“Up In Smoke”
This is it, the second to last episode of the season and what a ride. We are basically full circle from the season premiere and this show continues to just amaze at how tight it is. The only thing irking me is the lack of resolution or any movement on Abby’s adoption storyline … a uncharacteristically dropped storyline but maybe I should ahve more faith in the show’s writers and producers. Otherwise, great season and I can’t wait for the finale! Grab your gear let’s go!
Oh Dorneget, what will Gibbs say when he finds out you’ve been walking around with an (electronic) bug in your mouth. Credits.
Welcome to cute but unnecessary C Plot (there is no B Plot, this is just that unnecessary because it gives extra screentime to palmer who grates on me). Palmer’s bachelor party is on for tonight and he’s desperate to know what Abby has planned. He also seems like he’s having some “best man selection” remorse. While they pretend like they know, McGee and Tony have no idea what she has planned though this does not stop them from completely screwing with his head. Any episode that features screwing with Palmer is a good episode to me. After Palmer leaves, they ponder what Abby has planned but are interrupted when Ziva, (Probationary Agent Ned) Dorneget, the electronic bug and Gibbs all converge on the bullpen but the real action is taking place in Abby’s lab.
Abby’s Lab. The bug was installed two weeks ago when Dorneget’s regular dentist called him with news that his implant had a recall and could he come in to have it replaced. Which he did. When he knocked the implant loose (damn popcorn), he couldn’t get his regular dentist on the phone which prompted the visit we saw in the opener. “The plot thickens,” indeed Ducky. They start talking about where you can listen in and they all agree that a device that small has to have a small range; also, its powered by Piezoelectricity or electricity generated by pressure … such as teeth masticating. Gibbs suggests Abby look who has such a patent and ding, ding, ding Harper Dearing, wouldn’t you know.
Bullpen. The Harper Dearing bio is really a recap of the last couple of episodes ending with the bugging of Dorneget’s implant. Why Dorneget, he’s just a probie, Ziva asks? True, McGee agrees, but that allows him to float inconspicuously throughout his teeth together with the fact that he’s a talker, he’s an ideal candidate to listen into versus someone like Gibbs. Which allows Dr. Ryan to make an entrance with a quip, that if you listened in on Gibbs, you’d only hear wood being sanded (which sounds vaguely dirty when Dr. Ryan says it). She moves past the awkwardness of showing up unannounced and uninvited and gets right to talking about Vincent Maple, a/k/a the guy who has been running Dearing’s company while he’s been AWOL. She even brought NSA intercepts from his last communiqués with Dearing. Gibbs dispatches Ziva and Tony to talk to Maple and McGee goes to bring in Dorneget’s regular dentist. Gibbs gives Dr. Ryan the searching eyes and she cops that DOD flagged Abby’s patent search from earlier. She explains the Dearing is Public Enemy #1 and duh, everyone is looking for him. Gibbs tells her to stick around and she tells him she already cleared it with SECNAV. Oh, she’s slippery that one.
Dorado Hills Investments. Maple is a little indignant with Ziva and Tony and says he didn’t the very recent email from Dearing because it made no sense to him since (a) they’ve never gone surfing together and (b) they’ve never had mai tais after going surfing. In fact, Maple helpfully add that he thinks Dearing is losing it. Ziva agrees and they leave. Productive scene.
Dr. Berman (the Dentist) Interview. Dr. Ryan accompanies Gibbs into the Dr. Berman interview and she’s fairly upfront that she there simply to tell if he’s lying. Which he is. A lot. And she says so which makes me love her even more. I wouldn’t want to be in a room with her and Gibbs by any stretch of the imagination. McGee interrupts to say that Dearing is on the phone in MTAC for Dr. Berman.
MTAC. Dearing permits the dentist to be open with NCIS and perhaps it’ll carry some weight with the judge …. Dearing says he really called to speak with Gibbs since its always prudent to know your enemy. Gibbs tries to say he’s not his enemy but Dearing really disagrees. BTW, this is all happening because of you Gibbs. So take that and he hangs up.
