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Character Development: It’s Game On for Top Gun Wingmen Tony and McGee, NCIS “Lost at Sea” 

Photo Credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS

“Lost at Sea” is one of those NCIS episodes that’s completely team-oriented. It featured a couple of very welcome guest stars in Rick Worthy (Battlestar Galactica, Supernatural) and the return of Law & Order: SVU alum, Diane Neal, as the Coast Guard’s version of Gibbs, CGIS Special Agent Abigail Borin. The case was tragic — it’s difficult to see a child newly diagnosed with a condition called neurofibromatosis lose his dad in such an unnecessary way. Gibbs really felt an empathy for the kid whose life just became infinitely harder without his father; Ducky briefly ventured back into the field to help Gibbs out with the mission; plus, we got some quality Abby (Sciuto) and Abby (Borin) time in the lab.

Yes, all elements to this first new episode in a couple weeks worked. But what reigned supreme were the Top Gun shenanigans of both Tony and Tim or should I say “Maverick” and “McGoose.” Michael Weatherly and Sean Murray were in fine form.

When Ziva made that bet with her co-workers — that they would have to ask out the first woman they saw — it would have been easy to send DiNozzo and McGee into an embarrassing and humiliating competition against each other. It certainly would have happened that way in the past.

Not this time around. No, this time, they acted as each other’s wingmen. They supported each other, unless one of them crashed and burned. You have to know when it’s time to eject. Right, Tony? In the end, Ziva made the bet because she thought Tony and Tim went out without asking her to go along with them. She also clued Borin in on the bet which made things that much harder on the guys. Ziva didn’t realize until she snooped through McGee’s email that her fellow agents stayed home playing video games and socializing online. Game. On.

Before we get to some of the episode’s greatest hits, let me explain why I’m considering this user friendly version of Tony and McGee, character development. Well, over the last few seasons, we’ve seen them snipe at each other, viciously tease each other and basically forget that they don’t only work together but they are friends too. Watching “Lost at Sea,” I simply enjoyed the fact the two were able to tease each other in a healthy, friendly, not demeaning way. They were in sync at work again, too. The last episode I felt this good about the state of Tony and Tim’s friendship/work relationship was the season 7 premiere “Truth or Consequences.” We’re in season 10 now. Let’s hope this kinder, gentler, more hilarious trend continues.

Anyway, the whole storyline that involved Ziva, Tony, McGee and Abby B. was just cute and fun. More of this kind of humor, please. I actually laughed a lot. Some of my most favorite moments:

  • The nicknames. Tony took “Maverick” and “Iceman” while McGee got “McGoose,” “McInsecurity,” “Captain Planet” and “Hollywood.”
  • Tony covered up the fact he stayed in for the night with McGee. He told Ziva they went to a bar. But you could tell Tony really dug the interactive gaming scene. He’s been making fun of McGee’s love of socializing while gaming for years so it was so much fun to know he recently got his geek on playing video games at Tim’s place.
Photo Credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS
  • McGee asking Borin out. Poor Tim. He fumbled his way through that.Tony was wise to hit eject.
  • The Tony/Abby B. beach bonding scene. Tony said he’s been where the CGIS agent has been, wanting more money, a better job title. Borin comes right out and asks why Tony’s still working for Gibbs and he answers: “Can’t offer me better people.” Oh, Tony. Part of me would actually like to see DiNozzo and Borin date. The team leader also admits to the NCIS special agent that she knew what was going on with the bet. It was a really nice scene.
  • DiNozzo and McGee interrogate Officer Hernandez. They have in their possession, their Top Gun Ray-Bans. Well, Tony has them first — he takes them off Horatio Caine-style. And when McGee gets one up on the officer, Tony acknowledges it and lets Tim have the sunglasses for a little bit. Anyway, their teamwork helps break the case big time.
  • Tim and Tony get some action…at work. Both McGee and DiNozzo tackle the bad guy and get to put the cuffs on him. Awesome.
  • Borin asks Tony and Tim out for a drink after the case is wrapped up. DiNozzo and McGee say they have plans to stay “in” — after all, there are a couple hot girls they’re meeting online (well, according to Tony, they sound hot). Abby ends up asking Ziva instead after Ziva figures out they’ve been playing video games. The jig is up. She just wanted to be included in their plans. Tim and Tony finally wake up to that fact and decide to join Abby and Ziva for drinks.

I remember a time when we would occasionally get to see the team out for drinks. I would love for that to happen again. And I would love more episodes like this one. Fun banter, heartbreaking case, some character development and Borin along for the ride. I’m loving her almost as much as Fornell. Hopefully, we’ll see her back in action on NCIS again someday soon.

NCIS airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on CBS.

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  1. michele

    very good review

    1. Tina Charles

      Thanks for reading!

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