NCIS, 9x04, "Enemy On the Hill"
I tried but I could not make myself care about the third episode this season. McGee is just that boring. I like Lily Tomlin, but didn't connect with her character at all. My favorite part was Jimmy (who has magically become a relevant character in my eyes upon becoming engaged) mentioning his upcoming wedding.
But then, Abby's episode happened and blew the roof off the young season. And while mostly what I remember is playing the last two minutes 587 times over the last two weeks, unable to string so much as a sentence about it together, Abby's storyline was fantastic from start to finish and is getting the star treatment it deserves. The rest was irrelevant, so we're not going to talk about it at all.
[Except to giggle at Gibbs sternly headslapping Tony for uttering the phrase "In a weird way, you gotta admire the guy" about a mass murderer. And at the turkey vulture landlady whom Tony cannot stop accidentally insulting, all of which she takes in awesome stride.]
Scene 1: Yet another illustration of why I love Abby. Because all her volunteer work and random bone-marrow donating isn't enough, now she wants to give away a kidney to a random person who needs it. Don't let House hear you say that, Abby! He'll strap you down and try to cure your unnatural altruism, a symptom of some larger disease.
But I also love that, aside from Ziva's lovely sentiments about how it's noble (I would expect no less from her), everyone's immediate instinct is to protect her. Well, Tony mostly calls her crazy, but as for the two we care about...from McGee we get, "That's major surgery!" and Gibbs, still trying to wrap his head around what she's saying before getting hit with new case details, warning "Abby! Don't you commit to anything."
Abby, of course, merely twirls off in rockstar mode. "It's gonna be great!"
Scene 2: Abby/Ducky scenes don't happen especially often, so I'm always surprised by how sweet they are. Starting from the moment he asks what's wrong, in his best grandfatherly voice, and her cagey, nervous energy slowly unravels into how she accidentally found out she apparently has a heretofore unknown sibling.
Things That We Learned, Or At Least I Learned
-Abby's parents are deceased
-She has a brother
-I just registered that Abby's brother is named Luca. Which is kind of like Luka. Awww, is somebody an ER fan or is this the greatest coincidence in the history of TV? Must be coincidence. Otherwise (spoiler alert!) sibling #3 would be named Joe. Or maybe John.
Scene 3: A bit of plot advancement relevant mostly for the fact that a) McGee is now clued in to the subplot, and b) he is doing most of the work while Abbs is distracted, both of which will be important later.
-Abby was a cheerleader??
-Aunt Gert: dementia. Add layers of understanding to interaction with Mrs. Mallard as you will.
Scene 4: I love that he knows exactly how hard to press when she's not operating at 100%. Which in this case is not very hard at all, amounting to little more than a gentle reminder after her guilty looks.
(insert laundry list of case-related things Abby has not done because she was busy searching Louisiana birth records on the clock)
"I've been a little distracted."
"Abbs. I need you."
Scene 5: But I really love when Gibbs provides behind-the-scenes help by making stuff happen for Abby.
McGee: Boss, I'm going to try to get Abby to compare both signatures, see if they were made by the same person.
Gibbs: "Try," McGee?
McGee: Well, Abby's been real distracted by this brother thing.
Gibbs: Yeah, I noticed. She had no luck finding the guy. Do your thing -- see what you can find out about the brother.
Scene 6: I'm gonna let pictures & quotes do my talking.
(after Abby rockstars back to the top)
"You bring me a Caff-Pow as my reward?"
"Nope. I got somethng else for you."
"Is that what I think it is?"
"His name's Kyle Davis."
"It's a lot of responsibility. What are you going to do with it?"
"I want to meet him.
Okay. Sure you want to open that door?
Okay. Want me to go with you?
(RS: *handclaspy squee, even though she will obviously decline, as she should*)
I think...this is something that I have to do alone."
"You always know what's best for Abby."
(OH HEY LOOK AT THAT SURPRISE BONUS CHEEK KISS)
Scene 7: OH MY WORD THERE IS A PUPPY.
So. Kyle Davis.
Con: Way to hire someone attractive, show. Note how this phrase is in the "con" section and is therefore probably laden with sarcasm.
Pro: Way to awesomely make loving animals a genetic trait! (sarcasm-free) I see they were even wise enough to go with animal rescue and not a little pet shop of horrors. I mean, really, bonding over rescue puppies: is there any better way to get to know someone? Nope.
Scene 8: The One That is Good, and then Really Good, and then Magnificent, and then explodes like nothing this show has ever done before, and I am including all the times he was there after near-death escapes, and the 8-second hair kisses, and the time she flat-out begged him to tell her how much she's been like a daughter to him. I'M SORRY, I STILL CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S REAL.
Setting: Casa de Gibbs. Where Gibbs is reading an attractive-looking older book and drinking tea. You know, we could stop right here and I'd be happy.
But then the doorbell rings. It's like, you hope against hope that the storyline is eventually leading you here (as if scene 6 wasn't enough), but then it happens and you don't know what to do with yourself. I like to think the show is apologizing for the dearth of catch-up with these two after Mike Franks.
Abby: Are you drinking tea?
Gibbs: Yeah. Don't tell Ducky; he'll give me a lecture on brewing.
