NCIS Round Table: "Life Before His Eyes"

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Our NCIS review broke down the latest installment of TV's #1 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 last Tuesday's 200th episode, "Life Before His Eyes."

Join in below, as we analyze various aspects of Gibbs' introspective journey ...


Describe this episode in one word (or two).

Steve: Imaginative; Thought-provoking.

Matt: Great stuff.

Eric: Edge-of-your-seat. I defy you, Steve, and your tyrannical word limits! From the moment Gibbs was shot, this became a riveting installment, albeit not because of the action or the real-world plot (obviously Gibbs would come out of this fine). I just couldn't wait to see who appeared in the diner, and what alternate NCIS reality we might get a glimpse of next.

NCIS RT - depreciated -

What was your favorite one-liner?

Steve: One easily overlooked but quite cool moment was not as much a one-liner but a lack of one. Tony's serious, supportive reaction to McGee's career decision really threw Probie for a loop.

Matt: Gotta be Tony calling Ziva "Tiva" in the interrogation. Great wink to the fans.

Eric: The comment about Palmer's abs after Abby's rolfing session. We're all thinking it, but for once, Gibbs - the functional mute, as Tony once said - was the one to say it.

Did the highly unconventional format work for you?

Steve: It did. I talked at length in my review about all the reasons why, so I won't ramble too long here, but I felt it was a great tribute to the show's run, with plenty of nods to the viewers, but wasn't a throwaway episode on its own merit. Past and present (and reality and alternate reality) intertwined nicely for the sake of the broader narrative. Bravo.

Matt: I enjoyed the episode overall, but I'm going to be contrarian for a moment, because a lot of our readers raised valid points. For the big 200th episode event, I would've liked to see more of the entire team, not just a heavy Gibbs-centric story. Don't get me wrong, Mark Harmon, Muse Watson and Michael O'Neill are all terrific, but Franks and McAllister had more significance than cast members who have been on the show for most or all of its run. The humor, relationships and crime-solving that make the show so good were relegated, at least somewhat, to the back burner this week.

Eric: I agree with what Matt just said, but I also don't care. Once in NINE YEARS, I'll allow for an experimental episode like this, as long as it's well-written, acted and directed. Which this clearly was. Kudos to the whole team for attempting and pulling off such a difficult concept in one hour of television - and here's to 100 more!

Anyone or anything missing that you wish we could have seen?

Steve: I found it interesting that young Gibbs was in the periphery of the alternate reality diner scenes. I know they're making up the rules, but how does that happen exactly? A conversation between older Gibbs and his fresh-faced, Marine self would have been a lot of fun, especially considering that Mark Harmon would be acting alongside his own son Sean.

Matt: A scene with Lauren Holly's Jenny could've been great, even if it had to be cobbled together from footage on the cutting room floor, like they did with my girl Sasha A.

Eric: Seeing Ari and Vance playing chess was awesome, but I wish they had more to say to our fearless leader. As some fans have said, this could've easily been a two-hour episode!

Life Before His Eyes Pic

What scene was the most emotional?

Steve: Everything that involved Shannon and Kelly, from their conversation in the diner to the "what-if" scenes in which Gibbs' loss became theirs, or in which a despondent Gibbs had not avenged their death by taking down Hernandez. Both what-ifs were realistic scenarios that anyone who has experienced loss would likely consider, and they hopefully helped Gibbs see the good that emerged from an unspeakable tragedy.

Matt: The look on Gibbs' face when he laid eyes on his daughter.

Eric: Personally, I liked the scenes with Gibbs' mother because I didn't see that coming at all, and always wondered about her and didn't quite know/remember what happened to her.

Will Gibbs finally let go of his guilt?

Steve: I think so. He seemed awfully rejuvenated at the end, especially for a man who just got shot in the shoulder. Not that I expect Jethro to take time off, but it looked like mentally, a little weight was off his shoulders.

Matt: That was the subtext to all of this, right? You can't have it both ways. Wherever you go, there you are. As an intelligent, principled man, Gibbs will never let go of those he lost, or feel any less responsible for not being perfect. That said, this had to shine a light on everything positive he's accomplished, while proving that what might have been isn't necessarily idyllic.

Eric: Let go of? I don't think you can ever expect that, given all he's been through. Made peace with? That may be more feasible after revisiting the consequences - good and bad - of the decisions in his life.

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.


Jou must accept the fact that my ddek ees most beeg. Jou shall also bow een solemn homage to my fat and joosie nuts, which are most sublime een there aromaticies. Let eet go out across the land, tell eet unto deek ees beeg, and fat and ever so joosie. Do not disparage my mighty deek and muscular nuts or I vill bork jou.


NCIS is certainly one of the very best shows on television and certainly there is no doubt that they are all excellent. Some are more excellent than others. This 200th seemed just a little too much 'wimpy, soapy & sappy' fer me.


My deek ees most beeg.


Jou all should bow down and tremble before the majesty and sublime beauty that ees my deek. Eet ees beeg. Jou should also pay solemn homage unto my splendid and aromatic nuts, vhich are also most beeg. Eef jou fail to pay proper tribute, I vill bork jou. Do not force me to bork jou, as my balls and deek remain most beeg.


This episode was very weak for as hyped as it was. It was disjointed, overly reflective on useless plot points and severely lacking in other areas. Why bring back Rudolf Martin to not utilize him in any interaction with Gibbs? What a waste of the best villain the show has ever had. Also, never would believe that Tony and Kate would get together-she treated him like crap and always assumed the worst about him, never utilizing her "mad profiler skills" to realize he creates a facade to protect himself. Where was Ziva? Why all this focus on Kate, who hasn't been there since season 2. Ziva has been a HUGE part of the show and has changed the dynamic for the better. Why wasn't SHE featured at all? I did like the introduction of Gibbs' mother-I would like to know more about her (i.e., did she leave or did she die?, What affliction did she have?, etc.) Anyway, I was just underwhelmed.


Eet ees time to accept my fat, juicy nuts as your Lord and master. They are beeg. Confess your seens unto my deek or I vill bork jou.


Dennis...When Gibbs and Shannon first met in "Heartland", he told her his full name and she responded, "I think I'll just call you Gibbs". At the time Gibbs joined NCIS, it was then known as NIS. They changed the name sometime later in the 90's. As to the crt monitor...don't have a clue. sorry.


they said the 200th episode would be different and it was some things i liked but not all.roll on 201st episode.


Noticed a few things not mentioned above. Why did Gibbs wife call him Gibbs? Didn't see say "NIS" and not "NCIS"? And what was the crt computer monitors? They always have state of the art equipment.


I was very disappointed in this episode.MH and Muse were wonderful but that was it. Some of the "what if" were just bizarre-like Tony and Kate.Even mcgee and Abby-they are not together because of something Gibbs may have done.And Ziva-why even show that scene if it was edited so much.It meant nothing.I think Ari was wasted and Fornell and Papa Gibbs and so on.Instead as much as I love Palmer-what was the purpose of seeing him without a shirt-wasted scene. The Tate baby-wasted scene.
This should have been a team episode. Instead it was one man's view of what he thinks is important for NCIS.(and I don't mean Mark H-he was just doing his job!) To me the fans(who keep this show on)were not even considered.

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