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NCIS - Season 10 - Review

Although the tenth season of TV's #1 show ended already some three months ago, it is never to late to review it. I will do this by going through some highlights and lowlights. In the end, there will be a general review of the entire season.

Best episode: Shabbat Shalom
I have lost count of how many times I have seen Shabbat Shalom. This fantastic episode had it all: mystery, intrigue, and, in the end, death. I wouldn't say it is the best episodes of the series (Internal Affairs is still on top of my list), but it is definately one that is listed in my Top 10 of best NCIS episodes.
Worst episode: Hit and Run
This episode couldn't live up to the level of the previous two. The episode was slow and the murder mystery did not really grab my attention. It was nice to see a young Abby, but the flashbacks didn't seem to really add something to the character of Abby or make me understand her more.

Best humorous episode: Devil's Trifecta
The return of Gibbs' and Fornell's ex-wife Diane made for some very funny, and sometimes awkward, moments. Fornell had absolutely the greatest lines in this episode, from saying he would shot his own grandmother to his reaction when he found out that Diane is an agent. Of course McGee's "night" with Diane also made for some hillarious scenes.
Most humorous scene: Ducky asking Bodnar who his grandmother is
Although it is only one sentence, I am laughing again every time I see it. When the ill-tempered Ilan Bodnar introduced himself, he kind of offended Ducky by asking whose grandfather he is. I believe Ducky's reaction is one of the funniest one-liners he has ever said: "That depends. Who is your grandmother?"
Best action episode: Detour
When Ducky and Jimmy are kidnapped, the team races to find the missing duo. This fast-paced episode is full of action for the entire team. While Ducky and Jimmy make a plan to escape their captors, the agents track down every clue in order to locate the M.E. duo. Especially the last act, which takes place mainly in the dark woods, is full of tension and action.
Best action-packed scene Ziva's fight with Bodnar
This Emmy-nominated scene is the final confrontation between Ziva and her father's killer, Ilan Bodnar. A fight ensues when Ziva is unable to arrest or shoot Bodnar, and both trained-by-Mossad-operatives fight for their life. Although Ziva has a somewhat broken arm, she eventually gets the upper hand and throws Bodnar of the ship.
Best emotional episode: Shiva
Following the shooting that killed Eli David and Jackie Vance, the team is emotionally broken and scattered. Both Ziva and Vance have difficulty keeping their emotions in control. Both of them are looking for revenge and want to be involved in the investigation. Their emotions seemed so real and Rocky's and Cote's performances were absolutely great in this episode.
Most heartbreaking scene: Ziva seeing the dead corpse of her father
When Ziva returns to Vance's house after killing the shooter, she immediately asks about her father. When she walks into the house, she sees Tony's look in his eyes and then she sees the body of her father in the room. Her shout for
'Abba' and her Hebrew prayer make for an Emmy-worthy performance. Unfortunately, it never got that far, but this scene is, for me, the most hearbreaking scene of the season.
Most surprising twist: The death of Jackie Vance
I never saw that one coming. Due to all the spoilers and the title of the next episode ("Shiva"), I had a feeling that Eli David was going to die. But I never expected Jackie Vance to join him. Even when I saw tears in Vance's eyes when he walked out of the hospital room, I was still expecting him to tell Gibbs that his wife was OK. But then he said that his wife died. And he said it again. And I still couldn't believe it. Also, I was never expecting NCIS to kill off two recurring characters in one episode. I remember watching last year's NCIS: LA finale (Sans Voir), which saw the death of two recurring characters (Renko and Hunter). I found two deaths somewhat unnecessary, and also thought that the mothershow would never do such a thing. Oh, how I was wrong!
Most predictable twist: Harper Dearing was not in the car he blew up
Not for one moment did I think that Dearing died in the car he blew up (his own car, that is). The terrorist mastermind would not just simply take himself out. So I was completely unsurprised when it became evident that not Harper's, but his brother's body was in the car.
Best cliffhanger: Tony's and Ziva's car accident
I didn't see that one coming either. The ending of Berlin left the fates of Tony and Ziva unknown. Although I wasn't expecting either of them to die (especially Tony, since Michael Weatherly still has a contract for a year), the cliffhanger left me shocked. I couldn't wait till the next episode to see the outcome of this cliffhanger.
Best climax: The ending of Shabbat Shalom
This must be the fourth time I am talking about Shabbat Shalom. Since all things I wrote are positive, it must be a really good episode (and it is!). One of the things I like so much about the episode, is that it is building towards a climax. Troubles start when Eli arrives in town to see his daughter, apparantly for good reasons (see his meeting with Arash Kazmi). However, when Abby shows Gibbs the photos that the dead journalist took from his killer, we viewers become aware that Eli killed Wilkes. When Ziva sees that same photos, she also discovers his father is behind the killing. She then confronts her father and banishes him from her life, but not before promising to sit accross from him at the dinner table "one last time". This eventually leads to the Dinner of Double Death (as I like to call that scene). There was really a clear build-up to this inevitable climax.
Best anti-climax: Tony and Ziva being "unharmed" after the car accident
I already named the car accident as the best cliffhanger of the season. However, the episode that followed ("Revenge"), sees Tony and Ziva being relatively unscratched after the crash. Tony only broke his nose and Ziva has broken her arm (but by the time she fights with Bodnar, that appears to be almost over). This is a perfect example of an anti-climax. As I said before, I was not expecting any deaths, but the accident looked so serious at the end of Berlin, that one hand stopped moving as the other did not even move in the first place. So I was at least expecting some serious damage to either of them. For example, Ziva could have been in a coma (which would have also been a simple way to kill her off as Cote de Pablo is now leaving the show) and Tony could have broken something more than just his nose.

