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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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erin---they didnot hire ziva,she was a liasion officer that worked with them.gibbs saw her skills & just waited it out,she had to earn gibbs trust & did----oh yea & leon he knew all about the trent cort & training cobbs to be a killer,him & sec nav. that was to do with the paper being schedded,do you think gibbs trusted him when he first became director, gbbs knows & sees every thing so why do they need a head gamer again,the show has changed & havent you ever in real life hear of someone quiting there job with 2 weeks notice, call cote what you will or say what you want,there may be a very personal issue with her maybe a health issue or family health issue,calling her a quiter is so wrong, she didnt want to be ziva david anymore,just like just as if you dont want to flip hambugers anymore. & that michael i wasnt speaking of michael weatherly --in fact michael weatherly grew up in fairfield conn,thats 15 mintutes from me. he is also a fine actor & i am not knocking anyone really just see what i see,its just different peoples opinions but there are alot of people that are glad ziva is gone,& thats okay with me,but dont knock her acting ability,you have invited ncis in your tv rooms for 11 yrs now ,you do get a new couch right because you got tired of the old one perhaps thats why cote left,i give her credit for staying out of the tweet crap & facebook,none of us fans know the reason she left so lets stop pondering, mic

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erin, gibbs wanted her on the team because he saw her skills,& she did become a us citizen didnt she, because she resigned from mozzad i guess no one will ever let go of the ziva mozzad woman who was a killer right,well gibbs killed the man that he feels killed his wife & daughter right but he cause the crash that killed them because the agent was shot that was driving them to testify. thats why i dont understand why she is put down so much.gibbs opened her eyes to her own father & she saw for her self just what he was,thats why she resigned from mozzad & wanted to be an ncis agent also.it is a big change for the show having this bishop,& shes not replacing ziva ,she is not an agent.she is a mind reader-- remember jamie lee curtis who i did not feel she belonged working with them at all,dont you remember gibbs saying you sleep with someone to get info if you have too. do you think he was in to her- if so where is she?& im not referring that i think gibbs would do such a thing with this bishop,at the end of sea 10 it showed & talked about all the things gibbs did people he killed & things he swept under the carpet, protecting his team was what gibbs was about, why did he protect ziva,because she saved his life & had his back,do you really think he trusted her in the begining,she proved her self to him,but all the time gibbs knew her father was a piece of dirt,he didnt care that eji got killed but he still felt bad for ziva,& ziva knew gibbs did not like her father,respect went both ways.i think that perhaps im just thrown off with this bishop & with gibbs asking her what she thinks & tells him to wait in her way of speaking,gibbs woulkd have walked way had anyone else done that on his team.gibbs was tough on ziva for her own good her turned her life around to be a better person, so you can all have your opinions ,tony went undercover for jenny & gibbs didnt know that did he,mcgee hid his sisters issue until she was cleared.ya think he like ej she screwed up big time with the port -to-port epi--& didnt trust her one bit.gibbs always knew what others were thinking & what was going on or felt what was going to be the outcome. so why do they need bishop--thats my ????? mic

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@Mic: I like Bishop well enough, I suppose, but whenever she plants her scrawny backside on top of Ziva's desk, I imagine our former Ninja-diva punting the aforementioned narrow @$$ up and down NCIS hallways. I have to agree that it IS rather unprofessional behavior, especially around an ultra-professional like Gibbs, who usually saves all of his indulgences for Abby. I wonder if Abby will begin to feel insecure and initiate a plan to torpedo Ms. Bishop? Must-see TV, fer sher.

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@ EB

Nah Abs wouldn't feel insecure. Abby's 'the friendliest goth you'll ever meet'

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@ EB

It's not Ziva's desk it's a desk. It belonged to Kate Todd before she was ganked by Ziva's psychotic evil half bro. Christ you Ziva zealots wil find any excuse to bitch about your goddess's absence.

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I don't know if anyone has brought this up yet, but this particular episode was rather difficult to swallow, medicine-wise. When presented with a young patient with a high fever and altered consciousness, the first thing any physician would have done was a spinal tap, which would have yielded an immediate presumptive diagnosis with laboratory confirmation in roughly 24-36 hours. Are we really expected to believe that the CDC (who really should have been in charge of both the clinical and the epidemiological portions of the investigation) has never heard of an African-borne meningitis? There was a huge epidemic of meningococcal meningitis in the DRC in 2007, for crying out loud. The sentimentality of the episode was fine (who DIDN'T get choked up at the yuletide family reunion at the Vance household?); I just had a hard time with the procedural aspect in this episode. Okay, I'm climbing off my soapbox now. Happy Holidays everyone (or at least to those of you who don't want to eviscerate me for introducing the real world into our favorite TV show).

