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NCIS - Winter Chill - Review

18.09 - "Winter Chill”
Written by Scott Williams
Directed by Michael Zinberg
Reviewed by KathM

This episode is really about the last 15 minutes and there’s no reason to pretend otherwise. Yes, there was a veiled food truck war, which I thought had the opportunity to bring us a lighthearted episode. But watching the promos I knew that wasn’t happening. Petty Officer Delfino’s behavior (possessive of his ex, aggressive to those who threatened his cousin’s business) gave us a limitless pool of suspects, but in the end all it took was one meeting with the parking enforcement guy who accidentally pushed Delfino into the stairs on the back of a delivery truck and that was the end of that. I wonder whether Bishop will be able to ever be able to eat corn again.

The storyline about Fornell moving to Costa Rica seemed a little contrived and came out of nowhere, but that is easily forgotten when you realize that Emily had died. Having her die the way she did, having her relapse, was something I found much more shocking than Breena’s death. I think the pandemic has wiped away how many of us frame death now. After losing over 500,000 people in our country to COVID or COVID-related symptoms, it was hard to get my head around Emily not dying the same way. It’s a reminder that as strong as some addicts are, no matter how committed to their sobriety they are, they can still fall. I imagine Fornell’s forthcoming relocation was triggering for Emily, and I wonder whether realizing that and working through it will play into Fornell’s mourning of her death. I also want to see how Gibbs handles all of this. Emily has been like a daughter to him her whole life, and coming so soon after Sloane’s departure I’m not sure even he can compartmentalize that well.

Was this death well-timed after hearing about Jimmy losing Breena? No. But then again, life doesn't run like clockwork.

This episode gave Jimmy Palmer’s character an opportunity to continue to shine as the friend and support system you need when things get dark before you see the stars. His optimism is boundless in the face of everything he’s been through, but part of me is waiting for the other shoe to drop. He was able to cry and more openly mourn his wife, but is Jimmy going to be able to keep going without crashing? I’d like to hear more about his interactions at home with his mom and with Victoria most of all.

It’s a delight to watch Kasie continue to grow, too. Her maturity and approachability always makes me happy when I think back to perpetually petulant Abby. I can’t believe that Sloane left her without a referral! Who is Kasie supposed to talk to about her PTSD now? Her conversation with Jimmy shows a strong friendship growing steadily. You could see them coming to one another just to vent or have a chat. I found it a little pat that Kasie’s mom ended up being okay and her sister got her job back so quickly, but I understand that the problems were to showcase Kasie’s closeness with her family and her support systems and friendships at work.

The good news is that Dr. Grace is in next week’s episode! She is gonna have her work cut out for her.

The poem Vance read at the end of the episode was Epitaph by Merrit Malloy.

P.S. - WRITERS! You seem to have a habit of killing off more female characters than you do male. I would like you to consider that.