WOW. Okay, I did not see that ending coming - partly because my spoilers have been little more than officially-released episode summaries, and partly because Paula Cassidy's been popping up in a recurring sort of way every season since this show began, and I'd have thought there'd be a little more hype beforehand if a recurring character was going to get killed off. It almost makes me feel bad about all the ways I badmouthed her prior to this episode.
I was going to open this review complaining about her some more, griping that I was not interested in watching Agent Cassidy weep her way through the hour, permanently sniffly and red-eyed. I was also going to smack her for encouraging Tony to talk about Jeanne and how much he wubs her. But then there was that heartwrenching ending, and suddenly all my mean comments seemed in very poor taste.
(Voice: I see how you got around that, though. Very clever.)
Even after she threw herself on the explosives-armed terrorist and the door slammed shut behind them, I don't think it really sank in for me that she was doomed until she looked up and saw the faces of her murdered teammates looking down at her. A split second later, it was over. I think that bit of direction was very poignant, so much so that it made me suddenly care about a character I normally hate. Felt kind of like I'd been sucker-punched, almost like Kate's death probably would have been if I'd been watching the show longer than three weeks before it happened. And Tony's expression...oh Lord. Yeah, that got to me.
Back up, and rewind. I'm not big on terrorist storylines, though at least they make sense on this show (as opposed to CSI: Miami), but I still thought it was a fairly interesting case. My only complaint is that during the whole Ducky vs. Abby "who's right?" thing, I thought it was fairly obvious that Ducky must be. I didn't go so far as to assume synthetic voice software, but I thought maybe he'd prerecorded a message or something. I don't know why that made sense to me...but I thought it must be a lot easier to manufacture a voice than the physical condition of a body.
Random note: I was not loving the Director's look today. Her shirt early on was rather loose and shapeless, and her hair looked like she'd stuck her finger in an electrical socket.
On the bright side, there was a niiiice reference to Kate; after yet another of Tony's seemingly endless repetitions of "it could have been us," Gibbs' response is simply "It could have been us every single damn day of the week. Sometimes it has been." All the Kate lovers who haven't deserted this show shriek, happy to be vindicated.
Shippy bits - this episode had them by the handful, and I wanted to tear my hair out because it was like they were custom made to conform to my Standards of Cuteness, and yet because I hated the women involved, I couldn't fully appreciate them. However, I tried. I will try to be positive.
Gibbs/Mann: Okay, #1? Nobody has any business looking good in a hoodie and sweats, but Gibbs? Wow, he makes the impossible happen. And I will admit to giggling immaturely Mann's "Anyone ever tell you have a cute butt?" startled him into a wild swing and miss. HAH. And then, showing her how to swing a bat? That scenario was immortalized with Mulder and Scully, and I have to say it works here too. In fact, much as it pains me to say it, I think this scene only *does* work with Mann. I can't quite see Jen wanting to play softball, and though my daydreams can certainly invent a wayback flashback with Shannon, they couldn't do that for the show. Anyway, I very much approve of Gibbs' hands-on positioning, snugly wrapped around her from behind, and loved the kiss to her neck. Damn it! This scene is dangerously close to making me a Gibbs/Mann shipper! I refuse to disclose how many times I've watched that bit.
Well, maybe I'm not converted yet. I wasn't particularly enthused by their conversation in the basement. Mann's "thinking about retiring," eh? I see that as a bad sign. That was either a not-too-subtle hint at "thinking it's not too late for marriage and children," or puts her a dangerous step closer to being free to join NCIS. I actually don't know which one frightens me more.
Tony/Jeanne: The song in the background was completely unnecessary, and quite distracting. That aside, this final scene was almost indescribable. After that emotional power hour, a very shaken-up Tony standing there with tears in his eyes, "I love you, Jeanne"...for the first time, I didn't hate the pair. This is another scene that simply wouldn't have worked with anyone else. As much as I hated her fit-throwing last week about him not saying those three words, it did set up this week to be twice as effective. And even though she doesn't know the half of why he's so worked up, that's necessary too. The fact that she is outside NCIS gives Tony a refuge after the day from hell, someone who hasn't been there alongside him. Going to her is a release, a reaffirmation of something stable, something to (literally) cling to. I have no words for that final hug. No words. It was just that perfect.
Next week: More Adventures in McGee's Authorship, plus Abby's in danger. Whee! I'm excited about this show again!
I don't have a lot of good things to say about this episode, really. I suppose the best part was the photos that Emma took; I'm never one for black and white photography (I find it more boring than artistic), but they were really quite intriguing. There was that, and then the guy from All-American Rejects in the teaser. (How's that for a random guest appearance? But cool) I'm proud of myself for recognizing him about 10 seconds before I saw the backdrop. There's something not quite right about his looks - maybe I'm just influenced by the eerie way he stares into the camer during the "Move Along" video - but he's cute anyway. Must be the hair.
Chase & Cameron's relationship took another turn in the spotlight this week, and I had trouble wrapping my brain around the incomprehensible stupidity of it all. I'm disappointed that Cuddy told Cameron to knock it off, because even though I jumped to the same conclusion about Bleeding-Heart Cameron being the one to get hurt, I have long since moved past it. It's frustrating to see uninformed characters stuck in the past. And either way, if she was going to lecture Cameron, she should have lectured Chase, too. If you think they're both being idiots, then they both need to be called on it. No fair just punishing one.
