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?


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



@StuartBerdy I think that LA and the Orginal are pretty much seperate now. I don't watch LA very often. Don't care for it. However, I don't think they even mention the bombing of the NCIS headquarters so why would the mention Mrs. Vance or Eli's death?


I really enjoyed the show There was a lot of suspense in the show I would rate this show as a number 5 I am going to watch or tape it next week I hope Vance and Ziva do not leave the show. They both make this show a sucess. Do they let all of the NCIS Los Angeles Cast know of Zivas tragedy and Vances tragedy


Great show. Ziva was so so so good. Not sure why they chose to kill off Jackie but she really wasn't on that much. Vance is my least favorite character so maybe he'll be on less now. I like the new Deputy director. Vance was getting boring since he became nicer.
On another note Cote was so so good.


Awesome performance by Cote de Pablo. Had me in tears at the end. Very powerful. Best performance ever on NCIS. I love the show even more now.


I hate they killed off Jackie and Eli. Very good show. Ziva is mad look out world!


Interesting to see so many different thoughts on all of this. Is Jackie dead? I'm pretty sure she is. The look on Vance's face said it all - plus, if she wasn't he would have needed to clue Gibbs into it. There's just no valid reason to fake her death. I used to think Mossad sanctioned the hit, until I read this very logical comment from ruben0527:
Mossad typically engages in targeted killings; it would typically not be so reckless in the effort - spraying a house with gunfire, risking serious damage to Israel's relationship with the US by potentially killing the NCIS Director and, as happened, his wife - it doesn't make sense for this to have been a sanctioned Mossad effort.
------- So now I don't know.


Wow! The ending was really a kick to the stomach. When Ziva screamed " Abba", it broke my heart. Started bawling like a kid. She is a very underrated actress. And Mark Harmon is the best- they all are of high caliber. As for a poster who said Vance's wife and Eli aren't dead- BS! Eli was the target and probably by Mossad. And I loved Ziva kicking that agent who took the cyanide poisoned cigarette.Vance and Ziva are to be watched, because they will both go rouge and find the killers and we know how that will go. Great episode and I can't wait till next week!


And before anyone gets on their high horse, my internet handle DOES NOT mean that I am Muslim or anything else that one may assume! Anything but! Just saying because I have been trolled before on this site because of it!


So many questions to be answered about this episode and its ramifications! My personal view, especially because some of the comments were very 'current world news' is that Mossad took Eli out because he was attempting to create some kind of peace between the two warring sides, which is definitely not part of Israels outlook at the moment. Did no one notice that the Iranian Levi(?) and Eli were friends in the old times, and used to help each other pick olives in the orchard? I'm sure there were plenty of opportunities over the years to have each other taken out and neither took it because of this connection.
I think Jackie was collateral damage, which is unfortunate because she was Vance's rock and I honestly don't know how he will react to her death, except he is very like Gibbs in a lot of ways, and will probably need his personal revenge.
And before anyone gets on their high horse, my internet handle DOES NOT mean that I am Muslim or anything else that one may assume! Just saying because I have been trolled before on this site because of it when I am anything but!


Love the show. I was surprised Eli and Mrs. Vance died. I look forward to the next NCIS. Great cast.

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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.