Our NCIS review broke down "Double Blind," this week's episode, in detail.
Now, TV Fanatic staff members Steve Marsi, Douglas Wolfe and Christine Orlando have assembled for our weekly Round Table Q&A discussion of various events and topics from this installment.
Join in as we analyze another entertaining hour of TV's #1 show!
1. How would you describe this week's episode in one word (or two, or three, or four)?
Doug: Circle the wagons.
Christine: Lost in translation.
2. What was your favorite quote or scene from "Double Blind?"
Doug: There were so many great scenes. Ziva in her new car. Tony complaining that he told her that she was not alone (subtext: "so why did you sleep with that guy?"). Almost the entire gang meeting in the lab. I think the one scene that stands out, for its subtlety and pure cow patty parade was the one where Parsons tells Vance: Relax director. I'm just here to cross some "t"s and dot some "i"s. I'll be as quick and painless as possible. Vance's face is mostly inscrutable more often than not so I had no idea whether he believed him or not. I think he's likely a wise person who employs the motto "trust but verify." The viewers for sure knew that this guy was a snake, patterned after the sneakiest detective ever: Columbo.
Christine: Definitely that painful conversation between Tony and Ziva. Tony: My Hebrew must not be as good as I thought. Because I could have sworn that when I dropped you off at the airport I told you that you are not alone. Ziva: Yes you did. Tony: Well then. We must have different interpretations. Ouch!
Steve: The "Evil McGee" quote in particular because my wife noted the similarities between Colin Hanks and Sean Murray moments before Abby said it. I also loved Tony ending Parsons' interrogation of Ziva, barging into the room Gibbs-style. Door. The card-playing metaphor and the heartbreaking Tiva scene Christine mentions were also good. It's not that she slept with someone, but her reason for doing it that hurt him.
3. What, if anything, did you not like about the episode?
Doug: There is one thing I disliked, and one thing I just outright did not believe. I didn't enjoy the romantic wrinkle that caused friction between Tony and Ziva. Cote de Pablo warned us that there would be "messy times" ahead for the couple, so I think we've seen that. Like so many, I'm hopeful their story will get somewhat resolved. The one thing I found unbelievable was Ziva's assertion that she didn't kill Bodnar. I didn't buy it for a moment. As Parsons noted, she reported that he lost his footing during their fight. It's plausible but the fact remains: she made sure she got to him before any of the other team members because she intended to kill him. In one of the scenes, when discussing their "questionable tactics" she looked at Vance and said we had our reasons. And Vance agreed.
Christine: I both love and hate the push/pull of Tony and Ziva. I hate that she slept with someone else but I get it. She was thousands of miles away, burying her murdered father. Although there's been plenty of subtext, she and Tony are not a couple. As Ziva said herself, it was a moment of weakness at a highly emotional time. But the writers can't tease this relationship out forever. They're close to going past its expiration date for my attention.
Steve: I have some unanswered questions but these season-ending arcs often dont' "dot the i's and cross the t's," to use Parsons' line, until the finale, or even the following season. So until we know the full extent of the fallout I'm reserving both criticism and praise to a degree.
4. Case of the week: Compelling, confusing, or filler?
Doug: It was not that compelling, but it did serve as a prop for the real story with Parsons. The case was a "go to" tool used by the team when they needed to divert Parsons' attention away from themselves and their self-protective sleuthing. Having said that, it was well-written and interesting story.
Christine: I did question whether Ziva intended to kill Bodnar. Was she saying what happened at the conclusion of "Revenge" was an accident because she was covering her tracks or was it the truth? If her only intention was to bring him in, then why not involve the rest of her team?
Steve: It felt like filler only because what was going on with Parsons was so nerve-wracking and complex. On merit, the case was far from terrible ... we can all relate a little bit to the Big Brother aspects.
5. Were you surprised at Parsons' tactics or true objective?
Doug: As much as I loathed the guy, I actually enjoyed his tactics. It was fun to figure some of them out afterwards too. For example: he deliberately chose the interrogation room to interview Ziva - and then he lied about it. I got wondering: why that room and not the conference room? Was it as simple as wanting to make Ziva feel uncomfortable - as she suspected? I think it was because Parsons quickly realized the dynamic between Ziva and Tony and wanted to exploit it, knowing full well Tony would jump into the observation room. The objective was to divert attention from his actual objective by putting everyone back on their heels. And he did this with Abby too. Must admit too that I expected Vance to be on the hot seat - especially given the repeated instructions from DHS to stand down on his hunt for Bodnar. Parsons' pursuit of Gibbs is therefore somewhat of a minor mystery. There are so many things reasons for investigating him - but which one is it?
Christine: Abby was right. The guy really is the Evil McGee. He was smart and cunning and his tactics were fun to watch. I did think he was after Ziva until the end so his strategy was certainly well played.
Steve: Definitely not surprised at his manipulations and skills at keeping people guessing and off-balance. You knew that's what he was coming there to do in some capacity. But I did not see him building a case against Gibbs, with Ziva being the one responsible for Bodnar's death and Vance, at the top of the "Pyramid" as far as NCIS is concerned, essentially complicit with her actions.
6. Investigating NCIS team members: Intriguing or overdone?
Doug: I think everyone can relate to job loss or uncertainty, so this particular story will draw us in completely. Parsons is a threat to their existence. I vote for "intriguing."
Christine: We've certainly been down this road before yet somehow I still found it intriguing. Not so much for what they found but how the characters reacted to it. This NCIS family bands together whenever they feel one of them is threatened and that's always entertaining, intriguing, and heart warming in its own way.
Steve: It does seem to be a recurring theme, but then again that's kind of the point. Ruffling feathers, going against the grain and taking matters into his own hands ... these things remain true to Gibbs' nature, no? A reprisal of similar past storylines doesn't feel tired to me if given fresh context, and given the sheer number of ways this arc can still go, I'm certainly intrigued.
7. Gibbs says in the promo that he's going to "fight." How?
Doug: It takes a manipulator to fight a manipulator - and as we've seen during the many interrogations, Gibbs excels at it. Parsons is the new shining star of his organization: I expect Gibbs to go on offense and put Parsons under intense scrutiny now. We didn't learn all that many details about him in this episode - that's about to change. If the man has a skeleton anywhere, Gibbs will find it. Gibbs will find the man's Achilles' heel as well. He'll find his weakness and exploit it. At the end of the day (which might not happen until the next season), I expect Parsons' career to come to a screeching halt.
Christine: He'll have to figure out why he's become the target. It's certainly not random. Someone wants him gone. If it was a chain of command issue then Vance would be equally called on the carpet. But Gibbs is smart and he understands people in a way most don't. What he needs more than anything right now is information to fight with and I'm sure his team will be working furiously to get it for him.
Steve: Christine makes a great point. The question is why Gibbs has become the focal point and how he'll respond in the face of this adversity. Maybe Mike can show him the way ...
What's your take on these issues of the week on NCIS? Discuss below!