onto the more interesting plot.

Navy Lt. Rebecca Weeks was on a routine training mission on the USS Franklin Roosevelt in an F-18 and never came home. Since she separated from the group of trainees she was flying with, didn’t eject from her seat and radioed “I’m sorry,” as she flew the plane down toward the water, it is assumed that she killed herself. Bishop and Gibbs investigate.

They want to gather more information about what happened on the Roosevelt and talk to people on the ship who knew Weeks as well as her CO and those watching over the training mission from inside the ship who received her last radio message. Her super helpful but reticent roomie Lieutenant JG Harper Logan tells Bishop and Gibbs that Week's boyfriend had recently broken up with her because she was “too old” for him. Ouch. Logan opens the door to their quarters so NCIS can look around to see if there’s a note or some explanation for Weeks's suicide and find Petty Officer First Class Fisher Patrick, Weeks’s former boyfriend, sprawled dead on her bed.

Patrick’s death appears to be from an Oxycontin overdose, but where did he get it? From Rebecca, of course! Turns out she had a prescription due to an injury the previous month. Between finding some pills in her bunk and Logan reluctantly admitting that Weeks had talked about killing Patrick for breaking up with her, NCIS could now be looking at a murder/suicide. However, it seems that Weeks had disabled the tracker on her seat in the plane, so could her “death” may be more of a really expensive way to go AWOL? Gibbs and Co. begin to believe that Weeks might be alive after all. The gang makes their way to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where they encounter a Rebecca Weeks that is full of stealth.

She is one step ahead of the gang at every turn. The Outer Banks is her place, and she knows it well. She appears to have rowed to shore in her raft, then bought warm clothes and the various tools required to hot wire a motorcycle at a local Bait and Tackle shop, where she then hot wires and steals the proprietors motorcycle and scurries away pretty much just as Gibbs comes in the front door. Sloane lets them know that Weeks’s godfather, Cmd. Jack Briggs (ret.), lives nearby, so they figure that is her destination. Cmd. Briggs is played by Patrick Duffy, who had too much moustache and too little story. He’s sure Rebecca didn’t kill Patrick and manages to stall them just long enough for Rebecca to fly away in the tiniest little plane I have ever seen: it’s like a Smart Fortwo with wings.

Weeks could have gone anywhere, or at least flown away from the Outer Bay. But when they track her plane they see she has only gone 30 miles away. It is at this point that both Leon and Kasie begin to think that Weeks is acting more like an innocent person who wasn’t ready to be caught because she had numerous chances to escape and didn’t take them. As if the gang isn’t annoyed enough, Weeks calls Gibbs (via NCIS HQ) and tells them that she didn’t kill Patrick and is actually doing their job for them. She’s calling from a nearby junkyard, where cameras show her taking something from a car totaled in an accident, then stealing another car and tearing through a gate to get away, leaving Gibbs and the Bullpen crew in the dust.

So, why steal something from a car damaged beyond use when she had a perfectly good (enough) car to that didn’t need any parts? A little research on the totaled car finds that it had been owned by Jill May, the wife of Weeks’s CO, who had died recently in a single-car crash. It had been ruled an accident, but Kasie thinks it looks like Rebecca took the onboard computer from May’s car. Perhaps she thought there might be something hinky about the accident?

Gibbs and McGee rush back to the Theodore Roosevelt to find that Weeks somehow snuck back onto the ship and May is missing. She’s found holding a gun on May, trying to get him to confess to killing his wife. She wants his computer to prove that he hacked the car to turn off her brakes and the brake light while he was deployed so he’d never be suspected. Weeks and May’s wife were close friends, and Jill had joked last month to her that if she ended up dead, it was her husband who did it. She confronted May about Jill’s death, then finds Patrick dead in her quarters, “freaks out” and flies a several million-dollar plane into the ocean to fake her death to find evidence that May is the perp. May denies everything.

