And this one was the most emotionally powerful one, to date. I mean, let's face it. When we (the viewers) first meet Admiral McGee, he comes off sounding like Tony DiNozzo's evil twin, the way he bad-mouths his own son right in front of Gibbs!
But, after watching this show for two-thirds of its nine seasons, it finally occurred to me that DiNozzo's insults are more like the affectionate teasing of an older brother. Whereas, the admiral's so-called "teasing" sounded more like a never-ending attempt to hide bitter disappointment with Tim. As if what he truly desired in a son was 49% brain and 51% brawn!
Yet, once the truth comes out, regarding the state of the admiral's health (and that's relatively easy to deduce, even before the in-story deduction), you realize that Admiral McGee wasn't so much disappointed as worried. Worried that his supposedly soft son might not be emotionally strong enough to handle the bad news. Or, even worse, secretly rejoice in it!
Which makes me doubly glad that Tim proved him wrong by being the bigger man. By accepting the news with genuine and gracious concern. Perhaps, next season, the writers can do an episode where we (the viewers) finally get to meet Tim's mom.