Cafpow’s Swan Song

Hey, Probies. I come to you with the not-so-thrilling news that Cafpow is closing shop. It’s not going anywhere, but the weekly updates will indefinitely cease, effective immediately. A lot of factors went into this difficult decision by Tami and I, but primarily, it came down to busy lives, a few miscommunications (we missed a few; oops) and a dwindling NCIS community on Tumblr. I personally miss the days where a post could start a few reblogs with differing opinions, but they are no more.You should know where we both are should you need anything. It’s been a pleasure. Thanks. —Alex

Hey, fellow NCIS junkies. The BOLO alerts are going on hiatus for now. Perhaps I’ll squeeze one in over the holidays, or when I’m not slammed with homework, personal matters, or trying to catch a few winks. I think we all understand that real life comes first, and as much as I enjoy pitting my cognitive (guessing) abilities against those crafty writers and very vague episode previews, there just isn’t enough time in my days.

Keep on watching America’s #1 show! Bye for now… — Tami

9.07 Devil’s Triangle

Sorry for a lack of Rapid Response Tuesday night, as I didn’t get to see the episode until a bit after it aired and it seemed a bit unnecessary then. I really liked it, and the end was shocking. It was really a complex episode with quite a few twists and turns. As usual, the acting was great.

A few quick points:

  • If you try very hard, and watch the episode through very rose tinted glasses, there are a ton of Tiva moments. If you watch it the way I watched the previous 192 episodes, there’s not much there…
  • Diane was just as bitchy and perfect as I hoped she’d be. I loved her character but I felt they didn’t leave much a chance for her to come back with the way she exited. Her comment about the condom in Fornell’s wallet was just awesome… Did you notice her screaming at Victor while Gibbs just smiled? Very funny.
  • I liked how Ducky mentioned that he’s had a rough week. It was a start towards a trend I’d like to see more of (more in a moment).
  • The Data Center technician flirting with Ziva? That was pretty funny. He was more than awkward enough to make up for a lack of Palmer…
  • …but I’m sure glad Vance was in this episode! He’s not in them enough anymore, and his involvement was logical and not overdone.

All of my comments about the episode deal with one thing: backlash. Before Tony Sr. comes on the show, Tony talks to him for months on the phone. Before Ziva sees Ray next, she’ll have spoken of him and about him numerous times. But usually, afterwards, that’s just plain it. If something comes up again, it likely fits into one of three categories:

  • Ssomething catastrophic and traumatic happens (Gibbs with regard to Shannon and Kelly, Hiatus)
  • It’s inordinately short relative to the trauma induced (Ziva after Somalia)
  • It’s incredibly late (Gibbs with regard to Pedro Hernandez, Patriot Down / Rule 51)

We still don’t know where Agent Barrett is or if she’s even alive. We haven’t heard about Ray in weeks. Last season, we knew Vance was a bit bothered by his hospitalization and doubting himself, but we never found out what was beneath the surface, even as Dr. Cranston did… It was only after 6 seasons that Tony found some closure over Kate’s death. This is a recurring theme in NCIS

So my question is… why?

Ducky mentioned that Mary’s still got him feeling down, but will that carry on? Will what Diane said to Gibbs at the end of the episode affect him at all? Will Fornell ever show hurt over being cheated on? I feel like the show keeps these things from us without delving into them. I think there’s a fine line between keeping us on the edge of our seats and not doing the stories justice. I really hope they come through more quickly more often.

I liked the episode. It was pretty shocking and definitely powerful. But It felt a bit stale to me… I want to see the writers evolve as much as the characters.


Oh my gosh! It’s Diane, Fornell, and… Woodchuck? It looks as if Gibbs will be getting harassed in this week’s episode by wife #2, who appears to be a real fire cracker. The question is… will Gibbs be cracked? Usually Fornell enjoys ribbing Gibbs about their mutual ex, but look for Diane’s sniper scope to be focused equally upon him.