Bullpen. Ziva and Tony step off the elevator to find the entire office being swept for bugs while Dr. Ryan interrogates Dorneget on anything he might have said the last two weeks which might have been of a confidential nature. No, Dorneget responds but then thinks about his questioner and gets real nervous that that was a trick question. He’s such a (lovable) dope and Gibbs dismisses him with a fair amount of disgust. Ryan wants to know how Dearing punched through the MTAC firewall and Ziva and Tony share that Maple thinks Dearing is nuts. McGee comes in and tells us that Dr. Berman confessed to bugging Dorneget’s implant under threat of a beating although he did get paid in cash for the work so not such a bad deal (well, until he got caught). Berman was also able to give a detailed description of the enforcer. Ryan reminds Gibbs that he’s really not responsible for all of this … even if Dearing believes it.
Abby’s Lab. In the C Plot, Palmer wants to cancel the bachelor party, or rather postpone it forever but Abby has already put down some nonrefundable money on it so she’s not cancelling. Abby assures Jimmy that it’ll be a night he never forgets. While they’re talking , Abby gets a ping on a computer and it turns out that Dearing is sitting in the Navy yard on a bench. Right now. Cut to a man hunt outside where Dearing is already long gone though he did leave behind a flower petal clipped from a nearby bush which, on inspection contains a detailed model of Gibbs’ “Kelly” boat. Dearing I just toying with them now.
Gibbs House. Dr. Ryan agrees with me and tries to explain to Gibbs that Dearing is just trying to get inside his head. Also, Ryan kind of likes Dearing’s style which, no shocker there. She determines that the tactic isn’t working. They talk next about Dearing’s son being killed in the Navy indirectly because of a defect in an early warning system which the Navy hadn’t yet corrected. So this is about payback, Gibbs asks? Ryan thinks its Dearing’s way of teaching the Navy a lesson. In his mind, he’s the white hat which makes Gibbs the black hat or bad guy. Ryan admits it’s a thin theory but she’s working on it. She is worried that Dearing is working on something more substantial. Gibbs switches topics to how long she’s known about this whole thing (not sure what that exactly entails?) and she demurs which prompts Gibbs to ask her to turn “it” (the mind games?) off sometimes and just give straight answers to straight questions. She flips it back on him that he can’t turn it off either and that if Gibbs want her to let him in, he has to do the same for her. Tony calls and interrupts the awkward relationship talk with news that they’ve found the guy that threatened Dorneget’s dentist.
Stakeout. Tony and Ziva are having a cargument revolving around Tony’s disbelief that she doesn’t want to nose in Gibbs’ private life. Of course, Gibbs jumps in the car ending that line of thought fairly quickly. The enforcer’s name is Freddie Fountain and he is an ex-cop who was booted for taking bribes and who also did some time. Freddie makes the dynamic trio and tries to run (of course) but they apprehend him right quick. Freddie is very agitated and offers to tell them whatever they want to know including about the next attack as long as they get him out of there RIGHT NOW! Just as Gibbs begins to ask why Freddie is so jumpy, Mr. Fountain takes two in the chest. Oh, that’s why he was jumpy. Gibbs whips around but can’t locate a shooter in the parking garage. His eyes are as wide and filled with panic as I’ve ever seen them. Which does inspire confidence.
Ducky’s Lair. Jimmy is trying to get details from Ducky on the bachelor party but he’ll only allow that Abby asked to borrow the rotary saw … with the extra long extension cord. Love it. To the body, Freddie had residue of explosives under his fingernails which makes it all together too bad that he was shot before he talked. When Gibbs arrives, Ducky compares the situation to WWII Germans who travelled in pairs so that one could kill the other before capture to prevent them from talking. Seems apt. Ducky saves us from a dead end in the case by producing a Watcher Fleet microchip, pulled from Freddie’s arm. Also, the chip was recently implanted. What’s on it is the million dollar question.
Bullpen. McGee confirms it was a Watcher Fleet microchip and which they all agree must have been bought which ties back nicely to the black-market sale (which, you’ll remember was conducted by Latham and Cole and since Latham is dead, I expect we’ll see Cole in the season finale next week! Full circle Yo!) we saw in the final scene of the season opener, Nature of the Beast. McGee has accessed the info but its jumbled, it looks like the second set of books a company keeps for a front. Whatever its talking about, lots of money is involved and other numbers too.
