Tonight’s NCIS episode features the two words you do not want to hear side by side: Ebola lockdown. And our gal Abby’s on the inside, dealing with armed intruders. No better person for the job, right?
We kick things off with Abby buttering up Gibbs, whose makeover made her long for a change herself — for her lab, of course, not her personal style. (Full disclosure: I have lost sleep thinking about how much damage Pauley Perrette must do to her hair with the constant tight pigtails. Those poor follicles!) Anyway, she dreams of working above sea level and wants to convince Gibbs to push through an office swap with accounting.
This prompts the group to brainstorm the best adjectives for their bossman: Grumpiest, angriest, loneliest, grouchiest, quietist. That last one’s from Gibbs, of course. And suddenly the adjectives change: Fairest! Strongest! Coolest! Like a ninja, that one. They should put a bell on him for as many times as he’s snuck up on their conversations.
So, the murder victim of the week is Navy Capt. Doblin, a biochemist beloved by nobody because of his fits of road rage and three divorces. When Abby discovers a strange compound in his blood, she asks Gibb’s permission to visit Celodyne Pharmaceuticals, which manufactures it. Her request is a handwritten “Solitary Confinement Release Form.” Ha!
At Celodyne, Abby meets Dr. Janice Brown, played by British comedian Lucy Davis (the original Office’s Dawn), and they bond over their lonely basement offices and their love of Caf-Pow. Awww, soul sisters!
Janice reports that the compound in Doblin’s blood is one of Celodyne’s imported, generic antidepressants, but it’s missing the main ingredient. If Doblin was taking it to stabilize his mood, it wasn’t working, which would explain his bad behavior.
Suddenly, an alarm sounds, pushing the lab into lockdown. Janice explains that it’s the Ebola alarm, though the gunshots they hear are definitely not part of the containment protocol.
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Abby soon realizes that not only is the alarm false, but also the phone and Internet are dead. So she creeps to the server room to call for help, where she’s forced to hide in the closet when the bad guys enter. And then, unbelievably, she talks out loud to herself about the predicament she’s in. Look, I understand that from a storytelling perspective, you’ve got to know what your hero’s thinking, but dang, Abs, you’re talking out loud in the closet of the room with the bad guys in it! Button your lips, and communicate your fear and resolve nonverbally! The bad guys are also extremely chatty, announcing that they know an NCIS agent named Abby Sciuto is in the building and that they’ll kill her and the rest of the hostages before they leave.
They exit the room, and Abby calls Gibbs, who tells her to hide until they get there. She then locks down the computers so they can’t steal whatever it is that they’re after, and then she totally pulls a Die Hard and travels back to Janice’s lab via the big air vent in the supply closet. Emerging from the wall, Abby marvels to Janice, “That was awesome. Surprisingly awesome.” Yippee-ki-yay!
NEXT: Behold, the power of Caf-Pow!
She and Janice then use their favorite beverage to whip up an orange smoke bomb to pipe out the vent. McGee spots it and points out that orange smoke is the naval maritime code indicating “in distress, requires assistance.”
Next, the women create an actual bomb (with magnesium from the fire-starter kit in Abby’s shoe heel, natch), although it fails to go off, and they’re captured. Then, when Abby refuses to unlock the computer for the bad guys, she threatens to release a canister of poison gas, arguing that she’d happily give her life to kill the bad guys and save the hostages. The bad guys call her bluff, so she releases it, and everybody drops.
Meanwhile, the NCIS team has arrived on the scene, but they’re slowed down as McGee works to override Abby’s computer lockout. When they finally have access, they rush to the server room. Thankfully (if unsurprisingly) everyone is revived. Abby explains that not only did she intentionally make a dud bomb, but she created nonlethal incapacitating gas. She didn’t want to actually hurt anyone; she just wanted to stall until the cavalry arrived.
And then, twist! Abby tells Gibbs to arrest her new friend Janice. See, the fake Ebola alert came from her computer, and the bad guy pronounced “Sciuto” correctly, leading Abby to believe that she’d tipped them off. Turns out, Janice was a whistleblower who was concerned that Celodyne was falsifying safety data to sell drugs that don’t work, like poor Capt. Doblin’s. So she worked with Doblin and a newly hired janitor to steal the proof from the computers. But the janitor spiraled out of control, killing Doblin when he got cold feet and turning into a monster during the heist.
Finally, Abby and Gibbs reconvene in her lab, where she’s distressed that she came close to killing the bad guys to protect herself, which would’ve violated one of her unshakable codes. Then Gibbs points out that not only was Abby not in as much distress and in need of assistance as she thought she was, but even if he hadn’t been on the way to save her, she’d have done the right thing.
She’s comforted, and, realizing that Janice did the wrong thing for the right reasons, she hands Gibbs a letter to give to the DA on Janice’s behalf.
Then Gibbs gives the good news: Accounting heard what she did and will swap offices with her — as long as she promises not to hurt them. But she decides to stay where she is, having had quite enough above-ground fun for the next decade.