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NCIS Review: Look to Yourself

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NCIS definitely knows how to raise the stakes with international missions, inter-agency subterfuge and kidnapped military personnel. Far from a run-of-the-mill murder case, tonight's investigation was just the onset of an intriguing new arc that could continue through next month's season finale, if not beyond.

The conclusion of "The Missionary Position" unfolded very quickly and felt anticlimactic after a compelling, slow-building first 45 minutes in the U.S. and Colombia, but it was just the opening chapter.

More questions were asked than answered, and none greater than what Dr. Samantha Ryan (Jamie Lee Curtis) knows about the mysterious Monique Lisson (Karina Lombard), whose penchant for secrecy and suspicious background were evident from the start. In that respect, Lisson is a fitting adversary for Ryan.

Under Fire

Following their apparent sleepover at Gibbs' house, were led to believe that Ryan's reappearance could be purely personal, to showcase her new relationship with Gibbs, and not necessarily related to tonight's case.

Similarly, Ziva just happened to have an old friend in Cartagena, Colombia. Wishful thinking. You knew there would be more to both characters' involvement, but their connection to each other was a surprise.

NCIS does a nice job of creating intricate situations involving multifaceted individuals you can't make sense of. You want to like Ryan, and to a degree Monique, but there are parts of each that are so, so shady.

The show also intertwines personal relationships and casework, whether it's with old friends or new romantic partners, blurring the lines even further and weaving a tangled web for its characters to circumvent.

Not everything is black and white, as we were reminded many times tonight, but with Ryan, you have no idea if she's one of the good guys or not. She and Gibbs are on the same team, but it doesn't feel that way.

Will she shape up after this and be a team player? Coming clean about wanting to talk to Lisson is a good start, but Gibbs' romance with someone he clearly can't trust is enough to give anyone pause.

Gibbs Gets His Man

At the same time, he's clearly attracted to her. It's neat that he has an age-appropriate love interest, and how could you not like Gibbs' awkwardly happy smile after he told her "we did okay" in their attempt at coupledom?

Overall, the episode was less about Tony and Ziva, or the latter's past, and more about the casework. Posing as missionaries to collect DNA samples and infiltrate cartels through vaccinations? Diabolical.

For his part, DiNozzo was anything but dead weight, particularly during his heart-to-heart with Chaplain Castro. Tony sounded a lot like Gibbs when comforting her and telling her how much guilt he carries.

We learned a little more about Ziva the human being instead of Ziva the action hero. Told by her longtime friend to search internally for happiness, she may again find herself reexamining her worldview.

Ziva's not the only one who will need to dig deep and look to herself before this is over. This case, if it does indeed continue and grow more intense, could test the instincts and fortitude of the entire team.

This case has the potential to get ugly, given the complexities and people. Cartels aren't known for keeping things above board, and the warning signs were abundant. How deep will NCIS go?

The Navy Chaplain was rescued after the CIA connection was exposed, but "The Missionary Position" clearly set the table for bigger things. This isn't over, and the next chapter should be very interesting.

Missionary Mission

Meanwhile, Jimmy Palmer spent the bulk of the episode hemming and hawing over who to choose for his best man, and after much deliberation, went with his gut and made the only logical choice ... Abby!

As an octogenarian, Jimmy's mentor Ducky would've been an unusual dark horse pick as well, but he bowed out, leaving Abbs to do the honors. Miss Scuito as the best man-woman? Somehow it just works.

All in all, an unconventional but solid episode with both a satisfying conclusion and plenty left unresolved. A few additional thoughts and observations before turning it over to you ...

  • Gibbs punching McGee's arm in celebration of the rescue? Awesome moment.
  • Of course a trip to Colombia ends in Tony rattling off Puss in Boots quotes.
  • The dead body dropping near a picnicking couple was a bit Bones-esque.
  • The funny thing about Palmer's wedding tuxes? They were once in style!
  • Is Richard Schiff's character also connected to Monique and Ryan?
  • Was the "Colombian" seaside at the end actually Long Beach?
  • Please, please, let them show Palmer's bachelor party.

What did you think of this week's NCIS? Did Palmer make the right call? Do you like Gibbs and Ryan together? Where is this case headed? Discuss in the comments below!

