Moment of Goodness: Tony and Jeanne On the Plane Home, NCIS “Saviors”
Jeanne Benoit walked out of Tony DiNozzo’s life back in Season 5 after he set her free in the cruelest but necessary way. After she asked him if any of what they had was real, he simply said, “No.” She responded with an equally devastating, “I wish I’d never met you,” and the elevator doors closed on that relationship…until now.
An attack in South Sudan is the impetus for Tony and Jeanne reconnecting after all these years. Jeanne is now married and she and her husband, David, started an organization that’s a lot like Doctors without Borders. While Jeanne presides over things in D.C., David’s in Africa tending to injured and sick villagers. There are five volunteers from the organization. After the attack, three are dead (two bodies completely burned) and two are missing. It turns out one is Jeanne’s husband; the other, a nurse that assisted Dr. Cyril Taft when he operated on Gibbs.
That’s the set-up. Now for the reunion. The imprint of this relationship on Tony is evident. Over the years, it affected him in countless ways. By the end of “Saviors,” is he guilt-free? I don’t know.
McGee: You should be happy for yourself, too. You don’t have to carry around all that guilt anymore.
DiNozzo: Maybe. Maybe not.
Tony’s guilt is going to be hard to shake off. It’s a part of him — a second skin. Tony may be considered the class clown, but he takes everything to heart. Just at the beginning of the season, he felt an immense amount of guilt over Gibbs being shot. Don’t think he’s going to lose that anytime soon.
But maybe, just maybe, the final conversation he and Jeanne have in the episode is going to help him move past what he did to her. Because Tony puts aside the history he shares with Jeanne and does whatever possible to find her husband. He can feel good about that. He can feel even better about what Jeanne says to him on the plane home after they rescue David, which is my Moment of Goodness for “Saviors”:
Jeanne: Thank you, Tony. I owe you.
Tony: No, you don’t. We’re good.
Jeanne kisses him on the cheek. It’s all very brief and the Tony fan in me wishes these characters got even more of a chance to speak in depth. There are flashes here and there but not enough for my liking. And as good as the Dr. Taft / Gibbs scenes were, I really wanted to see more of Tony/Jeanne.
But this final scene and those few words made me a bit emotional. I’ve been a fan of this show for a long time. The bulk of the Tony/Jeanne era was in Season 4 and we’re now in Season 13. So, for me, the weight of this moment is epic.
Tony may be able to use the fact that Jeanne was able to recover and move on as his own sign that maybe he can remove or move past the toxic residue this phase in his life left behind. I wasn’t sure this was going to happen. When Jeanne defiantly tells Tony that David is the best man she’s ever known, I don’t know if it will happen. But it does.
Tony also tells Jeanne he knows there’s nothing he could do to ever make her forgive him. He knows the damage he inflicted but this episode goes a long way in proving to him he didn’t destroy her life permanently.
I think Jeanne sharing this moment with Tony is good for her, too. Although, I do hope she gets to come back. There’re rumors that that may happen — I hope they’re true.
NCIS airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on CBS.
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