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NCIS Review: Just A Little Faith

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How fitting that, at this time of year, an NCIS episode would be all about faith.

Abby's Holiday Spirit

On NCIS Season 11 Episode 11, there was little faith to be found at first. Vance didn't trust the motives of his estranged father-in-law. And the parents of the first little girl who was stricken with an unknown illness certainly struggled to keep hope alive, what with Bishop rhyming off a number of possible causes for her condition.

And Palmer had no confidence about being a father, particularly as the case wore on, and he struggled with Abby and her friend Carol to identify the virus that seemed to be mutating, affecting a wider and wider number of children.

The writers couldn't have provided a better red herring than the creepy guy who wanted to infect his "girlfriend." His explanation was: I figured if I helped her feel better again, she might appreciate me more. 

Right. Here's a hint;  when someone says I'm not a monster, after all - you can be sure that person is the poster child for the word. Good thing this one was mostly impotent, unable to come up with anything resembling a virus.

Ducky profiled him perfectly, too: the "girlfriend" either didn't exist, or if she did, she had no idea that Comey (the creepy guy) even existed.

As we saw, it was fortunate that this was not a case of bio-terrorism, as Tony feared. It was a treatable bug, brought over from the Congo.

Rocky Carroll played to his strength in this episode: he has always done suppressed rage very well. His target this time? His father-in-law Lamar Addison (played so well by  Ben Vereen). 

When Addison showed up on his doorstep - after warning him that the next time he darkened his door, his agents would be taking him elsewhere - I was surprised that he didn't just pop him one then and there. Not overly surprised, though: Vance was always one to maintain his cool, regardless of the provocation. 

Still, the man feared for his kids, especially after this unwelcome father-in-law came by the house when Vance wasn't home.

Enter Abby, the Fairy Godmother of hope for two of the faith-impaired. As the anti-skeptic of the world, she was completely frustrated with Palmer's angst over being a father. Without realizing it, her words of wisdom hit both Palmer and Vance at the same time:

Life isn't always perfect, you know? But sometimes things would work out for the best if you just had faith.

Abby

As much as I like Bishop, it's good to know she has flaws. We saw one big one where: when her emotions are engaged, she finds it nearly impossible to let go. Usually when one makes a social blunder, the custom is to think about it, shudder and then try and forget about it. 

Not Bishop. She just had to go talk with the parents of that little girl once more to try and bolster their faith that the child would come out of it. That was her self-inflicted penance. 

The parents gained hope, based upon Bishop's statistics about other horrible illnesses, and then they hugged her. That was my cue to shudder. What if the girl had died, as the old man did? It could easily have happened. How great would her guilt have been then?

The hope here is that something similar to this happens again and Bishop does a blunder that can't be fixed. She needs to learn how to roll with misfortune... especially those that are self-inflicted.

Final thoughts:

  • Now that the Vances have reunited with Jackie's father, the hope here is that we'll get to see Ben Vereen a little more. What a great casting choice!
  • Gibbs and Vance seem to have grown even closer. After Vance turned down Gibbs' first offer to help, and Gibbs persisted, that small smile from Vance said it all, and was good to see.
  • Here's hoping we see more of Abby's friend Carol (played by Meredith Eaton) as well. She's been on the series twice before: once in 2009 and again in 2011. As noted in the NCIS Sneak Peek for this episode, Eaton is Pauley Perrette's real-life friend.
  • Apparently, cinnamon puts a smile on Gibbs' face. Tony knows his boss well - and Bishop picked up on it. 
  • The song at the end was Nothing More by The Alternate Routes.
  • The holiday wishes to the military at the end was perfect. 

NCIS returns on January 7, 2014 and you can watch NCIS online in the meantime.

What did you think of the episode? What are your thoughts about Ducky's profiling of the creep-monster Max Comey? Will Palmer and Breena get approval to adopt? Do you imagine there will be any more friction between Vance and Addison? Would you have appreciated a bite of that delicious coffee cake?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (112 Votes)

