NCIS recap: 'A Many Splendored Thing’
Bishop goes rogue to take down the man responsible for her boyfriend's death
Bishop gets her revenge tonight for the death of Qasim, who was much more to her than a boyfriend, as it turns out. Also, Vance’s future with NCIS now has a big question mark hanging over it, and everyone at NCIS is a gifted pickpocket.
First things first. We open on Navy Cmdr. Renée Turner, arriving home from a run to find a gun on the table and a voice coming through her TV. (This is why I don’t jog.) The image on the screen flips to show a cute little girl on a playground.
“You didn’t do what you were told, and now you have a choice to make,” the voice says. “Kill yourself, or we kill your daughter.” That’s… unusually awful, even for NCIS.
In the big orange room, Torres is giving pickpocket lessons to Quinn and Bishop. He lifts McGee’s wallet and finds a two-for-one Golden Corral coupon and a business card for a sword swallower. I have never felt worse for McGee than I do right now. Bishop’s attempt at the “bump, grab, slip” ends with her mark covered in coffee. Quinn’s ends with her triumphantly flashing Torres’ badge.
Then Reeves enters the room and beckons Bishop over, telling her that the latest info they have on Kai Chen (who, you’ll recall, was responsible for the death of Bishop’s boyfriend, Qasim) is a bunch of random song lyrics, which are likely code, and the identity of a low-level courier in D.C. Reeves also reminds us that Gibbs doesn’t want Bishop involved, and MI6 doesn’t want Reeves reading anybody in.
That’s when Gibbs comes in to dispatch the team to the scene of Turner’s suicide, picking Torres’ pocket on the way. Man, what a bunch of light fingers.
At the scene, they discover a fridge full of fresh groceries and newly purchased Disney World tickets, leading them to conclude it’s a strange suicide. Plus, they can’t get the TV to turn off until they unplug it. As they’re pondering, Bishop gets a 911 text from Reeves, telling her to come now. She makes up a story about a burst water heater and ducks out.
Outside, she finds Reeves in an enormous RV belonging to the D.C. courier, Dabney. Dabney fusses, and Reeves suggests he might be more inconspicuous “if you didn’t drive around in Walter White’s lab.” Nice.
They get Dabney to talk by pouring grape juice from the fridge onto the rug. “That was my Nana’s!” Dabney protests before telling them that he overheard something about an attack on the electrical grid. Reeves tries to send Bishop back to NCIS, then relents and lets her stay as they check the Winnebago’s GPS coordinates for leads.
During Turner’s autopsy, Ducky found high levels of oxytocin, the “cuddle hormone,” responsible for our feelings of affection. This is weird to find in a suicide victim. Also, she recently made and then canceled several large orders for computer purchases for the Defense Logistics Agency, which is odd because the DLA was full up on that model already.
McGee discovers that Turner’s smart TV was hacked by an external IP address, and they’re able to pull up the video and audio she (and we) saw. Ducky says this explains the oxytocin; her suicide was an act of love. Luckily, the hacker comes back online at this point, and Abby’s able to grab the address.
The team scramble to the location, an abandoned radio tower that’s stocked with survival gear. They hear a noise in back and approach, guns drawn, to find Reeves and Bishop. “How’s that water leak coming?” Gibbs asks. Busted, Bish. Busted.
Back at HQ, Vance yells at Bishop and threatens to reevaluate Reeves’ relationship with NCIS. They fill them in on their progress with Chen, concluding that they were at the radio tower because that’s where Dabney made a delivery on Chen’s behalf. They all agree that it can’t be a coincidence that it’s also where the broadcast to Turner came from.
After Vance takes Reeves with him to yell some more, Gibbs tells Bishop that he needs people he can trust to follow orders. No, he needs people who care, she argues, and she cares more than anybody. A flashback shows us why: Bishop’s all dressed up for a date, and when Qasim arrives, he knocks over a vase she got in Djibouti and has an allergic reaction to her perfume. But this doesn’t stop him from pulling out an engagement ring. Cute!
NEXT: Vance and Jenna, sittin’ in a tree…
In the present, the team’s tracked down the radio tower owner: a guy named Kevin Lane, who bought it on eBay last year. (“I actually think I bid on that,” McGee says, and Quinn can’t tell if he’s joking.) Kevin bought it as an emergency bunker for the end of the world: Topsoil depletion, fishery collapse, antibiotic resistant infections… you get the picture. And his silent partner in this venture is none other than Kai Chen. He’s able to confirm that Chen’s planning to fly into D.C. this weekend. Convenient!
NCIS starts making plans to cover every airport and arrest him when he lands until U.S. Rep. Jenna Flemming busts in and tells them to stand down. She’s now the ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, a fact she was going to tell Vance tonight. “Tonight?” a confused Gibbs asks. Awww, they’re still dating! She says the evidence against Chen is circumstantial, and he’ll be out and gone within two hours if he’s picked up now.
At Gibbs’ boat emporium basement, Bishop thunders downstairs to yell about Flemming’s meddling. Gibbs is already planning to go after Chen anyway (Rule 18: Ask for forgiveness, not permission), but before they can plot, there’s a noise upstairs. It’s Chen in the flesh! “I heard you wanted to see me,” he grins. Man, this guy is smug, and apparently he likes to live dangerously because when Bishop’s patting him down, he asks if Qasim liked it rough, too. NOT COOL, DUDE.
