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Spoilers ahead for the November 12 episode of NCIS Season 17, called "No Vacancy."
The case of the week for NCIS involved some hungry pigs, a criminal congressman, and some Ziva-free action, but there was a lot going on besides the particulars of the mystery. Although Torres' relationship with Elena was going so well that he was ready to meet her son, it was his relationship with Bishop that seemingly took a big step forward. The problem? According to Torres, it's "complicated." Here's what happened.
When "No Vacancy" opened, Nick Torres revealed the toys he'd bought for Elena's son "Ricky," who Torres would get to meet now that he was coming home from "camp." The twist came when "Ricky" showed up at the NCIS office and turned out to be a full-grown man who prefers going by "Richard," just got a break from his time at Camp Pendleton, and caught the eye of Ellie Bishop. The mix-up was handled pretty well by Torres and Elena when they got cozy at an Italian restaurant, but the mood was ruined when Ricky walked into the place with Bishop for a date of their own.
Proving that both mother and son aren't the best at reading the room, they decided the two couples should have dinner together, and things got awkward quickly. With Torres and Bishop on one side of the table, they got a look at what the other is like on a date. For Bishop, that means a higher-pitched and more enthusiastic laugh than normal, and for Torres, that means ordering wine for the table.
Sparks were flying on the wrong side of the table for Elena and Ricky, who definitely spotted the chemistry between the two coworkers. Torres and Bishop weren't entirely unaware either, and Torres even talked it over with Palmer. For his part, Palmer compared them to Tony and Ziva and remarked that things can get sticky when coworkers date. Palmer must not be watching NCIS: Los Angeles to see that good things can happen when coworkers date, too!
Palmer also claimed that he saw Tiva coming from a mile away, whereas he saw nothing between Torres and Bishop. Torres clearly wasn't 100% convinced, though.
The kicker came at the end of the episode when Bishop told Torres that Richard was returning to Camp Pendleton, so she wouldn't be seeing him any time soon. This led Torres to admit that Elena had dumped him. Although he would only say that it's "complicated" when she asked him why Elena had dumped him, I think it's safe to infer that the double date with a little too much chemistry for comfort between Torres and Bishop had something to do with it.
Of course, Torres and Bishop couldn't take a step forward without at least one step back, and that step back came when Torres tried to tell Bishop how he'd felt when he'd seen her with Richard. It certainly looked to me like he was on the verge of saying "jealous" before Bishop supplied "overprotective," and Torres overcompensated by saying he was indeed being overprotective because she's like a sister to him. Maybe stop with the gazing if she's like your sister, Torres!
Still, the episode ended with Bishop taking Torres out for a burger to make him feel better about being dumped, so whatever tension there may be between them after "No Vacancy," their friendship isn't impacted. Could this episode be what sets them on a romantic course? NCIS showrunner Frank Cardea did tease Torres and Bishop moving in that direction eventually, and that was back in Season 16. Maybe Christmas will give them something other than a baby this year!