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NCIS Round Table: "Shabbat Shalom"

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Our NCIS review broke down "Shabbat Shalom," this week's episode of TV's #1 show, in detail.

Now, TV Fanatic staff members Steve Marsi, Douglas Wolfe and Eric Hochberger have assembled for our weekly Round Table Q&A discussion of various events and topics from this powerful installment.

Join in as we analyze the return (and demise) of Eli, Vance's loss, and what comes next ...

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1. Describe this episode in one word (or two, or three, or four).

Steve: Powerful and unexpected.

Doug: Brilliant and heartbreaking.

Eric: Still in shock.

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2. Best episode of NCIS Season 10 so far?

Steve: With a show like this, "best" can mean so many things. The balance of episodes varies so much in terms of weightiness and symbolism, humor and continuity, although almost all of them are excellent. I will say I haven't been this shaken up by an installment since Season 8's memorable "Swan Song."

Doug: I've been wracking my brain trying to remember a better one. This one even surpasses the last episode of Season 9 and the first of Season 10, when NCIS was bombed.

Eric: I agree with Steve and Doug. Definitely the most powerful of this season and up there with Mike's death and a few other episodes in terms of making you lie awake thinking about it afterwards.

3. Favorite quotes or scenes from "Shabbat Shalom"?

Steve: Ziva screaming "Abba" and bawling was enough to give anyone the chills, as was Gibbs standing stone-faced and ignoring the SecNav's calls. These scenes are enhanced by the fact that we're so invested in these characters after 10 seasons. Overall, I could answer the entire episode. Superb TV entertainment, but also emblematic of the uncertain times we live in.

Doug: It's a three-way toss up: Ziva's agony over the death of her father was heartbreaking. The scene with Tony and Gibbs standing sentinel at the hospital waiting room was, I think, the best scene cinematically. So stark, and filled with such tension. I rewound it and watched it again. And finally, the dead look in Vance's eyes as he answer's Gibbs' question. "She's dead. My wife is dead, Gibbs."

Eric: This Round Table and the comments on Doug's review will be dominated, justifiably, with reactions to the shooting. So I'll give a humorous mention to the old photos and undercover guises. Not sure if the soul patch really works on Michael Weatherly, however Cote does make a cute pregnant person, am I wrong?

4. The twice-fatal conclusion: Did you see it coming?

Steve: You had to get the sense something would happen to Eli. One of the most targeted men in the world giving everyone the slip is a recipe for disaster. Shalom can mean "hello" and "goodbye," and next week's episode title "Shiva," refers to the Hebrew mourning period. Nevertheless, I wasn't sure if he'd actually die, and was stunned that Jackie Vance became collateral damage of his mission.

Doug: Some of our commenters took a cue from the tearful scene in the car when Eli asked Ziva to join him across from the table "one last time," and guessed that he would die. I didn't. I had no idea that either he or Jackie - or that anyone actually - would be killed.

Eric: Sadly, after the secret meeting with Vance, Gibbs, Eli and his Iranian counterpart, I did. I half expected it to take place then. Jackie's key role in the episode made me fear the worst for her as well, though I was still quite surprised to be proven correct in this hunch. Part of me can't believe the writers went there.

5. Does NCIS rely too heavily on character deaths?

Steve: I've thought a lot about this. At times it seems that way, then again, such episodes are the best in the show's history. The storylines are multi-layered, altering the fabric of the characters and the show, and not done solely for shock value. It's sad that Palmer is basically the only one with a family outside of NCIS now, however this is also somewhat realistic in this line of work.

Doug: I've read that criticism in a few places, but vehemently disagree with it. I was actually surprised that Ducky made it through his drama alive at the start of Season 10. No, the writers of NCIS are very careful in who they kill off, and there is always a compelling story and reason when they do. These deaths will have an effect, on both Ziva and Leon Vance. We already know, from the promo for next week, that Ziva will be after vengeance. I can't even imagine Vance as subdued or even acting in a professional by-the-book manner after his wife's death.

Eric: Sometimes, I wish they wouldn't do this. Jackie in particular felt unnecessary to kill off. However, as Steve said, there's no denying the collective brilliance of the cast and writers last night and in similar episodes. So, I guess we have to trust them and see where they take this next week and beyond.

6. Best acting performance of the night?

Steve: Rocky Carroll's face at the end said it all. Truly awesome work.

Doug: Cote de Pablo, hands down. She nailed it with full commitment.

Eric: Rocky and Cote were both amazing. The latter deserves Emmy consideration for this effort I'd say. But in the interest of offering a different answer, Michael Nouri delivered a great, convincing final performance as Eli, and Mark Harmon's stoic brilliance was also a sight to behold.

7. Who do you think was behind the shooting?

Steve: Eli's list of enemies is a mile long, and his supposed Iranian "friend" is certainly an option, being that he knew his whereabouts. That may be too obvious, however. An inside job by Mossad? A rogue Palestinian operative? What I'm almost more intrigued by can be summed up in one word: Revenge. Will it fall on Gibbs, a man who took matters into his own hands under similar circumstances, to rein in Ziva and Leon as they seek payback?

