NCIS Season 17 Episode 1 Review: Out of the Darkness

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Yup, Ziva has definitely returned.

But the why remained fuzzy after NCIS Season 17 Episode 1.

It was certainly understandable why she had played dead after her father's farmhouse was blown up on NCIS Season 13 Episode 24.

Like Old Times - NCIS

Her body not being found after the explosion left the door wide open for Ziva's return, after whatever led to Cote de Pablo's departure during NCIS Season 11 got resolved. 

A woman named Sahar wanted her dead for some reason that Ziva didn't understand.

A Bloodied Gibbs - NCIS Season 17 Episode 1

So Ziva arranged for her daughter Tali to be sent to live safely with Tali's father Tony, which also made sense. There was no room for a young girl while her mother was on the run.

Ziva had help disappearing from Adam, whose connection to her, not surprisingly, also wasn't clear. Friend, former lover, Mossad, who knows?

NCIS: Cote de Pablo's Return as Ziva Extended

Obviously, he's a key to this storyline, and we'll find out more about him later.

What is clear is that life underground hasn't treated Ziva well.

She kept getting distracted by flashbacks, which while crucial to the exposition, certainly were an obstacle to her trying to stay alive.

Ziva Returns ... FOR WHAT? - NCIS Season 17 Episode 1

Then there were those pills in her pocket, which she told Gibbs she uses to fight her "demons," whatever that means, although she hadn't been taking them since they dull her senses.

And who is Odette to Ziva, beyond being her supposed landlord?

They have history. Anyone who can rustle up a load of weapons like that has to be a former spook for some type.

Also, what's with Ziva's necklace? Is it something of sentimental value or is it some kind of high-tech device? 

There's lots of answered questions still.

Bishop Searches - NCIS Season 17 Episode 1

Yes, something has happened to Ziva in the past three years that need to be explained if we're to understand her actions, past and present.

She's not all there anymore mentally, which doesn't bode well for a long-time return. Hopefully she's back long enough to reunite with Tony and Tali before disappearing again.

Ziva had to come out of the shadows to protect Gibbs, her surrogate father and Sahar's target.

But if Sahar was coming after Gibbs, she must have had at least an inkling that Ziva was still alive and was trying to flush her out. Otherwise, why target a member of American law enforcement?

A coal chute. Clever, You just knew Gibbs would have some kind of escape route from his fabled basement. Sailing away wasn't going to work.

Hard at Work - NCIS Season 17 Episode 1

And of course, the two of them could come up with an improvised explosive device using just the chemicals in the basement.

Gibbs was so happy to see Ziva alive that he was willing to go along with being in the dark, at least for the time being. It's not like he hasn't had to go along with plans developed on the fly before.

Did Ziva think Gibbs would just go to a safe house and leave her to fend for herself on her mission to find Sahar?

That didn't seem too likely, did it?

Also, while it was understandable that she wanted as few people as possible to know she was alive, why not exploit NCIS resources on the sly?

Getting Pulled in - NCIS Season 17 Episode 1

As Gibbs pointed out, they were in a race to find the answers that she so desperately needed. 

Where would they have been without McGee decrypting the card to find Mister Rogers' address or Kasey determining Sahar's hideout? 

Related: 19 TV Characters Who Don't Know How to Chill on Vacation

Although they were in the dark, Ziva's old teammates wanted to help her however they could.

It was amusing to watch how bad the team was at keeping secrets. 

Oh, That Stance - NCIS Season 17 Episode 1

Bishop had done well up until now at protecting the fact that Ziva was alive, which she discovered from Ziva's note on NCIS Season 16 Episode 13

But when Bishop started acting squirrelly, McGee just pinged her cell and found her at Ziva's old place and she had to open up to him.

Once he got over himself, then the two of them had to try to keep everyone else oblivious to Ziva's presence.

Which they did badly since Torres was wise to Bishop's tell.

Then they made the ill-conceived decision to compare notes in the lab, where of course Jimmy overheard everything.

Torres Searches for Gibbs - NCIS Season 17 Episode 1

At least Kasey had the common sense not to ask questions and to just do what was asked of course, even if she did eventually and accidentally spill the beans to Vance.

Were they wrong to keep Vance and Jack out of the loop? 

It was good to give Vance deniability in case something goes wrong, which is still a very real possibility. Jack didn't know Ziva, and in the middle of a case, there wasn't time to go through all that back story.

Ziva shouldn't have lashed out at Gibbs because.there was little (but not no) reason to believe she was still alive.

In the Dark - NCIS Season 17 Episode 1

But then, Ziva has always had her daddy issues.

It wasn't a shock that Sahar was after Ziva because of something Ari did. After all, everyone was pissed off at Ari, including Ziva, who killed him.

Related: Get CBS All Access via Amazon Channels for Hit Shows, Exclusive Originals & Live TV!

So why was Sahar stalking Ziva, and threatening to have a senator killed as well? Let's hope Ziva leaves her alive long enough to find out.

I can't wait until next episode when the Ziva reunions continue.

Not in the Know - NCIS Season 17 Episode 1

To review Ziva's history, watch NCIS online.

What did you think of Ziva's return?

Why does Sahar hold Ziva responsible for Ari's actions?

Will Michael Weatherly get freed up from Bull so Tony can reunite with Ziva?

Comment below.

Out of the Darkness Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (61 Votes)

Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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NCIS Season 17 Episode 1 Quotes

Well, what did I do to piss her off? Zero intel.

Gibbs [to Ziva]

Ziva, where you been?