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NCIS “Spider and the Fly” 

Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS

That was a really good wrap up to a story line that I wasn’t too into: the revenge against Gibbs for killing the man (Pedro Hernandez) that killed his family. It was definitely rich material to explore and Mark Harmon really nailed the performances throughout the run of the Reynosa era. I just wasn’t that into it. But wow, the Season 8 premiere really made up for that. It was a tense and suspenseful hour of television. I waited for Gibbs to crack and of course he didn’t (the man is [new word] un-crackable). And it didn’t just involve Gibbs there was a lot of team goodness to be found.

Something else I liked is that “Spider and the Fly” started setting up some future stories. Vance received a text at the end of the episode from Ziva’s estranged dad and Director of Mossad, Eli David. The text simply stated: “I found him.” Who is “him?” The second was a very brief scene with Tony at his computer in the squad room. He got an IM from his father. Apparently Senior wanted to discuss some sort of “situation.” And Tony put him off. What situation? Those two moments were very unexpected.

I love how at the beginning of the episode Paloma is the spider circling around Gibbs and his family and friends; she’s trying to lure him into making a mistake; she tries to keep him guessing. But by the end, the spider and the fly switch roles; the Gibbs crew (complete with Mike Franks) turns the tables and in a move that I enjoyed (I guess I can be sadistic that way), they actually had the sister die by her brother’s hand. Awesome. And I couldn’t believe the nerve of Alejandro. He really thought he could easily fool Gibbs and NCIS. He fell right into their trap and he was the one looking stupid in the end.

And can we talk about Jackson Gibbs? How completely cool was he under the pressure of Paloma at the beginning of the episode? You definitely see where Gibbs got his tenacity and his ability to stay strong in the most difficult and dangerous of situations. When Jackson first broached the topic of Jethro coming back with him to Stillwater to help him fix up the store after everything died down, I started to get upset because Gibbs was hedging and talking about how he has a job. So glad the two of them ended up working together to fix what was damaged. And you just know their damaged relationship was getting fixed at the same time. I didn’t really dig the vibe they had going on during last season’s “Faith.” Gibbs still seemed to want to keep some sort of distance from his dad and Jackson had just gone through a traumatic event. So to see the father and son interact all episode long was pure joy and then to cap it all off with the two of them working together back in Stillwater; well it made me a happy camper.

Even though the action picked up exactly where we left off in the Season 7 finale, things jumped ahead once Jackson got away from Paloma. I was a bit surprised with the flash forward of a few months. Was it a few, was it a couple? I couldn’t really tell. But post-flash forward, Jackson had been living with Gibbs under the protection of NCIS since almost being gunned down; Vance, Gibbs and the team were trying to hunt down Paloma; Ziva was in Miami chasing down a lead; McGee was on an extended stay in Canada keeping watch on the border; and Tony had to deal with a solo Gibbs. Interestingly enough, Abby’s relationship with Gibbs seems to be back on track. The two shared some pretty tense moments last season as Abby’s fierce forensic self uncovered Gibbs’ murderous past. But the two continued to be close which is cool.

Consider “Spider and the Fly” a really good start to a new season.

Random Thoughts

  • Alejandro and Paloma were kind of creepy siblings, weren’t they?
  • Why did Paloma only target Gibbs, Ducky and Abby with the Day of the Dead dolls?
  • Tony’s silliness was at a manageable level. I do sometimes wonder if he believes everything that comes out of his mouth.
  • Who was Ziva corresponding with? And why so many scenes that have to do with e-mailing, texting and IM-ing in one episode?
  • So happy to see Jimmy Palmer part of the first episode. How long was it before we saw him last year?
  • I actually liked Mike Franks in “Spider and the Fly.” I don’t always like him. I go back and forth actually so it’s nice that I was able to not be annoyed by him.
  • Does anyone enjoy the way Mark Harmon pronounces names as much as I do? Go back and listen to him say “Alejandro” and “Paloma” and you’ll thank me for it. I love the way he says “David,” “Dinozzo” and “McGee” too.
  • It seems like Vance is going to be a bigger part of the action this season. I’m cool with that. I love Rocky Carroll.
  • I love that Tony still hates Arizona.
  • There are new shots in the show open for NCIS. My personal favorite is the McGee blasting off jet pack-style shot from last season’s “Ignition.”
  • Why is Vance supposed to be upset with Tony? Dinozzo mentioned that at the beginning of the episode. I know that his “observe and report” mission in Mexico to tail Alejandro went very wrong. Is Vance really blaming him for that? No matter. The two seemed to work well together as the episode continued.

Favorite Tony line:

“Chuck is in the chuck.”

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