While we know much will be happening  in Devil’s Triangle, it’s hard to tell from the promo what it’s going to be other than somewhat of a heated family reunion. This leaves me to dig out those recently buried prognosticative skills to see just how well I know the NCIS writers.

For week number seven, be on the look out for:

  • Plenty of snide remarks between Diane and her exes. I look for Tobias to get drawn in by her venom, but Gibbs will have the last word. Bet on it!
  • Diane to be a suspect… very briefly. Neither Gibbs nor Tobias would have married a person with anything more than a sharp tongue.
  • Tony, Ziva and Tim to resemble the “Three Musketeers” quite often… or possibly the “Three Stooges?” Abby, of course, won’t stoop to listening at keyholes…she’ll just ask the embarrassing questions.
  • Ducky to be morose. (More on this below.)
  • Palmer to watch the interaction between the ex-marrieds intently; he’s getting nervous about his upcoming change of status. He’ll also learn to “duck and cover.” 
  • Mention of Ray. Come on… is Ziva on or off the market? Inquiring minds want to know!
  • Vance to be secretly (or not so secretly) amused by the drama that Diane will bring to the bullpen, particularly when her wrath is focused on Gibbs.
  • Gibbs to make at least one comment on why marriage is a bad idea.
  • Tony to wonder aloud if marriage is ever a good idea given the statistics created by Gibbs and Fornell alone.
  • Tim will silently agree with Tony and Gibbs, although he’ll know that he’s secretly still looking for “Ms. Right.”
  • Ziva and Abby will staunchly support the institution of marriage… within reason. Again—-Ray interjected here… PLEASE!?

As I said, not much to go on, so why not have fun with the institution of marriage? We know that there will probably be a compelling case within all of the bickering, but this looks like an episode which will showcase more personal knowledge and development of our characters, while offering some lighter comedy as we gear up for November Sweeps.

I cannot not comment about last week’s episode, and the fear that rippled through me as I watched. If anyone else had my same thoughts, I’ll apologize in advance for being repetitive, but I’ve just gotten to see the episode, so it’s very fresh for me.   I’d love to know, though, if anyone else picked up the same vibe.

Ducky has been through much as the ME at NCIS. He appeared especially broken and disheartened after the revelation about Mary. From a story standpoint, this is a lot of personal tragedy for one person to face following the death of his mother, the sale of his home, and the general upheaval that NCIS has been through in recent seasons. He’s always been the stalwart supporter and confident to everyone, but who will have advice or comfort that can possibly help him through this latest disappointment. (Which is putting it very mildly.)

Of course, he could bounce back quickly. My concern?  Is Ducky going to be phased out as chief ME?  He’s old and tired, and I have to wonder exactly how much fuel is left in the tank. It seemed like an obscure and dramatic premise to throw at a character in his position. Further, is Palmer ready to fill his shoes? Would Duck play consultant?

Or, is this much ado about nothing, and the product of my very overactive imagination? NCIS would be so different without Dr. Donald Mallard running the autopsy, but change is natural, and realistic. I guess we’ll just have to see how, and if, they continue with this plot line.

Now that I’ve bent your ears for an exorbitant amount of time, enjoy Devil’s Triangle!

9.06 Thirst

Our most recent episode was pretty wild, that’s for sure. My BOLO was actually pretty accurate, which caught me off guard, actually. The previews give so little to go off, so it’s a lot of guessing… I didn’t actually think Dr. Courtney had anything to do with it; I was really just trying to lead everyone astray, but that’s not how things worked out… Pretty amazing, if you ask me…

I was intrigued by one prediction I made in particular: that Gibbs would save Ducky’s life. I’m not sure if he did or didn’t, but who knows what she’d have done had Gibbs not shown up with everyone when he did. This, of course, was due to a perchance meeting with Ducky and Dr. Courtney outside, but it’s not like anyone else knew what she looked like. I doubt anyone would have made the connection.

