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NCIS Round Table: "Housekeeping"

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Our NCIS review broke down this week's episode of TV's top-rated show 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 the NCIS winter 2012 premiere, "Housekeeping."

Join in below, as we analyze various aspects of Tony, Ziva, E.J., Stratton, and more ...

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Describe this episode in one word (or two).

Steve: Complete package.

Matt: Thoroughly entertaining.

Eric: The best.

NCIS Round Table Logo NEW!

What was your favorite quote or scene?

Steve: Gibbs getting his mojo back (not that it was ever really gone, but he kicked it up a notch this week) and making sure SecNav Jarvis did his job. You have to love that Gibbs will interrupt the Secretary of the U.S. Navy at dinner and not take any B.S. I also enjoyed the gunfight, strange as that sounds, since it was uncertain if Stratton would escape or if the team would emerge unscathed. In most episodes, the bad guy goes down hard and fast; there was real suspense here.

Matt: It feels like a copout to say all of it, but the flow to the entire episode, and way the dialogue melded with the mystery and action, was seamless and made for one of the best installments of the season.

Eric: Is this even a question? Regardless of whether or not you want them to become romantic in earnest, Tony and Ziva have great chemistry and that was on full display at the end of the episode. Darn you, Ray.

Do you like E.J.?

Steve: I think her character was often overly criticized, and this episode might temper that somewhat. Even though I'm glad she left, it made sense how everything played out and her departure was on a good note.

Matt: Not particularly. I don't hate E.J. per se, or Sarah Jane Morris' portrayal of her, but the character felt uneven and even a little unnecessary to me. I'm very interested to see Jamie Lee Curtis' arc this spring.

Eric: As Steve said in his review, she redeemed herself on multiple levels. She's no longer driving a wedge between Tony and Ziva, but driving them together. Nor was she being shady and running her own agenda usurping Gibbs' authority. She proved she's a team player, even if she's less of a heavyweight than we thought. Wouldn't mind seeing her again.

Is this the last we've seen of Stratton?

Steve: The Phantom Eight storyline had a lot of potential, and could still play out in other ways, but after Stratton went rogue and got caught, it's difficult to see how. Maybe the writers have something up their sleeves.

Matt: Flip a coin? He was a very good villain this week and in the season premiere, so perhaps there's more to explore (the interrogation scene hinted as much, but what can he really do when he's locked up, and aren't Gibbs' secrets already known to Abby, Vance, etc., at this point?). If I had to guess I'd say this is it, and probably for the best.

Eric: I'm kinda thinking no, right? Like Steve, I didn't see him going down so quickly, and the way he taunted Gibbs certainly made it feel like the door was being left ajar for this story to continue ... somehow.

One unanswered question from Tuesday would be:

Steve: Where the heck was Vance?

Matt: How did Stratton fall for the safe house bait?

Eric: How much do you love Gibbs and Abby (not really an unanswered question at all, there's a very clear answer, I just had to work it into this Round Table somehow)!

Will Ziva say yes to Ray!?

Steve: Given the nature of his work, and especially after he went off the griddle for seven weeks and she was a split second away from writing off the entire relationship, it seems hard to believe she'll accept.

Matt: Yes, because she'll be caught up in the moment. Marrying him is another story, however.

Eric: I think she will, but as Matt said, that's just the first step to "forever." She may reconsider down the line, or very quickly, especially if it forces the issue with Tony a little. Here's hoping!

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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Tony used to be a really interesting, fun character, with great layers and hidden insecurities and sadness. Then they turned him into an utter idiot for a couple of seasons, who bumbled around, barely competent to do office work, let alone hold a gun. Then they realized they'd gone too far so they turned him into a whiny, introspective bore, perpetually droning on about his dad, his childhood, and his love life. Could we have the real Tony back please?

