Nikki (nakeisha) wrote in ncis_gibbsducky,
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Episode Review. Season 6x25 - Aliyah

My thoughts behind the cut.



After all the hype and discussions before hand about this episode in many ways I expected it to be somewhat of an anti-climax - I swear we could write more shocking things than the writers can *g* And I'm not even talking about putting any ships in. I was also getting tired of the whole Rivkin/Ziva/DiNozzo thing - the double spin-off episodes really were two too many. The storyline didn't need dragging out that much. Also I didn't like the idea that the team was going to be in two different locations for most of the episode.

So I went into this episode with few expectations, which was a good thing. Plus, I'm more than a tad tired and drained at the moment - so not necessarily in the right frame of mind for the episode. But was I shocked? No. Am I going to spend the summer worrying about what is going to happen? Probably not. Was it the best finale of the shows I've seen in the last week or two? No. I'm afraid not.

At one point or another I wanted to slap DiNozzo, McGee and Abby as in turn the all annoyed me. We had a few nice moments and team exchanges, a distinct lack of humour and really a feeling of distance pretty much between everyone. They all seemed like people playing parts (which I know they are, but that normally doesn't come across). There seemed little enjoyment or gelling in the way there normally is.

I really felt for Ziva during this episode and felt she was experiencing so many different emotions, a lot of which she may not have experienced before. As well as being pulled in more than one direction personally and professionally. Her character was extremely well written this week, an excellent balance of hard and soft.

So we begin slightly before the ending of the last episode with Ziva making a call to Hadar; she gives her Mossad officer code and says she needs a forced extraction - now. She wants Rivkin pulled out; he's at her apartment and she'll make sure he stays there.

Then we go to her arriving at her apartment, seeing figures through her window and the final scene from last week: her and DiNozzo holding guns on one another. She goes to Rivkin, turns him over and yells at DiNozzo to call an ambulance. He doesn't move. We see the shattered photograph of what we assume to be Ziva and Ari as children.

At the hospital DiNozzo has his arm in a sling and is staring at Ziva through the doors. Ziva looks very sad. He watches as a doctor speaks to her and we don't need to hear to know what the doctor is saying. As he is watching Gibbs arrives and gets his attention. DiNozzo starts by saying he's okay, it's just a fractured radius and then all but turns on Gibbs saying he had to kill Rivkin, he had no choice. Gibbs just looks at him and tells him to go and write his report. DiNozzo goes. Gibbs then goes to Ziva and she says that DiNozzo killed Rivkin; he asks if she saw it, she says she saw enough. He tells her to write up her Internal Affairs report and she says he'll have it on his desk by lunchtime. He says he is sorry for her loss.

Gibbs and McGee pull up outside Ziva's apartment and get out of the car. McGee seems to be talking simply because it's Gibbs and he's somewhat uneasy and makes a somewhat inappropriate remark about being glad he is going to get to see Ziva's new apartment. When Gibbs looks at him he looks chastised and comments about the circumstances not being the best. They are putting on their NCIS jackets and Gibbs asks McGee what he knows about Rivkin, Ziva and DiNozzo. McGee instantly says 'nothing' and Gibbs just looks at him. So McGee has to tell him; he says how he saw DiNozzo sneaking around Ziva's desk before she went back to Tel Aviv and he thinks DiNozzo spoke to Rivkin. He says he can't believe he's telling Gibbs what he is and that DiNozzo will kill him.

Gibbs: "Not if Mossad get to him first."

McGee then totally defends DiNozzo over Rivkin's death, saying he wouldn't have killed him if he hadn't have to. But Gibbs says it's DiNozzo's word against a dead guys. It was really nice to see that for all the bitching between them and all the snide comments and things DiNozzo has done to McGee over the years that McGee is one hundred percent loyal to DiNozzo - not that I'd expect anything else. That's how close the team are; they can bitch and mess about, etc. but when push comes to shove, look out world. Gibbs and McGee start to go up the steps to Ziva's apartment when there is an explosion.

Inside Ziva's apartment Gibbs is taking photographs. He seems totally detached and just doing another job - very Gibbs - McGee far less so and Gibbs has to remind him they are there to do a job. McGee goes into another room and calls Gibbs; he's found a laptop under some drawers and he makes a somewhat inappropriate comment about a fried hard drive (not the best time to make those sorts of comments, Tim, that annoyed me) and then goes to explain it to Gibbs, but he gets a Gibbs look. They then find three cuts in the gas line, but no one had smelt gas - it looks to have been a poor job. And they also find a longish black tube like thing. And before they go, Gibbs picks up the photo frame that had held the photo of the children; nothing is in it.

