Welcome back to the big orange room! While it was nice to get more of Torres’ backstory, NCIS Season 21 Episode 1 felt a little bit of a backslide for Nick.
He got sober and was in a really good place after all of his sessions with Dr. Grace during NCIS Season 20.
He managed to get past his pain when Bishop and then Gibbs left. This felt like we were revisiting the old Nick.
But hopefully, this is a temporary setback, and with Riva gone, Nick can finally heal. It was terrific to meet his sister.
The actresses who played young Lucia and current Lucia were perfectly cast; they really looked similar — nicely done casting people!
But the biggest shock of the episode was the lack of the elevator ding.
I count on hearing that ding every episode, and this is the first in my memory without it. I hope it’s back for NCIS Season 21 Episode 2.
While the episode was very serious on the Torres front, we were treated to some excellent banter.
Vance and Parker’s conversation about NCIS: Cyber was fun, and now that the concept has been introduced, we might be in for another spin-off. I mean, CSI did it, so why not add a new one to the NCISverse?
Poor Parker definitely had no idea he was counseling Barnhatt to leave NCIS. He was definitely surprised when Vance told him.
Having McGee head back to the basement was expected, with the opening, but it’s nice to have a change of scenery in the building and hang out with some team-adjacent folks.
Curtis, the tech troll, was an excellent addition. I hope we see more of him. Maybe we’ll spend more time in the basement this season. He reminds me a little of Dorney (Agent Dorneget) from back in the day.
This episode also brought back the Caf-Pow, so beloved by Abby but not really referenced recently; it was a nice callback and also reminded us how Abby lived on them and how much caffeine those things must contain, given how worried Kasie and Jimmy were about Jess.
Jimmy’s concern for Jess is cute, and after getting over the weirdness of the earlier episodes with them dating, it’s gotten more comfortable, and they’ve settled in, leading to the adorable scene in which they hijack Riva’s body for a bit.
The two of them dressed up as couriers from the funeral home was adorable, and Jess’ hat made the scene.
It’s amazing how Jimmy has grown up so much on this show. From Ducky’s hapless assistant, Mr. Jimmy Palmer (more on Ducky later), to an excellent ME in his right, losing Breena and raising Victoria on his own, he really is an essential part of the team.
As we continued through the episode, sending Nick back to Brunswick prison was a very cool element. It was nice to tie this season back to last season’s major story arc.
And while the fact that the inmates who beat Nick up are Russian matters little to this episode, it was nice to have the same players back, the prison cop (who was on the take) included.
Although the storyline was clearly set up so that we would think Nick Torres killed Riva, it wasn’t the only red herring.
As the team briefly thought Lucia was the murderer, we went in that direction, only for her to clear it up and for the siblings to realize that they needed to be honest with each other to get to the truth.
Once it was clear that neither of them did it, there wasn’t really anyone left except for Marta DeLeon. And there you have it. Nick is cleared, and we’re back!
This was a pretty good season opener — a little light on the action but heavy on the feelings.
I was left with a few plot-related questions: Did they find Marta after she left that letter?
It felt like a loose thread. Is anyone going to pursue her?
We know that Nick’s mom is still alive because he left her messages a while back. It would have been nice to have her on the episode too, but at least we met Lucia. And with Lucia, have we met her before, since Tim seemed to know her?
Some closing thoughts:
Parker has to remind Nick that part of the job is trusting the people in the building. Did it resonate?
Will Nick be in a different place when the show returns?
It looks like we might have some new people in the orbit. Will Agent Rose be the new head of Cyber, and will Curtis become a recurring character?
The episode ends with Parker getting a call from an upset Palmer. We can only assume that this is when we learn about Ducky’s death (also, scenes from next week give it away).
We’ve been waiting for this one for a while, and it will be interesting to see how the writers handle David MacCallum’s death.
Alright, my fellow TV fanatics. Do you have any thoughts?
Did you, too, miss the elevator ding? Do you have any ideas for the tribute episode?
Stay safe out there!
Lucy Peel is a staff writer for TV Fanatic.