‘NCIS’ Season 14, Episode 20 Recap: Why Flip Phones Are the Best!


Photo Credit: NCIS/CBS Image Acquired from CBS Press Express

We’ve known Quinn has a family secret for a long time. It’s taken until NCIS Season 14, Episode 20 to share just what that secret it.

No, we still don’t know if Quinn and Torres definitely didn’t hook up at some point. That’s not the big secret of the week. Instead, it’s a family secret that is extremely sad for Quinn but I can see some bonding with Ducky coming.

Also this week, we take a look at just why flip phones really are the best. I always knew that smartphones were a bad idea (and if it wasn’t for work I wouldn’t have one!), and I’m glad to see Gibbs agrees with me.

Here’s a look at the major moments from NCIS Season 14, Episode 20 “A Bowl of Cherries.”

It Scary World of Ransomware

More from Hidden Remote

If you’ve not had ransomware happen to you or you’re not up to date with technology, you may not know what it is. Basically, someone uses a virus to hold your computer to ransom. It locks you out until you buy a decryption key. I’ve once had it happen but it didn’t take me too long to get around the virus, but I do have a computing degree.

What do you do when you can’t do this? Well, how about a phone call to McGee? That’s just what Clifford Chase does when his computer is taken over by ransomware. I think the bad guys picked on the wrong victim here.

The NCIS team is at a mandatory shooting practice. Well, all except Quinn are, and Torres can’t help but bring that up. Obviously Gibbs knows the secret or something about the secret, as he tells Torres to stay out of it. Quinn certainly isn’t going to open up, but more on that later!

Who is the bad guy, though? Before we get to that, let’s find out what McGee thinks about the ransomware. McGee suggests that Chase pays the “cheap” $500 ransom, which honestly I’m surprised at! As Chase suggests, that means giving into the enemy. Instead, Chase forwards the virus to McGee’s phone and then everyone on the Wi-Fi connection is infected. He did it on purpose, too! He wants McGee to fix this without paying the money.

Now that all the computers and phones are infected, everything is taken off them and they’re given flip phones for work use. The phones are clunky and awkward, but they can’t be connected to the Wi-Fi and can’t be infected. See, flip phones are the best!

Reeves decides to make a call to find out where the virus came from, which involves a number of Russian IP proxies. They need someone in cyberterrorism, who says that the attacker is American using an artificial Russian accent. Interesting.

Family Secrets Are Sometimes Dark and Sad

I’ve enjoyed Quinn’s character over the last few episodes. I admit that I couldn’t quite fully get into her in the earlier episodes of NCIS Season 14, but that was more because I wouldn’t let myself like her. Females don’t stick around for too long on this show (unless you’re Abby). But I’ve enjoyed her banter and playful side.

Now we get to see a much more serious side to her character. The family secret comes out and it’s all to do with her mother. Quinn gets a “911 emergency” text message from her mother, which is why she wasn’t at the mandatory training. If anyone can keep a family secret, it’s Gibbs, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Quinn told him the truth.

Anyway, Quinn gets to her mother to find her bossing the gardener around (why does everyone have a gardener here?) and reminding Quinn about her dad’s birthday party.

When back at work, Quinn’s mom turns up looking for her crock pot to make ribs. It all seems so innocent, but we can see from Quinn that there is much more to this. Torres hits it off with Quinn’s mom and gets an invite to dinner, which he turns down at the request of Quinn. I like Marie but I just knew from the first minute that there was going to be something dark and twisty.

Refusing to tell Torres the secret, Quinn gets another call while on the case. Again Gibbs lets her leave, cementing the idea that he knows something.

A Trip Back to 1997

Bishop’s line isn’t quite right but I can forgive her. Dealing with the flip phone, she says that she feels like she’s living back in 1997, but I was around then and definitely didn’t have a flip phone. I had a brick. A big, annoying brick that certainly did take 10 minutes to text hello. The flip phone that I had was just over 10 years ago!