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I would not characterize the Mexico shooting as "no good reason" any more than Gibbs-the-sniper in his sand camo gear gunned down Sharif (Sharim?) in the desert when he was about to kill Tony. Having an edgy Secnav and a rogue agent in Stratton is fantastically suspenseful. Same with Portside-Killer thread that ended in having (my fave guest star) Franks written out of the show. I would love to know the behind-the-scenes on that one. There used to be a great balance with Gibbs, Tony and Ziva all being strong physical players. This is such a great show: I think the new writing team will find their balance with it--they have plenty of back-seat drivers! It's the only show on TV that I actively pursue watching. Family! I think it's because of Gibbs tying it all together as the father figure BTW, love the Beltway Madam character and how they have her playing off Gibbs as a strong story element when she's on.

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I love TIVA! Excellent episode! Excellent end! I hope that CIRay will disappear and that takes the TIVA relationship! Brutal chemistry between Tony and Ziva!

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Take a deep breath, Tiva people! Now pay attention. The show is about more than Tiva. Surely, you've been through this with other shows. Tony and Ziva are never going to get together. (Didn't any of you watch Gilmore Girls?) And despite your absolute statements that fans will hate this, speak for yourselves. Those of us who enjoy the show as a whole don't necessarily drink the Tiva Kool Aid. Personally, I don't want any of the characters to ever "get together". I'm fine with the occasional flirtations, but anything more might ruin the dynamic of the team. However, if they do go down that road, I won't get hysterical and threaten to never watch again. I have faith in the creators/writers/producers of this show that they'll be entertaining, no matter where they take us. Don't any of you get tired of writing the same rants over and over, year after year?

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Ooh...just saw on tvguide that the Valentine's episode is Tony and Wendy! Wow, didn't see that coming. Should be interesting.

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Great roundtable, guys! I didn't see this ep as a Tiva-centric one at all. I'm not on team Tiva, but don't see anything wrong with the writers giving those fans some love. Watching Tony flirt is a real blast! There's a ton of other stuff that this episode could lead to...Stratton, the Mexico thing (hope not, YUCK), Ziva/Ray, the upcoming wedding, etc.
I was just thrilled that Gibbs got some mojo back, they had an awesome gunfight, EJ is gone, and MW got to show his emotional range (from mad at EJ to flirting with Ziva.
If they're going to end the season with the typical cliffhanger, and the wedding is the season finale (as I've heard it is) then can we picture a long shot up the aisle showing the backs of the bride and groom and then come around and...WHAM!...it's NOT Palmer and Breena? Don't know, but I can't wait to see it...

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While lots of fans want to see Tony and Ziva together, there a lots of fans who don't. More than likely, the great majority just want to be pleasantly entertained. If Tiva happens it would change the dynamic. For most shows, putting lead characters into a romance is the kiss of death. I personally don't want them together as I don't want NCIS to turn into a soap opera, which is what I think will happen. Also, I can't help but not like the way Ziva has judged herself superior to Tony in the last few years. I think it would greatly diminish Tony to pair him with Ziva. And the writers have diminished him too much already in order to make other characters look better. Look at how he never gets the exciting danger scenes anymore so that they can all go to Ziva and GIbbs. I don't want Tiva.

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20 million people NCIS just gave the middle finger too

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Gentlemen, that was a wonderful Round Table Review. What a total pleasure to read the reviews here because it is so very obvious that you all watch the show. I enjoyed this episode more than any others this Season. I have to say Michael Weatherly dominated the night for me- happily - he had it all - I really love mad Tony, in charge Tony and sexy romantic Tony 'most of all' - just like the scraecrow ! He has finally grown up and taken a good look across the bullpen - it has taken years - but finally a positive sign that he now knows...lets say goodbye Ray..and 20 million plus viewers (except Ziva hater Michael here) will be very excited and happy.
Congratulations NCIS - job very well done

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I readily admit that I have never liked ej - however, your assessment of her is correct - this time she followed orders and acted on part of a Team - Gibbs Team and she even opened Tony's eyes to his relationship with Ziva. Good she is gone. But she helped make this episode one of the best episodes this season. The ending was very short but oh so satisfying - we have waited literally years for it. Amazing - Both Michael and Cote know just how to bring the heat as the writer said...I can not wait to see more. I hope to see the end of CIRay soon. And it was wonderful to see Timmy with something more to do. I love this show and no more so than now after 9 years..just the best there is...

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