At NCIS, Ziva is unzipping the body bag and looks at Rivkin and speaks to him in her own language. Ducky and Jimmy arrive at that moment and Ducky asks if Ziva would like a moment alone; she declines. He also says she could spread some light on Rivkin's beliefs and that he has contacted a Rabbi friend of his who will be present whilst he conducts the autopsy. Ziva says there is no need for that either; Rivkin was a Jew by birth, bot by practice. Ducky tells her how tradition can be a comfort at time likes this and that he knows the Jewish rites aren't just for the dead, but also for those left alive. Ziva says she doesn't need rites and goes. That was a moving scene, so nice to see how much trouble Ducky has gone to and how much he cares. But even he couldn't get through to Ziva and get through her grief.

Up in the squad room Gibbs gives McGee a phone number and asks him to backtrack the calls - it's Ziva's phone. Gibbs is then reading an IA report when Ziva comes in, goes to Gibbs, gives him something and is about to leave. He stops her and pulls another chair up to his desk and nods at McGee who leaves. She starts to tell him she didn't lie to him, he asked if Rivkin was Mossad and if she knew him, he never asked her if she'd seen him - that was very true; technically Ziva did not lie to Gibbs, she withheld information, but didn't lie to him. He tells her about her apartment and she really isn't that concerned. He says it's her home she says it isn't.

In Vance's office he is questioning a rather belligerent DiNozzo about his report. Now I know that DiNozzo is actually hurting and to an extent upset over what he had to do because he knows that Ziva is upset, etc. but honestly, his whole attitude with Vance and later with Director David was beyond being acceptable and utterly childish and out of line. He's a professional, for heaven's sake and a seasoned one; he should have behaved like it not fallen back on his defence mechanism. We know it's a defence mechanism, we know it's 'his' way, but it went OTT this time. Vance says DiNozzo left out a few small things: why he broke protocol and went to Ziva's apartment alone and why he didn't tell Vance. DiNozzo makes a comment about his gut and how he went by it but how sometimes it sucks big time. He says he wanted to give Ziva a chance to explain; Vance asks if he was trying to protect Ziva, DiNozzo admits if she needed it he was.

In Autopsy Ducky is showing Gibbs x-rays of DiNozzo's fracture and says the other injuries to him and Rivkin were consistent with the fight DiNozzo described. When Gibbs is silent, Ducky says it is good news. Gibbs then tells him what's troubling him: DiNozzo is a brawler, Rivkin a keikon. Basically he's wondering why on earth DiNozzo is alive and as a good agent and the man we know he is, whilst he obviously does believe DiNozzo had to kill Rivkin, he's also troubled and a small part of him must be questioning if he is telling the truth, he wouldn't be Gibbs if he wasn't wondering, wasn't looking for answers to that important 'question'. Ducky however puts his mind at rest by handing him a report - clearly we were meant to guess it was a report on the alcohol levels in Rivkin's body. So it appears that the whole play on the amount Rivkin was drinking was simply so that DiNozzo could win the fight, which is sad and somewhat unnecessarily forced on us - but maybe more will come out next season as to why he appeared to be so troubled. Or maybe not.

Back with Vance, he asks how DiNozzo got out of the apartment alive and DiNozzo in true cocky style says he's a scrappy fighter but a pretty good one, even if he does say it himself. Vance doesn't believe him and he makes no bones about that and DiNozzo demands to know what Vance wants. It's not surprising that Vance, and even Gibbs in his Special Agent not team leader level, has some doubts about the validity of DiNozzo's story. Under normal circumstances there was no way DiNozzo should have lived to tell the tale. Like it or not Rivkin was a far, far, far superior fighter than DiNozzo - and let's be honest, for all his bravado, DiNozzo knows it too.

Gibbs arrives at that moment and shows Vance the report Ducky gave him saying it proves Rivkin was hammered. Now DiNozzo is upset about that, his pride has been severely knocked back and he tries to deny Rivkin was drunk, but they put him straight on that one. That little exchange made me smile and I really liked DiNozzo at that point. That was very 'him'. It worked well. Vance is still angry with DiNozzo saying he killed an officer of the Mossad and now the crime scene has been destroyed a lot of people have questions and DiNozzo better have some damn good answers. DiNozzo looks at Gibbs who gives him a small nod and DiNozzo goes. Vance asks if DiNozzo can manage the meat grinder, Gibbs says he can. Vance says he'll have to take one for the team. Gibbs asks what the end game is. Vance tells him it's diplomacy - the look on Gibbs's face says it all. Gibbs goes and Vance calls Director David.

