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.


Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (612 Votes)

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


Does anyone besides me think that CIRay is keeping tabs on Ziva for her father? He's off to Tel Aviv, all of a sudden, and can't (won't) tell her that he is heading to her home town? And what about the new SecNav? That man is CREEPY. And how do a lifelong lobbyist (was he EVER in the military??) get to be the Secretary of the Navy in the first place? There's definitely more to that piece of info than meets the eye.


so we can all agree that we hope it's EJ in the folder that is the leak and that tony puts a bullet in her head season 9 episode 1?!!!


Denise T, I thought Gibbs might be whispering to Mike's daughter in law the words that are said at all military funerals when the folded flag is given to the relatives....something along the lines of in memory of your loved one who served the US etc.


I have long felt the same way as Alisa. Tony is very, very good when he is serious, and the clowning around has really gotten old, especially his constant teasing of McGee. As for the season finale, it went too fast, and I missed half of the tangling threads. I would have to watch it again to catch them if you hadn't pointed them out. The ending of Cobb didn't ring true to the rest of the story. Why get so sloppy and give up so easily? It was as if he wanted to end it all (suicide by cop) but the action/dialogue didn't support that mindset.


No Karin, you are not the only one thinking that, I think that the rest of us just don't want to have to deal or see ej one more time (I know I don't)so personally, I just hope it goes away and it was nothing but his personal GPS !!!!


I agree it's not going to end well for Tony however I think Gibbs will understand as well Tony is going to be the one feels bad. and yes Tel Aviv is where Ziva's from that isn't going to end well either.


Am I the only one thinking CIA Ray gets a text that Kort's in tel aviv and handle it? Tel Aviv Isreal where Ziva is from!!!!!
It can't end well for tony keeping yet another secret assignment from gibbs after the frog's daughter


MLD that was Michelle Lee and that was in season 6 and they took care of that in Clock and Dagger. Editor I do agree with you it wasn't what I expected it showed EJ to much for me. Janet I thouget casket was beautiful too. I liked the part where Gibbs gave the little girl the flag that was so sad. I wonder if EJ's in the file if she is I hope the arrested her all in one episode get over with becase I can't stand her at all
the reason I think it might be her is because she pulled that thing out of his arm. but it could be CI-Ray too just wait and see.


Don't blame Hollywood Blame yourself some of you I wonder if your fans or just plan bitches


I thought it was a good finale, but it felt a bit rushed to me. Some parts I found very predictable, but I was definitely surprised at the reveal about EJ being SecNav's niece. Not my favorite finale by far, but I'll still be tuning in next season to see what happens next! And add me to the list of viewers who don't really care if we see EJ again (except as a baddie, but again, that's probably too easy).

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