Speaking of which, that first conversation between Cameron and Chase, about House catching them in the janitor's closet, was both hilarious and just plain sad, split evenly down the middle between Chase and Cameron's comments. Cameron's obsession with what House was thinking was just...sad. "He didn't just stumble into that closet by accident. He knew, and he wanted us to KNOW that he knew." Yes - that's the first correct statement Cameron's made all day. But it's not because he cares, it's because he wants you to be aware that he is God, and nothing escapes his notice. I thought her comment was fairly self-explanatory in and of itself, and am not sure why she thinks there's anything more to interpret. Chase's nonplussed take on the whole thing, however, was hilarious. "Maybe he just doesn't give a crap," had to be the best line. Or maybe the sarcastic, "Yes, the pain of losing you is obviously forcing him away."
Then there was the scene where she actually confronts House about telling Cuddy. "She told me to end it, is that what you want?" No, Cameron, that's what you WANT House to want. In actuality, however, the fact that everybody knows about your little trysts is amusing me quite a bit, so I assume it's serving the same purpose for House, and that's his sole agenda. The man likes to have fun. Slightly sick and twisted fun at the expense of others, but hey.
"My social life is MY social life." Yeah? Then maybe you shouldn't be FLAUNTING IT ALL OVER HOSPITAL GROUNDS. It's not a social life anyway, it's merely a sex life. There is a difference, however subtle. And I am done talking about it now.
There was a distinct lack of Wilson this week, and increased Cuddy did not make up for that. Not when Cuddy was running about being emotional and cloudy of judgment and on the verge of breakdown. I don't care about watching Cuddy try to be House, I really don't.
As for the case, I need to state up front that I nodded approvingly at House's every use of the word "fetus." I am aware that not everyone shares this opinion, and my mother gives me the evil eye every time I bring it up, but until it is developed enough to survive outside the womb, it doesn't have its own status yet. It's an idea, not a promise, like a half-finished sculpture. It WILL BE a sculpture if you keep going, but if you stop in the middle, it's nothing. If you miscarry, you don't buy a coffin and a tombstone. It's just gone, because it never fully existed.
I don't object to calling it a baby before it's born; it's fine to touch your stomach and dream about the baby, pick out names and talk to it everything. That's perfectly sweet. But it does not supercede your own life. If the doctor says "terminate or die," you don't lie there arguing and demanding he work miracles. You terminate and resign yourself to the fact that you're just never going to have a child. If you would like another analogy (to steal Charlie Eppes' style), a developing baby is like a wrapped Christmas present in your parents' closet. You know it's probably coming, but until you actually open it, it could be rescinded at any time without warning or explanation.
Nothing, however, made me crankier than that cheeeeeeze whiz of a scene in surgery with the tiny baby fingers wrapping around House's, and him being all STUNNED and MOVED by the EMOTIONALLY POWERFUL TOUCH. I hate that. Like people can only have convictions until they're confronted with reality. I promise, the pro-life group can show me casts of baby footprints and photographs in the womb and talk about baby heartbeats until the cows come home, but I'm still standing by my "until it can survive outside the womb" line in the sand. I won't waver for a second.
On that note, I hated Cuddy's smug satisfaction that "sometimes .1 is bigger than 9.9." No, no it's not. The chance saving of 2 does not outweigh the much larger risk of losing 2 rather than guaranteed saving 1. You don't even know how badly I wanted Emma to die just to show Cuddy up.
I have some bones to pick with this episode and its incessant anti-alcohol campaign. Which is odd, because normally I am so anti-alcohol that I think colleges should skip the warnings and probation and go straight to permanent expulsion on the first offense. But it started to bother me when Casey was trying to claim a homicide charge for the girl who drank herself to death. Please. They did not MURDER the girl; it was her choice to go to a party and drink. Nobody held her mouth open and poured beer down her throat. Negligence, sure, and not calling an ambulance wasn't exactly innocent behavior, but she wasn't MURDERED. Her death was an accident, an accident that could have been prevented by calling 9-1-1...or by her not going to the party at all. Six of one, if you ask me. Again, this is why I couldn't work in law enforcement.
I was glad when the haughty rich kids got their comeuppance though, first when their little video got the judge further pissed off, and then when they wound up dead. Completely deserved. However, I'm a little mad that Becca turned out to be a chronic drinker. The HELL. Why can't the quiet little mousy girls ever just be innocent? I don't care how screwed up her mother was.
I was, however, duly placated by the presence of Elliot's daughter. (her name is Kathleen, yes?) One can never go wrong with the inclusion of Stablerlings! It was very cute, her helping him out with finding the kids' "web pages." *coughMySpaceblogs* Aw, father-daughter bonding is just the cutest thing. My only complaint was the ending, where Elliot decides to own up to being a "bad father" and belatedly punish her drunk-driving episode by dipping her license in the candle flame. One, isn't that a fire hazard? And two, NOT COOL. I said it before she did - you're punishing her NOW? That's...kind of stupid. It must make you feel better, but I'm pretty sure it's not doing anything to make her suddenly "face the consequences of her actions." I think the experience of being pulled over and taken in was enough consequence for her; hasn't she been pretty well behaved since then? Yeah. This belated punishment is really kind of stupid, Elliot. I'm sorry, but I just don't see the point.
Oops - almost forgot the delightful quotes from Munch! He might be down to about 1 minute of screentime per episode, but he makes the most of it.
Munch: You could start a bonfire with all the alcohol this one drank. What's your poison, honey?
Stupid Girl: Shut up, you dirty old man.
Munch: Who're you calling old?
Stupid Kid: I want my parents!
Munch: Yeah, and I want the troops home, the Kyoto Protocol signed, and a Tijuana oil job from Miss February.