OH MY GOD, THAT WAS INTENSE. I am physically exhausted after watching all that. At various points, I might have...cried a little. Punched a mirror. Sworn loudly. Fainted. Exploded in a fervor of clapping and/or squealed loudly enough to rupture an eardrum. Some of those might have only happened in my head, I don't know, on account of how I am completely steamrollered by feelings.
By the way, we should just ignore everything I said in the last post, because from the moment the theme song started on "Borderland," all of my former love roared back in full force, and I decided I loved everyone and everything about these three episodes. (which I am rolling into one "finale" entity, regardless of how it was originally promoted, and from here on out will make no attempt to separate them or go in any order at all.)
1. "Hm, 'Special Agent Lara Macy.' Judging by their faces, I should probably recognize that name. Macy...Macy? *frown* No, you don't mean - OH MY GOD, YOU (*&%^(*##% [censored]." I am at a loss for words. You don't get to bring in Louise Lombard for two episodes, kick her out of the spinoff and then RANDOMLY KILL HER A YEAR LATER. It's quite a clever trick, emotionally sucker-punching the audience as hard as you possibly can by killing a significant character without having contract news bandied all about first, but, but, I protest! I protest so hard!
2. You understand now why I was maybe having a mild heart attack over the safety of Mike Franks (whom I don't even like, and in fact have frequently professed to loathe and/or wished death upon) and Layla & Amira.
3. GIBBS. ABBY. GIBBS/ABBY. ♥♥♥♥♥ (words, RS!) Going above and beyond and producing the most fantastic stuff since, I want to say Hiatus. "Borderland" in its entirety was spellbinding, but then the basement scene came along. "Then tell me how much I've been like a daughter to you, and how much you love me." His face. Must watch 85213 more times.
3a. "What I really need to know, Gibbs...is if you're gonna love me no matter what." And I had another mild heart attack, because there's knowing that you're only 1/3 of the way in and this setup will lead to amazing payoff, and there's waiting through the part where you don't yet know how it will, but you do have to watch Abby stare with great big eyes of heartbreak at her hero.
3b. "I owe you everything. You're Gibbs! No one needs to know the truth about the Hernandez investigation. I am willing to do anything, for you. I just need you to tell me what to do."
4. I...actually lost track of how many kisses there were. All I know is that his last hug in the final episode was about three times longer and sweeter than any hug to date, and I no matter how many times I watch it, it never stops amazing me. Literally, everything about their relationship in these episodes blew me away.
5. Oh hey there, Dylan Bruno! I am torn between how much I love you, and how much it upsets my brain to see Colby Granger running around as a mercenary. I think the "love" part wins out, though. So far the ex-Numb3rs cast is 2/2 on my favorite actors making fantastic crime-show guest spots.
6. I laughed until I choked over ChatRoulette Random Chat and Tony being incessantly nexted out of it. McGee is a devious genius.
7. Forgot to mention that the use of "Autopsy Gremlin" has improved my outlook on Palmer's existence by 500%.
8. Among the many reasons Mark Harmon is my favorite actor of the bunch: his reaction to Hernandez being on Ducky's table.
9. Favorite new catchphrase: "What the biohazard is this?!"
10. Other ways in which Borderland was awesome: McGee taking a trip down to Mexico as Abby's escort, complete with hypothetical room-sharing. Hello there, fabulous trope that people are always trying to force but which rarely makes canon! And, well, I see you wriggled out of that one, but it takes no effort at all to undo Abby's decision to sleep on her lab table*. I just wish it had taken place for a couple that I had even moderately positive feelings about.
*Then again, we wouldn't have had her cool science-y alarm clock of fire.
11. Gibbs. Horseback. Thank you.
12. Sometimes when shows run incessant flashbacks, it gets old (CSI: NY). Not when it comes to this arc. Here it felt less like a "better catch the audience up" move and more like we were really privy to whatever flashed through Gibbs' head. The fond reminiscence of Shannon flipping through his box of rules was beautiful, and the echoes of Past Gibbs & Mike Franks just a little bit heartbreaking.
13. I don't have a lot to say about the plot or its replay value, but I had a hard time taking notes because I was completely glued to the screen (except when Vance started talking. That agonizing boredom had to be muted. Not sure I was appropriately grateful for his prolonged absence - I had actually forgotten he existed; was grand). Otherwise, I couldn't spare ten seconds between episodes; the instant the credits rolled it was "MORE, GIVE IT, GIVE IT NOW." Better than most movies.
Which is why I really appreciate the fact that they ended on the gentlest cliffhanger since at least season 4. You see how easy, how satisfying it is, to tell at least 75% of your story in one go? I'm okay with them leaving more of the story to tell, but it was an incredible relief to have so much of the really suspenseful tension settled by the end of "Rule Fifty-One." Heck, they even told us what #51 was! ("Sometimes, you're wrong.") What sort of transparent clarity is that?
One complaint: This is the second time a woman has suppressed information about Gibbs' involvement in the murder, a/k/a been about the only thing standing between him & an arrest, and it makes me irrationally uneasy to have his fate tied up in a single person's hands like that. I'd feel better if this matter were officially cleared and closed.
Season conclusion: Yeah, you're still getting a straight C for the year of boredom, but Borderland/Patriot Down/Rule Fifty-One are taking gold, silver and bronze for the year. Without them you'd have scored worse. And now...I will be on YouTube, watching Gibbs rescue or otherwise protect Abby from stalkers, snipers, lethal cars, and anything else I can find along the way.
On another note, I am probably too harsh on this show, and would benefit greatly from shutting up and ceasing to talk about it (will this happen? no). It has grown over the years, to the point where I'm sure going back to season 1 and maybe even 2 would be the equivalent of culture shock. The fact that it is failing to delight me in every category is more a reflection on my own shifting tastes than the show's quality, and I should really be grateful that it has become a ratings powerhouse with so much of the cast intact, allowing the relationships between the members to deepen and become more significant every year. Maybe I should just appreciate it as entertainment, not a fandom.