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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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NCIS Season 12: Exclusive Scoop!

What can fans expect from NCIS Season 12? Gary Glasberg is here with some serious scoop!

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@Guest I think you are pretty on target with your theory.

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In my opinion, it all comes down to the killing of Eli and Kazmi. Bodnar called Ziva specifically to inform NCIS that he was not the one responsible for the killing of Kazmi. I believe Mossad or at least more people in Mossad were involved in those 2 killings (and also Vance's wife) and since it all happened in the US, possibly a US official or a US agency were involved too. And a way to cover up this mess would be going after Gibbs. Also, somebody informed DOD Parsons that Ziva slept with a foreign operative when she was in Israel for her father's funeral. Should we believe that the daughter of the former Mossad director was being followed in Israel and Mossad didn't know it? Don't think so. My guess, Mossad or someone in Mossad is obviously involved in the DOD investigation. In line with this, Ziva could return to Israel to investigate Mossad's part in Gibbs indictment.

Gatorgal

Considering Glasberg stated in the followup to "Revenge" that he thought it was more "fun" to keep the tease going rather than let Tony and Ziva consummate (my term, not his) their relationship, I seriously doubt Rule #12 will be broken by Tony and Ziva.“We continue to step it out the way we do because it is fun to tease people. The dynamic of will they–won’t they is the fun of the beginning of a relationship. I know that this has been going on for a long time, but why not keep it going? Why not continue to enjoy that spark between them as long as we can?� To that I say, enough is enough! Do it or don't, make a decision and stick with it.

Julia64

Contd with the result that I'm not a bit surprised that despite a good episode "Double Blind's" audience dropped back again. Following the warehouse scene and the fact that Cote is still to re-sign it will be interesting to see what happens audience wise in the season finale, though I note there are no Tiva references in the promo, other than, as you mention, maybe that reference to "The Season Finale" "That Breaks All The Rules" - could one of those rules be Rule 12 ?

Julia64

@Claire You mention the audience figures - it has to be remembered that unless there is a particularly amazing promo then viewing figures are usually effected by the previous week's episode. In this case I note that "Revenge" picked up an additional million viewers on the previous week's episode, i.e. "Berlin", I suspect as a result of (a) Berlin's shocking cliffhanger (b) the prospect of future Tiva following the dance and the scene in the car pre-crash © a thrilling promo. Unfortunately though ultimately a good episode it failed to live up to Berlin's expectations on all these counts (a) the cliffhanger was a huge anticlimax (b) there was no follow up Tiva © the promo was totally misleading and a bigger work of fiction than the episode. A cliffhanger has to have a good resolution or you are setting your audience up for disappoint, likewise a misleading promo leads to both disappointment and annoyance, with the result that I'm not a bit surprised that despite a good episode "Double Blind's" audience dropped back again. Following the warehouse scene and the fact that Cote is still to re-sign it will be interesting to see what happens audience wise in the season finale, though I note there are no Tiva references in the promo, other than, as you mention, maybe that reference to "The Season Finale" "That Breaks All The Rules" - indeed could one of those rules be Rule 12 ?

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Es hora que Ziva sea el gato y el ratón Tony. Bien podria ser que Tony se quedara y en una misión fuera atrapado y Ziva fuera de NCIS debiera involucrarse para buscarlo.

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Sinceramente no creo que Cote deje NCIS, creo que todos sabemos que le queda a NCIS una o dos temporadas como máximo y me parecería bastante estúpido que saliera, si bien cada uno puede tener sus razones. Es más creo que ni siquiera lo darán a conocer hasta iniciada la próxima temporada aunque por supuesto que si se ven las filmaciones para la nueva temporada algo se sabrá, pero puede que sea un juego tensionante parecido a lo de Ducky aunque creo que no tiene la trascendencia de lo de Cote. Por que hablar como ha hecho en las entravistas de Tiva si luego se va me parece absurdo! Creo que una buena vuelta de tuerca seria que Tony pidiera el traslado o como fuera a Baltimore, creo que era dónde era poli, ya que todos esperan que sea Gibbs o Ziva el que quede fuera de NCIS "no de la serie" sino de las oficinas, que tal si fuera Tony el que decidiera irse. Es hora que Ziva sea el gato y el ratón Tony. Bien podria ser que Tony se quedara y en una misión fuera atrapado y Ziva fuera de NCIS debiera involucrarse para buscarlo.

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@Christine I think Ziva did what she did because she wanted to be the one to bring Bodnar in without putting any of her teammates in harms way. And yes, she felt both duty and honor bound to be the one to bring him in. Like I said last week, if she had wanted to kill him, she could have done so since she got the drop on him. She could have done and made it look as though he had resisted by pulling his gun, or by planting a gun on him. She didn't do that, which convinces me she wanted him alive. Bodnar knew that too, and that's why he resisted arrest -- he tried to use her reluctance to kill him against her.

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@Doug Frankly, it really doesn't matter whether Ziva killed Bodnar or not. She told him to freeze and that he was under arrest. He resisted and started using deadly force (i.e.: tried to kill her) to back that up that resistance. Like I and others said here last week, when a law enforcement officer tells you not to move because you are under arrest, you do as you're told. If you resist, and they use some form of deadly resistance to do so, the officer is within their rights and duty bound to respond in kind. At that point, they can use any and all means and methods to stop the fugitive. Maybe Bodnar slipped. Maybe he didn't. Doesn't matter. He was resisting arrest and Ziva was within her rights and responsibilities to do what she did to stop him.

Gatorgal

If the Pedro Hernandez case does see the light of day, I can see no way Gibbs can beat the rap. Plus Abby hid/changed evidence showing Gibbs was the killer. There has been no mention of Abby being involved in any of this. It would not ring true if they pulled out this case and Abby wasn't called on the carpet. And please don't misinterpret: I don't want either of them charged.