This was another episode (along with next week's) to which I was not looking forward. This was partly because of the whole Eli David and Mossad coming back again, I really like Ziva and have grown to like Vance more but I felt two episodes that would centre around Vance, Ziva and Eli David - even though we would learn something about how Vance and Eli knew one another was too much. It seemed it would take away from the team, or certainly members of the team (Ducky, Abby and Jimmy and quite possibly Tim). And we've done the whole father & daughter thing and Mossad.
It was also because of this former special agent with whom Ducky used to work. Maybe I'm unusual, but I really don't want to know about our character's pasts, certainly not this late on the series. I and other G/D fen have speculated as to what her link could be: ex-lover; daughter; someone who actually didn't get on with Ducky - of those I personally wanted the last option. I doubted they'd make her a daughter due to Gibbs and his family and I'm sorry, but from day one, long before I started to ship Gibbs and Ducky, I saw Ducky as gay - everything about him screamed it to me. His stories about past 'loves' have always, to me, been just stories to put people off the scent, ditto his 'dating' the odd woman.
Given I hadn't looked forward to last week's and ended up loving it, I did allow myself a wee hope that this would be the same.
And once again I was pleasantly surprised; again I enjoyed the episode more than I expected to. It wasn't perfect and at times I wanted to speed it up. But then that so often happens when NCIS try to do a double episode - they rarely have enough material for a really powerful edge of seat two-parter, so have to fill in. This was one of the better ones though there was less waffle and things you could easily cut out and the non-action scenes for the most part did play a logical part in the episode, it wasn't just dropped in to fill up time. However, I'm still confident (without seeing the second part but with knowledge of how the NCIS PTB work) that it could have sat quite happily into one really powerful, intense episode that kept the viewer on the edge of their seat.
There were some good moments of team banter and team work, it was a more solemn episode than last week's, probably the most solemn since the opening episode. It continued the whole fathers theme both covertly and overtly and was actually addressed during the episode. But in short it boiled down to: NCIS are having a conference to which lots of past Directors and Agents will be invited; Eli David decides against everyone's better judgement to attend; people are out to kill him and NCIS have to stop him; however Mossad have also sent in a team to try to prevent the assassination; Ziva meets the new 'her' and some old colleagues; attempts are made on Eli's life; they are prevented - at least on screen, but then there is radio silence and no one knows what has happened to Vance and Eli.
The case, as such, was NCIS protecting Eli David because he had insisted, even against Vance's better judgement, of attending a conference - I'm still not quite sure why he was attending, I'm assuming it has to do with Amsterdam. But other than that, we had no case. There were some poignant moments and some intense ones, but as I'd expected the team, well certain members of it mainly Ducky, got sidelined by the addition of the three Mossad agents and Eli. So it was far less of a team episode than we've had of late.
It was good to see a different opening scene, i.e. no one dead/being murdered/found dead but instead Tim and Tony arresting a girl who is swiping credit cards with an all singing, all dancing gizmo. It's really quite scary the kind of thing people can walk down the street using without being noticed by anyone - I guess it shows a) what busy lives everyone leaves and b) how no one wants to get involved, thus they don't pay attention to anyone else. Quite sobering really. It was a different way of getting the 'case' off the ground, so kudos for that.
One of the high points of the episode was seeing Gibbs in a suit, smart shirt and tie - *drools* I wish he'd wear that kind of thing more often, he really does carry it off so well. (Shallow moment over).
Ziva was excellent in this episode, her emotions were carefully hidden for the most part yet also very clear to see. I got a feeling of conflict within her even before the scene between her and Abby in the evidence garage. She both loves and hates her father; she's the little girl and the grown up woman; she's angry, hurt but also upset and I think confused within herself because of her conflicting emotions and feelings about her father. He left her to die; he doesn't approve of her abandoning Mossad for NCIS, but he still is her father.
And we still haven't really learnt anything about Vance and Eli; we know they first met in Amsterdam, we know the case is of some importance, we know that when it comes out (assuming it does and they aren't both dead - which of course they aren't) that people will think there is bad blood between them, but we know there isn't. We also know that Vance is somewhat leery about his past as an agent (from what he said to Gibbs) and does indeed have some skeletons in his cupboard - which we knew anyway - but we still don't know what they are. I really do hope the Amsterdam story comes out, I shall be very irked with TPTB if it doesn't - but sadly, we do know NCIS has a habit of doing that kind of thing.
The assassins and Mossad had some scarily powerful weapons - wow! Scary.
Gibbs is good; darn good. But then we know that. I enjoyed how he played Eli's bodyguard to Ziva's Eli, that was a very good scene indeed.
The end to the episode was a powerful one and the scene was an extremely good one. I thought it was really well done that the only body we see is Hadar's, thus we are left not knowing what has happened to Vance or Eli. I have no doubt they are still alive - whether by their own hands or having been taken prisoner/hostage I don't know. But I'm sure they are alive.
