NCIS fans finally learned of Gibbs' fate in the Season 19 premiere after waiting for months to see how the boat explosion cliffhanger from the Season 18 finale worked out. Though Gibbs survived the actual bombing, he was most definitely in need of some help, which he received from two wary strangers. Warning: Major spoilers lie ahead for the premiere episode of NCIS Season 30.
The premiere picked up shortly after the explosion in May's finale, showing that Gibbs made it to shore — only to reveal that his torso was impaled by a huge piece of wood. Gibbs worried viewers by stumbling back into the lake, floating on his back and bleeding out. While McGee and Torres learned of and investigated the explosion, Gibbs came to inside a locked barn — and patched up at that. Finding himself confronted with a woman standing over him with a rifle, viewers learned that the woman was Thelma, who — with her husband Virgil — found Gibbs and patched him up.
Thelma and Virgil were wary of Gibbs, who insisted, "No cops" and made them wonder if he was part of a gang from the lake's north shore. But he gained their trust when he figured out that a sheriff's deputy who asked Thelma about the explosion was an imposter and not a real police officer at all. The couple let him make a phone call in which he asked McGee to tell Tim to keep his reporter friend safe.
Gibbs then made his way toward an abandoned ranger station on the north shore, riding an old motorbike from the barn and armed with Thelma's rife and Virgil's warning about agitating his wound. He found no gang members but instead Special Agent Jessica Knight, McGree and Torres, who were led to the location by the pattern of one of the serial killer's found victims. Soon enough, three gang members arrived but were no match for Knight, McGee and Torres, who — with Gibbs' sharp-shooter skills — convinced the gang members to surrender.
Later, McGee told Gibbs that "Rule 91 sucks, because it is in direct violation of Rule No. 1 — 'Never screw over your partner.'" When Gibbs countered with, "I'm not your partner," and also noted that the team "doesn't need" him, McGee agreed but said, "We're better together."
"We've got a serial killer to catch," McGee said, "but in order to do that, we need to be a team. We need to be your team." Gibbs had a wry grin on his face, telling Tim, "I'm proud of you" for always "pushing." "Does that mean you're in?" McGee asked. Gibbs replied, "Whaddya got?"
What did you think of the Season 19 premiere of NCIS? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. NCIS airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on CBS. Disclosure: PopCulture is owned by ViacomCBS Streaming, a division of ViacomCBS.