Our NCIS review broke down "You Better Watch Out," last week's episode of TV's #1 show, in detail.
Now, TV Fanatic staff members Steve Marsi, Douglas Wolfe and Eric Hochberger have assembled for our weekly Round Table Q&A discussion of various events and topics from this solid installment.
Join in as we analyze the return of Tony Sr. and many other aspects from the episode ...
1. Describe this episode in one word (or two, or three, or four).
Steve: Lighter and often quite funny.
Eric: Surprisingly tender.
2. Favorite quotes or scenes from "You Better Watch Out"?
Steve: I loved Tony Sr.'s arrival at NCIS and immediate hug/greeting of Ziva, plus chastising Tony for not inviting her over. Also, Tim's back-cracking attempt and trip to the dump both killed me.
Doug: Oddly, it was the scene where Ziva rested her head on Tony Senior's chest, smiling. Such a warm moment for them both.
Eric: The reveal of Senior's ring, because I'm a softie at heart. And the fact that Tony has a fish, and that Abby fingerprinted her relatives as an adolescent. Raise your hands if you're surprised!
3. Biggest problem with the episode, if any?
Steve: Only Tony Sr. getting it on in Jr.'s bed with the neighbor. That's against protocol even between fathers and sons with normal relationships! I'm with Jr. on that one. That said, you have to give the old man credit for trying a lot harder to bond with his son this time than in his previous appearances.
Doug: There were a couple of characters that I would have liked to have seen explored further. Obviously the length of the episode was limited but I'm sure the writers may have something more for us in future episodes. The first was the new girl, Special Agent Ashley Winter: She's so smirky and as one commenter noted, she looked like she was hiding a secret. You get the sense there's a whole story behind her character (always the mark of a great actor), and so I hope to learn more about her. I noticed that instead of being angry when Gibbs first denied her access to evidence, she smiled. That's interesting. The other character that we didn't see enough of was Tim's MIT friend Stewie. Really liked that offbeat former-teacher-who-now-works-in-trash guy.
Eric: No problems, other than I wished it had been a little longer, for the reasons Doug said.
4. Biggest surprise: Tony's apartment being immaculate, or McGee being the MIT mascot?
Steve: Actually going to take Tim on this one. Tony's apartment actually made sense to me, he's far more "grown up" than he lets on. McGee, I wouldn't have guessed was into sports ... beaver suit or not.
Doug: Tony's apartment, hands down. McGee comes from a strong geek background so the mascot thing seems about right (as opposed to being one of the players). The apartment reeked of "sanctuary" - spartan and honest, and neat to a fault. Where Tony has to deal with messy relationships and messy criminal scenes, with Gibbs hitting upside the back of his head so often - there was the one place where none of that was present. He kept it pristine for himself, and so you could easily see himself coming in the door, throwing off his jacket and sighing. I like how they wrote that - it's logical and it kind of explains Tony a bit more.
Eric: Tony, but man what I wouldn't give to see Tim the Beaver in action.
5. Have you enjoyed the strong emphasis on family members this season?
Steve: I have. While this was not my favorite of Robert Wagner's appearances I did like that he wasn't there working some angle. Overall, it's been a great season to get to know the characters better.
Doug: Totally. Having that emphasis - not just for each of the characters' families, but with the increasing familial sense they have with each other - you just find you care about them more.
Eric: Definitely. Loved Abby's brother and the "other" Leroy Jethro (not family but like family), and even Diane again. Looking forward to Eli's return and meeting McGee's old man, The Admiral!
6. NCIS team MVP of the week?
Steve: Tony and Tim (tie). For all the good-natured abuse these guys take, including from each other, it never gets in the way of their crime-solving abilities, and they're great as partners.
Doug: It almost seems obvious to say Tony. So I'm going to go with Tony's apartment as MVP instead. I mean look at it. It's a bachelor's dream. Even the twin bed. I loved pretty much every single thing about that place. (Maybe not the goldfish - though when you think about it, even Kate was pretty much low maintenance right?).
Eric: Abby, for her choice in Christmas music! And Stewie, for his memory of the date of the break-in at the dump. Who said that MIT education wasn't put to good use!?
7. What's on your NCIS Christmas list for 2012-13?
Steve: Something a little more hard-hitting. With the exception of "Shell Shock" and "Gone" it's been lighter fare this fall. Not that it hasn't been terrific most weeks, but I'm ready for something heavier.
Doug: They've teased us for so long about Tony and Ziva that I think it's time for them to either take them off the table, or let their relationship progress. (I'm in favor of the latter). Also, in last week's episode, when his ex said that Gibbs shouldn't be alone, he asked "who says I'm alone?" That's a teaser right there - or he was just being mysterious and existential or something. I know he considers the team his family but maybe it's time one of his past love interests came back into play. Also, what's Leon's story these days? And let's see a story that revolves all around Mr. Palmer's new life too. On the criminal side, it would be good to see the team tackle more terrorists. Seems far more enjoyable when they go after truly dangerous types who have criminal intents, rather than just the one-offs - of which we've seen so many.
Eric: As the resident Jewish member of the NCIS Round Table panel, nothing! But seriously, I enjoy Ziva's take on Christmas, and if we call it a holiday wish list, I'd say a couple of big multi-episode case arcs, because those episodes are often the best, to balance out the (admittedly awesome) character-centric episodes of late.
What's your take on these issues of the week on NCIS? Discuss below!