Earlier, our NCIS review broke down "Shiva," this week's episode of TV's #1 show, in detail.
Now, TV Fanatic staff members Steve Marsi, Douglas Wolfe and Eric Hochberger have assembled for our weekly Round Table Q&A discussion of various events and topics from this powerful hour.
Join in as we analyze the second half of the moving two-part installment and beyond ...
1. Describe this episode in one word (or two, or three, or four).
Steve: Heartbreaking and surprisingly complex.
Doug: Tony steps up.
Eric: Superbly done.
2. Favorite quotes or scenes from "Shiva"?
Steve: The entire closing montage, below, set to Patti Griffin's "Not Alone." So moving. As for a quote, Ducky had a couple of real gems. Depends who your grandmother is? Amazing supporting character.
Doug: Has to be the time when Tony comes to meet Ziva at the airport, and her hard-assed facade cracks just before they hug and he whispers, in Hebrew, "you are not alone." So well done, that entire scene.
Eric: I loved how Vance said now he understood how Gibbs felt even though he thought he did before, but even more than that I liked that Gibbs did not respond. There was nothing he could say.
3. What was your biggest problem, if any, with the episode?
Steve: Ziva getting contradictory advice on what she should be doing and how she should be mourning. If the show has taught us anything it's that people all grieve in different ways; terrific episode overall.
Doug: I didn't get why Bodnar still blew up Arash Kazmi. Bodnar's plan was blown, and now Mossad is after him (along with everyone else it seems). Why kill him? What purpose does it serve? Was that just a childish reaction from him?
Eric: Only that Ziva was alone in Israel - no family, friends, or even security despite the events that transpired. I know she can take care of herself, and can be a lone wolf at times, but this felt off to me.
4. The resolution to the case: Did you see it coming?
Steve: Definitely not in its entirety. Mossad being responsible was something I'd considered, but not in the sense that a single rogue, ambitious agent would attempt it with the goal of pinning it on Iran.
Doug: I was pretty sure it wasn't Iran - that would have been the easy answer, but it would have been too hard to carry forward as a storyline. I guessed it was Mossad but as someone else pointed out: Mossad is much cleaner, and pick their targets carefully, with minimal collateral damage. The thought that it was someone from Ari's side was there - I just picked the wrong set of circumstances. Never dreamed it was a traitor who wanted control of Mossad.
Eric: Some parts yes, other parts no. I want to open this up for discussion because I wasn't sure if it was made clear or left ambiguous: Did Bodnar kill Eli David's Iranian friend?
5. Who was the NCIS MVP of this week?
Steve: Impossible to argue against DiNozzo this week. With one action after another, he proves the caliber of person he is when times are tough. The overgrown frat boy facade can be hilarious, but it's only a small part of who he really is at his core. Honorable mention: McGee, for his connection to that Israeli cutie.
Doug: Tony all the way. What a treat to see him drop the clown act for once, and be the standup guy that Gibbs pegged him for, a few seasons ago. He not only cares for Ziva, he has mad respect for her. Can't praise the writers - and Michael Weatherly with his excellent acting - enough for his scenes in this episode.
Eric: Let's just rename this the Anthony DiNozzo Jr. Award. At least for one week, he deserves an honorary renaming of the team MVP for his efforts. The man doesn't get enough credit!
6. What did you make of Deputy Director Craig?
Steve: I'm definitely intrigued. He seems like your quintessential operations manager, destined for a career as second-in-command but never considered for the top post for obvious reasons. I think he means well but was in over his head and could be again down the line if Vance's position of power is somehow compromised.
Doug: He's quite a change from Director Vance isn't he? Not nearly as self-assured or stubborn, I think. I like him and think his presence allows the writers more flexibility in creating interactions with him and the team. I think Gibbs will handle him differently than he did Vance, but to the same effect: Gibbs will still run the show.
Eric: Loved his interactions with Gibbs, particularly looking relieved when they agreed. It's as if he knows Vance can't even contain Gibbs sometimes and doesn't even try to act like the authority figure.
7. How will this two-parter shape the rest of the season?
Steve: It will definitely have an impact on Vance, while I imagine will have a ripple effect through the department. He now understands Gibbs, making me wonder if he will seek to exact that kind of justice.
Doug: Bodnar will serve as background noise for the rest of the season. It seems likely that he will part of the cliffhanger at the last episode. Tony and Ziva have a stronger bond now - expect to see that grow even more as the episodes progress. If and when Vance comes back, he will do so with the wind out of his sails. Not defeated entirely, but maybe a little less sure of himself than before. I hope that if he does come back we don't lose Deputy Director Craig.
Eric: Bodnar being the bad guy - or at least the lone bad guy - feels too easy, much like Kazmi being behind Eli's death would've been too easy this time. I think there are more layers to this than we realize. Deputy Director Craig got a lot of screen time, leading me to believe he'll play a bigger role. As Doug said, Tiva's relationship has reached a new level of closeness, regardless of whether it turns romantic.
What's your take on these issues of the week on NCIS? Discuss below!