As Gibbs struggles to cope with the effects of awakening from his coma which has left him with amnesia, Tony and the rest of the NCIS team attempt to find a terrorist and also find themselves racing to stop a potentially devastating terrorist attack from occurring.
The episode opens with a recap of what happened in the previous episode and ends with Leroy Jethro Gibbs awakening from his coma but with the shocking revelation that he doesn't remember who Donald Mallard is.
In the hospital room, Dr. Todd Gelfand is asking Gibbs if he remembers who Ducky is.
With the oxygen mask still on, Gibbs shakes his head. Ducky tells Gibbs that he's disappointed and that the last time someone forgot him, he was a baby as his mother had left him on a ferry from Orkney to John O'Goat's and that Mrs Mallard was on a bus halfway to Thruso before she realized young Ducky was missing. Ducky then wonders if he's often inspired the Lichtenstein t-shirt with Gelfand realizing the slogan is "God, I left the baby on the bus".
"Quite", Ducky agrees.
Ducky wants to know if Gibbs remembers being told. Gibbs removes the oxygen mask and tells them that he remembers the t-shirt but not Ducky.
Gibbs then puts the mask back on and shakes his head. Ducky tells him not to worry and that it'll come back.
Gelfand agrees, stating that temporary memory loss is to be expected. Ducky then leaves the room. Gelfand then asks Gibbs if he's breathing comfortably now. Gibbs just puts up two fingers. Gelfand remarks that it's good and then tells Nurse Maria Baliad to switch to the nasal cannula before telling Gibbs that he's doing fine while Maria prepares to give Gibbs the nasal cannula.
Outside, Gelfand and Ducky are talking with Gelfand stating that most traumatic injuries produce short-term retrograde amnesia but to erase years of memory, Gibbs's medial temporal lobes or hippocampus should be damaged. Ducky states that isn't the case because Gibbs's cat scans and EEG are all normal.
Gelfand also remarks that Gibbs remembered the explosion and states that he's never had a retrograde amnesia patient remember the trauma. Ducky nods in agreement and as they look inside, they see Gibbs with Nurse Baliad's help sipping from a metal cup complete with a straw.
Gelfand then turns back to Ducky and remarks that he doesn't think it's retrograde amnesia before stating that his belief that it could be dissociative amnesia. Ducky's in disbelief at the fact that Gibbs might be suffering from an emotional repression of memory.
Gelfand remarks that if there's no physical damage to the brain, then it must be psychological. Ducky is again refusing to believe it but Gelfand reminds him that Gibbs has never spoken of his past.
Ducky agrees, causing Gelfand to remark that it's too painful and that it could also explain the prolonged coma back in 1991.
Ducky states that the present coma Gibbs was in was the result of an explosion and how could it be psychological? Gelfand then wonders what if the latest coma caused a relapse of some sort.
With that, Gelfand then heads back into the room to check on Gibbs some more with Ducky following him.
Back inside, Gibbs is holding his head.
Gelfand asks Gibbs how he's doing with Gibbs admitting that he's confused. Gelfand then suggests seeing if they can clear up some of those cobwebs. He then asks Gibbs if he remembers the explosion. Gibbs agrees that he does. Gelfand then asks Gibbs where he was when it happened.
"Kuwait", Gibbs replies.
Gelfand then looks at Ducky.
Abby is even thrilled, going so far to hug McGee who's relieved too.
Jenny then tells them that's a problem which has the team concerned as she tells them that Gibbs has suffered some memory loss.
Abby states that retrogressive amnesia is normal after severe trauma. Tony states that it happens every time Gibbs smacks him on the head. McGee then interjects with the fact that he had amnesia after his car crash.
Tony jokingly believes that it happened because McGee's bumper car got T-boned at Legoland but McGee corrects Tony by telling them that it was about how he totaled his Camaro when he was sixteen and even states that the day is still a blank to him.
Jenny then tells them that Gibbs's blank is the last fifteen years which leaves the group stunned. She then explains that in Gibbs's mind, it's 1991 and he's a Marine Gunnery Sergeant wounded in Desert Storm. Ziva then asks if Gibbs doesn't know that he's an NCIS Special Agent.
Jenny doubts it, stating that Gibbs didn't even recognize Ducky. Abby then realizes that Gibbs didn't know who Ducky was, then...
"He'll never remember us", Tony finishes which has everyone stunned and shocked. Jenny then takes charge by stating that she's sure it's a temporary condition but in the meantime, they've got an Abu Sayyaf terrorist to apprehend. Abby raises her hand, causing Jenny to tell her that she doesn't know anything more.
Abby asks if she can go visit Gibbs but Jenny tells her that she can't, not just yet before telling them that Gibbs's neurologist, Captain Gelfand will let them know when Gibbs is up to it. Abby raises her hand and asks if she can go to the restroom, vowing that she'll come right back.
Jenny just shrugs and then tells everyone that if they need a potty break, now's the time to do it before announcing that they meet at 1710 before leaving. As she does that, McGee and Abby leave the bullpen while Ziva sits herself at Tony's desk while wondering if Tony knows what this means.
Tony does, stating that it means that Jenny's taking over the investigation. Ziva agrees but states that since she was thinking, if Gibbs doesn't remind the past 15 years, then he's going to be a Probie. Tony remarks that Gibbs would never let Jenny take charge of an investigation.
"Not the old Gibbs. Probie Gibbs", Ziva replies.
With that, Tony leaps from his chair and heads upstairs after Jenny while Ziva looks on. Catching her at the stairway, Tony tells her that he wants to understand that in Gibbs's absence and as the team's senior special agent, the investigation belongs to Tony.
As they reach the top of the staircase, Jenny wonders what would happen if she were to dispute that assumption. Tony then states that she'd be a fool before stating that Jenny is no fool. Tony then gets straight to the point by stating that this will be a long, tough investigation, that Jenny's overloaded as it is and that there's no-one who knows the team better than Tony, well except for Gibbs.
"Which evidently isn't me", Jenny replies.
Tony then tells her that he was actually speaking of Gibbs, the real team boss and then tells Jenny that she's the agency boss. Jenny then remarks that she isn't, not if DiNozzo keeps telling her what she can and can't do. Tony then tells her that he would never do that.
