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NCIS Round Table: "Rekindled"

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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 our weekly Round Table Q&A discussion of events from Tuesday's episode, "Rekindled."

Join in below, as we analyze Tony's past, the introduction of Jason King, the reintroduction of the Phantom Eight, some possible returning guest characters for the season-ending run and more ...

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Describe this episode in one word (or two, or three).

Steve: First-rate.

Matt: The whole package.

Eric: Superbly crafted.

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What was your favorite quote or one-liner from the episode?

Steve: It's hard to pick one in particular, but McGee had some quietly great moments. He'll always be the resident nerd and take flak, but he can dish it out too, and has been portrayed in a more mature light lately.

Matt: The entire exchange with Tony's boots, but in particular Gibbs referring to him as Heffy. The straightforward, unimpressed manner in which Gibbs calls out Tony's ridiculousness always gets me.

Eric: Ziva's comment feigning surprise about Tony having made it through puberty. I know some fans didn't like it, but it got a laugh from me. Besides, DiNozzo would've gone there if the situation were reversed, and he lobbed that one right over the plate ... I think he of all people would've been disappointed if she didn't tag it.

Best scene?

Steve: The whole thing was so good, you could pick nearly anything. I really enjoyed how McGee and Ziva asked Tony what happened and were genuinely proud of him. Tony's expression as he told them "it's more complicated than that" before the flashback was worth a thousand words, revealing the guilt he still carries from that day.

Matt: The elevator scene with Tony and Jason. That conversation was years in the making, even if they never thought they'd cross paths again, and it was handled with the perfect sensitivity and realism.

Eric: Loved Abby and Jason in the lab. Even when she's not the focal point of the episode, my girl always makes me smile. Jason may have met his match in terms of enthusiasm for chemical reactions. Aside from the obvious candidates, this week also offered some ancillary characters that brought a lot to the table, such as the creepy arsonist and the shady electronics company owner.

Thoughts on how the relationship between Tony and Jason was presented?

Steve: It was excellent. As I said in my review, this is how an "origin" episode should be done. We learned about DiNozzo's past in a very relevant way in the present through Jason, whose story was compelling. Gaius Charles and Michael Weatherly both delivered perfectly nuanced performances.

Matt: Agree with Steve. We've been cheated on some past introductions of characters from the team members' past, who simply make stray observations about them and expect us to believe them. This was not one of those times, as the story unfolded in a very watchable and believable way.

Eric: Jason King was great, as was DiNozzo and how they "Rekindled" their past throughout the episode. Just well done all around. Hopefully we'll get another chance to see Jason work with the team again soon.

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Who is behind the Phantom Eight murders and the arson spree?

Steve: Clearly I have no idea, but you did get the feeling we hadn't seen the last of the Watcher Fleet. I can't help but wonder if one of the Eight has gone rogue ... as Tony said, there are some bad apples.

Matt: You have to hand it to NCIS for making the banal, confusing intricacies of arson into riveting TV. As for the foe? A highly-skilled one who casts a wide-ranging net. Foreign or domestic? Internal or external? It'll be interesting to see, but I wouldn't rule out the return of Ryan, Monique, E.J. and/or Stratton as NCIS tries to piece this together.

Eric: Has to be international terrorists, right? Who else would want to blow up Navy ships en masse? Speaking of which, the closing scene, while tragic, was a shockingly awesome way to send us into the next chapter of this multi-episode arc, moments after Gibbs realized the microchips and their classified information could be compromised.

NCIS team MVP of the week?

Steve: Tony all the way. The wisdom he imparted on Jason was almost Gibbs-like! It was great to learn why he became a cop, which happened to be the same reason Jason did. Very well done.

Matt: Gibbs was particularly intense this week. Not that Jethro could ever be called jovial or easy-going, but there was a certain enhanced urgency in his actions from the very start that set the tone.

Eric: Abby. And McGee. Now we just need to get them working together more!

Would you like to see more Jamie Lee Curtis?

