NCIS: Sydney 1×03 Review: “Brothers In Arms”


NCIS: Sydney 1×03 “Brothers in Arms” is about Blue, but it’s mostly about what this team is – or about what it’s shaping up to be. It’s early yet, and not all dynamics have been fully established, and even the ones that have aren’t really entrenched. These are people who liked each other, at best. People who are learning to trust each other. We have a long way to go for more.

But they are people who have recognized what works, and the team does just that. It works. They complement each other really well, and ever since those first dark days at the beginning of “Gone Fission,” they haven’t even clashed all that much, other than good-naturedly. Instead, the NCIS: Sydney team is a pretty well-oiled machine, all things considered. And Blue, even though she had a hard time seeing it, was – is – an essential part of that.

Anxiety Is A Bad Advisor

Blue spends the entire episode putting herself down, second-guessing not just her place – albeit temporary – on the team, but whether the people around her like her enough to even share a drink with her as a farewell. Considering that, everyone should have been a bit nicer and put her out of her misery before, but what Blue was feeling isn’t something that can be fixed by external validation. Not fully.

Whatever her place is, or will end up being, at NCIS: Sydney, Blue is going to have to figure that out on her own, and once she does, she’s going to have to own it. Not because it’s what Mackey would want, or because JD was nice about it, but because of herself. NCIS: Sydney 1×03 “Brothers in Arms” is very early on, of course. We cannot expect the show to fix every character issue, and in fact, we wouldn’t want it to.


Instead, we want this. Setup for the journeys each character has to take, internally. The rest is just in delivering, but when you do such a good job in setting up the characterization, the rest is very, very easy.

Politics is A Game (We Now Play Together)

Perhaps the most interesting part about the political aspect of NCIS: Sydney 1×03 “Brothers in Arms” is how Mackey and JD handle everything together, in sync. Not just that, but how they do so without the need for a long conversation or a back and forth about who’s in charge or if they should even be trusting each other. They didn’t pick each other, or the jobs they now have. But they are where they are, and they don’t seem the kind of people who are going to pretend to be antagonistic just for the sake of it.

They might not be besties (yet), but it’s clear they work well together, they respect each other and they are going to have each other’s backs. That’s just a given. There doesn’t need to be drama about that.

In that respect, there’s a lot of maturity about the way NCIS: Sydney has handled their relationship. (This is also an 8-episode season, so let’s take that into account as we consider pacing). Sometimes TV dumbs down adult relationships for the sake of showing viewers the tiny little moments. But more often than not, functional adults will just skip those, and if anything, stop at the big ones. We might have to wait a little bit longer for Mackey and JD to get to those, but that’s okay. We can be patient when everything else is working as well as it is on NCIS: Sydney.

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