But I also think Ducky and Palmer had a few great interactions, this one in particular:

Palmer: “So… how was dinner last night, Dr. Mallard? Nothing like a good paella, uh?”
Ducky: “Am I wrong in detecting a certain air of wistfulness in your efforts to find out about Mary, Mr. Palmer?”
“… just looking out for you, I guess.”
“Really? Yeah, I must admit that after the death of my dear mother, I fell into a rather… a personal funk.”
“Miss the house?”
“Not especially. Oddly enough, I miss the dogs. But, as I was saying, when it comes to matters of romantic cardiology, it is my heart to break, not yours.”
Palmer: “I… I know that. I’m sorry.”
Ducky: “Then what are we really talking about? Is this about Breena perhaps? Your impending nuptials?”
“Okay… I suppose with changes in my personal life, I could always count on a stable work environment. And now, suddenly things seem to be changing for you as well, and I-“
“Change is inevitable and necessary, like the seasons, Mr. Palmer. I suggest you embrace it.”
Palmer: “…I will. Thank you.”

Ducky has been at NCIS through at least two directors, through Kate’s death, through his old assistant Gerald being shot. He’s seen a lot of change in his life and through his work. I thought this was a fitting and touching lesson for Ducky to impart on Jimmy Palmer, though I’m not sure we should expect to see it stick any time soon…

Finally, I wonder what this will do for Ducky. He is shown at the end of the episode shunning his new incoming messages on the dating website through which he met Dr. Courtney. I wonder if Ducky will be apprehensive about future dates and love interests. I suppose only time will tell…

9.06 Rapid Response

Ducky is very charming when he’s “smitten” as he says. I loved his interactions with Palmer throughout. You all read my BOLO, right? I did a decent job, if I do say so myself ;)

You’ll all hear from me tomorrow for more :)


Alex, here. BOLOs are a bit shorter to and more lax than my episode analyses, but Tami’s got two strikes now… One more week of these and I might be kicking up my feet on Wednesday and seeing what she thought of the episode… Only teasing! ;) These are fun, too, you know…

After some digging I finally found Looks like our Halloween episode will be a doozy. Drowning in his own skin? What could that mean, Duckman? Be on the Lookout for:

  • McGee to psych himself out over this whole serial killer thing. Maybe she is, but if Gibbs can wrap this story up in one episode, I think we can say the serial killer is not too skilled…
  • Ziva to prove me wrong after last week: she’ll give me something good to write about in a few days.
  • No Vance, but Hopefully Palmer will show up and have a big role; I’ll tell you why I think he will soon.
  • Abby to have a lot to do with the discovery of this mystery substance that’s killing these innocent people.
  • DiNozzo to provide comic relief, as usual.
  • Gibbs to save Ducky’s life, furthering their dynamic and friendship.

Ducky, I think, is falling into a trap, and his love interest might just be a very bad girl… The trailer shows her pouring Ducky a drink: are we sure it’s pure? Maybe Palmer will get a lesson on love from Ducky, but teach him a thing or two about why settling down with someone he can trust might be beneficial for him.

Enjoy 9.06 Thirst.

9.05 Safe Harbor

Diane Neal as Abigail Borin should be the one helping NCIS capture the next Serial Killer in a story arc. She’s just so damned good at playing off the regulars on the show, from heart-to-hearts with Gibbs to distracting DiNozzo with a simple witty answer. Oh, and I loved Vance “walking in on” she and DiNozzo. That was just a classic moment.

I appreciated SECNAV and Vance’s inclusion in this episode (it added a big dynamic to the story) and their interactions together were great. I think at the episode’s end, Vance was protecting his team as much as he was trying to offer support to his friend. Obviously he and Gibbs try to avoid each other whenever possible; Vance seemed to be reaching out to try to ensure not only that Jarvis was comfortable, but that if he had issues with Vance’s team, to talk to him and smooth things over that way first. I think it was a good move by Vance, but Jarvis’ response seemed overly confident and independent; I feel like eventually, he’ll make a move that will undermine this conversation, and Vance will be all the more upset with him for it.

