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NCIS - Parental Guidance Suggested - Review: "Is Tony ready to move on?"

Wow. Just wow! Twelve seasons in and NCIS still manages to surprise me. "Parental Guidance Suggested" presented us with a great case that took a unique turn in the end. Besides that, we saw a vulnerable Tony when he finally talked about his feelings for Ziva.

The case starts when 10-year old Rachel finds the body of her mother when she comes home from a sleepover. Her father is a US marine who is deployed overseas so naturally NCIS is called in. As they dig into the case, Rachel tells NCIS that some men were out to kill her father Ryan. The team learns that he was part of the operation to take down Benham Parsa (seriously, him again?) and as a result, he is now on an online jihadist target list. When McGee goes undercover to exonerate the site owner, they run into an ATF operation led by Special Agent Zoe Keates, whom Tony knows from his days at Philidelphia PD. Since she informs the team that the site owner is locked up, they deduce it coudln't be the jihadist group that killed the marine's wife. Enter Mr. George Burton, a creepy cannibal that was one of the victim's clients. However, he is behind bars and has no apparent motive to kill her as he says he liked her.

The gun used to kill the victim is matched to a previous crime committed by the victim's neighbour. He tells them that he had the gun locked away by his neighbour because he tried to kill himself. He also reveals that he had seen bruises on Rachel's body when her father was home. The team goes to search for Ryan but can't find him at his hotel room, so they track him down to a rest stop. He is arrested and admits to killing his wife. However, Gibbs smells something is wrong when it is discovered that Rachel's bruises were from before her father was in the US. Gibbs interrogates her and it is revealed that the girl is actually a sociopath. Her mother wanted to seek help for her but she didn't want to. She hit herself so her father would come home and things would be better. However, since his return visits were always temporarily, she killed her mother so she would have him permanently.

Also in the episode, Tony gets an emergency call from Abby to come to her lab. When he gets there, she shuts the door and says they should talk. Abby says Tony should stop dating so many women in such short time as she knows why he's doing that: it's because he misses Ziva. He shouldn't hide behind his jokes but just man up and move on. Tony knows she is not coming back but that doesn't make it any easier for him.

This was a great episode and one of the best of the season so far! The Tony-Abby talk was the most honest conversation Tony has had in a long time, and the best way the show has acknowledged Ziva's absence since her departure. It's also a subtle message to the fans that still miss Ziva and want her back as Abby pointed straight out that Ziva left and that it's time to move on. Honestly, I still miss Ziva myself but Abby is right: we should move on. As sad as it is, she is not coming back. It was also good that Tony realized he had done the same to Zoe when he suddenly left her. However, she forgave him so easily and understood that he had to find himself. Tony can't blame Ziva for doing the same thing he did.

In my review of "Choke Hold" a few weeks ago I wrote that the show did one of the most creepiest things it has ever done. However, this episode has surpassed that to deliver the most creepy thing in the show's long history. I'm not talking about the cannibal, which I don't think the show has ever done before but we didn't really see it in this episode either. I am referring to the child being a sociopath that murdered her mom. I never ever saw that twist coming. It made for quite an intense scene in the interrogation room between Gibbs and Rachel. While I believe these kind of twists to be more fitting for shows like Criminal Minds, I absolutely didn't mind having it this one time as it completely blew me away. Excellent choice for a mind-blowing twist.

I have to give a special shout-out to the acting, which was top-notch in this episode. Pauley Perrette and Michael Weatherly were outstanding as they each showed their different emotions towards Ziva's departure. Perrette showed us that Abby that upset that Ziva left but was ready to move on. We also saw how concerned she was about Tony. Weatherly made Tony's pain feel real and showed us how much Tony really cared about Ziva. Also kudos to guest actors Millie Bobby Brown (Rachel) and Bronson Pinchot (George Burton), who both played their roles with a lot of creepiness.

What did you think of this episode? Did you see it coming that the girl murdered her mother? Do you agree that it's probably the creepiest thing the show has ever done? And what do you think about Tony's storyline? Is he really ready to move on? Tell your opinions in the comments below!

About the Author - Daniel
Daniel is a Dutch university student studying Psychology. On SpoilerTV he is a reviewer of NCIS, The 100, Madam Secretary and the upcoming shows Battle Creek and Odyssey. He also enjoys LOST, Arrow, NCIS: Los Angeles, NCIS: New Orleans, Nikita, The Blacklist, Stalker, Scorpion and How To Get Away With Murder.
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