There wasn't a lot of mystery surrounding the whodunit this week. Most people probably fingered Grady (Nemec) from the moment he showed up at the cemetery with the flowers. While the who wasn't really a big question, the why was much more interesting, and that little twist at the end came as a bit of a surprise. When Natalie Dalton (Alexandra Lydon, 24) put on her little performance in the interrogation room, followed by Grady's confession, I bought it. I didn't suspect that she was in on it until Gibbs and Mann walked up to the van.
Is it just me or was that one of the more grisly episodes of NCIS? The oatmeal like human remains seeping out of the tombs combined with the mostly fleshless skeletons were pretty disturbing. Or, as Tony put it, "That is truly appalling." Cute little Dalton covered in blood chopping up a body didn't help either. We've seen some pretty bad stuff over the years, but for some reason this one wigged me out more than most. It was a nice callback to season two's "The Meat Puzzle" though.
It's interesting, I get the sense that Col. Mann (Susanna Thompson) has taken on a bit of the Jeanne Benoit role with fans. For various reasons, some fans just don't like the character, so that little hint that Shepard floated about Mann possibly coming to work for NCIS might not go over so well with everyone. I like her, especially her chemistry with Gibbs. I don't think I would want her joining the team full time though. If I had my NCIS wish, I wouldn't mind Shepard stepping down after finally getting The Frog at the end of this season, with Mann taking over her job. I prefer Gibbs/Mann tension to Gibbs/Shepard tension. The scene at the cemetery where they were talking about the case and the relationship all at the same time was very well done.
Seeing a different side of Abby was nice. And I liked that they tied up that loose end with from "Smoked" with her romance with Marty. Since the death of Michael Gilden in December, I was wondering if they would come back to that story, or just let it fall by the wayside. I thought this was a nice way to do it, giving closure to the story and offering an opportunity for Pauley Perrette to do something different. Both her scene with Gibbs, and with Ziva were very good. The Gibbs/Abby father/daughter dynamic is great. I loved the little "You always know what to say." bit at the end.
The conversation between Ziva and Abby offered some closure on last week's story. I wasn't clear on what the fate of Sanders was, and now we know. It was well played as the bouncing back Abby hugged Ziva and she looked so uncomfortable. As uncomfortable as that embrace was, their relationship certainly has grown a lot since Ziva first showed up.
Not much progress on the big Tony story this week. Although, I did enjoy Ziva and McGee pestering him about his girlfriend. Along with Tony quickly turning things back to McGee's book. That is just going to haunt their relationship forever now. I expect we'll get in the thick of the Jeanne story very soon, only six or seven episodes left. A fun piece of trivia, Brian Markinson, who played Sgt. Trask also worked with Michael Weatherly on Dark Angel where he was Dr. Carr.
Finally, one more nugget to file away in your NCIS trivia bin, Abby's screen name for chat is Abbsolute. Overall, a really good episode. I'm eager to get back to the big arc story, but this was a fun installment.