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
  • 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (266 Votes)

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

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@janet, I don't think Michael reads other posts or we would have seen that article I put up saying Cote will be around until the end of the 10th season. She isn't going anywhere. So @Michael, quit spreading lies!! Every cast member will be around until the end of season ten!!!

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oh yeah same for ziva w/ tony. 1 minute they get along, next minute they have them not get along fer no good reason. no consistency. zippo for the 2. friggin' weird writin'. wtf is up with the way they r writin' ziva lately? to top it off tbtp's r chicken shit w/ havin' tony say what he did in spanish in front of ziva. insult to tiva fans. should've been in english. show's gettin' harder to tune into since that load of crapola 200th epi when they cgi'd stupid kate in w/ tony's friggin' baby. that was a load of schism. tiva fans should be pissed of the constant jerk around. tbtp's had the chaplain chick share a room w/ tony and ziva, wtf was that? again, lame. why was the chaplain sent down there? another wtf. tiva fans you need to stop watchin' for the rest of the season. spread the word man. me, i can't tune in for scott wolf's character comin' back. rotflmao @ that bad character + casting. just as bad as ej character, ray character, the reynosa loser twins. tbtp's are pussies and gave into the lame anti's again. i'm done for the season. only a few good epi's this season. same thing w/ last season. time to look for another e.p. clocks run out on you gasbag!

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longer version promo for epi was great! epi sucked. bait n' switch on ziva, tiva fans. so let me get this straight unless you are a wife and a mother your life as a woman is gonna suck? is that the message tbtp's were sendin' in epi? that was the 1 i got. tbtp's need to get into therapy. gg get yer fat butt on the couch man. what women can't get have both family/love, + great career? imho, gibbs is gettin' borin' to watch. voice is weak, soft, 1 note actin' + no emotion. mh looks bored w/ his actin' all season. tired. he should stay w/ the functional mute routine. less is more. seems to work for him. tony's flirtin' with ziva's buddy 1st moment he met her= sleazy. ya don't flirt w/ your partners friend on the job in front of her. duh. who wrote that crap. what else is new this season w/tony. he's friggin' all over the place. that was so season 1 , 2 tacky tony. + 1 minute he's funny, sensitive, compassionate & makin goo-eyes at ziva, next minute he's revertin' to tacky tony, then back to funny, competent + goo-goo eyes again @ ziva. he's turin' into a drama queen. lol. palmer was funny. ducky was funny. ziva all i gotta say is wtf r they doin' to her character & implyin'? 1 epi - moment her & tony r gettin' along, next minute they're not. she flipped back n' forth w/ tony for no reason. just like tony did to her. no charm, no sexy fun banter 'tween them. no consistency even in 1 epi. wasn't even a ziva episode when ya boil it down. it was a ribbs episode. the story was/is meh. endin' sucked w/ ribbs. didn't even show how they got the bad guys. just ended. so friggin' anti-climatic. rotflmao.

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Oh JLC makes me sick, gibbs is like her puppet, i hope she does not come back again, there is no chemistry between them, remember the line he says as she walks out the door, it was ok, thats not a normally reaction when people have chemistry, which ryan and gibbs do not, maybe bring mark wife pam on as a love interest now that might be interesting, otherwise ncis with jlc will go down

Tiva

Sis I read that too it's got me a little worried but Cote De Mark sign a two year deal last year, and Michael and Sean signed a muti-year deal two years ago so we will see how that will go

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@michael oh my god michael dont you get tired of lying all the time cote de pablo has just signed a 2year contract so please get a life.

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Sis, I don’t know who the next agent will be. I sure liked, Damien, the young ex-marine who drove the semi-truck with Ziva and the young man who was married and wanted to be a NCIS agent because an NCIS agent helped clear his father of a crime. But I don’t think either has the last name of Wallace. Maybe the agent will be a very capable woman who can shake up Ziva. That would be a hoot! Pay back time for inferring Tony would be a ‘dead weight’ on the trip to Colombia.

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@Sis Back during the summer Gary said that one of the main cast was leaving everyone thought it was Tony because he not a big fan of Tiva and he was told that his storyline was going to be drop for Tiva but now it has come to light that the actress who plays Ziva want to leave the show because she tried of being on a crime drama

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@boonies...Thankyou!!! I was trying to figure it out!!!

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just read online that a new ncis agent (agent wallace) will be introduced during the finale and be on next season. Anyone have any info on this?