Maple Interview. Maple looks at the print out from the microchip and tells Ryan and Gibbs that Dearing must be using company money to buy materials and to make things worse, these materials listed are used in the production of artillery shells. What does it mean?!?! Ryan reacts quirky to this news and Gibbs pulls her aside and prompts her to give a theory that maybe the weakness exposed by the Watcher Fleet microchip was a tolerance issue in the Navy’s gun barrels which uses as a propellant, the explosive found under Freddie’s fingernails. If someone was to introduce slightly irregular artillery shells into the mix, the Navy would be blowing itself up with faulty shells and guns during exercises.
Abby’s Lab. Dorneget thinks Gibbs is going to send him to Gitmo but Abby says he’ll be a hero when Gibbs comes down. Why you ask? Because it was Dorneget that figured out that they used the Watcher Fleet microchip to trace Dearing’s call to MTAC (this is replete with computer mumbo jumbo). Gibbs calls the number and Dearing is very complimentary that Gibbs has gotten so far. Gibbs asks why he’s sacrificing more lives after his son died in defense of the country and Dearing thinks his cause it justified and hey, at least people are paying attention now. What IS your cause, Gibbs asks and Dearing non-answers that it’ll reveal itself soon enough. Dearing hangs up but Abby was able to trace the call to an address which matches a number found on the microchip manifest. They have their Bomb Factory!
The Bomb Factory. Sadly, there is nothing inside the warehouse except for a night watchman pushing around a suitcase full of cash.
Bullpen. Where’d all the equipment go? Gibbs suggests that maybe Dearing has already finished building the shells and maybe they’re already in the system. Cancel all exercises in the fleet! Tony steps up with info on the night watchman, Ghenna Kozlov who likes bingo for what its worth. Tony thinks this is a dead end but since he was found pushing around a million bucks, Gibbs is pretty sure there is something there.
Ghenna Interrogation. The night watchman tells them that he’s been working there about a year and his duties consist of watching the warehouse and periodically bringing a case outside where a truck picks it up and drives away. And no, he’s never looked in the cases before. This time, he got a text asking him to bring the suitcase to M street (in Georgetown) where a limo will be waiting.
Bullpen. The team come up with a sting idea whereby they’ll let the watchman deliver the case and trap the guy picking it up (who they presume is Dearing). McGee raises the thought that they’re going to have to cancel Jimmy’s party but Gibbs is all “hell no, this shit is on.” (that might be a paraphrase).
M Street Bachelor Party. The boys are getting sloshed and Palmer calls Gibbs, who is a master quarters champion it seems, “Leroy” which is awesome! Seems they are faking being drunk since its apple juice though Jimmy is half in the bag. Is there such a thing as “hysterical drunkenness”? BTW, Palmer is wearing a top hat and it’s the most likeable he’s ever been. Ziva calls in that its time to move and the gang stumbles outside providing real assistance to Palmer. All of a sudden the team is on the move and Palmer is running away yelling ‘this is getting real.” They surround the limo but when they open the door, they find Maple, not Dearing. *Sad trombone* noises.
Maple Interrogation. Ziva advises Maple that they don’t make deals with terrorists and by the way, where’s Dearing? Maple sticks to his story that he really doesn’t know where Dearing is and the whole manifest thing was all a cover for his embezzlement scheme. Ziva accuses him that he told them Dearing was making faulty shells and he is all, “no, no, no, that was Dr. Ryan’s theory, I just let you run with it.” Which, good point. Maple’s question is, how did you all get his cooked books?
Bullpen. The books were on the microchip so someone wanted them to find the cooked books and Freddie. Dearing was just trying to distract them by creating a wild goose chase stemming from Maple’s embezzling scheme. Distract from what?
Ryan’s Office. Gibbs informs her that the defective artillery theory was hers and subtly accuses her of leading them down that road on purpose. She asks him if he’s lost his mind and he is all with, “I don’t know” because Gibbs is having a tough time figuring Ryan out and where he stands with her. She patronizes him a bit and he asks why she just can’t be like a regular person. She finds that rich coming from a man that doesn’t talk. Gibbs gets a text from a private sender that says, “Check”. Ryan supplies that it must be from Dearing who wrote his thesis on chess back in college. Who has that information at their fingertips? Without preamble, Gibbs calls Tony to find out what’s going on and Tony acts surprised that he’s already heard. Heard what? Vance’s plane landed but he insisted on driving himself home. Since that time, he has disappeared. To be continued. See you next week.