"Then what is it you're saying?", Jenny wonders.
Tony tells her to take care of the big picture and to let him handle the two-reeler. Jenny then tells him that she always intended to let him do that. Tony wonders if she did, then why did she make him say all that stuff? Jenny admits that she wanted to see if Tony had as much guts as Gibbs before heading off to her office.
As she does that, Tony smiles.
Back at the hospital, Gelfand is asking Gibbs about the first thing he remembers after the explosion. Gibbs then looks away and it then shows a flashback of him with his first wife and their young daughter. The flashback then morphs to a wounded Gibbs standing on a pair of crutches looking at their graves.
In NCIS, Jenny is talking to Ducky, asking him if he knew that when Gibbs was married that he had a daughter. As he comes into her office, closing the door, Ducky tells Jenny that it isn't possible because he know all three of Gibbs's ex-wives and none of them had any children.
"With his first wife, Shannon, he did", Jenny states. She then clicks a button and on her plasma, two IDS of a young woman and a little girl appear on the screen. As this happens, Jenny tells Ducky that Gibbs and Shannon got married in 1982 and had a daughter, Kelly who was born in 1984.
Ducky sits down, remarking "I can't believe it!".
Jenny then tells him that there's more and goes on to state that they were murdered while Gibbs was off fighting in Desert Storm. Apparently, Shannon witnessed the shooting of a Marine in Oceanside. She identified the killer as Pedro Hernandez, a Mexican drug lord working in Camp Pendleton.
As she says that, a photo of Hernandez pops up in front of Shannon and Kelly's photos. Jenny then states that an NIS agent was assigned to guard the two Gibbses and even produces a photo of the unnamed NIS agent before going on to say that a sniper shot the NIS agent in the head while he was driving their van.
As Jenny joins Ducky, she tells him that the NIS agent died instantly while Shannon and Kelly were both killed in the crash that resulted from the NIS agent's death. Once she's finished, Ducky remarks that this is so awful. Jenny then remarks that Kelly looked a lot like her father.
"Yes, a bit", Ducky remarks. "She's a beautiful child".
"Very", Jenny replies. "So is Shannon. Jethro always liked redheads".
As Jenny heads back to her desk, Ducky wonders if Hernandez was ever caught. She tells him, "No" before stating that he fled to Mexico. NIS tried to extradite but the Mexican authorities always claimed that they couldn't find Hernandez before telling Ducky that it's in their cold case files.
Getting up, Ducky tells Jenny that she can close it before stating that Gibbs would have pursed the killer of his wife and daughter to Hell and back before stating his belief that Gibbs got his revenge.
Meanwhile, down in the bullpen, Tony's telling the team that after performing the autopsy, Ducky is virtually certain that Abog Galib was inside the oil drum when the explosion happened. McGee wants to know why Galib was in the laundry oil drum before Abby suggests that Galib was probably looking for his laundry.
"This is serious, Abby", Tony snaps.
"Oh, listen the pot call the kettle black", Ziva pipes up. "Got that right, didn't I?".
"No", Tony states.
McGee gives Ziva a thumbs-up and as Ziva says "Yes!" in triumph, Tony unsurprisingly rounds on McGee, asking again why Galib was in the oil drum. McGee then suggests that Galib was probably hiding. Abby then wonders who Galib was running from: Gibbs?
Tony then realizes that Galib ran from Gibbs although the plan was to get arrested in front of the crew. Ziva has another question: how did PinPin know that Gibbs and Galib would be in the ship's laundry? Abby soon realizes that the person responsible would have to put the bomb inside the oil drum before they got there.
"Gibbs knows", McGee remarks.
Tony then remarks that Gibbs also thinks that the Giants won the Super Bowl and that Dances with Wolves is an Academy Award nominee. Abby and Ziva get distracted, talking about the movie before Tony calls them back to reality. He then asks Abby to do a computer re-enactment, using crime-scene photo, measurements and Ducky's autopsy findings.
Abby interrupts him to tell him that she knows how to do a computer re-enactment before heading off to do it.Tony then asks Ziva what she got out of Alon Atu. Ziva remarks that he's from the same village in Basilan as PinPin and as she gets up from her desk, tells him that the two men are hardcore Abu Sayyaf.
"He won't talk until I-", Ziva begins.
"No torture", Tony states.
"He won't talk", Ziva repeats.
Tony urges her to try but Ziva tells him she's tying my feet. Tony corrects her by stating, "Hands", causing Ziva to reply, "Those too". McGee is last with Tony asking him if PinPin's photo got added to the BOLO. McGee tells him that it did. Tony wants to know if Sealift Command got it with McGee revealing that they're faxing it to all 110 ships and that there's no way PinPin will infiltrate Sealift.
"He blew up Galib and put Gibbs in a coma", Tony snaps. "Rule Number 3: Never underestimate your opponent".
McGee tries to correct him but Tony states that it's part of his own collection of rules. McGee then states that he's got it before stating, "Never underestimate your opponent".
On the Cape Fear, a BOLO for PinPin Pula arrives via fax machine and unsurprisingly, the man himself upon getting the sheet shreds it instantly, hoping to keep his true identity as secret as possible.
As he leaves his office, a passer-by greets him by saying, "Hey, Galib".
It then cuts to PinPin who's looking over the metal area, his hair blowing about in the breeze.
While Gibbs watches TV from his hospital bed, Gelfand tells Jenny that Gibbs is trying to catch up on 15 years by watching TV. At her desk, Jenny comments that Gibbs hates TV. Gelfand tells her that Gibbs still can't believe that they're fighting in Iraq before Jenny tells Gelfand that Gibbs isn't alone in that statement.
She then asks Gelfand if Gibbs remembers being an NCIS Special Agent. Gelfand tells her that Gibbs doesn't and Ducky is still a stranger to him. Jenny then remarks that Gibbs won't know her then before stating that Ducky worked with Gibbs years before Jenny herself did.
"Well who an amnesiac remembers depends on their prior relationship", Gelfand explains. He then asks Jenny if she's found any Marines that Gibbs served with in Desert Storm. Jenny tells him that she's found two so far with one being dead while the other is a regimental commander in Iraq.