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@ EB

Too true, but then the episode would have lasted all of ten minutes.

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@ EB

It's ok to try to introduce the real world but that flies in the face of fiction, which is what this is. Remember that Ducky and Jimmy don't even exist in the real NCIS world. We have to accept the old adage from the stage , the willingness to suspend disbelief, in order for the formula of most TV fiction to work. CDC was used in SWAK, and of course Abby still beat them to the punch!

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@ EB

Hope you had a wonderful holiday, I enjoyed your take on the episode, it 's great to read the impressions of the most of the fans who post here. I am hoping that NCIS gets back on track as the season continues. Some folks are enjoying Bishop, but am afraid she has ruined it for me. I never miss an episode and watch the previous seasons on the other channels that run them.

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erin-- in the second epi of sea 11 the dr told tony why should she have the man she loved when she took mine away, everyone by that time knew ziva killed ari-- tony told her that she had to kill ari-- yes she told gibbs that her father sent him to gain gibbs trust,& gibbs believed her --that was after vance told him why she was sent here-- & gibbs still didnt except it because gibbs knew she was messed up because of her father. why did they all stick by her in her rescue & her fathers murder. yes ziva is gone & perhaps she was smart enough to end zivas story as she said because she didnt want to be ziva anymore------------------------------------------------oh & jenny didnt bring her here to have all this drama she never kn ew about her father & no one at that time knew she killed ari besides her & gibbs. why did gibbs want her back if she was not going to ever be trusted,gibbs wanted her & the team needed her remember that remark. yes ziva is gone i am not crying because she left the show she wanted too. i just cant stand the ziva haters & they still make there comments about her & the new girl is so much better. whatever----------------the show has changed maybe for the good or maybe left them in a bind so everyone wants to knock cote for that too.i wish the new girl well ,it doesnt mean i have to like her or be glad she replaced ziva, i think we will have to wait & see how much she offers the show. thats why i keep watching. remember one thing gibbs wanted her on the team so blame him for bringing her in--------shame on the ones that only see a killer ziva--this new girl better learn how to protect herself & deal with the punches or the boys will have to baby sit. im not a tiva pusher just because i defend the woman. & i would like to know how some people think that bishop is so good,what has she done to get her medal, give her a lollypop she will solve the next case---do you understand that? why would gibbs stand by & let someone do his thinking for him anyway.cote screwed up the show by leaving therefore that are having a challenge getting back in writing the scripts, there are those knocking the new girl more then you think i am-- so i am not alone--wasnt that song beautiful in shalom. ziva was awesome in that & the on e before it & that was on vance-- oh she told gibbs her father was in town, because she didnt want to hide anything from him--yea the badass mozzad girl. lets see how bishop does she already messed up & needed people skills as did kate & ziva-- so alot of people are comparing. ---mic

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NCIS is by far the most entertaining series ever.
We have all 10 seasons on DVD, and watch all the seasons, then start over, seeing new things, enjoying those great moments, e.g. when Tony sees Kate's wet Tshirt pic on the wall at Spring Break....."Aha-ha-ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, haaaaa!", or when Tony and Magee are wrestling for the cell phone on the couch in the waiting room at the shrink's.
And Abby's endearing quirky Goth stuff....she's a treasure. And Ducky
and Jimmy......all excellent.....I hope they are friends as well.
But it seems to have lost it's edge, the zing of the first 8 seasons......the soundtrack has gone from tense to dorky (like Bones), the stories have become increasingly mushy & lack luster and weak humor if any. What's up???!!! Is everyone getting tired??? Are they
just punching the clock? Are they just getting older?
The new probie, Bishop, is too cute.....she's good as a temp, but can't see her as a Kate or Ziva replacement.
I'm still POd about Vance's wife Jackie getting killed off....that was just mean. I didn't like Vance at first, but do now. And Fornell....and miss Kate & Jenny. And others too numerous to mention. But the core has been solid......till now.
Even though the ratings are incredible, I see a big contrast between the first 7-8 seasons, and the last 2......nothing memorable for sure in season 10.
NCIS was great from the first episode......very sharp and smart.
And in Dead Man Talking, the tense soundtrack when Gibbs had Amanda the shemale in his sights, "His name was Chris Pacci....
and he was a friend".
So many great moments.....tense, funny, sad, scary....and memorable.
I hope they get back on track and end well.....not just turn out the lights.

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@ CalM

BTW, the last episode about Strep pneumo was rediculous.
No hospital would ever depend on NCIS to figure out a pathogen, much less Streptococcus pneumoniae which
is common, and kills about 22,000 every year per the CDC.
Vs the episode "Swak" (S2E22) when Tony got the plague. That was very well done, realistic, and accurate...classic NCIS.

