On NCIS Season 12 Episode 9, Tony leads the NCIS team in trying to figure out the nature of the security threat at the airport in which he, Bishop and her husband Jake Malloy were awaiting their respective flights.
Back at the office, McGee fed him information on reports of a pending assassination, while Gibbs rounded everyone up to investigate possible suspects and targets. Even Ducky and Palmer lent a hand in wading through the manifests.
Here, TV Fanatic panelists Kathleen Wiedel, Tanya Moat, Christine Orlando and Douglas Wolfe discuss all of the case details of this episode and ask readers to chime in with their opinions below...
How would you describe the episode, in three words or a sentence?
Kathleen: Terminal Action!
Tanya: No honor among criminals.
Christine: Strangers Not Yet On a Plane.
Doug: Tony can keep us entertained for hours with his exemplary people-watching skills!
What was your favorite quote or scene?
Kathleen: I liked it when Tony sussed out that the air marshal was an imposter when he didn't get the beer pun. Remember, folks? Tony's the senior field agent for a reason! And I loved the way Jake seemed to get progressively more bewildered as the situation devolved and he saw Bishop act as a field investigator, going out and doing things rather than sitting back and planning to the nth degree.
Tanya: I enjoyed how everyone tried to keep it away from Gibbs that they were helping Tony and Bishop figure out if the air marshal was legit or not. Of course, Gibbs knew what was going because he knows ALL.
Christine: I liked Tony giving Jake his own special take on all of the people waiting in the airport. From James Bond going to meet Pussy Galore to Ms Daddy Issues and her Mid-life crisis professor who Jake assumed was her father...Tony was spot on. Tony's definitely the guy you want to be stuck in an airport with because he'll always keep you entertained.
Doug: I'm totally on board with Christine for this one. I actually replayed some of Tony's characterizations because they were so funny and precise. Also enjoyed Jake's response to Tony about the girl with daddy issues and the midlife professor with I stand corrected....and a little disturbed.
What, if anything, didn’t work for you?
Kathleen: It should be a rule of all crime dramas to always be suspicious of the guy with the foreign accent (doubly so if it's British). The assassin would have been far less suspicious if he didn't have an accent!
Tanya: While I understood the fake air marshal had to rouse the suspicions of Bishop and Tony, his overly curmudgeonly attitude made him too memorable for someone who needed to blend in and be forgettable. Like Kathleen, I enjoyed that Tony was finally convinced that something was off when he didn't respond to his joke, but I wish Bishop would have actually remembered who he was. It would have a been a good character beat for her. We know Tony is a good investigator/agent, while Bishop gets constantly hammered (by fans) for not being an asset.
Christine: Jimmy Palmer. Palmer even managed to annoy Ducky in this episode. Let's just say that a little of Jimmy goes a long way.
Doug: Again, hands down I'm in agreement with Christine - it has to be Palmer. The character is normally quite likeable. Remember those heartfelt moments when he was stuck in the wilds with Ducky? That's the true character we need to see. Why the writers have this need to make him into a faltering clown escapes me. In fact, why is there a need for *any* clown on this great show?
What are your thoughts on Jake Malloy, Bishop’s husband?
Kathleen: I think he's great. My only complaint (such as it is) is that good old Jamie Bamber wasn't able to use his natural British accent in the role. Most people probably remember him from his time as Lee "Apollo" Adama on Battlestar Galactica, though I have fond memories of him from oh so many years ago (fine, 1998!) as Ioan Gruffudd's best friend Archie Kennedy on Horatio Hornblower. It's nice to finally meet Jake in person, and I think it was a huge eye-opener for him to see his wife in action in her new role. She may say that she's the same person she's always been, but he was absolutely right to point out that they were having this conversation over a dead body! I definitely hope that this isn't the last time we see Jake for awhile.
Tanya: I had a bit of a mixed reaction. I was amused by his shock over how different Bishop was and his response to seeing her as an agent versus an analyst. On the other hand, I would have thought he would have already noticed that his wife is not the same person since she joined NCIS a year ago, especially since it sounds like she is the only one who can talk about her work. Did he think she was lying when she talked about investigating murders and catching bad guys? I did, however, very much appreciate the fact that he seemed really proud of her after seeing her work.
Christine: I really liked him. He's cute and smart and best of all, he means that Bishop won't be played as a love interest with anyone else on the team! And Tanya, even though Bishop's been with NCIS for a year, it sounds as though these two haven't been in the same city much over that time so hearing about things over the phone (or Skype) and seeing his wife at work could come across very differently.
Doug: I liked the way he just blurted out some of Bishop's private thoughts about the team - which echoed her formerly stated admiration and respect for them. It was truly a feel-good moment, and solidified the fact that this is a cohesive team. He appears to be a "what you see is what you get" kind of guy. I'll always support that kind of character.
Tony had a lot to say about the couples he saw in the airport. Do you agree with him? Did any couple stand out to you in particular?
Kathleen: Tony says a lot of things about a lot of people, and I think that what he says speaks more about him than any of the people he's watching. People-watching is a great spectator's sport - it can be fun to make up stories about the people you see around you.
Tanya: Absolutely. People watching is the best part of the airport experience. The red-haired, disgruntled passenger who called Tony a "pretty boy" stuck out and made me laugh. Same with the smelly guy who was seated next to Jake and Bishop because we all pray the stinky guy isn't seated next to us!
Christine: As I said above, Tony's commentary was my favorite part of the episode, mostly because I agreed with him on just about all of it. When he pointed out to Jake that it's "all in the hands" when watching a couple, he was spot on.
Doug: I agreed with Tony, right down the line. I especially enjoyed his take on the couple who were not really a couple, since the brownout of whatever year he mentioned. Clearly they are smartphone junkies, more glued to social media than each other.
I like people watching just as much as Tony appears to enjoy it. It's a pastime that can keep you entertained for a long time.
Douglas Wolfe was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He retired in 2016. Follow him on Twitter.