By using our website, you agree to the use of our cookies.

NCIS Season 10 Finale “Damned If You Do” 

Photo Credit: CBS
Photo Credit: CBS

Still a little confused after last night’s season finale of NCIS?  Well, breathe a sigh of relief because you’re not alone.  I had to watch the episode a second time to figure out what I think happened, but I still found absolutely nothing that would explain why it all happened, especially the jaw-dropping ending.

The episode begins where the last one left off with Gibbs (Mark Harmon) and Independent Counsel Richard Parsons (Colin Hanks) playing this stupid game.  Parsons wants Gibbs to simply admit he had been wrong in a whole slew of cases over the past 20 years, and well, Gibbs won’t say a word.  It looks as if we’re at an impasse until former Judge Advocate General Chegwidden (John Jackson) is hired by Vance as Gibbs’ attorney, and this buys Gibbs 48 hours to plan a possible course of action with his new counsel.

With Parsons pulling a McGee and having just about every area in NCIS bugged (including the lady’s room! How tacky!), Gibbs and his new attorney hunker down in the woods in a log cabin trying to figure out what to do.  At this point, we have some excellent dream sequences with Gibbs friend, and former mentor, Mike Franks (Muse Watson).  As we know, Franks was killed by the Port to Port killer two seasons ago, but Franks meant a lot to Gibbs, and with the exception of Ducky (David McCallum), probably was his only true friend.  Plus, they shared a good deal of missions together, including some of these rogue ones that Parsons is looking closely at.  Remember, the big Jenny Shepard scandal in the season 4 finale?  Director Shepard was being hunted by assassins due to the work both she and Gibbs had done together in France years ago.  Against orders from Vance and the Secretary of the Navy, Gibbs enlists the help of Franks to kill all of these assassins in an attempt to save Shepard’s life.  This is just an example of how Gibbs and Franks think exactly alike and make a habit of bending the rules if it’s for the greater good.  It stands to reason that Gibbs’ sub conscience would try to turn to Franks for guidance.  It also explains why Gibbs burned all of Franks’ records later on in the episode.  Gibbs and Franks had done a lot of shady work together (including the Jenny Shepard shenanigan just discussed), and Gibbs would be damned before Parsons gets hold of that information and tarnish his best friend’s memory.

While Chegwidden is trying to plan a course of action, Gibbs team isn’t just sitting around watching their leader, and friend, being taken down by a weasel like Parsons.  McGee works his magic (together with his new-found girlfriend, Delilah, who just so happens to be an expert in Information Security), and discovers that Parsons has gotten to where he is at today not due to talent, but because of manipulation, blackmail, and whole list of other shady tactics.  The team has finally found a way to hurt Parsons, but unfortunately, when Gibbs learns of the plan, he gives them a direct order to walk away.  Even though Gibbs never has been one to play by the rules, for some reason, he decides in this instance to play within the confines of Parsons’ little game.  This means no juvenile tic-for-tac.  But, as we would expect, Tony, Ziva, and McGee don’t give up.  Gibbs is not only their leader, but also a very good friend.  So, as a last resort, they do what good friends do for each other – sacrifice themselves.  All three of them turn in their badges, take responsibility for their actions in the Bodnar investigation, which then exonerates Gibbs from all wrong-doing.

Now, for the ending.  Before I dive into the last few shocking moments of the episode, we should think very closely about the conversation Vance (Rocky Carroll) had with Homeland Security Director, Tom Morrow (Alan Dale).  As we should recall, Bodnar had insisted that he was not responsible for Kazmi’s murder.  Morrow finally confirms this to Vance, and to top it off, admits that not only was Bodnar not responsible, but the CIA was.  And why?  To shake things up in the Middle East and have Iran and Israel fighting each other, while the “real threat” here in the United States is addressed.  Just what is that “real threat”?  We don’t know for sure, and of course, won’t know until the Premiere this fall, but my guess is this “real threat” is traitors in our own CIA, FBI, etc.  And, this is what I think the ending was implying.

After Gibbs’ investigation with Parsons is put on hold, he is immediately called into duty to help with a special covert operation.  This mission involves working with this Captain Wade, who we just met in this episode as he is the sole connection to the radioactive head that is dropped in NCIS’ morgue.  In the last few moments, Captain Wade has been shot and orders Gibbs “to just do it”.  Gibbs aims his sniper rifle, and to the shock of us all, Tobia Fornell (Joe Spano) is his direct target.  None of us can really be sure what this means, but my guess is that Fornell somehow got onto that list of “real threats”, a traitor to his own country.

Now, I don’t think for a minute that Fornell is a bad guy, and certainly not a traitor.  The only flaw I’ve seen in him over the years is that he has the same bad taste in women as Gibbs (remember, they both married the same woman), but besides that, he’s as straight as an arrow, and I certainly can’t imagine him betraying his country under any circumstances.  My suspicions right now are actually on this Captain Wade.  We know nothing about this guy, and then, out of the clear blue sky, he is ordering a hit on one of the top players in the FBI, Tobia Fornell?  It all sounds pretty fishy to me.

All in all, I thought this was a decent finale, but I can’t say it’s as good as some of the other episodes.  The episode went way too fast, jumping from one storyline to the next, leaving viewers very confused up to the very end.  On the other hand, as with all NCIS episodes, the character development and acting were fantastic.  And, of course, it was a delight to see Mike Franks back, even if it were only in dream sequences.

So, what does everyone else think?  Do you think Fornell is a bad guy, or is he just being set up?

Most Memorable Quotes

  • Start digging McDirty Laundry – Tony to McGee
  • I’m been up there Hannibal Lectar style.  It’s clean – Tony
  • Sometimes you have to ruin a good pair of shoes to do what is right – Vance
  • I hate Parsons.  I just want to kick him in his delicate place – Abby
  • We collect secrets over the years.
    Hide behind them, depend on them, like aces up our sleeve. 
    We think we have to protect the people we love for the truth.
    But, the truth isn’t the poison, it’s the cure.
    Best thing you can do is teach your kids to not be afraid.
    We try to live a good life, a clean life.
    But, secrets get in the way.
    Sure, we can play dirty, use people’s mistakes against them.
    But, put all these secrets behind us, and the honest man comes out on top – Mike Franks

Related posts

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.