Down in Abby's lab, McGee again makes the joke about the fried hard drive *shakes head* and now I really wanted to shake him and Abby asks how many times he's told that. He tries to deny he has, you can't lie to Abby, Timmy, she knows you. She tells him it's not the time for jokes as someone tried to kill DiNozzo and Ziva. Gibbs and Vance arrive at that moment and Gibbs says they don't know Ziva was the target; Abby says she could have been. They have found Rivkin's prints all over the laptop and McGee changes his 'fried hard drive' at the last second and says they might be able to get the data off, but they'll need a couple of days. In true Gibbs fashion he gives him one. McGee starts to object, but at a look from Gibbs says that one day is generous. It was one of the few tiny touches of humour in the episode.

They are all looking at the black thing Gibbs found in Ziva's apartment, Abby is saying that mass-spectrometer is still running tests but it could be some kind of roll. Ziva arrives then and says she'd like to look at the crime scene photos. When both Vance and Gibbs say she can't she admits she already has, McGee left them running on his computer and she'll share what she saw. She identifies the black thing as an activated charcoal filter dowsed in ethanol. It is something that a lot of agencies, including Mossad, use to put on cut gas lines to disguise the smell. Vance then tells Ziva to pack her bags adding that Gibbs and DiNozzo should do so too; he's been asked a favour and he's going to grant it.

In Tel Aviv Rivkin's coffin is carried off the plane by US Marines and put on the ground. Men, whom we assume to be Mossad, take over and put the Israeli flag on the coffin. One man touches it and looks at Ziva before speaking to Vance, telling him Director David will see him shortly; he is anxious to speak with him. He then goes to Ziva and kisses her on the cheek and thanks her for coming; she says her visit has nothing to do with him. He says she is always full of fire and asks if she should introduce himself. She introduces him; he is Officer Amit Hadar (the man she was calling). Hadar says DiNozzo can go with him and Vance agrees. Hadar takes DiNozzo's bag and they get into the car. Gibbs comments to Vance that he will be seeing DiNozzo again, won't he? And Ziva tells him that DiNozzo is safe; only two people have the authority to kill him - her father and her. She drives - in her usual style.

Director David is in his office when Ziva goes in; they embrace a little and he asks her when she started to wear so much make-up. Then he asks how she is. He comments she got there far more quickly than he was expecting - she tells him she drove (which says it all). Ziva wants to know who Rivkin was loyal to and Director David says to them all. Ziva, however, is not so sure and she wants answers. Her father tells her she is there to find solace, he will find answers.

DiNozzo is in a room that does look like an interrogation room, just waiting. Gibbs is outside. Director David speaks to Gibbs saying that Ziva spoke highly of him. Gibbs says she's a good agent and David 'reminds' Gibbs she's a liaison officer.

Gibbs: "She's one of us."
David: "So she tells me."
Gibbs: "So's the guy in there."

David goes to talk to DiNozzo and he apologies for keeping him waiting. DiNozzo is very sarcastic and belligerent and in true DiNozzo style makes a comment about David's shirt and says he's not exactly visiting Tel Aviv. He tells David he interrogates people for a living all day every day and he's not intimidated. David tells him it isn't the interrogation room, it's an assembly room a place of mutual discussion, but if DiNozzo continues with his childish arrogance he'll get to see the interrogation room - I have to confess I was cheering Director David on here. I really, really, really wanted to grab DiNozzo and shake him very, very hard indeed. At that point I had no sympathy for him whatsoever - he really was being an arrogant child. He can't go through life behaving like that when something happens that he doesn't like. Having said that, of course, it proves how well the scene worked, because that was the feelings DiNozzo's behaviour was meant to engender in the viewer and in Director David - so as much as I wanted to shake him, one has to say kudos to the writers for writing it that way and for the way it was played out. I didn't like DiNozzo in it, but that showed what a good scene it actually was.

Gibbs and Vance are watching him and Vance is angry with DiNozzo and says he'd told DiNozzo to leave his smart ass attitude in DC. Gibbs comments that Vance should have checked DiNozzo's bags. Vance turns on Gibbs saying that he'd said DiNozzo was up for it; Gibbs counters with the fact that Vance threw DiNozzo to the wolves, no he didn't Gibbs, he was doing his job, and that DiNozzo has already taken one for the team. He tells Vance to let DiNozzo fight in his own way. At that point Ziva arrives to watch.

