Who will lead the team after Gibbs?
In the next first episode Gibbs move to Alaska, the question of who will lead the team is very important. And while the hour ends without an explicit answer, the future is pretty darn clear.
Parker drops a bombshell on the team when he announces that Vance has offered him Gibbs’ spot, though he claims he doesn’t want it. He eventually agrees to follow the team as long as it doesn’t interfere with his tickets to the Simon & Garfunkel reunion show that night. However, he is (naturally) addicted when the ME van containing this week’s victim explodes.
During the autopsy, Ducky assists Palmer, who sprained his wrist while blowing up a bouncy castle. They learn that the explosive was in Petty Officer James Bolton’s system, and the working theory becomes that Bolton was a potential suicide bomber who died too soon when the compound infiltrated his system.
Kasie links Bolton to a dark web e-commerce site where he sells ransomware attacks, corporate hacking, and other computer crimes. Since Bolton had access to the server room running the Army’s Global Satellite Network, SecNav and the USMC General order Parker to lead the Emergency Task Force to stop any future attack from the surviving partner of Bolton.
The NCIS the theme plays softly in the background as Parker tells the team that they are the best band possible to do this job. Then he said gravely, “The only question I have is, do you ever go to the bathroom?” Ha!
In the men’s bathroom, Parker asks McGee why he quit Gibbs’ job. Despite the awkward location of this particular conversation (Tim suggests a stopped elevator next time – double ha!), McGee says it’s too much paperwork, too many hours and not enough fieldwork.
Torres, who is already frustrated that Gibbs has given Parker his blessing as the new leader, forces McGee to open up about his real reason: McGee doesn’t want to be the guy who has to shoot his colleagues to keep them safe or get lost in work. And you know what? Good for McGee for setting boundaries for himself and his family.
Kasie also sets limits, informing Parker that in the future he will shoot people with knives in the neck rather than negotiating with them.
The best conversation of the night, however, happens during the autopsy. Palmer begs Ducky to stay and continue working with him; Over the past year, he’s lost his wife, Bishop and Gibbs, and he doesn’t want to say goodbye to Ducky either.
But Ducky kindly reminds him (and us!) That change is needed, especially for Gibbs. “Our pain is a small price to pay for his peace.” And between that and McGee’s insistence on Torres that Gibbs is as happy as he’s ever seen him, it mostly satisfies the team about Gibbs’ retirement in the north.
I always say Palmer deserved his own farewell to Gibbs, however.
Okay, let’s get back to the case. Kasie finds out that Bolton has won a lot in the lottery recently, but that he used someone else to claim his winnings, and when they bring the woman in, she says Bolton hacked the lottery for the money, not to finance terrorist activities.
Bolton’s laptop reveals a possible second recruit: Royman Beesbo, a hapless nerd with an impressive man cave who recently survived a heart attack.
Beesbo, a federal stenographer authorized to take classified depositions in sealed cases, says Bolton was the cable operator who replaced his router some time ago. He also says he later paid Bolton to hack security cameras to help him find a woman he met at a bus stop named Helen.
This is when all the evidence begins to come together. Bolton’s autopsy shows surgical stitches, anesthesia, and a pacemaker battery, and Parker realizes that Beesbo just had his pacemaker battery replaced. He pushes the man to an autopsy to get an x-ray.
Sure enough, there is an explosive in Beesbo’s pacemaker leaking the compound just like Bolton’s. Without having time to wait for the demining team, Palmer abandons his wrist splint to operate, Parker refusing to leave Beesbo.
It turns out that Beesbo was the stenographer tasked with taking depositions in the trial of a Mafia leader where four other witnesses had already disappeared. The kingpin people hired Bolton to get closer to Beesbo, then they tested the explosive on Bolton before forcing Beesbo’s medic to implant the explosive in the stenographer’s chest.
Parker, meanwhile, composed the concert in order to observe the team in action without them caring. (He’s more of a Bowie guy anyway.) He won’t tell Vance who advised him to do this, but I guess it rhymes with Schmeroy Schmethro Schmibbs.
Then “Changesplays as Parker stands on the upper level looking at the large orange room, with the rest of the team nearby as Beesbo meets the elusive Helen, a service member giving Torres an update. She happily gives his number to Beesbo, and I’m going to assume they both live happily ever after.
Parker memorably brought scones to a military briefing at the time and refers to zombie-ish Bolton as “the night king.” I already love it.
I served with Frank Abagnale. I knew Frank Abagnale. Frank Abagnale was a friend of mine. NCO Bolton, you are not Frank Abagnale. (And by that, I mean, comparing a deceased victim to a notoriously charming con artist played by Leonardo DiCaprio in his prime, it’s kind of a stretch.)
Welp, we are without Gibbs. McGee told the team to take their gear, and Parker is clearly committed to leading the team. How do we feel about this, folks? Does it help at all that we still have Gibbs’ name in the opening credits?
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