Have you been waiting for the beginning of Season Thirteen of the NCIS show as we have? One of the key questions was if and how would Leroy Jethro Gibbs would survive the shooting at the end of Season Twelve. Since he and others of the cast had already signed their contracts for the new year, it was a safe bet Gibbs would survive to fight another day.

We can’t ignore the irony of the title of this episode, and wonder if this episode and the next few will be an effort to ‘stop the bleeding’ of the show’s ratings, which have been dropping of late. The producers have already hinted coming episodes may include at least an appearance by Cote de Pablo who played the beloved Ziva.

What do you think of tonight’s episode? Here is our take. The star character, the hero by far and away is Dr. Cyril Taft, a Navy Reserve Captain, Gulf War veteran, and famous surgeon from Walter Reed Hospital who performs a dramatic surgery to save Gibbs’ life aboard the U.S.S. Daniel Webster. This military surgeon leaves his assignment at Walter Reed to return to where the action is. He is as unorthodox as Gibbs with his “Mo-Mo” (a mix of Mozart and Motown) music in the operating room. It turns out Dr. Taft needs to be saving lives of others because he couldn’t save the life of his son who died from leukemia. His therapy turns out to be a blessing for Gibbs.

Using brilliant editing, we the viewer are allowed into Gibbs’ unconscious dreams of his past “ghosts”, including Mike Franks his deceased partner and his daughter Kelly. This may be an attempt by the writers to capitalize on the several books and movies of people who claim to have glimpsed Heaven. Not only are those touching scenes, they should also help the show’s ratings. We also enjoyed the scene where the rest of the team is staring at their phones waiting for an update on their leader. You can imagine what it was like for them to discover he’s fallible. Can they continue to do their jobs without him?

Once healed, Gibbs returns to the office where Director Vance ordered him to maintain a low profile. True to form, Gibbs refuses to be bridled. Soon he visits in prison Mathew Rousseau, a member of “The Calling”. Rousseau was arrested in last season’s episode. Was anyone else shocked that when Rousseau refused to cooperate Gibbs stabbed his pen into Rousseau’s hand? Vance accuses Gibbs of visiting Rousseau and stabbing a pen into his hand. Gibbs makes another of his classic comments, “Oh is that where I left my pen?”

Okay, we hear you asking, what about the plot zooming over to Shanghai with Tony leading the effort to bust Daniel Budd, the evil mastermind behind Gibb’s shooting. He joins the CIA to stop Budd, who has somehow taken over a laptop from a former agent killed last May to make it look like North Korea is about to launch a nuclear strike. It seems farfetched, but in reality, it’s too close to what could happen with the computer hacking actually going on by China and Russia. No doubt NCIS is monitoring many hotspots and tonight gives us a glimpse of their difficult mission to keep us safe.

Welcome back Leroy. We need you to be truly back and not behind a desk. Do us a favor and get on a plane and bring Ziva back from wherever she has been working with Mossad. Please don’t let us down!

Be Blessed, Diane and David Munson