We Review the Latest Episode of NCIS SN 14 EP 21 – “One Book Two Covers”

Last episode we got to see a slice of Quinn‘s (Jennifer Esposito) life. Tonight it’s Torres‘ (Wilmer Valderrama) turn for a little piece of backstory.

The show opens with a moving truck pulling off to the side of an isolated road. The driver leaps out, runs to the back and opens the door, pulling out the ramp. About this time we hear the buzz of a dirt bike in the distance, followed by the wailing of sirens. As soon as the driver has everything in place, the dirt bike rounds the corner and drives up the ramp. The driver just manages to get everything closed up and get back in the cab when the police cars come around the corner and zoom past. The driver then opens the window communicating with the back of the truck to ask the biker why he cut it so close, but the biker pulls out a gun. One in the heart, one in the head. Not one for questions apparently.

NCIS is called out because the driver was a Marine, Corporal Kyle Campbell. At the scene, Torres notices two sets of tire marks, one of which he immediately identifies as a dirt bike. Bishop (Emily Wickersham) tells them that the local cops had mentioned a bank robbery not far away where the perp got away on a dirt bike. Torres knows something.

Wilmer Valderrama

Torres finds a very clean garage with his old dirt bike in it

They get back to headquarters and Abby (Pauley Perrette) has the surveillance cam footage lined up. The guy knew what to do, like only taking money from the front of the till because he wanted to avoid the dye packs (the more you know…). As he escapes on the bike, Torres asks for a closeup, but Abby says it’ll only make the pixelation worse, that there’s no way to get a make or model. But like I said, Torres knows. He says it’s a Suzuki and gives all the details and specs. How does he know? Because it’s his bike.

Turns out Torres spent a year undercover with a bank robbing dirt bike gang called the Rosewood Boyz for NCIS. He got another gang member, Royce Layton (Johnny Ray Gill) to give up the boss before sending him into witness protection.

While all this is going on, down in autopsy, Palmer (Brian Dietzen) finds something under Campbell’s fingernails. It looks sort of like mud, but not quite. Put a pin in that little nugget.

Torres returns home because he remembers he kept everything in a notebook when he decided to stop wearing a wire (because notebooks are so much easier to hide). When he gets there, he finds his old dirt bike in his garage, before it explodes. The bomb was detonated before he got close enough for it to do any real damage to him, so he assumes they didn’t want to kill him, at least not yet.

A tip from Campbell’s ex-girlfriend leads them to Miller’s Motocross, where they meet the new leader of the Rosewood Boyz, Alonzo Marcel (James C. Bristow). Although Torres claims to not know him, his name is in his little black book. He goes to meet Royce in a little out-of-the-way place. They seem pretty chummy, but there’s an undercurrent of tension Torres doesn’t seem to be picking up on. Royce takes him to the back and shows him that he’s taken up pottery (remember that unidentified mud??).  Before Torres leaves, Royce suggests Torres hadn’t been completely on the up-and-up when he was in the gang.

Johnny Ray Gill and Wilmer Valderrama

Just making ashtrays, nothing to see here

The team trace Alonzo to his home and kick the door in, only to find that he and his partner are both dead, shot in the same way as Campbell, but with a higher caliber weapon. Torres suddenly gets a blocked call. Someone tries to blackmail him into stopping the investigation.

Gibbs (Mark Harmon) and Torres visit Ducky (David McCallum) and find that Alonzo had the same “mud” on his boots, so they figure the two murders are connected. On their way out, Gibbs stops the elevator (he hasn’t made that move in a while) and gets Torres to spill – he had planted evidence to make sure they got a conviction.

Torres meets with Royce, the blackmailer (told you something wasn’t kosher between those two), and tries to arrrest him. Turns out Royce had been running the gang from witness protection (huh?) and wanted Alonzo and Campbell dead because they had become liabilities. He knocks Torres out and escapes out the back door to his bike, which (inexplicably) no one is watching. Gibbs and Quinn try to follow, but Royce goes off-road. Torres then comes out of nowhere on another bike and runs him down. They always do, don’t they?

So another fairly good show, but again with the questions! First, as anyone knows who watches a good amount of crime dramas or police procedurals (especially the show In Plain Sight), someone in witness protection doesn’t stay in the same area. They move them away from everyone they used to know, you know, for their protection. You can’t go to Costco if you think you might run into someone you used to know. Second, nobody recognized pottery clay, not even Ducky? Have I just watched Ghost too many times? Lastly, the ending. Gibbs is too good to not have someone watching the back, I don’t care how much you think this guy is a friendly. And where does this other bike come from? They only show one when they went out the back earlier.

All in all, it’s not a terrible episode, but either the writers are getting sloppy or I’m paying more attention since I started writing this. I’ve never notice plot holes like this in the show, and I’ve seen every episode multiple times. I hate to think that the departure of Michael Weatherly‘s Anthony DiNozzo would have impacted the show so much. Let’s hope they return to form as the season begins to wind down for the summer.

The Good
  • Always good to get to know the new guys
  • Pretty interesting plot
  • AN EXPLOSION!
The Bad
  • Still a lot of plot holes
  • Some out-of-character moves
3.5 Good

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