During the previous episode of NCIS, we saw Tony’s father visit and break the news to his son that he was, once again, getting married. Tony was taken aback that his father was marrying his mother’s best friend, Linda. After seeking Gibbs’ sage advice, Tony gave his blessing.
In this week’s episode of NCIS, “Rock and a Hard Place,” sees the team investigating an explosion at a military charity concert, as Palmer gets ready to welcome a baby to his family.
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We begin with a sailor backstage during the setup of a charity concert for The Hero Comfort Foundation. Earl, the janitor, gives the sailor a vintage guitar to try. They plug the guitar in, and there is a terrible explosion.
Back at headquarters, Tony is on the phone with his dad, who thinks that his son should be helping to plan his nuptials. A wedding planned by Tony — now, that is a wedding I would love to attend! As Tony tells his father that he would be pleased to plan the wedding, he is cut off when his father hangs up before Tony can list the reasons why he won’t plan the wedding. Hilarious!
Tony attempts to drag Bishop in to help, but McGee comes to the rescue and shows Tony his favorite wedding planning sites, as hiring a wedding planner is too expensive. As Tony and McGee discuss the merits of napkin folding, Gibbs sneaks up behind them like a ninja.
The Big Bang
At the convention center, the fire chief isn’t sure what caused the explosion. Ducky and Palmer arrive and examine the two victims. Earl Greaves is the custodian, and the sailor’s name is Petty Officer Damien Hunter. Vivian Sutton, who runs the local HCF foundation, arrives along with the concert coordinator, Luke Pischedda. Hunter was a volunteer for the charity concert that is planned for the next night. Although they can’t use the venue because of the explosion, the show must go on.
McGee has news from the fire chief. The cause of the explosion is a warhead from a World War II torpedo. The bomb, which was inside a torpedo shell that was used as a decoration, was set to go off at midnight, but Abby discovers that it went off early from a vibration.
Practice Makes Perfect
The room was used as a dressing room for one of the performers for the concert, Manheim Gold. who used to open for bands in the ’80s and missed rehearsal. Bishop and McGee head to his day job at a dry cleaner. They find a cramped room upstairs that looks like it was ransacked.
In autopsy, Palmer is attempting to diaper a fake baby efficiently under Ducky’s tutelage. The birth mother is due at any time, and Gibbs congratulates Palmer. Both of the victims died from trauma caused by the explosion. Before leaving, Gibbs advises Palmer to get more burp clothes.
Rock and Roll All Night
Tony picks up Gold at the drunk tank, and Gibbs finds him sleeping on the table and is not amused. Gold is surprised to learn that two people died in his dressing room. He also remarks that his room was not tossed, it is just not very tidy. Gold has a lot of enemies from his days when he was a drunk, but he had been sober for 15 years until the last few days. He couldn’t afford to get his car’s brakes fixed, and then he hit a telephone pole. It is starting to look like someone really wants Gold dead.
Comeback Time, Baby!
The conversation is interrupted when Gold’s agent, Bobby, runs into the room and tells him not to say anything. When he is shown pictures of the bomb site, he is actually thrilled because he thinks that the publicity will help his client mount a comeback. Gibbs tells the agent that his client is not performing in the show, which has been moved to the Pax River Navy Base.
It’s protective custody time for Gold, and Tony and McGee are less than thrilled. Gold tells them that Bobby saw a video of one of his old performances and booked him on this tour. He also hands over a photo album with pictures of people that he has wronged, and who may want him dead, including his first band, his ex-wives and his first agent, Ronnie Mustard. Mustard died in the 1980s, so he is not a suspect. Gold tells McGee and Tony that a weird man keeps bringing in a suit to be cleaned, even though it hasn’t been worn.
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Operation Baby Seat
McGee heads to the garage at NCIS and sees Bishop, Palmer and Ducky attempting to install a child seat. I love it! Abby rescues McGee and, for her efforts, is rewarded with the mystery suit and must try and find DNA on it to identify the owner. Abby has also discovered that someone put a hole in Gold’s brake line.
