NCIS Round Table: Is Rebecca Really Unstable?

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Talk about a complete shocker! On NCIS Season 12 Episode 11, Gibbs lost another wife to an assassin; this time it was Diane.

To top it off, the guy who killed her did so because he has a grudge against Gibbs. Ducky told him that Sergei Mishnev isn't through with him, either: he has plans to bring harm to more of those he loves.

We also got to meet Gibbs' second ex-wife Rebecca Chase, who Gibbs thinks is unstable.

Join TV Fanatic panelists Kathleen Wiedel, David Taylor, Christine Orlando and Douglas Wolfe as they discuss all of the above - and plenty more in this edition of the NCIS Round Table...

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What do you make of Rebecca? Did she seem unstable?

Kathleen: Rebecca may seem relatively stable now, but Gibbs really isn't prone to exaggeration. Alcoholism can make even the sturdiest rock into a sucking sinkhole. I'm totally willing to believe that she was as messed up as he said she was, especially since he really did catch her in bed with another man. Though it does beg the question as to why he married her in the first place; I suspect that he was still in a great deal of pain from Shannon's and Kelly's deaths and wasn't at his best in the perception department.

Tanya: She didn't seem outwardly unstable, but since she was apparently an alcoholic or a heavy drinker while they were married, I could see her earning the title of unstable during their marriage. In some ways, given everything else that was going on, I wish we met her on more of a stand-alone episode. Because by the end, I pretty much forget about her.

David: Well, I'm a huge Star Trek: Voyager fan so I loved Jeri Ryan's appearance in this episode. With that geek moment passed, I'm also willing to believe that her alcoholism got the better (or worse) of her. However, I'm not sure I agree with Kathleen's "Shannon rebound" reasoning. Rebecca was ex number 2 so Diane was the rebound after Shannon.

Christine:  Yes. I think she can be a lot of fun but also a lot of trouble and her alcoholism would just exacerbate that. I love Jeri Ryan and it was great to see her in this role. I don't think Gibbs will ever get over losing Shannon and Kelly. Gibbs probably got involved with Rebecca because of loneliness which can be overwhelming. I can see her being a lot of fun to his life, short term. I just can't believe she cheated on Gibbs with Gene?!? That's crazy.

Doug: I'd have to say that she's no more unstable than Diane was. Both women seem to have a penchant for blowing off hot air at Gibbs. Maybe he thinks it's a little weird (okay, maybe a lot weird) for her to have invited him to her wedding.....to the man he caught cheating with her in their bed. On the other hand.....I agree wholeheartedly with what Kathleen said - that Gibbs isn't prone to exaggeration.

Mishnev shot and killed Diane. What are your thoughts on that?

Kathleen: My first thought at that exact moment was, "Look! It's Kate Todd's death!" And I found it perplexing that no one else in the episode made that connection. Bullet to the forehead from a sniper on a nearby building? I keep on forgetting that our heroes don't yet know about the connection between Ari Haswari and Sergei Mishnev. Other than that, I definitely found Diane's sudden demise rather shocking, much the same way I was shocked when they so abruptly killed Kate back in the day.

Tanya: Shocked. Utterly shocked. Obviously killing someone personal to Gibbs hurts him far more than killing strangers, but going into the episode, I would have never guessed it would end with Diane's death. Hopefully this means we see a bit more of Fornell. He is one of my favorite recurring characters.

David:  I was also very shocked and even had a moment of denial.  I so wanted that to be some sort of dream sequence or hallucination or foreshadowing, but sadly I was wrong.

Christine:  When they figured out the murders were all copycats of people Gibbs had cared about, I suspected one of his wives would die. When I saw Diane on that rooftop I knew exactly what was about to happen. Even Gibbs figured it out but was too late to stop it. How much torture can one man take?

Doug: That scene blew me away. I just wasn't expecting it at all. It was just too surreal.

Is there anything about this episode you didn’t like or could have been done better?

Kathleen: One of the problems with this episode was that we really haven't had any reminder since about NCIS Season 12 Episode 2 that Sergei Mishnev was out there and a threat, so by this point I suspect a lot of us had completely forgotten he existed. Overall, this was a fantastic episode.

