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Through sheer force of will I kept going on the last episode until I finished, but I better punch these two holiday episodes out just in case I really do get stuck again.

13x10, "Blood Brothers"
a.k.a. Sweet Home Oklahoma because heck if I will actually remember this episode is about trying to find a bone marrow donor for some random soldier so the World's Unluckiest Navy Wife doesn't lose all 4 of her children inside a year.

Things I loved about this episode: every second of every scene Ellie was in, which fortunately was TONS OF THEM. I see the wisdom in following her out to Oklahoma, and it's beautiful. Things I loved include but are not limited to:

  • Her big brother -- I don't like that actor, but that ended up not mattering because he was such a great presence. (the secret attic clubhouse! With vintage booze!)

  • Her mom, who appears to be a most perfect mom, and the instant shine she took to Gibbs and her faith that she could trust him to look out for her daughter.

  • Her Oklahoma fashion, all chunky sweaters and country outerwear

  • Plausible, non-heartbreaking reasons for why the budget only allowed them to show us 2 family members this time (everyone else is on the way). Confirmed divorce does NOT run in this family. Probably a result of living in a wholesome state instead of the cesspool that is D.C.

  • That she dealt with her anger through the silent treatment for Jake, the cold shoulder for anyone who tried to talk to her about it, and a lot of physical labor. That's so me!

  • Everyone's continued condemnation of that wuss Jake

  • Gibbs showing up on her doorstep. Ostensibly for work. But also very much for her (as proven later with "I wasn't leaving here without you")

  • Gibbs being immediately absorbed into the family. Can this be the whole show? Just down-home Oklahomey family times and occasional work-related field trips, assuming there was an NCIS field office in this town? Land Abby a job in with the local crime lab and it would be perfect.

  • Wise Mentor Gibbs getting her to talk about how she feels instead of literally running away from her problems

  • And convincing her to take him along on her cross country road trip back home. Y'know...I'm starting to like their bond almost as much as Gibbs/Abby.

AND ALSO:
DiNozzo's "Special Agent Fornell! Look at that, your hair grew back almost" + Fornell, at the end begrudgingly inviting Tony to Thanksgiving at his house because the idea of him staying late at work on Thanksgiving when even Gibbs is on vacation is just "too pathetic." It'll be more like a punishment, really, with his inexperienced and unskilled teenage daughter doing all the cooking.

Side note: I love how hard they are fighting to be like "Tony TOTALLY has a girlfriend still. Look how often we talk about her. Even though she's never here. And is usually referenced as being out of town." Where they going with this? Spectacular breakup episode??? *fingers crossed*
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13x11, "Spinning Wheel"
a.k.a. The Story of Dr. Mallard's Long-Lost Little Brother

It was hard to concentrate on the second half of this episode due to the thundercloud I was in after the Elllie/Jake scene (and why did McGee have to be there eavesdropping, exactly?), but by george I made it. Possibly aided by how fetching Young Ducky is, now 2x hotter thanks to devotion to his kid brother, ready to dump his career to raise him at a moment's notice because "Nicholas is my life." I was pretty addicted to those OTT adorable flashbacks.

But also, why would you do that to me, show? That is the most heartbreaking thing ever, and I don't think that even your Miraculous 4-Part Gift Reveal (which was pretty great indeed) was enough to make up for that. You realize you just asked me to accept DECADES of Ducky looking desperately all over the world before feeling like he'd failed Nicholas, who died too young, and you also asked me to accept this child being UTTERLY HEARTBROKEN before accepting his brother couldn't find him? And/or possibly going through a resentful period assuming he'd given up?

I cannot dwell on Jake's heartbreaking sadness anymore (but I will. Forgive him, Ellie! Please forgive him! Or work on forgiving him? He is trying so hard to come back from the brink, and while I reckon he is probably not quite as sympathetic or heartbroken as Devastated Puppy Blaine Anderson, I've vicariously been to the other side, y'all. I want to see them earn reconciliation the way Glee never did. I also want to see him walk on eggshells around her family and her team, knowing that they'll pretend for her sake, but it will take them a long time to forget. Mostly, I want this franchise to stop declaring that literally no one ever can be an NCIS field agent who is also married).

But WTF even was that "it hasn't been working for a long time"? Jake literally just and correctly identified that the only reason your marriage has been in trouble was because you stopped communicating. I mean, and now the affair, but you're not putting all the blame on that so that's moot. YOU ARE NOT EVEN TRYING, ELLE, COME ON.

The team was way too casual about deducing she'd "dropped him," ugh. And then there was a very special knife stab at the end as Ellie says, "Come on, I'll take you [to see Nicholas]. I could use a happy ending."

WELL SO COULD I, BUT APPARENTLY AN OLD MAN WITH ALZHEIMER'S SOUNDED LIKE MORE FUN THAN PRETTY PEOPLE KISSING. This show is the literal worst at Christmas episodes. They did okay in 2013 but they haven't had an actual good one since '09, which I know not from memory but because I just scrolled through 4 blog pages of my archives to prove a point, you're welcome.
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Up next: Zoo tonight. It will probably be horrible to me just because now it knows it can. (But at the very least, I will stop spamming you with NCIS posts.)

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