The vow "'Til death do us part" takes on a special meaning for the NCIS team in this episode. With Palmer's wedding on the horizon and a vengeful father on the loose, there's no telling how things will turn out.
The Puzzle Starts Coming Together
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We immediately learn that Vance is safe, albeit drugged in a mausoleum. A little investigation along with a spark of memory from Gibbs reveals that Dearing's son was transferred to the ill-fated ship as a result of his misconduct on his original assignment. Dearing blames the Navy for reassigning his son to the doomed ship, so he's exposing their weaknesses before pursuing a more personal revenge. Wedding Bell Blues
As his wedding day nears, Palmer contemplates canceling the wedding because his fellow team members clearly won't be able to make it. After Ducky vows to be at the event and admonishes Palmer not to postpone, the Autopsy Gremlin grudgingly agrees to go through with his original plans. Abby's crushed by the realization that she won't get to go, and Tony and Ziva muse about what they'll be missing. Then Tony, McGee and Ziva send Palmer off to his destination wedding with good wishes and gifts that all have a decidedly baby theme running through them. Decisions Define the Person
After getting freaked out that her convict ex-husband is being released from jail thanks to Dearing's payoff, Dr. Ryan decides to take Parker and skip town. Dearing already followed her son to his music school and with a violent ex on the loose, she's not about to rely on Gibbs or anyone else to protect her. It's not surprising to me that the brain gamer is the most psychologically fragile person on this case. It doesn't seem to take a lot to rattle her cage, and this one-two punch sends her over the edge. She says goodbye to Gibbs and I can't say I'm sad to see the character go.
A surprisingly mature Palmer convinces Breena to get married quickly so he can get back to his NCIS family and help them. After he delivers a heartfelt speech about how they're working hard so people like he and Breena can have luxuries like a wedding, how can Breena say no? She says that sentiments like that are why she wants to marry him, and agrees to the expedited ceremony. After seeing Palmer so mature and convicted, I think I might have another NCIS crush starting.Blast from the Past
With Dr. Ryan out of the picture, Cole is enlisted to run a sting on Dearing. The team figures out that Dearing's intent wasn't to harm the Director - he wanted access to Vance's car. Gibbs orders the building evacuated since Vance's care is literally right outside the door. Cole volunteers to disarm the bomb since that was his area of specialty when he was in the service. After tearing the car apart, Cole and Gibbs find the bomb just as Gibbs spies a clueless Abby in her lab. Gibbs leaves Cole to deal with the bomb while he goes in to rescue Abby. A few moments later, the cell phone attached to the bomb rings and it blows. We see Tony and Ziva trapped in the elevator, McGee blown back from a window, and Gibbs diving on top of Abby as her lab windows blow.
We close with Ducky on a beach, getting a phone call. He tells the caller that he's on his way and to not move any of the deceased. The good doctor clutches his right arm and collapses into the water, presumably from a heart attack. And...fade out until season 10.
Who (if anyone) will perish in the blast? We already know Cole's a goner. Ducky can't die of his heart attack because David MacCallum just signed on for two more years, and I doubt they'll keep Ducky around as a ghost. Although, Dr. Mallard's heart attack happened just as Jimmy seemed to be coming into his own, so maybe they're setting the stage for a new medical examiner. And let's not forget about the other team members trapped in the building. Is this ending an incentive for the stragglers to renew their contracts, or find out their characters are killed off come fall? I'll be watching to find out.Crystal WatersContributing Writer(Image courtesy of CBS)