NCIS Season Finale Review: "Pyramid"

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After Mike Franks' "Swan Song" made for one of the best episodes in NCIS history, last night's finale felt less like the season's climax and more like the denouement.

"Pyramid" connected the dots and filled in the blanks involving operation Frankenstein, while dangling a number of intriguing threads that will carry into next fall.

The Port-to-Port Killer, Lt. Jonas Cobb, wreaked plenty of additional havoc on the team before he met his maker, but ultimately went down fairly easily in a shootout.

The more interesting and unexpected developments didn't fully unravel until later. This being NCIS, Cobb's demise was just part of a complex, tangled web.

Man Down

There were several significant reveals this week, not the least of which being that E.J. Barrett is the niece of Secretary of the Navy Davenport. Naturally, Gibbs knew.

He never spoke of the obvious nepotism that buried him in the P2P case, possibly because you don't just call out SecNav, and it's not Barrett's fault who her family is.

If that were E.J.'s only secret, maybe we'd actually like her after this episode.

Her "moment alone" with the body was chilling (no pun intended) and beyond shady. What was in Gayne's wrist, why was it there and how did Barrett know about it?

You can expect this surprising twist to be fleshed out next season and you can guarantee there are more layers to E.J. than we're currently aware of (although Tony may be privy to more information than anyone else, which we'll get to briefly).

Vance's role in all this was equally startling.

The Director actually conceptualized Frankenstein ages ago, only to watch it blossom into a joint CIA/NCIS operation that went horribly wrong on so multiple levels.

Vance's hands had blood on them, and were tied by the chain of command. There was plenty of blame to go around between Vance, Kort and SecNav Davenport.

With Cobb "evolving" as Ducky put it, his focus shifted to destroying those who made him a creature. That put NCIS and the CIA squarely in the killer's crosshairs.

The weight always falls on the bottom of the pyramid.

In this case, it's hard to tell where upon the pyramid Vance sits, stifled by higher-ups, with his agents at risk, yet due to an operation - at least in part - of his own creation.

When he brutally kidnapped Ziva and then surrendered shortly thereafter, you knew there was more to it. His target wasn't Ziva at all; she was merely a distraction.

Still Hunting the P2P

Having occupied Leroy Jethro Gibbs and his team, Cobb broke free within NCIS' confines - a bit dubious that he wasn't more tightly guarded - and returned "home." 

With Mr. Palmer, Kort and Barrett held hostage, Vance, Gibbs and SecNav all descended on Frankenstein in what promised to be an epic showdown. It was not.

Davenport, Vance and Kort were all there, and Cobb wasn't making it out alive. Why he didn't he take them out, or at least try? Did his humanity surface, however fleetingly?

In any case, he hesitated and when he drew his gun, the aforementioned trio shot him countless times. Game over. Anticlimactic in a sense, but the demise of Lt. Cobb was but one of many elements to this twisted tale of government subversion.

Ray, who made his return last night, received a text message that Kort was in Tel Aviv, and to "handle it." Perhaps the one-eyed slime, who co-opted Frankenstein for personal gain, has finally crossed the wrong people at The Company.

Suffice it to say, the box he gave Ziva felt like an empty gesture in more ways than one. CI-Ray may be one of the "good" guys, but he has work to do to win our trust.

The fact that CI-Ray is off to Tel Aviv of all places makes you think, too. As world cities go, that's a random one ... unless his business there somehow involves the Davids.

Mike's funeral, meanwhile, was one of the most moving scenes in recent memory. As many of us posited last week, if Cobb didn't kill Gibbs' mentor, Franks' own lungs were about to. Gibbs knew it, as evidenced by my favorite reveal of the night.

After watching Gibbs in the basement all season, finally seeing his woodwork on display during Mike's burial - with the Marines' gun salute and "Caught By the Light" by The Boxer Rebellion providing the soundtrack - probably left a lot of viewers choked up.

Then came the cliffhanger(s).

Barrett is moving on, or so she says. Gibbs told her she's welcome back anytime, or so he says. From the theft of that chip to Cobb sparing her twice, there's something very much amiss about E.J. Which brings us to Tony and the new SecNav.