Gelfand then tells Jenny that Gibbs remembers visiting his wife and daughter's graves before stating that Gibbs's memory is to at least June 1991 when he was released from Bethesda. Jenny then realizes that Gibbs joined NIS that August.
Gelfand wonders if there's anyone from NIS Gibbs knows.
At her desk, Jenny does some further checking and soon discovers that Special Agent Michael Franks handled the murder investigation. She tells Gelfand that she'll start with Franks before she thanks Gelfand. At the hospital, Gelfand wants to know when she's coming back to see Gibbs.
"Tomorrow", Jenny replies.
Gelfand tells her that he'll be here before hanging up. He instantly looks into Gibbs's room and notices that Gibbs isn't his bed anymore before spotting a light on in the bathroom. In the bathroom, Gibbs stares at his reflection in the mirror. He then picks up a razor and begins removing some hair from the side of his face.
Cynthia Summer, Jenny's secretary arrives into Jenny's office with the news that Franks retired from NIS in 1996 and that he left no forwarding address or phone number. Looking at the sheet, Jenny then realizes that Franks did before telling a confused Cynthia to find out where OPM- (Office of Personnel Management) mails his retirement cheques.
Cynthia heads off to do just that while smiling.
On a lone beach in Mexico, Camila Charo arrives, carrying a bag of groceries and some letters for Franks whom she greets in Spanish. Mike then takes a single cigarette out of his packet and promptly lights up. Camila then asks him in Spanish, "How did you live to be such an old man?".
Franks takes his cigarette out of his mouth and states, "Old man" in Spanish with both of them laughing. He then tells Camila, "Come inside. I'll show you how old I am". Camila states, "You cannot afford me". Mike then triumphantly holds up his envelope, happily stating, "I just got paid!" in English.
"Then you can pay me for the groceries", Camila replies before telling Franks that he owns her 320 pesos. She then produces a satellite phone and begins dialling a number while Franks sorts out the money for her. He eventually puts the money into a small pocket in her shirt and she reacts by slapping his hand, telling him that his hand is greasy.
Mike just chuckles before wondering who she's calling.
On the phone, a female voice identifies herself as being an Operator while Camila admits that she doesn't know. The Operator then asks Camila how can she help her? Camila tells her that it's a collect call for Senor Miguel Franks, (Miguel being the Spanish for "Michael" which is Mike's official name).
The Operator tells her to hang on for a moment.
Camila then tells Franks that someone called him at the cantina and Franks wants to know who called him, causing Camila to shrug. As Camila listens again, the Operator tells her that she's connecting to the person who called the cantina. Camila then takes gives Franks the phone and Franks demands to know who the Hell this is while at the NCIS office, Cynthia tells Franks that she's Director Shepard's assistant.
"Director of what?", Franks asks.
"NCIS, sir", Cynthia replies.
Franks then puts the phone and yells at Camila, "Why didn't you tell me?". Camila tells him that they said it was muy importante- (very important) before wondering what the problema is because the call's free. She then grabs the grocery bag and storms off, leaving Franks on the beach, alone.
Franks tells Cynthia to speak with Cynthia telling him to wait for a moment while she connects him.
In her office, Jenny picks up the phone and talks to Mike who unsurprisingly begins ranting about how many damn assistants does the director have? Jenny assures Mike that it's just one.
Mike then wants to know who the Hell she is.
Jenny then tells that she's the Director of NCIS.
This causes Mike to laugh as he believes the whole thing's a big joke. He then coughs before taking another puff of his cigarette and begins wondering if this is Charlene, a possible ex-wife.
Jenny then calmly tells Mike her name and that she's Director of NCIS.
"Thank the Lord", Mike says.
Jenny wonders if that means if Mike approves of it but Mike tells her that it means that his thoughts of early retirement was a mistake and they've just proven themselves wrong. Jenny tells Mike that she didn't call him for his opinion of a female Director and Mike tells her that he didn't think she did.
"I need your help, Special Agent Franks", Jenny states seriously.
Mike tells her that he hasn't been that for eleven years and intends to hang up but stops when Jenny says, "Leroy Jethro Gibbs". This causes Mike to hold the phone away from his ear for a moment and it's shown that he's obviously stunned at hearing the name.
In the lab, as she and McGee work on the computer imaging on the crime scene on board the ship, Abby states, "Can you imagine how scary that would be to lose the last fifteen years of your life?". McGee then realizes with horror that both of them would be in high school, causing Abby to react with disgust and say, "Yuck! Zits. Braces. Raging hormones".
McGee then tells her that he used to walk the school with a notebook in front of his... but quickly stops, causing Abby to wonder where the notebook was. Glancing at the computer, McGee gets back on track by telling Abby that the laundry room is off and that it should be 3.962 meters wide, not 26.
Abby soon corrects the mistake much to McGee's pleasure who tells her that they've got to be accurate. Abby agrees before wondering if it was one of those tiny spiral notebooks or one of those big three-ring binder kind of ones. McGee just gives her a look before wondering where Abby herself was fifteen years ago.
Abby doesn't answer, instead choosing to ask where they found Gibbs. McGee wonders if she's afraid he's gonna find out but his sentence ends abruptly when Abby smacks him on the shoulder. McGee wonders what the slap was for with Abby telling him that it was for distracting her.
McGee tells her that he wasn't distracting her but Abby's more focused on where Gibbs was found. McGee gives up and then tells that they found Gibbs between the dryer and the bulkhead.
Abby works on putting an GCI-(computer generated image) representing Gibbs into the program with McGee informing her that the CGI image should be closer to the bulkhead. He then tells her that the autopsy report suggests that Galib was sitting on the bomb.
Abby then adds a CGI image of Galib which she puts into the oil drum and then announces that it consisted of 113 grams of Semtex.
McGee's surprised that she can compute the amount of Semtex that accurately but Abby tells him that she's a scientist and that she can compute anything accurately including the size of the notebook required to but McGee stops her from finishing that sentence, insisting that she detonate the bomb instead, adding a "Please".
