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NCIS Round Table: "Hereafter"

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Our NCIS review broke down "Hereafter," 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 installment.

Join in as we analyze the return of Vance and his dueling storylines below!

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

Steve: Different; interesting parallels.

Doug: Vance’s circuit is complete.

Eric: Slow-moving but solid.

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2. Favorite quotes or scenes from "Hereafter"?

Steve: Gibbs and a despondent Vance in the office, and later in his basement (both scenes below). We've seen a lot of great moments from the two of them but never quite like these. The revelation about Shannon was great, too - it makes sense, and clearly helped Vance gain perspective. Rocky Carroll continues to impress, every time.

Doug: There were a few exceptional scenes: Ziva and Vance having a heart to heart comes to mind. The scene were Tony and Ziva smile at each other after she tells him to “pull it together” is another. But the scene with Tony and Ziva playing with the kids and the look on Vance’s face when he hears their screams of laughter pretty much did it for me.

Eric: Definitely Ziva and Vance. And also Tony being Tony. Some say the writers overdo it with the class clown act, and maybe at times they do ... but he is who he is, and he makes me laugh with it.

3. What was your biggest problem, if any, with the episode?

Steve: If we're nit-picking, it felt like there were some holes in both the Marine investigation and Vance's personal story. You can probably chalk that up to cramming them both into 42 minutes.

Doug: I truly didn’t understand why Jackie had drawn up a “separation of property” paper. In the end, I just assumed it was a legal matter that had to take place; something that non-legal folk wouldn’t understand.  The support for that assumption is the fact that Vance had no legal right to access Jackie’s bank account – so maybe the separation of property thing was designed to ensure that in the event of Vance’s death, Jackie could access what she needed. But then – why wouldn’t Vance have a will that would cover this? That plot point needed more explanation.

Eric: Agree with Doug. I understood the idea of what Jackie was doing; it made total sense and made for a solid Vance episode. The details, however, weren't that well explained.

4. Did you like the focus on Vance and his loss?

Steve: I did. Vance was portrayed, in my eyes at least, as someone who's lost. The safe deposit box was a vehicle for us to identify with his situation that was different than other routes the writers could have chosen. I also enjoyed the roles played by Tony, Ziva and Gibbs, helping the reeling Director in their own ways.

Doug: Yes and I think it really needed to happen in order to advance his part of the story. The writers were quite creative in coming up with this parallel plot: so much more entertaining than them just having him say that he’s over his loss. He isn’t, but the final scene between him and Gibbs sort of brought a small measure of closure – he can now mourn his wife without all of the painful doubts.

Eric: I've always liked Vance more than most because of this kind of complexity. You don't get to where he is without making a lot of hard choices, ones he is now forced to question in the aftermath of this tragedy. Rocky Carroll does an awesome job with a character who's always had depth and been tough to read.

5. Will he be back at the helm anytime soon?

Steve: That's the implication, but I think the interwoven storylines of Vance, Craig and Bodnar are far from over, and the deaths of Jackie and Eli will have lasting repercussions beyond what we know right now.

Doug: There’s a reason he asked Deputy Director Craig about whether he had his bags packed. He also agreed with Gibbs that Craig isn’t management material – so yes, I think he’s coming back. I’d like to know how Craig got to his position though – it doesn’t seem reasonable to assume he doesn’t have a compelling back story. He can’t have just been “filler” for the NCIS helm while Vance mourned.

Eric: In body, yes. In spirit? That remains to be seen. Clearly we haven't seen the last of Craig, who I don't think is the mere patsy he's portrayed as. Can't wait to see more layers of this one peeled back.

6. Which NCIS character(s) would you hire as a babysitter?

Steve: Personally I'd probably hire Ziva for her nuturing side as well as protectiveness - no safety concerns with a virtual superhero in the house - but my three-year-old son would probably have more fun with Tony. I'm totally going to try his Jaws gag with a pizza box the next time we order out.

Doug: It’s too easy to say “Tony and Ziva” so I’ll just say that I think Abby would make a terrific babysitter. She’s playful and personable and you get the sense that she loves kids. Might want to lock up all of the sharp knives though first – wouldn’t want anyone suddenly being forced to have to wear an eye-patch or something.

Eric: I'll defer to Steve and his actual kid on this one, but can we please see Abby and Tim watch Vance's children sometime? I'd love to see McAbby's approach compared with Tiva's!

7. What the heck is Gibbs building down there?

Steve: A memorial for the bombing victims? A converted apartment for Ducky? I honestly have no idea, but I'm certain that like Mike Franks' coffin, it will make perfect sense when finally revealed.

Doug: For some reason I always thought it was a boat. I’m about 90% sure it’s something nautical – although that metal piece he was working on completely stumped me.

