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NCIS “Shiva” 

Photo Credit:CBS
Photo Credit:CBS

Have you ever watched an episode of a television show that is so emotional, that sweeps you away so much that you just sit staring into space, speechless, at the end?  Tonight’s NCIS did just that to me.  I applaud the writers for probably one of the most powerful NCIS episodes to date.

There were two main pivots in tonight’s episode – determining who was responsible for the hit on Eli David and the mourning surrounding the deaths of Ziva’s (Cote de Pablo) father and Director Vance’s (Rocky Carroll) wife.  Since Director David was in the United States to allegedly forge peace with the Iranian leader Arash Kasmi (Nasser Faris), Kasmi naturally becomes the prime suspect.  It is revealed that David and Kasmi never had a very amiable relationship in the past, and so, Kasmi claiming that the peace offering was not simply a ploy to lure Eli David into a trap was initially hard to believe.  However, as soon as the Deputy Director of the Mossad, Ilan Bodnar (Oded Fehr, The Mummy) showed up, I knew immediately he was responsible.  The man comes blowing into NCIS headquarters, throwing his weight around, appears arrogant and way too confident, and had way too much to gain by Eli David’s death.  His grand plan was to have David assassinated, pin the blame on Kasmi, and then, he would be named the new Director of the Mossad.  But, NCIS is smarter than that, and when that didn’t work, he, of course, had to kill Kasmi as well.  Both Eli David and Arash Kasmi are now dead, and Ilan Bodnar is nowhere to be found.

While the “who dunnit” part of the episode was, of course, intriguing, the best parts are the characters, how they handled loss, and what their actions revealed about them.  Let’s start with Director Vance.  Honestly, I have to give Rocky Carroll a standing ovation.  If I were in his position, the emotions inside of me would be this horrendous mixture of terrible sorrow, pain, and enormous anger and the desire for revenge.  Carroll portrayed those emotions perfectly.  He loses his cool during an interrogation of Kasmi and so, is ordered on administrative leave while Deputy Director, Jerome Craig (Greg Germann), is made acting Director.  We probably all knew that was going to happen and so, that was no surprise.  But, we also can see the overbearing grief in Vance’s face with the tears welling up in his eyes as he has this telling conversation with Gibbs (Mark Harmon):

            This has helped me understand your choices.  I never wanted that kind of justice – until the other night.  Was it worth it? There must have been some relief.

This, of course, is referring to the revenge Gibbs sought (successfully) on his own family’s murderer.  This tells us that Vance’s grief is so great that taking matters into his own hands had crossed his mind.  But, then, he goes on to tell Gibbs that getting revenge and starting a war wouldn’t be what his wife would have wanted and so, backs down.  Wow, some powerful stuff.  At first, I was a little put off that Gibbs wasn’t so quick to try and nail the bastard responsible for the killings, but then, I realized the two situations were different.  Gibbs killed a meaningless drug lord as part of his revenge.  In this situation, extracting revenge could potentially start a war between the U.S. and Israel, or Israel and Iran, which is completely different.  Gibbs realized the difference and acted accordingly.  Kudos to you, Leroy Jethro for keeping your head screwed on straight.

But, if I had to pick MVP(s) for this episode, it would go to Ziva and Tony (Michael Weatherly).  For those Tiva fans out there, this was a major episode and some serious character development.  As I watched Ziva mourning and Tony being there and showing that he truly cared, I couldn’t help but think how much Tony has grown as a character and how his relationship with Ziva is so different.  In comparison to the juvenile flirtations with his former partner, Caitlin Todd (Sasha Alexander), the chemistry between these two appear to be the real deal.  This is fully apparent in the conversation between the two before Ziva is about to leave for Israel to bury her father with her good friend, Schmeil (Jack Axelrod):

     Tony: Ziva, don’t do this.

     Ziva (with tears in her eyes): Tony…

     Tony: What?

They then hug, and Tony says in Hebrew “At lo levad” which means “you’re not alone”.  Tony truly cares for Ziva, and I honestly believe that he loves her.  Yes, I said “love”. And, in fact, during that pause before she hugs him, I believe she wanted to tell Tony that she loved him too.  So, how many Tiva fans out there are doing back-flips now!

Photo Credit:CBS
Photo Credit:CBS

The episode ends with Ziva in Israel, and of course, we know she is there to do more than just bury her father.  She is on a warpath to find Ilan Bonfar, and with what we know about Ziva, she won’t stop until she finds and ends him.

All in all, this was another top-notch episode.  The writing was amazing, all of the actors did a fantastic job, and even the music was perfect.  Except for Abby’s crazy music in her lab, I don’t think I have ever commented on the music in an NCIS episode before.  The song at the end was “You’re Not Alone” by Patty Griffin.  It was a beautiful piece and a brilliant tieback to Tony’s last words to Ziva – you’re not alone.

If you loved the song as much as I did, you can find it on iTunes at You’re Not Alone by Patty Griffin.

Most Memorable Quotes and random thoughts

  •  “Why should I not be angry? Why should I have faith in You? Show me a sign” – Ziva
  • “Pity does not validate cowardice” – Ducky
  • “Our worlds are different, our goals the same” –Kasmi
  • “Don’t make me find you, Ziva.  You know I can” – Ilan to Ziva
  • “Schmeil the man of steel will take care of you” – Tony to Ziva
  • I personally can’t stand Deputy Director Craig.  He seems to be totally unprepared for the job, and I can’t imagine him replacing Director Vance.

NCIS airs on Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. EST on CBS.

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  1. Sunny

    This episode, like the last was amazing! The way the it showed how Vance and Ziva dealt with both their respective losses were extremely real and true to their character. The way both Gibbs and Tony acted as a rock was great. After 10 seasons and being able to churn out episodes like these? NCIS, its cast and crew are top notch. <3

  2. Stephanie

    Well, I wasn’t doing backflips (mostly because I don’t know how), but there was quite a lot of flailing going on last night. So much goodness. 🙂 I LOVED the scene with Tony and Ziva at the airport. Like you, I half expected an “I love you” even though my gut told me it was probably still a tad too soon for that. But the hug and “You are not alone” (in Hebrew!) were just right. 🙂

  3. Zoyarose

    Oh, last night’s episode was all kinds of awesome…..from Tony finding Ziva at the synagogue to the apt. scenes to the airport scenes……you’re right, the MVPs should go to Michael Weatherly and Cote de Pablo. Then, there was Vance, who now understands where Gibbs has been. Gibbs will be there for Vance, to keep him from doing anything stupid. I can’t wait to see how the rest of the season goes for Ziva and Tony, and Vance as well. Bring it on, NCIS!!

  4. Amanda

    I was wondering if anybody knew anything about the jacket Ziva is wearing in the picture. Its grey and red inside. Thank you.

  5. NativSwan

    Mary….well done! I KNEW your review would be good. Everywhere I go – even at work – I hear people talking about these last two episodes. They really resonated with the viewers, and I haven’t heard folks THIS excited about NCIS in a long time (outside of the fans I always talk to). I agree with you about Tony; he’s finding it more difficult to deny the fact that he loves Ziva – her deep “complications” and all. Tony has his own “issues”, but they are quite different from Ziva’s. This is why they compliment one another, and they are soooo fascinating to watch. I can’t wait to see what happens next in the lives of these characters! 🙂

  6. Emily Martin

    My favorite quote of this episode:
    “Whose grandfather are you?”
    “That depends, who’s your grandmother.”
    Just another reason to love Ducky! =)

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