I actually thought it was a step up for what has been a bland year. They did fall into the recurring emotional drill down of a character that has, IMO, become way too much of a stock theme on the show. The emotional arcs in each episode are overwhelming the Criminal portion of NCIS to the point that the crimes are an afterthought that is thrown into the episode just because the show is a crime drama. The show is a hit so the producers keep going back to the well.
The ending with the
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
students acting like lemmings was very badly scripted for a series that tries to show the military as individuals. . I know the military and if someone led people down a road that got someone killed and was maiming others they would not huddle up.
Again, the drama of the criminal investigations is being superceded by the revolving door of the series individuals going through their crisis. The show is on a creative downward arc IMO.