Our favorite NCIS agents encountered an Afghani translator who proved utterly loyal to the Marines on this interesting and different episode of NCIS.
What did we like about it? Which aspects continue to bother us about the hour?
Below, TV Fanatic panelists Kathleen Wiedel, Tanya Moat, Christine Orlando and Douglas Wolfe weigh in on the developments that took place on NCIS Season 12 Episode 21.
Ready to jump in to the debate? Let's go!
How would you describe this episode, in a few words or a sentence?
Kathleen: "For he to-day that sheds his blood with me / Shall be my brother"
Tanya: Things aren't always what they appear to be.
Christine: The New Face of NCIS.
Doug: The Students Prevail.
What scene or quote was your favorite?
Kathleen: I loved when Tony acknowledged McGee and Jimmy's pranking prowess: "I've taught them well," indeed!
Tanya: There were lots of great scenes, but my favorite was when Qasim first arrived in Kabul and how his fellow "brothers" greeted him. He was one of them, which was powerful to see.
Doug: Tony may seem like a care-free guy most times but it's moments like the one in the interrogation room when he was grilling Ken Ashmore that truly show his depth. I could feel his blood boiling when he lightly poked the man and then offered to tear him a new one (only not in those words). That was the high point of the show for me.
Christine: Here you go...
Ducky: A series of stab wounds that even Jack the Ripper would find excessive.
Palmer: What a terrifying character from history. Certainly made me not want to be a lady of the night.
Was there anything that didn’t work?
Kathleen: When Qasim asked Bishop who it was that helps her, Bishop didn't even mention her loving husband Jake. Ouch.
Tanya: I had mixed reactions to Tony's response to Tim being the face of NCIS. Tim is his friend and a good agent (it's not as though he is an unworthy choice) so grow-up and be happy. It felt like a step back again for Tony, even if he redeemed himself slightly by having Palmer fix the cutout of Tim. Now about it actually being a prank ...
Christine: Bishop’s confidence issues. I don’t know why it bothers me so much. She’s been behind a desk most of her career and working in the field has to be intimidating but she knew that field work came with this job. Did she really expect that Gibbs would hire her but sideline her to do office work?
Doug: I mentioned this in the review so am repeating myself here: I hated the over-use of mood music that made Qasim's scenes so cloying. The writing was top-notch when it came to the storyline - there was no need to go overboard with the sentimentality of it all.
What are your thoughts on the April Fools' joke?
Kathleen: I suspected that McGee and Jimmy were pranking Tony, but I enjoyed it anyway. Tony's got a big ego, and thus makes a good target. Notice that Gibbs totally let the Dynamic Duo of Tim and Jim go on with it. That should have been Tony's first clue, if nothing else! I really liked that Tony took it all in good sport, despite the fact that he had just handed Jimmy $200!
Tanya: It definitely played a lot better when it became a prank on Tony. His pride in teaching them well rang true. I just wish the writers would remember that Tony can still be playful and funny without regressing back to his more immature, selfish past.
Christine: I thought it was great how everyone was in on it. They really got Tony and I was OK with his being a bit jealous of McGee. Even a more mature version of Tony can have his moments and I expect it more so when it has to do with McGee
Doug: Unlike Kathleen, I had no inkling it was a joke until the big reveal. I liked it, and I enjoyed how they tied it in together with April Fools. In other words, this isn't the start of a pranking trend. I really enjoyed Tony's take on it at the end too.
How else should Gibbs pull Bishop out of her comfort zone?
Kathleen: The more he pulls Bishop into the field, the better for her. It's easy for an intellectual, analytical person like Bishop to get detached from reality outside of the office.
Tanya: Bishop is not as confident in a fight in the way Ziva or Kate were. Their previous roles in the Secret Service and Mossad prepared them to fight one-to-one, but Bishop has always been a behind the desk (or on the floor) kind of girl.
Christine: More field work. More hand to hand and tactical training. Just more experience should help. Oddly enough, Gibbs does kind of treat Bishop with kid gloves and he never did that with Kate or Ziva so I don't write it off as her being female. Hopefully she’ll toughen up as time goes on or I don’t see how she continues in this job.
Doug: I agree with Kathleen and Christine on this one. More experience should help. She's going to need to stretch her wings a bit, and there's no better way to do that than to just push her out of the nest a bit more.
I like how the writers maintain at least a little consistency with her established character: she is timid when it comes to things where she lacks training or experience, but utterly confident with her established strengths such as analysis and languages.
While what Gibbs told her is true, and she does need to trust him when he gives orders, her objection should not be ignored: she needs more training. And definitely more field experience.
Douglas Wolfe was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He retired in 2016. Follow him on Twitter.