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How NCIS Spent Its Summer Vacation

September 24, 2009
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ncis

All the cool shows are doing it; instead of picking up right where their May cliffhangers left off, they jump ahead a few months, making you think you’ve missed an episode or two, and then slowly over the course of the episode tell you want you really want to know, i.e. did they die/sleep together/give in to torture?

Half the shows that returned from summer hiatus after hanging from cliffs gave us a summary of everything that happened in the last month or so through expositional dialogue. NCIS decided to use flashbacks and truth serum.

In case you missed it: A quick recap reminds us that Tony shot Ziva’s boyfriend in self defense, she was pissed and went home to Israel, where she was immediately put into undercover Mossad work that resulted in her capture in Somalia. The seventh season “Truth or Consequences” opens on our favorite torturer, last seen demanding that the captured Ziva tell him everything she knows about NCIS. He’s got a new bag of torture tricks, and starts monologuing to the figure strapped to the chair – not Ziva, but Tony. What a shocking turn of events! What’s DiNozzo doing in Africa?

Well, he’s getting pumped full of truth serum, a special cocktail that forces him into flashbacks and individual character biographies on our team mates, in case you forgot who they were. Biggest shock of all in these little vingettes? Tony and McGee are partners, and actually seem to have bonded.

For whatever reason, NCIS has killed some of Salim the torturer’s men, and now he’s pissed. He asks for Tony’s mission. Tony tells him it’s an assassination. His, in fact. Tony is in Somalia to kill Salim. Surprise! But first he flashes back to May, and the investigation of a methamphetamine smuggling ring aboard a naval ship. This has nothing to do with Somalia or Ziva, but it kills time while Tony, McGee, and Gibbs look for a new teammate, and another meth overdose gives Ducky the opportunity to tell Tony that, no, he hasn’t heard from Ziva either. Now it’s June.

Tony  and McGee go through the stack of files, deciding on a tough-talking DEA agent with an intense handshake who intimidates DiNozzo. He thinks she’s unflappable, which she is – until she gets her five minutes with Gibbs, who makes her cry. Apparently Ziva isn’t replaceable. (Which is true, but kind of harsh on Kate.) Tony tells Salim that if he could drag Ziva back to NCIS, he would – but Ziva David is dead. He looks like he’s actually struggling with some emotion there, good on him.

Salim starts monologuing again, and mentions that his personal drug of choice is caffeine which will be relevant later. Tony blabs about Director Vance, and his habit of keeping secrets. In July Vance and Gibbs discuss the absence of information on Ziva, and Tony enters into awkward banter with his next candidate for her replacement. For someone who hits on women like it’s a sport, it’s very strange to watch Tony get discomfited by a woman who flirts back; obviously he has other things on his mind. Captain Becky Hastings the thrillseeker flunks out when she balks at the idea of hacking into Mossad case files.

Tony and McGee have dinner together, but Tony is very distracted. He thinks it’s weird that no one has heard from Ziva. She might still be mad at him, but that’s no reason to cut off communication with the others. Tony seems genuinely concerned. McGee concurs, and they decide to track her down, afraid that she’s been prevented from making contact.

This leads tortured!Tony to reveal the existence of Abby to Salim, and goes into detail describing how in August they tracked Ziva’s movements in the middle east. Another potential recruit arrives, a police captain, but Tony’s so busy with a lead on a ship named Damocles, that he barely notices she’s female. He takes her to observation to watch Gibbs crack a suspect on that meth thing that’s completely irrelevant to the real plot, and Tony loses a few screws telling her how ridiculous the job is. Turns out the overdose ‘victim’ they’ve been nursing back to health is the drug pusher! Somewhat disillusioned Tony crushes police officer Heather Kincaid’s dreams when he tells her they’re not hiring. Definite aura of doom and gloom.

Tony walks into Abby’s lab, where she and McGee regale him with a rendition of the Israeli version of “The Farmer in the Dell.” Somehow this allows them to connect NCIS and Mossad to Salim, and tells them that Ziva was onboard the Damocles with Salim’s smuggled goods. Only problem is that the Damocles capsized. There were no survivors. But wait, the eagle-eyed viewer says, putting aside the fact that Cote de Pablo is still in the credits, we’ve already seen Salim  torture her. So clearly, she didn’t drown.