Doug: My guess is Mossad commissioned it. Logically, it's the only thing that would keep Iran and Israel from going to war. If Iran was behind it, then all bets would be off. Also, there's the fact that, before he died, the assassin said "I did not expect you to come after me, rather than checking on your father." So whoever made the decision probably knows them intimately.

Eric: That's the million-dollar question going forward, and almost an afterthought following the end of "Shabbat Shalom." I can't even venture a guess, but you know there will be dire ramifications.

What's your take on these issues of the week on NCIS? Discuss below!

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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Just when I think the last episode I watched was terrific, I watch the next one and it blows my mind. NCIS is such a wonderful show and it boggles my mind why this show and all the actors, writers, director, etc. have never been nominated for an Emmy. The actors are all wonderful. I thought that Eli might die only because of the title of this episode, but I didn't see Jackie's death coming. I'm anxious to see the next episode. I enjoy reading other fans comments, but please don't pick on Tony or Ziva!

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Ever since my wife roped me into watching this (because she has the hots for Mark Harmon) i'ts pulled me in, especially after the ADDITION of Rocky Carroll as Vance. Gibbs' character needs a strong foil to work against. Now, this epi, I almost expected collateral death when that assassin fired into the house, and when Vance came out alone, I suspected. To see Gibbs standing near that operating room like a lost little boy, and Vance's appearance after, was really heartbreaking .. the comic book world could take a clue from this, that deaths (of characters) are not gimmicks to play with. And as far as Vance folding up after this, recall that his character killed a man in self-defense while on a hospital bed. No, Vance is out of Chicago .. and Chi boys don't lay down and take a beating!

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Yes, this was truly amazing. Everyone really stepped up. You could see the emotions even when words were not said. STill can't believe they didn't wait for sweeps week to show it. I think Eli is dead. Hate to see him go as he brought something to the show no other character could. I understand the shock and drama in doing it, but will miss him a lot. Poor Ziva, no family left. Never liked Vance, but I feel bad Mrs. Vance died. Should of been him. lol Rocky did do a good job......just don't like the character of Vance.

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The episode was absolutely AMAZING. Cote and Nouri were fantastic. Will be watching it again and can't wait for next week. Vance, I'm not thrilled with his character so I would not mind seeing him leave the show but as for the others, they all need to stay. Eli may not be dead but a means to retirement??? Shmiel is involved.

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In this country your are innocent until proven guilty. Abby herself said that the hat was a very popular hat sold everywhere. Eli had told Ziva that he didn't arrive (forgot when) but it was after the murder. So, he couldn't have done it, plus there were no connections between a Mossad Director and this man. She did decided to follow up to see if he had lied to her and when she found out the truth, cut him out of her life forever. She had no proof before then, you can't bring people in for questioning on just the fact that people wear and have the same clothing, plus that would have blown his cover and could have started a major war, between Iran and Israel. Remember, if their countries knew what was going on.....there would be MAJOR ramifications.

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Blame.
Both Leon and Ziva.
Why?
Ziva recognized her father before she left for the night when Wilkins killers picture was up on the plasma. Tony and Gibbs saw her reaction and question her about it. She told them her reaction was nothing and went off to dinner. If she'd said: That's Eli or my father he would have been brought in for questioning rather than being at the Vance house.
Vance is responsible for inviting father and daughter to his house in the 1st place.
I'm worried about how this is going to play out. I'm worried that it's all just going to be left unaddressed with no lasting repercussions for anyone and by the time we get back to new episodes again in February (after Shiva) everyone will be their normal selves again and Eli and Jackie, like Kate before them, will rarely be mentioned again. Best scene: Gibbs watching the Emergency doors and Tony standing back and watching Gibbs. No dialogue, just pure emotion. Great cinematography from Dennis Smith.
Most chilling: Vance telling Gibbs that his wife is dead. I literally broke out in a cold sweat when he said it.
Am really bummed out that they killed off yet another strong woman character. Paula Newsome was only on a few episodes but she really brought Jackie to life.

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I'll put my money on the assassination of Eli and the collateral death of Jackie on Ziva's old (literally) friend: Shmeil.

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@CD
I think that what Vance boss will bring up

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Vance should look at himself as to whom to blame. He knew Eli had a target on his head, yet he provided no protection detail (could have ask Gibbs and team since they knew he was in town and they could do it discretly) AND he invited this marked man INTO HIS HOME, knowing that people wanted Eli dead. Vance played a big part in his wife being killed and as head of a agency, should have known better.

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No question that this episode had shock value. I don't think Eli is still alive - Ziva is familiar enough with death to determine his condition. I can't think of a reason they would fake Jackie's death. That said, I think the revenge going forward will be critical. My guess is Vance will likely feel he is through with Ziva--human nature makes us want to blame someone for something so devastating and she is the most likely target. They will need to find a way for Ziva to redeem herself in his eyes. Or perhaps others are right and Vance will leave the show. This will be difficult to work through and it may take until the season finale to exact revenge. I don't understand people's dislike of Ziva. She is a talented actor and a good contrast to Kate.

NCIS Season 10 Episode 11 Quotes

Leon Vance: So. We'll still have the house to ourselves after dinner right?
Jackie Vance: You had your shot, baby.

Leroy Gibbs: Leon?
Leon Vance: She's dead. My wife is dead, Gibbs.

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