'NCIS' Season 18 Episode 5: Is Timothy McGee alive or dead? Jethro Gibbs shooting him twice finally makes sense

The answer arrives in the latest Episode 5 of Season 18, also part of the double-episode winter premiere that the CBS procedural had in store for fans


                            'NCIS' Season 18 Episode 5: Is Timothy McGee alive or dead? Jethro Gibbs shooting him twice finally makes sense
Jethro Gibbs and Timothy McGee in 'NCIS' (CBS)

Spoilers for 'NCIS' Season 18 Episode 5 'Head of the Snake'

After opening with quite the teasing, frustrating, nerve-wracking season premiere where Jethro Gibbs shot Timoty McGee, 'NCIS' is finally giving us some answers. It was a riddle that kept fans lie wide awake at night long after the episode had stopped airing. Why would Gibbs shoot one of his most loyal team members? Was it a covert operation or had McGee gone rogue? Is he alive or in worse potential danger after two bullets were fired from Gibbs' gun? The answer arrives in the latest Episode 5 of Season 18, also part of the double-episode winter premiere that the CBS procedural had in store for fans. And although we might know the set up that led to Gibbs shooting McGee, the danger is far from over.

It was Episode 4 'Sunburn' that focused directly on McGee and his wife Delilah, as their Bahamian vacation turned into a high-stakes mission. But the crux of the problem lies with Gibbs's friend Tobias Fornell and his appearance in the first episode was all through his own blood. That's the last we had seen of Fornell before Gibbs is finally able to track that man down as he's living undercover as part of a drug kingpin's clan. Fornell chases the kingpin for ruining his daughter's life and ends up coming across a Russian man with many, many avatars for international flight travels. He is changing the composition of opioid pills and trading them in the market to directly kill people. 

There's no way any of them can let this go, and Eleanor Bishop and Nick Torres being stuck in a life-or-death trap in the hunt and chase for the kingpin make everything worse. We love seeing a meaty Ellick drama, but the episode also finally allows the highly anticipated showdown between Gibbs, Fornell and all those they were looking to bust, and therein, just to protect McGee's life, Gibbs shoots him. The connection was drawn by several fans who linked Gibbs shooting Fornell in a mock-gunfight under the kingpin's watchful radar just to keep Fornell's identity as a trusted ally intact. Gibbs does the same with McGee, so if your guess was the big old softy just wanted to save his team member by shooting him in the leg, then you are right. Why would there be any other reason behind Gibbs shooting McGee, right?

Towards the end of the episode, McGee is in the hospital, recovering, and Gibbs is right by his side, patiently waiting on him. So that nails the coffin about McGee's state. No he is not dead. But he surely isn't in the best of shape either. 

'NCIS' Season 18 airs on Tuesdays at 9 pm only on CBS.

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