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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
  • 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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Please bring Jackie Vance back. Think killing her off is entirely too much. She was so good for Leon.

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best episode i've ever seen! I was on the verge of tears and i felt like i had lost a family memeber too. It was a very sad episode, but cote did great! I can't wait for Shiva and Ziva getting her revenge. Go get em Ziva!!!!I would give this episode a 5 out of 5, I hope ziva or vance don't leave the show it just wouldn't be the same without them. They're just as important as gibbs or tony are. Best show ever!!!! it never gets dull, alwayws leaves you breath less and at the edge of your seat. Amazing!!!!

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My very favorite show, they better leave all the main characters the same........I know it is just fiction, but you get attached, as crazy as that is........

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@Karla. I haven't studied or read up on the Mossad, but your assessment sounds very 'right on' to me---can't believe that the Israelis would turn on one of their own---they're just too loyal for that.
And,...I too will mourn the loss of Nouri,...his characterization of Eli was sooo perfect over the years,...and I'm sure that the writers knew that knocking off his character would take away from some interesting future plot adventures involving Ziva,...but, obviously, they decided to make that call!

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If Jackie Vance is indeed dead, maybe Vance will indeed retire, (allows another character spot for the show to fill in as new Director) and Leon becomes the next Mike Franks coming in to help clean up the mess from time to time. That would make an interesting storyline. As I said before, there are sooooo.... many ways they can take this. By far some of the best writers to ever grace television. There are only a few shows I really make the time to sit and watch each week and NCIS is one of them. I rarely record episodes unless I know that I will not be home to watch, but I set the DVR to record next weeks episode and the rest of the season to make sure I don;t miss it.

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I agree with DeAnn. I think it is possible that Hetty and the LA crowd could be brought back into the picture for an episode or 2. If I remember correctly, wasn't Vance originally from LA? or San Diego maybe? I remember he filled in for Jenny and then had to fly back to the West Coast. There are just so many ways this could go. Personally, I like NCIS-LA. Not as good as the original, but getting better each season, especially as you begin to identify with the characters. And someone please explain to me how you could not like Kenzi, I will watch it just to see her. Like most of you, I was shocked that Jackie was also killed, but I'm telling you, something is amiss here. I will believe she is dead when I see her on Ducky's table.

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Oddly enough I just finished reading a book entitled "Mossad" and it was not them that did this....it is not at all how they operate. Even when one of the heads is not seen in the best of lights for whatever reason they do not take out their own............it is simply not how the Israelis operate....to them it would be like leaving one behind and they never do that either.....they get them back no matter what it takes..........even if it takes too much. The value of even one life is far too great for them. They would never sanction the killing of one who served so in such a manner. I know this is a TV show but that is the reality of it. As I said before Eli David was such a layered character and that is rare to find these days.............I am sad that he is gone as well as Jackie but to me Eli was far more intense in the way he was portrayed.

Gatorgal

Rocky Carroll signed a new two-year contract last May.

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This episode was heartbreaking and gut wrenching. I have watched it three times since it aired and I still have to grab my box of tissues. I don't know which gutted me more - Ziva listening to her father nonchalantly admit he killed a man or watching her scream ABBA as she saw his lifeless body. The last few minutes were equally heartbreaking watching Gibbs stand guard at the hospital surgery door and Vance when he came out and tearfully say his wife was gone. Next week revenge will taste as bittersweet as it did taking down the brother and sister of the drug dealer Gibbs killed. I do not think Rocky Carroll is signed for the next season - is this part of the exit strategy? His wife is killed and he stops being director to stay at home and raise his kids as a single dad? Carroll is such a great actor I would hate to see him go - unless it is to spread his wings and do movies, theater and other TV. Michael Nouri brought such a great dynamic to the show, that in "retirement" he could have bought another layer to his life with Ziva dropped by more often.due to boredom in his life. Now we will never know. I think we get to see a younger Ziva and Eli on next week's episode. I hope we get to see her sister and Ari as young kids too.

Deann

This episode was so tragic, and I am among the many viewers who cried like a baby when Ziva's Abba was killed, and when Jackie Vance died. Director Vance has two children that he will have to raise alone, now. How utterly heart-breaking!
I remember when Eli David said to Gibbs about Ziva "Beware, Gibbs, Ziva is the sharp end of the spear" because he knew it was dangerous to cross his daughter. I get the feeling that now we are going to find out just HOW dangerous she really is, as she tracks down her father and Jackie Vance's killer. She will show no mercy, and will not rest until she gets to the bottom of things. I think Gibbs and the team will be helpful to her in the coming episodes, but I don't know how Vance is going to get along without his wife and the mother of his children. I imagine Hetty on NCIS:LA will also provide some comforting words.