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NCIS Review: Sweet Cheeks and Crumpled Fenders

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Rome, Berlin, misdirection, a duplicitous new Mossad director, "sweet cheeks" and a car crash. I'm not sure we could ask for much more from such an enticing NCIS episode as "Berlin."

The hour opened with Mossad agent Amir Mantel waiting for a contact in a parking garage. A car pulled up and someone he recognized rolled down the window and shot him. Abby later figured out that the communication earpiece he was wearing wasn't from the latest Mossad equipment, so Mantel could not have been working (or at least wasn't communicating) with Mossad at all, despite Mossad Director's assertion that he was, and that a member of a rogue faction from within Mossad had done the shooting. 

At the end of the episode we still weren't sure what that was all about.

Tony and Ziva Scene

The Tony/Ziva tease brought us much closer to what so many were hoping to see, but not yet all the way. We're not done with NCIS season 10, though, and so we're left hoping for more - providing everyone's okay after that final scene.

As soon as Tony and Ziva started off in the car, I imagine many of us anticipated that imminent crash, but then forgot to worry about it when this happened:

Ziva: You know I keep thinking if it was not for Orli, things would have been different. I would be a different person.
Tony: Then I should catch her before she leaves. You know. I'd thank her. | permalink

So rude of that assassin to smash into them just when they were holding hands and starting to get into it. It made me wonder: was that Bodnar trying to do away with Ziva? He knows her and is aware of her tenacity. He had to know she'd never give up trying to hunt him. I'm surprised she didn't roll her eyes when he advised her via video-link to let it go: please forgive me and walk away. Vendettas lead to nothing but heartache.  

Interesting, too, that he told her that there was more to the story - and that nothing was at it seemed.  Food for thought there: was he actually trying to justify his killing of Eli? Or perhaps it wasn't him at all who killed him and there was no attempted coup? What's the real story here?

We now know that the supposedly rogue faction of Mossad that Director Orli Elbaz spoke about was a lie and that the supposed rogues were all valid agents still in good standing with Mossad. We also know that Director Elbaz wanted NCIS and the other U.S. agencies to spin their wheels looking for Bodnar in every place other than where he was:  the U.S. The questions keep piling up, and there's no real light being shed here.

For example, during the plane ride home, Ziva and Yaniv had a conversation about family loyalty:

Yaniv: You would do anything for your family, if they had done wrong, would you not?
Ziva: You wrote him off. You had not spoken in years. I do not understand this loyalty.
Yaniv: It never leaves us. Does it, Ziva? | permalink

That last question seemed rather pointed, suggesting that perhaps in addition to killing that reporter, Eli David had done something else wrong, something worthy of his own death. Or at least it leaves the question open.

At the end of the day, Vance decided to let Mossad off of the hook with their misinformation, all in an effort to ensure there was no further wasted effort in the hunt for Bodnar. 

Ziva's back story with her father is worth talking about as well.So many of her choices were based upon the events of her family life: her father constantly going out on "business trips;" the breakup of her parents' marriage, as a direct result of Eli's indiscretions with a young Orli Elbaz (no wonder Ziva hates her!); Ziva dancing with her father as he says: My Ziva. One day you will dance with a man who deserves your love.

So touching to watch that scene as she remembered it while dancing with Tony. 

You get the sense too that Tony's new pet nickname for her will now be "sweet cheeks": after calling her that in the hotel room, she laughed and said she remembered the first time he referred to her that way. It seems he called her that in season three, episode eight - though I don't know the circumstances. She didn't like it back then but this time, it was different: he called her that again on the dance floor. In season three, I think she saw it as derogatory, but this time it was a term of endearment. 

I have to admit, I'm enjoying the chemistry and romance between these two: 

Ziva: When I have a man, the favors I offer have little to do with clothes.
Tony: That's good to know. | permalink

There's no doubt that these two are going places. 

Some final notes:

  • Marina Sirtis fits the Director Elbaz role well: I expected to see a slightly older version of Deanna Troi but instead encountered someone who fully took on the Mossad director character. Entirely believable and engaging. 
  • Ben Morrison embodied the young Eli David role well, too, right down to his mannerisms and voice. That was some great work, both with his acting and the costuming.  
  • Ziva seems to think that Director Elbaz's duplicity involving Bodnar's location has to do with the love she had for Ziva's father - and that she shared the same motivation as Ziva: to hunt and kill Bodnar without interference from government agencies. I'm not so sure - nothing with this woman is at seems.
  • Check out this week's NCIS quotes.
  • This week's NCIS Round Table discussion is up!  Come over and add your take on our discussion.

