NCIS Season 11 Review “Rock and a Hard Place” – Fighting for Family

Rock and a Hard Place

In this episode of NCIS, called “Rock and a Hard Place,” the team hunts for the person responsible for a bombing and winds up babysitting an aging rocker, while Palmer gets the phone call he’s been waiting 9 months to hear.

Oh NCIS, how can you consistently keep on producing such fantastic episodes after 11 seasons? Not only that, but how do you always manage to make me laugh so hard and cry so hard in a single episode?

In the beginning, this episode looked like it was going to be nothing but a happy little jaunt through some rock ‘n’roll, with a side trip through Tony’s apartment and a stopover in the hospital to visit Jimmy’s new baby. Alas, only two of those things actually happened.

I know that adoptions can be a complicated business. We’ve all heard stories about people nearly getting a child and then losing it because the birth mother changed her mind or there was some sort of red tape. But this was Jimmy Palmer, our beloved autopsy gremlin, and it never once occurred to me that he wasn’t going to be taking a home a baby this season. Jimmy is supposed to the one guy on the team to get a regular family life. But in this episode, he truly became a member of the team when his family life fell apart. I cried with him when he had to tell everyone the news, but I wiped those tears away when Gibbs gave him that talk in the end. Gibbs was of course right: Being a parent means you have to be willing to fight for your family, even when that family doesn’t completely exist yet. I have no doubt that Jimmy and Breena will have their child. We all just have to wait a little bit longer.

As for the fun part of this episode, that came mostly from Tony and his interaction with Manheim (played wonderfully by Keith Carradine). Now that we know what Tony’s apartment looks like, I’m always eager to see it again and watching Tony panic when Manheim nearly destroyed it in a party was hilarious. I really wish the show hadn’t teased us by letting Tony go so far as pick up his guitar to play a song he wrote as a teenager and then not let us hear it. Come on, really? I mean, I guess that was funny but to me – a fan who’s been with the show for many seasons – it felt inordinately cruel.

Next week we finally get to meet the NCIS: New Orleans cast. I have a good feeling about this particular spinoff, but then again, I also had a great feeling about NCIS: Red so I’m just going to wait and see what happens.

My favorite bits:

Finding out that Tony’s dad wanted him to plan his wedding? What about his fiancé? I know I wouldn’t want to give something like that up. Interesting.

“Save the Date cards are like crack cocaine to women.” – Ha!

McGee suggesting Tony use a website and not a wedding planner?

The entire conversation with McGee and Tony about folding napkins. I was right there with Gibbs, those two were scaring me, too.

Finding out that Manheim tossed a bunch of TVs, and his agent, out of windows.

Ducky timing Palmer as he changed a diaper. Classic.

Gibbs coming in just in time to advise Palmer on how to change a baby’s diaper in the middle of the night. Aw.

Palmer, Bishop and Ducky working together to install a car seat and still not getting it done.

Yay! Abby on her roll-y board. We haven’t seen that in a while.

Abby heard Ducky curse? What??

“I’ve been known to dabble in some DNA.”

“Long time to hold a grudge.”
“And a hairdo.”

Wondering the same thing that Bishop did, exactly what does Tony have against mullets? I don’t like them, but I don’t have a person vendetta against them either. Could it be that Tony had one?? That would explain a lot.

“My sister is visiting.”
“Your sister is hot.” – And.. cue Gibbs sending Manheim home with Tony. And yay for seeing Tony’s place again!

Finding out that Tony’s House Rule #4 was: Don’t insult your host.

OMG Tony’s gonna play? *faints at the thought*

AHHHH! Tease us with Tony holding a guitar but NOT letting him play?? That was cruel, show. Very, very cruel.

Manheim immediately looking at the guy at the bar when Tony told him not to.

“Congrats. It’s a boy. Sort of.”

“By the power of all humanity I am ordering you to open!”

Getting nearly as excited as Jimmy when I found out his birth mother was in labor.

“Our little autopsy gremlin is growing up.” – Aw. Indeed he is.

Tony running out just as quickly as Jimmy when he found out what was going on in his apartment.

“Make your way in an orderly fashion to the front door, or I will shoot you!” – Seems reasonable.

“I got you, babe!”

Oh man, I knew it as soon as I saw Palmer’s face that the birth mom had changed her mind. At that moment, I needed one of Abby’s hugs myself.

Tony going out on stage and vamping. A job that he’s been prepping for his entire life.

Abby trying to cheer Jimmy up by showing him the video from the concert.

Jimmy admitting that Breena was much stronger than he was.

“I feel like I can’t breathe.” – One sentence and I went from normal to bawling in an instant.

Gibbs pointing out that Jimmy wouldn’t feel the way he did if he wasn’t ready to be a dad.

Gibbs helping Palmer put the baby presents back in his car.

The final phoomp. Been a long time since one of those had me in tears.

What did you think of this episode of NCIS? Got any favorite bits or least favorite bits of your own? Sound off in the comments below, I love hearing from you guys!

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