This story of Tony's undercover mission for the SecNav, the microchips imbedded in the arms of agents and the Watcher Fleet-Phantom 8 ends up being a pretentious, hollow tease which concludes abruptly and disappointingly, like practically all of NCIS's story arcs and season finales. They should stick to stand-alone episodes. (The arc of this episode's story ends pretty much in "Housekeeping.")
Due to the show's past reputation and the cool characters, we dutifully follow this interesting story, not knowing the full plot, but hopeful none the less. There is a HUGE flaw in this story that regards the Watcher Fleet-Phantom 8, LEGITIMATE secret agencies set up within the US military -- spies to work against other countries' spy agencies. The HEAD of the agency (Latham) is illegally selling US government secrets. Members of the agency have microchips embedded in their arm so they can more easily get secret information from computers. Now, two of the members have left the secret agency -- Levin who joined EJ's team in NCIS, and Wright who has moved into the Pentagon. The big part of the story arc is that the head of Watcher Fleet-Phantom 8 is sending men to kill Wright and Cade and EJ (who have Levin's chip) in order to recover the two microchips. BUT WHY? Watcher Fleet-Phantom 8 are legitimate US government agencies. If Levin and Wright left, why shouldn't they simply return the chips? Why doesn't EJ just hand over the chip like she is supposed to? In fact, at the end of the episode Latham does get one of the chips (EJ's) handed over to him in the normal course of NCIS business. It's like the whole bit about the violence and intrigue over the chips was unnecessary.
I have these further objections to the episode:
why was Tony told to keep his mission secret from Gibbs and Co.? Why was Tony told to handle Cade anyway? Cade didn't even have the chip.
silly the way Gibbs didn't tell the psychiatrist all about Tony in the first place. For example, Gibbs said Tony was shot in the chest -- not true really (bullet proof vest), and just to tease the TV audience.
disrespectful (and worse) for Gibbs to barge into the SecNav's diplomatic function to demand that he be told about Tony's assignment.
questionable for EJ and Cade to go into hiding, in my opinion.
Stratton should have disguised himself when pursuing Tony and the others, and he should have finished off Tony and EJ when he had the chances.
how could it be that Wright's arm was cut open to retrieve the microchip, but he was left alive to drive to the SecNav's diplomatic function and die in the arms of the SecNav?