David says that he is aware who DiNozzo is as he has a file on his achievements and his screw-ups. Once again DiNozzo gets cocky. Director David asks if DiNozzo knows who he is and DiNozzo tells him he does: he's the head of Mossad and also Ziva's father but he doesn't know which role he's playing at that moment. David tells DiNozzo that he killed Rivkin deliberately; DiNozzo counters that Rivkin killed a federal agent. However, David wants to know what was behind DiNozzo killing Rivkin, he didn't know the agent. He says that DiNozzo knew Rivkin was at Ziva's apartment and that somewhere down the line the line between DiNozzo's professional and personal feelings towards Ziva had become blurred - that is actually very true, they are blurred, which is partly, I think why DiNozzo is being quite the brat he is. He may not even be one hundred percent certain of his own motivations. Again, well done in that respect. David says DiNozzo wanted Rivkin out of Ziva's life so he killed him. DiNozzo denies that, saying Rivkin attacked him; it was a case of kill or be killed. David then goes behind DiNozzo and pushes down hard on his shoulders saying if that had been the case, DiNozzo would now be dead. DiNozzo turns on him and accuses him of sending all his rogue agents to DC; he mentions Ari and lets David know he knows he was David's son. He also asks what father would throw an out of control assassin at his daughter. David grabs DiNozzo's neck and says Rivkin was doing as he'd told him to.

I know DiNozzo's attitude was designed to goad David and that it worked. However, it really annoyed me beyond measure. I don't like to see DiNozzo like that, that wasn't professional that was smart ass and cocky and arrogant. So it got the job done and as Gibbs said to Kate 'You might not like his methods, but you've got to love his results'. Well at times results aren't everything. Sorry, but I really wanted to shake DiNozzo very, very, very hard - that or shoot him. And again, I repeat what I said above: kudos to the writers - you achieved what you were aiming for. A darn good scene, even though the negative feelings were aimed at one of the 'heroes'. Well done!

Meanwhile Vance and Gibbs are still watching and Vance expresses surprise that DiNozzo's 'methods' have worked. At that moment Gibbs's phone burbles; it's Abby and McGee. Abby comments about how she's always wanted to go to Israel and she babbles for a moment, yes, that also annoyed me and I wanted to add her to my list of 'needing to be slapped'. McGee cuts in and tells Gibbs that most of the calls on Ziva's mobile checked out. All but one, in fact, which was made to a highly encrypted phone. He raises the question that maybe Ziva was involved as he's checked the number. He's about to tell Gibbs whose it is, but Gibbs, who had left the room and followed Ziva sees her meet Hadar - he tells McGee the name.

Ziva grabs Hadar in a headlock and says that he was meant to remove Rivkin from harm. Hadar says he couldn't. And says that she knew Rivkin was in chaos, but she did nothing, the implication being she has to take some responsibility for his death; ouch. And from the look on Ziva's face, she knows that and must, to an extent, now be second guessing herself as well. They fight and she says she'd called him about Rivkin. But he says it was too late to get him out all he could do was to clear up after them both. He then hands her the photograph he took from her apartment and tells her there is no one left to blame; she has to stop looking and he goes.

Gibbs then appears and Ziva tells him Hadar caused the explosion in her apartment. She says she's been betrayed by Mossad, her father and DiNozzo and asks who will be next. Adding: "You?" A kind of foreshadowing, maybe?

Vance and David are having tea when Hadar comes in. David sees his neck and knows it was Ziva. Hadar bends down and whispers to David. David tells Vance that Gibbs is making his people very nervous and he's slipped through the security net - that's Gibbs. He asks Vance where Gibbs might be. Vane suggests he might have gone for coffee, adding that Gibbs practically main lines caffeine. Hadar then goes. We then learn that Vance and David knew one another in Amsterdam and Vance asks how did they get to where they are now. David says he'd told Vance about the sleeper cell, Vance agrees, but only once Rivkin was in the US and wonders why Mossad can't let the US police their own back-yard. David says he doesn't have the luxury of patience and Vance says he should try it, or else all that happens is he makes and enemy of his friend and there they end up with a dead federal agent and a dead Mossad officer. David says Rivkin was not a rogue agent; he operated under orders from David himself. He then comments that Vance had used DiNozzo to rile him and Vance said he's learnt from the best. They exchange wry smiles.

David tells Vance about a terrorist training camp in Northern Africa, but they don't know the exact place. That was why Rivkin was sent to LA to get the sleeper to give up his handler who in turn would give up the camp. Vance comments that Rivkin killed both men; David says he couldn't have left them around and he assures Vance Agent Sherman's death was an accident, Rivkin was only trying to gather information about how the US were handling things. Vance says that Rivkin didn't get the intel on the camp though; David admits that was the case. He pushes David over the camp, wondering why it is so important given that it has probably moved by now. David admits it isn't about the camp, but about the man who runs it - he killed one of David's people.

