The latest episode of NCIS featured a number of stories.
There was the main plot about Staff Sergeant Roe, a man who was found dead, right before he was supposed to testify at an Army officer's court martial.
Then there was the thread about Blue, a homeless vet who Roe was trying to help. And finally there was the story of Emma, another homeless person, who Abby was able to assist.
What did TV Fanatic panelists David Taylor, Christine Orlando and Douglas Wolfe think about how these stories fit together in NCIS Season 11 Episode 22, "Shooter"?
Gather around and find out in our TV Fanatic Round Table below!
How would describe the episode in three words or a sentence?
David: Can you see us NOW?!?!?!
Christine: All That Goes Unseen.
Doug: Some like to give, others are parasites.
What was your favorite scene or quote?
David: For me, there were two, at opposite ends of the spectrum. I was amused by the quizzical looks McGee got from Gibbs and Vance regarding his scruff. It stunned them into silence and we all know that's no easy feat. Also, disturbing as they were, the photos in the short montage at the end of the episode left me stunned into silence. Perhaps not all of them were veterans, but the images were still important.
Christine: I liked DiNozzo spraying McGee with the cat urine/body odor spray. As much as I enjoy their character growth, this was a step back to the Tony and McGee dynamic that we're used to and it was fun to see Tony torturing Tim once again.
Doug: There were a number of great scenes that appealed to me too. The main one was the scene where Emma asked Abby to look after Dave while she went home to her parents. I fell in love with that dog. Secondly, I agree with Dave about those haunting and beautiful photographs. Those were amazing.
What, if any, were the problems that you saw in this episode?
David: Not a problem per se, but I didn't really see the point of including Emma, the young runaway; the episode would have been just as good without this mini-arc.
Christine: I agree with David. As much as I liked Emma, this story was about homeless vets and she felt a bit out of place.
Doug: I don't go looking for plot holes, but found one that I just couldn't ignore. That threatening note that Tony found in Roe's apartment just didn't add up. It meant that Lorin Davis knew all about the court martial, and Roe's place in the story, and was able to plan Roe's murder around all of that. Maybe Roe had been going to the Davis' center for a long time, and they knew each other well. The story doesn't suggest that, though.
What are your thoughts on this episode's focus on homeless vets?
David: I thought it was handled well; it made its point without being too preachy or too much of a polemic and it added a twist (black market organ sales) to make it a little "interesting."
Christine: The numbers were frightening. Ducky said there were approximately 60,000 homeless vets sleeping on the streets each night. It's horrifying that people who volunteered to serve their country end up in such a state. Even sadder is that it's such a complex problem with no easy answers.
Doug: It amazes me all the time that vets continue to fall through the cracks. For all of the lip service we give in our gratitude for their service, too many still end up being marginalized when they come home. Many struggle to find jobs, and a great many more who suffer from PTSD. It's only lately that the western culture has been able to turn the corner on mental illness and acknowledge it in a manner that removes some of the stigma associated with it. Any TV show or episode like this one that chooses to address it has my vote.
What did you think of McGee being tormented by Tony?
David: Par for the course in my opinion, but I think Tony "backslid" a bit from his more mature behavior in previous episodes.
Christine: As I mentioned above, I enjoyed it. Yes, Tony reverted back to is old behavior but do we really expect him to change completely…and would we really want him to? I wouldn't want him tormenting McGee in every episode but it is fun every once in a while.
Doug: I agree with Christine. This one was fun, mostly because Tony just didn't let up. If it wasn't the over-spritzing of McGee with the cat urine concoction, it his continual digs at McGee while he was wondering around. The two quotes that got me laughing were: "I'd say stop by the car, there's a slice of pizza left but we can't blow your cover, man"; and, "boy, it's pretty toasty in this car."
I was just getting used to the evolved Tony, however. They shouldn't make this a habit. Besides, McGee is well out of the probie stage; he shouldn't be treated like one.
Does the traditional misdirection still work for NCIS or should it be retired?
David: Tough call. SOOOOO many shows use this tactic or variations thereof and I usually enjoy having my suspicions cast into doubt--at least until recently when I've been able peg the villain early on. I suppose NCIS could distinguish themselves by NOT using "the twist", but it might make the show less intriguing if the hour were spent merely chasing after someone.
Christine: It's a standard of all crime procedurals and as much as it might seem boring, it can also be comforting too. To be honest, as long as I'm enjoying the character arcs, I'll give the murder of the week some leeway. But when they can do both well that's when you get some great TV.
Doug: I'm getting tired of that particular plot device, and think it should be retired. While a certain amount of continuity keeps viewers happy, making plots predictable get boring after a while.
I'd like to see the writers take a long established character and turn him evil, much like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. did with Ward when it turned out he was working for Hydra all along.
Honestly, when the very awkward Deputy Director Jerome Craig showed up on NCIS Season 10 Episode 12 "Shiva," I fully expected him to be a mole.
Douglas Wolfe is a staff writer for TV Fanatic Follow him on Twitter.