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NCIS - The North Pole - Review

17.10 - "The North Pole”
Written by Gina Lucita Monreal
Directed byJames Whitmore, Jr.
Reviewed by KathM

It’s okay not to have a holiday-themed episode every year. I think there has been one every season on NCIS, but perhaps going forward you’ll realize that putting up some Christmas trees as background decorations does not a Christmas episode make. Case in point: the NCIS episode, “The North Pole”. This episode seems to exist only to destroy a child’s life on Christmas Day.

I hated this episode, possibly due to the presence of Ziva. It would have been better had so many things not bothered me. Examples:

Ziva’s “one thing” she needs to do before she FINALLY leaves the show is to get her friend Adam out of Sahar’s organization. Because of his undying love for her, he went in as a mole to spy for Ziva. At least, I think that was it. But really, couldn’t he have gotten out by himself? He was former Mossad, right?

Adam is found in a condemned warehouse tortured close to death. Among Adam’s dying words was the revelation that the Sahar they killed earlier in the season was not, in fact, Sarar. If he was a mole and part of the organization, wouldn’t he have known that earlier and tried to contact Ziva/Gibbs/someone immediately?

Tony knows Ziva’s alive, and has for a while, but he agreed to keep her secret until she’d sorted out the Sahar situation. No. Nope. Sorry, don’t buy it. Do. Not. Buy It. There is no way that Tony would not have speed-dialed Gibbs the second he was out of Ziva’s sight to spill the beans and beg him to grab his gear and the Bullpen Gang to help Ziva get things sorted out?

Before he dies Adam looks right at Gibbs and says that Gibbs knows “her”. Sahar. And the reason that Sarah has moved into Gibbs’s neighborhood and her son into his life becomes startling clear: Sarah = Sahar. She wanted to keep an eye on Gibbs in case Ziva either contacted him or came to his house. Or possibly to kill him in order to punish Ziva.

I need to get this off my chest: I knew it. I. Knew. It. I knew there was something hinky about Sarah, although I thought she was just your average grifter. I’m actually sad I was wrong about that, particularly for Phineas.

The episode ends with Sahar finding out about Tali (initially she didn’t know Ziva had a kid because Ziva wanted to keep Tali safe, hence the hiding) and taunting Ziva by telling her that she knows about her daughter while she has Ziva trapped in the same dilapidated warehouse where Adam had been kept and tortured. Before she can kill Ziva, Gibbs kills Sahar.

And now Gibbs has to tell horribly codependent Phineas that he killed his mother on Christmas Eve. Well, maybe not that he killed her, but that she died. I wonder what will happen to the poor kid and what, if anything, he knew about how his mother was manipulating the situation to get close to Gibbs. We don’t know what kind of life Phin had before they moved into Gibbs’s neighborhood, after all.

I am not one of those syrupy people who needs bells and angels getting their wings to be happy. But this episode just seemed so out of place, more like a February sweeps episode but with decorated trees. And like I said, it seemed like the sole purpose of the episode was for Phin to lose his mother at Christmas.

A better episode might have been to have Ziva looking for Adam while Gibbs takes some time to spend Christmas Eve with Phineaus because his mom had to "work". Then they could have shown Sarah/Sahar listening to their conversation over the riggerd computer her son gave Gibbs and we would have known that something wicked that way comes. But we didn’t get that, we just got violence and sadness. Ho, ho, ho, y’all.

PS - Oh! And Odette, Ziva’s “landlady” who happens to be ex-CIA, is so impressed with Bishop that she wants to offer her “special training”. Walk away, Bishop. Just walk away. It isn’t as cool as you think it might be.

See you in 2020!

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