Man, if I had a dime for every time I was playing the "Who Would You Choose, Jennifer Aniston or Jennifer Lopez" game while driving a big rig and hitting a drunk pedestrian staggering across the road who then dies with clear fluid pouring from his mouth, well, I'll tell you, I'd be rich! Credits!
Ducky provides the gang with some much needed coffee on an early morning gathering in the office and refers to himself as the Sir Galahad of caffeine (Sir Galahad having been the perfect knight of courage, gentleness, courtesy, and chivalry ... and coffee. Yep, that's Ducky!). Much to McGee's discomfort, the DiNozzo muses on how Ducky must be getting some good lovin' from old Penelope, given his good mood of late. Ziva and McGee, having better sources of office gossip than DiNozzo, know in fact that Ducky's good mood is attributable to Ducky's new lady friend, Mary. DiNozzo scoffs at the thought that he doesn't have sufficient sources and in fact, informs us that he has "gold sources coming out the yang." Ha! And Ew!
As they gather round the crime scene, Ducky informs them that the lady's name is Dr. Mary Courtney and they met through a social dating website called Scholar Date. She is the chief administrator for all of DC's various social outreach, counseling and therapy programs. Their date that night will involve homemade paella (which Ducky pronounces with a solid "l" sound instead of the typical Spanish, double l, "y" sound. DiNozzo snarks that paella is named after "Paellus", the Aztec god for sex after sixty. Coming on the Turkey Vulture comment two episodes ago, I am thoroughly loving Tony's old people sex humor. As an aside to this scene, can I say that Palmer knows A LOT about dating websites for a guy that is engaged.
Blood result tests show that Lieutenant Simms (the drunk, dead pedestrian from the opening) had a blood alcohol level of only.05 (that's not even legally too drunk to drive). Also, he wasn't diabetic which can cause the type of wooziness that the rig driver witnessed. Meanwhile, Ducky feels like Lt. Simms' skin was loose, ew, and that he suffered from water intoxication. His body had about a pound to much of water sponged inside him and that, even without the Big Rig Killer, the Lt. would have drowned in his own skin.
When we return, we find DiNozzo trying to recruit a mail girl for his new office gossip source. Ziva nails him. They are distracted by the news that Simms had 40 gallons of water poured down his throat and that together with the evidence of duct tape marks on his wrists, perhaps he was waterboarded?
McGee uncovers a Phillip Ekkerly who had a public fight last month with Simms though no charges were made against either guy. Abby chimes in to say that Simms had blunt force trauma on his skull from something cylindrical dating back to before the truck hit him. While working with Palmer on the body, Ducky sneaks out to meet
Original Charlie's Angel Cheryl Ladd Mary Courtney on a bench outside the office. “What’s in the box, Mary” (its funny how many times one hears this line on TV given the fact that I associate it so closely with the movie Se7en). Luckily for Ducky, there is no head in the box, only delicious pastries. Ducky demurs as he is saving room for the paella. Just then, Gibbs passes by and Ducky introduces Mary to Gibbs. This must be serious for him to bring a girl home to meet the parents.
During the talk with Ekkerly, he explains the reason for the fight last month. Seems that Simms owed Ekkerly $500 for a mailbox Ekkerly was keeping at Simms’ place. Simms accused Ekkerly of never paying his outstanding bill when he took his business elsewhere, though Ekkerly says he did pay, and Simms Ekkerly’s $500 deposit for the arrears. Ekkerly says he was resigned to just letting the small claims court handle the whole thing . Also, Ekkerly was working at the time of murder so suck it cops. Also, also, Ekkerly hasn’t seen Simms since the fight.
Abby is grilling Ducky for the lowdown on Mary. Ducky just wants to focus on work. Gibbs comes in and agrees. Simms was hit hours earlier with a pipe. He also had 3 hits of Methylenedioxymethamphetamine in his system. You know Methylenedioxymethamphetamine as either its chemical abbreviation, MDMA, or its street name, ecstasy. Unfortunately, being high on X would cause euphoria like symptoms, not drunk symptoms. The two are kind of indistinguishable for me if we’re being honest. However, the euphoria high would lead to unquenchable thirst. Since he was high, Simms voluntarily drank the water that the killer supplied; drank it until it killed him.
Back to the Ekkerly lead. Ekkerly was using Simms to smuggle RKG3 Soviet Anti-Tank Grenades in and out of the country. So, you see $500 story wasn't a total lie. Ekkerly says that Simms was worried about losing his kids and really wanted out of the smuggling business. Ekkerly paid Simms $300 last night and was headed to a bar. A guy at the bar says that Simms was a regular and was always trying to get laid. A suspicious waitress is eavesdropping on this conversation and at the mention of ecstasy walks away. Tony and Ziva notice and chase her down. Turns out she has some ecstasy packets on her.
Back in her lab, we learn that Abby is McGee’s source for office gossip. She can't tell Tony things because he blabs too much. And seeing as how McGee blabbed about Ducky’s gossip, Abby is now having doubts about whether McGee is a worthy recipient of her gossip. Tony doesn't understand how far he's fallen down the trust ladder. Gibbs corrects him that its more like a stepstool. Anyway, back to work. Abby has analyzed the mud on the rearwells of Simms car and discovered ultisols (or Virginia red clay), mixed with animal poop and Rusty Crayfish (a nasty bugger that destroys natural biodiversity populations). This combination puts Simms in the location of Leesylvania State Park in Woodbridge Virginia. Since he died on a highway next to the park, he was definitely there. The team tap into the Leesylvania toll cameras and track back to a picture of Simms entering the area. Off they go to investigate.
