Death. That was a big theme for much of NCIS season 15 episode 22, and it kicked off in the opening minutes with the terrible news that Clayton Reeves was no longer among the living and that Duane Henry is gone from the show.
Do we wish that Reeves got his due more than he did? Absolutely, but we do understand that he was on the show for two years rather than Abby’s fifteen, and this was an episode mostly dealing with how Pauley Perrette was going to leave the show after being a part of it for such an extended period of time. For the first half-hour of the episode, it was all about seeing if Abby would recover. In the process of that Gibbs was reminded of how so many people close to him die, which gave us little flashbacks highlighting Caitlin Todd and Ziva David. In the process, we also learned that the shooting was actually not a random robbery at all; instead, it was a hit and one specifically organized with the goal of trying to take out Abby. It makes the death of Reeves in turn all the more tragic.
The deeper that Abby and the NCIS team dug into the case, the clearer that it became that everything was deliberate. Abby, recovering and working out of her apartment (nice to finally see it!), was able to figure out that the person who sent her the reservation for The Cooler did so as a set up. This brought her back over to Robert King, a man with connections to a case from her past who had broken out of prison. She was able to track his location and after that, chose to go it alone. She wanted revenge, and clearly didn’t want the rest of the team on the front lines.
While the rest of the team was scrambling in order to find the location of King, and then releasing Torres from the casket Abby trapped him in, Abby had a conversation with King about everything that happened. Not only that, but she made it clear to him that “sometimes you have to get your hands dirty to get the job done.” She wanted him to admit to hiring the hitman; if he didn’t, she was ready to poison him (or at least so she claimed).
The moment the conversation was over with Abby, Gibbs and Torres both arrived to lock him up in handcuffs and cart him off to prison.
The aftermath of the arrest
Abby paid Reeves a visit in the morgue, making it clear to him that she wanted to do everything in her power to honor what he wanted in his life. She announced to the team that after Reeves’ funeral, she was not going to be coming back to NCIS. Her goal now is intending to see her debt to him paid — her plan is to start and run a charity in honor of his mom. She felt like she had to do it, and as it turns out, this was the perfect way in which to send her off. It makes sense for her to leave for the sake of doing good for some others.
Abby said her goodbyes in person to almost everyone other than Gibbs, who got a note announcing her decision. She claimed that she “chickened out” and couldn’t say goodbye to him in person and while we did see them send gestures of love through his window, if you were hoping to see a real hug happen here you were out of luck. It was a beautiful monologue by Perrette that encompassed a great deal of her journey and did a great job of kicking us in the heart.
Perrette did a great job throughout this episode of giving Abby a real sense of drive and charting out her journey from start to finish. Do we wish that we had more? Absolutely, just as we wish there were more individual moments between Abby and some of the other cast members. This episode was a reminder of how iconic Abby is, but also just how hard it’s going to be to imagine the show without her.
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