NCIS Season 12 Review “House Rules” – The Last Letter

NCIS Season 12 Episode 10 House Rules 07

In this episode of NCIS, called “House Rules, McGee reflects back on all the rules he’s learned from Gibbs while the team hunts for a cyber-terrorist.

Oh, NCIS, you cruel show. I sat down to watch this episode with excitement to see what the series had in store for Christmas this year. We’ve had so many great holiday episodes over the years and from the very beginning, it looked like this one would be no different.

Right away, I enjoyed all of the flashbacks as McGee typed out his letter to his father. Just the appearance of that old typewriter and McGee’s apartment was enough to make me smile. How long has it been since we had seen either? Too long, I say.

Then McGee started going through all of the rules he’s ever learned from Gibbs and each time one was mentioned, we got to see flashbacks that demonstrated it. I loved watching scenes from episodes I haven’t seen in while and seeing all those familiar characters (far too many of them who have passed). There were moments with Kate and Franks and Ziva and Jenny, plus many more. There were those moments that the fandom still hasn’t forgotten – Tony’s bout with the plague, Gibbs stuck in his car in the water, McGee fighting to protect his sister – all of them marking times when the show gave us more emotion then we thought we could handle.

Through it all, about 17 rules were trotted out while the gang worked with three cyber criminals to solve a case involving a guy calling himself Krampus. Every single scene with those geeks was hilarious and the episode seemed to be gearing up for another fun Christmas episode. I don’t know why, but I didn’t get any ominous feelings about McGee’s letter to his father in the beginning. It wasn’t until more facts were revealed about his dad’s health that I got suspicious. When I saw McGee in a black suit, I realized his letter wasn’t a letter at all. It was a eulogy.

With that, the show flipped this episode on its head and after all the laughter, I was suddenly in tears. Last week marked another anniversary of my own dad’s passing, so I couldn’t help but to feel for McGee losing his dad around the holidays. By the time McGee was crying as he said goodbye to his dad, I was sobbing. I couldn’t believe how quickly the tone of the episode changed, but I suppose that’s just like life. Sometimes people are taken from us in the blink of an eye and we have to learn to cherish each moment as they come. Thank you, NCIS, for reminding us of that lesson so close to Christmas.

My favorite bits:

Aw, I love that old typewriter. It’s been way too long since we’ve seen McGee typing on it.

Gibbs watching a western and eating steak cooked in his fireplace. So perfect.

Finding out Tony took his date to a shooting range. That actually sounds like a lot of fun.

Bishop’s demonstration for Gibbs. Is it bad that I still didn’t really understand it when it was over?

Laughing at Tony and Bishop actually trying to suggest they go home. Ha!

Abby: “American watered it down to coal in a sock. Boring.”

Tony’s grin when Gibbs said the plan was his idea.

The prisoners actually complaining about being broken out of prison.

McGee threatening to take away rolls to demonstrate his power.

Khan: “Oh, I’d be more than happy to get into your pants, Agent Bishop.”

Cringing when Khan referred to Breakfast Club as an “old movie.”

All of the Christmas carols that were playing every time someone went into Abby’s lab. I seriously want that album.

The flashback to Tony and that plague-filled envelope. Wow. I feel like that was a million years ago.

The prisoners getting excited over the idea of a field trip to autopsy.

Seeing how the prisoners changed their minds when they were actually in front of a body.

Gibbs’ little grin when his rag-tag group of hackers started to get enthusiastic about the case.

Ducky referring to the group as “elves.”

Aw, loved all the team moments.

McGee discovering that they were supposed to have gotten new monitors. three years ago.

McGee questioning if Gibbs was making up the Rules as he went along.

Khan: “Oh, creative. Like making me think I was about to be murdered by terrorists in Guantanamo Bay?”
Gibbs: “It worked.”

All the clips of people interrupting Gibbs in interrogation over the years. Man, I forget how many people broke Rule #22.

Ooh, and here come all the naughty bits of people breaking Rule #12.

Khan: “You type like an eighth grader.”
Bishop: “You smell like horny concrete.” – A, what does that smell like and B, how does Bishop know this?

McGee finally losing his temper and telling everyone what was really happening at home.

McGee asking to be taken off the case. Whoa.

Heidi finding out she was protecting a monster.

Kevin calling Khan and Heidi “hopeless, heartless humbugs.” And thanks to last night’s episode of NCIS: Los Angeles, I now know what humbug means.

The hero moments. OMG the hero moments. I can’t. I just can’t.

Realizing McGee was in a black suit when he finished his letter to his father. Oh no, please no.

I knew it but I didn’t want to believe it. And so the tears begin.

McGee’s voice breaking as he spoke his last words to his father. If I were typing on paper, it would be covered in tear-stained blotches now.

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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