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NCIS Review: Farewell to Ziva

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Well, there you have it: 

The Tony and Ziva moment so many have hoped for (or dreaded) has finally happened. They had their romance, albeit in a bittersweet way. The way they ended it seemed believable and sad, given the fact that this was Cote de Pablo's final episode with NCIS, at least for now.  Fortunately, in "Past, Present, and Future," she was left alive in Israel, while Tony hopped a plane back to the U.S.

Ziva's Final Farewell

Like last week, the show was packed with detail - although this time, it seemed to flow a little more fluidly. Plus, we got to meet an interesting and ruthless new Secretary of the Navy named Sarah Porter. Her impatience and demand for action left little to the imagination: she didn't want Parsa found and tried in court. She wanted him dead. You have to love an unequivocal order like that:

SecNav Porter: Gentlemen, as you may know I'm not military. My background's business. And the first order of business the President has appointed me to address is preventing further attacks. The second is to bring swift justice to those committing them, by any means necessary. | permalink

Seems a little ironic and sad that we learned so much about Ziva at a time when we have to say goodbye to her. Once again, the writers have outdone themselves by painting a believable picture: Ziva is emotionally overwhelmed by the deaths of those she loves. In particular, as if killing her brother wasn't bad enough, she's learned that she shot him just before he was going to propose to her Israeli next door neighbor and childhood best friend Doctor Deena Bashan. Guilt city.

I don't think the writers could have made it any clearer that Tony had it bad for Ziva: dreaming about her, then day-dreaming about her and finally figuring out that she wasn't moving forward in her life, but back to her past (hence the name of the episode). You have to wonder if, when Gibbs finally got hold of him after he'd been traveling for a few months, Tony actually thought he fooled him when he lied about not finding Ziva. Somehow I doubt it.

Gibbs has always been hyper-aware, so when he told Tony to "do what you have to do," it's possible that he knew Tony had already found her. Even though in the previous breath he told him to respect the fact that she didn't want to be found. I think that maybe Gibbs was affording them both some privacy.

Another treat in this episode was learning more about FBI Agent Tobias Fornell. Up until now he's been presented as a kind of staid and dusty character who has been outwardly grumpy toward Gibbs. Watching him pile up on the pancakes and "extra extra bacon" kind of made you shudder in arterial empathy: hopefully he doesn't have such meals too often. 

And then to get shot in the butt and see him being wheeled into the ambulance ass-up? Well, that just added insult to the embarrassment of his ignorance about Mendez. I like that he and Gibbs are friends, but there's something missing from that picture. Maybe their ex-wife Diane needs to make another appearance. She always seems to get both men riled up and antsy.

Did anyone really think Gibbs was going to shoot Fornell? As we suspected, he had him in his rifle sights but only for a moment. Lots of tension in the moments before Gibbs took the shot: Tobias wanders about, sees that there are no bodyguards on the roof, radios in to get it investigated, the car door opens and Mendez's phone rings, he says he has to answer it, his finger hovers over the "answer" button, Gibbs lines him up and, just before Mendez's finger hits the button, Gibbs shoots. I knew he would get him in time; I think we all did. Still, though, what a way to drag it out.

I think I lost track of the body count in this story arc over the two-part episode. Two bodyguards at the house where Gibbs killed Mendez, three assassins at Ziva's not-so-safe safe house, SecNav Clayton Jarvis (plus likely a whole bunch of others killed by the bomb at the concert hall), the man Mendez was visiting at the hospital (plus a whole bunch of others killed in that bomb blast), the assassins who tried to take out Gibbs in Iran.... I'm probably missing some. Anyway, there was lots of action over these two shows, which more than counterbalances the touching romance between Tony and Ziva. 

