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NCIS - 1mm. - Review

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18.06 - "1mm”
Written by Gina Lucita Monreal
Directed by Diana Valentine
Reviewed by KathM

This episode is brought to you by the word wonky, an adjective two of whose meanings are askew or off-center. It's about a week into Tim’s shooting and Bishop’s near-death experience:

Tim is out of the hospital (?!) and talking to Sloane and Vance, but not Gibbs.

Torres wants Bishop to talk to him and is trying to wrap her in cotton wool so she isn’t hurt again.

Sloane seems “off” to Gibbs (we know it’s getting closer to the character’s exit, but it seems that Gibbs does not). She’s another person upending Gibbs’s equilibrium.

Jimmy is frantically rearranging his office furniture with Kasie’s help, hoping that a new “perspective” will help calm him down.

Gibbs isn't talking to anyone, saying that he’ll talk to Tim later and that Tim knows that Gibbs did what he had to do by shooting and nearly killng him.

So yeah. Wonky.

This episode show us how four of our NCIS team react to what has happened to them and how they find ways back to one another and begin to heal. Even though Bishop was kidnapped and beaten up and Tim was shot, Gibbs and Torres were also impacted. Torres, in particular, seems more openly wounded than any of them.

The Case of the Week: Is brought to you by the Duncan brothers, who have developed explosive bricks using all kinds of nasty chemicals that when combined make them dangerous weapons. I have no idea what this has to do with NCIS but Vance has the team working on it, anyway, most likely to give them something to do.

So when Gibbs returns early from leave (no surprise there), ready to jump into a case that will provide him with a distraction to stop him from feeling, he finds his agents have disappeared and Kasie and Jimmy have nothing to do until they come back with something to analyze. So Gibbs just has to wait until something happens, and we all know how well he does that.

Gibbs: Spends most of the episode trying to figure out how to avoid talking to McGee, find Torres and Bishop, who are apparently lost, and solve The Case of the Week. Being unable to find Torres and Bishop is eating at him, and for the first time I am seeing Gibbs bewildered. He is completely lost; there is nobody in the bullpen and he has no idea where his agents are (don’t they check out with anyone?!) and McGee is at home and Gibbs is kinda afraid to talk to him. Vance wants an update but Gibbs has nothing to offer. His people are gone and he has no idea where they went. But he isn’t !Angry! Gibbs or !Frustrated! Gibbs, he just can’t find his people. He’s lost and worried because they were just there in the bullpen and now they’re off somewhere and he can’t find them. Nobody knows for sure where they are, and he is not okay with that. He is also deeply technically challenged and seems to have forgotten how to interview people.

Because he has no idea how to operate anything electronic aside from his prehistoric cell phone Gibbs literally rips Bishop’s computer off of her desk, wiring and all, and hauls it over to the McGee's, only to find that Tim is working the case from his handy little laptop. He’s bored and Delilah is at her mom’s with the kids, so even they can’t provide a distraction. He also has no idea where Bishop and Torres are and spends time typing on computer keys while avoiding too much conversation with Gibbs.

Bishop and Torres have followed a lead left on the NCIS tip line hoping to find the Duncans. They do find them holed up in a historic Sheriff's house/jail and, during a firefight, end up trapped in separate cells with no way to get out. The wounded villains (we later find out that Torres killed one) laugh at the agents, then steal their car and make a cleanish getaway. Cell service is nearly impossible, and in between looking for a way to either get out of the cells or get cell service Ellie and Nick argue.

Remember after the last episode, how I wanted a big emotional Gibbs/McGee conversation with feelings and stuff? Never mind, the tale of Ellie and Nick is more than enough.

The partners, who usually work so well together, have become disconnected. Torres is pushy and overly protective, Bishop uncharacteristically quiet. They have an emotional wall separating them, and the concrete walls of their cells are an excellent physical metaphor.

In between trying to get out and trying to get cell service Torres finds out that Bishop had made an appointment with Sloane, presumably to talk about her kidnapping. He doesn’t understand: why isn’t Ellie talking to him? He feels that they tell each other everything, and Bishop doth protest too much when she tries to disagree. I found myself a little frightened by Torres’s almost feral desperation to make sure that Bishop is okay, practically coming undone when he can’t see or hear her in the next cell. He keeps saying, “Ellie I can’t see you. Ellie, what are you doing? What’s going on?” The last time he couldn’t see her, she was nearly put in a plane that subsequently blew up. Now she won’t talk to him and he doesn’t know what to say to make her understand how much her shutting down and pretending nothing is bothering her is hurting him. “I’m not okay with you getting blown up,” he says at one point, the closest I’ve ever heard him come to admitting deeper feelings for his partner.

When the living Duncan returns and finds that Bishop has her foot on a trip wire he set up so that people couldn't escape with the explosives they have hidden in Bishop's cell. He sends Torres into Ellie’s cell to fetch the bricks, and when they come within centimeters of each other as Nick tries to brush past Ellie she tells him that she isn’t okay with him getting blown up, either. It’s an incredibly subtle but powerful moment: I think for the first time she has intimated to Torres that she may feel the same way he does. I do think there is something brewing between them, but I’m not sure whether it will come to fruition. I’ve always found them to have better chemistry between them as partners and friends than Tony and Ziva. I don’t care if they get together; that being said, I do think something happened between them once they were released from the cells and sent home. I have no idea how it wouldn't.

Kasie is the episode’s MVP: in this miasma of emotional upheaval she is a sea of calm, making Gibbs focus on “what we do know” to try and keep positive about the absent Bishop and Torres, particularly when she autopsies the dead Duncan left in their car. No blood from either agent in the car, Gibbs. Torres's bullets in the body, Gibbs, so we know they were with the Duncans at some point. The body can help us find them, Gibbs. See? We can do this. I'm not sure where the episode would be without her down-to-earth attitude and intuitive people skills. She and Tim help locate Bishop and Torres using part of a brief, staticy call from Torres, the dead Duncan's body and Gibbs's interview with a mumbling almost-accomplice. Gibbs finds his agents and captures the remaining Duncan, and everything begins to gel.

In the end Gibbs and Tim speak briefly, both of them understanding that only 1mm separated the shot Gibbs took and the artery it could have hit. But Tim ended up okay, and that 1mm didn’t happen. Tim tells Gibbs something Torres said once, “Close calls make you live harder”. And that is how he is going to process his injury and move forward. Gibbs seems surprised, but relieved.

The end of the episode finds that all is well in the bullpen. Tim is back at his desk, Bishop has had her computer reinstalled, and as they all gather around the big screen Gibbs sips his coffee and gives a little smirk. Tim’s voice floats over the moment: “1mm is so small. It makes you appreciate the little things that much more.” Gibbs knows where his people are, and they are all okay. Work can begin again.

Points to Ponder

“Torres Teachable Moment” FTW

Gibbs vs. Office Technology = fail.

I’m not sure how a tree would look like Dolly Parton, but it is the best description ever.

Kasie’s utterly true life lesson: Life’s going to be fragile no matter where you put the furniture.” This will be embroidered on something as soon as I find the right pillow cushion.

Looking for your own home/jail combo? They do come up time to time:

Guildhall, Vermont is the most recent one I've seen and Fayette, Missouri had one for sale this summer that was tasetefully remodeled.

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