NCIS Round Table: Did Gibbs Keep It Real?

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Bishop and Gibbs went head-to-head on NCIS Season 12 Episode 7, as we finally found out why he's treated her so differently from the other probies on the team for so long.

This Veterans Day episode also highlighted a touching story about a grateful young Vietnamese boy who honored one of the unsung heroes of the Vietnam war the only way he knew how.

Join Christine Orlando, David Taylor, Kathleen Wiedel, Tanya Moat and Douglas Wolfe for their take on all of these developments and then sound off with your Comments below...

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How would you describe this episode, in a few words or sentence?

Christine: Leave No Man Behind.

David:  Honor thy father... and thy mother... and the man who helped you.

Kathleen: I'm Coming Home.

Tanya: Honoring Our Soldiers.

Doug: Get On Up Off the Floor.

What was your favorite moment?

Christine: The boy, now an old man explaining that he took Kent's body to bury it with his parents. That he considered the soldier a friend and simply wanted to honor the dead. It had been so many years and so many miles from home and yet the bonds of love and friendship held the answers to the mystery.

David: I'll second Christine. The officer in Viet Nam explained that bodies are often moved as bait, so it was a huge relief to learn that it was moved for an extremely honorable reason.

Kathleen: Let's make it a trio, because that was a beautiful, poignant moment that brought tears to my eyes.

Tanya: I agree with both Christine and David - that was the highlight moment for me too. But to change things up a bit and go for something light, I'll add Tony showing McGee pictures of Rick Blaine made me laugh.

Doug: It's unanimous. I had to breathe deeply when we saw Ky Van Tu earnestly take Gibbs' hand and say this is how I honor him. This is how I thank him.

What, if anything, didn’t work for you?

Christine: All that talk about Tony and Rick Blaine and the cat takes off on him! That was just cruel. The man can't seem to get the girl can we at least let him have a cat?

David: OK, I must have missed something. Where'd this cat come from all of a sudden? Also, did McGee really book Gibbs and Tony on a commercial flight to Viet Nam?

Kathleen: Frankly, the only thing about the episode that didn't work for me was that cat. Can't the writers let Tony have anything nice?

Tanya: We actually address it in the next question … so moving on!

Doug: David, the cat followed Tony home. At first he was irritated but then, as he said I just couldn't shut the door on him.  I think that shows Tony's heart perfectly: though he didn't like cats before this, there was no way he was going to leave him out there. The fact that the cat escaped and left him bugged me a lot too. But then, that might be because I happen to love cats, and think that for all their elitist ways, they happen to be wonderful furry higher beings who for some strange reason take an interest in us. I think having him in his apartment would have changed Tony a bit. And who doesn't enjoy watching a stern operative like Tony fall to pieces over a cat? Come to think of it - maybe Gibbs should get one too.

Gibbs has been treating Bishop with kid gloves all season. Was his confession about why he did so real? Or was it a response to fans’ complaints about Bishop?

Christine: I would have understood this better after Kate's death, but Ziva was bad ass when she got to NCIS and her decision to leave had more to do with her family history and emotional state than anything to do with Gibbs. The explanation felt off but I for one have enjoyed Bishop from the beginning. She's like the little sister of the group and I'm fine with that. But if Gibbs wants to be a little harder on her now that she's passed this probie landmark I'm good with that too.

David: I'm more inclined to think it was a response to fan feedback. Kate's death was an unfortunate accident and Ziva had simply reached her breaking point. For Gibbs to somehow feel responsible just doesn't make sense to me. Also, I would hate to think that he was going easy on her because she was a woman, particularly when he rode McGee pretty hard even after Kate's death. 

Kathleen: Reasonable or not, Gibbs did feel responsible for Kate's death - if you look back at the episode "Kill Ari," it's pretty clear that he blamed himself for what happened to her. And as a surrogate father-figure for Ziva, it's totally believable that he'd also feel responsible for what happened to her. In the aforementioned "Kill Ari," Gibbs and Ducky have a conversation in Autopsy about losing Kate, and how it was different because she was a woman instead of a man. Like it or not, Gibbs doesn't have a good track record with female agents on his team, going all the way back to the backdoor pilot on JAG!

It seems that a lot of women around him in general have died tragically or departed under unhappy circumstances, too. So does it surprise me that he's treating this latest one differently? Not really. After a while, the losses start to pile up. Gibbs has a lot of ghosts haunting him, and far too many of them are the women in his life. Is going easy on Bishop the right decision? Probably not, but Rule Fifty-one is "Sometimes you're wrong"!

