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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 (605 Votes)

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

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So, the perfect Michael Weatherly sacrifices his integrity for a pay check and a job? He makes $175,000. per episode and has been making decent money on this show for 10 years. His wife is a Dr. I am sure they have plenty of money in the bank. So, if he really wanted out of the situation, he could leave and not have to worry about money and putting up with such horrible working conditions. And at the end of the day he doesn't have any control of the scripts nor does Cote de Pablo. All of the people that hate her at least should realize that she has no control over what her character does either. And btw, I am a Michael Weatherly fan. If you watch his interviews, he likes to get a rise out of people and stir the pot. Even if he hates Tony and Ziva together he still loves and respects his friend Cote de Pablo, so maybe some of you should show her the same respect on these pages. You don't have to like her character but realize that Cote the person is separate from the character of Ziva.

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Have you read MW's very recent interview? I wish I knew how to post a link, but it can be found on IMDB if you're a member there. He in no uncertain terms expresses his feelings about tiva. He compares it to the herpes virus. Just when you think it's over you get an outbreak. He calls Ziva a train wreck of a girl, and basically says if Tony ever actually did get his s--- together, he'd leave his work situation in a heart beat. Now if I was making the kind of money and success that he was, I too might put up with a lot.

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If poor Michael Weatherly were that horrified he could always stop doing the show and not re-sign his contract every two years. He and Cote are good friends. Have you seen them in interviews together? I really don't think he is as hostile about the situation as all of you Tony fans are. He seems pretty content to me. And even Michael Weatherly has said himself in TV Guide the following: “Although I have to say, it’s kind of fun to play a total dinosaur in terms of sexual politics, somebody who doesn’t give a flying f—. The shallow end of the philosophical pool is obviously where Tony paddles around.� So really, I think he is just fine with his character. You all don’t have to defend him so vehemently.

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Agree with allisa. Ziva is mostly horrid to Tony. She's cruel, disrespectful, and smug. Yes - I know, what can say I love you better than looking down your nose at someone? Ziva is a nickelodeon caricature of a character and tiva is geared to attract adolescents. Poor old Michael Weatherly just had the misfortune of being the best looking guy on the set, so his character was the one sacrificed so that the tragic wonder princess of the show could always be written as admired.

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@alisa dont know how you can say ziva doesnt respect tony,she does but in her own way,and i would say 85%of viewers want them together.

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@Douglas Wolfe Yep, I missed that. So, it WAS deliberate. Thanks for pointing that out.

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@Alisa
Which reminds me, you still haven't answered my question. Who said everybody wanted Tiva? On a different note. Why do you end your posts with your name again? i am insanely curious.

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@noname Where did Cote say Tony and Ziva will be alright! O.O

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I love this show and I am eagerly anticipating the next episode. I would like to mention the little girl that played the young Ziva. She is a beautiful child and really played her part well! She even resembles Cote! I do believe that Tony and Ziva both survived the crash as it would not be NCIS without them. This show is great because of the whole cast! If one cast member was missing it just wouldn't be the same. I personally love them all!

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@Alisa
part 2
Tony is not always this perfect person. And lighten up, it is just a show. All these little exaggerations are what make the characters interesting.

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.