NCIS Review: Always Faithful

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For a show so procedural in nature, NCIS is rarely about the investigation itself, instead drawing strength from the team members, their interactions and their lives. Once in awhile, though, there's a case so powerful that it leaves a lasting impression on viewers and the special agents alike.

Needless to say, the disappearance of Marine Lt. Gabriela Flores was one such case.

Leave no man or woman behind.

Marines uphold this code at any cost, and from the moment Gibbs and Ziva arrived in Afghanistan, the question wasn't whether Flores would be returned to her father, but whether she would be brought back in a casket or alive.

Gibbs in Afghanistan

The action-packed Part II of "Engaged" was every bit as outstanding as the first, a wonderful tribute to the men and women (particularly the latter) of the U.S. Marine Corps - strong, equal, able and loyal.

Picking up 48 hours from when we left off last week, we began with a bit of misdirection in Gibbs aboard the military plane with a lone casket. It was easy to assume the worst for Flores. Not the case.

In a dramatic mission, she was found captive and alive, reunited with her loving father after an unspeakable ordeal. But not before her commanding officer tragically fell in his attempt to rescue her.

I know it's only a TV show, which can't possibly do justice to the sights and sounds of war (although the firefight Gibbs and Ziva were caught in came pretty close). Still, the episode was vivid and real.

NCIS displays a sense of compassionate adoration for those who serve and protect this country, and who pay the ultimate price for things we take for granted, such as being educated without fear.

Should they be glorified? No. Are they perfect? No. But they are still heroes.

Seeing the captain's body carried off the plane at Dover AFB was a moving sight. Not one we'd ever want to see, but a tragically familiar one in this day and age, and an honorable one by any measure.

There's also no such thing as an ex-Marine, which is why Gibbs connected almost as much to Gabriela Flores in 2011 as he did to Joan Matteson, a female counterpart during his own service, in 1977.

The Marines share a familial bond that civilians rarely experience. Sean Harmon conveyed this nicely, even in few words, in his flashback scenes, as did his father Mark did through most of the episode.

Gibbs' visit to Arlington Cemetery closed the night on a poignant note, and his treatment of Flores and the girls she saved showed him at his best. Still, you wonder if Jethro is headed for a breakdown.

Gibbs and Ziva in Afghanistan

His behavior during the second half of the episode - I did not expect a separate, but related domestic terrorist plot to be woven into this story - concerned Vance, and probably more than a few viewers.

His cleverly deceptive "enhanced interrogation" of the suspect with the director saved lives, whether you agree with it or not. This is what Gibbs does, he's the best at it and he loves it like nothing else.

That's why he scoffs at the idea of a vacation, and why Vance is probably kidding himself. An extra few hours in the basement over the weekend wouldn't hurt, though. He does look pretty worn down.

Also looking worse for the wear tonight was DiNozzo, who spent a lot of time pondering his life, even his place in the universe. It seemed silly at times, in typical Tony fashion, but he was quite serious.

With the help of Chaplain Burke, he reflected on the state of existence and even faced his greatest fears. The kids made for a funny twist, but isn't Tony more afraid of dying? Alone, more specifically?

In any case, Michael Weatherly brought his A-game, particularly in the chapel when he walked in, looked around and bared his soul in a way that was both profoundly human and hilariously awkward.

Pretty good acting considering he was talking to no one. No one human, anyway ...

A few closing thoughts and observations before turning it over to you:

  • I knew McGee had some technical wizardry up his sleeve at the end. Had he not, given Gibbs' frame of mind, the guy would have been dead, rather than being treated for a broken nose.
  • Abby's right. We all do complain about pretty mundane things.
  • Gibbs zinged SecNav Jarvis pretty good, didn't he?
  • Two words for Ziva: Bad. Ass. And multilingual!
  • "Therein lies the scratch." Awesome.

What did you think of tonight's NCIS? Comment on it below!


Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (199 Votes)

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


Gibbs and Shannon are from the same town they meet right before he left for marines


AK...ITA. I really like Burke and her chemistry with the team. I'd like her to be a recurring character since she's stationed in the Navy Yard. She can hold her own with Gibbs, Tony, and the whole team. She could really help Tony (and even Gibbs someday) with some of their issues. Gibbs taking Flores to dinner is just a nice gesture to someone who's been through a lot and made it home. The hand she grabbed was her father's, not Gibbs'. Good heavens...she's in her 20's and is around the same age as Kelly would be. He's being Daddy Gibbs with her just as he is with the team. He met Shannon in 1976 and Mateson in '77. He and Shannon may not have been very deeply involved at that point, though, so no reason he couldn't show some interest in someone else. I just think certain situations make him remember past friends and losses. I mean at his age, he's lost a bunch of people...


Tony at the church as a great scene that reminds us there's more to him than the goofball persona he projects a good deal of the time. And, risking some flames being thrown my way by Tiva shippers, I liked the chemistry between him and Captain Burke - especially in the elevator when she let him know (in a gentle) she saw how broken he was. I wouldn't want her around during every episode, but I'd like to see her again.




Tony talking to God was so cool and really show your never alone also can't believe gibbs almost cheated on Shannon

Heather moyer gendeloff

The kids made for a funny twist, but isn't Tony more afraid of dying? Alone, more specifically? I though that was what this biggest fear was dying/being alone. He did seem ok with them. And I love in the church. Him Just talking to noone wanting to get his feeling out. And of course all of Gibbs scenes were very powerful and moving. But didnt he met Shannon first. At the bus stop was he was leaving. I think it was the ep when he went to see his dad and the team came.


Where to start? That was the best episode ever - I was so moved by the scene with the body being taken off the plane - everyone was excellent last night - to the person who asked about Gibbs and Flores - she reached for and held his hand at the burial. I cannot stop watching this show and all of the reruns - on my TV constantly when I am home.
I too have expressed concern weekly about McGee - his voice was so frail last night - I wish someone would address our concerns about him.


I actually believe Gibbs meet Matteson before he meet Shannon. I think it goes to the point that Gibbs may be finally realizing that Shannon is not the only woman he could love. That he did love someone else, he just forgot about it until the situation with Flores.


ziva is one hot bad ass! I've never been so turned on by a woman in full battle gear as i have last night. Gawd this woman will be the end of me.


@Earth orbiter why would you think gibbs and flores would start seeing each other? i saw no evidence of that

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