Steve: I would, but more in a professional sense than as a Gibbs love interest. The PsyOps angle has made for some intriguing cases already, and I'd be surprised if the brain gamer doesn't return again in that capacity. As long as NCIS doesn't become the Ryan-Gibbs show exclusively, I'm fine with it.

Matt: No. I don't particularly like the character and the show finds its groove when it focuses on the team members, not big-name guest stars. JLC is a fine actress, but I think three appearances is enough.

Eric: Okay guys, I'll take heat for this one. Yes. There, I said it. Now, I don't necessarily view this as an "endgame" relationship or see her as a series regular, but there's a lot of potential in her character.

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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@"Reviewer Matt" - Hi Matt & Gents; always look fwd to your reviews. Agree w/ you about Phantom 8 - we now know "Cole the Rogue" is returning in the finale; not sure who the new "Cade wannabe" is, but I think RYAN knows!!! I'm actually thinking that her psycho ex-hubby might be connected to the 8; I also want to know HOW Lisson is interlaced, b/c she definitely is. Loved Tony, Ziva & McGee in this ep – the Gibblets R O C K E D as always – they get along SO well together. Also agree about Tony’s “ridiculousness�. The writers love putting Tony in perpetually childish situations. No agent deserves to be “Senior� ANYTHING if he can’t even remember not to wear inappropriate footwear to a crime scene after 10 years on the job – I agree that IRL he would have been sent home or benched. But that’s Tony being Tony. As long as he ACTS like a child, he’ll continue to be TREATED like one. I think the TRUE MVP was Jason – he brought out the better side of DiNozzo, and that was nice to see for a change. What a great job they both did in this ep.

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I so do not want to see JLC back again with Gibbs, she makes the show about her cleave and more of a soap opera and the show Rekindled was a good show and i think the character Jason should be added as a regular he was really good. JLC she got to go

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Yes, Gibbs is wonderful but can behave a bit like a petulant child at times. I think his never apologize rule is a trifle whacked as well. It promotes a sort of fake, posturing type illusion of strength, rather than the kind of character strength that sometimes requires self examination and empathy. The behavior of the team in Boxed In, was beyond cruel and divisive. I don't know what those writers were thinking.

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@AJA
In one of the episodes, (I think it was the one Ziva and Tony were trapped in a cargo container) Tony found out Ziva had invited everyone to dinner at her apartment except for him. How was cruel was that! Everyone talked about how great the meal was in front of Tony which was deliberately insensitive and sophomoric. I remember being disappointed in everyone. Ziva apologized later to Tony. I think that may have been her only apology ever. I don’t like Gibb's rule about 'never apologize, it’s a sign of weakness'. It’s just the opposite. It takes a strong person to be able to put aside his/her ego and apologize.

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Yes, I noticed. Except for the whole boots scene, I really liked the way Gibbs was with Tony. Gibbs obviously knew something about Tony's history with Jason, and handled it with sensitivity. Sometimes I really don't like the way Gibbs treats Tony, but I guess that's just a difference in writers. And yes, when Ziva is instructing Tony, she always treats him like a recalcitrant child and plays the role of morally superior know it all. Very insulting IMO.

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Did you notice the difference of Gibbs quiet encouragement to Tony to go to the elevator and talk to Jason? It’s different from Ziva’s command, “Be a man, Tony, go talk to her!� (Jeanne Benoit at the elevator)

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what if there a new Phantom 8 killing the old one

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Oh, thanks Erin. That makes sense. I was just thinking that he'd be some psycho on the loose...never thought about them needing his help. Wonder if he'll turn on them somehow? Getting worried here about the safety of our fearless crew!

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To gigi's comment: I think that whatever is going on in the last couple episodes will be connected to the Phantom 8 and maybe the microchips and guest stars (grrr). I think that the threat to the navy or to the team will be so dangerous that in desperation, they will turn to Stratton/Cole for help.

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I want to know how exactly Stratton/Cole is coming back since the last we saw he had stuck a knife in his boss, tried to blow up Tony and EJ, and was surrounded and captured by the FBI and NCIS??? I suppose he just "escaped" but jeez, that's so lame a plot device.
John G...was he offed? I don't remember that. Wasn't he just captured?