Unpopular opinion: I hate what the writers are doing to Ziva. Tim has matured so much over the years from a nervous dork to a confident agent. Tony shows maturation and growth every so often. Palmer is getting married. Vance is shown making resolve to lead those around him, even during times of turbulence. Abby is finding out who she is. Ducky and Gibbs are the ones doing the teaching; I’m not sure they need to exhibit growth. And Ziva is… Ziva.

Ex-mossad, now American Special Agent, her journey is over. Ray is rarely brought up. Eli is rarely brought up. I don’t care all that much for either of those story-arcs, as I feel they’ve been played out enough as it is, but it would at least show a semblance of growth on her part. Is she moving towards anything, or is she just spinning her wheels in America, settling into her job and life?

In Season 9, Tony is apologizing and opening up to Gibbs about being bullied earlier in his life. McGee is reaching out to try to bring his family closer together. I didn’t like Ziva this episode because it’s nothing new: Ziva becoming emotionally connected to anyone whose life shares a thread of similarity to her own. I want to see growth from Ziva; something new and different for her. Something big and with many ramifications. For me, little else will make her character relevant, because the writers seem to just keep separating her from her past without pushing her towards anything interesting.

Oh, and has anyone else noticed that she’s gotten locked in a room twice in as many episodes?

Perhaps the most important conversation in the episode, however, dealt with Ziva. It was sweet that everyone was looking out for Gibbs all episode. The conversation he had with Ziva just before the credits rolled was so perfect. The system is all in place: Gibbs is the father, Ziva, Tony, McGee and Abby are the children. He’s shown how much he cared for and loved them for years. Why not come right out and say it. It was unexpected and touching. I bet everyone will worry about him less, for sure.

Safe Harbor was a good episode. The guest actors did a tremendous job, the story was unique and the mystery kept me guessing. I look forward to Thirst.

9.05 Rapid Response

  • Acting: A+
  • Internal Story: A+
  • Episode Story: C

The characters were great, and the story was intriguing, but too… compact? Agent Borin could be on the show every week and fit right in. I liked the episode, overall, but couldn’t stand one major character in it. If you can’t guess who, feel free to stop back tomorrow.


The other Abby is back… Special Agent Abigail Borin of CGIS, that is.  So far the episodes have been very male-centric, which is fine; I’m not gonna complain. Eye candy is eye candy however you slice it, and we got much more of Jimmy last week than we have in ages!  I’m sure Gibbs will be as pivotal as usual this week, and am looking forward to the banter and grudging respect that he and Borin have for one another. She is a redhead, after all. 

It’s looking like Ziva will be back in the forefront for this next episode, and both Abbys’ will play big parts, as well as a new Lebanese women who looks to be very simpatico with Ziva. Is this the mysterious female that spoilers hinted at who would become important to Ziva?  Only a matter of time before we know. ;)

On Tuesday, Oct. 18th be on the look out for:

  • VANCE!  That’s some vacation he’s been on, huh? I’m sure Jackie is happy. He looks to be full of determination on his return, too. Which Vance will we see; the one who supports Gibbs, or the one who resents his tactics?
  • Refugees…. terrorists… little boys?  Oh my!
  • Explosions… but how many?
  • 30,000 gallons of fuel to make a BIG BOOM!
  • Ziva to be torn; she understands the plight of the Middle Easterner.
  • Agent Borin will NOT fall down while running in those heels. Amazing, isn’t it? On a boat, with a gun, long coat and heels,  running…
  • The writers to not kill off the child. I’ll be upset if they do!
  • Abby to freak out. She’ll see the explosion and assume the worst.
  • McGee to be seasick.