Meanwhile, back in the morgue, we have an interlude where we learn that Jimmy is not handling well Ducky having a woman; he relies on work being steady and unchanging since he’s going through personal change at home with the pending nuptials. Ducky misses his mother’s dogs. Those two are weird together. Must be the formaldehyde fumes.
Out in nature, McGee is suffering from allergies and Tony compares him to the 70’s classic, The Boy in the Plastic Bubble. Some of John Travolta’s finest work. The gang find a car in the woods, abandoned. The car belongs to a Samuel Alcott. Nearby, all dead and tied a tree, the find Mr. Alcott himself. Gibbs thinks this is victim number one; Simms was victim number two and we are looking at a possible serial killer.
Tapping into Simms’ phone, the gang find out that he was at Ekkerly’s the night before. Some security footage shows them getting into a shoving match. When Gibbs and company go to move in on Ekkerly, he pulls a gun. Also, he’s got a box of grenades in his possession as he’s closing up shop for the night.
Meanwhile, on Ducky’s date, we find him boring Mary with the details of current water death crime. He admits a perverse fascination with the killer's ingenuity. This is all a build up for Ducky to explain that he’s into new things. Mary's into new things too. Before it gets too kinky or gross for the viewers, Ducky pulls Mary up for a dance and the cheek to cheek it around the room. Ducky brings up Mary’s father while trolling for some action, smooth Ducky, smooth, but Mary’s not so into talking about dad so lets move on.
Next day, Ducky has figured out that Alcott had the same blunt head trauma as Simms. Ducky thinks that the first Alcott killing went well but the second with Simms, not so much. Feeling pretty dark about his macabre fascination with the water killer, Ducky blows off a call from Mary as doesn't want to drag her into his life and expose her to the foul mood settling in on him as he discovers the killer’s twisted nature..
Abby has found that Simms was dosed straight, uncut ecstasy which is called “hammer and sickle.” Lana (the suspicious waitress) had ecstasy cut with baby aspirin. Her stash did not kill Simms. Lana wants to. cut a deal to flip on the hammer ands sickle dealer but since she’s already given them the first name, Randy, they pretty much figure out it’s a guy named Randy Jonas, without her help. Dumbass. Randy is a patient in a lockup medical faciity. The security guard was a former patient. I feel safer now. Since Randy has been locked up for a week, he can’t be the killer BUT, he can be the one who supplied the drugs. Who’d Randy sell to?
At a follow-up ate, Ducky has arrived late due to the case but she is enthusiastic about hearing the details. Ducky relates the discovery of the new body and tells her how now he realizes that the killer is a sadistic bastard and that he erred in admiring his creativity. This killer doesn't create anything, only destroys and in a cruel manner to boot. Well, now you’ve gone and upset Mary, Ducky. You see, Mary has gone to a lot of trouble to set up something that Ducky’s never seen before as to make him happy. And now, Ducky is hating on the water killer; how can you say such mean things Ducky?!? She snots out a “You're very welcome, Donald.” And turns on the full crazy eyes!!! TWIST!
Back in the bullpen, the gang is piecing together that Mary is a common link to Simms, Alcott and Randy. Both Simms and Alcott received counseling through services for military veterans and though they were at two separate counseling facilities, they were both near the park. Also, Randy's drug rehab was run by same root outreach program that Mary is overall in charge of. Last piece of the puzzle is that both guys followed a person into the woods alone following a woman passing through toll booth (and its security cameras). Hey Palmer, where's Ducky?
Back to the house of paella and crazy, Ducky asks why she picked Simms and Alcott? Well, glad you asked. You see, they had to be military so that they would come across your radar (well ,they had to be Navy or Marines so glad she lucked out in her apparently careless recruiting process). The rest was pretty easy. Mary explains that the military is teeming with scumbags so six of one, half dozen of another for specific target. These two men in particular were so weak. It was easy to lure them from bar out to the woods. By the way, I didn’t kill anyone, those men killed themselves by drinking the water. Ducky tries to explain that is not her father; neither were Simms nor Alcott. They also weren’t murderers or rapists. Just as Ducky is making some possible headway with Mary, Gibbs busts in and Mary hightails it the bathroom. She breaks up a mirror and slices her wrist (Bloody Mary! ZING!). Ducky is able to sooth her into calmness; she sadly whispers that she only wanted Ducky to stay.
Wrap Ups! Back in the morgue, Gibbs and Ducky have a drink. We find out that Mary’s going to a psych ward in the mornng. Ducky doesn't understand how he could miss her psychotic behavior and feels like he’ll never trust his judgment again. Gibbs says he still does. Also, Gibbs doesn't take a hint that Ducky wants to be alone for a bit so he has to throw Gibbs out. Just as Ducky goes to close Mary's profile on Scholar Date, he gets pinged by a Sarah from Raleigh North Carolina and signs. Oh poor baby; how exasperating for you Ducky to have women (crazy or not) falling over you.