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guess + i guess you also have time on your hands too. seems to me you should be reading a good book,i read 2 books a week these comments are just something to read to see what others think. you seem to have a strong opinion on what others think & feel.i just finish wrapping gifts & sat down to chill out whats up with your opinions you act as if your a commentator on tv shows perhaps ncis would be interested in your opinions & remarks.sound to me that you have got it down pat.not a problem with me that i dont care for bishop,she doesnt belong nor fit for a team like ncis,they could just call nsa when they need to & she can sit on the floor & talk to them over the phone.i can bet you that the real nsa would never have anyone sitting on the floor so right there is a joke. im giving her a chance, how so got so close to every one so fast esp--abby is kind of hard to swallow. its like how come we never saw her before ,im sure ncis could have usea someone with her brain,shes a thinkerthey say & so am i they should have gotten someone older & mature acting ,i will keep watching though to see if she grows up,because abby hasnt & it looks as if they have become buddies rather quick. mic

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@ mic

I think having an agent cross from NSA to NCIS is infinitely more believable than hiring on a foreign agent who works for a foreign government agency (whose father is the head of) to handle day to day investigations, have access to classified information and strategic policies, and be immediately trusted by all concerned. I personally like Emily Wickersham so far and find her to be pleasant and pretty. I do hope that they tone down her character's abilities for fear that they'll create another Mary Sue whose shiney super skills must be highlighted at every opportunity, while Tony and Tim are left, once again, in the dust, while Gibbs and Ellie show all the brilliance, leadership, and are featured in all the exciting scenes. I really hope that they'll play up Ellie's probieness, as that will give everyone an opportunity to strut their stuff.

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@ mic

Seems like all you do is criticize the new girl for not being mature. Like you can do a better job.

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@ Deacon

Well, that was mature...

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@ barfingaswespeak

Like you can do any better either.

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guess there are a lot of people with too much time on their hands so they can type up these diatribes. Any woman who walks into the bullpen of NCIS will be judged against Ziva. Secondly that woman will stick out and appear to have an enhanced role, simply by her presence, being the one out of four, who is definitely not male. We don't want clones but these people have to have some sort of exceptional talent to bring to the group to aide it the function of the team and provide a diverse back story, to add interest, intrigue. Do we really have to start putting the cast on stop watches to see if someones being over or under used? DO we have to resort to insults of the character, she's too skinny, too young looking, retched hair, eyebrows,etc. Is that really what we've become as fans? I thought the Christmas episode, and yes they did say Merry Christmas ,was heart felt, warm, a total team effort. They all brought their A game. That the resulting case wasn't nefarious was a good change. Sometimes a sandwich is just a sandwich, but if its made with love, that's what counts. It was a loving, and lovely episode.

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since when did gibbs let anyone sit on there desk-- is he going to let this bishop do what ever she wants, she knows nothing about navy life she should learn that a little dont you think. kate wasnt all that either when it came to navy & either was ziva--but she learned the quickest & bishop needs to do the same thing,i cant believe gibbs is asking her what to do. the ncis program has changed & perhaps they should bring it to an end some way.gibbs mind is on the new orleans ncis i think that may be why he doesnt seem focused. my opinion tony should head up the new orleans office & it will be a great jump for him he deserves it.all you folks can think & say as you like i dont care i am not the kind of person that will argue with someone because they dont like this or that or a person.its so child like.i have moved on from ziva--its hard to put her name into a comment because most want to tell you to move on or make a lousy comment about her.do you not think that abby & her pony tails has gone to far & palmer is so goofy for some one that probably will take over for ducky. they seem to also drop one story & go into another before the other is ended. the team of writers are searching to get it together i feel & are stuck so they will let bishop do all the work because she a another jamie lee curtis & she was hard to have on the show,gibbs was playing her though to get info,she left before the bomb went off i wonder about that---& i read more comments on alot of fans did not like her at all. so bishop is just a younger version of jamie lee curtis. they go from one storie to another & leave you hanging , the last epi of sea 10 was so mixed up with the story line & again that was all over ,sea 11 starts & its not talked about either. i do hope the on e in new orleans offers a new out look on ncis its needed. mic

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What other episodes did Carol appear in?

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@ PatrickC

Faith season 7, Devils Triangle season 9. She hit on Fornell

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@ guest+

Thanks, I knew she was in Faith, but I couldn't remember Devil's Triangle.

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@ PatrickC

I remember a Christmas episode, her sister was deployed on a ship, Carol was keeping her sister's son and at the end McGee got a sat connection with the ship so the little boy could see his mom on the screen in MTAC, it was soooo cool!

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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