NCIS season 16 episode 15 review: Torres the “mentor”

Wilmer Valderrama

We have had two amazing NCIS episodes the past few weeks with one revealing that Ziva is actually alive (which we knew in our heart all along) and the other giving us one of our favorite McGee episodes. We haven’t had nearly enough McGee this season, so getting an episode that put the spotlight on him made us smile – and what a performance from Sean Murray! He’s always great, but we had a really fun dive into his past as well as an update on the twins and we saw Delilah!

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Tonight’s episode is going to be spotlighting another agent on the team in Nick Torres. Last week we saw Tim going back to high school for a case, but this week it’s Torres that will be dealing with high school students. There is an SAT outreach program and the winners get a chance to shadow an agent at NCIS for a day and lucky for Torres it’s going to be him! We expected that someone like Bishop or McGee might be a better choice (for obvious reasons), but Vance chose Torres and we expect that while things might start out a bit rough for all of them, he’s a really great agent and there is a lot they can learn from him outside of taking his coffee order, preparing his tax return and having them play video games as a “team building” exercise. We suspect that this is just as much as a learning exercise for Torres as it is for the kids.

While two of the students are excited about what they can learn from Torres, one of the students (Max) isn’t interested in being Torres errand boy. Vance agrees and pushes Torres to dig deeper and give this kids a real education (or else!!!). For us, if we can see him reach Max who is uninterested (and quite a bit snarky much like we imagine a young Torres was) we would consider this a win for everyone.

After seeing Sloane’s interaction with Max we realize that he’s a natural picking things up and profiling people, but before we can see anything further their time with Torres is up. For Max though, he’s not ready to leave and Sloane finds him down in the morgue. Sloane figured out that Max is the son of former agent Agent Girard and he’s been searching for closure on his father’s death. When Torres comes in and starts yelling at him,  Max calls him out for being a lazy, uncaring agent that treated them like a pest and that he knows what it takes to be a real agent and Torres doesn’t have it.

After being clued in to what Max has gone through by Sloane, he has a different perspective on things, and while that’s great and all, if Torres had just read Max’s essay he would’ve known all of this before he even started “mentoring” the kids. Even more then that it shouldn’t matter who Max’s father is and give to all of these students equally. While we expect that Torres will always be an agent that moves to the beat of his own drum, Max isn’t wrong and what we’ve been wanting to see with the Torres character is more growth that sticks with him. We don’t ever want him to lose his humor or some of the self absorbed things he loves about himself (like his small tee-shirts), but being open to more situations that he’s uncomfortable with is good for him.

We did get to see some growth (more so his vulnerability) in the conversation between Max and Torres afterwards where they connected over not having fathers in their lives and we hope that this test from Gibbs and Vance will stay with him moving forward. They want Torres to grow as an agent and opening himself up to new experiences and being a bit vulnerable to people can help that. And in fact he’s opened up so much that he took these three kids out to shadow him for another day, but this time he really showed them some cool aspects of the job.

CarterMatt Verdict

While we understand that every week can’t be like “She” or “Once Upon a Tim” we have been a bit spoiled by those episodes and we want more. Tonight’s episode was fun and brought us some of what NCIS does best – bringing us a solid case, with humor mixed with mystery. It may not have had the same as intensity of personal storylines as the past two episodes, but this was still a great installment.

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