We then move to DiNozzo and Ziva who come face to face alone for the first time. He again says he had no choice and they argue. Finally he tells Ziva he did it for her and that Rivkin was playing her. He did what he had to do. She says he killed Rivkin and he said had he not done so she'd be talking to Rivkin now and that maybe she would prefer that - she says maybe she would. He then tells her to hit him, to get it out of her system. She warns him saying she only needs one, like Rivkin and he taunts her saying that's why she is so angry, because Rivkin got whumped by a chump like him. Ziva says DiNozzo took advantage of Rivkin; again he says Rivkin attacked him. And then she drops him and lays into him about how he pushed Rivkin onto the glass table and about the shard in his body. She pulls her gun and puts it to DiNozzo's chest first, saying he shot Rivkin there and then she moves her gun to his thigh saying he could have shot him there. He keeps saying she wasn't there.

Ziva: "I should have been." Her voice is somewhat quiet, bordering on deeply hurting
DiNozzo: "You loved him?"
Ziva: "I guess I'll never know."

And then she goes, leaving a hurting DiNozzo on the ground. Now I really liked DiNozzo in this scene. He was mature and far from cocky and arrogant and he knew that the best way to get to Ziva even in some small way was to make her mad at him, well madder. And he knew that she needed some kind of physical release, so he goaded her until she did indeed hit out at him. Well done, DiNozzo. That must have hurt in more ways than one: physically and emotionally, because it's clear now that his feelings are more than just those of a colleague and friend, although I'm not sure even he knows quite what his real feelings are.

We see Gibbs walking along the street with a coffee cup in his hand; his phone rings. It's Abby. He asks her his usual 'what you got, Abbs?' and she babbles on about her first trans-global 'what you got, Abbs,' and maybe she could have her first trans-global Caf-Pow! He tells her it depends on what she has. McGee interrupts and starts talking geeky stuff about Rivkin's laptop and how they've put the hard drive back together. The short version is it wasn't Rivkin's laptop, it was Avid Tabal - the man Rivkin killed in last week's episode. He must have switched laptops and now NCIS has everything, serial numbers, names and cell numbers all linked to locations in Northern Africa.

But that isn't all. They also managed to decrypt Rivkin's email account, which was only half the battle as they were written in Hebrew. Rivkin was in DC working with Mossad contacts to try to track down a terrorist camp in North Africa. Gibbs asks who his contacts were and Abby and McGee look at one another. McGee prevaricates - that won't work, Tim - saying that they went to a restricted account. When Gibbs asked who restricted it, Abby has to admit NCIS. Finally they tell Gibbs it was Ziva; she was the one to whom Rivkin was sending the emails. Ziva was withholding vital information. The call ends with Gibbs snapping at Abby.

Back with Director David he is on the phone when Ziva arrives. She wants to know why her father told Rivkin to stay with her and wants to know if it was real between them. David says does it matter, but it does to Ziva and she pushes. Finally he admits he doesn't know if it was real. Ziva wants to know why she was excluded and her father admits it was because he doesn't know to whom she answers: NCIS or him. And says if she wants to know what Rivkin's assignment was she should make it her aliyah and return to him and to Mossad and finish what Rivkin started.

At Tel Aviv airport DiNozzo says he's done with Israel, he isn't coming back. Gibbs orders him to get on the plane; after a look at him, Gibbs's tone was terse, DiNozzo does so. Vance gives David a copy of the information Abby and McGee pulled off of the laptop saying it should answer some questions; David thanks him, adding he should also thank Ms. Sciuto. Gibbs gets his bag from the car and just looks at Director David.

Ziva then stops Gibbs saying the plane won't leave without them and she says she'll speak from the heart. She says she still isn't sure that DiNozzo was being entirely truthful about Rivkin's death and she isn't sure she can work on the same team as him any longer and maybe one of them should be transferred to another team. Gibbs echoes 'transferred'. Ziva says she needs to be able to trust those with whom she works and that Gibbs more than anyone would understand that. Gibbs looks at Director David, kisses Ziva on the cheek and tells her to take care of herself; he then gets on the plane. He doesn't answer when DiNozzo comments about being one short, he just signals the pilot to take off. Ziva watches the plane.

