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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.

Review

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.

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They are destroying Ziva have her figure out what is going on and let her use her ONCE strong character to quickly solve and resolve the problem. Also this secret Tony stuff is also getting OLD. It would be great if Gibbs confronts Tony right away. And I agree Put the EJ saga to End quick real quick. Hello Ducky has found amazing things. You really don't think he would notice the fresh cut in the wrist after EJ left aNd Autopsy has surveillance cameras. Come on give us some great NCIS end this on going same stuff.

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It will be interesting to see how the "insurance policy" will play out, given the turn of events. I think it would be too easy an assumption to pick EJ as the bad guy. Who's to say that Cade doesn't have one in his wrist, too. But why? That will be an interesting storyline. I am definitely looking forward to the new season!

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Sec Jarvis words were "an agent, somewhere within the organisation...". He has no authority over the CIA so can't be CIA-Ray. Can't be Kort. That agent therefore has to be an NCIS agent... Tony (given do whatever is necessary and the whole Frog thing) + NCIS = EJ or Ziva. Only Ej has been setup as dubious. PtoP died way too easy, either it was suicide by cop or he has greater goals after his death. If not, then there was no need for episode 24. Should of left it a while like they did for Ari in season 3/4(?)

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Season finales are suppose to leave unanswered questions it is what keeps us all coming back. Was in total denial thru the whole "Swan Song" that Franks could be dead kept hoping it was a mistake will miss his character a lot. The casket that Gibbs made was breathtaking. As to the devise in the arm left unanswered questions for next season to answer and you can bet that Ducky will be getting with Gibbs on that one (tracking devise would be my guess) Ray/Ziva not liking the combo was still kind of hoping for a Tony/Ziva combo so didn't like for the whole putting EJ and Tony together but people learn by their mistakes right lol Was holding my breath that nothing happened to Palmer he and Ducky are a good fit even though I knew he was seeing someone it was a huge surprise when he announced a wedding we haven't even met her on the show yet that I recall It will be interesting to see what the writer have for us On the P2P killer this was a plot line brought in leading us up to further developments for next season just good writing you weed out the characters that need to go this way; was never a huge fan of the new team being brought in but they had grown on me I can see that the P2P killer had developed as Ducky put it he was building up to a reveal of all the Dirty Little Secrets have a feeling there will be more coming to light next season so will be stay tuned ..... PS still do not trust Ray

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I must be a bad person because the entire time that Cobbs had EJ i was hoping that he would shoot her, so we would never have to see her again. However, if she is to be next season's big bad, i can deal with that. (That said, I don't want to see Tony pretend to date someone again. Been there done that. The only thing is that is different this time it would be happening opposite what happened in the La Grenouille storyline--dating EJ (and liking her) prior to faking the relationship.) If she is the one selling state secrets, I wouldn't be surprised if Ray was in on it as well since we know that he and EJ had worked together on the P2P case before her team ended up in DC.

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Laura I think you are on to something. Maybe Vance is the'loose hair', Tony will be after. Remember Frank's gave Gibbs the box of stuff he had on Vance.

Josie leeds

Scriptwriters get bored. When they get bored, they have a tendency to do really stupid story lines to keep themselves amused. The fans are NOT amused. The EJB story arc is SO over-- please give it a quick burial. Ray is not even remotely a good match for Ziva--there is no buzz, no chemistry--he's a manipulative, egocentric male, like her father--MOVE ON! Tony needs to finish growing up but keep his quirks--until he matures emotionally, he's not a good match for Ziva either. It ain't broke--quit trying to fix it!!!

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Last nights show was great but lots of unanswered questions but that's how it has to play out. EJ- though I don't care for her, I think will be around for awhile. Does anyone think it was strange that Cobb's died to easy. I think EJ has something to do with all the Port 2 Port killings. It did not show Cobb's shoot EJ's team, it could have been EJ. Maybe that's why SecNAv quite so easy. Maybe Cobb's knew what she was up to. So strange that Cobb's started killing in such a completely different way than before. Then EJ takes the capsule for Gayle's arm. What was it and how did she know? Maybe her and her whole team is the leak Tony will be after. If EJ said she will be around DC, Tony will be w/ her. Then again, maybe Tony will be after CIA Ray and the story will circle around Ziva not believing Ray's a bad guy. They have already had differences after Ziva & Michael's relationship went bad when Tony killed him. That's another way to look at it. Can't wait to see more of Abby and McGee.

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Why didn't Ducky find the cut where EJ sliced him to take the chip? He hadn't begun the autopsy yet and surely he'll notice that the cut was made post-mortum, right? It even showed blood coming out and she just put the arm back down without wiping any blood away. Or, do you think that will show up this Fall?

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Loved the show last night. You may be right, but I think he is there to find out that the Director is the "lose hair" and he is in with E.J. to bring down the NCIS.