Original Air Date: May 10, 2011
Maria – Sr. Reviewer
It’s the first part of the finale, and it’s a powerful one. We open on a sad scene. It is pouring down with rain. Gibbs is standing, soaking, and there’s blood on his hoodie. Ducky and Palmer load a body into the van. It’s Mike Frank’s body. Gibbs’ mentor is dead!
Even though Franks is dead, he’s still there, inside Gibbs’ head and so is the audience. It’s a very clever device. Mike Franks doesn’t know who EJ Barrett and her team are, so Gibbs has to brief him, taking him back in time to tell the story from the start (ish). Also, thanks to Mike’s insistence, we get to skip the boring parts of being an NCIS Agent, like reading. We also get Mike asking how on Earth he is supposed to remember all the names that crop up on a case. (I don’t. That’s why I have to watch the episode twice, just to catch the names.)
We finally learn whose eyeball was placed in Tony’s drink all those episodes ago (not that long ago, but it feels like it): Trent Kort, the British, CIA spy. And he’s still alive! He explains that his eyeball opens up MTAC because he wanted to prove he could get access to anywhere, in response to our NCIS team once shutting him out of such a door. It’s an in-character and somewhat amusing explanation that satisfies me. And Kort goes one further. He knows the identity of the Port to Port killer, too!!!
It’s at this point in the story that Gibbs actually called his mentor, and Franks comes to join the story line and not just be a very entertaining voice in Gibbs head. Well, now there’s Kort asking all the questions the audience want to ask, like pointing out Vance’s behaviour and asking about EJ whilst being supercool and snarky at the same time.
Oh, of course it’s Kerr Smith. Well, Lieutenant Jonas Cobb as played by Kerr Smith. You know, the Dawson Creek actor who then turned to killer roles. I know him most as the 333 killer from CSI:NY. Oh, and Cobb has been inside the NCIS building, and he’s responsible for Gibbs’ glasses going missing last episode. Huh.
It makes sense that Trent Kort had kept quiet about Cobb because he helped to make him the man he is today. Cobb was put through a series of inhumane tasks as part of a trial. I can’t actually remember why. Kort gave a detailed and long briefing as to the nature and the reason, but all my brain could think is how stupid the whole thing is. I never understood the whole “push your own men to breaking point” mentality because it could back-fire in the worst way. Oh, I remember the initial reason now! He was turning servicemen into CIA assassins. But now he’s assassinating innocent people.
Later, Mike Franks goes to Gibbs’ basement where the two have a normal chat and then Franks leaves. Neither of them were to know that it’s was the last conversation they’d ever have with each other. Franks noticed Cobb outside Gibbs’ apartment and decided to confront him. We already know how it ends, but at least Mike went out fighting.
I absolutely love this show for how it treats the death of a loved character. Even Ziva, Ziva the ex-Mossad Agent who is as tough as nails, has to excuse herself on the brink of tears. Tony follows her and they have an emotional heart-to-heart in the elevator. I laughed and cried a little when the elevator opens up and we see Abby and McGee hugging. Tony doesn’t mock them, he doesn’t act like he’s caught out for comforting Ziva, he just tells them to “bring it in” and they have a group hug. It warms my heart.
There’s still time left for one more twist though, maybe two. We know by now that Cobb is a primal killer who makes a mockery of rank by dressing his kills in uniforms above the victim’s position. Franks’ death was different from Cobb’s usual MO because he didn’t plan it. He wasn’t at Gibbs’ house to kill, he was there to study. Cobb sympathises with Gibbs because EJ was chosen over him. EJ is the target.
The bait has already been set because a woman reportedly gave NCIS a few sketchy photos of the killer. McGee was able to track down the address they were sent from. EJ picks up her team and goes there, to be greeted by the killer. EJ’s team is shot so she continues solo. The killer catches up to her and then… we have to wait until next week to find out.
There is so much about this episode that I love. Obviously, I don’t love the fact that Mike Franks died but I love the way it was handled. The episode title revolves around him. The mute swan was supposed to be silent until its dying moment when it performed a beautiful song. The truth is that the swan isn’t mute and can hiss. It also doesn’t sing upon its death. The myth was probably what Mike was going for. The reality is often sadly different.
I love the fact that the whole Vance and Gibbs issue is finally called out. Vance has pulled back on their friendship so he can do the job better, but because of the lack of communication they had when they were closer, Gibbs never knew that Vance wasn’t given a choice in taking on EJ.
As for EJ, I don’t really care for her character but the build-up is so intense that I still can’t wait to see what happens to her. I’m disappointed her team got hit (I love Levin and Cade) because I would have liked to have seen more of them so it would have had more impact, but that’s just my TwoCents. I am so excited for the finale and not just for the fact we’ll get to see CIRay (played by the gorgeous Enrique Murciano) again.
How do you feel about Mike Franks’ death? Did you guess who the eyeball belonged to? How excited are you for the finale? Please, click reply and share your TwoCents on the episode or feel free to chat about it over on my Twitter @MariaTV101.