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NCIS - She - Review

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16.13 - "She”
Written by Gina Lucita Monreal
Directed by Mark Horowitz
Reviewed by KathM

I was really looking forward to this episode, and at first, it was shaping up to be interesting. Then it all went sideways. I think the only way I’m going to be able to really talk about it is to just break it down in a way that may or may not make sense to anyone else.:

The story –Mallory’s kidnapping (with bonus Lily). Could have been more interesting if the characters of Russell and his brother were more fleshed out. I know that sometimes people kidnap other people just because, but I think it would have been a better episode if he’s HAD a reason and we could explore that. Or that Mallory’s boyfriend had enough motive to keep him interesting. I wish we’d focused more on that and less on the Ziva aspect, although finding Ziva’s office could still be used by Ellie as additional motivation to solve the case. Not in an “I’m not as good as Ziva” way but “I’m solving this for Lily and Mallory and to honor a fellow officer who only stopped investigating because she died” way.

The fun: Kasie’s Random Day was amazing and a great way to show us more of her personality and how closely she pays attention to the people she works with (Leon: This new pen makes me write like a big dog). She seemed overall more relaxed in this episode, and I’m hoping that continues. Still, she’s the one who reaches out. She’s too anxious about being seen as part of the team (notice her making tapes about what people like/don't like/how they do things). Just be yourself, you don’t need to be Abby to be part of the team. You don't need to buy them off, regardless of how much I liked your choice in gifts. I like your kinda laid back, slightly sassy attitude; keep it up. And if you’re going to give out gifts, next time give Torres something that makes more sense. I mean, what was the deal with him and the water at the end of the episode? Oh, and she should have encouraged Palmer to leave his punching bag in the morgue so that various characters could take out their frustrations from time to time. Leon boxes like a big dog, too. Tell me you don’t want to see that.

Rule Ten: "Never get personally involved in a case." Sorry, Gibbs, but you have to get involved emotionally to some degree to help you work the case in order to solve it. I think what Shannon meant was that you shouldn’t get so involved that you can’t let it go. Like the Mallory case did with Ziva and then Ellie. I agree that Rule Ten is crap, but Ellie is taking it overboard. Like they all do from time to time, especially Gibbs. And The Rules live in a little box in Gibbs’ living room! Somehow, I thought he’d just memorized them. Does anyone wonder whether Shannon wrote them down for him and put them in the box?

Sloane, thank you for the story about your daughter and how you gave her up because you loved her. It helped Lily help her mom, and it was one of the more rational moments in this episode.

Ellie: Where do we even begin? I had no idea you were so insecure anymore. Still. I mean yeah, Gibbs didn’t seem thrilled with her and the sitting on the floor thing when she first started, but she’s grown so much since then AND she was put in charge of the team when Gibbs and McGee were being held prisoner last season. Your behavior was bordering on psychotic in this episode and it concerns me that you seemed more into the Ziva aspect than the Mallory and Lily aspect at times. Still, you saved Mallory in the end, and that’s the most important thing. Just step away from Ziva, okay? Give those who knew her time to work through these new revelations.

Gibbs: I was really worried that he would burst a blood vessel in this episode. Yes, he has issues with the loss of Ziva, and I know he saw her like a daughter (Gibbs tells Leon about Ziva’s office and Leon nails Gibbs’s anger. Leon: A daughter keeps a secret like that, a father has to ask himself why. Gibbs: She didn’t think I would approve. She was right). I get the impression that he was upset about Ziva’s office because he didn’t know about it (see Leon conversation), and perhaps because she was able to express her feelings in her diaries that she couldn’t tell him. Or that she was closer to every case she worked, which in his opinion defies Rule Ten. Or just that it reminded him of her. Possibly because if he’d known she was making notes about things that she hadn’t put in her formal reports (remember, Gibbs knew all about her investigating the Mallory case up until she left NCIS) that may have helped the team solve the case. But I have no explanation for Gibbs’s bizarre behavior, particularly the part where he was yelling at Ellie about how you can die if you get too close to a case. I don’t think Ziva “died” because of an old NCIS case, did she?

Ziva is like Fight Club: you don’t talk about her. And I get that. She was so woven into the team’s heart, so many things happened to her in front of the team that I think would be hard to let her go. She wasn’t there but she was always out there, only a phone call or email away. Then she “died”, leaving her child (a lifetime memory of herself) and taking away DiNozzo (do not get me started about the way they wrote Tony’s exit).

Ziva was an interesting character with a complicated backstory and, in many ways, I was glad she left when she did. She never struck me as one who could become the dewy-eyed love interest of DiNozzo, no matter how they wrote it. If you want that, you want Jean back (wait, they did!). I can't see Ziva and Tony doing a successful work live vs. home life, and it would have really messed up Team Gibbs. I liked the final few episodes they did, particularly the last two when Tony was searching for her. It was a bit wonky, but they had to write quickly once Cote de Pablo decided to leave in the middle of hiatus so it wasn’t half bad.

Ziva’s “office” makes perfect sense: her character was good at compartmentalizing and that room was her emotional compartment. She allowed herself to feel all of the things she carefully concealed at the Navy Yard while working cases, then wrote it all down in her notebooks to let it out and perhaps make sense of it all. I get that and think that it was an interesting way of showing us another side of a long-gone and beloved character.

And now, Ziva seems to be alive. Okay. What will Ellie do with that information, and what does it mean to the show? I doubt we’ll see Cote de Pablo around again, so I’m guessing that if they bring Ziva back for an episode or more she’ll have to have had cosmetic surgery. Or they could just pretend she’d always looked like whoever they find to replace her. I didn’t like the way they killed her, and I don’t like the way they brought (are bringing, whatever) Ziva back now. Is it necessary? I don’t think so. It came out of nowhere and hopefully will stay. But now I’m afraid that Ellie will not pursue the Ziva aspect, despite Ziva’s request. Hopefully, she’ll be able to keep this to herself, although I think she might tell Torres. I hope she doesn’t tell Gibbs or McGee. This has the potential to get really ugly, and I just hope they don’t go there. Sadly, they really might.

A better episode, by me: Lily is found, and we have a much better idea about why Mommy was abducted. More fleshed-out Russell and kidnapping story. Yes, it was the first case Ziva handled as a probie (I don’t think that she’d be out there without a senior agent or would give over a case easily without making sure it didn’t belong to NCIS), and Ellie wants to help close it for Mallory’s family and the boyfriend/Lily’s dad. Ellie does find Ziva’s “office” and shows it to Gibbs and McGee, and there are sadness and memories on the part of the boys. McGee gets hold of Tony and he asks McGee to pack everything up and ship it to Paris or wherever for Tali to have when she’s older (although you know he’ll go through it all the first chance he gets). Gibbs is upset about Ziva keeping “secrets” from him and may lash out at Ellie when she pushes on the case. But more rationally. Ellie ends up solving the case and saving Mallory, and the family is reunited.

Earlier in the episode, Gibbs had overheard Ellie talk to Torres about how she feels like she’s compared to Ziva (Present tense, really? It’s been YEARS!), and at the end of the episode, he gives Ellie a little “you’re good enough” speech, Gibbs-style. He might also give out a bit of information about why they don't talk about Ziva. At some point, Sloane (who still works it in the hospital closet) talks to Gibbs and touches a bit on Ziva, offers to listen when/if he wants. Says she’s made the offer to McGee and even Leon. Kasie still gives out awesome gifts, and Torres’s makes more sense. There is no Ziva, only strong memories of Ziva. Because I don’t think the show needs it.

So, what do you think?

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