[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for NCIS Season 20 Episode 3 “Unearth.”]
The good news: Torres (Wilmer Valderrama) is still in therapy with Dr. Grace Confalone (Laura San Giacomo) and isn’t drinking on NCIS. The bad news is: He’s being slow to take the necessary steps.
Torres has never been a morning person, but watching the sunrise, he admits … makes him want to break out in song, Grace finishes for him. “What you’re experiencing right now is known in recovery as the pink cloud,” she warns him. He knows what she will say next: “It won’t last forever.”
Not only that, but it’s very important that Torres have a support system in place. Part of that is finding a sponsor, which he has yet to do. And, she stresses, he needs to try to open up to others, no matter how difficult that might be for him. What about his team, doesn’t he trust them? “It’s not about trust. This is my business. It’s nobody else’s,” he insists. Still, Grace tells him, “I know you’re used to being a lone wolf, but I’ve seen patients relapse that don’t have support of friends and family.” He thinks he can handle it himself, but reaching out to her (at all hours of the night) is not the same thing.
“You’ve been hurt. The people closest to you have left. Your father [Steven Bauer]. Then Bishop [Emily Wickersham]. And Gibbs [Mark Harmon]. But there are still people who care about you,” Grace points out.
He then turns the tables on her, questioning her about the lack of personal items in her office and thinking she just left the photo that came with the frame in one on a bookcase. But that’s when she snaps at him. It’s not until later that he gets her to open up. They’re locked in a cage (causing Torres to recall being locked in side-by-side cells with Bishop in Season 18) as part of the team’s case-of-the-week: Men are after a lost treasure and the person who knows where it is is Grace’s patient, so they need her to find him.
The photo was taken by an old patient, a soldier she treated during the Gulf War, who told plenty of jokes — until things got so ugly, he didn’t have any left in him. One day, he just walked off base without a word, and no one found him. She blamed herself for not seeing the pain h was in, and she kept the photo as a reminder never to let another patient down.
One patient she won’t let down is Torres. By the end of the episode, he’s decided to talk to his team and tell them he has quit drinking. “The whole time we were in that cage, I never doubted they’d come, but I’m tired of being the lone wolf. I think it’s time for me to lean on my family,” he explains. He then suggests she take her own advice — and she does, calling her husband (they’ve been living separately).
So, how worried do we have to be about Torres going forward? Something tells us it won’t be smooth sailing.
NCIS, Mondays, 9/8c, CBS