ExpectationsNovember 1, 2011
Anyone can achieve their fullest potential. Who we are might be pre-determined but the path we follow is always of our own choosing. We should never allow our fears, or the expectations of others to set the frontiers of our destiny. Your destiny can’t be changed, but it can be challenged. Every man is born as many men and dies as a single man.
“Endgame” starts and ends with these words. We hear them when Tony plays McGee’s motivational CD. We hear them again as a voice over by McGee at the end of the episode. I’ve often wondered about the use of this quote in this particular episode, which is Gary Glasberg’s first time out as a writer on NCIS. I was reminded again of these words in another voice over. In “A Man Walks into a Bar,” Dr. Rachel Cranston writes to Vance, “Sometimes we defy other’s expectations” and we see McGee under fire. Whose expectations are we talking about and why are we hearing these words in connection with Timothy McGee? In light of “The Penelope Papers,” we may finally have an idea where Glasberg is heading.
At the time “Endgame” aired, the expectations that came to mind were those of McGee’s partner, Tony DiNozzo. During the episode, Tony made fun of McGee “drinking the motivational Kool-Aid.” In that context, Tony is the most likely candidate. However, in “The Penelope Papers,” we learn that McGee’s father has expectations that Tim cannot easily meet.
We know that, unlike his father and his grandfather, he didn’t join the Navy, which probably was what his father expected of him. He comes from a family of very motivated, strongly opinionated people. They have a firm sense of right and wrong, and are not afraid to put themselves in harm’s way to fight for what is right. Knowing that Penelope planned to blow the whistle on Telles regarding the Anax Principle and knowing that she influenced Tim, it’s no wonder that he decided to go into law enforcement and science. But in doing so he must have been a disappointment to his father. This very well may have been the reason that they hadn’t spoken for seven years.
Now we have some background for the Admiral. We’ve hardly heard mention of him in 8 years and there has been much speculation about McGee’s family. “The Penelope Papers” gives us some idea of what to expect when we finally meet him and actually gives us the hope of meeting him. After all, why give us this much information if we’re not going to use it? Gary likes tug on strings others have left behind. This is a series of strings he’s left for himself.