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NCIS Review: Look to Yourself

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NCIS definitely knows how to raise the stakes with international missions, inter-agency subterfuge and kidnapped military personnel. Far from a run-of-the-mill murder case, tonight's investigation was just the onset of an intriguing new arc that could continue through next month's season finale, if not beyond.

The conclusion of "The Missionary Position" unfolded very quickly and felt anticlimactic after a compelling, slow-building first 45 minutes in the U.S. and Colombia, but it was just the opening chapter.

More questions were asked than answered, and none greater than what Dr. Samantha Ryan (Jamie Lee Curtis) knows about the mysterious Monique Lisson (Karina Lombard), whose penchant for secrecy and suspicious background were evident from the start. In that respect, Lisson is a fitting adversary for Ryan.

Under Fire

Following their apparent sleepover at Gibbs' house, were led to believe that Ryan's reappearance could be purely personal, to showcase her new relationship with Gibbs, and not necessarily related to tonight's case.

Similarly, Ziva just happened to have an old friend in Cartagena, Colombia. Wishful thinking. You knew there would be more to both characters' involvement, but their connection to each other was a surprise.

NCIS does a nice job of creating intricate situations involving multifaceted individuals you can't make sense of. You want to like Ryan, and to a degree Monique, but there are parts of each that are so, so shady.

The show also intertwines personal relationships and casework, whether it's with old friends or new romantic partners, blurring the lines even further and weaving a tangled web for its characters to circumvent.

Not everything is black and white, as we were reminded many times tonight, but with Ryan, you have no idea if she's one of the good guys or not. She and Gibbs are on the same team, but it doesn't feel that way.

Will she shape up after this and be a team player? Coming clean about wanting to talk to Lisson is a good start, but Gibbs' romance with someone he clearly can't trust is enough to give anyone pause.

Gibbs Gets His Man

At the same time, he's clearly attracted to her. It's neat that he has an age-appropriate love interest, and how could you not like Gibbs' awkwardly happy smile after he told her "we did okay" in their attempt at coupledom?

Overall, the episode was less about Tony and Ziva, or the latter's past, and more about the casework. Posing as missionaries to collect DNA samples and infiltrate cartels through vaccinations? Diabolical.

For his part, DiNozzo was anything but dead weight, particularly during his heart-to-heart with Chaplain Castro. Tony sounded a lot like Gibbs when comforting her and telling her how much guilt he carries.

We learned a little more about Ziva the human being instead of Ziva the action hero. Told by her longtime friend to search internally for happiness, she may again find herself reexamining her worldview.

Ziva's not the only one who will need to dig deep and look to herself before this is over. This case, if it does indeed continue and grow more intense, could test the instincts and fortitude of the entire team.

This case has the potential to get ugly, given the complexities and people. Cartels aren't known for keeping things above board, and the warning signs were abundant. How deep will NCIS go?

The Navy Chaplain was rescued after the CIA connection was exposed, but "The Missionary Position" clearly set the table for bigger things. This isn't over, and the next chapter should be very interesting.

Missionary Mission

Meanwhile, Jimmy Palmer spent the bulk of the episode hemming and hawing over who to choose for his best man, and after much deliberation, went with his gut and made the only logical choice ... Abby!

As an octogenarian, Jimmy's mentor Ducky would've been an unusual dark horse pick as well, but he bowed out, leaving Abbs to do the honors. Miss Scuito as the best man-woman? Somehow it just works.

All in all, an unconventional but solid episode with both a satisfying conclusion and plenty left unresolved. A few additional thoughts and observations before turning it over to you ...

  • Gibbs punching McGee's arm in celebration of the rescue? Awesome moment.
  • Of course a trip to Colombia ends in Tony rattling off Puss in Boots quotes.
  • The dead body dropping near a picnicking couple was a bit Bones-esque.
  • The funny thing about Palmer's wedding tuxes? They were once in style!
  • Is Richard Schiff's character also connected to Monique and Ryan?
  • Was the "Colombian" seaside at the end actually Long Beach?
  • Please, please, let them show Palmer's bachelor party.

What did you think of this week's NCIS? Did Palmer make the right call? Do you like Gibbs and Ryan together? Where is this case headed? Discuss in the comments below!

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (266 Votes)

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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Am I the only one who thinks that Ziva and Monique may have had more than a "sisterly" relationship at some time? They make a beautiful couple, although I'm still partial to the idea of Ziva and Tony being together (probably not until the series finale, though - I can't see how the show would work with them being a couple!).

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JLC JUST TO ME HAS NO CHEMISTRY WITH GIBBS ITS YUK, AND SOMETHING IS UP BECAUSE HE SAID IT WAS OK, WHEN SHE LEFT THAT MORNING, HE HAD LOVE INTEREST BEFORE THAT DID A BETTER JOB AT IT AND COMPLIMENTED HIM MORE. JLC DOES NOT

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"But on a serious note she is too old for Gibbs"
JLC is seven years younger than Mark Harmon. His real - life - wife Pam Dawber) is also seven years older than JLC. People sometimes like to be with people of their own generation. I know, though, really old people hugging= GROSS! Right?
"She has no sex appeal" To someone under thirty or forty, maybe not. But there's a lot more to appeal than sex, and a lot more to sex appeal than appearance.
". . .perfect match for Gibbs she is very pretty they look good together"
Which is really what matters in a relationship, I guess. Good luck with that.

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@Stephanie...according to some Spanish speakers on other forums, he said, "I couldn't do what I do (or I wouldn't be who I am) without her. She's an incredible woman." Some have watched the movie and even read transcripts of it and those lines are NOT in the movie. I seems Tony said it himself and then added the movie reference to make it seem like he was just quoting something? I haven't seen it so can't say one way or the other.

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All these hate Towards JLC i find kinda of funny considering that its the same reason why a lot of people don't like Ziva

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I was just wondering what did Tony say in the quote from Puss in Boots...I couldn't hear it...and tried to rewatch it, but I still can't understand...so if anyone knows...that would be great!!!

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There's something we don't know about her that unsettles people. She has an ex-husband that may be a problem. I think Gibbs said something about fixing it, if she wanted him to do so. That makes her seem secretive.

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It's got nothing to do with her age. JLC is actually 7 years younger than MH. It's the character's personality I can't stand, not her age.

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If Shannon were alive, she would be Gibbs’ age. Would she be gross kissing Gibbs? It can be comforting being with someone within the same generation. There’s a commonality in music, memories, history, slang words, values, etc. Remember times when Gibbs would say something and no one knew what he was talking about? Remember the duplicating machine no one could figure out how to run? When I see Gibbs hugging Ryan, and she snuggles next to him, I see two people comfortable with each other because this commonality. I don’t know what will happen to these two, but there’s all kinds of love out there.

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@Janet, I try to ignore Michael but when he wrote that about the contract and someone was questioning, I knew I could prove that he was so wrong. You talked about other sites he trolls through, know what you're talking about. He is easy to spot. Just look for acid spitting towards Ziva and you have found him.

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