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NCIS - Butterfly Effect & Stranger in a Strange Land - Reviews

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20.17 - "Stranger in a Strange Land”
Written by Chad Gomez Creasey
Directed by James Whitmore, Jr.
Reviewed by KathM

This story is brilliant. Brilliant. And the theme is so sadly relevant these days. The idea of Pvt. Huxley getting labeled as a deserter for staying behind frustrates me, although I realize why it had to happen. However, I wish more military assets had stayed behind to get refugees out. Fortunately, the heavenly taste of Huxley’s pistachio baklava ensures that Parker will do his level best to ensure his murder will be avenged.

That this episode focused on immigrants and showed their experience in a different made it all the more interesting to me. The lives they have to live, dumbing down their intelligence to find work because the US won’t accept their degrees or credentials. Mateen’s story was the saddest, making a bomb that would ultimately hurt people like him (although he didn’t know it) to get his girlfriend into the US.

I had never considered Torres an immigrant before, and listening to him talking to Veeda shed still more light on his character. I hope we aren’t learning so much about Torres because we’ll lose the character soon.

Torres and Veeda have chemistry for days.

I hope we see them together again soon. Given how far he’s come in therapy, I think he’s ready to give a relationship another shot.

So yeah, the white supremacists. I wasn’t sure the show would go there, but I am glad it did.

I never thought Knight and Jimmy would work in the long run, but I’m glad I was wrong. And I like seeing Jimmy going to Vance for parenting advice, sometimes it’s easy to forget Leon was a widower with two kids for a long, long time. And one happens to be a daughter. An interesting conversation ensues.

20.16 - "Butterfly Effect”
Written by Christopher J. Waild
Directed by Tawnia McKiernan
Reviewed by KathM


A toxic bovine gas: maybe there is some truth to cows destroying the atmosphere? What looks like a potential bioterror attack on two military members turns out to be something else: aerosolized cow sedatives.

After everyone wakes up, a contractor realies that his key card is gone. He takes care of fish tanks and water features, which would be a awesome job. When Torres andd Knight arrive at the scene of the victims (Senator Miller), only to find the maid knocked out and Dorothy, one of the garage victims, trying to break into Miller's safe. She hits the crew with a sob story about trying to rescue her father from a Russian spy, which is thematically appropriate. Dorothy’s story is too pat from the beginning, though so I suspect her of pretty much everything.

Her mission is to steal a hard drive from the Senator, who is more than happy to cooperate with the investugation and quietky makes a pass at Parker while they’re checking out the perimeter. In addition to photos of innocuous things like her vacations on her hard drive, her list of favorite desserts piques Parker’s interest. Parker now has three women interested in him: vindictive ex-wife Vivian (at the bottom of the list), his first love Joy, and Senator Miller, with whom he shares a fondness for pastries. Miller has the greatest potential to fit into this season’s theme of Russian spies, so I will vote for her right now. I think Parker and Joy will likely end up together, however.

In the end, the kidnapper turns out that Nate Billings, one of the victims of the garage gassing, but no sooner are the cuffs on him than the Russian Embassy issues an extradition order and Billings is spirited out of the country.

Later, Kasie realizes that among the people in Millerr’s photos are our trio of Russian spies from earlier in the season: pretend teaching assistant Evelyn Shaw (“Higher Education”) and identity thieves John and Renee Watts ("Bridges"). They all worked on Sen. Miller’s election campaign, which opens the door for any number of potential plotlines. I said I needed more The Americans-type sleeper action, and now I’ve got it!

Oh, and there was a throwaway plotline about Knight’s father being injured in Japan and her agonizing about whether she should go to him, but in the end, she decides to stay and work the case, which has more than enough agents on it. Jimmy remains adorably supportive.

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