Mike, who left this world last season, serves as Gibbs' guide for most of this. Gibbs is understandably still haunted about Kate. What would have happened if he had been able to catch a glimpse of Ari and his rifle on the roof? Kate would have saved. And, in Gibbs' vision, Kate would have married DiNozzi, and they would have had a baby ... All good, wonderful, to say the least, but everything has its price. No Ziva on the team in this alternate-NCIS world.
Abby and McGee are a couple in this might have been, and they come visit Gibbs after he recalls what he put her through when she discovered that Gibbs had killed the drug dealer who had killed his wife and daugther. Was he wrong to do kill him? Gibbs realizes that he couldn't have done any different.
People alive and gone flit through Gibbs' vision in this diner. Jenny's at a table, Leon's at the counter, it's all reminiscent of that great Marilyn, Elvis, Bogart, and James Dean in the diner painting.
Gibbs talks to his mother in fine scene. She's proud of him. He sees his father and his younger self at a table.
But prime moment comes when he sits down with Shannon and his daughter. She also tells him how proud she is of him, and what he's made of his life. He's done so much good in the world, he can't regret that. He says he doesn't, but why couldn't he have had both - his career and his family. Then Shannon shows him yet another vision of what might have happened if she and Kelly had not been killed, and Gibbs not left the Marines. Gibbs is due to return home in two weeks, and Shannon and Kelly are thrilled, and then there's knock on the door and two Marines are standing outside ...
It's a painful, powerful, sage lesson. You live the hand you're dealt, and don't look back, make the most of it. As Gibbs has done so admirably. And the bullet in the diner doesn't do him any harm. He's back at work.
What had always made NCIS so admirable is the way if mixes its police and military work with real, soft-spoken human depth. I'm down for another 200 episodes.
See also NCIS 9.1: Unpacking Partial Amnesia ... NCIS 9.2: Lying to Yourself ... NCIS 9.3: McGee's Grandmother ... NCIS 9.4: Turkey Vulture as Explained by DiNozzo ... NCIS 9.5: Behrooz's Mother ... NCIS 9.6: Too Good to be True ... NCIS 9.7: "You Were My Shannon, Leroy" ... NCIS 9.8: Intersections with Reality ... NCIS 9.9: Twists and History ... NCIS 9.10: Almost One Agent Short
And see also NCIS Back in Season 8 Action ... NCIS 8.2: Interns! ... NCIS 8.3: Tiff! ... NCIS 8.4: Gary Cooper not John Wayne ... NCIS 8.5: Dead DJ, DiNozzo Hoarse, and Baseball ... NCIS 8.6: The Written Woman ... NCIS 8.7: "James Bond Movie Directed by Fellini" ... NCIS 8.8: Ziva's Father ... NCIS 8.9: Leon's Story ... NCIS 8.10: DiNozzo In and Out ... NCIS 8.11: "The Sister Went Viral" ... Bob Newhart on NCIS 8.12 ... NCIS 8.13: The Wife or the Girlfriend ... NCIS 8.14: Kate ... NCIS 8.15: McGee and DiNozzo's Badges ... NCIS 8.16: Computer Games ... NCIS 8.17: Budget Cuts ... NCIS 8.18: Gibbs vs. the Kid ... NCIS 8.19: The Deadly Book ... NCIS 8.20: CIRay ... NCIS 8.21: Mask and Eye ... NCIS 8.22: "I'd Rather Have a Lead" ... NCIS 8.23: Answers and Questions ... NCIS Season 8 Finale
And see also NCIS ... NCIS 7.16: Gibbs' Mother-in-Law Dilemma ... NCIS 7.17: Ducky's Ties ... NCIS 7.18: Bogus Treasure and Real Locker ... NCIS 7.21: NCIS Meets Laura ... NCIS Season 7 Finale: Retribution
The Plot to Save Socrates
"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly
"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News
"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book