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'NCIS' recap: Poorly equipped

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There may not have been a bomb or international baddie being tracked down in this week’s episode of NCIS, but there were certainly lives on the line.

The team found themselves on a case that had them investigating the source of faulty body armor that was being sent to servicemen and women overseas by well-meaning loved ones, who were worried that the troops weren’t being properly equipped. The problem with this good intentioned act was that the non-sanctioned equipment the troops were receiving was not only ineffective but dangerous. When hit by powerful weapons, the ceramic plates inside these vests would burst and the shards would embed themselves in the flesh of the victims. In other words, there was double the danger to those being shot at. 

In the process of gathering more information on the vests, which they later tracked back to a company run by a woman who ran a popular gun show, McGee and Gibbs got to know a marine sergeant named Freddie Linn, who had received one of the vests from his mother only to be paralyzed as a result of its ineffectiveness. Aside from being helpful in the investigation, McGee found himself touched by Linn’s positive spirit — and skydiving skills. McGee had admitted earlier in the episode that he was having trouble getting Delilah back to her old self and we were also given the sense that McGee himself wasn’t entirely sure how to act around her. (I cringed when poor Tim tried to awkwardly participate in the game Delilah had been playing with Tony.) But what Linn reminded McGee was that there was no way to get back to how life was pre-paralyzation, you can only move forward with courage and hope. By the hour’s end, McGee had introduced Delilah to Linn, and she seemed touched by the gesture. And McGee also seemed on his way to his first skydiving experience. I hope we get confirmation of that later.

Meanwhile, Bishop spent the episode getting used to the duties and responsibilities of being a “probie,” a status she earned in the last new episode. While she was fine the the responsibilities — like find-tuning her skills in hand-to-hand combat — it was the less-than-desirable grnt duties that left her crinkling her nose. Hey, you would, too, if you were asked to go through buckets of human waste in search of contraband. In the end, though, the lesson regarding the importance of proper equipment came back to Bishop, when a bulletproof vest (a working one) saved her life. The incident in question took place after the team attempted to confront Fay Gussman, the woman who ran the gun show and who owned the company that supplied the materials for the vests. After she saw them pulling up, she took cover in her trailer and opened fire, striking Bishop in the process and also getting killed after attempting to cover herself with one of the faulty vests.

By the end of the episode, the team had recovered all the faulty equipment from the market and made sure that no military men and women in the field had them either.

In all, the hour was fairly by the numbers and far from the most action-packed we’ve seen this season, but McGee’s moments with Delilah made it a special one in my book. I hope more than ever that those two crazy kids will make it through what’s surely one of the most difficult times in their lives.

Best quote: “He was a disgusting slob who lived in his truck. I found his dirty clothes, his dirty mattress and his dirty, dirty porn.” — Bishop, re: truck driver who had been carrying the initial batch of unsanctioned equipment

Best moment: Palmer revealing to the team that he and his wife had been approved for adoption (and all of his subsequent anti-jinx efforts).

Best moment runner-up: