Three deaths and two births mark this year’s NCIS Thanksgiving episode, which opens with a modern-day quick draw.
When MI5 agent Nigel Ford tracks Serbian arms dealer Andre Yorka to a convenience store parking lot, both men draw their guns and fire. Ford manages to place a call to Jack before succumbing to his wound, while Yorka kills the henchman accompanying him and flees.
When the team arrives on the scene, Jack says she and Ford worked a special joint operation tracking Yorka. Ford got to town last week, and she was going to deliver the old Yorka case files to him that night. Thanks to a security camera shot, Jack can confirm that the shooter’s Yorka, and thanks to the blood trail, Gibbs can confirm that Yorka’s armed, wounded, and dangerous.
Then McGee gets a call that pulls him away from the scene: Abby and Delilah were having breakfast when Delilah’s water broke three weeks early. McGee races to the hospital, where a kindly security guard whisks him past the line and straight to Delilah’s room. He’s Morgan Cade (Dan Lauria), a retired park police officer who took the ER security job after the recent death of his wife.
He saw “that goth girl” come in with Delilah and was ready to swing into action to shower VIP treatment on “a fellow law enforcement officer” as soon as McGee arrived. Aww, their actual jobs are a million miles apart, but Morgan’s earnest excitement over teaming up with McGee is endearing. When McGee arrives on the maternity ward and panics because no one will let him see Delilah, Morgan assures him that it’ll all work out.
Back at HQ, the team studies up on Yorka, a shady operator who tends to hire local talent and then leaves them behind to take the fall when he skips town. He’s been banned from several countries, and Romania recently froze his assets. This leaves the team wondering what Yorka hired his now-dead henchman to do for him.
An emotional Jack watches over Ford’s body. She and Ford were really good friends, and they occasionally…well, you know. She tells Gibbs that Yorka’s a racist, misogynistic creep, and she wants to tear him up to avenge Ford’s death. Also, the henchman’s autopsy reveals the scent of plastic explosives on his hands, which is never good.
At the hospital, Delilah sends a nervous McGee to fetch grape soda, just to keep him occupied. When he hits the lobby, Morgan directs him to a soda machine, and en route, he spots none other than Andre Yorka in the ER waiting room with a gunshot wound to the leg. Um, what kind of crook goes to the hospital for a gunshot? Avoiding hospitals is Crime-Doing 101!
McGee sends Morgan to keep an eye on Yorka while he calls Gibbs. Unfortunately, Morgan’s super suspicious about it, and when Yorka tries to bolt, Morgan physically restrains him. Yorka pulls a gun and shoots poor overeager Morgan in the stomach
McGee draws his own gun, so Yorka grabs a terrified female hostage, prompting McGee to slide his gun over. McGee also calls Yorka by name, which means he now knows that law enforcement is onto him.
When NCIS arrives, Jack warns Bishop and McGee that Yorka needs to feel like he’s in control or he’ll start shooting. Gibbs orders her to stay hidden so she can listen and advise (and resist the urge to punch Yorka in the face), while he and Bishop head to the lobby “unarmed” in order to defuse the situation and learn where Yorka planted the bomb.
Gibbs and Bishop enter with their hands up, and Yorka sends the hostage to frisk them. Naturally, she finds multiple weapons. Meanwhile, Morgan continues to bleed from the gut shot.
Gibbs introduces them as NCIS and offers to trade themselves for Morgan and the hostage, but no dice. Yorka wants the bullet removed and safe passage out of the U.S. Then sweet, good-intentioned Morgan tells Yorka that McGee has two babies on the way. Gibbs and Bishop are all, “What’s he talking about, Willis?” but Yorka realizes that McGee will make a much more useful hostage since he likely wants to see the birth of his children.
Bishop’s dispatched to find a doctor to take care of Yorka, but everyone evacuated with the patients when the gunshots started. Now there’s one lone doctor taking care of the hospital’s critically ill patients, which means he can’t get involved in the hostage situation.
Upstairs, Abby wonders what’s taking McGee so long, then looks out the window and spies the squadron of police cars out front. She tries to act cool as she tells Delilah she’ll see what’s going on with the soda hunt. When hospital staff won’t let her leave the floor, she calls Bishop, who explains the situation. Then Bishop returns to the ER lobby, armed with advice from Jack for how to handle Yorka.
Once she’s back with the group, Bishop gets aggressive with him, demanding to know where the bomb is. Jack’s delighted to see Gibbs catch on immediately, chastising Bishop for giving up their only leverage and huffing an aggrieved, “Women.” Yorka agrees that women sure do like to talk. (Next page: The McGee babies enter the world)
Okay, let’s touch bases with Torres and Reeves, who’ve been dispatched to the Georgetown hotel room on Yorka’s credit card. There, they find bomb-making materials and train schedules. Since Jack’s told them that Yorka prefers spiteful, personal attacks, they wonder whom he might be targeting on a train.
Then Reeves cracks Yorka’s computer and finds an invoice for frozen crab cakes that were delivered to this very hotel that morning. The food is intended for the pre-Thanksgiving brunch of the International Coalition of Peace, a consortium of dignitaries from all over the world, including Romania, which, you’ll recall, has frozen Yorka’s assets.
The duo are headed to the ballroom, where the brunch is scheduled to start momentarily, when they receive security cam footage of the parking lot shooting. They review it and realize that Yorka hops into a van with a driver, meaning he’s got a third person working for him.
At the hospital, it’s now Gibbs’ turn to try to drum up a doctor, and he and Jack hatch a new plan: She’ll put on scrubs and inject Yorka with enough Ketamine to knock him out. But when she approaches him in her scrubs, Yorka refuses any painkillers. Fine, then. She’ll do it the hard way.
Jack manhandles the wound and makes a big production of having trouble cutting his jeans with her dull scissors. As he roars in pain, Gibbs tries to get the jump on him, only to have the hostage leap up and put a gun to his back. “You didn’t think I’d come alone, did you?” Yorka smirks through the pain.
Dr. Jack continues to manhandle Yorka’s wound, and his moans of pain are cross-cut with Delilah’s labor. (Despite Abby’s efforts to lie, Delilah saw the live coverage of the hostage situation and guessed that McGee was directly in the middle of it.)
Having hacked fruitlessly at his jeans enough, Jack finally suggests that Yorka just take off his pants. When he declines, she shrugs and quips, “We’ve all got our shortcomings.” This enrages Yorka and give McGee a chance to evacuate an alarmingly pasty-skinned Morgan.
McGee wheels Morgan to safety and grabs a doctor, who runs off to gather more assistance. Morgan grabs McGee’s hand and thanks him for staying by his side. “Anything for a fellow law enforcement officer,” McGee says, telling Morgan that he was the part of the team that took down Yorka. By the time the necessary medical personnel arrive, Morgan’s drawn his last breath.
In the lobby, Yorka’s full-on bellowing as Jack digs, digs, digs for the bullet, while upstairs, McGee’s donned scrubs to join a yelling Delilah. We cut back and forth between the two as they scream in pain, and when Jack finally pulls the bullet out, she looks a little too surprised for a seasoned medical professional.
In Georgetown, the hotel’s head of security assures Torres and Reeves that Homeland Security triple-checked the ballroom that morning, but when the wait staff start wheeling in the food carts, it dawns on everybody that the kitchen wasn’t searched. Torres and Reeves do a sweep and find a bomb under the salad cart. Yep, even sexist, racist terrorists know better than to tamper with the shrimp cart.
No other law enforcement agencies have arrived yet, so it’s up to the NCIS duo to defuse the bomb, which isn’t exactly their specialty. They’re not sure whether the mechanism’s pressed into clay or possibly C4, and they don’t know why it’s ticking away when there’s no timer. They’re also not 100 percent on whether to cut the red or yellow wire. Reeves finally suggests that they cut both and run like hell.
Miraculously, this powers down the bomb. Torres calls Gibbs immediately to announce that they disarmed it, “just like in the movies.” With that news, the team no longer needs to play along with Yorka. Gibbs knocks out the accomplice, and Jack takes great pleasure in digging her finger into Yorka’s wound and then punching him repeatedly in the face. When Gibbs finally pulls her off, she yells that the man he killed was her friend.
Upstairs, McGee and Delilah cradle their newborns and discuss possible names. While they’d been leaning toward Indiana, Han, or Harrison for the boy, Delilah suggests John, after McGee’s dad. And although they had six potential girl’s names, McGee suggests Morgan, which is the loveliest moment of the episode.
Summoned by Abby, Gibbs, Bishop, and Jack all arrive and stand in the doorway, surveying the new family.
- I have one question: Why couldn’t they have put Mark Harmon in scrubs? The opportunity was right there!
- I enjoyed Jack more in this episode than maybe any other this season; seeing her lose it on Yorka humanized her. Here’s hoping the show keeps finding ways to fold her into the team in an organically useful way.
- So, Johnny and Morgan McGee. Are you pleased with these choices?