We kicked off NCIS Season 12 Episode 15 with Fornell getting busted for drinking and driving.
Then, in the middle of a tense investigation over the bombing of a ship masterminded by Mishnev, Gibbs handed the reigns over to the team while he and Fornell head out to his cabin for a little R&R (recounting and recovery).
Join TV Fanatic panelists Christine Orlando, Tanya Moat, David Taylor, Kathleen Wiedel and Douglas Wolfe as they discuss all of the above and more. Then, let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!
How much does Vance know about what really happened when Mishnev was killed?
Christine: Eh. I think Vance knows that it’s better for him not to know too many details about these things. In the end, he trusts Gibbs and he understands what it’s like to want revenge against someone who took the person you love. I’m guessing he was willing to give Gibbs and Fornell some leeway.
Tanya: He may not know all the details, but he knows that appearances aren't quite what they appear. This is one instance where he doesn't want to know the full story either.
David: I'm with the ladies; I think he knows that there's something he'd rather not know.
Kathleen: Oh, Vance totally knows what really happened. He also knows better than to ask.
Doug: Vance has been around the block a few times. I think he knows or at least has a pretty good idea about all of it. He was being willfully ignorant but letting Gibbs know he's not completely clueless about his wily handling of it.
What are your thoughts on how Gibbs handled Fornell?
Christine: As best he could. Gibbs was right. The excessive drinking and recklessness was slow suicide. Fornell needed to get out of his own head, talk about what he was going through and realize that his daughter needed him to pull it together.
Tanya: He did a great job, especially for someone who isn't very good at the touchy feely stuff. Fornell really needed Gibbs, and he stepped up to help him the best way he knew how.
David: I was kind of blown away; this is a side of Gibbs we rarely see and usually it's with people from his team, not a quasi-outsider like Fornell.
Kathleen: I wouldn't call Fornell an outsider. Gibbs has known him at least as long as Tony, after all. So dragging Fornell out to his cabin to dry out (and then take his revenge with a clear head) is totally in character. Not that I necessarily think setting Mishnev up for death is necessarily the right choice...
Doug: Well the first thing Gibbs did was get rid of the 12 steps - I think he whittled it down to about five: drink hard, puke the next day, get into a fight, talk it out, go fishing and then kill Mishnev. Recovery time: about two days, total. Not too shabby.
His method for handling someone who was getting hard into the drink wouldn't have been mine. I wouldn't have started by getting my drunk on. But then his way worked so what do I know?
If Mishnev had surrendered, would Fornell have arrested him?
Christine: Probably. At least I’d like to think so but I honestly wouldn’t have blamed him if he shot him anyway.
Tanya: I think so. Fornell tends to be a bit more by the book than Gibbs. I'm not sorry that he didn't get the chance to arrest him.
David: Ladies, I'm not so sure. Fornell explicitly asked for a crack at Mishnev and in his state of mind, I'm not so sure he'd have played it by the book.
Kathleen: I'm with David, to be honest. I think Mishnev was never walking out of those woods.
Doug: I think he would have had to. However, he and Gibbs knew Mishnev enough to realize he would never have surrendered, so they weren't worried about their plan to kill him failing. Their plan was foolproof.
Did Gibbs really act on Tony’s advice to let the team handle the investigation? Or was that something he was going to do anyway?
Christine: I think Emily was the one who pushed Gibbs to do something. She was hurting but very direct with Gibbs. She didn’t want him to talk to Fornell. She needed Gibbs to help her father. Now.
Tanya: It was a bit of both. Gibbs does trust his team and they were able to connect the dots between Mishnev and Ari. But I also think if Emily had not appealed to Gibbs and made him understand what he was either willfully ignoring or didn't see in regards to Fornell's state of mind, he would not have left the investigation.
David: I think it was a mix too. Tony's advice, combined with Ducky's, may have given him pause, but Emily's plea probably sealed it for him.
Kathleen: Gibbs is almost always a hard read, but I'm with the others in thinking that Emily probably had more to do with it than Tony.
Doug: It bugs me to say this, but I think Gibbs took Tony's words to heart and adopted them as his own. In other words, he told Vance he was too close to the investigation as if he were the one who thought it, and not his supposed right-hand man.
So no, I don't believe he would have relinquished the reigns if Tony hadn't brought it up. He would have kept himself in the game until it was done, and then he would have found a way to deal with his friend.
What was your favorite scene or quote?
Christine: “No more slow motion suicide, Tobias. You want to kill yourself, fine with me. I’ll even come with you.” That and Tobias sharing about his fight with Diane before she died. That’s the type of think that really haunts you after someone you love dies.
Tanya: I agree with Christine that scene where Fornell shared the argument he had with Diane before her death was heartbreaking and done very well. I also like how much of Diane we could see in Emily too. She is her mother's daughter. Gibbs was absolutely right when he told Fornell the best way to show Diane how much he loved her, was to take care of Emily now.
David: HEEEEEEYYY.....I was gonna say both of those!
Kathleen: Since the others have already mentioned some excellent scenes, I'll just say that I really liked it when Fornell tried to fight Gibbs, who let him fall on his face before continuing on with his totally Gibbsian intervention.
Doug: I enjoyed the fishing scene, especially after Fornell caught one, when he smiled whiled growling at Gibbs with "I'm not sharing". That was a perfect moment.
Douglas Wolfe was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He retired in 2016. Follow him on Twitter.