Gibbs said his goodbyes on NCIS this past Monday, and fans still haven’t recovered. In a heart-wrenching episode titled “Great Wide Open,” Gibbs and McGee traveled to Alaska on the contract killer case. There’s action and intrigue, of course, but the most important aspects of the episode were Gibbs’ moments with McGee, the original probie.
McGee has been a character on NCIS since the beginning; he started in episode 2 as a way to kick off some banter with Tony DiNozzo. Their chemistry was such that they became the Odd Couple of the NCIS. Tony would make fun of McGee for something, McGee would retaliate, and Gibbs would have to step in as their boss and reprimand them like two misbehaving children.
So, in Gibbs’ last episode, it’s only right that he shares a real-time moment of farewell with McGee. A passing of the torch.
Gibbs seems to have found his peace in Alaska. He’s constantly plagued with grief and regret over Shannon and Kelly’s deaths that it’s ruined any romantic relationship he could have had. But, in Alaska, all that seems to melt away. He tells McGee that he’s not going back home, that “I don’t have another boat to build.”
McGee tries to convince him to come back, but soon realizes that this is possibly the best thing for Gibbs. Gibbs tells him, “I could not have hoped for anyone better to watch my back for the past 18 years than you, Tim.” And that’s where I break.
The two embrace, sharing an “I love you, man” moment. Watching the scene, it’s possible those are Sean Murray’s real tears at having to say goodbye to an old friend. And these are my real tears on my keyboard as I write this.
“Promise me you’ll be okay,” says McGee. Gibbs replies, “I already am.”
‘NCIS’ Fans Grieve Together
It really does feel like grief, to let go of a beloved character like Gibbs after nearly 19 years. Fans got together on Reddit to discuss the episode, and the Gibbs and McGee farewell in particular. “First time in my life I’ve heard Gibbs say I Love You,” the original poster wrote. “I knew he was a softie from the inside and tough from outside.”
Another commenter wrote about Gibbs as more than just McGee’s boss, but like a father figure to him. They wrote, “I did love how Gibbs was teaching Tim to fish and mentioned it was something that his dad taught him. The main reason I watched was to see their relationship grow and it won’t be the same without Gibbs.”
“Did your heart stutter like mine when he said ‘I haven’t felt this much at peace since Shannon and Kelly died’?” wrote another Reddit user. It’s true, that was a particularly gripping line. It just goes to show how much Gibbs really suffered without telling anyone. Hopefully he finds his peace and quiet on a lake in Alaska in the middle of nowhere.