Abby does just that and the loud noise causes McGee to fall out of his chair, startled. Abby apologizes and realizes that she forgot to tell McGee that she'd added sound too.
After recovering, McGee then wonders if they can try again but without the sound.
Abby agrees, stating that it was a little loud. McGee nods and tells her to go frame-by-frame so that they can both see what happened. Abby nods and then hits a few keys before stating that in the first mircosecond, less than the time it takes for someone to blink, the bottom of the barrel and Galib's lower body are atomized.
It then cuts to show the plasma playing a CGI version of what happened. As Abby says those words, it shows the barrell being blown up in slow motion. She then states that the oil drum is disintegrating but it retains enough integrity to blow what remains of Galib into the overhead.
Abby then joins McGee, stating that in the following mircoseconds, the oil drum then completely disintegrates and that Galib is impacted into the overhead. It then shows the CGI image of Gibbs lying against the wall, impaled by shrapnel and glass from the explosion, causing the two to state that Gibbs is dead..
In the bullpen, McGee and Abby are telling Tony and Ziva that if Gibbs had been standing when the bomb went off, he would have been blasted into the bulkhead and then been shredded by shrapnel. Abby then reveals that Gibbs had to have duck for cover before the bomb went off, causing Tony to realize that Gibbs knew.
Ziva wonders what's wrong.
Abby then tells her that she and McGee triple-checked the numbers but Ziva tells her that the image is correct before wondering if she made another idiom mistake. Tony then realizes that Ziva means that there's something wrong with what they know with Ziva stating that they know that Galib ran, that Gibbs pursued him, that they were in the ship's laundry, that Galib sat on a bomb inside the oil drum and thanks to Abby and McGee, they all know that Gibbs knew that a bomb was about to go off and that PinPin, a missing crewman on the Kamir Bakir is an Abu Sayyaf terrorist and that PinPin is probably the one who planted and detonated the bomb.
Tony remarks that while she left out that PinPin means "Rice paddy dike", her summation was damn good. He then tells the team what's wrong with the picture. No-one has an answer for him but McGee then states that Gibbs knows but unfortunately, he doesn't remember.
In his room, Gibbs is now sleeping when someone touches his hand. It's Jenny but Gibbs believes that it's Shannon despite the fact that she's dead. He even hallucinates her standing in front of him for a second before the image fades and it's Jenny who's actually standing in front of Gibbs now.
Jenny wonders if she still doesn't remember him but Gibbs suddenly has a flashback of the two of them having sex in a hotel room and he admits that he might remember her. Jenny then introduces herself to him and tells him that they were partners with Gibbs realizing that it happened after Shannon died and he asks her if he got married again.
"Three times", Jenny replies.
Gibbs chuckles, remarking, "No way". Jenny then tells him that it's true and Gibbs wonders if she's an ex-wife. Jenny then states that she's the Director of NCIS but Gibbs tells her for a second, he thought that she was someone else. Jenny then leans down to Gibbs and asks him if he remembers making love to her.
Gibbs then sits up and clears his throat with Jenny stating that it's a start. She then produces a photo from a folder and shows it to Gibbs, asking him if he recognizes the man in the photograph. Gibbs then sits up further in the bed and takes the photo from Jenny.
As he studies the photograph, Gibbs gets a few quick images of the man running away from him and of the man talking. He then tells Jenny that the name is on the tip of his tongue but he can't remember. Jenny urges him to calm down and that it will come but Gibbs insists that it's important.
Jenny then admits that it is very important with Gibbs believing that it's a life or death situation. Jenny tells Gibbs not to get upset or he won't remember. As she tries to take the photo away, Gibbs urges her to give him a name with Jenny telling him that the man's name is PinPin Pula.
Gibbs looks at the photo and tells her that it isn't the guy's name and that it can't be his name. Jenny wonders if he's sure but Gibbs yells at her that he's not sure before angrily stating that he doesn't remember and how can he be sure? In his rage, Gibbs even crumbles up the photo.
This causes Gelfand to head into the room while wondering what's going on. Jenny apologizes, stating that it's her fault. Gelfand then calls for 10 mil-grams of morphine and tells Gibbs that his blood pressure is spiking. Gibbs then snaps that he isn't Agent Gibbs and that he doesn't know this Agent Gibbs and that he doesn't wanna know Agent Gibbs.
Jenny tries to calm him down but Gibbs who's still clinging to her rather tightly yells that he wants his family, he wants Shannon and that he wants Kelly. As the morphine takes hold, Gibbs then sinks into his bed and lies on the pillow, stating that he misses them and that he misses them so much.
It then cuts to Gibbs who has his head buried into the pillow as he begins to cry and grieve for his dead family.
The next morning, as Gibbs watches the TV while Nurse Baliad finishes checking his blood pressure, she remarks that they would normally move Gibbs to a room but for once, the hospital is full up and ICU isn't. She then wonders why Gibbs has the sound off on the TV, telling Gibbs that it won't help him recover his memory but Gibbs tells her that it's nothing new and that it's the same war, same crime and same politics. Baliad wonders if he's surprised that the Terminator is now the governor of California but Gibbs isn't, stating that the Gipper (Ronald Reagan) was President.
Baliad then leaves, telling him she'll be back with his dinner. As she leaves, Gibbs refuses to eat any more of the baby food and requests a steak, rare would be nice along with some french fries before adding a please. Baliad ignores his request, stating, "Maybe tomorrow".
Once she's gone, Gibbs remarks, "Tomorrow, I won't be here".
Suddenly, a voice says, "Hello, Probie" and Gibbs turns to see his old boss/mentor, Mike Franks standing in the doorway. This triggers a flashback where Gibbs remembers himself and Mike on a stakeout with Gibbs drinking some coffee while Mike tells him that he and his brother married the same woman and that she was a Hell of a woman.
In the present, Gibbs gets out of bed and Mike comes over to him, remarking, "Damn, you got old, Marine". Gibbs then retorts with, "Have you looked in a mirror lately?" which causes Mike to give Gibbs a headslap and say, "If you hadn't been in a coma...".
As the two men hug, Gibbs remarks that Shannon and Kelly are dead. Mike tells Gibbs that he knows and as Gibbs gets back into bed, he remarks that it can't have been fifteen years. Mike just silently shrugs. Gibbs then states that it feels like he just got the news in Kuwait a couple of months ago.