Now it's your turn: Is Bodnar's suggestion that Ziva's seeing the whole thing in the wrong light accurate or is he just trying to save himself from her? Was he behind the crash - or was that the work of Director Elbaz? Or someone else? 

What key piece of information have we missed here? Is there anything that can help us figure out exactly who Amir Mantel was and why he was killed? And finally - what's going to happen with Ziva and Tony? Will this budding romance go into the next season with them?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (604 Votes)

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

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Well after doing some digging, I am 99% certain that Tiva survived the crash. 1. Michael Weatherly is under contract.
2. Why on earth would they do a contract negotiations cliffhanger BEFORE the season finale?
3. Gary Glasberg had talked about Ziva's character in the next ep previously, which would render all of the wild mass guessing about her being dead Jossed.
4. NCIS likes to go the end of ep sucker punch route when it comes to kill-offs. I've honestly never seen anyone not survive a cliffhanger.

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@MCAL Perhaps, but like yanking out a tooth we know the pain will be over sooner or later.

Dreamrose

There is definitely something hinky going on with the whole Ilan Bodnar situation. Something's been off ever since he was so easily identified as the man behind the assassination of Eli David and Jackie Vance. Gibbs being Gibbs, he will definitely dog his way to the truth.

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@Maka Though, wouldn't killing Ziva off create even more Ziva-related angst.

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Ziva better not die! We can't get Tiva tension and take it away.

Wolfshades

@Nicole: the signal was coming from Bodnar's brother's cell phone which was acting as a repeater-conduit for Ilna's signal I think. Remember: his signal was repeating from stations all over the world, then narrowed down to the one point. I think that was a deliberately setup electronic misdirection: I wondered why else would they have it coming from some close to where everyone was. @Robin: that body in the autopsy was the (supposedly rogue) Mossad agent who was shot at the beginning of the show - Amir Mantel.

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I was amazed by the actor who played younger Eli it said exactly like Michael Nouri's Eli he did have the same mannerisms. I glad Ziva is opening up Tony about her memories of her father, she is letting him in which will hopefully allow Ziva to heal over the loss instead of all the emotions being held inside. It was sweet of Tony after the crash to try and reach for Ziva's hand. One part confused me though if Illan Bodnar was still in the US how was the signal that McGee picked up showed that he was in Berlin with Tony and Ziva. Wouldn't Ziva know that she was not talking to Illan but his brother.

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For the love of god just kill of Ziva. We've reached Ziva!Angst critical mass. It's disgusting.

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I literally started screaming at the television when that happened. I totally called a cliffhanger like this, but here are my thoughts below. I guarantee Tony lives. He's under contract still. Cote De Pablo has not signed a new contract. Normally, writers will do what's called the Bolivian Army Cliffhanger in the season finale when there are ongoing contract negotiations, so they can be written out between seasons if a deal is not reached, which happened with Law and Order SVU. This year, however, the cliffhanger is well before the finale, indicating one of two things. A. Cote De Pablo is highly likely to sign.
B. Cote De Pablo will not be returning to the show, either by choice or firing. In support of point A:
To date, all characters that have been killed off were confirmed by the end of the episode. (correct me if I'm wrong). No cliffhangers. Killing off a main cast member after a cliffhanger would seem HIGHLY unusual. Also, with Tiva being a fan favorite, Ziva departing the show by force would really be jumping the shark. It would be in the best interests of the show to keep Ziva on board if possible. In support of point B:
Killing off a main character would m

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Cote has talked about filming scenes over the last couple of weeks and some people who visited the set reported seeing her filming scenes with MH, MW, and Sean. So I think it's safe to say that Ziva survives the crash.

NCIS Season 10 Episode 21 Quotes

Ziva: When I have a man, the favors I offer have little to do with clothes.
Tony: That's good to know.

Tom Morrow: What are we proposing here?
Vance: Well with international tensions being so high on this, I'm proposing that we look the other way.
Tom Morrow: You can't be serious.
Vance: I am, Tom. We come down hard on Mossad now, then what happens? Talk to me about wasted manpower if Bodnar gets away after all of this? But understand: this one pass is the last one Mossad ever gets from me.
Tom Morrow: That makes two of us.
Gibbs: Three.

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