NCIS Round Table: "The Good Son"
Our NCIS review broke down the latest installment of television's #1 show in great detail.
Now, TV Fanatic staff members Steve Marsi, Matt Richenthal and Eric Hochberger have assembled for their weekly Round Table Q&A discussion of events from last week's episode, "The Good Son."
Join in below, as we analyze Gibbs, Vance, and much more ...
Describe this episode in one word (or two, or three).
Steve: Enlightening and surprising.
Matt: Very nicely done.
Eric: Complexly crafted.
What was your favorite quote or one-liner from the episode?
Steve: Tony, while trying to stifle his wisecracking in the wake of Gibbs' performance review comment, letting the crabs joke slip out and regretting it two nanoseconds later.
Matt: "It's not your fault." - Gibbs
Eric: I think I'm going to starting substituting "yabba" for "talking" in everyday speech.
Steve: Vance fighting back the tears as Michael was escorted out, followed by the closing scene with Vance and his son playing video games. Rocky Carroll really nailed it this week. I wouldn't say this episode changed my opinion of Vance, since I'm more of a Vance apologist than many to begin with, but I definitely like him more now.
Matt: Anything with Gibbs and Vance together. Those two bring elements of distrust and tension to every scene, yet also share a degree of mutual respect, begrudgingly or not. Conveying those kind of nuances isn't a small feat in a serialized drama and I think the writers (and of course the actors) should be commended for it.
Eric: Abby waking up on the floor and being mesmerized by the shadows, then becoming alarmed at the realization that Gibbs hadn't had coffee yet. So funny.
Is Tony's character being marginalized for the sake of cheap humor?
Steve: Tony is hilarious. His humor can be genuinely witty, self-deprecating or funny in a slapstick sense. Sometimes all of the above. I wouldn't say that's ever changed. As I said in my review, however, there does seem to be a pattern of him trying to find himself and tamp down his class clown side ... which in turn leads to comedic moments all their own, but it's not quite the same. Sometimes he's used as more of a plot device than a character that way, but I wouldn't say he's marginalized overall.
Matt: Good question, and one readers have talked about a lot, I've noticed. He's always going to be the resident comic relief, but that comedy doesn't have to revolve around his own humiliation quite as much as it has. DiNozzo's such a good agent that making him the weak link for the sake of jokes becomes predictable and far-fetched (to be at least) unless it's done sparingly.
Eric: DiNozzo's swagger does seem to be off a bit, but he's been going through a lot and most of it's fairly believable. He still shows flashes of his old self and I've enjoyed the character evolution more or less. I don't mind when Tony is the butt of the jokes, as he deserves it much of the time, and let's face it, I laugh.
Did you guess that Michael was guilty?
Steve: I guess we should have, in hindsight, given just how invested Vance was in the guy. But I was fooled, in large part because 1) The prime suspect introduced at the onset is never guilty; 2) Family members are rarely, if ever, guilty, and 3) Michael would have been completely viable as a plot device for Gibbs and Vance to butt heads over, even if he were innocent.
Matt: I had a hunch, but only subtly, when Vance hedged at the very beginning when Michael asked if he believed him. There was more to it than we knew. I liked the twist, with him tied to the poker game, and that the director did the right thing in having him face the consequences of his actions this time.
Eric: The wrong-place-wrong-time story seemed believable enough, which in hindsight made sense, as it was partially true what Michael said about why he was there ... save for not knowing the guy and not stabbing him and all. He was also pretty likeable, so I wasn't sure where they were going to go with it. As Steve said, making him innocent would've worked too. On a side note, how cool is Jackie Vance? I'm loving that woman.
NCIS team MVP of the week?
Steve: Gotta go with Gibbs. He could've let Vance have it on more than one occasion and made things really difficult (you know being outranked wouldn't stop him, either), but he navigated a difficult situation perfectly out of respect for Vance the person, not Vance the Director. Gibbs showed restraint but still pursuing the case to the best of his ability. Mark Harmon and Rocky Carroll are terrific to watch together when they're both on their game like that.
Matt: Tony. He may be the resident laughingstock (for better or worse), but he's still a very special agent who rises to the occasion when it counts. He wins for that NFL-style tackle alone.
Eric: Can we rename this the Abby Award and give it to the second-most valuable player of the week?
Tony and Ziva are headed to Colombia on the next episode. Thoughts?
Steve: You have to imagine, given what we saw in Paris and from what Cote de Pablo teased earlier this week, that it's going to be a very good episode but will leave their relationship as ambiguous as ever.
Matt: I'm looking forward to it because Tony and Ziva are at their best when they're working cases together. If that sounds obvious, I'll elaborate ... sometimes when guest characters waltz in and point out the chemistry, it's like we're being told how great they are together, rather than seeing their genuinely entertaining interplay. Other characters teasing "Tiva" overtly in order to make us care. Letting them do their jobs is every bit as effective and more organic.
Eric: Bring it on! I'm excited for a Tiva episode and to meet Ziva's friend and mentor. I just hope, as Matt just said, it's not just another excuse to have someone point out how awesome Tiva is, rather than Tiva themselves showing us with their casework and banter. Man, I love those two. Maybe not quite as much as I love Abby and McGee, but close.
What's your take on these issues of the week on NCIS? Discuss below!