Our official NCIS review broke down Tuesday's outstanding episode in great detail.
Now, TV Fanatic staff members Steve Marsi, Matt Richenthal and Eric Hochberger have assembled for a weekly Round Table Q&A discussion of events from part two of "Engaged."
Join in below, as we analyze various aspects of the team's adventures ...
What was your general take on this episode?
Steve: Despite the limitations of TV, the show and Mark Harmon in particular seem to give off an air of honor and respect for the military. I loved seeing present day Gibbs in action as well as the flashbacks revealing his reverence for the Marines (and one in particular). If I have any complaint it would be that the domestic terror plot felt a bit rushed, but Gibbs and Vance's interrogation scene was intense. Five out of five stars.
Matt: I thought it was excellent, but here's some food for thought. Would it have been a better episode had Flores not been brought back alive? I like her character and am glad she was, but in the opening minutes, with the shot of the casket on the plane, I was convinced Gibbs had succeeded only in bringing back her remains. Seeing the whole episode play out and highlighting the team's failure in a sense (obviously by finding her at all, he's done his job) could have been even more powerful, since these things often do not end well. The death of her CO did touch upon this to a certain extent.
Eric: Strong acting and superb writing on all fronts. There are some things I found a little unrealistic, but it's a TV show and the characters almost always feel believable to me.
What was your favorite quote or scene?
Steve: Tying in with my previous answer, Gibbs at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider, and in Arlington, or their return from Afghanistan at Dover AFB. It's hard to even put those scenes into words.
Matt: Ziva talking to the girls who'd been rescued, followed by Gibbs and Vance's double act. After the events of last week and the first half of this episode, he had me fooled for a second there.
Eric: Tony in the church, hands down. Great acting by Michael Weatherly.
Favorite guest character over this two-part episode?
Steve: Flores' father. With his words and mannerisms, he conveyed the range of emotions so many military families go through so convincingly, without overselling it.
Matt: Young Gibbs, if we can count him. Sean Harmon did a great job as a younger version of his dad (it's really neat that he plays him), but more importantly, the way the storyline tied in with the present was great. Loved the focus on female Marines, past and present, and Gibbs' connections to each, markedly different as they were. Random aside: Where does this fit in the time frame of when Gibbs met Shannon?
Eric: Burke. What is it with this show and redheads! Ask a stupid question, I know. In any event I hope we see more of the chaplain in the future.
Tony's greatest fear is kids? Do you buy that?
Steve: As I said in my review, I thought it his greatest fear was dying alone. At the same time I think what he wants most is some validation of his place in the world, some direction as to where he's going and what it's all about. Seems to be a theme of this season of NCIS for him, and it's a compelling one to watch.
Matt: The end felt a little corny, with Burke leading him to the nursery. That said, Burke was a solid character I hope returns before long, and the way the writers mesh Tony's overgrown frat boy persona with more serious emotional soul-searching is believably nuanced and quite nicely done.
Eric: The B story with Tony made the episode for me. Yes, it was silly at times, but have you forgotten who we're talking about? That's DiNozzo for you, total goofball on the surface and afraid of growing up ... actually makes sense that he's petrified of toddlers in some respects. The fact that he's searching for some deeper meaning at the same time reveals what a complex character he is - more than some people give him credit for.
Should Gibbs take a vacation?
Steve: Maybe some more time in the basement on weekends? I don't think Gibbs is headed for a breakdown as Vance seemed to imply. He's been more reflective lately, his perspective changing with the passage of time. Maybe he'll become even more open as the season progresses? Either way I don't see a problem with his performance on the job or a reason for a sabbatical.
Matt: No. His response to Vance said it all - he's not in denial about the stress of the job, he's just committed to it as his life's work. Gibbs has lost a lot of people close to him, but he's also saved countless lives in the process. I don't know that he knows the word "recreate," and NCIS is better off for it.
Eric: I don't know about a vacation, but he could use a fling. There will never be a new Shannon, and I'm not saying he needs to get married right away, or at all. But a relationship would do him good.