Meanwhile, Tony runs down the list of suspects, and many are deceased. The team receives some bad news as the hotel lost the reservation for Gold, and all the approved hotels are booked because of a convention. Bishop and McGee quickly come up with reasons why Gold can’t stay at their house. It looks like Tony is the lucky winner of a washed-up rocker!
Tony Has Rules
Tony gives Gold a document to sign which lists the rules of Tony’s humble abode. Gold spies Tony’s guitar and agrees to sign the paper if Tony will play something. Before Tony can perform, Gold’s agent shows up because Gold texted him his location. Gold has a new gig booked for that night, and a reluctant Tony accompanies him to the show. Tony is not an ’80s fan, so he is not loving the vibe at the club. Right before he is due to take the stage, Gold wants to leave because he hasn’t performed in public for decades.
Abby gets some DNA from the suit, and sends Tony a picture of the man. It turns out that the same man is sitting at the bar. The young man bolts and Tony tackles him. When Gold asks him why he is following him, the man states that Gold is his father.
Gibbs sits down with the suspect while Gold and Tony observe the interview. Tony lets Gold know that he is, indeed, the man’s father. During an awkward conversation, Tony and Gold find out that Denny found him through his agent — Ronnie Mustard.
McGee confirms that Mustard is indeed alive and living in Maryland. Gold confides to Tony that he helped spread the rumor about Mustard’s death so that he could hide from a nasty loan shark. After rehab, Gold forgot that his agent was still among the living.
Gibbs sends Bishop and McGee to chat with Mustard. A frantic Palmer sprints into the room because he has gotten the call that the birth mother is finally in labor.
Tony receives a call from his building manager complaining about the noise level in his apartment. He races to his apartment and finds a rocking party. He furiously threatens to shoot people who don’t leave in an orderly fashion, and scolds the young agent who was babysitting Gold. Tony is further disturbed by the sounds of Gold’s son vomiting in the bathroom. Gold offers to clean up the mess, and makes a remark about the first dressing room they had him in for the HCF concert.
Bishop and McGee find Mustard, and he tries to run. Bishop grabs him and earns McGee’s admiration. Mustard tells McGee that he started receiving Gold’s overseas royalties when the musician went into rehab, and Mustard was living off the payments. He also tried to kill Gold, but denies planting a bomb.
The Pax River Heist
Gold asked to have his dressing room changed two days before the concert, which means that he wasn’t the target. Gold’s second dressing room was a prop storage room, but the concert coordinator neglected to share this information. Abby is able to pull a partial print from the bomb, and the bomber is Luke Pischedda. The team thinks that he did this to move the concert to the navy base.
Tony is at the base with Gold when Gibbs calls. He orders Tony to find Pischedda, and find out what he wants. McGee looks into Pischedda’s background and discovers that he used to work for a private military company that was responsible for transporting cash to Iraq for reconstruction. Millions of dollars went missing, and it was sent out of Pax River. Pischedda hid some of that money on the base, and plans to use the concert as a cover to get it out.
Tony is tasked with getting Gold onstage, and goes on to warm up the crowd. Gibbs shuts down the power and hears a jackhammer. He and Bishop catch Pischedda and his men trying to dig up the money.
A Worthwhile Fight
A heartbroken Palmer goes to the lab and tells Abby that the birth mother changed her mind. Abby comforts him with a hug as he cries. Gibbs goes to the garage and finds Palmer getting ready to return the baby gifts. Gibbs urges him to fight for his family and his dream of fatherhood. He silently helps him put the gifts back into the car.
I loved this episode of NCIS, particularly the humor and the emotional moments with Palmer’s grief over losing the baby.
NCIS airs Tuesdays at 8pm on CBS.
(Image courtesy of CBS)