NCIS Round Table: "Life Before His Eyes"

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Our NCIS review broke down the latest installment of TV's #1 show in great detail.

Now, TV Fanatic staff members Steve Marsi, Matt Richenthal and Eric Hochberger have assembled for a weekly Round Table Q&A discussion of events from last Tuesday's 200th episode, "Life Before His Eyes."

Join in below, as we analyze various aspects of Gibbs' introspective journey ...


Describe this episode in one word (or two).

Steve: Imaginative; Thought-provoking.

Matt: Great stuff.

Eric: Edge-of-your-seat. I defy you, Steve, and your tyrannical word limits! From the moment Gibbs was shot, this became a riveting installment, albeit not because of the action or the real-world plot (obviously Gibbs would come out of this fine). I just couldn't wait to see who appeared in the diner, and what alternate NCIS reality we might get a glimpse of next.

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What was your favorite one-liner?

Steve: One easily overlooked but quite cool moment was not as much a one-liner but a lack of one. Tony's serious, supportive reaction to McGee's career decision really threw Probie for a loop.

Matt: Gotta be Tony calling Ziva "Tiva" in the interrogation. Great wink to the fans.

Eric: The comment about Palmer's abs after Abby's rolfing session. We're all thinking it, but for once, Gibbs - the functional mute, as Tony once said - was the one to say it.

Did the highly unconventional format work for you?

Steve: It did. I talked at length in my review about all the reasons why, so I won't ramble too long here, but I felt it was a great tribute to the show's run, with plenty of nods to the viewers, but wasn't a throwaway episode on its own merit. Past and present (and reality and alternate reality) intertwined nicely for the sake of the broader narrative. Bravo.

Matt: I enjoyed the episode overall, but I'm going to be contrarian for a moment, because a lot of our readers raised valid points. For the big 200th episode event, I would've liked to see more of the entire team, not just a heavy Gibbs-centric story. Don't get me wrong, Mark Harmon, Muse Watson and Michael O'Neill are all terrific, but Franks and McAllister had more significance than cast members who have been on the show for most or all of its run. The humor, relationships and crime-solving that make the show so good were relegated, at least somewhat, to the back burner this week.

Eric: I agree with what Matt just said, but I also don't care. Once in NINE YEARS, I'll allow for an experimental episode like this, as long as it's well-written, acted and directed. Which this clearly was. Kudos to the whole team for attempting and pulling off such a difficult concept in one hour of television - and here's to 100 more!

Anyone or anything missing that you wish we could have seen?

Steve: I found it interesting that young Gibbs was in the periphery of the alternate reality diner scenes. I know they're making up the rules, but how does that happen exactly? A conversation between older Gibbs and his fresh-faced, Marine self would have been a lot of fun, especially considering that Mark Harmon would be acting alongside his own son Sean.

Matt: A scene with Lauren Holly's Jenny could've been great, even if it had to be cobbled together from footage on the cutting room floor, like they did with my girl Sasha A.

Eric: Seeing Ari and Vance playing chess was awesome, but I wish they had more to say to our fearless leader. As some fans have said, this could've easily been a two-hour episode!

Life Before His Eyes Pic

What scene was the most emotional?

Steve: Everything that involved Shannon and Kelly, from their conversation in the diner to the "what-if" scenes in which Gibbs' loss became theirs, or in which a despondent Gibbs had not avenged their death by taking down Hernandez. Both what-ifs were realistic scenarios that anyone who has experienced loss would likely consider, and they hopefully helped Gibbs see the good that emerged from an unspeakable tragedy.

Matt: The look on Gibbs' face when he laid eyes on his daughter.

Eric: Personally, I liked the scenes with Gibbs' mother because I didn't see that coming at all, and always wondered about her and didn't quite know/remember what happened to her.

Will Gibbs finally let go of his guilt?

Steve: I think so. He seemed awfully rejuvenated at the end, especially for a man who just got shot in the shoulder. Not that I expect Jethro to take time off, but it looked like mentally, a little weight was off his shoulders.

Matt: That was the subtext to all of this, right? You can't have it both ways. Wherever you go, there you are. As an intelligent, principled man, Gibbs will never let go of those he lost, or feel any less responsible for not being perfect. That said, this had to shine a light on everything positive he's accomplished, while proving that what might have been isn't necessarily idyllic.

Eric: Let go of? I don't think you can ever expect that, given all he's been through. Made peace with? That may be more feasible after revisiting the consequences - good and bad - of the decisions in his life.

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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