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NCIS Round Table: "Double Blind"

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Our NCIS review broke down "Double Blind," this week's episode, in detail.

Now, TV Fanatic staff members Steve Marsi, Douglas Wolfe and Christine Orlando have assembled for our weekly Round Table Q&A discussion of various events and topics from this installment.

Join in as we analyze another entertaining hour of TV's #1 show!

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1. How would you describe this week's episode in one word (or two, or three, or four)?

Doug: Circle the wagons.

Christine: Lost in translation.

Steve: Loyalty.

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2. What was your favorite quote or scene from "Double Blind?"

Doug: There were so many great scenes. Ziva in her new car. Tony complaining that he told her that she was not alone (subtext: "so why did you sleep with that guy?"). Almost the entire gang meeting in the lab. I think the one scene that stands out, for its subtlety and pure cow patty parade was the one where Parsons tells Vance: Relax director. I'm just here to cross some "t"s and dot some "i"s. I'll be as quick and painless as possible. Vance's face is mostly inscrutable more often than not so I had no idea whether he believed him or not. I think he's likely a wise person who employs the motto "trust but verify." The viewers for sure knew that this guy was a snake, patterned after the sneakiest detective ever: Columbo.

Christine: Definitely that painful conversation between Tony and Ziva. Tony: My Hebrew must not be as good as I thought. Because I could have sworn that when I dropped you off at the airport I told you that you are not alone. Ziva: Yes you did. Tony: Well then. We must have different interpretations. Ouch!

Steve: The "Evil McGee" quote in particular because my wife noted the similarities between Colin Hanks and Sean Murray moments before Abby said it. I also loved Tony ending Parsons' interrogation of Ziva, barging into the room Gibbs-style. Door. The card-playing metaphor and the heartbreaking Tiva scene Christine mentions were also good. It's not that she slept with someone, but her reason for doing it that hurt him.

3. What, if anything, did you not like about the episode?

Doug: There is one thing I disliked, and one thing I just outright did not believe. I didn't enjoy the romantic wrinkle that caused friction between Tony and Ziva. Cote de Pablo warned us that there would be "messy times" ahead for the couple, so I think we've seen that. Like so many, I'm hopeful their story will get somewhat resolved. The one thing I found unbelievable was Ziva's assertion that she didn't kill Bodnar. I didn't buy it for a moment. As Parsons noted, she reported that he lost his footing during their fight. It's plausible but the fact remains: she made sure she got to him before any of the other team members because she intended to kill him. In one of the scenes, when discussing their "questionable tactics" she looked at Vance and said we had our reasons. And Vance agreed.

Christine: I both love and hate the push/pull of Tony and Ziva. I hate that she slept with someone else but I get it. She was thousands of miles away, burying her murdered father. Although there's been plenty of subtext, she and Tony are not a couple. As Ziva said herself, it was a moment of weakness at a highly emotional time. But the writers can't tease this relationship out forever. They're close to going past its expiration date for my attention. 

Steve: I have some unanswered questions but these season-ending arcs often dont' "dot the i's and cross the t's," to use Parsons' line, until the finale, or even the following season. So until we know the full extent of the fallout I'm reserving both criticism and praise to a degree.

4. Case of the week: Compelling, confusing, or filler?

Doug: It was not that compelling, but it did serve as a prop for the real story with Parsons. The case was a "go to" tool used by the team when they needed to divert Parsons' attention away from themselves and their self-protective sleuthing. Having said that, it was well-written and interesting story.

Christine: I did question whether Ziva intended to kill Bodnar. Was she saying what happened at the conclusion of "Revenge" was an accident because she was covering her tracks or was it the truth? If her only intention was to bring him in, then why not involve the rest of her team?

Steve: It felt like filler only because what was going on with Parsons was so nerve-wracking and complex. On merit, the case was far from terrible ... we can all relate a little bit to the Big Brother aspects.

5. Were you surprised at Parsons' tactics or true objective?

Doug: As much as I loathed the guy, I actually enjoyed his tactics. It was fun to figure some of them out afterwards too. For example: he deliberately chose the interrogation room to interview Ziva - and then he lied about it. I got wondering: why that room and not the conference room? Was it as simple as wanting to make Ziva feel uncomfortable - as she suspected? I think it was because Parsons quickly realized the dynamic between Ziva and Tony and wanted to exploit it, knowing full well Tony would jump into the observation room. The objective was to divert attention from his actual objective by putting everyone back on their heels. And he did this with Abby too. Must admit too that I expected Vance to be on the hot seat - especially given the repeated instructions from DHS to stand down on his hunt for Bodnar. Parsons' pursuit of Gibbs is therefore somewhat of a minor mystery. There are so many things reasons for investigating him - but which one is it?

Christine: Abby was right. The guy really is the Evil McGee. He was smart and cunning and his tactics were fun to watch. I did think he was after Ziva until the end so his strategy was certainly well played.

Steve: Definitely not surprised at his manipulations and skills at keeping people guessing and off-balance. You knew that's what he was coming there to do in some capacity. But I did not see him building a case against Gibbs, with Ziva being the one responsible for Bodnar's death and Vance, at the top of the "Pyramid" as far as NCIS is concerned, essentially complicit with her actions.

