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'NCIS' Season Finale: 'Aliyah'

May 20th, 2009 10:21am EDT
NCISCold open on Ziva driving in her Mini asking for an extraction. The episode opens with her POV during the last minute of last week's episode- the fight between Tony and Michael. At the hospital Tony watches Ziva silently from the doorway. Gibbs talks with Tony and then moves to Ziva. Michael is dead, and Ziva strikes out, blaming Tony. Next day McGee and Gibbs go into Ziva's apartment, Gibbs questioning McGee about the tension between Tony and Ziva over Michael. As her building explodes in front of McGee and Gibbs, so does the case. While this incident opens discourse on the tenuous relationship between Mossad and NCIS and Ziva's placement by former NCIS Director Shepard, its possible conclusion is disconcerting. While the obvious cliffhanger will lie with Ziva, whether it is her possible death (which has become standard with the show) or remaining in Israel, both are not positive outcomes.

Ziva's apartment is now fried, and the episode jumps to the morgue where Ziva unzips Michael's body bag. Ducky talks with her, she walks out. Displacing her both in the home and the workplace does not bode well. Gibbs talks to Ziva at his desk, telling her that her home was destroyed, that it was not an accident. Her response, "it is not my home" ices the cake of a possible absence. Ducky finds that Tony was innocent in Michael's murder and it cuts to the Director questioning Tony about how he survived. Abby and McGee in her lab is a welcome break from this cliff of an episode. 'NCIS' is well known for its formula-breaking finales, so as all fans of the show know, absolutely anything can, and will, happen. Ziva walks in on the group in the lab, having found that the fire was constructed via a Mossad style. This is enough for the Director to send them off to Tel Aviv, where we meet Ziva's father, Mossad Director Eli David.

Ziva, Gibbs, Tony, and Michael's body arrive in Tel Aviv with an unfortunate extra-diegetic soundtrack. Adding music that belongs in Abby's lab scenes only is too jarring, especially for this particular scene. Ziva's meeting with her father, feeling cornered by all parties, not sure whom she can trust. Tony is questioned by Eli, and has his typical, sarcastic responses. Gibbs and Leon watch from another room, along with Ziva. This is a fantastic way to construct the playing field for a good season-ending conflict- the interrogation with all involved parties watching. A mention of Ari was a good call back to the second and third seasons. McGee and Abby call Gibbs in from the lab, running tech work on Michael's computer and Ziva's phone. Ziva puts Officer Hadar in a sleeper hold questioning him about his inability to protect Michael. She begins to fight him after he says Michael's death was her fault. We find out Hadar set the fire and Ziva then tells Gibbs that she has been betrayed by everyone- except him, so far. Halfway through the episode feels slow, that the episode is not exactly riveting, since the obvious focus is on Ziva. I find myself waiting for the end, the first time I have ever felt that way during a 'NCIS' finale.

NCIS

-In the aftermath of Dinozzo's confrontation with Michael Rivkin, the team (Rocky Carroll, Mark Harmon, Cote de Pablo, left to right) flies to Israel for a final showdown, on the sixth season's finale - Image © CBS




Leon and Eli have a talk about events between the two agencies. Eli mentions a terrorist training camp with a sleeper cell in LA- calling back to 'Legend: Parts 1 and 2'. The camp was not found, the head of the camp however, is Eli's target. More importantly Tony and Ziva finally talk/fight. Tony tells her that he was trying to protect her, and she fires back arguing independence. This is the best scene in the episode and Cote de Pablo's best performance to date. McGee and Abby tell Gibbs that the laptop did not belong to Michael and ultimately that Ziva was withholding vital information from Gibbs. Ziva continues to go off, this time firing at her father. Eli tells her that her loyalty belongs to him and him alone. Gibbs and Tony get on the plane with Leon. Ziva runs over to Gibbs, telling him that she is not sure she can work with Tony- that she doesn't trust him. Gibbs leaves without a fight or a second question, telling her to take care of herself, leaving her behind in Tel Aviv.

Abby and McGee are waiting for the team to come back- with Palmer sitting at Tony's desk. Good comic relief. They ask about Ziva and Tony has to tell them that she is still in Tel Aviv and is not returning. Ducky goes to see Gibbs in his basement- the basement clearly missing a boat- to discuss Ziva. He explains that Gibbs took to Ziva faster than other agents cuing a fantastic flashback to Ziva killing Ari in the same basement, covering Gibbs. We move quickly back to Ziva, who seems to be already on a ship on her next assignment for Mossad. A jump back to Gibbs and Leon filling her spot, Gibbs mentions that she might come back. Gibbs questions Leon's movements last year, splitting up the team. Trust is an obvious theme in this episode, but also through each episode, as the team's strength hinges on it. The bullpen looks decidedly empty with just Tony and McGee. In a cave-like space in Somalia- two men in camo smoke outside a room. One walks casually into the cell, and we see a flash of a tortured, tied to a chair, Ziva who is being questioned about what she knows about NCIS.

Honestly, I did not expect much from this finale because the conflict obviously surrounded Ziva. Leaving her tortured until next season however, is a very interesting move that I highly approve of. Great move on the part of the creators. Not only did they manage to tie the entire series together (bringing up Ari's storyline in seasons two and three) but they left both new and old fans dying for more.

NCIS cast: Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly, Sasha Alexander, Pauley Perrette, Pauley Perrette, Alan Dale, Lauren Holly, Cote de Pablo, more

NCIS-meter
McGee nicknames: 0
Tiva moments: 1
McAbby moments: 0
Ducky/Corpse Convos: 0
Gibbs' Slap: 0
Tony's Film References: 0
Overall Episode Rating: 4/5




Sarah Lafferty
Story by Sarah Lafferty

Starpulse contributing writer