Mike just stares at Gibbs.
While in the bed, Gibbs remembers that Mike was the guy who investigated Shannon's murder and that's how Gibbs met him in Camp Pendleton. Gibbs then remembers that Mike was the special agent in charge of the investigation and that he became an agent because of Mike.
Mike just smiles.
When Gibbs tells Mike about the sniper folder that Mike had left on his desk, Mike cuts Gibbs off by clearing his throat and gives Gibbs a glare. Gibbs then changes it, instead saying, "So I could join NIS". It then cuts to a flashback of Gibbs being given his own NCIS jacket and remarking that he liked the blue better which has Mike head-slapping Gibbs.
In the present, Gibbs realizes that NIS was actually NCIS and the Navy that changed the name that same year. Gibbs believes it was 1990 but Mike tells him that it was actually 1992. Again, Gibbs states that they investigated crimes scenes but Mike tells Gibbs that he investigated while Gibbs schlepped- (carried various equipment).
It then shows a flashback of Mike heading to the crime scene with a cup of coffee, telling Gibbs who's carrying all their equipment that in Nam, Mike packed twice of what Gibbs was carrying through monsoon mud with Charlie shooting at his ass and he remarks that he still moved faster than Gibbs.
In the present, Gibbs nods, remarking that Mike taught him how to be an agent but Mike shakes his head, telling Gibbs that he didn't teach and that Gibbs observed. It then shows another flashback of the Khobar Towers bombing with a newsreader stating that nineteen U.S servicemen are dead and that 372 have been wounded before it switches to Mike's office where he's busy packing up his belongings, having decided to retire. He then gives Gibbs his badge and gun before remarking, "Semper fi" and he then leaves.
Again, in the present, Gibbs remembers that it was the Khobar Towers, causing Mike to head over to the window. Gibbs remembers that Mike warned them about Osama Bin Laden but they didn't listen and that Mike quit. As he produces a cigarette, Mike insists that he didn't quit, that he retired.
Gibbs remarks that Mike was pissed that the intelligence community wouldn't listen to Mike at the time. As Mike lights up, Gibbs states that Mike was also pissed at the fact that all Clinton did was lob a couple of cruise missiles at al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan and then realizes that Mike quit.
Mike then turns away from the window and tells Gibbs that he didn't get calluses on his ass, flying from Mexico to argue. Gibbs then realizes that Mike is right and apologizes. Mike then tells Gibbs that he should never say he's sorry because it's a sign of weakness.
Gibbs wants to know why Mike's here with Mike telling him that Gibbs's Director called him in before demanding to know what's with the NCIS female Director crap? Gibbs remarks that he doesn't know and that he only remembers Jenny as a but Mike interrupts him, stunned that Gibbs knows the Director's name.
Gibbs nods, stating that Jenny told him that she was his partner. Mike wants to know what kind of partner Jenny but Baliad interrupts by telling Mike that he can't smoke in the hospital room. Mike tries to cover up by stating that he forgot that he was in a hospital but Baliad reminds that it's against the law to smoke in any public building.
"You're kiddin'!", Franks states.
Baliad just glares at him.
"Another good reason to live in Mexico", Franks grumbles, causing Gibbs to laugh for the first time in days. Franks soon relents and dump his cigarette into a metal cup that Gibbs is holding for him.
Meanwhile, in the NCIS morgue, James Palmer is telling Ducky that he was right.
Ducky believes that he was right for once but Palmer tries to tell Ducky what he was right about, only for Ducky to say, "What am I right about this time?". Palmer tells Ducky that he was right about Galib and the oil drum because Abby's computer program shows that it looks like Galib was fired from a cannon.
Ducky admits that it's a risky occupation, even without explosives. Palmer wonders if they don't use explosives to shoot people out of cannons? Ducky's in disbelief over Palmer's question but Palmer states that he knows that they don't use high explosives and that he thought it was black powder. This prompts Ducky to talk about a man named David "Cannonball" Smith who set a world record and was even fired over the United States-Mexican border. Palmer wonders why so many of them die if they don't use any explosives.
"They miss the net, Mr. Palmer", Ducky chuckles and the two laugh together before Ducky spots something. He then tells Palmer that Galib wasn't sitting in the oil drum: the man was stuffed in it. He then shows Palmer through a big lens and a while later, Tony is heard stating that neck bone has been cut.
As Ziva, Tony and McGee look at the body, Ducky tells them that the cervical vertebrae was cut very deeply and he even tells the corpse that it was slashed from ear to ear. Tony believes that it was a machete or a bolo knife but Ducky tells Palmer that it was a knife the Filipinos call a parang.
"Whatever they're called, it answers one of our questions", McGee replies.
"And poses a new one", Ziva states. "If Galib was dead-".
"Then who did Gibbs follow into the laundry?", Tony finishes.
In the hospital, Dr. Morgan Tolliver is busy treating an unnamed patient and remarks that death is not his jam. As this goes on, Nurse Baliad walks past the room and then heads into Gibbs's room where she realizes that the dinner that she brought Gibbs earlier hasn't been touched. She then knocks on the bathroom door, telling Gibbs that he won't be getting any steak if he doesn't finish his Jell-O today.
However, as it turns out, Gibbs is in the outside dining area, hungrily digging into a steak with french fries. He then asks Mike if he's got his knife but Mike tells him that Security took it at the airport. Gibbs wonders if the knife was more than three inches long.
Sipping some coffee, Mike remarks that they changed the rule after 9/11. Gibbs is confused as to what 9/11. Mike tells him it's September 11th, 2001. Gibbs then tells Mike that it's 1996 and that he just retired before remarking, "Damn, this is good" which hints that he's enjoying his food and he tells Mike that he owns him. He then wonders that it had to be a hijacking of some sort and states that they never change security until it's too late.
Mike produces another cigarette from his packet and after lighting it up and taking a puff, grimly tells Gibbs that Al Qaeda hijacked four airlines and that two hit the World Trade Centre with one hitting the Pentagon. As he says that, it's shown that Gibbs has stopped eating to listen to what Mike's telling him.
