‘NCIS’ Episode 3 Sees a Torres Revelation and a Ducky Birthday Party

by Suzanne Halliburton

What a creepy way to open an NCIS episode — some guys digging up a grave, looking for buried treasure in a foreign country. But “Unearth” was so much more than that.

The NCIS hour told us about an Afghan curse that turns your organs to stone, so don’t touch the gold. It included the show’s beloved Ducky returning to help figure out said curse and attend his own surprise birthday party. Dr. Grace, who has helped NCIS agents solve their traumatic issues for years, made an appearance to help solve the case.

And at the end, Torres proclaims he’s no longer a “lone wolf” thanks to Dr. Grace and the help of his work friends. Who cares that he got locked in a cage and shot in the shoulder to arrive at his stronger mental state.

So let’s recap the NCIS episode. The guys who opened the hour digging for gold had worked for a defense contractor in Afghanistan. They’d heard the story about the horde of treasure and didn’t care that if you tried to steal it, you’d be cursed. You’d turn to stone from the inside out. But that didn’t happen to them. Instead, two of the guys kept the gold once they arrived in the United States and snitched on the others.

Flash forward a chunk of time and we see a dead body. It’s a big guy whose body had been dumped at Quantico National Cemetery. The NCIS team is working the case. It turns out that the dead body is hard to move. Why would that be? Well, his body was filled with stones.

In fact, Dr. Jimmy Palmer dug out 63. One of the stones was etched with the head of an eagle attached to a human body. That’s when Ducky made an appearance. He was intrigued by the ancient rocks. And he called a couple of British friends who worked at the Smithsonian. Those friends knew all about the curse.

Ducky, Parker and Jimmy discuss why rocks filled the body of a murder victim. (Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2022)

Big Shock: Victim NCIS Investigating Called Dr. Grace, the Therapist

Meanwhile, McGee figures out that the last call the dead guy made was to Dr. Grace, the therapist who has worked with a number of agents, including Gibbs. Torres is now her patient. The two had a blowup that day. But Torres goes back to her office to talk to her about how she knew the dead guy. However, the bad guys got there first. Although Nick got in some good licks, Moretti, the leader of the bad guys, pulled a gun and kidnapped both Torres and Grace.

Moretti locked the two in a cage. Then he shot Torres in the shoulder to give Grace some motivation to help him. He needed to know the whereabouts of one of Grace’s patients, Daniel Vega. He had the gold. But Vega also was a patient in a mental hospital. Grace took Moretti to the hospital and introduced Moretti as Vega’s brother.

Meanwhile, Kasie figures out where Moretti was keeping Torres based on the bits of hay at two crime scenes. Parker and the gang got there to rescue Torres, then made it to the hospital. Moretti tried to take Grace hostage, but she hit him in the gut and Parker shot him dead.

Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2022

The gang stops by Parker’s for the surprise birthday party for Ducky, who wasn’t surprised. Coincidentally, in real life, David McCallum turned 89, Sept. 19, the day of the NCIS season 20 premiere.

Torres goes back to Grace’s office. He wants to tell her about his mental health break through. He says he’s going to tell his friends he quit drinking.

“The whole time we were in that cage, I never doubted they would come,” Torres said of his fellow NCIS agents. “I’m tired of being the lone wolf, think it’s time to lean on my family.”