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NCIS Review: The Steel Bonds of Blood

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Wow. We lost two main characters on NCIS this week, people who played a major role in the lives of Ziva David and Leon Vance. I did not see that coming.

The variations on the theme of family relationships woven throughout "Shabbat Shalom" were hard to miss. We began with a father who desperately wanted his son to open up to him, only to have the connection made - albeit in a weird way - after they discovered a dead body together while fishing.

Dad: Sorry, we shouldn't have stayed.
Son: Are you kidding? Dad, this is like the most bad-assed thing we've ever done together. Thanks.| permalink
Shabbat Dinner

The body turned out to be a disgraced reporter who was masquerading as a Navy petty officer while in pursuit of a story. In a typical NCIS episode, there are two stories going on: one involving a murder, and another involving the lives of one or more of the NCIS agents. But this episode was anything but typical, as we soon found out.

The second relationship was that of Leon and Jackie Vance: the two were looking forward to spending a romantic evening without the kids. She has always been his rock and most definitely the love of his life: his vehement promise to clear his schedule to ensure this night happened made that clear. Her quick uptake and overwhelming disappointment shone clear, too, when Leon said "is that wine kosher?"

She guessed right away that Eli David was going to make an appearance, after which she scrambled to ensure their Shabbot meal would be as close to perfect as possible. Leon hoped they could salvage the night but:

Leon Vance: So. We'll still have the house to ourselves after dinner right?
Jackie Vance: You had your shot, baby. | permalink

The third relationship, marvelously highlighted, was the father-daughter dynamic between Eli and Ziva. So amazing to see the wary hope in Ziva's eyes as she realized her father was near retirement and on the outs with Mossad and had come to America just to see her. He disappointed her badly in the past though, didn't he? And so she kept a close eye on him.

It wasn't until she saw a picture of him wearing a hat - a picture that had been snapped by the dead reporter's camera - that she realized heartbreaking disappointment. Her father had killed the innocent man, all in an effort to ensure his real purpose - to strike up a relationship with his Iranian counterpart - would not be jeopardized. And with that, the two subplots came together.

Her loyalty to NCIS and to Gibbs were without question, as she refused to share wine with her father and finally got up from the table in disgust in order to call up Gibbs to let him know who the killer was.

She thought she felt pain... but that didn't even come close to the agony she felt after her father was shot to death.

And then we saw an amazing shot of Gibbs and Tony standing apart in the hospital waiting room. Stark, and filled with apprehension. Gibbs eventually left alone to meet Leon, as he came out to say that his wife was dead.

This story was amazing and filled with sadness. I cannot imagine a more compelling episode. The writing, the dialogue, the incredible performances all combined to a bring heartbreaking masterpiece to the small screen. I can't wait to see the second part of this story.

Some final thoughts:

  • "Shabbat Shalom" is a Jewish greeting, offered on the Sabbath (between sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday)
  • We don't know who the shooter was.
  • The team is worried that this incident might bring strong waves resulting in war, between the U.S. and Iran, Israel and Iran or all three.

What are your thoughts? And who do you think commissioned the shooting?

Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (702 Votes)

Douglas Wolfe is a staff writer for TV Fanatic Follow him on Twitter

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This is one episode that I really cry ,I couldn't believe that Vince's wife Jackie pass away from the gun shot. I knew right then and there when I saw Gibbs was just standing looking at the ER door that it wasn't going to be good at all , everyone's there as well . Vince comes out of the door and said Gibbs my wife didn't make it , All I could do is just cry that how bad I felt and I never cry like that. Wow it really hit me in my heart. I loved Jackie she was awesome .

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This might sound silly -- but maybe the writers and the producer -- knew where Homeland (Showtime) led us in Season Two, and especially the action in the last episode there --- --- that they felt NCIS needed to kick it up a bit. Not just another case of a dead Navy person, and spend 45 minutes solving that case where the landlord did it. But -- taking us on a ride to the past with Eli, then Jackie -- then the estrangement of Eli and his daughter -- dinner and terrorism. This was/is a risk, because of characters that leave the story line, but the writers now need to move this story line in creative ways . . .

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CIRay & Trent have something to do with this. It sure doesn't sound like everything is going to be cleared up in part 2; I think this will come back up towards the end of the season & will be what the season finale is all about.

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....got cut off...continuing....I meant earlier, "...he had to beg her to join HIM at the Vance dinner".
...in ending: "...and the direction/s of the rest of this year's episodes. Where does anyone think that the writers are headed with this?

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@noname...NOT even feasible---Eli wouldn't plan to do it at Leon's house. There's just too much chance for collateral damage,...like there was. He couldn't possibly know when or if Ziva would get up to leave the line of fire...and wouldn't want to hurt the Vances, as he's always shown such respect for both Leon and Jackie.
This is all very tangled---Eli couldn't have known that he could have already been discovered as the murderer of Wilkes [could Eli have known that his victim had such a recognizable birth mark on the left 'buttock'!? :)] with it being a surprise that Ziva already found out, he had to beg her to join her a the Vance dinner. Then her frustration with his 'toast' leads her to leave the table,...and the shooting ensues. After re-watching it twice more,...I'm still so shocked at the complexity of this,...that I can't even venture a guess where this is going and what will be the long term ramifications on the characters and the direction/s of the rest of this year's episodes. Just where are the writers headed with this?

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I posted earlier my theory that maybe Eli had possibly planned a part in the shooting. What are other people's opinions on this? I think it would explain how desperate he was the whole episode. And maybe he waited until Ziva left the dinner table to somehow signal the assassin.

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Best Episode ever.

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No Ziva not pregnant let kill that right now that would be jumping the shark she was piss at her dad and its not smart to drink on the job

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Did anyone else notice all the baby/pregnancy talk on this episode? Ziva covered her wine glass and refused wine at the dinner table. Could she be pregnant?

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I don't know who killed Jackie and Eli, but I think the Iranian had something to do with it. Being a cheerful person, I don't usually like sad stories. But NCIS drew me in then slammed me in the chest with crushing sadness before I knew what happened. Well done writers. 5 stars

NCIS Season 10 Episode 11 Quotes

Leon Vance: So. We'll still have the house to ourselves after dinner right?
Jackie Vance: You had your shot, baby.

Leroy Gibbs: Leon?
Leon Vance: She's dead. My wife is dead, Gibbs.