SPOILER ALERT: This story contains details of Tuesday night’s episode of NCIS.
The time has come. Fans of the beloved character of Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette) gathered around their televisions with a box of Kleenex to say farewell to NCIS‘s favorite goth forensic scientist after 15 seasons. In the second part of Perrette’s two-part farewell titled “Two Steps Back,” we see the fate of Reeves (Duane Henry) and our dear Abby as they were held at gunpoint in the previous episode.
A quick refresher: last week’s episode titled “One Step Forward” centered on a vet named Sara Carter who goes to Gibbs (Mark Harmon) to investigate the murder of her mother after she thinks they convicted the wrong man. Meanwhile, Abby wins a dinner reservation to The Cooler, a hip and boujee restaurant that is impossible to get into. After everyone bribes her with gifts to be her plus one, she decides to take Reeves (Duane Henry).
After their glorious meal, Abby and Reeves are on cloud nine with a haute cuisine hangover when they are held at gunpoint in an alley. The mugger demands their valuables but things begin to escalate when Abby offers to help him. He goes off the rails and that’s when the screen cuts to black and we hear a gunshot.
That brings us to tonight’s episode. It starts with Gibbs and the gang having a good ol’ time playing poker and that’s when they hear the news that Abby has been shot. As she’s being carted into the ER, doctors and nurses are in a frenzy as Abby is coding.
Meanwhile, we cut to a medical examination room with a body bag and it’s obvious who’s in there — mainly Bishop (Emily Wickersham), Palmer (Brian Dietzen) and Torres (Wilmer Valderama) have somber looks on their faces. That’s when NCIS veteran David McCallum makes his grand return as Donald “Ducky” Mallard. After an exchange of words on whether there is hope for Abby, that’s when they reveal that its Reeves who is in the bag.
McCallum works his magic on Reeves’ death and discovers that there were two different blood samples on Reeves’ shirt. When they run tests on it, they discover one of the samples is Reeves’ and the other is from a guy named Kent Marshall who was dishonorably discharged from the army.
Gibbs, Torres, and Bishop pay a visit to Marshall’s apartment only to find that someone got to him before they did. In other words, he’s dead. Torres finds a dossier of Abby in the apartment and when they connect the dots they find out that Abby and Reeves weren’t mugged. They were a target — specifically Abby. And they think that the guy that hired him is the one that killed him. Thus begins a hunt.
Past episode guests come to light as suspects including Terry Spooner (Eddie Jemison) and Alejandro Rivera (Marco Sanchez) — but they aren’t the ones responsible for the hit on Abby.
Cut to Abby on the hospital bed still fighting for her life while McGee (Sean Murray) stays by her side. She appears to be having some nightmarish flashbacks which wakes her up — but she can’t remember anything from the shooting.
A collective sigh of relief from Abby fans was heard around the world as it was revealed that she is alive — but the guy who did this is still on the loose. The team works tirelessly to see who is behind the hit on Abby and all the arrows are pointing to the big baddie Robert King (Peter Jason) the man behind Project Tarburst (see the “Toxic” episode).
The team attempts to track him down and Abby says that she found him sending Gibbs and the gang to an area that ends up being a dead end — but they figured out that is exactly where she meant to send them. They rush to Abby’s apartment only to find Torres in a coffin due to a bet he lost with her. She used that opportunity to track down King herself and handle the situation on her own.
Abby confronts King at a cafe and he certainly is smug about her tracking him down. After a chess game of words, Abby admits that she slipped some cyanide into his drink for his villainous ways. He thinks she’s bluffing until he starts showing deadly symptoms. Abby dangles the antidote in front him saying, “Sometimes you have to get your hands dirty to get the job done. To save his life, he confesses to planning the hit on her. Abby, being the good person she is, gives him the antidote.
As things wrap up and audiences ready themselves to grab the tissues, Abby has a tearful moment with Reeves and then meets with Torres, Palmer, Bishop, and McCallum to make the big announcement. Oh and by the way, Palmer reveals that Abby did not slip King cyanide. They were caffeine pills which accelerated his heartbeat and the rest was the “power of suggestion.”
Abby comes into the room and says that she is escorting Reeves’ body back to London so that he can be buried next to his mother — and she’s not coming back. “I’m leaving NCIS,” she says the words and makes it official for those who may have doubted her departure.
She said Reeves died saving her life and he owes him a debt. He wanted to start a charity in honor of his mom and since he’s not here to make it happen, she has to do it for him. They hug and she goes and packs up her workstation as if she has been eliminated from Project Runway.
And in what seems like the final goodbye in a neverending string of many, she leaves a thoughtful goodbye note to Gibbs on his door. A montage of their father-daughter relationship flashes on the screen and ends with Gibbs looking out his window where he sees Abby. They exchange quiet “I love you’s” in sign language. With that, Abby is gone in what seems like a touching, yet anti-climactic final episode for the fan favorite. Even so, it sure seems like they left the door slightly ajar for her to come back in a future episode or two.