NCIS Moment of Goodness: Gibbs vs. Dinozzo in Gibbs’ Basement in “Dead Reflection”
Wow, with the new team taking up space in the squad room of NCIS, things have seriously been thrown out of balance. It has already been established that Tony has been sleeping with the leader of this new team, Special Agent E.J. Barrett, which is in direct violation of Gibbs’ Rule Number 12. And in “Dead Reflection,” it’s easy to see why he created this personal tenet and extended it to his team. Because Tony’s preoccupied, constantly looking over the wall at his girlfriend, or whatever they’re considering each other. Although this relationship is clearly serving as a distraction for Tony, I’m really liking that he has someone in his life. Having said that, the guy needs to get focused. It’s not only starting to affect his work, it’s having a serious impact on his work/father-son relationship with his boss. Gibbs is an alert guy. He sees the way Tony’s been constantly looking at E.J. And he doesn’t like it one bit. It all came to a head when Dinozzo visited Gibbs in his basement.
I’m calling this my Moment of Goodness, but really, I consider it a Moment of Sadness, or a Moment of Awkwardness, because it was a pretty painful scene to watch. Tony has long thought of Gibbs as a father-like figure in his life. His own relationship with his dad was pretty much non-existent up until last season. So the only authoritative presence he really respects in his life has been Gibbs. And way before Ziva, McGee and even Kate were part of the team, it was Gibbs and Dinozzo. That’s why this scene is so significant and so very sad. Tony showed up in Gibbs’ basement because he knew something was up. Shortly before, he had acted out and his boss didn’t give him a head slap. That was just telling right there and Tony knew it. So he brought some liquid refreshment (probably bourbon) with him, grabbed a couple glasses, poured himself some, and took a sip bracing himself for the talk that was about to unfold.
A few more telling actions: Gibbs didn’t partake in the drink with Tony; he could barely look up from whatever woodwork he was creating; and even though we know Gibbs’ isn’t what you’d call a talker, he was in an even less giving mood. I felt bad for Tony. When Gibbs isn’t on your side, things tend to get icy cold. We’ve never seen this relationship in need of so much repair. I’m just wondering how much worse it’s going to get.
It was such an uncomfortable scene to watch from the very beginning. Tony walked down the steps and Gibbs didn’t even utter so much as a hello. He probably knew they were due for a basement tete-a-tete after Tony’s shenanigans. Anyway, I don’t know about you guys but I was shivering from the iciness exuding from my TV screen. Let’s dissect the scene that took place in the suddenly frozen tundra also known as Gibbs’ basement. My comments are in parentheses:
-Tony asks Gibbs what he’s working on and all he answers is: “Wood.”
(Wow. Like I said earlier, the NCIS special agent wasn’t giving anything.)
Gibbs: “What’s the occasion?”
Tony: “I thought we could talk.”
Gibbs: “So talk.”
Tony: “You know I look up to you boss. I’ve learned a lot from you over the last ten years.”
(And by the way, I’m so thankful the show is finally acknowledging these two have been working together for ten years.)
Tony: “You’ve been a great teacher.”
Gibbs: “You’ve got a point, Dinozzo?”
Tony: “I’ve always thought that the head slaps were a sign of affection. Today in the squad room I was expecting one and…and I didn’t get it. Are you pissed at me?”
Gibbs: “Rule Number 12.”
(Gibbs could have stopped right there — those three words explain it all. I love how he talks in sentences of three – five words.)
Tony: “Never date a co-worker.” (Tony laughs a little nervously or mischievously I can’t decide) “Yeah…I know. She’s pretty great, though. E.J. and I have a lot in common. She’s easy to be with, you know, it’s nice…to have somebody to talk to…”
(Tony’s opening up here. He never does this. I don’t think I’ve ever really heard him talk like this before. Maybe a little bit back in Season 4 when he was able to talk to Paula about Jeanne.)
Tony: “NCIS doesn’t have any policy against it, you know, there are married agents and technically E.J. and I, well, we don’t work together. We’re on separate teams.”
Gibbs: “My team. My rules.” (his cell rings but he doesn’t answer) “Sleeping with Barrett is a bad idea.”
Tony: “No offense but my personal life is my business.” (Very ballsy of Tony)
Gibbs: “It’s gonna affect your work.”
Tony: “No, it won’t.”
Gibbs: “It already has.”
Tony: “I know what you’re thinking. That I’ve lost focus. That I’ve taken my eye off the ball.”
Gibbs: “I depend on you.”
(I love that Gibbs says he depends on Tony. I believe it. That’s why he’s having such a hard time with this E.J. business. I don’t think Tony should give up his relationship but he definitely needs to get his head back into the game. And I wish Gibbs could see the big picture and realize that maybe this is something Tony needs to experience.)
The conversation ended after Abby called Tony’s phone because she couldn’t get a hold of Gibbs so no real conclusion was reached. The two are most definitely at an impasse because Gibbs holds Rule Number 12 as one of his most vital; and I don’t think Tony’s ready to give up what he has with E.J., although he does later tell his significant other they have to cool things off at work. She calls him on being afraid of Gibbs and Tony doesn’t deny it. He thinks she should be afraid too. The thing that tells me this ain’t over by a long shot is when Tony’s talking to Ziva and he says that the basement conversation was just like talking to his father: “He told me what not to do. Only made me want to do it more.” He tells her he and Gibbs have hit a rough patch. That’s putting it mildly.
This all goes back to the episode with Kate’s sister, the shrink. Back in “A Man Walks Into a Bar…”, Tony was affected by the victim who committed suicide after his military career was over and he realized he had nothing to show for it. I think that’s what this relationship with E.J. is all about — it’s him doing something for himself. He realized he could end up just like this guy and he’s taking steps to prevent that from happening. Before this episode, I think he’d probably have adhered to Gibbs’ Rule, which is, by the way, a rule that makes sense. But now, after he had that sort of wake-up call, Tony’s more willing to ensure that bleak future from ever happening.
So as painful as this basement scene was to watch, it was so freaking good: the icy vibe, the writing and especially the acting from NCIS‘ powerhouse duo Mark Harmon and Michael Weatherly. It makes me super anxious to see how the rest of the season plays out. Unfortunately, we have to deal with yet another hiatus (three weeks!). But on the other end of that break is the episode (spoiler alert!!!) where we finally find out how Gibbs and Dinozzo met. Can’t wait.
What did you guys think of the basement scene in “Dead Reflection?”
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