This week's episode of "NCIS" finds Director Vance still reeling from the death of his wife.
When the episode begins, we learn it has been over two months since Jackie's death. Vance is just now getting around to organizing Jackie's belongings. While going through a box of papers, he is startled to find a statement to a bank account he never knew existed as well as a mysterious set of keys. He sets out to find some answers.
Instead, he unearths more questions. As he's not listed as a contact on the bank account, the clerk won't give him information on the account itself. Fortunately he's listed on the safety deposit box that the keys open. He goes in to find, among other things, a large sum of money and a legal document requesting a separation of property. He then goes to question the lawyer about the separation request and is denied information because Jackie didn't specify how information was to be shared upon her death. Vance begins to wonder how well he knew his wife after all.
Vance, needing to get out of his own head, heads to NCIS and helps the team investigate the death of Lance Corporal Crowe, a Marine from Quantico. Crowe, who fell and died while undertaking military exercises in the woods, has more injuries than one would receive from a fall: trauma to the head, bleeding from the nose, defensive wounds on his arms and hands, and unusual cuts on his leg. Further examination reveals fiberglass fragments in the wound in his side which Ducky sent to Abby. Ducky also points out that physical evidence shows Crowe did put up a fight with his attacker as his fingernails were split and ripped. His attacker would have been wounded.
The team gets a tip from one of Crowe's unit that Crowe participated in illegal fighting and did so for money to help his mother with the mortgage. They track the fight club and talk to Charles Kang, a fellow fighter. He says Crowe used to fight but had not done so for three months. If he didn't get the injuries from fighting, the team wonders, then where did he get them from?
Vance reaches out to a few contacts and finds disciplinary reports on file for PFC Holland, the man who tipped NCIS about the fight club. When questioned about the disciplinary report, Holland denies knowledge of any reports, insisting he and Crowe never fought. Gibbs asks Holland to roll up his sleeves. His arms are unblemished. Holland couldn't possibly have killed Crowe.
Gibbs then heads to Abby's lab. Abby indicates that, because of the depth of the wound where the fragments were embedded, the weapon must have been a delta dart. She then tells Gibbs that the sutures to the wound on Crowe's torso weren't patterned which indicated Crowe sewed them himself.
Gibbs has McGee check into Crowe's training to see if he's been taught trauma care and for anything else unusual that he might find. He also wants McGee to check to see if any weapons were checked out prior to Crowe's death. Gibbs then notices Tony and Ziva are absent.
Vance says they're on an errand for him -he needed someone to stay with his children. Gibbs tries to get him to go home but Vance is stubborn, stepping away on a coffee run. Deputy Director Craig then approaches Gibbs. Vance doesn't need to be here, he says, if he's not okay. Gibbs reminds him that it's not his call to make. Craig agrees, it's SECNAV Jarvis' call. Craig's just trying to protect everyone.
Vance expresses his concerns about Jackie to Gibbs who reminds him that Jackie loved him. He then tells him to go home to his children. Vance does and finds that Tony and Ziva are having a blast taking care of the kids. Vance and Ziva talk, briefly, about the guilt she carries for Jackie's death. If her father had not been there Jackie would still be alive. Vance lets her know that he holds Ziva blameless.
McGee finds some information: Holland checked out a weapon two nights before Crowe's death. Gibbs and McGee go to question Holland and find him dead in his bathroom. Ducky performs an autopsy and finds that both dead soldiers suffered the same symptoms. Vance enters and listens in. Gibbs conferences McGee into the conversation and he says three other soldiers were treated for concussions and cuts. Vance concludes it's someone who has access to all of the unit. McGee checks into the unit Captain, Ellis', background. His brother was tortured and killed in Afghanistan and had many of the same injuries.
They travel to Quantico to talk with Ellis. He finally breaks and admits that he's trying to teach his men to be strong and to survive anything the enemy can throw at them. After his younger brother's death, he knew he could never let what happened to his brother happen to his men.
Vance returns to his office. Craig's there and he compliments Vance on the case. After a bit of small talk Vance says he'll be in touch and tells Craig to keep his suitcase ready.
Vance then visits Gibbs who hands Vance a document. Gibbs' late wife increased his life insurance right after he was deployed. He realized, when he found it, that she had to make preparations to live without him. He asks Vance when Jackie filed her papers and opened the account. It was shortly after the attack on NCIS. Jackie, Gibbs says,was making her preparations, too. He reminds Vance that he has kids that need him and tells him to get through this for their sake.
What did you think? How do you feel now that Vance and Gibbs have some common ground? Did your opinion of Vance change after this episode? Sound off below and let me know your thoughts.
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