Review: NCIS - Faith
by Allison Waldman, posted Dec 16th 2009 1:50AM
(S07E10) NCIS Christmas. Is that an oxymoron? No, not really, although the death of a Muslim Marine is a bit of a downer. Presumably they had to have some case for the crew to work on, but all things considered, it wasn't much of a mystery and the show could have been just as good without it.
The real crux of the episode was the surprise visit by Gibbs' father. Ralph Waite was back as Mark Harmon's dad, and you have to like the casting. He's not only a good actor, he actually looks like Harmon and has a similar taciturn quality.
The death of the Marine related to his conversion to Islam, a fact that was seen by his Reverend father as an act of rebellion. The appearance of Corey Reynolds -- from The Closer -- as a Muslim Naval chaplin lent authority. I just half-expected him to start dealing with the forensics like he was on the job with Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson.
In pursuit of the killer, Ziva and Tony encountered some bigots in a bar. "Red throats," Ziva called them. "Rednecks," Tony corrected. The fight scene felt obligatory. It would have been a surprise if Ziva had not kicked their asses all over the joint.
A better development was Gibbs making toys for the childrens' hospital in his basement. The handcrafted boats were cool, but toys are more practical and a good use of the Christmas theme. Getting his father to work on the project also got him out of the NCIS offices, which was Gibbs' idea in the first place.
It took a while to get to the truth of what really prompted Papa Gibbs' visit. He thought Jethro understood how to deal with death on the job, like he had the secret and might share it with his father. In typical Jethro fashion, he revealed there is no easy way to deal with taking a life. "It's not supposed to be easy."
The subtext between father and son also revealed a relationship that's not easy now and probably never was. They may both want to communicate, but that doesn't mean they do. Jethro is probably closer to Mike than his own father.
Other points of interest
-- Abby the good was once again doing a kindness for a friend. In this case, enlisting McGee to get a kid to see his mother via MTEC. It was hokey, but emotional nonetheless.
-- Ducky's analysis of Jethro's father was spot on. I was very relieved that he wasn't showing signs of Alzheimer's.
-- I would have rather seen Tony give Dolores the Fruit of the Month club membership. I didn't believe he would go into her personal file or that it would have revealed her not getting a gift as a child. This whole subplot felt very forced. The whole Secret Santa thing is overdone on TV these days.
-- The opening of the show in the frigid snow looked real, like it wasn't written for the show but the show was filming and it came down so they had to use it.
[Watch clips and episodes of NCIS at SlashControl.]