Vance and his new boss called Tony in to track down someone within the organization selling U.S. intelligence. Clearly Tony was chosen for a reason, and from the look on his face, clearly he's familiar with whom he's been assigned to keep tabs on.

Kort, Ray, Cade ... there are plenty of possible suspects. But the one I keep coming back to, given the scene in the morgue and Tony's relationship with her, is E.J.

What does Tony know? What will he do? This was a fantastic way to end a season finale that, rather than splitting Gibbs' team apart, brought them closer than ever.

While "Pyramid" was unconventional in some ways, it left me appreciative of the show's underrated writing and acting, and already anxious for Season Nine of NCIS.

Do you agree? What was your favorite part of the NCIS season finale? What do you make of Tony's assignment? Sound off with your comments below.


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Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (612 Votes)

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


Ziva isn't the one who selling the informaion it's not going to be someone on team Gibbs. someone might be framing them but Tony will find out who really doing it couls be EJ wish she die without her comming back because I can't stand her and she will have partner. and Tony Gibbs and the team will look for who it an be


I think CI-Ray is one of the professional killers from the second branch of the killing machine training, the one Kort was benefiting from. Kort has screwed up and he needs to be stopped. The text was sent to CI-Ray to let him know where to find Kort so he can kill him.


Nobody's said it that I've noticed, but the person in the file doesn't have to be guilty. I'm overthinking and assuming the writers are completely logical to do so, but I can't see it would be Vance if they are handing him the file in front of Vance, when he could have, for instance, since they didn't tell him not to, opened the file without picking it up. I also don't think any organization would have any agent investigate another that everyone knows he's been sleeping with. I still think it's Ray (or at least that he's the bad guy of the next arc), but admit someone pointed out that he's not Navy and why then would NCIS be running the investigation of Ray (if one was needed). It could be Ziva (her being innocent and set up by Ray)?? Tony might just sit back and think -- meaning look just like that -- if the folder was of someone he knew to be innocent.


The finale was okay, I loved the SECNAV’s guilty involvement and Vance standing up to him for once, The New SECNAV seems to be a real pill so far, he’ll have to earn my interest, the actor is wonderful so maybe I will like him. Uh-oh for Tony undercover, he hates lying to Gibbs and the rest of the team catch on that he is secretive pretty quickly. NO TIVA, ever ever. Didn’t like the almost engagement scene with Ray, that’s not her style, but maybe she is feeling desperate. Ray is dead meat I think, between Kort and Eli David, he’s out manned and out gunned. LOL
The casket was lovely and I am glad Gibbs knew Mike was already dying and went out in a fight, like he would have wanted to go instead of suffering in a bed being fussed over.
There was no romance or any red-heads this season for Gibbs, he needs a bit on the side again.
I will be there next season.


Ziva make the most sense since he did do it once before to help Ari Kill Kate


i can NOT honestly see abby sell american secerts....ziva is another question....followed by EJ. alisa


no I don't think it will be Gibbs Ziva McGee or Abby in the file because there are not traitors it maybe EJ but I don't want to see her face but if it is I hope the deal with that in one episode and get it over and done with.
but if it's Ray I hope it doesn't hurt Ziva again she doesn't need that.
overall and done with Tony's assignment I hope he doesn't get hurt again as well I hope everything goes right for season 9 for the character without EJ hopefully.
I looking forward to Palmer's wedding hopefully it works out.


my other choice to be looked into: is ZIVA....i still don't trust her....and i don't think, tony fully trusts her either. only time will tell us, "WHO"? tony is looking into. alisa


I have a feeling that Gibbs, Ziva or McGee are the ones being looked at, then again it could be Abby or EJ who is selling classified info. Though I think it would have been far better if the new SecNav would have called in Callen and his team to investigate who is the Traitor. That would have been a great crossover for both shows.


Can't wait for Palmer's wedding. This show has needed a wedding for a real long time and the writers could have a field day with such a venue. I'd love to see Abby as a bridesmaid!

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