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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.

NCIS Round Table Logo NEW!

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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its called friendly teasing ziva loves tony and tony loves ziva and in the end they will get together no matter what the tiva haters say.

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@Aycliffe A lot of people have said why the whole Tiva thing is bad and that how I feel but the thing that really bother me about it is if the shoe was on the other foot and Tony was doing these to Ziva calling her coward calling her worthless to the human race and all that stuff then the woman would be screaming that NCIS is sexist and all these bullshit but then a woman does it to a man its funny.

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Aycliffie - al lot of Tony fans are upset about his portrayal of the last few years, but many just don't go online and complain as much as the younger set of fans who love the superior Ziva/whipped Tony dynamic. They are all over the internet and call anyone who doesn't worship at the alter of poor victim super Ziva and tiva, "haters." Despite what others say, Tony used to be written as yes - a funny guy since MW can pull it off, but his character was also an extremely gifted investigator who could and did handle danger. Now only super Ziva and super Gibbs are allowed to show empathy or be put in the position of danger or allowed to be portrayed as selflessly heroic. Show's all about them now really. Tony is just along to be the butt of the joke and be inferior by comparison. IMO it's sad, boring, and predictable.

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Sorry guys, I like the idea of JLC and Gibbs. I love the realationships that Gibbs has with Ziva and Abby - they are his daughters and I love the moments when we see how he adores them. As for Tony and Ziva, I love the banter and the idea of the two of them together! The interactions of McGee and Tony are also fun. I too love Ducky and was soooo upset at the thought of losing him. I agree with Shell, this is a fun show for a reason, why not let it be that, it has action, it has characters with awsome chemistry and relationships and I could not imagine losing any of them, they are the reason that I watch the show, I hope that they remain so!!

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Aycliffe, if you've been actually watching NCIS for awhile, then we assume you automatically know that the overall KING of Snark on the show is none other than DiNozzo himself :-). If he can DISH it out so freely to the team, he SHOULD be able to take it - whether it be from Gibbs, Tim, OR Ziva. Perhaps you should be questioning why the writers like to play "musical chairs" w/ Tony's character, making him Mature Tony one moment, only to revert back to Immature, Aging Playboy Tony the next. He's lucky Ziva even likes him enough to put UP with his juvenile behavior. Most women wouldn't have time for that crap. Don't worry about Ryan - she is pretty much gone because the fans generally couldn't stand her. She's basically another Gibbs in a skirt.

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Thank you AJA,I wonder why more fans of the show are not shouting out about the changes, or do the majority fans of the show just don't care what is happening to the characters, we are heading in to season 10 and all the characters should have there personalities sorted, no need for change, but this is not true, the writers don't care, has long as they get good ratings they well change the show so they can keep the show the most watched on TV, its a shame really I can see this show going down hill really fast, and by the time the writers react it will be to late.

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Aycliffe - The diminishing of all things Tony started in season 5 after MH gave his ultimatum and DPB exited as show runner and Shane Brennan and others took over. Superior wonder victim Ziva, push over daddy Gibbs, snotty McGee, limited Ducky and Abby, and weak link Tony were SB's contributions to the show. It was marginally better this season, but it seems to me that, especially some of the new writers, just plug into the all knowing Gibbs, Ziva, and McGee/clueless Tony format. I'm really disappointed that the show continues to undervalue this formerly wonderfully layered character and IMO show's most interesting, versatile, not to mention handsome, actor, while constantly promoting Gibbs and Ziva as the shows only agents capable of handling danger, action, and drama.

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Thank you AJA for your opinion, it cant be just down to the new writers, I mean wasn't Tony a top police detective back in Baltimore Police Department, and that's why Gibbs wanted him to join NCIS so why has Tony's character become such clown or better still useless at doing his job, you can see Ziva and McGee have overtaken him when it comes to solving cases, its a shame because he was such a strong Senior Ncis detective in the early seasons and now he seems so lost.

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Aycliffe - good question. I think that some of the newer writers think snarky smug superior Ziva (like the writing from season 6 on) belittling a clueless Tony passes as the show's humor moment, and sometimes I think that the writers are instructed to include a more overt (awkward and random) tiva moment. I'm with michael. I'd rather have snarky know it all Dr Ryan than snarky know it all victim Ziva. I wish if we have to have them both, that the writers would tone them down and give someone besides them and Gibbs the spotlight. They have mega talents like Michael Weatherly and unusual, interesting characters like Ducky and Abby who they could give some dramatic writing and focus on too, instead of always giving the big stories to the same characters.

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Michael what do you think the writers are up to? I can really understand what you are saying, but the writers I don't get where they are coming from, one minute they give us a bit of Tiva, the the next minute we have Ziva back to her old self be snide insulting and down right nasty towards Tony, then we see signs that Ziva really cares about Tony,what do you think the writers game plan is. If anybody else can give me there opinion as well