Tanya: I definitely think this was a response to fan feedback. In fact, I think we just saw two shows back-to-back that were intended to break the 4th wall with the audience. Like it or not, Ziva is a gone, folks. I was sad when Ziva left, but apparently I wasn't as heartbroken as so many others were. Probably because it seemed like it was Cote's choice to leave, rather than not renewing her contract, which happened to JJ on Criminal Minds and fan unhappiness led them to bring her back.

I felt Gibbs' confession was out of place, because his actions/training of Kate or Ziva had nothing to do with them no longer sitting at their desks. Frankly, him being easy on Bishop puts her and the team who count on her to have their back at greater risk, especially given her background is more analytical than cop or military.

Doug: I'm with David and Tanya, and think that was an entirely contrived explanation designed to placate the fans. I think the original plan was for Bishop to be entirely different - and treated differently - from the get-go. The producers saw a need to shake things up and maybe even re-invent the show a little bit after Cote de Pablo left. As such, I was all on board with it, and was looking forward to seeing how the relationships would unfold. Already we've seen some interesting changes: with Tony no longer acting as foil to whoever sat in Ziva's seat, he's become somewhat of an understanding big brother to her.

They occasionally spar as siblings do, but there's an undercurrent of respect there. I like that. However, there was way too much grumbling and noise about Bishop: her mannerisms, her lack of fire (of which we saw so much in Ziva) and most importantly, her penchant for sitting on desks and floors to process her research bugged way too many of the fans. That all came to an end in this episode, and maybe that's a good thing, as it was proving to be too distracting. She's still too young and relatively inexperienced to have the kind of fire Ziva had - but it's something she can grow into. The fact that she's not there yet seems more realistic and true to life.

Who was the MVP for this episode?

Christine: The case. What kind of soulless monster takes advantage of grieving families searching for the remains of soldiers who gave their lives to serve their country? The fraud case bothered me more than any murder.

David: It seems obvious and trite, but I'm going with Bishop. She broke the case open by tracking the baddie to Viet Nam AND she stood up for herself instead of acting all "floopy."

Kathleen: I don't think it's trite at all to pick Bishop as the episode's MVP. She worked so hard to break the case, and even managed to stand up to Gibbs over his treatment of her with kid gloves. But, most importantly, she realized that the Vietnamese boy might have moved the fallen Marine's body, allowing him to finally come home after so many years.

Tanya: My vote is Master Sergeant George Hawkins. What devotion to his friend and fellow soldier he had. His final video, when he spoke about the young girl throwing a stone at him, had me reaching for a box of tissues. It feels appropriate and right that on Veteran's Day (when the show aired) was really a tribute to those who fight and often give their lives to keep us safe and protect our freedoms.

Doug: I'm going with Gibbs this time. His genuine reaction to Ky Van Tu's handshake and broken English explanation of his attempt to honor the fallen Sergeant brought a lump to my throat. You could see the sadness at war with the pride in his eyes as he gazed on the man. That whole scene was perfect, and Gibbs played a huge role in that. He made the story more accessible to us than anyone else could have.

NCIS Season 12 Episode 8 will be titled "Semper Fortis" and will air on Tuesday, November 18 at 8/7c.

Douglas Wolfe was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He retired in 2016. Follow him on Twitter

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NCIS Season 12 Episode 7 Quotes

Ky Van Tu: This man - he help me bury my mother, my father. I want to thank him but I do not know how. So I follow. I follow far, behind. Soon I hear gun and I hide. After, I see my friend dead.
Gibbs: You saw his body?
Ky Van Tu: Yes. I run home for my cart, and I bring my friend here.
Gibbs: Why?
Ky Van Tu: I bury him next to my parent. I do not know that his family look for him. This is how I honor him. This is how I thank him.

Gibbs: Bishop. You were right.
Bishop: I was?
Gibbs: I have been going easy on you. But it's got nothing to do with you.
Bishop: I don't understand.
Gibbs: It's about that desk. I've lost two people off that desk. Good people. And it's on me. I was doing something wrong. When something's wrong, change it.
Bishop: This job is hard.
Gibbs: I know that.
Bishop: It's hard, Gibbs. It's inevitable you'd lose people along the way. Doesn't mean your way of teaching is wrong. Look at Tony, McGee: they're amazing.
Gibbs: Yeah.
Bishop: I want to be like them. I want to be like you, Gibbs. I'm asking you to push me to be like you.
Gibbs: Okay.
Bishop: Okay?
Gibbs: Yeah. Okay. Back to the old way.
Bishop: Thank you.
Gibbs: This floor is for standing and walking.
Bishop: What?
Gibbs: Sit in your damned chair, Bishop.