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NCIS “Restless” 

Photo Credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS

General Thoughts

Loved this episode. NCIS is two for two in Season 9 and that is very encouraging. I hope the writers/producers can keep it up this year. It was a very team-oriented episode which are my favorite types of episodes. Everyone was present and accounted for at the main crime scene and everybody was doing their thing. In this hour of television, we got Ducky and Palmer providing some unneeded (but completely adorable) exposition; Gibbs head-slapped a recently concussed Dinozzo; Abby justified why she doesn’t have to do the dirty work while Tim, Tony and Ziva had to dig through the trash for a cell phone; we got a good dose of Profiler Ducky; and McGee got the opportunity to show off his lock-picking skills. Go McGee.
And while Gibbs’ terrific trio did tease each other — that’s what they do, after all — it wasn’t in any vicious sort of way. It felt like they cared for each other as a team and as individuals and it was really refreshing.

The case was interesting too. That marine didn’t have to die. And it was so sad that it all led back to his foster sister, Lindsey. Thankfully, she wasn’t the one to kill him, although she wasn’t 100% blameless either. Lindsey’s story was just so incredibly tragic. Her foster parents thought she was seventeen. Hell, Lindsey thought she was seventeen too. Turns out she was actually 27-years-old. When she was a child she was horribly abused; and now she keeps trying to experience her high school years that were taken from her over and over again. She enters a foster home and just before she “turns 18,” she flees and finds another foster home.

The pattern keeps repeating; it’s kind of like an addiction but she does a good job of believing she really is 17 with those families. Mentally, she goes there. However, part of her is completely aware of what she’s doing. Again, it’s so sad. The collateral damage was severe with her foster brother being killed. But how great of a moment was it when Lindsey faced her current foster parents before going off to get the psychiatric help she so clearly needs and they simply accepted her? I teared up. Usually the cases don’t affect me so kudos to “Restless” writer Steven D. Binder on a job well done.

Character Development

Photo Credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS

I loved the personal anecdotes. Gary Glasberg and the writers have made good on letting us get to know the team better. I feel like even though Gibbs has always been a mysterious kind of guy, we actually know the most about him. He is the lead of the show so that makes sense. But, I’ve always felt like we just don’t have the complete picture on everyone else. In “Restless,” we got a little bit of a peek into almost everyone’s backstory.

The “Homecoming” theme caused some of the characters to reflect on their pasts. Abby went to the Homecoming dance with three guys because she couldn’t bear to turn them all down. Ducky started talking about a girl he asked to one of his dances. We found out Palmer was homecoming king, which I was a tad bit surprised about until he admitted he went to a Charter School and his class was comprised of 12 people…he was the only boy. McGee revealed he wasn’t picked on in school but I’m not sure I believed him. Is that wrong of me? Tony says he remembered his last homecoming — parade, the game and stringing Stinky John up the flagpole by his underwear (we’ll tackle what else we found out about Tony in a bit).

Deja View

Photo Credit: CBS

The actress who did such a fantastic job playing Lindsey is Bonnie Dennison. Fans of the late great soap, Guiding Light, will remember her as Daisy aka Susan LeMay, the daughter of Harley and Dylan who was given up for adoption. So, she was born Daisy Cooper but raised Susan LeMay. Fun Fact: Bonnie’s NCIS character went by many names as she was living her high school years over and over again. One of Lindsey’s aliases? Daisy. I guess that name keeps following Dennison around…

Taylor Nichols

Taylor Nichols played Hank Galveston, Lindsey’s evil uncle. Nichols has been on many TV shows and in many movies over the years but you know what I associate with him the most? He was one of the leads in the indie film Barcelona.

Moment of Goodness: Tony tells Gibbs what really happened back in boarding school

Photo Credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS

Tony, Tony, Tony. You break my heart so. It was clear that at the beginning of “Restless,” he was still feeling the affects of what happened in “Nature of the Beast.” And not just the concussion. I actually wish Tony had been able to mention something about E.J. being hurt and missing but oh well. I really did dig everything that happened with him in the episode. While the team reflected on the aforementioned Homecoming theme, Tony was looking back at his so-called bullying days when he strung up Stinky John on a flagpole by his underwear during boarding school. He was acting distracted; and a little frazzled and he knew he needed to keep his mind off his life. He was also feeling extremely apologetic for having treated someone else so horribly. Is Tony finally seeing the light? Is he growing up?

He writes a card apologizing to John Smith aka Stinky John and has McGee track his victim down, which he willingly does. McGee and Ziva seem very helpful and concerned about their friend which is cool. Before going to pick up Lindsey for questioning, he intercepts Stinky John before his old boarding school classmate travels out of the country. The guy remembers Dinozzo but doesn’t understand why Tony’s there to apologize to him.

Later, in the car with Gibbs at the end of the episode, Tony tells his boss that he and Lindsey had something in common — he reinvented his past too. He wasn’t the one that strung up Stinky John on the flagpole by his underwear. Tony’s the one that was bullied.

OMG. I’ve been waiting for a revelation like this, believe it or not. Tony’s always positioned himself as this outgoing, popular kid — well at least it has seemed that way to me. But, I had my suspicions. It’s obvious he’s holding back a lot, but one of the stories he did tell is that his mom used to make him wear sailor suits. If she sent him to school like that there’s no way he was well-liked. So, maybe once he got to boarding school, he wasn’t so popular — maybe it wasn’t until he got to Ohio State that he really discovered who he was. This all makes me super curious to learn more about his past.

And it’s just sad that he recreated what happened back in school to protect himself. But I’m glad he revealed all to Gibbs. That was my Moment of Goodness for the entire episode. I’m even happier that Tony’s going to let McGee know the truth about his past. I wish we could actually see that conversation. I liked the vibe Tony and McGee had in this episode; Ziva as well.

Michael Weatherly again did an excellent job — it was nice to see Tony be funny, a tad bit obnoxious and surprisingly mature and reflective all in the same episode.

One more random thought: I love that Gibbs got suspicious of Lindsey’s age because her coffee was too good for a 17-year-old to make.

Final Note: The first two episodes of Season 9 have really impressed me. I cannot wait until Lily Tomlin and Grandma McGee invade D.C. in the next NCIS, which airs Tuesday, October 4 @ 8/7C on CBS.

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