NCIS Round Table: A Challenge to Gibbs

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Breena and Jimmy finally had their baby (who they named after Ducky's mother) on NCIS Season 12 Episode 13.

In addition, Hollis "the Gibbs Whisperer" Mann returned to help with the case of the week, talking Gibbs down from his ledge of anxiety over Mishnev during this appearance.

Below, NCIS Round Table panelists Tanya Moat, David Taylor, Kathleen Wiedel, Christine Orlando and Douglas Wolfe have gathered to give their thoughts on all of the above and a lot more.

Ready to jump in to the debate?

NCIS Round Table 1-27-15

What was your favorite scene or quote?

Tanya: The scene after Breena gave birth to their new baby girl. The name was appropriate tribute, but what I loved most was Gibbs initial peek into the room, full of the people he cared about the most. He is the only one of the group, outside of Jimmy and Breena now, to have ever been a parent. It had to be a bittersweet moment for him. It seemed like he almost pulled back, but then came into the room with a genuine, rare Gibbs smile and I might have sniffled. :)

David: "You're a disgrace to that uniform, and I look forward to testifying at your court martial."  Frankly, I'm surprised the uniform didn't burst into flames from being on the body of such an evil person.

Kathleen: I confess, I did love it when Gibbs peeked in on the team surrounding Breena at the end, like Tanya. I totally expected him to sneak off before anyone noticed him, but was happily surprised when he joined them instead. It felt so sweet.

Christine: Definitely Tony warning Bishop never to take cookie or movie advice from a hipster…but then he took the cookies!

Doug: I thought the scene where Armstrong barged into the bullpen accusing Gibbs of breaking his word was very well done. The tension was terrific, and Alano Miller as the outraged Vince Armstrong really sold it.

Did the office baby shower ring true to you?

Tanya: It did for me. I could certainly see Jimmy being a paranoid soon-to-be daddy who would only let Breena eat and drink certain things. And Tony is renown for giving bad gifts, but at least he did give them a $100. Tony from just a few years back would have only given them the ear plugs!

David: Yes. Jimmy's behavior seemed perfectly in character, as did Tony's tasteless gifts. Frankly, I have a hard time believing that the Palmers are the very first people in his orbit to ever have a baby such that he wouldn't know what an appropriate gift is.

Kathleen: It made sense to me, too, though I totally think that Tony was messing with them with his gift.

Christine:  What there was of it. The baby lab coat was a very Abby gift and as much as McGee scoffed at the ear plugs, wine, and cash, those new parent will be using all three.

Doug: The scene bugged me to no end. I'm not sure if it was not believable to me because the baby shower was being held at a workplace, or because it was at a military workplace in particular.

On the plus side, I emphatically agreed with Tony's choice of gifts. I know only too well how some parents would appreciate the military grade earplugs.

Outside of the baby shower, was there anything about the episode that stood out as odd or wrong?

Tanya: The only thing that really rang false was Tony not recognizing the name Loki. Tony is a huge movie buff, so I find it hard to believe he wouldn't recognize a character from one the biggest movies ever.

The only other thing that surprised me was the return of Hollis Mann working for the DoD. I thought she was retired and chilling out in Hawaii (remember the article Director Shepherd read after Mann left). I always liked her, so it was a pleasant surprise to see her back.

David: What confused me was who Vance was talking to on the phone when the drug angle was leaked.  If it was SecNav, well...the new SecNav is a woman, right? So why did Vance use "Sir"?  And if it wasn't her, then who was it?

Kathleen: I'm with Tanya. How in the world would Mr. Film Buff himself not recognize the name of one of the most popular movie villains over the last ten years? Just as perplexing was how Bishop described Loki as being from the comic books, rather than the immensely profitable recent Marvel movies.

Christine: I completely agree with the above. I know Tony is a classic film move buff but I find it hard to believe he hasn’t seen the blockbuster Marvel movies. I’m far from a comic book buff but even I know who Loki is.

Doug: Outside of the Loki thing I didn't find anything that was obviously wrong - except perhaps for the fact that someone leaked the news about the drugs to the press. We all know leaks happen - but when it happens from what is supposed to be an airtight NCIS office, that's wrong and needs to be investigated. It means someone's not trustworthy and needs to be fired, if not court-martialed.

Tony challenged Gibbs, which represents a departure from the way he normally deals with his boss. What are your thoughts on that?