Tanya: Kathleen already touched upon it, but I had forgotten about Mishnev. I would have appreciated a really good Previously, On NCIS beforehand, but then again, that might made me suspicious. I expected this to be fairly light outing, as most episodes dealing with Gibbs' many ex-wives are. My other tiny quibble is that I wish someone would have acknowledged the death of McGee's father. They leave us with McGee breaking down, all alone, on their Christmas episode, and I would have expected someone to mention his loss. Nothing big, but just a "I'm sorry, Tim" would have sufficed. But these are small, nit-picky things because this was overall one of their strongest episodes of the season.

David:  I get that people's voices can often sound different on the phone, but even I knew that wasn't Diane; I'm surprised that Gibbs fell for it so easily and he was married to the woman. Also, Gibbs not shooting Mishnev didn't sit right with me.  However, we all know that was to keep the story arc going until the end of the season, a formula that seems to work for the show, even if some think it's getting old.  However, I'm willing to overlook them because like Kathleen, I enjoyed this episode a lot.

Christine: That Gibbs drank Gene's coffee. For some reason that grossed me out.

Doug: I don't think so. At one point I got a little grumpy when we saw Gibbs going into Mishnev's apartment without backup. The man is the king of backups - when it's his underlings going in on someone. But then I realized his state of mind. He's got a huge yet somewhat quiet temper. The quieter he got, the more angry you knew him to be. So it wasn't out of character for him to barge in and begin shooting. The fact that he didn't clear the place first before pounding on Mishnev just shows that he wasn't completely there.

The NCIS team seems to have grown a gossip vine. What unanswered questions would you like to see them tackle? (Preferable as a Powerpoint presentation, complete with notes)

Kathleen: As I mentioned above, why did Gibbs marry Rebecca in the first place? How did they meet?

Tanya: Hmmmm … great question. Normally my answer would be Gibbs' ex-wives or his rules. I can never keep either straight!

David: Did I hear that Diane got Rebecca into a 12-step program? How'd Diane come to know about such things? Is she in recovery too?

Christine:  I love how they all care about one another's lives. It's such fun. So Gibbs went commando when he was married to Rebecca. Sounds like Gibbs might have a repressed wild side. And I want to know more about him walking in on Rebecca and Gene. There's more to that story and I'd love to hear it.

Doug: I disliked Gene from the moment he showed up - mostly because I was seeing him through Gibbs' eyes. I chuckled when Gibbs grumpily added that Gene needed protective custody too. So...we need to know more about Gene. What was it about him that provoked Rebecca into leaving Gibbs for him?

What’s your favorite moment or quote?

Kathleen: Perhaps it's wrong to say that I "enjoyed" it, but Diane's death was sudden, brutal, and shocking, especially for a character that had been heavily played for laughs. Remember when she and Fornell wanted Gibbs's blessing to get back together? What a harsh way to go.

Tanya: I think my favorite moment was when Gibbs spotted Rebecca with Diane. Leroy Jethro Gibbs is renown for his stoicism (or being a functional mute), but the sight of two of his ex-wives together got a small, but noticeable response. And I'm also curious as to why she calls him "J" versus Gibbs.

David: Well, I know it's been done before, but Diane catching Rebecca and Gibbs on the couch was funny. Welcome to the other side of Fornell's looking glass Diane.  I'm not sure I get why she got so ticked off--it's nothing she hadn't done before...isn't that right McGee? <grin>

Christine: Surprisingly it was Jimmy refusing to do Diane's autopsy. Jimmy has never been one of my favorite characters but when he said, "I don't want to know how much her liver weighs. I don't want to catalogue her scars but most of all I don't want to cut open another friend. I think I've had my limit," that really got to me.

Doug: I appreciated Palmer's stand on not performing an autopsy on Diane. I'm so tired of him playing the clown (which used to be Tony's role, which I also hated). This time his heart overrode his nervousness and he just had had enough. For a second I worried that he would meekly go back to helping Ducky when Gibbs walked in - but no, he glanced over at Gibbs, continued with what he had to say and then sat down. That scene gripped me so hard.

Do we really need for anyone to act the clown on this show? Would the show diminish if they just stopped having one? I doubt it.

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 11 Quotes

Palmer: No. I don't want to.
Ducky: You don't want to what, Mr. Palmer?
Palmer: I don't want to know how much her liver weighs. I don't want to catalogue her scars. Most of all, I don't want to cut open another friend. Think I've had my limit.

Sergei wants to hurt you. It's clear he blames you for something. Something that wounded him to the core. And now it's payback time. But killing you is inadequate. He wants to see you suffer. Which means that all bets are off on what might come next, or for whom he might come.

Ducky