Mike then continues on, telling Gibbs that the fourth airline was supposed to take out the White House and then states that some gutsy passengers on the plane fought the terrorists before revealing that the plane went down in Pennsylvania. He then tells Gibbs that the Twin Towers are gone, that the Pentagon's fixed and three thousand and some people are dead and nearly as many people as that are wounded.
It soon all becomes too much for Gibbs and he heads over to a bin where he instantly throws up, causing a concerned nurse to come over and wonder what's happening. Mike assures her that Gibbs is fine and tells her that Gibbs just got some bad news.
The nurse then returns to her seat.
As the two men return to their table, Gibbs remarks that Nurse Baliad was right all along: he wasn't ready for a steak. He then asks Mike if they did more than toss a couple of cruise missiles. Mike assures him that they did more. Gibbs wants to know about Bin Laden but Mike tells him that he doesn't know, causing Gibbs to snap, "How the Hell can you not know?".
Mike then sits down opposite Gibbs and asks if he remembers that little beach in Baja where they fished.
Gibbs nods and states that it's south of El Rosario.
Mike then states that he built a little place there and that there's no TV, no radio and no newspapers whatsoever.
He then tells Gibbs that he fishes and even drinks beer and he also listens to eight-track tapes. He also reveals that he drives up to the cantina on the coast whenever he wants company or whenever the pick-up's working and that this is the first time he's been to El Norte in ten years.
He then states to Gibbs that there's no point in asking him for a sit-rep because he doesn't know but Gibbs realizes that it's because Mike doesn't want to, a statement Mike agrees with. Gibbs then rounds on Mike again, stating that Mike feels guilty because he quit in the first place and that if Mike hadn't quit, then maybe he's the one who stops it.
Mike then tells Gibbs that he didn't quit.
Gibbs just buries his head in his hands, obviously still trying to take everything in.
On board the Cape Fear, in the main room where all the supplies are, PinPin is putting the finishing touches to his impending terrorist attack. He adds some clay-more or Semtex to a missile before placing a timer which he then switches on.
Once he's finished, he then closes the lid and leaves the room, heading up some stairway just another sailor comes down, asking "Galib" what he's up to.
PinPin/Galib tells the sailor that he was stretching his legs because it's too windy on deck. The sailor then invites him to join the poker game that's going on tonight but PinPin/Galib refuses, stating that he talks to ham operators at night. The sailor's in disbelief that PinPin/Galib would rather do that than play poker.
"They're all girls", PinPin/Galib replies.
Once the sailor has left, PinPin then heads for the stairway, glancing cautiously back to make sure that his true identity or role hasn't been blown.
In Interrogation, Ziva shows Captain Mahir a photo of Galib before telling the Captain that he's insisting that the person in the photo is PinPin Pula. Mahir insists but Ziva disagrees, telling Mahir that she doesn't believe him. Mahir then defends himself, stating why would he lie to her if she threatened to kill him?
Ziva then tells Mahir that she isn't lying and that she will kill him if he's lied. Mahir tells Ziva that he believes her but Ziva tells him that she has her doubts. Mahir then swears that it is PinPin. Ziva doesn't say anything, instead choosing to remove her gun from her holster and place it on the table.
In Interrogation, McGee hopes that Ziva's gun isn't loaded. Tony then asks McGee if Gibbs would allow Ziva to carry a loaded weapon. McGee states, "No" and Tony then reminds McGee that Tony isn't Gibbs before giving McGee a small smile. McGee just looks back and forth, stunned.
Back in Interrogation, Ziva's gripping her gun while continuing to talk to Mahir. She and Mahir then both get up from their respective seats with Ziva still asking Mahir if he's postive about PinPin Pula. Mahir tells her again that he's positive before wondering how many times he has to tell her.
"Once more", Ziva replies.
As she edges closer, Mahir has his back pressed against the see-through glass which leads into the Observation Room. As this happens, Tony and McGee both sidestep to presumably avoid the incoming bloodbath. With her right hand on her gun and her left holding the photograph, Ziva insists Mahir take another look but Mahir tells her that he doesn't need to look before telling that the man in the photograph was on his ship for months before confirming that the man is indeed PinPin Pula. Ziva wants to know if PinPin was or is Abu Sayyaf.
Mahir tells her that he was.
Ziva asks who ran from customs. Mahir tells her that PinPin ran when NCIS's man, presumably Gibbs before stopping short of finishing the sentence. Ziva then drops the photograph and now grips her gun tightly with both hands before calmly telling Mahir that he knew all along that it was PinPin, not Galib who was at the Customs Gate. She then clicks the safety off, frightening Mahir and causing him to say, "Allah help me!".
Under the threat of death, Mahir confesses that Abu Sayyaf paid him to be quiet but PinPin never told him that there was a bomb involved. Ziva then pretends to pull the trigger and Mahir collapses to the ground, revealing that the whole thing was actually a ploy and that her supposed loaded gun wasn't even loaded in the first place.
In the bullpen, the team have all gathered and are busy looking at a photo of NCIS Special Agent Abog Galib, one that Jenny showed Gibbs earlier. Jenny then wants to know what the point is. DiNozzo tells her that it's a very scary one. He then signals to McGee who instantly presses a button and suddenly, the photo of PinPin pops up alongside Galib's photo. DiNozzo then tells Jenny that Mahir admitted to Ziva that PinPin passed him off as Galib at the Custom's check.
Jenny then picks up by stating that Gibbs would have expected Galib to change his appearance when going undercover, ie, growing his hair, maybe a mustache and dirty himself up a bit. She then realizes that when PinPin handed Gibbs Galib's passport, then it was good enough.
"To pass the mustard", Ziva says.
"Muster, not mustard", McGee corrects her.
Jenny then realizes that Galib's documents are vetted to get him on any crew in the world. DiNozzo then confirms her worst fears by stating that the Cape Fear and the Cape Horn are potential targets too. Ziva then reveals that they sent a second BOLO with PinPin's photo to both ships with the two ships confirming that PinPin wasn't on board.
