Ziva has been on the outside so long that she couldn't come back in.
The fan favorite spent most of NCIS Season 17 Episode 2 working on her own scheme while keeping her former teammates largely in the dark.
It's still too early to tell if she can return to a normal life.
That's the goal for which Ziva was striving, and she proved willing to do almost anything to get there.
It didn't make sense that Gibbs let Ziva go her own way after they had taken Sahar into custody.
Granted, no one puts Ziva in the corner. Not even Gibbs.
But it was more than that. Gibbs was distancing himself from Ziva, his surrogate daughter.
That's why he had Jack ineffectively interrogate Sahar and had Ducky, then McGee meet with Ziva instead of himself.
Gibbs felt guilty because he hadn't looked closer to Ziva's "death" despite there being no body found after the farmhouse explosion.
Ziva blames him for that since she felt she had left enough clues that he could figure out that she had survived.
But Gibbs had lost so many people through the years that he didn't want to get his hopes up, and he just accepted the loss of Ziva.
Mark Harmon let the pain show through Gibbs' trademark stoicism.
Ziva didn't buy the reasoning of her father figure, showing Gibbs the scar she had received after she had rushed to Paraguay in an effort to free him and McGee back in NCIS Season 15 Episode 1, then eliminated any who might seek revenge.
Most enjoyable was watching the various team members as they encountered Ziva, either again or for the first time.
After getting to know Ziva through her journal, Bishop went AWOL just so she could meet her. It was clear that Ziva appreciated how Ellie had kept her secrets.
Even before Ducky discovers the anti-anxiety medication that Ziva dropped, he could tell Ziva had been going through some struggles.
Despite being cautioned, McGee had to learn for himself that Ziva wasn't still the big sister who he was fondly remembering.
Torres just related to Ziva's reputation, as one "asskicking demon to another." He didn't know what he was getting into when he initially refused to fight her as a ruse to capture the white-supremacist bombmaker.
Kasie was indifferent, and Jimmy never did get the face-to-face with Ziva which he sought.
It was clear that Ziva couldn't go home again, despite her melancholy visit to NCIS headquarters, complete with her flashback to young, handsome Tony.
At least we finally got an explanation of why Sahar was trying to kill Ziva because of Ari.
I figured that because Ziva had killed Ari, she would have done Sahar a favor.
But no. It turned out that Ari was working with Sahar on some Hamas splinter group, which fell apart when Ari got killed. Then the group's survivors got thrown into prison, and Sahar lost all her cred.
That makes more sense if you have a pissed-off terrorist mindset.
Sahar's tipping her hand after being captured didn't make a whole lot of sense.
First, it was a Senator, then a Congressman, that was in danger.
Yet, those two suicide bombers were easily identified and killed by police. How inept!
To top it off, the bombers were actually white supremacists, working with a Muslim terrorist. That didn't add up either.
Sahar's scheme was much more esoteric and devious than it originally appeared.
Spooking D.C. led to an obscure portion of the Patriot Act getting activated, granting NCIS special powers.
Which was just what Sahar wanted because she had teamed up with someone who could easily get inside NCIS -- Ziva.
Sahar was undone in multiple ways by her weak link, that cop who tried to flee, badly, when the noose got tightened, and eventually spilled everything after being caught. The death penalty will cause that.
That cop's phone ultimately revealed Ziva's role in Sahar's plot. Still, I can't believe that anyone was suspect of Ziva, regardless of how squirrelly she had been acting since her return.
Still, Ziva made more sense than Ducky being involved in this conspiracy.
It's uncomprehensible that Sahar believed Ziva had changed sides just for a promise of ending her life on the run.
Yes, Ziva did transfer the assets exactly as Sahar had instructed.
She just added a little wrinkle, looping in Interpol so that Sahar's people would get arrested when they tried to collect the funds.
Also, she sent enough obvious signals that Gibbs and NCIS couldn't help but find her meeting with Sahar.
If only she'd been that clear after her "death."
And how is it that the villain of most any episode manages to escape during transport? How often do you hear of such an incident on your local news?
Prison breaks, sure. Escapes from prison convoys, not so much.
By the end, Gibbs and Ziva seemed to be in a good place, to the point where she could show up again in the future.
It was disappointing that any reunion with Tony and Tali would happen offscreen if it happened at all.
Tiva fans really wanted to see that, for closure if nothing else.
To view Ziva in action in the past, watch NCIS online.
What did you think of Ziva's return?
Would you like to see her recur?
Who was right, Gibbs or Ziva?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.