Final thoughts:

  • There was a lot to cover in this episode so it's no surprise that we didn't get to see McGee's new squeeze Delilah.
  • Parsa and his gang of merry men are still out there. The NCIS team have their work cut out for them this season.
  • Deputy Director Jerome Craig stepped out of the NCIS office once Director Vance came back. We don't know if he'll make another appearance this season, but I hope he does. He's a curious character.
  • There was lots of great dialogue in this show as you'll see in this episode's NCIS quotes. There were so many lines it was impossible to capture them all, though - the writing for this episode was that good.
  • That was an amazing bitter-sweet ending: with Tony creating his own Ziva-inspired list of "I wills" list while on the lonely flight back to the U.S., while Gibbs takes a phone call from Ziva.

Now it's your turn. What did you think? Were you happy with the way the romance between Ziva and Tony played out? Did the ending and Ziva's exit make sense to you?

Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (514 Votes)

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

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Marissa

This was a great episode. Ziva's ending was amazing and the best way to end it was with tony. They left it open so she could come back at some point. I know she left the show but I hope she decides to come back at some point because the show woulnt be the same without her.

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The writing was very good. The romance between Tony and Ziva was very bland. Nothing exciting or monumental about that. I as a Tiva fan was very dissapointed. They hiped but did not deliver. Sorry not satisfied.

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Maybe the whole thing is hype, and she really does return at some point...regardless, they will stick that new woman in there, and if anything it
won't be a surprise that casting did a wonderful job, again!!!

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I definitely thought these past 2 shows have been choppy and rather disappointing. I realize there was a time constraint, but it'd have been better to push Ziva's departure to a third or fourth show, without all the jumping around in time; as if Tony could really be tracking Ziva for months while Gibbs etc are marking time with their case...

Josie leeds

OK, I now officially owe the writers an apology....although it IS a temporary aberration, I'm sure. The last episode with Tiva was just right, perfectly scored and directed and left the door open for the future. Gibbs' face at the end was unsettling, since we aren't accustomed to him getting the short end of a battle that way. Must say I really enjoyed Fornell getting a "memento" of the altercation....was Gibbs' aim off or was Fornells' butt in the wrong place? Either way, it was a great story arc and put Tiva to rest, at least for now. My only concern is if the writers put Tony back in his juvenile persona, post Ziva. Hope not--I really like the depth shown by Weatherly in this one.

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Loved the show. A lot crammed into a short time, but that was of necessity due to the circumstances of Cote's departure. I thought Ziva's and Tony's scenes together were too short, but were well done. Looks like MW has gained a little weight over the summer. He is a very handsome man, though. And Gibbs...well, he is the man. At 62 he's still got it. His injuries looked very real. I wonder if the bloodshot eye was real or a contact lens. Regardless, I loved the fight scene. And he is awesome with a rifle. I also love how the writers always inject some humor into serious situations. Fornell shot in the butt...perfect! And Gibbs obviously cares very much for Ziva. Her call came at the end of a very difficult day. Looking forward to the rest of the season.

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I liked the new maturity Tony showed in this episode. I hope he doesn't slip back into being the amiable doofus the rest of the season. I do think it is unfortunate that Ziva doesn't say good-bye to the whole team, but all in all I have no complaints. Considering the writers had to respond to her decision, they did a pretty good job of showing the emotional turmoil that was driving her.

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I actually feel kind of relieved that the Ziva thing is over (for now). Love Cote but it is better not to drag these things out. I am looking forward to the rest of the sesason and to see how the team handles Ziva's loss and reacts to her replacement. I would prefer that she NOT be replaced but it has been known for some time that she will be. I hope Ziva returns in some meaningful way at some point but, for now, time for one of my favorite shows to move on.

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I SOOOOOO hope that Cote will come come back after the probable pregnancy. Please, a petition. Do one season without her and then bring her back...

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I thought this was a crappy epsoide. Weak goodbye and no good-byes to McGee or Abby. This could easily rank as one of the worse eps ever for all the build up to it. Also Cote has to either be pregnat or putting on weight she looks much rounder.

NCIS Season 11 Episode 2 Quotes

SecNav Porter: Agent Gibbs, with your reputation, I expected Parsa to be disposed of long before now. So, do tell me, please: what sort of help am I not providing?
Gibbs: Influence.

Ziva: Tony. You are so...
Tony: Handsome? Funny? What?
Ziva: Loved.