DiNozzo then tells her to send again, this time with the name "Abog Galib" and as Jenny heads off, DiNozzo tells McGee to get him the crew rosters from Sealift Command which McGee agrees on. At the edge of the bullpen, Jenny tells DiNozzo to call MTAC because she wants the NSO, Pentagon, CIA, FBI, hell, everyone from the agencies online ASAP before she heads off.
As soon as she's gone, DiNozzo who's on the phone remarks that his gut's telling him that they're missing something.
"Gibbs", Ziva replies.
"Yeah, Gibbs", DiNozzo agrees.
Hours later, with Gibbs asleep in his hospital bed, Ziva arrives in and when she moves to touch his arm, he instantly grabs hers, waking up straightaway. Gibbs looks at her and wonders who she is. She introduces herself as Ziva. Gibbs then shakes his head and asks her if they work together.
Ziva tells him that they do before revealing that she's a Mossad officer attached to his team. Gibbs is in disbelief over that, wondering where Mossad started doing that. Ziva tells him that it's been a year. Gibbs tells her not to feel because he worked with that M.E..
"Ducky", Ziva replies. "10 years and you don't remember him".
"Do you always finish people's sentences?", Gibbs wonders.
"Only when I'm in a hurry", Ziva states before telling Gibbs that Abu Sayyaf is planning an attack on the Navy which will be as devastating as... and while Gibbs gets up, he finishes with "9/11". Ziva's surprised he remembers 9/11 but Gibbs just remarks that his boss told him.
Ziva believes it's Jenny but Gibbs tells her it was his boss before stating that it doesn't matter and what can he do? Cupping his face in her hands, Ziva tells Gibbs to remember. Gibbs tells her that he's been trying to ever since he woke up in the hospital room. Ziva insists that he try harder before stating, "Good. That's a start".
When Gibbs is puzzled, she tells him about the old Gibbs stare that he gave it to them, McGee, Tony and Ziva herself. Gibbs then angrily demands to know what she's talking about. Realizing there's no other options, Ziva grabs Gibbs's left hand and gives herself a Headslap.
In that instant, Gibbs sees a memory of himself from Family Secret (episode) giving Ziva a headslap just as Gibbs leaves the bullpen. In the present, her voice shaking, Ziva tearfully tells Gibbs that Ari Haswari killed Caitlin Todd. It then cuts to a flashback from Twilight (episode) of Kate being shot and then falling to the ground, dead as Gibbs instantly draws his gun while DiNozzo just stands there, stunned.
Back in the present, Ziva, now on the verge of tears tells Gibbs that she killed Ari.
It then shows a flashback from Kill Ari Part 2 (episode) of Ari being shot just as he attempts to kill Gibbs while Gibbs then looks up and it soon shows Ziva glaring at the corpse of her dead half-brother. Back in the present, Gibbs finally realizes the truth: Ari was Ziva's brother and Ziva killed Ari to save Gibbs's life.
Ziva finally breaks and falls into Gibbs's arms, sobbing while Gibbs just stands her, being supportive while stroking the back of her head.
Back at NCIS, Tony and McGee are telling Ducky and another unnamed person, possibly Abby that Gibbs now remembers everything and Ziva's bringing Gibbs to NCIS. They then hang up when Gibbs, now wearing blue hospital scrubs finally arrives in the bullpen with Ziva accompanying him.
Upon seeing DiNozzo, Gibbs calls his Senior Field Agent "McGee" much to DiNozzo's confusion.
As they head for the stairs, an overjoyed Abby emerges with Ducky and instantly launches herself onto Gibbs who tells Abby that he does remember her after all.
Gibbs then greets Ducky with Abby wondering if Gibbs should even be out of the hospital but Gibbs tells her that he doesn't have time and that he'll talk to them later.
With that, the four finally head upstairs to MTAC.
Glancing over the railing at the photo on the plasma, Gibbs then states that he should have known that it wasn't Galib.
McGee and Ziva try to comfort him by stating, "Oh, no" but DiNozzo remarks that he would have made the mistake.
"Well, yeah, I know, DiNozzo", Gibbs replies. "That's why I'm so pissed".
And he then gives DiNozzo a headslap, causing DiNozzo to happily remark that Gibbs didn't forget him after all.
They then all head upstairs with Tony and Ziva smiling at each other while downstairs, Ducky and Abby smile at each other before heading off.
In MTAC, Jenny is talking to NSO Deputy Director Dean Welsh, telling him that the Cape Fear is loaded with 20,000 tons of munitions.
Welsh tells her that because of that, they can't permit the Cape Fear to reach Gibraltar without boarding a Navy search team.
Jenny agrees but states that if the frigate signals a heave-to and prepare to be boarded, then PinPin will blow up the Cape Fear, resulting in many deaths.
Welsh then states that it will only happen if PinPin's on board and if he happens to be a suicide bomber.
Captain Tom Zill then tells Welsh that he's risking 19 civilian lives on ifs.
Welsh states that in the Med, PinPin could explode near a cruise ship and that nineteen will be seem like an acceptable.
Gibbs then enters MTAC, stating that no death is acceptable when it's unnecessary.
Jenny then introduces Welsh to Gibbs as Tony, McGee and Ziva silently watch in the background.
Gibbs then tells Welch that PinPin isn't after a cruise liner.
Welsh states that Islamic terrorists love soft targets.
Gibbs then tells Welsh PinPin's after the Marine assault ship that the Cape Fear is replenishing in the Gulf.
Welsh then states that Gibbs has no idea what PinPin wants because PinPin is a terrorist before suggesting that it could be a cruise ship or the Suez Canal.
Gibbs interrupts by stating PinPin told him.
Welsh's in disbelief at that.
Gibbs then states that PinPin Pula is an arrogant son of a bitch and that he thought the bomb he'd planted would kill Gibbs.
"So he's not a suicide bomber?", Welsh wonders.
Gibbs then tells Welsh to order that frigate to break off but Welsh tells him that he can't do that.
Gibbs looks at Jenny in disbelief before angrily wondering if everyone up there is as stupid as Welsh which has Welsh sitting up, obviously stunned.
Gibbs then states that PinPin is on the Cape Fear and that he's the radioman who's sending every BOLO back with "No PinPin here".