General review of the season:
It's been the season of fallen heroes for our favourite NCIS team. The season started after the enormous cliffhanger from the season 9 finale, which left almost all the fates of the characters unknown. Extreme Prejudice was an OK season opener to the big finale, although Dearing was eventually taken out too easy. Both Recovery and Phoenix were also OK episodes. It was nice to have a longer opening arc of the season and also see the consequences that the bombing had on the team. I enjoyed Lost at Sea with the return of Diane Neal as CGIS agent Borin. The Namesake was an emotional episode between father and son Gibbs and in turn Gibbs' namesake. It was a good episode in my opinion. The two-parter Shell Shock were also good episodes and the theme of PTSD was well dealt with. I enjoyed these more than last year's two-parter ("Engaged"). Gone made for a very intense episode, as the team was searching for a young girl that had been kidnapped. It was nice to see Abby and Ziva work together as they protect Lydia, while Gibbs does everything in his power to find the girl (even contacting a mysterious past contact). As I already said, Devil's Trifecta was the funniest episode of the season. The return of Diane made for hillarious moments between her and her two ex-husbands. The Christmas episode, You Better Watch Out, wasn't that good. Sure, there were some heartfelt moments between the DiNozzo's and it was nice seeing Tony's appartment, but the rest of the episode disappointed me. I have talked enough about Shabbat Shalom and Shiva for you to know that I find them overwhelming episodes. However, after these episodes, it seemed that a good episode was succeeded by a bad (or less good) episode. This was the case with Hit and Run, which I did not really enjoy. Fortunately, Canary was an enjoyable and very team-centric episode. Episode 15, Herafter, disappointed me as I was expecting more from Vance's storyline. Detour was an exiting episode in which
we saw two team members in a real life or death situation. The next one, Prime Suspect, saw the team working on two cases (a serial killer and a robbery) and neither of them interested me. After that, we saw Gibbs and McGee going to Afghanistan in Seek. Although we have seen dogs on the show before, this episode focussed on a different aspect than earlier ones. I also liked Vance's search for a nanny and how it affects him. It was nice seeing a talk between him and Ziva, and seeing the latter one still searching for her father's killer. The McGee-centric episode that followed, Squall was also a good episode. I loved having some serious attention for McGee's character. The scenes between him and his father were really touching and I am hoping that the Admiral's illness will be developed further. Chasing Ghosts was an OK episode for introducing the season-ending arc. Fortunately, Berlin returned to the quality of Shabbat Shalom and Shiva, and was an exceptionally good episode. I was disappointed by Revenge, but still managed to enjoy most of the episode. Double Blind was a good episode, and I loved guest star Colin Hanks. The season finale, Damned If You Do, was an average finale. It wasn't as good as last year's finale and cliffhanger, but it was better than the season 8 finale. It was too easy to have Tony, Ziva and McGee resign to keep Gibbs out of court. Also, I felt that the cliffhanger was a bit vague, but I believe the season premiere (or two-parter) will answer a lot of my questions.

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