ralph waite mark harmon ncis 320 'NCIS': Jackson Gibbs comes to celebrate the holidaysGibbs’ father returned tonight on “NCIS,” at least in part to celebrate the holiday with his son. I don’t think it terribly surprising that Gibbs’ relationship with his father is a strained one. I always get the feeling that Gibbs is a little more jokey than he is serious in his gruffness with his team, but the gruffness with his old man is real.

Gibbs said at one point that he didn’t believe his father would actually show up for Christmas this year. I know their relationship is a tense one, but Jethro did seem to be working at improving it this week – Jethro showed his dad the basement where he was building Christmas toys and asked for his dad to help him out with them.

In fact, I think, both men tried their best to meet each other halfway, but neither of them walked to that halfway point at the same time. Perhaps ships passing in the night is a better analogy. They both cared about each other, they both wanted to make it work; they just couldn’t quite seem to connect.

Apparently Gibbs’ father’s extra erratic-ness this week was for a good reason. Someone had tried to rob his store back home and, when the robber turned to attack some customers in the store, Gibbs’ father killed the man. It gives his dad new insight into the way Gibbs has spent his career.

Gibbs made phone calls back home to find out about the shooting, but his dad did come out with the story in the end. And, though those two men clearly have a lot more to work out, they do seem to be heading down the road towards some sort of reconciliation.

That was a great story tonight, and the episode had the added bonus that the mystery was a good one too. Our dead Marine this week, Tom Ellis/Tariff Bashir (we’ll be going with Tom Ellis for the rest of the recap because that’s how he was more often referred to in the episode), was murdered in the midst of his praying to Mecca out in a park.

Clearly Frank Fontana from “Murphy Brown,” or Tom’s dad as he was known here, had some serious issues with his boy’s being Muslim. Dad had become a preacher and apparently thrust his religious beliefs onto Tom (yes, there were two sets of daddy issues to be worked out this week).

Suspect number one, a not so nice fellow named Tibbens who was in the Corps with Ellis, proved to be a very foolish man. He talked down to Ziva, asking her back to his place in a none-too-suave way amongst other things. Ziva completely shocked him (but not us), giving him what for and that is why I love Ziva. I love Tony because he saw where the conversation was headed and tried (but not too hard) to head it off.

Tibbens didn’t do it, but he was paid by someone unknown to make Ellis’ life in the Corps a tough one. I don’t think however that Tibbens and his friends had to be pushed all that hard.

We soon found out that it was Daddy Ellis paying for the abuse. That didn’t make Daddy the killer, but once they found out about the payments, it was McGee who worked out that perhaps Daddy had unintentionally pushed someone into it.

This time the leads we got early on tonight paid off with the solution of the crime – Daddy Ellis had indeed pushed someone, his other son, Patrick, into committing the murder. Patrick, upset at Tom’s becoming Muslim, upset at Tom’s Chaplin going to talk to his school, wanting to please his father, ended up killing his own brother. That poor family is going to have a lot of issues to work out down the line.

Bits and pieces:

  • Cutting down Christmas trees in parks is just plain illegal and totally wrong.

  • Abby’s gingerbread cookies were awesome.

  • “Red throat” – good stuff.

  • McGee doing the satellite feed for the kid may have been nice, but I’m still thinking it was wrong. Call me a Grinch, but that doesn’t make his actions not hugely illegal. That had to be a federal offense.

  • Notice that look between Ziva and Tony after she said she spoke the language of love?

  • How did Tony learn from his Secret Santee’s personnel file what doll she didn’t get back in the day? Weird.

The TV and Film Guy’s Reviews – Our heart grew three sizes that day.

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Posted by:Josh Lasser