My feeling here is that Ziva deliberately chose that course of action. She had decided to finish what Rivkin started, but knew Gibbs would argue with her if she said that and try to persuade her not to and she might not have stood up to him. Or indeed Gibbs would have wanted to help in some way - and we all know how stubborn Gibbs can be. So she chose the one thing she knew would make him do what she wanted him to do; in effect lose her from the team - she made him chose. There was, to her mind, only one choice he would make; he did make it and thus it freed her to do her job for Mossad.

Gibbs's decision might have sent shock waves around NCIS, but they must be minor ones. The real shock waves would have been had he decided to transfer DiNozzo - so once again with the 'fail, SB'. And the fact that he promises so much and doesn't really deliver. Not a huge shock after all.

Back in DC, McGee is at his desk, Jimmy for some reason is in the squad room at DiNozzo's desk, his feet up reading one of DiNozzo's 'porn' magazines (GSM). Abby comes rushing in asking if they are back. McGee says, a little shortly, that he'll call her. She then launches into a babble that that isn't good enough because that won't be an official welcome back. If she's there when they get back she can say 'welcome back' but if she comes in late, it's like them saying welcome back to her. And she calls on Jimmy to support her. He says she has a point and then looks at McGee basically letting McGee know he was just humouring her. She sees the look and sits down to check the flight. It has landed, but where are they? During this again I wanted to slap Abby.

DiNozzo says quietly behind her and she gets up and hugs him - ouch, poor DiNozzo. Jimmy than acknowledges DiNozzo, calling him 'Tony' and in turn DiNozzo calls him 'Jimmy'. Then they ask about Ziva and DiNozzo finally tells them she's still in Tel Aviv. Abby says Vance can't do that again and DiNozzo tells them it wasn't Vance. When asked who, DiNozzo just looks. That was a very poignant scene, very well done between all four of them and my desire to slap anyone vanished at high speed.

We move scenes and see Ducky going down the stairs to Gibbs's basement asking Gibbs to forgive him for his intrusion. Gibbs is sweeping a now empty room - there is no boat. And Ducky comes to a stop, physically and verbally and starts to ask Gibbs how he got it out. Gibbs interrupts him saying Ducky asks him that every time. Ducky then asks about the flight, Gibbs says 'one short' and he pours two drinks one into a coffee cup another into a jam jar. Ducky says he knows the decision couldn't have come easily, but Gibbs says he didn't make it; Ziva did when she asked him to chose. Ducky then says it wasn't about loyalty but about an unreasonable demand. Gibbs says she withheld information. Ducky says she did it to protect Rivkin, someone she cared about. He goes on to say how Ziva always had been an officer of Mossad and he doesn't envy the position she found herself in. He then comments that considering her less than conspicuous background he always found it surprising that she ever had Gibbs's trust.

Gibbs: "No. She earned it." He looks at Ducky and shakes his head.
Ducky: "But you took to Ziva more quickly than any agent before her. Timothy, Caitlin, even DiNozzo." Actually, IMO, I don't think that's true. We saw early in Season 3 that Gibbs didn't want Ziva on his team and that whilst she'd saved his life he didn't really trust her and didn't know where the loyalty laid - him or Jenny. It was only in Season 4, once she'd chosen Team Gibbs that he really started to 'take to her'.

Ducky says he'd always sensed there was a strong bond between them and suggests Gibbs and Ziva may have had shared something. Gibbs flashes back to her killing Ari and he simply says she proved herself.

Ducky: "Whatever it was that Ziva did to prove her loyalty, well it wasn't anywhere near as momentous as you believed. Or was it?"

Gibbs doesn't answer. He just goes on drinking and Ducky watches him.

A nice scene, only Ducky could go there like that and in effect question him.

So Gibbs has got rid of another boat and we still don't know why. Is this meant to be some kind of significant sign? We know he destroys/gets rid of his boats after each marriage ends, when he names them after his ex-wives. This boat was called 'Kelly'. Are we meant to see some kind of belief that Gibbs saw Ziva as a surrogate daughter (along with Abby) and now that she has gone he gets rid of the boat he'd named after his biological daughter?

We then flash to a ship and go down below decks. Ziva is there, amongst a lot of men, and she puts up the photograph on the wall. In her father's office there is a copy of the same photo on his desk.

Gibbs then goes into Vance's office and puts two files down saying he's been over them and they are both good agents. Vance tells him to take his pick, Gibbs says he'll let him know in a few months. You should have Dwayne Wilson, Gibbs - assuming for a moment Ziva isn't returning. I'd love to see Wilson again. Vance asks if he's expecting Ziva to return. Gibbs says he's just giving her time to remember who she could trust. Vance says Gibbs made the right call, but Gibbs says he wasn't asking for Vance's opinion.

