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NCIS - Out of the Darkness - Review

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17.1 - "Out of the Darkness”
Written by Gina Lucita Monreal
Directed by Terrence O’Hara
Reviewed by KathM

Previously on NCIS:

Emily Fornell was brought into the ER possibly dying from something someone put in her drink at a party. Come to find that she is addicted to opoids. but it all ends up okay and eventually she admits that she has a problem. It's a glance at the opoid crisis, and I'm not really thrilled about it, but the writers have a different cliffhanger in mind for this episode, so the story was wrapped up pretty neatly. Gibbs and Fornell even manage to find out who the makers of the bootleg pills are and get them arrested off camera.

Riding shotgun in this episode is the ghost of Diane, Gibbs's and Fornell's ex-wife. She appears to Gibbs after he tells Fornell that he won't get involved in Emily's case and begins arguing with him. He tries to invoke Rule 10: Never get involved personally on a case, but eventually he caves.

Diane is my favorite thing about this episode, and watching Fornell rolling on the ground with laughter when he realizes that Diane is visiting Gibbs is priceless. But Gibbs also gets to play Ghost Whisperer as Diane sends messages to him to help rebuild the relationship between Fornell and Emily and even Gibbs to some extent. At the end of the episode Diane talks to Gibbs about letting down his walls and trying to make a life outside of work, the only place he currently feels alive. He can't stay there forever, after all. But he has friends, Diane reminds him, and he needs to embrace that. Then she leaves him in the basement to ponder what's happened. I loved Diane and hope we see her again.

Oh, and Ziva shows up. Just...shows up. Like you do when Gibbs is in the basement building a boat. Gibbs does not seem to be surprised to see her, and I'm pretty sure it's because he never thought she was dead. Let's watch and see what happens, shall we?

NCIS episode 17.1: Out of the Darkness

I am underwhelmed.

I've always been apathetic about the character of Ziva, the often-frustrating enigma who became even more baffling when she fell in love with her sometimes partner Tony DiNozzo. Her death in a firefight at her home in Israel hung over the bullpen and the lives of those who knew her (and even the agents who didn't). Her name was spoken with reverence if it was allowed to be spoken at all. Last season Bishop found what she believed was proof that Ziva was alive. It was hard for her to keep the news to herself, and despite a near slip with Gibbs, she managed it.

Now Ziva has magically appeared in Gibbs's basement, an angel fallen from her imaginary heaven. She's brought with her the chaos that normally swims around her, and immediately pulls him into her personal brand of madness, secrecy, and adventure.

What I liked :

Any Gibbs and Ziva scenes. I would loved to have the entire episode focus on the two of them with very few appearances from anyone at NCIS. They both have so much going on internally, in a lot of ways they're in a same place. Both have admitted that they don't know who they are anymore, which is why both of them doing the only thing they really feel they know how to do together is amazing to watch. Gibbs demands answers from her but accepts the half-explanations she gives just as he's accepted them before. Then they're stealing cars and shooting people and cutting off fingers. They are both SO badass, I'm not sure I've seen Gibbs go like that. They work together really well.

Broken Ziva. It's about time. That woman has been through so much, and I'm sure we only know about 1/4 of it. But she never broke, she kept it all inside and wrote about her thoughts and feelings in her notebooks. Being away from her family (both NCIS as well as Tony and Tali) has to have been haunting her for years. I'm glad that the writers finally addressed an issue a character like Ziva or any of the agents could suffer from (anxiety and PTSD, in this case). The voices and hallucinations spooked me as much as they did her. I am very interested in learning more about what she's been through these last four seasons and what has been done to her. Her desperation to get back to a life that may no longer be there, a future with her her daughter and Tony, breaks my heart.

Odette. Who is she, and how does she play into all of this? She's a great landlady with a fabulous weapons collection and a bond with Ziva before her "death". I want to know more about her.

Gibbs has a shotgun underneath his ironing board. Of course he does.

What I disliked :

Pretty much anything that didn't include Gibbs and/or Ziva.

Was her return supposed to be a joke? Because that was the overall vibe I was getting from the kids in the bullpen. “I didn’t even know this ninja, but this is like the biggest news of my life,” Torres is excited by the return of the Mossad/NCIS legend, and has no interest in wondering why and how Bishop knew. They're all trying to keep the secret from the Director and anyone else who might find out, but it comes across more lighthearted. By the way, Leon, Ziva is alive and she and Gibbs have vanished after someone shot up his house. We have no idea where they are. They're standing in the lab trying to act all innocent and it comes across like one of them broke a lamp and is afraid to tell dad. The whole thing felt wrong to me. I would have preferred to see a sad, confused Bishop sitting down with Leon or Jack (or both of them), presenting them with the note Ziva left her and quietly telling her story. That would have set a better tone.

Nobody told Ducky.

Why does Ziva want to get back to Tony so badly? Just kidding (not really).

Adam. Really? Adam = Mossad, and that is never good. Those people were never anything but cruel to her, and that includes her father. He spells trouble, and I wonder how long Ziva's been in touch with him and what he's been telling her. He's also her dealer, getting her the anti-anxiety meds that are causing her to hear voices and hallucinate. There are plenty of other brands out there you can try, Adam.

What made me slightly uncomfortable :

When Ziva asks Gibbs what he would for another minute with his daughter it turns out that she was referring to herself, not Kelly. She's devastated that he never looked for her, which I don't think is entirely true. He was informed by Mossad and the Israeli government that Ziva was dead and provided proof of the identification of her body. It looks like that was all a big lie now, but still. Her loss hit the folks at the Navy Yard so hard that I think Gibbs just took their word for it and they all tried to move on. It made sense: Ziva would do anything to protect her child, so why wouldn't she still be fighting off whatever Big Bad was trying to kill them and get her daughter to safety so she'd be safe. Totally plausible story. Is she saying that she wanted to be rescued from whatever happened to her? And who told her that Gibbs and Co. weren't looking/wouldn't have looked for her if they'd had an inkling she was alive?

The reason Ziva's statement makes me uncomfortable is because I think Gibbs and Ziva have more chemistry than she and Tony ever could. I'm telling you, it's a romance that could melt your television screens. There, I've admitted it. Sue me.

If you consider that Ziva will only be around for 3-4 episodes this season, you'll feel better. I've heard the second episode is meant to be amazing, and I just hope if it includes the Bullpen Three that they're better behaved and take things seriously.

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