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Did NCIS Make The Wrong Choice With Palmer And Kasie's Fates In The Dangerous New Episode?

Spoilers ahead for the February 28 episode of NCIS Season 19, called "The Helpers."

NCIS was a family affair for Palmer in "The Helpers," although not in the way he would have wanted. He saw wife Breena again in a hallucination while on the brink of a painful death, and his daughter Victoria was faced with losing another parent while her dad was trapped in lockdown with Kasie. For a tense few minutes, it really felt like NCIS might lose Palmer and/or Kasie, particularly with the reveal that Kasie was having second thoughts about signing on for another five years. By the end of the hour, however, not only were both alive and on the mend, but Kasie decided that she's game to stay on at the agency. But did the show make the right choice for their fates? 

I was of course rooting for the team and Dr. Carol Wilson (played by Meredith Eaton in her first return to NCIS since Season 11) to find the antidote in time to save Palmer and Kasie, but at the same time, I could appreciate the stakes of having two popular characters' lives in very real jeopardy. Plus, with the threat of Kasie not committing to returning to the agency, it felt like something had to be different for the team by the end of the case. But nope! They both survived, Kasie is coming back despite having more valid reasons than ever to want to move on, and everything is pretty close to back to normal. 

Sure, the mystery of "the Raven" wasn't entirely solved, so the team may have a new nemesis for the foreseeable future, but there don't really seem to be any long-term consequences for the characters. It's not that I wanted either of them to die, or Diona Reasonover to depart, or any kind of massive change to the cast so soon after losing Mark Harmon as Gibbs (although NCIS has done a valiant job of keeping Gibbs relevant despite his status off-screen). But all the tension and suspense from the case fizzled away, and the stakes just don't feel so high anymore. Even if the result was one of them deciding or needing to take some time away from the job, I would have enjoyed it more. 

And that's honestly saying a lot, because I consider "The Helpers" to be one of the best episodes of the season, if not the very best. It just didn't pack as much of a punch by tying off all the loose ends so neatly for the characters, with the exception of the Raven. For me, the two better options would have been to either not build up Kasie's potential departure on top of Palmer and Kasie's potential deaths if none of those were going to happen, or dish out some kind of consequences for one or both of them that would last beyond the final credits of "The Helpers." Either one of those options would have made the episode feel more satisfying to me, and made me feel more suspense for any future episodes with characters in danger. 

Of course, this isn't the first time that NCIS has put this duo in potentially deadly situations together, since viewers saw that back in Season 17 when their friendly diner breakfast turned into a hostage situation, but this one hit closer to home since they'd been exposed in what should have been the safety of their own lab. I'm glad that neither of them died there, but I just wish everything hadn't been tied up so neatly for the heroes. Based on some comments from actor Brian Dietzen (who also co-wrote the episode), it was already evident that Kasie would still be around for at least a few more weeks for the crossover with NCIS: Hawai'i, and that's certainly something for fans to look forward to in March. 

For now, you can look forward to new episodes of NCIS (opens in new tab) on CBS on Mondays at 9 p.m. ET, followed by NCIS: Hawai'i at 10 p.m. in the 2022 TV schedule. The two shows will cross over for the very first time (although the spinoff did at least establish a Gibbs connection earlier in Season 1) on Monday, March 28. 

Laura Hurley
Laura Hurley

Resident of One Chicago, Bachelor Nation, and Cleveland. Has opinions about crossovers, Star Wars, and superheroes. Will not time travel.