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.
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.
- 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?
Douglas Wolfe was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He retired in 2016. Follow him on Twitter.