Tanya: It was a nice surprise. Tony has matured, thankfully, throughout the years. He's still a fun-loving, prankster, but he also has more gravitas these days and is less of an automatic suck-up to Gibbs.

David: That certainly raised my eyebrow in that Mr. Spock-saying-"Fascinating" way.  At least he had a valid argument: Rule No. 10.

Kathleen: The way I see it, Tony's looking out for Gibbs. He's tried to do that since the beginning. Now that he's an older, wiser agent, though, he feels far more comfortable in challenging Gibbs's BS directly.

Christine: Tony knows that Gibbs is dealing with a serious trauma. In his own special way, he’s trying to help.

Doug: The fact that Tony challenged him at all is a game changer. When Gibbs "faced" him, I wanted to see Tony come back at him just as hard with YEAH I'VE GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT.  Here's hoping the writers find an opportunity for that kind of exchange soon. It needs to happen. Tony needs to stop walking on eggshells around the man.

What is your take on Gibbs’ anxiety about Mishnev and the way it affected the team?

Tanya: I can certainly understand Gibbs's anxiety around Mishnev and who he might hurt next since Gibbs is very protective of his family. But I am surprised that anger didn't trump his anxiety and grief right now. Although, in retrospect, after Ari killed Kate, he reacted in a similar manner, and Tony (I think) was the one who got Gibbs back to fighting form.

David:  It didn't occur to me that Gibbs was keeping his distance to protect others--I thought he was just being moody and introspective. It kind of reminded me of that Harry Potter installment where Dumbledore distances himself from Harry. Yes, I know...odd comparison, but the sentiment was the same.

Kathleen: Mmm... Gibbs as Dumbledore. That's an image. Gibbs is always trying to protect those he sees as family, but he doesn't necessarily do it in the right way. Sometimes he has a hard time accepting that he can't protect them from everything all the time, and that they are capable of looking after themselves (as Hollis pointed out).

Christine: Completely justified. Mishnev wants to make things personal and has already killed someone close to Gibbs. There’s no reason to think he won’t do it again. The only way to stop him is to find him and kill him.

Doug: I had forgotten that the question about Mishnev's next target was still weighing heavily on Gibbs. It makes sense that he at least wants to push away those not already closely associated with him. I didn't buy it when he appeared to capitulate to Hollis.

Did you like the Case of the Week?

Tanya: They handled it with utmost respect as I would have expected them to do so. There was so much realism in this episode. I'm glad they didn't sugarcoat that not everyone was pleased with the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" and some people can change while others cannot or won't.

I'm also glad that it wasn't a hate a crime. He died because he was a good man, helping a friend, not because he was gay.

David: I second Tanya. I was also gratified to see that the widower didn't harbor any grudges given the circumstances.  I'd be curious to see if there's any backlash over the hipster villain. Then again, do hipsters watch this show? :-)

Kathleen: I watched this show before it was popular. Erm, does that make me a hipster? Anyway, I think they handled the case well, with tact and respect. I agree with Tanya that just because the regulations have changed doesn't mean that people's attitudes changed with them.

Christine: I thought it was well done. Just because the rules have changed doesn’t mean that homophobia doesn’t exist but in the end the murder wasn’t about hate, it was about greed.

Doug: I was pleasantly surprised by it all. First, when the topic of hatred of gays came up as a possible motive, we all knew that wouldn't be the motive for the guy's murder (the first theory is never the right one). Yet they didn't let that go and managed to arrest the admiral for his homophobic-tinged military crimes. In effect, we had two cases-of-the-week. 

P.S. Hipsters watch this show, but none of you guys would understand why. :)

NOTE: Tune in on Tuesday, February 10 for NCIS Season 12 Episode 14, "Cadence."

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 13 Quotes

Hollis: It's your fault Diane's dead. That's what you're thinking.
Gibbs: I'm not wrong.
Hollis: You didn't pull the trigger.
Gibbs: I put her in the cross-hairs. He wanted to make it personal. Still does. I'm figuring it out. But you being around me makes you a target. So that's why you're shutting me out?
Gibbs: I don't need you mixed up in this. I don't need you mixed up in me!
Hollis: It's not your call. I'll take my chances. I can handle myself. Hmm?
Gibbs: Copy that.

Spoiler alert, Heisenberg. It doesn't end well for you.

Tony