This episode of NCIS had me alternately gasping and cheering. This show always does a fine job of honoring the military without being political, but we’ve only been shown the situation on the front lines a few times. I kind of appreciate that, because I don’t think my heart can take too many of these types of episodes.
Return to Me
Gibbs and Ziva are in Afghanistan on a mission to save Lt. Flores and the two schoolgirls who were captured while fleeing the school bombing. They quickly get news that the two girls were found by the roadside, tortured but alive. Tortured is right. When we see the girls emerge from the military transport, one has been doused in the eyes with hot grease and one has cigarette burns over 60% of her body. Because they wanted to go to school.
Ziva speaks with the girls and finds out that Gaby isn’t dead. Using the oil from their bare feet as a clue, the whereabouts of the hideout are determined and an extraction team goes in. Captain Quinn is killed in the line of duty, trying to save his Marine. I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time keeping a dry eye as Ziva stays with him and promises to tell his parents the whole story of his bravery.
Not Over Yet
The local woman who posed as a teacher to set up the bombing is captured in the raid, and she’s brought back to D.C. along with a brother who’s already in the States. Since they clearly won’t volunteer any information, Gibbs uses his unique brand of interrogation to find out that another brother is planting a bomb at a consortium of girls’ schools that’s meeting at the science museum. When the terrorist thinks he’s going to become a martyr by detonating the bomb, McGee jams the remote signal. Oops. When the bomb doesn’t go off, he calls Gibbs a coward for not shooting him. Big oops. Gibbs decks him, and I clap.
Gibbs reflects on Matteson, his boot camp friend (and I suspect, crush) way back when. Young Gibbs has a shy way about him, wanting to say things to her but never quite getting them out. When he finds out she’s being stationed in Okinawa while he’s scheduled for Pendleton, she tells him that she’ll always be around. When he finds out she perished in a plane crash on her new assignment, he’s visibly shaken. He’s not yet the stoic Gibbs we know now. When older Gibbs visits her grave at Arlington, it feels like the pain is still fresh for him.
Words Are Not Enough
I found myself more emotionally invested in this episode than most. Yes, I know it’s fiction. But you know what’s not fiction? The thousands of men and women in the Armed Forces who do the jobs that most of us wouldn’t go near. They’re the ones putting their lives on the line. Regardless of political persuasion, it’s difficult not to admire those who face a real threat of death every day. That goes for anyone in service, whether law enforcement, fire fighting or military. I never have to go to my office wondering if today is the day I don’t make it back. To those for whom it’s a real possibility, I say, ‘Thank you.’
(Image courtesy of CBS)