Weeks is persuaded to give up her gun while McGee hacks around May’s laptop and determines that yes, May did hack his wife’s car. May is freaked out, as am I, because I do not want or need to know that’s a thing. But you know what? May really didn’t have anything to do with his wife’s death. When Rebecca mentions that Patrick was her current boyfriend, not an ex, Gibbs looks a little harder at Harper Logan. She was the one who said that Patrick had broken up with Rebecca, and when they go to talk to her she basically falls apart like a slightly unhinged house of cards. So: May and Logan had an affair, but he wouldn’t leave his wife for her (despite the fact that Logan is sure he loves and wants only her); Logan then hacks into May’s wife’s on-board computer, causing her accident and framing May; then kills Patrick to frame Rebecca. With May and Weeks exonerated and Logan arrested, that is the end of that.

While I still think that Weeks could easily have done her sleuthing when she had leave and didn’t have to take out an F-18, her heart was in a good place. Maybe if she isn’t court-martialed she could join NCIS because, as she has proven, she has Ninja skills and can think outside of the box. And if she did, maybe we could see more of Patrick Duffy, too.

17.3 - "Sound Off”
Written by Lisa Di Trolio
Directed by William Webb
Reviewed by KathM

Gunnery Sgt. Danny Backer (ret.), was showing his girlfriend, Marine Staff Sergeant Diana Murphy, a new sonic weapon that manipulated sound they would be testing for weapons contractor LanWar Defense Systems when the weapon misfired before Diana could get her earmuffs on. Her hearing was damaged (and eventually lost), and since she didn't want to leave the Marines, Danny helped her learn to read lips so that she could continue to do her job (piloting UAVs in the Marine Warfighting Lab). For months she's able to continue to work with no problems. None of her coworkers noticed anything different about Diana’s job performance as she was losing her hearing due to her ability to read lips, but when she lost her hearing completely there could be times when she is unable to understand or possibly not "hear" an order when she wasn’t able to lip read it. This nightmare unfortunately comes true when her inability to hear an order means she doesn’t stop a weaponized drone test on what was supposed to be an empty bunker. The LanWar keeps telling her to abort the test, and since she can’t see him she doesn’t. The bunker is blown up successfully, but what her CO had been trying to tell her is that someone was in the bunker. And it turns out that someone was Danny.

The subsequent NCIS investigation uncovers Diana’s hearing loss (which she had been successfully hiding for months). When they then find out that she and Danny had a huge argument before he died, and that he was the one who had fired the weapon that had cost Diana her hearing, it looks like she’s headed for Leavenworth. But then we find that she has an airtight alibi: she was at work potentially endangering others when Danny died. Also, he was dead before he was put into the bunker and time of death was when Diana was seen at work. So, she’s in the clear.

Still, I am angry at Diana. I feel awful for her because I agree with Kasie and Bishop that some accommodation could have been made for her to be able to continue to competently do her job. While yes, the US Military does need to become more flexible by recruiting and using existing soldiers with disabilities that would only require a slight accommodation (other country's have hearing impaired soldiers in their military), her negligence frustrates me. I know she loved her job, but she was a liability despite making her own accommodation.

We come to find out that Danny had some of the weapons in his apartment, which he planned to give to an old professor of his to see if they would be truly safe for military use. He thinks that a design flaw might have caused the weapon to misfire before Diana was supposed to put her earmuffs on, and he was worried that the weapon wouldn’t be safe in the field. He forges Diana’s signature on the paperwork to take the drones, then won’t tell her why (hence, the argument). This puts him in the role of a Whistleblower and puts LanWar, who created the weapon, back in the picture with a motive to kill Danny. And they are correct.

The killer ends up being LanWars Chief of Development and NOT the President who was initially a suspect because he was trying to pressure Leon to clear his company because he needed to get his military contracts moving again.

Diana is discharged and Gibbs and Leon helped her find a civilian job that can accommodate her deafness. Actually, she’ll be back at the Marine Warfighting Lab as a civilian coordinating training missions.

Oh! And down in the morgue, Jimmy Palmer is looking for an assistant. He’s long overdue for one, he’s been working himself to the bone. I was wondering whether or not he’d end up hiring one, and given how hard it was to find just the three candidates I’m not surprised that he’s still alone with the cadavers. Candidate One was too unprofessional, Candidate Two seemed borderline psychotic (NO sharps for them!) and was way too interested in the idea of simply cutting people up, and Candidate Three was super Ducky-ish but turned down the job(!).

I’m hoping they do a Bones-type rolling assistant thing, where we see a new one every week or so. We shall see what happens.