NCIS: Hawai’i 2×12 “Shields Up” is about teams, what makes a good one and what makes a bad one. And in this episode, it’s not really about individuals, but about mentality. The investigation centers around a unit that takes the idea of protecting each other a little too far — which is a good contrast to this NCIS team, which has proven, again and again, that yes, they will protect each other and they will have each other’s backs, but almost as importantly, they will hold each other accountable.
That’s key. Being part of a team doesn’t mean just covering up for someone else’s mistakes because they’re your teammate and there’s nothing else you can do. No, it means being able to call someone out when they need to, because that’s what real friendship is.
There isn’t much more to an episode that’s just about the team dynamics — even sans Whistler and Lucy (who should be coming home soon, right? Right?) — and about introducing some backstory for Jesse. In pure NCIS fashion, this backstory is merely hinted at, we don’t actually know what this”darkness” might be about, and it might be a while before we find out. But, of all the members of this team, Jesse remains the most enigmatic, and perhaps because of that, the one we most want to explore.
In a way, there’s something of NCIS: Los Angeles‘ Marty Deeks to Jesse, not in personality or even in the way the life path they’ve followed, but in who they are and what is (might be) behind the people they’ve chosen to become. For a procedural, the NCIS franchise is actually really, really good at going against toxic masculinity, even in the characters that seem to most embody the “tough guy” persona. Deeks might be Mr. Sensitivity, but even someone like Sam Hanna is truly not what you expect, not even just for a procedural type show.
And that’s a good thing, especially now that the franchise is losing one show (forever sad about it), because it means there are new stories to tell, mysteries to explore. And like in every procedural worth watching, it will come down to how the show balances the team aspect it tried to showcase in this hour, the personal growth of each member of the team, and the relationships they are building with each other. In that regard, espisodes like this one might not seem that special in the moment, but they are good building blocks towards what the show wants — no, needs — to do.
Things I think I think:
- I don’t think before the pandemic we had any real respect for how much being sick just …sucks.
- Who wears capes?
- I would have just asked Cassandra right then and there. But later works, I guess.
- A nice conversation with Cassandra? Who would have thought?
- Tennant should have bruises from how hard she got hit.
- WHAT DO YOU MEAN THERE’S A DARKNESS BEHIND JESSE’S SMILE?
- I really loved the ending with Alex.
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of NCIS: Hawai’i 2×12 “Shields Up”? Share with us in the comments below!