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NCIS Review: The Steel Bonds of Blood

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Wow. We lost two main characters on NCIS this week, people who played a major role in the lives of Ziva David and Leon Vance. I did not see that coming.

The variations on the theme of family relationships woven throughout "Shabbat Shalom" were hard to miss. We began with a father who desperately wanted his son to open up to him, only to have the connection made - albeit in a weird way - after they discovered a dead body together while fishing.

Dad: Sorry, we shouldn't have stayed.
Son: Are you kidding? Dad, this is like the most bad-assed thing we've ever done together. Thanks.| permalink
Shabbat Dinner

The body turned out to be a disgraced reporter who was masquerading as a Navy petty officer while in pursuit of a story. In a typical NCIS episode, there are two stories going on: one involving a murder, and another involving the lives of one or more of the NCIS agents. But this episode was anything but typical, as we soon found out.

The second relationship was that of Leon and Jackie Vance: the two were looking forward to spending a romantic evening without the kids. She has always been his rock and most definitely the love of his life: his vehement promise to clear his schedule to ensure this night happened made that clear. Her quick uptake and overwhelming disappointment shone clear, too, when Leon said "is that wine kosher?"

She guessed right away that Eli David was going to make an appearance, after which she scrambled to ensure their Shabbot meal would be as close to perfect as possible. Leon hoped they could salvage the night but:

Leon Vance: So. We'll still have the house to ourselves after dinner right?
Jackie Vance: You had your shot, baby. | permalink

The third relationship, marvelously highlighted, was the father-daughter dynamic between Eli and Ziva. So amazing to see the wary hope in Ziva's eyes as she realized her father was near retirement and on the outs with Mossad and had come to America just to see her. He disappointed her badly in the past though, didn't he? And so she kept a close eye on him.

It wasn't until she saw a picture of him wearing a hat - a picture that had been snapped by the dead reporter's camera - that she realized heartbreaking disappointment. Her father had killed the innocent man, all in an effort to ensure his real purpose - to strike up a relationship with his Iranian counterpart - would not be jeopardized. And with that, the two subplots came together.

Her loyalty to NCIS and to Gibbs were without question, as she refused to share wine with her father and finally got up from the table in disgust in order to call up Gibbs to let him know who the killer was.

She thought she felt pain... but that didn't even come close to the agony she felt after her father was shot to death.

And then we saw an amazing shot of Gibbs and Tony standing apart in the hospital waiting room. Stark, and filled with apprehension. Gibbs eventually left alone to meet Leon, as he came out to say that his wife was dead.

This story was amazing and filled with sadness. I cannot imagine a more compelling episode. The writing, the dialogue, the incredible performances all combined to a bring heartbreaking masterpiece to the small screen. I can't wait to see the second part of this story.

Some final thoughts:

  • "Shabbat Shalom" is a Jewish greeting, offered on the Sabbath (between sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday)
  • We don't know who the shooter was.
  • The team is worried that this incident might bring strong waves resulting in war, between the U.S. and Iran, Israel and Iran or all three.

What are your thoughts? And who do you think commissioned the shooting?

Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (702 Votes)

Douglas Wolfe is a staff writer for TV Fanatic Follow him on Twitter

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    I can't wait until the next episode. I feel that Shiva's father's "Iranian friend" might be behind the killings. (though they did miss the Director) I think the meeting was all a show for the Iranian "friend" so he could find out where Shiva's father was going to meet the Director and order the suicidal hit, so they couldn't trace it back to him. As usual Gibbs will figure it out. We will see.. Who knows what surprises lurk around the bend? lol

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    Also is the Vance going to be taking time off? I know they say the deputy director is supposed to making an apperance this year. Will he take over for Vance while Vance is getting his life back in order?

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    Ok they are clearly setting up Tony/Ziva with Tony being the shoulder she will cry on. Gibbs will have to be the one to hold Leon from going off the rails and trying to get revenge by reminding him he needs to be there for his kids. Think Ducky will have a major part trying to council Ziva. Tim and Abby will likely have very little roles in part 2. Also is it strange SecNav has Tim's phone number? I can see Gibbs because of his run in's with him and he has Tony's in his dealings with him but does SecNav even know McGee?

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    Mossad typically engages in targeted killings; it would typically not be so reckless in the effort - spraying a house with gunfire, risking serious damage to Israel's relationship with the US by potentially killing the NCIS Director and, as happened, his wife - it doesn't make sense for this to have been a sanctioned Mossad effort.

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    Shocking .This week was on par with the death of Kaitlyn Todd and Mike Franks. Eli always added to the show no matter how he had to do , the job life had given him. No matter the outcome. Leon losing hi wife Now what.?
    If they keep killing off the chacters . Is it a lead in to th final chapter of NCIS .Oh !! I certainly hope not . Then we will be left with only one good show left POI. But i still loved the ending " surprise."All told a peak performance the best to all.
    challon

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    Story was one of their best. I have watch since the begining. Did not expect Jackie to be killed. Although I think Leon was getting tired and wanted to retire. Maybe he will now. (too late but he does have a family) Ziva will want revence even though she did not trust her father she does love him. Gibbs has always been her father figure.

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    I really like this show, I'm always looking forward to the next one. Wondering who the shooter will be, wondering if Vance will ever love again. Who will he get to take care of his children. Will he stay on the show?

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    When Eli did not eat one of the "gift" olives, I was sure he was there to kill the Iranian diplomat. Was a strong, strong episode. I thought it might be Eli David's death knell, but I never suspected Vance's wife. Although, when she was there at the start of the episode I wondered a bit. I think this might mean less Vance in future episodes and wasn't there a rumor of an assistant director coming on board soon? I suspect Mossad killed one of their own to either get rid of Eli David or implicate the Iranians or both. I just know this will be a reckless revenge episode, but I hope the team (Gibbs and/or Ziva) don't go off unchecked and someone is arrested instead of executed.

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    I believe Gibbs will want to bench Ziva because he doesn't want her retaliating and/ having the same problem that he did (with the Renosa siblings.

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    I love NCIS and the dynamics of all the characters, I was shocked at last night's episode when they killed off two people, but can not wait for next week's conclusion.