Welsh tells Gibbs that they got it and that's why they didn't communicate with Cape Fear until now.
As he stays those, an online video of the Fear's Commander, Jeff Fletcher pops up.
Gibbs is relieved and he wonders if Jeff can get his SEALs onboard without being seen.
Jeff tells Gibbs that they can execute a HALO insertion without 10 hours but Welsh says that it's unacceptable because the Cape Fear will have entered the Med and that it does happen, then it will be on some tourist's video camera.
Gibbs tells Welsh that the sailors on the frigate have video cameras.
Welsh tells Gibbs that they can confiscate those videos, causing Gibbs to react with disbelief and realize that the Navy doesn't want this attack being seen. Welsh then insists that an accident at sea is better than an act of terrorism.
Gibbs then states that it's too late.
On the Cape Fear, PinPin gets up from his desk upon hearing the "heave-ho and prepare to be boarded for inspection" signal.
Back at NCIS, Gibbs angrily calls Welsh a bastard before storming out of MTAC.
Welsh then silently signals his tele-conference call to end which it does and as Gibbs heads up the steps, the rest of the team and Jenny witness the Cape Fear being blown up, exploding in a wave of fire, killing all those on board including PinPin as well as the approaching SEALs.
Later, in Jenny's office, Gibbs sits in his seat, staring into the distance while Jenny sips a glass of brandy or whiskey.
Gibbs tells her that he was wrong but Jenny tries to assure that he wasn't wrong.
Gibbs states he was angry at Mike and that he could never understand why Mike quit....
"Until now", Gibbs announces after getting to his feet.
It then cuts to Jenny who looks stunned.
In the bullpen, everyone's waiting for Gibbs who comes in. Gibbs begins searching for his ID and gun which Tony announces that he has as the paramedics gave them to him while they were treating Gibbs.
After being given them, Gibbs tells Tony that he appreciates it before pocketing his ID.
From the balcony, Jenny looks on.
Gibbs then tells Tony that he'll do before giving Tony the badge and gun and stating that the team is Tony's now.
Tony and Ducky are stunned, Ziva is impassive while Abby is on the verge of tears. Gibbs then tells McGee that he's a good agent and not to let Tony tell him otherwise.
It then shows McGee who looks completely shell-shocked at what's happening before stating, "I won't, boss".
Gibbs then heads to Abby who's obviously in disbelief. She tries to say something but Gibbs puts her finger to her lip and kisses her on the cheek.
As he leaves her, the realization of what's going on finally begins to sink in and Abby starts crying.
Gibbs then heads to Ziva where he tells her that he owns her with Ziva vowing that one day she will collect.
Once Gibbs has left the bullpen, he tells Ducky to give him a lift home which Ducky agrees to do.
As they reach the elevator, Gibbs turns around to see his former team staring at him, stunned and in disbelief. He doesn't do anything else, except simply say, "Semper fi" before heading to join Ducky at the lift.
As he gets into the lift, it then cuts to Abby, McGee, Ziva and Tony with Jenny on the stairway staring at Gibbs who leaves NCIS for good.
In Mexico, Mike's busy working on his truck and as he pauses to take a sip of beer, he spots a familiar figure coming towards him.
It's Gibbs who's now wearing different clothes and is carrying a bag of his own.
Mike then smiles, puts his beer down and then goes back to work.
It then cuts to an overhead view of Mike's beach-house and Gibbs is seen approaching Mike's house while Mexican music plays in the background.
- On the Region 2 DVD, the "Previously on NCIS" title card is missing from the beginning of the episode.
- Season Three Cast
|Leroy Jethro Gibbs||Mark Harmon||An NCIS Special Agent in charge of the main NCIS Major Case Response Team.|
|Anthony DiNozzo||Michael Weatherly||The Senior Agent of the main NCIS Major Case Response Team and also the second-in-command.|
|Abigail Sciuto||Pauley Perette||A Goth who is also the Chief Forensic Scientist and who also works for the NCIS Major Case Response Team.|
|Timothy McGee||Sean Murray (actor)||An NCIS Special Agent previously assigned to the Norfolk Naval Base who is now the Junior Agent of the main NCIS Major Case Response Team.|
|Jennifer Shepard||Lauren Holly||The Director of NCIS who was also Gibbs's former girlfriend and partner.|
|Ziva David||Cote de Pablo||The Mossad Liaison Officer to NCIS.|
|Donald Mallard||David McCallum||NCIS's Chief Medical Examiner.|
|James Palmer||Brian Dietzen||Ducky's assistant.|
|Michael Franks||Muse Watson||Gibbs's former C.O and the one who helped him join NCIS/NIS. Makes his first ever physical appearance in this episode where he arrives in the hospital from Mexico to help Gibbs recover his memory.|
|Kelly Gibbs||Mary Mouser||Gibbs's murdered young daughter.|
|Cynthia Summer||Stephanie Mello||Jenny's secretary.|
|Aris Mahir||Christopher Maher||The captain of the Turkish ship.|
|Abog Galib||n/a||A supposed undercover NCIS Special Agent who is later revealed to be an imposter and an Abu Sayyaf terrorist, PinPin Pula who killed the original Galib and stole his identity. Later succeeds in blowing up the Cape Fear, prompting an angry Gibbs to resign from NCIS for good.|
|Maria Baliad||Tess Lina||A nurse who treats Gibbs.|
|Morgan Tolliver||Jarvis W. George||The doctor who treated Gibbs who was caught in the blast.|
|Todd Gelfand||Brett Cullen||A Navy doctor who first treated Gibbs when he was originally wounded while serving in Desert Storm in 1991.|
|Dan Muttick||Hawk Younkins||Uncredited role.|
|Dean Welsh||Tyrees Allen||NSO Deputy Director.|
|Camila Charo||Susan Santiago||A woman seen delivering groceries to Mike Franks.|
|Jeff Fletcher||Pepper Sweeney||The Cape Fear's Commander.|
|Mario||Kevin E. West||A man who appears in the episode.|
|Tom Zill||Alan Pietruszewski||A Navy Captain seen on the conference call in MTAC.|
|Director (Hiatus Part 2)||Dan Welsh||Uncredited role.|