Original Air Date: Jan 8, 2013
Maria – Associate Staff Writer
A father and son fishing trip catches something more substantial: a human ear, which our NCIS team investigates.
Speaking of fathers; Ziva’s father, Eli David, the Director of Mossad, suddenly appears in the US on a “mission of redemption”. Uhoh. That never ends well in television.
NCIS is an intelligent show, that can be cheeky, humorous and deeply tragic. It starts off with an entertaining lean against the fourth wall, with NCIS having gone through the prop department and showing off the undercover costumes, some we saw onscreen, other cases must have happened without the cameras shooting. Hmm, Ziva with a baby bump. I wonder if that could possibly be some foreshadowing.
Anyway, NCIS is called to the fishing trip where the father caught an ear. The river was searched and a body was dragged up with the identification of a Navy Petty Officer Second Class Luke Grismer, however his fingerprints are not in the system. He’s not any kind of military.
The team is able to identify the victim as a government journalist. Grismer confesses he was being blackmailed into letting the journalist use his ID, and the other officers Grismer served with all confess to the journalist’s murder in a misguided “I’m Spartacus” moment. Gibbs doesn’t buy it, but he has them all kept in a holding cell anyway.
Ziva is closer to Gibbs than she is her own father, so she tells Gibbs about Eli’s presence, and Gibbs then tells Director Vance. Vance suspects that he knows of Eli’s real motive in the US, as an Iranian Intelligence Officer, Arash Kazmi, is on US soil too. Vance suspects that Eli is losing power in Israel and hopes to re-establish it by assassinating Kazmi.
Ziva, Gibbs and Vance follow Eli to where he meets with Kazmi, but to their surprise, it is not an assassination attempt. In fact, Eli brought a jar of olives from the same farm they used to pick as children. They still disagree politically, but it’s a step towards peaceful negotiation instead of unproductive bloodshed. Eli let Vance witness the events because he needs Vance to help him remain in power, and he wanted Ziva to come to hopefully redeem himself in her eyes.
Oh Vance. I love the relationship he has with his wife. He may wear the trousers back at NCIS but it’s clear that they’re shared and sometimes relinquished completely when at home. He brings flowers for her, which she sees straight through, but she eventually agrees to host the Shabbat dinner for Eli and Ziva.
Just as Eli seems to have turned a corner, a breakthrough at work makes Ziva remember his true colors. The dead journalist’s car was found, but his camera had the memory card stolen from it. However, it was a wireless camera and uploaded the photos elsewhere too. McGee and Abby are able to track down the photos which to show a man hidden in a generic scarf and hat, but Ziva recognizes him straight away. The journalist recognized Eli David and Eli then had him killed in order to keep his presence a secret.
At the Shabbat dinner hosted by Mrs. Vance, Ziva confronts her father and he admits to the murder as if it was nothing. Ziva excuses herself to call Gibbs, then a car drives past and shoots into the house. Ziva chases after the shooter, and Gibbs goes to her whilst McGee and DiNozzo check out the house. Ziva and Gibbs catch the killer, but he commits suicide before they can get any answers.
Ziva returns to the house, where Mrs. Vance has been driven away in an ambulance and Eli David lies dead. Ziva’s cry is raw and heart-wrenching. Personally, I don’t care that much for Eli David but I care that Ziva cared for him, he was her father and their last conversation was just so… it’s a tragedy.
As if one tragedy isn’t enough, we arrive back at the hospital where everybody including Abby and Ducky are anxiously waiting for news. Vance comes out, clearly in shock, and announces that his wife is dead.
The personal loss is so emotional, but the death of Eli on US soil and the dead shooter, it could be taken as a declaration of war between Iran, Israel and the US! The implication could lead to devastation on a global scale.
This episode feels like a sucker-punch, and it’s to be continued! I’m torn between needed a week to grieve and wanting the next episode now so I know all the facts before I grieve (we didn’t see Mrs. Vance’s body. Can I please be in denial that she’s still alive and it’s a ruse?). I almost expected Eli to die, redemption usually equals death, but Leon is pretty much the only character with a happy, “normal” family. It’s not fair!
That said, the episode is well-written with plenty of nostalgia for long-term viewers as well as an interesting case for short-term viewers. I should have figured that there would be a connection between the dead journalist and Eli, but I didn’t want to see it. Ziva deserves some happiness, but I know that Gibbs would never disappoint her like that. It’s poor Vance that I feel most sorry for.
Did you guess that Eli had the journalist killed? How did you react to the shooting? Whose loss are you feeling most and why? How will NCIS prevent war from breaking out? Will Vance ever recover from this, or will he have to retire to look after his kids? Please, leave a comment with your TwoCents on this emotional episode.