Tony really thinks she’s dead, and so he decides to go on a personal vendetta and stop Salim’s terrorist plans on Ziva’s behalf. He says No to Gibbs. Of course, Vance can’t authorize a mission in Somalia without proof that Salim is there – even after Abby tracks his camp by following his supply lines and desperate addiction to Caf-Pows.

When Salim learns of the method in which he was discovered, he throws a tantrum and storms out. Tony then speaks to McGee, who is lying supposedly unconscious on the floor. They have a plan, but it’s not quite time to put it into action. Salim is rattled, and this makes him bring a hooded figure into their cell, then offer them a proposition. First one to talk, lives. The other dies. The hood is removed, and, dun dun dun, it’s a very vulnerable-looking Ziva. They gaze into each other’s eyes. Tony seems genuinely surprised, but quips, “So, how was your summer?”

Ziva doesn’t seem all that happy to see him, but Cote delivers Ziva’s line, “Of everybody, in the world, who could have found me, it had to be you,” in such a way that it sounds like acceptance. Like, of course it was Tony. Who else? Then Tony, possibly still under the effects of the truth serum, tells her why he came. “Couldn’t live without you, I guess.” Tiva fans everywhere sigh happily.

Ziva urges Tony to tell Salim everything and save themselves; she’s ready to die. Too bad that’s not the plan. Back in September, Vance refuses to authorize the mission without confirmation of Salim’s whereabouts. Tony’s pissed, but in typical Gibbsian fashion, Leroy Jethro drums into Tony’s head that a few lost NCIS agents in the Sahara would constitute a reason for interference, change the circumstances, so to speak, nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

Ziva can’t believe that Tony and McGee allowed themselves to get caught. The more Tony talks, the crazier he sounds to her ears. Salim returns with a knife and the announcement that he’s moving out – but leaving his prisoners behind. McGee makes a move and knocks Salim to the ground, then goes for his knife, but Salim has a gun. Tony starts running his mouth again to buy them some time. He starts talking about his role in the team – calls himself the wild card, refuses to accept reality. Oh, and by the way, remember how he mentioned his boss was a sniper?

From a million miles away, Gibbs takes Salim out with one bullet. Tony and McGee help Ziva to her feet, and they round the corner, right into Gibbs, looking like the swamp thing in his camo. It makes a lovely reunion moment if you ignore the implausibility of Gibbs getting there so fast from his little hill perch.

It’s a happy ending, and they all go home, without being allowed to shower or change, apparently. Ziva looks frightened as she steps off the elevator, but then Vance leads the office full of nameless extras in a round of applause, and she’s pulled into the loving embrace of Abby, while Tony looks on longingly from his desk.

Now I’m really confused. An article I read sometime last season indicated that a happy future was not in the cards for Tony and Ziva, so what are they playing at? Years of sexual tension seemed to implode in last season’s finale, and while  I’m not complaining, Tony’s actions in this episode clearly demonstrated some very real feelings for Miss David, feelings that go beyond office flirtation. This was not a return to the status quo, nor was it a precursor to a messy heated fling that ends with them shooting each other. This was the groundwork for actual emotions, potential for an actual relationship.

Don’t toy with us, CBS.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 26, 2009 12:54 pm

    Love the post, and I totally agree. Ghost Whisperer also did the same thing this Week on its Premier, except they skipped ahead a few Years! :lol:

    I thought I missed a ton of episodes or something :lol: .

    CBS and ABC have both locked up Premiere Week/Month with a slew of great debuts of new and returning shows (the list is too long to get int). They’ve also both juggled their lineup to matchup and pair-up similar shows better. NBC, has a lot of catching up to do so far this Season.

    The next Episode looks equally great (well at least according to the Promos :D ).

    BTW, whenever you get a chance feel free to stop by and take a look at my two NCIS: LA posts (more to come ofcourse):

    http://paradisereason.wordpress.com/2009/09/23/ncis-los-angeles-premieres/

    http://paradisereason.wordpress.com/2009/09/25/ncis-los-angeles-season-1-episode-1-identity/

    Thanks! And I look forward to more of your great posts in the future, keep up the awesome work!!!

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