I am still overjoyed that all Abby-spotlight roads lead back to Gibbs' house. Most things are ultimately solved at NCIS, and that's fine, but the big stuff warrants a conversation here. Relatively ordinary, at first, and then we move into serious, secret-baring stuff.
"I can't imagine the wonderful, loving parents that raised me and Luka ever giving up a child...but they would have adopted a child. And
they did. Me. I'm adopted, Gibbs."
"How do you know that?"
"This is my mom's hair. I ran a DNA test on it, and I compared it to mine. It wasn't a biological match, Gibbs."
Sidebar: Immediate Questions On First Viewing
1) HOLD ON, Abby's adopted?? o
2) I have so many questions about how two full siblings get given up for adoption without knowing the other existed. Were they both given up as babies at two different points in time? Because that is literally all I got; otherwise, surely these loving parents of which Abby speaks would have adopted them both? Only I can't imagine a couple surviving long enough to have a second kid after giving up a child for adoption once, let alone giving up the second, unless they were Cristina Yang and taking the appropriate way out of the situation, but that seems rare. Were they taken into foster care too young to remember their real parents? Have these questions been answered in the two weeks since? Or in reviews online? WHO KNOWS.
3) Isn't it sort of illegal or at least against protocol for Abby to use NCIS resources for personal DNA testing? I feel like it is. Lettin' it slide.
Epic Picspam Worthy
Honestly. Dear Past Me, come to the future for a sec, what is the wildest and most improbable thing you could ever ask to see? "Oh, I don't know, how about Abby curled up on Gibbs' chest for comfort with his arms around her. Haha, just -- WAIT WHAT." And the best part is, even though it's freeze-frame spoiled in the episode, I was watching it at 11 AM so the screen was washed out and hard to see, so I didn't even catch that part the first time and had no idea this was coming. It is the best fandom surprise I have received all year, including when Primeval exploded in a volcano of shippy UST joy.
"I don't know who I am anymore. I don't know who my parents were. I'm just like, Little Orphan Abby."
"Abbs, you're still the same person. Your parents, they're still your parents as you remember them. "
"Abbs, you're still the same person. Your parents, they're still your parents as you remember them. "
"Family's more than just DNA. It's about people who care and take care of each other."
"But why didn't they tell me I was adopted? I mean, there's got to be a reason. And I need to find out before I completely turn Luca and Kyle's lives upside down."
"You don't have to do this alone, Abby. You've got a family. And we'll help you through it."
Magic! This show is magic. I was overjoyed with her head on his shoulder, never mind the automatic kiss on the top of her head. And then
it just kept spiking up from there. Arm around her! Head on his chest! More hair kisses! CLOSE THE EMBRACE, COUP DE GRAS. We've reached one of those points at which I can die happy. I would dare the show to outdo itself, but I am pretty sure it's impossible. There is no way to create a more thrilling Gibbs/Abby scene than what we have just witnessed.
It occurs to me that someone else has probably made a much more prettily colored picspam of the ending** (I got drunk on my own power with color balance and likely made it worse), but whatever; I did all the graphics during a period in which the internet had knocked itself out for 16 hours.
[**edit: Yep, that'll about do it. Much more streamlined. I was actually hoping for a little GIF I could stick on here, but I guess I'll have to take the big fancy embedded-in-a-still one.]
Anyway! I'll be needing a few more days before I pick up the new episodes I've got waiting for me, is what I'm getting at.
In other news, guess who actually showed up to watch the Chuck premiere?
I'm as shocked as you are, seeing as I haven't mentioned it or thought about it all really since May. This is also the first episode I have actually watched the whole way through -- as opposed to the finale, where I kept getting bored and playing around online until I heard someone reference Sarah -- and normally I'd break out a big list of bullet points, but that seems like too much effort. Suffice to say I think I will like having this little appetizer to wake up me up before CSI: NY. (and when I say appetizer, I mean I will spend fewer words on it but actually it will be much more satisfying than the second hour of TV.)
I could not follow the plot to save my life and so much was incomprehensible that I just let it fly in one ear and out the other, but I think it was worth it just to sit back and watch Chuck be himself for an hour (I am a smitten kitten) and then, of course, scoop up the romantic bits at regularly timed intervals. Married people: they're my thing this season. Even more than usual, I mean. They don't even have to be designated Moments on this show; pretty much as long as they're talking to each other (but ideally when no one else is in the conversation), I am happy.
Oh no, some of the bullet points escaped! Catch them!
* Was the theme song always Short Skirt/Long Jacket? Why didn't I know about this?
* I find Chuck's sister incredibly annoying? I have no idea why. The only thing I even know her from is Gift Shop Girl on Scrubs, about whom I had no particular feelings, but she just...looks like a clueless airhead. I can't take it.
* Morgan with the Intersect is incredibly annoying too, and that's saying something if he's noticeably worse than usual. Still debating whether Chuck moping adorably is worth the aggravation.
* Wasting no time with the near-death situations, I see. Good for you.
* What was my favorite thing about Jim Halpert in season 5? Besides the proposal? How he bought Pam a house. And here is Chuck, trying to buy Sarah her dream house. Excellent work keeping up with my demands, TPTB.