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NCIS Review: You Are Not Alone

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We're used to seeing Gibbs as the immovable and dependable rock for the NCIS team. In this episode, though, I believe that honor went to Tony.

In "Shiva," the team was under great pressure to find the mastermind to the shooting deaths of Mossad director Eli David and NCIS Director Vance's wife, Jackie. The possibility of a war loomed large, as Eli's Iranian contact - Arash Kazmi - was implicated. Eventually, they discovered that Eli's protégé, Mossad Deputy Director Ilan Bodnar, was the murderous traitor behind the deaths. 

He knew about Eli's plan to work with Iran and wanted to kill Eli and take over Mossad while implicating Iran in his death. 

The writers must be applauded:  the story flowed exactly as it should have and there was a richness and depth to almost every scene. Gone (for the most part) was Tony the comedian and in his place was Tony the rock, which we saw when he entered the temple where Ziva was praying. He didn't try to manage her, or come up with a solution or a fleeting sentiment:

Tony: Tell me. What can I do? What do you need?
Ziva: Revenge. | permalink
Ziva in Shiva

Even Ducky had his moments this time around. The first was in the morgue with Gibbs:

Gibbs: What's that?
Ducky: His liver, riddled with inoperable tumors. It doesn't appear to have been under treatment. I'd have given him six months.
Gibbs: Made killing himself easier.
Ducky: Pity does not validate cowardice. | permalink

The second was his response to the deputy director of Mossad, after being subjected to a snide jab:

Bodnar: And whose grandfather would you be?
Ducky: Well that depends. Who's your grandmother? | permalink

I have to admit, I laughed out loud at that one.

Gibbs is known for his curtness, especially around authority figures, and it was into that dynamic that deputy director Jerome Craig found himself, all nervous. Gibbs knows when to pull back, though:

Deputy Director Craig: Rest assured. This is an interim assignment. I have no intention of taking Leon's job. You and I---
Gibbs: Deputy Director Craig. I've got your back. | permalink

Tony was so tuned into Ziva's torment - he didn't make a wrong move at any time. And every choice he made was dead-on. Bringing her back to his place to keep an eye on her... then telling her she needed to talk to get what's on her mind out in the open. I thought he meant she should talk with him. Instead, he meant she should talk with Shmeil, her Israeli friend, who he found and hosted in his small apartment along with Ziva. 

What a stand-up guy. I remember a few seasons ago, when Gibbs noticed that about him: when the pressure is off, Tony likes to act up and play. But when the pressure's on, and decisions have to be made, Tony is front and center, strong and dependable. He saw it long before we got to see it.

The scene with Ziva going to the airplane and Tony coming to see her off was fraught with emotion. He didn't have to do that (as Ziva said) but I think he felt that he did. He could not let his friend go without telling her that they were on the case. The most important message to her (whispered into her ear as they hugged) was: "aht lo leh-vahd." Which is Hebrew for "you are not alone."

Some final thoughts:

  • NCIS Deputy Director Craig was played by Greg Germann, who you may remember from Ally McBeal.
  • Mossad Deputy Director Ilan Bodnar was played by Oded Fehr, who also has a recurring role on Covert Affairs (again, as a Mossad agent).
  • There are some more NCIS quotes to view, one of which includes Vance's realization about Gibb's need for vengeance.
  • Although Bodnar's plan fell through, he is still at large. Having killed Eli's Iranian contact, it remains to be seen how the NCIS team will encounter him again.
  • The song at the end of the show, played while the montage scenes of Ziva in Israel and Jackie's grave site were shown, was "Not Alone" by Patty Griffin, from the album "Living with Ghosts."

I've said enough. Some of you guessed, as I did, that Mossad was behind the killings. Which was close but not exactly true. What are your thoughts?

Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (751 Votes)

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

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Gatorgal

ZIva in in the next episode "Hit and Run" so she does not stay away from NCIS for a while and hunt down Bodnar, so get over it.

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All the videos can be found on You Tube. If you look for Cote de Pablo on Rachael Ray, watch the 10:30 video. She talks about it with Rachael. From there, you can find two other interviews on the side of the video. The first is for TVGuide Magazine and it is titled "Cote de Pablo confesses all! NCIS 2013! TIVA!" and the second one is called "What's in store for NCIS's Ziva This Season". Hope this helps you. I read Michael's comments earlier this season in an article and cannot find the link right now. If I rediscover it, I will let you know.

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Interesting comment by nanichick - While I'm thoroughly sick of Mossad and Ziva dramas in general, I do rather like Vance, and I agree that his loss will add another layer of depth to his rather enigmatic character. Vance is an interesting character and RC is a good actor, so his new situation could be interesting. I enjoyed Tony in Shiva, but was the most touched by Vance at Jackie's funeral.

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2 week will be interesting with all the Major show be back to see how NCIS really does in ratings

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I love some of the earlier comments. Was NCIS getting stagnant? I don't know. But I love the fact that Vance now has a new depth to him. He also may be able to understand why Gibbs does what Gibbs does in certain situations. I am sad that Jackie died but I don't think the writers killed her off because they are masochistic, misogynistic, domineering, males. I think they wanted to bring a deeper understanding to the Gibbs-Vance dynamic as well as place Vance in a more precarious position.

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@ guest - could you please tell me where you read interviews given be MW or CdP that said they were asking the writers for more intimate scenes with kissing and more? Really? Please post a link because nothing I've read comes close to saying that. As for the ratings, they were terrific, but hardly surprising. The ratings have gone up after Christmas every January/February for years now. It is a ratings trend and increases were seen in the numbers for many shows. The promise of the much spoiled character deaths also undoubtedly enticed the curious. The Voice did not air during either episode, so that certainly helped as well. The numbers for You Better Watch Out were more surprising since it wasn't heavily promoted, was during the finals of The Voice, and was at a time which often shows a dip in viewer numbers.

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Cote de Pablo (Ziva) is a talented dynamic actress. She has Broadway and Shakespeare acting in her resume. Those people who say they hate her probably do not know what they are talking about. I'm a fan of another character on NCIS. My favorite character was often attacked unfairly. When I was expressing my opinion about the character, I was abused by being called a name. This should not happen on NCIS Round Tables. Ziva fans don't let this happen to your character. Keep defending her because she is definitely worth doing so. Tiva fans only the future can tell what will happen.

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@gatorgal.....I thought that the new updated Viewer highs now says that it was the SERIES HIGIH of all time. Anyway, that is fantastic numbers and I am so loving that people are still tuning in to NCIS, long may it live. lol

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I love the show and especially loved the last two episodes. The acting was outstanding. It's been a while since I can remember crying while watching a TV show. I thought the young Mossad Agent showing up was a bit "hinky", like he wanted to confirm Eli David's death. I believe Cote plays her character to a "T".

Gatorgal

@ Michael-
Since the 2nd and 3rd highest rated episodes in the HISTORY of NCIS was the two episode Ziva-centric arc, you are the one who needs to pay attention and get with the program. I realize your sole purpose on this site is to be contrary and argumentative, but your remarks are totally based in a reality that only you exist in. People, just quit responding to this guy, if it is a guy. Waste of time and space.