Eric: Was that a wood stove?! I'm more confused than ever. Please, readers, enlighten us in the comments!

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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@MCAL
go to Tv guide or TV line, go to facebook and you will see that more people dislike Ziva then like her yes she not the most hated character on tv that go to olivia benson but she number two. I am not saying Ziva the reason the rating are up or down I know the REAL reason why they were up, what im saying is if you are going to say that ONE character is the reason the show number are up then you are basic saying that one character is to also be blame when the show ratings go down. That why so many people love season 1 throw 5 because the show was well balance now its went from being about the Navy to being about Tiva, when was the last time the four main character share screen time together.we have not seen Gibbs Tony Abby and Ducky together in years. Look at all the horrible things Tiva has done we don't see Tony and Abby anymore we don't see the Gibbs and Tony duo that we use too Abby has become a two year old. It feel like these character were better develop in season 1 and 2 then they are now.

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That goes for just you "Michael". You are perfectly fine "S".

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We shouldn't even be having this conversation. The point I am making is that Ziva is not the most hated character in television history. She never has been, never will be. If we conduct a poll here on who likes or doesn't like Ziva, I can assure you it will mostly (Key word: Mostly!) be in Ziva's favor. And she isn't being placed on a pedestal either. In the end, Ziva and everyone else (Unless the actors themselves want to leave and I don't see any proof in that.) are not going anywhere. They have all been mostly a part of NCIS and they will stay that way for a while. Stop making up rumors that don't exist. That is what really bugs me. That people hate or love a character so much, they make stuff up without any proof whatsoever. This is a free country and you guys can say whatever you want. That doesn't mean you can make illogical decisions and think everyone will just agree with you.

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@Michael
Wait... What?! You just proved that Ziva was the reason for most viewers. You said the reason the ratings went up and down were because of Ziva. Now if Shabbat Shalom had 21.11 viewers which was the highest of the season at the time, even higher than the premiere. Then Shiva which was mostly (Key word: mostly! Not entirely, but mostly!) was the focus on Ziva and Tiva (Which I don't really mind either way. Like I said whatever happens will happen.) had 22.86 viewers. It went up because of Ziva. Then the next episode, Hit and Run, which was Abby-Central had 22.07. That means it went down because of Ziva, because Ziva wasn't the focus. That means Ziva affects viewership in a good way.

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I went and rewatch the the promo and it was not focus entirely on Ziva it was on her father and again if Ziva is the reason the rating went up then by that logic she the reason they are down too.

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I think Gibbs may be building that boat for Ryan and her son. Remember he kept that picture that her son drew,, The son wanted to sail away with his mom to get away from his father. They showed the picture in at least a couple of the episodes.

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Well since the very last scene of SS revealed that Jackie had died, I'd say that this drama was extremely significant in return viewers as well. It was a subtle, quiet, and beautifully acted moment by RC. Very heart breaking. Shiva also teased Tony involvement as we saw his apartment in the promos. That may have enticed viewers as well.

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@S
That is true for Shabbat Shalom. But Shiva is one that got the most viewers ever (And I think counting DVR plays, it went over 25 million) and the Promo on Television had the focus entirely on Ziva and like I said Vance played an important part in the episode, but he wasn't most of the focus. Incidentally, I found your ZCIS joke pretty clever, considering a Z is a N turned on its side.

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I'm sure many ZIva fans were excited about a two part Ziva episode, but it was heavily promoted with dire don't miss this epic NCIS type of hype. No other episode except the season premier got that kind of hype or as much publicity. And that Vance would be devastated was in the spoilers too. There were many guest appearances on talk shows promoting this episode with spoilers of devastating losses. NCIS LA also broke 20 million for the first time that week. Larger than usual ratings were recorded for a many programs in those weeks following Christmas. Check the numbers. There are consistent and predictable fluctuation in viewer numbers habits depending on what part of the year an episode is aired no matter who or what the episode focuses on. The Abby episode aired the next week brought in huge numbers with far less promotion and no promise of NCIS world rocking character deaths

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@Michael
Proof? Which TV people (As you so eloquently called it) did you find out that NCIS got their high ratings.

NCIS Season 10 Episode 15 Quotes

Ziva: DiNozzo, pull it together.
Tony: Kids. This is way above my pay grade. I spent the afternoon in a child care clinic when I almost lost my life.
Ziva: Stop stop stop stop. We're doing the director a favor, okay? We just need to be here, we need to be normal. Can you just please do that for a few hours?
Tony: Sure. Fine.
Ziva: Fine.
Tony: Only because you asked nicely.

Vance: Do you have a suitcase packed, Jerome?
Craig: Always Leon. You know that.
Vance: Good. I'll be in touch.

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