Vance: "Just who the hell do you think you're talking to?"
Gibbs: "Good question. I've been wondering that for a while." He shuts the door hard and moves to Vance.

Vance says that Gibbs spends half of his time trying to second guess Vance and studying him. Gibbs says he's looking for answers. Vance says he could just ask questions, but adds Gibbs can't because he doesn't have a clue what to ask. He says he knows Gibbs doesn't trust him but knows Gibbs doesn't know why he doesn't trust him. Gibbs turns on him and goes back to when Vance tore his team apart without discussion or warning. Vance says is that what it's about: Gibbs wants the big chair. Gibbs denies wanting to be director, he just wants to support his team. Vance says Gibbs made his decision to leave Ziva behind and he supported him. Now Gibbs wants her back, meaning he still trusts her. Gibbs is about to tell Vance about Ari and Vance drops the bombshell: he knew that Ziva killed Ari. He tells Gibbs that in fact Director David sent Ziva to kill Ari as they knew he was out of control. So with one shot Ziva gained Gibbs's trust and got rid of Ari. Director David had played Gibbs. He admits though that until now Ziva had always been loyal to the agency and to Gibbs. But now Gibbs has to trust Vance even if he doesn't like it.

Vance: "If you're right about Ziva's alliance to you, she'll serve us well in Mossad."
Gibbs: "Yeah. And if you're right about her father, we'll never see her again."

So is this the 'big secret' that's been around since 'the first episode'? Was SB in fact referring to Season 3, episode 1 when he talked about discovering something to do with Gibbs that has puzzled people since 'day 1'. Was it the puzzle: just why did Ziva kill Ari? If so, now we know. But I can't say I'd ever really questioned why Ziva killed him. Like Ducky, I want to know how he got the damn boats out of his basement :-)

An added point: I hadn't questioned the validity of Vance's 'news' until plutos_revenge commented that she thought Director David was playing Vance as well as everyone else and that it wasn't true. And the more I think about it and the more discussions I had with plutos_revenge and also generale_kenobi the more I believe that this is the case. David knew how important Gibbs was to Ziva and how loyal she was to him. Gibbs had in effect taken her father's place in many ways and he wouldn't like that. So in order to put some degree of distrust between Gibbs and Ziva (or some extra distrust depending on when he told Vance) he has lied.

Another thought that later came to my mind was maybe Vance is the one lying - for some personal agenda or something. Again to do with levels of trust between Gibbs and his team.

I do hope it isn't true. I don't ship Gibbs/Ziva but I enjoy their dynamics and whilst I didn't particularly like Ziva to begin with, I really do now and have done for some time. And I prefer to believe that she killed Ari because it was the right thing to do. Because she, as his handler, discovered the truth and that Gibbs had told her the truth about him. She killed her own half-brother to save a man who was, in effect, a perfect stranger. I'd hate to think/believe the last three years have, in effect, been a 'lie'. I know Vance added that up untll now Ziva had been loyal to Gibbs even though the loyalty was given under different circumstances to those Gibbs believed, but that was more like turning the knife than trying to give Gibbs a modicom of comfort.

Down in the squad room a subdued McGee and DiNozzo are looking at Ziva's desk. DiNozzo gets his phone out and tries to call Ziva. There is, of course, no answer. Gibbs comes down and stops by DiNozzo's desk. DiNozzo looks at him and says Ziva will call when she's ready. Gibbs says nothing and goes to his own desk and then looks at Ziva's empty chair. DiNozzo shuts his phone.

And then we go to Somalia, Horn Of Africa. We see two men in a corridor both are smoking. One goes into a room and walks towards someone sitting on a chair (obviously it's Ziva). He puts his cigarette out, pulls of her necklace - the Star Of David. The person looks up; it's Ziva a very badly battered and bruised Ziva.

Man: "Tell me everything you know about NCIS."

OVERALL

Not as good as last week's episode. It had its moments, but overall I just found myself not really connecting with it and not really that involved with it. Not the best episode by far, they really don't seem to have great finales. Not bad, but it just didn't really engage me. The shock waves may have resonated around NCIS, but not here. A lot of it seemed fairly forced to me.

It still leaves a lot of questions to be answered and provided a few surprises. Gibbs has pretty much now openly admitted to not trusting Vance and Vance telling him he has to made me smile. You can't order trust.

Some good character moments and team support and solidarity.

Some good interaction and moments as well.

Some very moving and poignant moments.