Chen smugs that they can’t arrest him because he’s working for the CIA now, and Vance confirms it: Chen’s agreed to turn in a Syrian warlord who’s financing ISIS cells attacking NATO troops. He’s even got Flemming’s number on speed dial.
Bishop is furious at the news, and when Reeves gets her 10 angry messages, he finds her at her apartment, angrily vacuuming. Reeves warns her not to cross Gibbs again, but Bishop knows that this Syrian warlord is small potatoes, having monitored his communications when she was with the NSA. Meanwhile, they have a coded message from Chen about a suspected terror attack that they can’t act on because he’s the CIA’s lap dog.
Reeves gets a little patronizing at this point and reminds Bishop that she needs to be patient; it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Bishop responds that she can’t sleep or eat until they take Chen down. And we get another flashback, this one of the two, post proposal, at the bowling alley where they had their first date. Bishop reminds Qasim that they’ve gone on 104 dates, and she spends 65 percent of her free time with him. He accuses her of hiding her feelings behind statistics. “The world isn’t all zeros and ones. You can’t reduce love to a binary code,” he says.
In the present, that’s the breakthrough she needs to break Chen’s code. With Abby’s help, they turn the song lyrics into ones and zeroes, and with McGee’s help, they discover that the computer code it creates is a virus that exploits a vulnerability in diesel generators at older power plants. A recent DOD test shows that the generators get turned on and off so quickly that they explode, which is how Chen’s planning to take out the electrical grid.
This explains why Turner was blackmailed into buying the computers; they had the virus on them to be released into the wild at various power plants. McGee’s getting to work on an antivirus when Flemming arrives to admit that Bishop was right, and they shouldn’t have made that deal with Chen. Turns out, Flemming bumped into Bishop in the parking lot, which allowed her to use Torres’ pickpocketing lessons to lift Flemming’s phone, which she uses to set up a meet with Chen. Bump, grab, slip, trap!
NEXT: Bishop’s revenge is explosive
Bishop arrives at the radio tower and opens a greeting card with photo booth pictures of her and Qasim, and sad music plays as she stands pensively outside the vehicle before heading inside. Um, all of this is court martial-able stuff, right? Stealing phones, bucking orders, laying traps? Gibbs, Quinn, and Reeves are hot on her tail, and Reeves worries that she’s not thinking clearly — because of the illegalities, presumably.
When Chen arrives, Bishop greets him coolly, taunting that he came alone because he didn’t want anyone to know he’s working with the CIA. He realizes this is personal for her.
“No, this is pleasure,” she spits back. Wow. I like Revenge Barbie.
One final flashback, to Bishop admitting that she uses her brain to push people away, and even though she’s not ready to marry Qasim yet, she could be someday. “I’m not going anywhere,” Qasim replies.
In the present, Chen says Qasim made his own choices. Bishop says she’s made her own, too, and places a call to say, “I’ve got him.” Then she orders Chen into a back room, where she has him handcuff himself to a generator — a diesel-powered generator. Chen smirks that NCIS is wasting its time thanks to his CIA deal, but Bishop corrects him: She called the Syrians, and the warlord’s people are on their way to deal with their rat problem.
“They’re going to kill me,” Chen begs. “Only if you’re lucky,” she replies. Bishop! Stepping up to the revenge big leagues!
Then she offers him a choice, inserting an old-school floppy disk with the virus halfway into the generator: He can face the Syrians, or he can push the disk all the way in.
As she exits the building and her coworkers pull up, an explosion takes out the radio tower. “Chen forced commander Turner to make a Sophie’s Choice. He just made his,” she tells the rest of her team.
In the end, Flemming heads to Gibbs’ basement to compliment him on his team’s work and to ask if he’d like to take over the big chair. “Director?” he says. “That seat’s taken.” She asks about a hypothetical vacancy, and Gibbs doesn’t reply before Bishop enters the basement and brushes past Flemming, who checks to make sure she’s still got her phone before she exits.
Soooo… why isn’t Bishop under arrest? Didn’t she break a ton of laws, not the least of which is stealing a congresswoman’s phone and defying explicit orders from her boss? I mean, sure, she uncovered a terrorist plot, but I don’t think most military or law enforcement organizations appreciate rogue actors within their ranks.
She seems to know this, too, and asks Gibbs how much trouble she’s in. (Not that it matters to her; she says she did what Gibbs would’ve done, and she’d do it all again if she had to.) Gibbs replies that each time you go rogue, there’s a price to pay, and it’s not cheap. She says she understands. “No, you don’t. But you will soon,” he says. That’s ominous.
She then pulls out the card she got for Qasim, which she didn’t have a chance to give him the night he was shot. She gives it to Gibbs so she’ll stop obsessing over it. As she heads up the stairs, Gibbs opens it to find a hand-lettered, heart-covered YES!
So. Bishop gets her revenge on Chen, but at what cost — professional, personal and otherwise?
- How awful to have the man you loved die not knowing that you wanted to be his wife. Poor Bishop.
- So did she really call the Syrians? I’m betting that was a bluff. Then again, she did monitor them when she was at the NSA, so she could have a phone number.
- Vance is considering stepping down as director, apparently. Retirement, maybe, or a new position elsewhere? But there’s no way the show would transition Gibbs to the director’s chair next season, right? RIGHT??
- Have you ever in your life been so angry that you vacuumed?