Warning: spoilers ahead for the latest episode of NCIS Season 18 on CBS, called "Unseen Improvements."
NCIS continued to keep Gibbs out of NCIS with "Unseen Improvements," even if he is seemingly getting closer to going back to his job, but the episode may have set the stage for something more exciting than the inevitability of Gibbs' return: Torres and Bishop hooking up. But after this episode took them closer than ever to explicitly addressing their will they/won't they relationship, I find myself wondering if NCIS is going to hook them up off screen.
"Unseen Improvements" started playing up the chemistry between Torres and Bishop, with Jimmy Palmer having fun pushing them to have "The Talk" about relationships in the workplace at NCIS, and Kasie even got in on it at one point, although she and Jimmy also discussed the many changes in Bishop over the past year. As for Torres and Bishop, they spent almost the entire hour declaring that they didn't need to have The Talk because they're just friends, but they finally admitted that they needed to have it ASAP.
They headed into the elevator, and Torres got out of making the first overture by saying "ladies first." Bishop starting talking about their intense time together when they were trapped in adjacent cells earlier in Season 18. There was some serious eye contact once Torres heard her mention it, which on NCIS in the 8 p.m. time slot on CBS is fairly close to a love scene. And then... the elevator doors closed on their conversation, and the scene was over, even though the conversation clearly wasn't.
The entire scene felt like it was building to something climactic, starting with them waffling about The Talk so much that I half expected one of them to suggest doing it via email, to tentatively making it clear that they should have it sooner rather than later, to Bishop finally flat-out saying that they need to have it "now." Torres had no objection other than wanting her to go first, and the tension and chemistry was enough that I really thought something was going to happen, even though they were in an elevator at NCIS.
And then nothing happened except for the eye contact before the elevator doors closed on them, and that honestly wouldn't have bothered me if NCIS hadn't made it clear that the conversation was only just beginning, and the tease of that conversation continuing off-screen just frustrated me. Hinting that it happened is one thing; setting up and teasing a big step forward only to cut it off pulled me out of the episode. In fact, it reminded me of how another couple in the NCIS franchise first hooked up: Kensi and Deeks over on NCIS: Los Angeles.
Over on NCIS: LA, Kensi and Deeks ended an episode with a loaded conversation and some good old-fashioned significant eye contact, and the next episode picked up with the reveal that they'd slept together. That's not to say that Bishop and Torres will have slept together between this episode and next week's, but I definitely felt like a big step forward was about to go down off-screen.
In fact, I'll have a hard time believing there's a future for Bishop and Torres if that conversation continued and didn't lead to something more. If this conversation continues (off-screen) like it began, and Bishop and Torres remain friends and coworkers, then there may be no hope that either of them will make a genuine move. Or possibly even want to.
For what it's worth, Wilmer Valderrama has already teased an interesting dynamic for Torres with Arrow alum Katrina Law's character, who makes her debut in the next episode, and the promo is already previewing a connection between them. Take a look:
Now, of course men and women can have an interesting dynamic without sparks flying, and Torres and Katrina Law's Jessica Knight could just be a pair of badass agents who are even more badass (possibly to a dangerous degree) together. And with the potential of Katrina Law joining up as a series regular now that NCIS has been renewed for Season 19, I'm hoping that we get to see Bishop and Jessica Knight bonding.