The folks in promotion over at CBS get a couple demerits this week for the misleading teasers. The various previews I saw kept mentioning "a connection to Gibbs' past." Now, that's some of the good stuff that I think a lot of fans are waiting for. If there was a connection in this episode, it was either very minor, or I completely missed it. If that connection was just Mike coming back again, then they horribly oversold it.
I was a little surprised to see Mike turning up again, especially under such strange circumstances. It worked well in regards to how the Gibbs/Franks dynamic has changed. When last we saw Mike in "Faking It," Gibbs more or less let him walk after committing murder. They still have a bond, but it was clear in the way that Gibbs shut Mike out of the investigation that things are different now. And knowing what we do about Mike, it made him a likely suspect when all those bodies turned up at Fast Flight.
I liked that the case wasn't just open and shut, as we sometimes see in the procedural shows. All the various layers to what Cpl. O'Neill was mixed up in were interesting. One thing didn't make a lot of sense though. Why was he packing henna powder in his pocket? In retrospect we can look back and say, oh, because of the girl. But even knowing that, it still makes no sense for him to be packing it around. A minor nitpick, but it seemed like such an unimportant detail. I did like the payoff at the end with the package being O'Neill's fiance and child.
Gibbs got more of the focus this week, as one would expect when Mike is involved. More Gibbs is always good, but my favorite part of the episode was a little Tony/Ziva moment. Ever since she found out about Jeanne, she has been riding Tony about it. When things changed between Tony and Jeanne though, she picked up on it right away. She even correctly guessed what the cause of the problem was. And as soon as she realized there was a problem her attitude changed. She went from ribbing and poking fun to being concerned. That little moment after Tony returned from the blowup with Jeanne where Ziva just asked, "Not good?" and Tony answered, "Not good." said a lot in four words. As hard as they are on each other, they really have become great friends over time. It was a nice moment, and the kind of thing that makes NCIS so good.
Speaking of Ziva, it was a nice touch to have her show up from her morning run wearing Roy's cap from "Dead Man Walking." She changed her workout route too. I don't think we are going to hear a lot more about that, but it is good attention to detail.
And of course we have to talk about Tony and Jeanne. He is now in the exact spot that he was worried about finding himself in. Her little quip while they were rock climbing, "How can I ever trust you again?" really highlights his problem. Does he come clean with her now and hope she understands? Can he even come clean, given the nature of the case? And most importantly, who is taking the photos, and for what purpose? I like to think that the cliffhanger ending of the episode means we'll be getting that answer really soon. But we have been down that road before with the photos taken from outside the window. Despite getting hit with a similar cliffhanger ending again, overall I would call this one another really good episode.