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Recap / NCISS 14 E 10

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Directed by Arvin Brown

Written by Steven D Binder

The death of a naval officer makes waves at NCIS when it is discovered he has a connection with Victoria Mallard, Ducky's deceased mother. As Ducky reminisces, Gibbs is accosted by Emily Fornell, who wants her father home for Christmas, and wants to resort to extremes to get him there.


  • Actually Pretty Funny: As a result of the Godzilla Threshold mentioned below, Gibbs gets a phone call in the middle of the case from an exterminator, telling him his house needs to be tented. At first livid at the prospect, it dawns on him what it means, and he heads off to the conference room laughing his ass off at Emily's ingenuity.
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  • Bookends: The episode begins with the end of Fornell's stay at Gibbs' house and ends with the beginning of Gibbs's stay at Fornell's house.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Ducky gets the spotlight this episode, as does Adam Campbell as his 25-year-old self. The pair even share a scene where they talk to one another in their mind.
  • Diary: Victoria had one during the last years of her life, and entrusted it with Mr. Rin, her gardener/lover when she got sick with dementia. It helps prove Mr. Rin's innocence when he's suspected of being Balthazar, as well as reassure Ducky that his mother had indeed spent the last few years of her life happy and in love.
  • Dramatic Drop: Abby tells Gibbs that she found that the victim made a phone call to a cell registered to a “Balthazar Kilmeany”. Ducky, who was in the room, drops the tissue samples he was putting inside the forensic lab’s fridge in shock since he thought he’d never hear that name again.
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  • Godzilla Threshold: Emily asks Gibbs point-blank for permission to do whatever it takes to get her father out of Gibbs' house. Gibbs agrees that, as long as it doesn’t involve destroying his house, anything goes. She uses her boyfriend to plant termites in Gibbs' basement, causing the house to be tented.
  • Ho Yay: Torres and Reeves once again, arm wrestling outside Vance's office. Vance refers to it as 'comparing testosterone levels', and suggests when they leave, they get back to crushing 'soda cans against their heads'.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Ducky's mother berates his date for whatever sexual plans she thinks they have. This is despite being naked herself and having her equally-naked lover hiding in the wardrobe.
  • Identical Grandson: Identical nephew, or at least enough that the dementia-ridden Victoria thought he was Balthazar during the last time she saw The Nutcracker performed live.
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  • In Love with the Mark: What Balthazar claims happened between him and Victoria. His nephew also claims he was really in love with his wife (he was brutally honest about how he felt about watching The Nutcracker in front of her dad; then again her dad doesn't care about the ballet either, only how happy it makes his daughter), he just couldn't resist stealing secrets from his father-in-law.
  • Legacy Character: The name Balthazar Kilmany is an alias that has been used for the majority of the 20th Century by a family of conmen and spies, complete with false identities, histories and bank accounts.
  • May–December Romance: Half of why Victoria never revealed her affair with the gardener to Ducky, who's 25 years younger; the other reason was that Mr. Rin is "not English" (he's Japanese-American), which for her was scandalous.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Implied when Ducky talks to his younger self about his fears that after shooing away Balthazar he doomed his mother to a loveless, lonely existence in America. His younger self assures him he made the right decision, and then finding out about her romantic relationship with Mr. Rin, the gardener, helps reassure him his mother spent the last years of her life in love.
  • Naked People Are Funny: How we're introduced to young Victoria and Balthazar; while we see the memory Ducky isn't narrating it in the "real world" and when someone asks what he's thinking about he promptly clams up.
  • Nice Guy: Emily's boyfriend is described as "All around... nice" by Fornell; nonetheless he still wants to run a background check on him and since he's not back at the FBI he wants Gibbs to do it.
  • Oedipus Complex: Brought up twice in Ducky's flashbacks ("Is this some kind of Oedipal thing?") due to his interest in his mother's love life.
  • Wham Line: What helps reassure Ducky that he didn't make a mistake in keeping Balthazar away from his mom:
    Mr. Rin: [when in the interrogation room] Donald can never, ever know!
    Gibbs: Know what?
    Mr. Rin: That his mother and I were lovers.
    Ducky: [Behind the one-way mirror] Did he just say what I think he said?
    Torres: [completely amused] Yes, he did.

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