Many things happened this week, but first: Gibbs’ new look. Do you love it? Hate it? Love to hate it? Hate to love it? Take a moment to discuss.
Now, when a man as set in his ways as Leroy Jethro Gibbs embraces a stylish new haircut and snazzy blazer, it has to herald more than mere physical alterations. So this week, we are all McGee and Bishop, staring at a side-by-side photo comparison of Gibbs to see what other changes are brewing.
DiNozzo, the team member with the most concern in his eyes when he looks at his boss, isn’t surprised by any of this.
“He got shot; he came back; he’s different. Who wouldn’t be?” he asks.
It’s a question that dogs the team as they tackle the case of missing Marine Cole Gleason, a spanking new recruit in the drug-running operation of Benson Long. The team is pulled into the case by Mitch (John Gabriel), a DEA agent from San Diego.
Unfortunately, the missing Gleason turns up dead in an abandoned school that had been the site of a recent rave. (Did you know that raves are no longer parties with thumping music and glowing pacifiers but are now pop-up drug shops? Neat!)
However, there’s more to this story. Remember last week when dream-Kelly told Gibbs that he needed to turn away from the past and toward the future? That’s not so easy in this episode, as Tony catches Gibbs in the Elevator of Schemes and Secrets to tell him that he knows who Mitch is: Luis Mitchell, the son of Kurt Mitchell, the agent who died trying to protect Gibbs’ family. Worse, Long, the drug-runner Mitch has been chasing for two years, is the cartel member who ordered the murder of Gibbs’ wife and child and caused the death of Mitch’s father.
So, uh, good luck putting the past behind you this week, Gibbs.
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But it seems the whole team is set on remembering times gone by. Mitch tells Gibbs that he and his mother have never been able to bring themselves to spread Kurt’s ashes in the Pacific Ocean, as he’d requested. Gibbs in turn tells Mitch that he doesn’t forget his debts, promising, “I owe you.”
Ducky gets in on the action, too, discussing how his heart attack forced him to view life differently and telling Gibbs that the fact that he’s doing the same thing isn’t the problem; it’s that he’s not giving his team (read: Tony) enough time to adjust.
Heck, even McGee gets caught up in the past, taking an immediate dislike to Mitch for being super cool and reminding McGee of his less-than-awesome high school years. (This is mostly because Mitch calls McGee “buddy” within seconds of meeting him. “It bugs me,” Tim complains. Clearly, Mitch is a monster.)
Actually, Gibbs does well rising about the temptation to wallow in the past this week. As his team struggles to find evidence connecting Long to the dead Gleason, Gibbs works to keep Mitch’s need for revenge in check.
DiNozzo’s concerned, too, and he approaches Gibbs with Terminator-style single-mindedness to be sure neither he nor Mitch is embarking on a personal vendetta against Long. Gibbs’ assurances that it’s all above-board crumble with DiNozzo tells him that the team just pinged Mitch’s phone at Long’s place.
NEXT: Gibbs goes back home