6. Investigating NCIS team members: Intriguing or overdone?

Doug: I think everyone can relate to job loss or uncertainty, so this particular story will draw us in completely. Parsons is a threat to their existence. I vote for "intriguing."

Christine: We've certainly been down this road before yet somehow I still found it intriguing. Not so much for what they found but how the characters reacted to it. This NCIS family bands together whenever they feel one of them is threatened and that's always entertaining, intriguing, and heart warming in its own way.

Steve: It does seem to be a recurring theme, but then again that's kind of the point. Ruffling feathers, going against the grain and taking matters into his own hands ... these things remain true to Gibbs' nature, no? A reprisal of similar past storylines doesn't feel tired to me if given fresh context, and given the sheer number of ways this arc can still go, I'm certainly intrigued.

7. Gibbs says in the promo that he's going to "fight." How?

Doug: It takes a manipulator to fight a manipulator - and as we've seen during the many interrogations, Gibbs excels at it. Parsons is the new shining star of his organization: I expect Gibbs to go on offense and put Parsons under intense scrutiny now. We didn't learn all that many details about him in this episode - that's about to change. If the man has a skeleton anywhere, Gibbs will find it. Gibbs will find the man's Achilles' heel as well. He'll find his weakness and exploit it. At the end of the day (which might not happen until the next season), I expect Parsons' career to come to a screeching halt.

Christine: He'll have to figure out why he's become the target. It's certainly not random. Someone wants him gone. If it was a chain of command issue then Vance would be equally called on the carpet. But Gibbs is smart and he understands people in a way most don't. What he needs more than anything right now is information to fight with and I'm sure his team will be working furiously to get it for him.

Steve: Christine makes a great point. The question is why Gibbs has become the focal point and how he'll respond in the face of this adversity. Maybe Mike can show him the way ...

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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@Julia64
Interesting... They mentioned Le Grenouile in "Revenge?" When was that?

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@Julia64 there where no plans for a potential relationship between the character because that not what the show was about

Julia64

@gatorgal Well at least if it's purely a Gibbs' rule the writers have the potential to write round it. I used to watch Stargate SG1 - the writers felt unable to follow through on the will they won't they relationship because in the Airforce they wouldn't be permitted to work together. Any hints at a potential relationship finally just fizzled out when Richard Dean Anderson left the series - leaving the situation disappointingly unresolved.....

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I just hope all the team get look at not just gibbs they have all broken the law from gibbs to ducky, If people want gibbs to pay for killing Pedro Hernandez.Ziva should as well for the man she killed over the year and she killed them not gibbs or vance and no one told her to do it she went off on her own. Something that I think need to be address right off the bat is how can Gibbs and Ziva arrest people for murder when they have kill innocet people themself. They need to also address how can any trust Ziva when she willing to throw the whole team under the bus to get what she wants.

Gatorgal

@Julie64:Thanks for your comments. And I agree it wasn't necessarily a smart move for Ziva to go off on her own, considering her "lame" injuries, just that she had been compelled to go. NCIS does not have rules against married co-workers so I am assuming the same goes for dating. It is a Gibbs Rule only, and he applied it to Tony when he was seeing EJ, who was NOT on his team. So unless all of this makes Gibbs mellow-out, Tony and Ziva probably won't be "openly" romantically involved (note the "openly") while both are still employed by NCIS, as opposed to being in different areas of NCIS.

Julia64

@gatorgal Though it certainly could be argued that Ziva should not have gone after Bodnar alone, not only was she not 100% fit and therefore at greater risk herself, but she had no one to watch her six, after all Bodnar might not have been alone.

Julia64

@gatorgal You're totally right - Tiva is fast approaching its sell by date. I only wondered if towards the end of the finale something might happen since if Cote doesn't return (and she's a young actress who may well just want to do something else now) this could potentially be a case of Tiva now or never. I've also seen GG state that if they did become a couple they'd have to split the team. Is that right? Other than Gibb's rule 12 can an NCIS couple not work together - no one said anything about marriage and unlike the oft quoted Moonlighting, they're not the sole leads - if imaginatively written I don't see why it couldn't work, as things stand their schizophrenic relationship (depending on who's the writer of the week) is now becoming more frustrating and unlikely by the minute.

Gatorgal

@EB: Ziva did not go rogue. Vance and Gibbs did, Ziva was following orders, albeit quite willingly.

Gatorgal

@Doug: That goes without saying. My point was to counter those who were crying foul how Ziva went off on a murderous rampage and should be punished and whining that she wouldn't; We still don't know how this is going to end for Ziva. There has to be some question mark at the end of the finale that makes us wonder if Ziva (meaning Cote) will still be at NCIS.

Gatorgal

@kendallmh: no, you are. He then goes on to say it's been going on for a long time. A "beginning of a relationship" does not go on for a long time. It becomes a romantic relationship or it doesn't. My point wasn't to prove or disprove that Tony and Ziva are in a "romantic" relationship, it was to show how GG is jerking us around. Like TIVA or don't like TIVA, but make a decision.