NCIS Round Table: "Up in Smoke"

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

Now, TV Fanatic staff members Steve Marsi, Matt Richenthal and Eric Hochberger have assembled for our weekly Round Table Q&A discussion of events from Tuesday's episode, "Up In Smoke."

Join in below, as we analyze the many twists and turns of the hunt for Dearing, the controversial return of Jamie Lee Curtis, Palmer's ill-fated bachelor party and much more ...


Describe this episode in one word (or two, or three, or four).

Steve: An interesting chapter.

Matt: A little uneven.

Eric: Predictably intense.

NCIS RT - depreciated -

What was your favorite quote or one-liner from the episode?

Steve: The episode was light on one liners, even from DiNozzo. That's when you know it's serious. NCIS has been about the agents' respective personae, and how they balance work and their personal lives. Even if it's thin on humor, the show always finds that balance.

Matt: Anything from the staged bachelor party. A fun scene.

Eric: Gotta go with the admittedly cheesy "holy molar" from my girl Abbs. I mean ... it was an appropriate response considering what was found in Dorneget's grill, am I wrong?

Best scene from "Up in Smoke"?

Steve: Gibbs and Ryan clashing over whether either can "turn it off." Or the sight of Abby in bachelor party attire. If only we knew what she originally had planned for poor Jimmy ...

Matt: The reveal that Vance was kidnapped. That was totally out of left field, given the wild goose chase of the previous 30 minutes, and raised the stakes yet again heading into the finale.

Eric: I liked the bachelor party turned undercover op ... even if Palmer deserved a better sendoff, at least the team used the occasion to their advantage. Plus, he was loving those apple juice shots.

Will Vance die?

Steve: No chance.

Matt: Don't be so sure, Steve.

Eric: Some fans might not object (no offense, Rocky Carroll) to that twist ... but doubtful.

Harper Dearing Photo

Dearing must have a deeper connection to the team than we know, right?

Steve: Does anyone else think Dearing could be Ryan's ex? Her past has been alluded to, but not really explored, and that connection would add an intriguing personal element to the terrorist's actions. As it stands right now, the "my son died, and now I want payback against the Navy and NCIS' top investigator" motive feels a bit thin.

Matt: Between the embezzlement, the bug planting, and slipping in and out of the Navy yard undetected just to prove he can - all on top of the elaborate fires, no less - this is clearly not just an ex-Navy dad seeking vengeance. His criminal reach implies a link to the inner workings of the government that no civilian, no matter how powerful, could swing. Building on what Steve said, I've also read that another actress may be introduced as Dearing's wife, so perhaps the connection isn't quite as obvious, but I totally buy that she is involved with Dearing in some way, and that she also likes Gibbs, but is using him. It would all make sense ... in a very complex way.

Eric: Obviously. This is a slow burner (forgive the frequently used arson play on words) with more layers revealed each week. With Scott Wolf coming back we know there's an additional link to the Watcher Fleet. Who knew he could actually help the good guys. I'm looking forward to seeing him back in the mix, since I thought his storyline was wrapped up too quickly this winter, as well as how Ryan fits in. 

Is Dr. Ryan hiding something?

Steve: She must be, and I think we're about to find out what. The NCIS season finale spoilers we've posted so far suggest that things come to a head with Gibbs and Ryan this week. I'm just theorizing, but I think that could be an indication that he spurns her (professionally, personally or both) and she does not return at the beginning of Season 10. The extended promo below may also imply she meets her end in the final two minutes. Again, just speculation.

Matt: Ryan plays everything so close to the vest that you can't trust anything she says, and it's not a stretch to think she not only lies through omission, but deliberately misled the team. Maybe PsyOps somehow convinced Dearing that Gibbs is behind whatever injustices he's avenging, luring him into a trap. Whatever she's up to, it inevitably (and understandably) makes her disliked, which is unfortunate in a sense because Jamie Lee does such a good job of what she's asked. She's created a great rapport with Gibbs - chemistry in the adversarial, not romantic sense. We can't lose sight of that just because we want to see Ryan get hers.

Eric: It's a question of what, not if. The heated confrontation between Ryan and Gibbs shows that he's onto her, too. As Steve and Matt said earlier, she's likely connected to Dearing in ways she's not letting on. Also, when Dearing called MTAC, he seemed to address Ryan as if they had met before ... or am I making that up?

NCIS team MVP of the week?

Steve: Putting aside the obvious choice (Gibbs), let's award it to the whole crew. The case has been a total team effort from the start, and they will all need to band together again this week.

Matt: Dorneget. Just kidding. Palmer. Hey, he's getting married, let's throw the guy a bone.

Eric: Can we just rename this the Abby Award and ask who came in second every week?

Will Palmer's wedding go off without a hitch?

Steve: Palmer's wedding is in Florida, I believe, meaning he would be spared from the bombing of the Navy yard (which we're led to believe happens). Whether the team members survive the episode is a different matter, and one you can never make assumptions on based on the show's history.

Matt: I think it's fairly clear that nothing goes off without a hitch on NCIS.

Eric: Yes. Hopefully. Maybe. The wedding must be over before the final two minutes. Right?

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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