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

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This debate needs to come to an end. This is not a slam to either side. Just accept the fact that you will not change each other’s minds. What we all need to remember is this-just because someone says that they do not like Bishop does not automatically make them a Ziva Zealot or even a Ziva fan. One has nothing to do with the other. Why do people jump to conclusions when someone makes a negative comment against Bishop? I have read on these pages people calling others whiny Ziva fans when Ziva wasn’t even mentioned in the original comment. Quit putting words in other people’s mouths. I love Ziva but I really like Bishop. I would assume that there are those who disliked Ziva that really like Bishop and there are probably those who dislike both of them or love both of them. However, I do believe that the days of coming on these pages and lamenting the loss of Ziva/Cote needs to come to an end. I miss her dearly, but posting comments about how much I miss her isn’t going to change a thing. Cote de Pablo, for whatever reason, chose to move on. We, as her fans, need to respect that decision. We also need to remember that Emily Wickersham had nothing to do with this. She did not force Cote out. She is a young woman who is probably just excited to be a part of America’s #1 drama. So like Bishop or don’t, to each their own, but to post negative comments about the actress and her physical appearance are unnecessary. And for the love of God, can the negative comments against Cote/Ziva please come to an end? Those who dislike her should be happy. She is over, done with, gone. To constantly bring up her terrible characteristics and her supposed sins is tiring. Perhaps in the New Year we can all agree to just comment on the current episode and the characters that are still on the show. And really, can’t we all be a little nicer to one another? For just this one episode, I have read comments where people have called the other an idiot or have sworn at others just because they have a difference of opinion when it comes to the show or to a character on the show. Why can’t we all have our own opinion? This constant debate over who is a real fan needs to come to an end, too. Who are we to judge one another and deem who is worthy of being a fan? Obviously, we all have characters and aspects of the show that we like that are unique to us as individuals. Just because I love Ziva doesn’t mean I am any less of a fan than someone who loves Tony and vice versa. A little kindness towards others never hurt anyone. And please take this in the spirit that it is offered. I am not trying to tell anyone how the should feel or what they should believe. These are just suggestions from me on how we all can try a little harder to get along and value everyone's opinion. Thanks.

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erin----they didnt go to africa to advenge her death,they went to see if she was alive---tony needed an answer as well as the team if she might have been captured. why on earth would they put themselfs in that kind of danger--gibbs was looking into it & talking to dunham he kept looking into it,they still wanted to see for themselfs,why the hell would you say that about gibbs & his snipper act,they planned it all out--you know theres only 45 mintues to each show they can show every thing--i dont care how you feel about ziva,ii guess the team dd though--her father left her there & didnt worry about looking for her hes the one that sent her,they still went though even after gibbs told the team the ship sunk------------------------vance felt he owed eli because eli saved his butt in amsterdam so when he came to dc he agreed to talk with him--i thought it was a dumb thing to do having him over for dinner at his house he should have know better,when eli was around there was always trouble--a lot of elis problem was his daughter joining ncis & leaving mozzad,gibbs & wance knew that too,they didnt have to talk about--your supposed to figure that out on your own--but you have so much hate for ziva that you cant see whats in front of you.,in revenge she not only wanted to find bodnar,vance was looking into it to. he gave ziva the ok to go to find him,it ended up he was still in the usa, she didnt kill him he did fall off the ship,she beat his ass not just for herself but also vance==she felt responsible because her father came here it may not have happened.gibbs at the end was trying to protect her from any killing she did---gibbs was also surrounded by bodies too that he was responsible for why did you think dod went after him.tony & mcgee were never had any crimes against them,they got their badges back soon after.you are a ziva hater & perhaps you should look at things in a different way--like what makes sense---ziva is gone as is cote all i ever said to begin with was that the ziva bashers are a sad group of people i should say small group of people.perhaps you should have tried out for the role of bishop you seem to know what will happen & how she will be with the team,they had no frigging choice cote left,i & many others just feel that she is too young for the part,& needs to act more mature for what she is nsa. mic

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barfingaswespeak, thank you for replying that i didnt mean michael weatherly, to the guy that said it also said some other things that he i think isnt watching the same show.--gibbs didnt choose ziva--jenny did--yes vance told him eli sent her to kill ari but gibbs was going to find out the truth him self in which he did from ziva & he accepted it & took her back-----ziv a had to kill ari regarless either way --the law of the land. yea well they went half way across the world to the horn of africa to find her,the writers didnt know she was going to come back they wanted her back,you know what yes it is the end of zivas story--im done,she gone & you can say how much you like the new kid on the desk literally ,they could have chilled her out she didnt have to come into the bullpen so quirky as gg wrote in his letter, mic

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@ mic

The team didn't go to Africa to rescue Ziva. They went to avenge her death. Gunny Gibbs was turned into a much weaker OOC version when he took Ziva back after learning of her multi year deception. The entire team was turned into criminals at the end of season 10 so that the center of the ZCIS universe could revolve around Ziva's pursuing and murdering Bodnar. No consequences once again for her crime. Her constant tragic arcs changed the show and its characters from fun and clever to a soap opera revolving around a poorly written caricature of a super woman. I hope that they don't make the same mistake with Ellie. NCIS seemed to be getting some of its fun back and I don't want another mary sue whose constant melodramas dominate the show.

