NCIS brought back Special Agent Abigail Borlin (Diane Neal) last week when the team worked with the Coast Guard on a case. The team also suffered pranks at the hands of an unknown Halloween prankster. Perhaps Gibbs was behind the Halloween tricks?

This week’s episode of NCIS, titled “Better Angels,” finds Gibbs leaving the team mid-case to help his father.

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Jackson in Jail

The show opens with the team investigating the murder of Marine Sergeant Michael Dawson, who was shot and killed during a robbery in a men’s store. Gibbs takes a phone call from the Howard County Police Department. It seems that Jackson Gibbs (Ralph Waite) is in custody. Gibbs leaves Tony and McGee to assist his father. Tony theorizes that Gibbs’ father was busted for either trying to buy an exotic pet or spending time with a prostitute.

 McGee and Tony bicker over the fact that McGee ate Tony’s yogurt all week, and the fact that Tony doesn’t deserve any yogurt because he makes fun of people all the time.

Tony then puts a box of files on McGee’s desk from the police station regarding other robberies in the area. Tony would like McGee to go through them. McGee would like Tony to act as if they are working together, but Tony dispels that notion with one word — “Probie.”

War Memories

Jackson Gibbs is taken into custody because of his poor eye sight while driving. Jackson tells his son that he hit a parked car while on his way to pick him up. Gibbs is surprised when his father states that he needs to see an old war buddy in North Carolina. Jackson flashes back to a memory of flying in a fighter plane. Walter Beck, Jackson’s buddy, is dying, and he reminds Gibbs of a story that he told him about this particular pilot. When his father begs him to go and meet Beck, Gibbs agrees.

Abby’s Invention

Abby compiles recordings of Gibbs’ favorite sayings and packages them all neatly in a box so that his recordings will be preserved. When Gibbs calls Tony, McGee calls on the other line. When Gibbs tells Tony to patch him through, McGee sarcastically calls Tony “Boss,” and Gibbs answers. Hilarious!

McGee finds similarities between Dawson’s murder and other robberies and creates an algorithm to find links between the cases. Gibbs is so pleased that he tells McGee that he has point on the case until his return. Tony is not amused.

Mists of the Past

Jackson flashes back again to the past, recalling being in the plane, without ammunition or a functioning compass. Beck saved Jackson by leading him in the right direction. Gibbs brings Jackson to his favorite diner and tries to persuade him to eat something. Jackson shows him a note from his war buddy saying that he did not have much longer to live, and that he was heading to “the blue sky.” Gibbs is starting to confront the fact that his father is getting older. When they arrive at Beck’s house, no one is home.

Tony meets with the victim’s mother and discovers that his mother did not know that he was on leave, and that the only time he did not contact her was when he was involved in an operation. After doing some additional investigating, Tony discovers that Dawson was being followed by an SUV, and that his death was not the result of a random robbery, but a hit. Since McGee’s algorithm failed, this investigative duo agree to be “co-point.”

Breaking the Code

Dawson was a mechanic, but was working for the Defense Clandestine Service, and his work was classified. His boss at DCS, Karen Fox, speculates that Dawson’s past problem with drugs could have resurfaced. Abby refutes this as Dawson’s toxicology results are clean.
Abby also figures out that Dawson was recruited because he spoke Jalaa, a nearly extinct language in Nigeria. Abby finds out from Delilah at the DOD that a terror cell was using Jalaa, and Dawson was breaking their code. 

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Where is Walter Beck?

When Gibbs finds out that the DCS is hiding something about Dawson’s death, he wants to head back to NCIS. Jackson finds out that his friend was taken away by ambulance that morning. When Gibbs refuses his dad’s request to find Beck, his father demands to go home.
Back at the diner, Gibbs meets up with Tony and McGee and orders them to go to the DCS and read their report.

How to Be a Good Son

McGee has been researching Walter Beck for Gibbs, and there is no record of Beck being at any hospitals or morgues. There is also no record of anyone named Beck serving with Jackson. At the morgue, Gibbs and Ducky discuss how painful it is to watch a parent age. Gibbs doesn’t know how to handle the fact that his father has lied about important things. Ducky urges him to keep trying to talk with his dad.

When Gibbs tells Jackson that he knows there was no Walter Beck in his squadron, Jackson once again visits the past. He tells his son that Walter was German, and that he moved here after the war. Gibbs is furious that his father never mentioned that Beck was German, and Jackson points out that even though they were enemies, they were both pilots, and brothers. Beck wants to see the one man he saved instead of the many that he killed.

A Different Motive

Dawson was able to break the terrorist’s Jalaa code and stop at least two possible terrorist attacks. So the DCS has no motive for wanting Dawson dead. The team realizes that only one person ever called Dawson at work besides his mother, and that man is Aaron Connolly. He got a DUI while driving the same model SUV that was following Dawson.

When they go to Connolly’s apartment, he attacks McGee. Dawson was Connolly’s sponsor, and when Connolly showed up to see Dawson while on drugs, Dawson went off to confront the dealer, who just happens to own the clothing store. McGee and Tony find heroin at the clothing store along with the murder weapon. They cart away the criminal. So long, Mr. Spiffy!

The Blue Sky

Abby is able to decipher some clues in Beck’s letter and realizes that he was taken to the Blue Sky Hospice. She gives Gibbs the magical box of his sayings to give to his dad. Gibbs asks his father to move in with him, but the elder Gibbs refuses.

Finally, the war buddies are reunited, and Jackson tells Beck that by saving his life, he made his son, and all the good work that Jethro does, possible. Jackson and Gibbs share an emotional moment when the father calls his son “the best person I know.” This NCIS episode is very moving and memorable.

NCIS airs Tuesdays at 8pm on CBS.

(Image courtesy of CBS)

Kim Stempel

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Kim has been covering television entertainment since 2013. She is addicted to Real Housewives, Pump Rules, Dancing with the Stars, and many more shows.