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NCIS Round Table: "Til Death Do Us Part"

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Our NCIS season finale review broke down the season finale of TV's #1 show in 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 last week's installment, "Til Death Do Us Part."

Join in below, as we analyze the many twists and turns of the hunt for Dearing, the return of Jamie Lee Curtis (and Scott Wolf), Palmer's wedding, Ducky's fate, the attack on NCIS and much more ...

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

Steve: Surprising.

Matt: Excellent.

Eric: Intense.

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Best quote or scene from "'Til Death Do Us Part"?

Steve: Aside from the heart-stopping final two minutes, and the surprise factor of Dearing outsmarting the team every step of the way? I'll take Tony and Ziva's discussion of weddings, and knowing look.

Matt: Gibbs zinging Vance by saying he wouldn't take a bullet for him. One of the few lighter moments in a serious episode. Vance's role in all this should be expounded upon, by the way. If he felt he let the team down by not catching Dearing before the explosion, how's he going to react now?

Eric: Call me a cheeseball, but I'm going with Palmer's pre-wedding plea to Breena. Logistically, he could've waited a few hours and at least gone through with the ceremony so the guests wouldn't be upset, then left before the reception, and she probably would've thrown a fit, but that's TV for you. More importantly, the sentiment was there, and certainly in character for Palmer. Breena's a keeper for sure, too, for going along with it.

Share your thoughts on the season-ending arc as a whole and how this episode fit in.

Steve: The final four episodes were all terrific, each in their own way, building up to a true cliffhanger. There were moments I might have changed, but it was first-rate on balance. I'm definitely curious to see how Dearing gets what's coming to him and can't wait until September.

Matt: Not as good as some past finales - I think we all agree on that - but solid.

Eric: It was awesome. I don't think you can compare to past seasons, or at least I don't try to, because of the different emotional stakes, even characters. I try to evaluate them each on merit and this was excellent I thought.

Tony, Ziva and Tim Photo

Were you happy with the way Dr. Ryan's arc ended?

Steve: Mostly. She took over a lot of the story just to leave so abruptly, but by and large it made sense. I'm not sure I'd want to see Jamie Lee back, but I wasn't as down on her as a lot of people this season. One wonders if her ex-husband's release from prison will rear its ugly head again ...

Matt: The husband's release irks me a little. First of all, she's a hard-nosed brain-gamer who will track the world's most notorious terrorists, so her reaction felt a bit out of character. Second, how could Dearing pull that off? The Naval vulnerabilities he studied and exploited were properly explained throughout the last four weeks, but bribing federal judges? A bit of a stretch. All in all, Ryan had her moments, but her time on the show was uneven - to be expected from an admittedly complicated individual, but all over the place at times.

Eric: As long as it did in fact end, I have nothing negative to say.

What about the return (and demise) of Cole?

Steve: I enjoyed this component to the mystery. His storyline wrapped up almost too quickly this winter, too much so for such a complex villain. He definitely gained some measure of redemption by going out on the side of the good guys ... not an easy thing to pull off, but Scott Wolf did a great job of selling it.

Matt: It was well done, and also tied into how Dearing got his hands on all this information in the first place, which always seemed too easy for me, so bringing him back served several purposes.

Eric: The only thing I didn't like was that it was too short-lived. Scott Wolf as a creepy, yet compelling villain - who'd have guessed? I would've liked to have seen him get closer to bringing down Dearing, maybe meet with him face-to-face. Would his newfound loyalty to Gibbs or his criminal tendencies win out?

NCIS team MVP of the week?

Steve: Ducky. Such a wonderful character and so often overlooked. It was fitting that he went to Florida to be with his protege, and we can only hope to watch that relationship grow more in seasons to come.

Matt: Tony and Ziva, because both are great agents in spite of the perpetual romance debate. Side Note: Why were they in the elevator during an evacuation? You have to think this will be explained and play a major role in the season premiere, right? No way that was just randomly written ... otherwise that writer needs a head slap!

Eric: He's not really a team member, but I gotta go with Cole. Sure, he helped get everyone into this mess, but as the only known casualty, you have to give him some respect for being at ground zero. Also, Gibbs. He would take a bullet for Vance, no matter what he says. And for Abby, who he shielded from the explosion.

Will Ducky survive? What about the rest of the team?

Steve: It's been established that David McCallum not only signed a two-year contract, but was aware of this storyline and how it will effect his character next season. Theories about the contract being a red herring are interesting, but I'm fairly certain he'll be back, along with the rest of the cast.

Matt: He will, along with his colleagues in D.C. As convincing as the cliffhanger was/is, and as bad as the clips above look, the team members are all in a position where they can survive. And they will.

Eric: I have some doubts, despite what my esteemed fellow panelists say. Just because the blast looked so bad, and does anyone know where Palmer is? Why were Tony and Ziva in an elevator? NOTE: I sincerely hope everyone makes it. The ensemble clearly works too well for CBS to break it up. Right?

What are you most looking forward to in NCIS Season 10?

Steve: There's a very real possibility that Season 10 may be NCIS' last. Not because I know something you don't but simply because of the difficulty of maintaining not only the personnel, but quality for such a long time period. Maybe it's not the worst thing, either, if the show can go out on top. Whether Season 10 or 11 is the end, it's hard to see it continuing beyond that, and as a result, things should start to wind down in ways that sends these great characters out on the best possible notes.