This looks like an interesting episode, one that looks to be strongly political and case-oriented. I’m loving the recurrence of Agent Borin, and hope she’s a frequent visitor to the Bull Pen. She and Gibbs have wonderful chemistry together. Hopefully we’ll get more insight into the Ziva/Ray situation, and get a hint about Abby’s newly discovered brother’s surgery as well. We’ve had such strong personal development in the previous episodes, though, that I’m sincerely not expecting much to be revealed at this point. I do know, however, that we get to meet Ducky’s new lady-love on Oct. 25th, so wow… don’t miss a single NCIS this season, or you’ll miss something.

Hope everyone enjoys “Safe Harbor.”

9.04 Enemy on the Hill

  • Writers: George Schenck & Frank Cardea
  • Director: Dennis Smith

Amazing. GS & FC wrote one of my LEAST favorite episodes: 8.03 Short Fuse. Dennis Smith, on the other hand, directed some of the best the series had to offer:

  • 2.22 SWAK
  • 3.01 Kill Ari (Part I)
  • 3.23-4 Hiatus
  • 6.25 Aliyah
  • 7.01 Truth or Consequences
  • 7.23 Patriot Down
  • 7.24 Rule Fifty-One
  • 8.01 Spider and the Fly
  • 8.24 Pyramid

Have I made my point, yet? This episode was written and directed so well. The characters were all so interesting and quirky. The dialogue was great. The situations in general were just wonderful.

Lt. Cdr. Brett tells Ziva to calm down immediately before she pushes a lobbyist up against a column. Sportelli asks Gibbs what DiNozzo is doing. He says he has no idea. Sportelli asks Gibbs to tell him what’s on Arliss’ laptop. He says “sure I will!” as though that’ll ever happen. DiNozzo continually offends “Kaplan’s” landlady before she hits on Gibbs. DiNozzo exclaims “You’re a woman.” to Drew Turner and then moments later is pointing at her finger opportunistically. McGee and DiNozzo have a wild-west call-off to Gibbs. So many great moments in the episode: I’m not sure I’ve ever laughed as much at a single episode as I did in this one.

Random issue to nitpick over: no Mac laptop uses USB 3, though they are backwards compatible with USB 2, so it may have been for a USB 3 hard drive. Either way, confusing or unnecessary.

Back to things that matter…Maybe I’m nitpicking here, but as much as I loved Mossad-style Ziva in this episode, how stupid is it to get locked in a stairwell? Were all the other floors locked? The writers really bothered me with this because she was so strong and composed through most of the episode. This comes off as stupid and swooning over a man who complimented her and smiled at her earlier. It didn’t sit well with me at all.

Of course the longest lasting affects of this episode are those on Abby. Her scenes were pretty great universally. My only issue with any of it was the way Gibbs was way too lax with her about how distracted she was; he wasn’t that way with Ziva when her father visited or was in America; he wasn’t that lax with McGee in 3.10 Probie; he wasn’t that lax with anyone, ever, and I’m not sure the ‘Abby-factor’ and the special relationship they share is enough for me.

But this is and will continue to be a big deal for Abby. I hope the show doesn’t do what it usually does, here, and just let this drag on. Have it come up every few episodes. This is bigger than that and carries a lot more weight. I was confused up until the very end by her mother having blonde hair, but then explained that away with my fuzzy understanding of genetics and dominant genes.

When she went to Gibbs at the end of the episode and explained things to Gibbs, I appreciated the entire scene. I loved how his first response was asking Abby how she knew. The look of realization on his face is so telling of their relationship. And it was a really strong, wonderful end of the episode:

Gibbs: You’re still the same person. Parents, they’re still your parents as you remember ‘em. Family’s more than just DNA. It’s about people who care and take care of each other.
Abby: I know. But why didn’t they tell me I was adopted? I mean, there’s gotta be a reason. And I need to find out, before I completely turn Luca’s and Kyle’s lives upside down.
Gibbs: You don’t have to do this alone, Abby. You’ve got a family, and we’ll help you through it.

The strength of the team can be summed up by Gibbs volunteering everyone’s services and support to Abby in her time of need, knowing that everyone, from Palmer to Ziva, from Vance to McGee, would do anything they could to help.

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