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excuse me sue ann but why does palmers baby have to be white, if they are such a sweet couple they would except any child to love. & vance has changed alot,he & gibbs are closer & he cares about the team very much,& by the way cared about ziva,she got revenge for both of them,her father may have been a no good guy & always brought trouble to ncis when he was around & ziva has said that her self,vance wanted revenge as much,who else could have done what she did ,no mind reading here so will see what bishop has to offer the team, they better get her in game so,lets see what she has to offer

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oh lets see when her husband the lawyer shows up, we know gibbs doesnt like lawyers or trust them rule no 13 if gibbs just changes his mind about lawyers then the gibbs the man has changed ,oh & kate she wasnt an ncis agent either,she was secret service,ziva became an agent & the team respected her for it & were happy, for her. how lon g was kate talked about when she went off the show,pehaps thatrs why they had ari kill her because she was leaving too. i think in my head that there are some folks that just dont like jewish people as was zivas ROLE, shame on that . mic

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deacon, i dont know how you feel ziva betrayed her brother & father,they if anything betrayed her. ari killed kate to hurt gibbs,when ziva shot him he was out of control & told gibbs he was her bro. to save someones live as she did for gibbs ,its something you dont forget,but his trust in her didnt come right away either.ziva didnt see what her father was,until gibbs told her he was dirty & no good, she believed him--she lost respect for her father & ncis gained respect for her,im not trying to knock bishop i think shes too young for her role------------she may suprise us ya never know, lots of us ended up loving ziva minus the tony thing because she really brought a great acting ability for the role she played i would like to see someone try & do as she did. mic

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to whom ever, no 1--tony started the tiva stuff,writers saw chemiistry with them & kept it going -tonys jaw dropped when ziva walked in from day 1----------------- its just a desk someone would have finnally sat in it would they not? why when ziva did was she the psychotic evil--thats so nasty they let her have that desk pretty fast though didnt they.you people that knock ziva--& we all know she gone now,why did you watch the show when she was on to begin with your remarks prove your not seeing the big picture nor paying attention. i dont like the way they started out with bishop they started her out as a teeny bopper so many people are trying to ajust to it,i have only said i think they should have her act more mature,thats why she doesnt fit with the team thats what people are mostly saying,they dont bash ziva either. im not an actress so i wouldnt be able to do a better job,but i can have my opinion & by the way did you ever do some acting your self. you would have been a good evil person,let alone what you think of ziva. mic

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@Braddock: First of all, please define "ganked." Secondly, why all the hostility? I simply pointed out that Bishop's behavior of plunking her toucas down on any available surface - except a chair - appeared unprofessional. I liked Ziva; however, I'd hardly consider myself a "zealot." I also happen to like Bishop. I'd just refrain from eating lunch on a desk or table that bears the imprint of her backside. Please try to dial back on the enmity, Old Son. Tis the season, after all.

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In fact, the departure was a real gut check for me, didn't see it coming. I think it was handled as best as could be. As i said the characters are aging, Gibbs is mellowing a little, Tony's maturing, Tim is less riddled with doubt, Jimmy still blurts out inappropriately at times, but that s part of his charm, working in autopsy does that to you, been there done that, Abby is more mature this year for sure, haven't seen Vance much but he's got his plate full, a sad story for sure but could have more than just a story line like future availability of the actress,Ducky is just Ducky. What I see in NCIS is a little slice of what life is, when you work with a small group in very close setting so many hours with so much dedication, you become a de facto family. The new character is not part of the family yet, but the back story for her of a normal family life and why she went into government service, might be a good one. I'll give it a chance. And for NCISNOLA I'd like a female team boss.

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@ guest+

They tried that already with NCIS:RED and that was over before it began, personally I blame it on casting Kim Raver as the lead.

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I guess I don't get what all the uproar is all about. I'm saddened that Cote left the show, but I'm not going to knock the new woman on the job either. As for how the show has aged and the characters with it, the characters have aged 11 years. I don't know about everyone else here but I'm not the same as I was 11 years ago. More about the experiences that have either knocked me down or raised me up, the show haws delivered many of those things for all the characters. This isn't the Simpsons or South Park.

NCIS Season 11 Episode 11 Quotes

Palmer: I'm so not having kids.
Abby: Okay Jimmy. That does it. Excuse us, director, but something has gotten into Mr. Palmer, and I would like to get it out now.
Vance: Well don't let me interfere.

Life isn't always perfect, you know? But sometimes things would work out for the best if you just had faith.

Abby
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