And nothing about Ducky and the past agent - so much for that spreading over the two parts, it must just be next week. I can't say I'm sorry, not in the least.
Not the best episode of the season, but better than I'd expected, even if, as I said, I'm pretty sure we could have had one episode rather than this one and next week's. The high points were: Gibbs in a suit, shirt & tie and the ending.
- The opening squad room scene. There was some good banter between Tim, Tony and Ziva all nicely done with little touches of the 'games' they play without any nastiness. Fun that Tony couldn't get the gizmo to work, but the others could. And consistent with the fact that for the most part Tony is like Gibbs when it comes to techy stuff.
- The first meeting of Ziva, Tony, Malachi and Liat very nicely co-ordinated and done. Good exchanges and hints of 'turf war' and one-upmanship and us against them.
- Ziva and Liat in the ladies; again a very interesting exchange between two women feeling each other out.
- Gibbs, Ducky and Tim in Autopsy. It wasn't particularly long, but we did have a couple of nice looks between Gibbs and Ducky of the kind when they totally shut anyone else who might be there out.
- Gibbs and Abby in her lab.
- Gibbs and Eli's first talk in the coffee shop. So much was said not just with words, but with body language and tone and meaning beneath the words.
- Tony and Malachi's chat whilst Ziva and Liat are talking about ways an assassin could get his job done. Nicely done at two levels and comparisons made. I got the feeing that when Tony was talking about Malachi having a partner for the first time he was also talking about him having a partner for the first time too. As well as he worked with Kate and works with McGee, I think Tony regards Ziva as his partner in a way the two weren't/aren't.
- The scene in the underground garage where Ziva was playing her father, Gibbs her body-guard and Tony, Malachi and Liat were the assassins. That was very well done, very powerful. Great to see Gibbs take out Tony, then Malachi but quite chiling when Liat turned the tables so to speak. She was dead, but so where they - very well done.
- Abby and Ziva in the evidence garage talking about fathers. This scene was extremely moving with Abby mentioning (just in case the audience had missed it this season) Gibbs and his father and Tony and his and again reminding us that her own father is dead and so can never come back into her life.
- Ziva and her father. Again so much said in words, looks and what wasn't said. And the mention of how happy Eli used to be when he had his three children around.
- The final attempts to assassinate Eli. The whole kitchen thing and the outside with Ziva shooting the assassin and him then standing up as he had a bullet proof vest on and her finally killing him was very well done indeed.
- Tony going into the conference and telling them to calm down and having it pointed out that they were calm; he was yelling. It was really good to see a reaction of what he'd been through. I know he faces death every day, but this was a shoot-out and attack and a half. It's always good to see when cops are human and do react in that way no matter how long they've been doing the job for. Tony knew that had it not been for a luck and good shooting that the body count could easily have been all members of the NCIS and Mossad teams. He probably came closer to death than he has been for some time. And everyone is human. So it was an excellent and very believable reaction and incredibly well acted. Kudos to the writers for putting in such a scene and to MW for the way he portrayed it.
- Gibbs trying to call Hadar and getting no answer. I liked how it started off fairly low-key, just another call and then slowly built up and up with Ziva suddenly realising something wasn't right. And how Gibbs ended with calling Hadar, Leon and Eli.
There were some nice little throw away touches too:
- Tim implying Tony hasn't grown up and the look on Tony's face that said 'hey, you know what, I'll never admit it but you're right'. A lovely touch of teasing.
- The mention of Tom Morrow and the fact that he and Gibbs were due to have lunch.
- Tony's 'Oh, good the Israelis are back'.
- Ziva correcting one of Liat's 'errors' the 'tongue in ear' for 'tongue in cheek'.
- Gibbs telling Ducky and Tim it wasn't a guessing game.
- Gibbs giving Abby a piece of paper he'd written something on.
- Mentioning Jenny.
- Gibbs asking Vance if he was okay.
- Tony taking the sandwich bag from Tim, Gibbs taking it from Tony, taking a sandwich out and throwing the bag back to Tim.
- Gibbs's 'I'm a magician' when talking to Eli.
- Eli saying that Gibbs has a knack of making his family disappear.
- That is was Ziva's mother who taught her to drive as she did.
- The lack of Ducky, only one scene. I know it had to be because of the whole nature of the episode, but that's one reason why I'm not fond of this kind of episode. Ducky is the one who always loses out. At least Abby got two scenes, both really good ones, especially the one with Ziva.
- No Jimmy.
- The pace at times.
- The way Gibbs eats - it makes me cringe every time I see it.
Ship of the week:
Ziva and Eli.
Character of the week:
Actor/Actress of the week:
Cote de Pablo