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NCIS recap: Fans left to wonder if Wilmer Valderrama is leaving NCIS

Director Vance NCIS S19
Director Vance is still the leader of NCIS in Season 19. Pic credit: CBS

This NCIS recap comes from Season 19, Episode 12, on Monday night. The new episode is called Fight or Flight, and it focused a lot on NCIS Special Agent Nicholas “Nick” Torres (played by Wilmer Valderrama).

On the previous episode for NCIS, the team walked into a trap on a research vessel, where it turned out that terrorists/thieves had taken everyone hostage, with the plan being to steal a helicopter.

New boss Alden Parker ended up saving the day, but not before Torres and Agent Jessica Knight got tortured for information about the rest of their team. Torres and Knight didn’t give up any information, but they were pretty battered by the end of the night.

The promo for this new episode indicated that Torres was going to take another beating, and he certainly put himself in a position to have to fight again. Not only did it cause the episode title to make sense (Fight or Flight), but it may have served as foreshadowing for the story arc of Torres on the show.

NCIS Season 19, Episode 12 recap

The new episode opened with Torres getting pummeled by another fighter in a cage match. The referee asked him if he wanted to tap out, and the opening titles ran. The episode then presented the familiar trope of having “36 hours earlier” flash on the screen as Torres arrived to work.

McGee noted that Torres looked really tired and he gave an excuse of being out with friends late. Knight then mentioned that he was supposed to hang out with her and Kassi, but that Torres had said he was too tired to go out. When questioned, Torres said he had caught a second wind.

The whole situation was suspect and designed to make it look like Torres was having a tough time in his personal life. And he was.

The NCIS team gets a new case

The crux of this episode was that the body of a Navy lieutenant was discovered missing an eye and that eventually led the NCIS team to investigate the world of cage fighting. That was also likely made pretty obvious to NCIS fans who saw the TV promo or the opening moments of this episode.

And, of course, Torres was definitely willing to go undercover as a cage fighter, but there were moments when it appeared like he was taking the assignment so seriously that he was putting his life at risk.

While Torres was training to be in the cage fights, Agent Sawyer returned to the NCIS cast to help him practice. There was still a lot of animosity between Torres and Sawyer based on what happened last season when Torres and the rest of Gibbs’ team got benched. It was made worse because Torres was convinced someone would replace him with Sawyer at NCIS.

DIA Agent Collins (Defense Intelligence Agency) tried to pull rank on the NCIS team when it came to the body. The man who had died was working on patching holes in the security systems for the DIA and he had taken a personal laptop home. The agencies all knew the importance of getting to the bottom of the case before any of those secrets got out.

Through their undercover work, NCIS and the DIA were able to get the laptop back, as well as the eye of the dead Navy man that was being used to unlock it. A ring of criminals was also brought down in the process.

Agent Torres has a rough episode on NCIS

The plot of the episode was more of a vehicle than anything, with the intent to show that Agent Nick Torres was spiraling ever since his new father figure (Gibbs) had “abandoned” him. Gibbs “retiring” to Alaska hit everyone on the team hard, but Torres had been trying to hide his feelings for a while.

It all followed a pattern of events that Torres has gone through in his life of people leaving and it led to him assuming that Director Vance and McGee would soon do it to him as well. Torres was working to distance himself before anyone else could leave him.

He finally ended up speaking a bit about what was bothering him with Dr. Jimmy Palmer. His feelings of abandonment from his father leaving as a child, Agent Bishop leaving at the end of Season 18, and Gibbs leaving at the beginning of Season 19 had caught up to him.

Palmer spoke about how hard it was for him to deal with his wife dying and how it sometimes led to him being angry that she had left. It resonated with Torres, but it isn’t really clear if he got what he needed from the chat.

NCIS is also now on another hiatus, so we aren’t going to get any answers in the short term.

NCIS airs Mondays at 9/8c on CBS.

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