The ever-stoic Leroy Gibbs was pried open a bit by Hollis Mann on NCIS Season 11 Episode 12, an installment that opened with the killing of a petty officer via drone attack.
How did our Round Table panel of Doug Wolfe, Christine Orlando and Steve Marsi feel about Mann's return? About Tony in general? About what's to come with Parsa?
Gather around below and find out now!
How would you sum up the episode, in one sentence or word?
Doug: Terrorists and tuxes.
Christine: An awkward romance.
Steve: Drones, Delilah and Destruction.
What did you think of the return of Hollis Mann?
Doug: I was pleased to see her again, and disappointed that she's married. I think she'd make an excellent life partner for Gibbs. It took a lot of doing but she cut through Gibb's rough exterior - even though the only evidence was that he offered to share a drink with her at the end.
Christine: I always liked her and I like the way she gets through to Gibbs. I was a little unclear...is she still married? If so, further midnight drinks in Gibbs' basement will be awkward but I certainly hope to see more of her.
Steve: I did not expect it but was definitely intrigued. Yet another surprising twist in NCIS Season 11 and one I hope is extrapolated upon.
What are your thoughts on Tony's character?
Doug: While I would have preferred to see him exhibiting more of the silent commanding authority that we've seen from him in the past, I get that he likes to joke and make movie references. That part is starting to grow on me. As long as he doesn't become the butt of jokes again, he'll be okay. I hate when that happens because it has the appearance of undermining him as the senior agent that he is.
I like that he checked Bishop when she questioned his investigative process. There was no anger there: just blunt, understanding authority.
Christine: I love it that Tony is able to lead yet never lose his sense of humor. My favorite was when he had McGee pull up the ex-wives board on the video screen. Someone had to fill Bishop in and Tony was ready to step up.
Steve: Tony is hilarious, but not just a one-note (or one-joke) character, which is great to see. He was particularly funny in this episode without losing his edge as an investigator, and without being as maligned as in the past.
McGee finally came around and attended Delilah's gala. What's up with his initial hesitation, though?
Doug: Dude needs to grow up a bit. He gets zero sympathy points for acting like such a cad in the first place, raining on Delilah's parade by showing off his insecurity. Abby's the perfect sister for him, understanding him but giving him a needed figurative head slap. His whole behavior towards Delilah this episode - including the "why are you here?" bit - was embarrassing.
Christine: I guess it's how Abby described it...he's getting cold feet because things are becoming serious and there's potential for real commitment. That means there's also potential for real loss. I felt horrible for Delilah when McGee obviously didn't want to attend the gala with her. It basically told her that she wasn't important enough to him to make her a priority.
Steve: We all have some commitment issues, insecurities and fears when relationships turn serious, but this felt a little out of character to me. I would've pictured Tim being nervous about going to the event, but 100 percent intent on going.
Will Delilah make it?
Doug: Sure hope so. I've seen the promo and though it looks like her operation is touch-and-go; I can't see the writers putting us through the pain of her loss. McGee, in particular, would be devastated if she didn't make it. If/when she pulls through, it's going to cement their relationship for good, I think... I hope.
Christine: I really don't know. I haven't been her biggest fan and this romance hasn't wowed me so to be honest, I could go either way. But if she does die it will be just one more example of how unlucky in love the NCIS team is.
Steve: I hope and think she will. The team has seen enough loss in recent seasons (and all seasons) and McGee has more potential to grow as a character if Delilah survives than if she doesn't.
What's next with Parsa?
Doug: Who knows. The man's on a mission, so it's a safe bet that he's going to keep trying to find bigger ways to grandstand his terrorism. By the time they take him down, his presence will have served to make the team even more tightly connected than before.
Christine: I'm sure he's not done yet. There are plenty of targets in D.C. but I am intrigued by the idea of Bishop trying to analyze his next move. I liked how Gibbs put her on his scent...like a prize Bloodhound. We'll see if her unique style will turn out to be the asset Gibbs hopes it will.
Steve: Clearly he has the potential to be a memorable "big bad," maybe even more than past seasons' villains. His penchant for theatrics as well as casualties will keep NCIS on its toes. I also agree with Christine regarding the final scene with Bishop, whose storyline is dovetailing with Parsa's in compelling fashion.
Douglas Wolfe is a staff writer for TV Fanatic Follow him on Twitter.