Matt: I agree with Steve. It may or may not be the final season, but we're heading down the home stretch and I hope Gibbs reaches a state of emotional enlightenment, or at least clarity. There also should be a resolution to the will-they-or-won't-they Tiva saga, one way or the other. I can see Ducky retiring on his own terms, as well (rather than dying on the beach), possibly being replaced by Palmer, with Abby and Tim getting together as well. I know Eric will agree with me there.

Eric: Matt don't tease me. Umm ... no more Ryan (no offense to Jamie Lee Curtis, who is a fine actress, but that arc has run their course at this point). Hopefully a return to the core dynamics, characters and writing that have made the show a must-see for so many years.

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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@jinx well done you need a pat on the back for your comments you maybe only 13 but you write better than me and i am much older.

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I miss Mike Franks. Why did he have to be killed? I love Tiva! What the heck going on with them? Tim is awesome.

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@ AJA
In extension to my earlier comment I would like to quote something you said!!! This was said by you on June 12th, 2012 at 4:38 P.M. "I've never liked smug, boastful, arrogant, cruel, adults with violent tendencies, or people who feel entitled to do whatever they please without considering others." Isn't that you? You have not been kind in any of your comments.. Just accept that you can't change what the show has already done... There is no need to keep ranting like a ignorant jerk!!

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@AJA
I have something to tell you in your reply to the show of NCIS being a show written for adults!! Yeah, sure it might appeal to adults but guess what!!! I am 13 and have been watching since I was 3-4!! I get that this is America and you have freedom of speech, but all you do is go on ranting about how much you hate the Ziva character!! You must just NEED a life because you have posted on every single NCIS page that you hate her!! If you hate her so much then why don't you just but the first two seasons on dvd and keep quiet.. I know that you will probably not even think twice about my comment because I'm only 13 and you are probably older, but that doesn't change anything.. OH and just for your info- 1127 kids go to my middle school and they did a survey- Most watched show: NCIS! Amount of kids who bubbled that in: 1043 Some of those kids are like me and have grown up on this show... So don't go saying that it is only for adults!!! Just my opinion..

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@AJA thing is ziva is not my number 1 but when i read with most of your comments the hate you have for ziva well i just cant let it go by without difending her she has been a part of NCIS since season 3 so she must be doing smthing right.

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For all of the fans of this show, I so hope that the writers of NCIS and even CBS are reading these posts about the Ryan character. Although, I have the feeling they could give a rat’s ass about what we are saying, even though we are the ones making them able to buy those big fat multimillion dollar houses and putting their kids through college. I just think they should listen to the hands that feed them a little more, because it can all go away.

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I couldn't agree more, Eric. Not only has the Ryan arc run its course, but I'm not sure it was worth the time. JLC is cool but it was an awful lot of crazy to get Gibbs a girlfriend. Her character took too much time away from the cast we want to see. Why would a man like Gibbs, who trusts no one, be interested in a head banger who takes great pride in screwing around with people's minds? Made no sense from the beginning. He should have sent her packing the first time she came on to him. I am sure we will see her again as she and Harmon are personal friends and he will have a lot to say about what happens to the character.If we must see her again, I just pray they lay off the kissing...she looks like his sister and it is creepy. Who the heck paired them up in the first place...awful move.

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@sophie to say you are only eleven you wrote a very good comment and put an older person in her place,yes i think we all know she hates ziva she says it in every comment she writes.

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well I would love to see Gibbs,Tony,Ziva,McGee,Abby,Ducky,Palmer and maybe even Ryan back in season 10
I know alot of people don't like having JLC on the show but I think she brings something different to NCIS. Like lots of uncertainty which interests me.
And to you AJA even if you don't like Ziva you should just keep quiet if you really are in support of NCIS and their choices.
By the way AJA I don't see how Ziva is boastful, arrogant or cruel. She does what is nessasary at the appropriate time and place. And by the way AJA again NCIS does not just appeal to aldults, it also appeals to a younger audience too. I am 11 and I love NCIS. And in fact the show has gained popularity with Ziva she is a lot more interesting as from being from another country and continent. I would love to see what happens in the elevator! And at the very end of NCIS I would love to see Tony and Ziva together. McGee and Abby. Go Tiva and McAbby!

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They will have to wind up the show pretty soon, or the Navy will run out of petty officers to kill.
We have all of the episodes from the beginning on dvd and I think my wife has a crush on jethro.
All of the characters are becoming "caricatures" of their earlier script parts.
The addition of Jamie as a "partner" for Gibbs is just wrong. She is not a redhead, too smarmy intellectual and the pencil necked kid of hers ewwww.
Let us hope the big boom took her out.
The use of vance's car is lame. Don't you think it was combed thoroughly for prints and clues when they found he was abducted. They missed a seat full of explosives? Puleezz, that is lame. When they can allegedly tell how old someone is and where they were from the dried spit on an envelope. How could they miss 20 kilos of high explosives quickly stashed in a seat.
Did the show change writers between the 8th and 9th season?
And what is with the inept token gay guy with the Kennedy hair?

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