I love Gibbs’ answer about programming so few numbers: he remembers them. I’m guessing she’s forgotten what it was like having an address book or just remembering the series of numbers for everyone. I still remember most numbers off the top of my head and find it a hell of a lot quicker than going through phonebooks!

But anyway, the team think they’re onto something. The cyberterrorism expert Clint Asher is sketchy when he hears about the Elliott virus (the ransomware) but he promises to have results the next day. The team decides they need to question him, but he’s gone when they turn around.

It doesn’t take long for NCIS to find out that Asher was kicked out of college when he created a virus, while living in Elliott Hall.  Of the team go to find him in Maryland, but they have to navigate by paper map. Obviously they’ve relied on GPS for far too long. Sure it’s easier but there’s something to be said for navigating by paper. How do they manage it when they can’t get a signal or internet connection anyway? I’m guessing they haven’t been to a foreign country where they have to pay ridiculous rates for mobile data, so have to use paper maps instead.

Well, by the time the team get to Asher, they find him in his car, dumped in a lake. Oh and Asher is actually in the trunk…frozen! Yes, frozen!

Abby Knows How Asher Froze So Quickly

While the team go in search for David Yates, who is connected to Asher through video footage at a self-storage unit, Ducky and Palmer realize that it will take days to thaw out Asher’s body for the autopsy. Abby can’t help with that, but she does know how Asher froze so quickly (and how long it took!). It’s all through liquid nitrogen.

Bishop finds out that a cryo spa orders much more than other spas in the area. Why use liquid nitrogen in a spa treatment? It apparently removes toxins in just three minutes and reduces wrinkles. Regardless of that, just why does the company order so much?

Yates buys extra and we’re all getting an idea as to why. Back at the storage unit, it turns out that Yates has a second unit off the books, which has a cryo-chamber. Is it really any surprise that there are also other frozen bodies instead?

Now with more bodies to wait, the two doctors (remember, Jimmy confessed he’d become a doctor now!) drink tea and discuss the use of cryogenics and future resurrection. It turns out that this technically isn’t illegal, so why should Yates do it in secret. Well, what if these bodies were alive when they were frozen? That certainly is illegal.

That isn’t the only illegal thing Yates is up to. It turns out that the name is an alias for Carlo Hackett, who had been fired for stealing liquid nitrogen. He also did a thesis on cryo freezing, and the use of the virus is to collect enough money to buy left over liquid nitrogen.

When Yates walks into their trap, he is left with no other option but to release all the computers with the decryption code. He also warns the team that all the people will die if thawed out. They’ve been frozen alive so that they can be woken back up and live again. This is a serious case of mad scientist!

Gibbs Definitely Knows the Family Secret

And in the end, we finally get confirmation that Gibbs knew the secret all along. Quinn’s secret is that her mother is suffering from dementia. This is quickly realized when Quinn reminds her mother than her dad died three years ago.

While looking through a family photo album, Marie admits that she knows she’s missing a lot. Dementia runs in the family but skips a generation. Quinn won’t suffer from it, but she will see her mother deteriorate, and Marie is understandably scared about forgetting her daughter.

I get that Gibbs is the one that you want to share your secret with, but Ducky would be the perfect person to talk to about this. He’s lived through it. He stayed with his mother, despite her memory failing. I do hope that there is a discussion between the two at some point, as Ducky shares some words of wisdom from his years looking after his mother.

But for now, Quinn tells Gibbs that she is moving in with her mother. He’s not angry or upset that she is going to take this on—and it is a big task. If you’ve watched Grey’s Anatomy, you’ll know how hard it can be with Meredith’s initial storyline. All Gibbs shares is that it’s okay to be scared.

Next: 'NCIS' Season 14, Episode 19 Recap

The team do get their cellphones back and all is right in the world for them. Honestly, put up with the flip phones a little longer. They’re much safer and I’m a little surprised that NCIS doesn’t make them have flip phones as the work phone!

There’s no new NCIS Season 14 next week, but a rerun of the Thanksgiving episode instead. Expect more breaks as CBS confirmed the NCIS Season 14 finale to air on May 16, 2017 and there aren’t that many episodes left of the season!