Our NCIS review broke down "Anonymous Was a Woman," this week's episode of TV's #1 show, 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 the installment.
Join in as we analyze Gibbs' brave stand in Kabul, Mike's secret operation and more ...
1. How would you describe this week in one word (or two, or three, or four)?
Christine: Bend the Line.
Doug: I like Christine's choice for this. Mine's "Gibbs' Deepest Regret."
Steve: How do you choose?
2. What was your favorite quote or scene from the episode?
Christine: I loved the scenes between Mike and Gibbs. Gibbs was so torn as he tried to figure out what the right thing to do was. We don't usually see him second guess himself that way.
Doug: Couldn't decide between two of them. It felt like I'd found gold when I looked up Gibb's rules and realized that this episode revealed one that had been missing until now. Rule 14: Bend the line. Don't break it. The competing scene was the one that showed Tony's worry over McGee and Gibbs - when Tony said "be careful Tim." The fact that Tony generally uses a variation of McGee's last name whenever he addresses him - but this time it was his first name, and there was no joking.
Steve: My favorite scene was the flashback in which Mike weighed in on Gibbs' woodwork for his coffin. During NCIS Season 8, viewers never knew what Gibbs was making, or that Mike was even sick, until after he died. It was a neat touch to fill in another piece of that puzzle years later.
3. Gibbs' last stand: Awesome or gimmicky?
Christine: Mostly awesome because in that moment it wasn't just Gibbs. It was McGee with the gun in the window and Tony thousands of miles away watching the satellite feed and all of them holding their breath hoping that Gibbs didn't get a bullet to the head. That tension felt real and pulled off a scene that could have felt like a gimmick in lesser hands.
Doug: I agree with Christine on this - awesome. When Gibbs and McGee discussed their informal rules of engagement - where they couldn't go out there with guns blazing but at the same time they couldn't allow them in, we had a pretty good idea that they were between a rock and a hard place. That viewer instinct that allows for suspension of disbelief kicked in when the men decided to take on Gibbs mano-a-mano: I dealt with that by figuring that they didn't want to shoot Gibbs because then they couldn't claim that the Americans broke the peace by firing on them first. So yeah - the tension was terrific.
Steve: It was an interesting setup, with both sides unwilling to simply open fire. Gibbs has a spine of steel for going out there under the assumption he wouldn't be shot dead on the spot, but he read the situation right. There's always going to be some creative license with things like this - so many things could have gone wrong and his plan could have easily backfired - but it wasn't that big of a stretch.
4. Did you enjoy the focus on Mike Franks?
Christine: Yes. It was good to see Mike again. He makes an impression and still has a strong pull on Gibbs, even from beyond the grave.
Doug: Very much. It added a layer to his legend that was hands-down showed him to be the rough angel that he was. Plus, the writers showed their courage by having him deal with a reality of life in some parts of the world, with respect to the plight of women and girls. The whole subject was handled with nuance and truth - and Franks was the unsung hero of the whole thing.
Steve: I always love Mike, and was glad to see him back in an episode that gave him even more depth. He was one of the good guys, yet also a true renegade, so I thought the storyline was a good fit.
5. Special Agent Susan Grady: Love her or leave her?
Christine: I actually really liked her this time around. I liked how she used her experience as a tech and took it into the interrogation room. The boys need to give her more credit. That said, I'm not sad she's moving on to San Diego.
Doug: I was as relieved as the rest of the NCIS team when she said she had no intention of trying to work with them. There's an X factor required for working with this group, and she didn't have it. Wish I could be more specific. She just didn't do it for me. Makes me wonder what the writers are doing with us. Are they trying out different personalities - Vera last week and Susan this week to see what sticks with the fans?
Steve: I loved her as a one-off or even someone who might return for another guest spot someday. Not a huge fan as a permanent addition, but that's clearly not the idea. In response to Doug's point, my guess is that out of respect for Ziva's character, they're not casting a "replacement" right away, but are filling the screen void with interesting characters as a foil for Tim and Tony in the interim. It also makes sense that Vance, Gibbs & Co. would not have a permanent member of the team ready to go the very next week. Finding the right person will take time.
6. Do you like how Tony is being portrayed in the absence of Ziva, at least thus far?
Christine: Yes, I do. He's more serious and introspective but still Tony. He hasn't lost his humor but there's something more there. I'm really intrigued to find out where they're taking his character this season.
Doug: I really like this quieter, intense and sometimes violent version of Tony. Up until now we've generally only seen this side of him when he's in the interrogation room. This is a guy worthy of respect. The thing is: when we see him as the jokester all the time, it's hard to credit him as being any sort of leader. I'm glad the writers have taken him in this direction and I hope they keep it up.
Steve: As much as I wish Ziva hadn't left, I think the show is dealing with it as well as you could expect. The first two episodes have been solid, and Tony's reflection on her departure has been a big part of that. He doesn't dwell on it constantly in some forced way, but he still carries the pain with him in a way that's unavoidable to his colleagues and viewers. Nicely done by the writers and Michael Weatherly.
What's your take on these issues of the week on NCIS? Discuss below!