I did like Gibbs's continued trust in Ziva - but one wonders now if that trust has been shaken somewhat, learning what he did about how Director David played him. I'm not sure it has been; he does still want her back.

I did think there was a lot of really good writing this week. Even when I wanted to shake DiNozzo, I had to admire the skill of the writing to make me want to do that. And Ziva's character was also well written and very powerfully written.

Nice to see Jimmy, but rather like in Angel Of Death him being there just seemed to be because he is a member of the team and as such should be in the finale.

I didn't like the split teams one in DC the other in Israel. And with the focus on Ziva, DiNozzo, Vance and to a lesser extent actually Gibbs, the DC lot lost out somewhat.

So are we going to get 'bounced' three times? And twice in a row? Just how soon will Ziva return to the team? I shall be peeved if she's back in episode one or two - as much as I like Ziva, I do hate this constant 'someone is leaving, oh, wait, no they're not'. Or are we really going to lose her - is that 'shock in the first 30 seconds' the 'people won't believe what they saw' going to involve her death?

Best scenes:

- Ducky and Gibbs in Gibbs's basement
- DiNozzo goading Ziva to allow her to take out her anger physically
- The scene where DiNozzo is telling McGee, Jimmy and Abby about Ziva still being in Tel Aviv

Ship of the week:

None in particular. A few touches for some, but none really stood out as being 'the' one. Although DiNozzo's unrequited feelings for Ziva was the closest. He did what he did for her. Very moving.

I'm repeating some of my observations made during the review here as 'points for discussion'.

Ziva telling Gibbs to chose between her and DiNozzo:

My feeling here is that Ziva deliberately chose that course of action. She had decided to finish what Rivkin started, but knew Gibbs would argue with her if she said that and try to persuade her not to and she might not have stood up to him. Or indeed Gibbs would have wanted to help in some way - and we all know how stubborn Gibbs can be. So she chose the one thing she knew would make him do what she wanted him to do; in effect lose her from the team - she made him chose. There was, to her mind, only one choice he would make; he did make it and thus it freed her to do her job for Mossad.

Gibbs getting rid of another boat:

So Gibbs has got rid of another boat and we still don't know why. Is this meant to be some kind of significant sign? We know he destroys/gets rid of his boats after each marriage ends, when he names them after his ex-wives. This boat was called 'Kelly'. Are we meant to see some kind of belief that Gibbs saw Ziva as a surrogate daughter (along with Abby) and now that she has gone he gets rid of the boat he'd named after his biological daughter?
Some OTT behaviour from several people. And much wanting to shake/slap.

Director David having sent Ziva to kill Ari:

So is this the 'big secret' that's been around since 'the first episode'? Was SB in fact referring to Season 3, episode 1 when he talked about discovering something to do with Gibbs that has puzzled people since 'day 1'. Was it the puzzle: just why did Ziva kill Ari? If so, now we know. But I can't say I'd ever really questioned why Ziva killed him. Like Ducky, I want to know how he got the damn boats out of his basement :-)

An added point: I hadn't questioned the validity of Vance's 'news' until plutos_revenge commented that she thought Director David was playing Vance as well as everyone else and that it wasn't true. And the more I think about it and the more discussions I had with plutos_revenge and also generale_kenobi the more I believe that this is the case. David knew how important Gibbs was to Ziva and how loyal she was to him. Gibbs had in effect taken her father's place in many ways and he wouldn't like that. So in order to put some degree of distrust between Gibbs and Ziva (or some extra distrust depending on when he told Vance) he has lied.

Another thought that later came to my mind was maybe Vance is the one lying - for some personal agenda or something. Again to do with levels of trust between Gibbs and his team.

I do hope it isn't true. I don't ship Gibbs/Ziva but I enjoy their dynamics and whilst I didn't particularly like Ziva to begin with, I really do now and have done for some time. And I prefer to believe that she killed Ari because it was the right thing to do. Because she, as his handler, discovered the truth and that Gibbs had told her the truth about him. She killed her own half-brother to save a man who was, in effect, a perfect stranger. I'd hate to think/believe the last three years have, in effect, been a 'lie'. I know Vance added that up untll now Ziva had been loyal to Gibbs even though the loyalty was given under different circumstances to those Gibbs believed, but that was more like turning the knife than trying to give Gibbs a modicom of comfort

After first watch. These are often revised after my second watch - or indeed during the day as I re-evaluate the episode.

Storyline: 8.00

Enjoyment: 8.00
Tags: !creator: nakeisha, non-fiction: episode reviews, season 06
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