Picoreview: NCIS Season 10 (and the first 2 eps of s11): …that was actually really, really good.
I mean, NCIS is a solid show. It’s generally of reasonably high quality and consistency, with very few actively bad episodes and correspondingly few really *good* ones. The actors are all appealing and their interactions are terrific, and the whole thing lends itself to the sense of family that it’s supposed to. The season started out with plenty of AUGH, between the bombing and (much more alarmingly) Ducky’s heart attack, but every season starts with AUGH and most of them don’t hold on to the AUGH through as much of the season as s10 did.
“The Namesake,” guest starring Billy Dee Williams, is one of the exceptional episodes, as are many of the NCIS father/children episodes (“You Better Watch Out,” with Tony’s father, and “Squall,” with McGee’s previously-never-seen-father, are also good this season), but it’s the Ziva storyline that absolutely rocks the season. Literally: it gives the show a massive shake-up mid-season that follows through into the 2nd episode of the 11th season, and…
(spoilers, mostly about Tony and Ziva, behind the cut)
…and I have never liked Tony better than I did in that storyline. He still generally behaved like a twit, but where Ziva was concerned he stepped the hell up, and he never missed a beat. He said all the right things. He did all the right things. He was given ample opportunity to fuck up, and he did not fuck up, not even once, not even when Ziva’s actions gave him legitimate reason to be hurt and potentially fuck up.
It’s one of the best payoffs for *nine years* of character flirtation, exasperation, and interaction that I’ve ever seen. Over the course of their relationship they went from obvious straight-up physical attraction to burying all of that way down deep where they wouldn’t even look at it to a significant did-they-didn’t-they nod (I’m on the side of “they did”) and finally into this season where, post-being-stuck-in-an-elevator-after-the-bomb they were clearly in love but had tacitly agreed to keep it buried, and then Ziva falling apart in the wake of her father’s assassination.
Ziva is not a falling apart character. Watching Coté de Pablo play her falling apart was a bit of a masterpiece. There were two or three moments–one when she was working out with the punching bag, another that I can’t quite remember, and finally when she stumbles over the word “friendship” in discussing their relationship with Tony–that were just spot on and really powerful.
And Tony, I mean, Tony is a twit. I love him, but he’s a usually twit, so seeing him put that away and be there for Ziva was utterly terrific. It’s not the first time he’s basically quit his life to go find her, and it didn’t take a truth serum this time to get him to admit it.
The last moments of their final scene together went like this, in my house:
Ted: They’re never going to kiss.
One nanosecond later: They kiss. They REALLY REALLY KISS.
Me: *dies happy*
And I know, I know, I KNOW, I GOT the shades of Casablanca with their final scene, but I don’t care. I’m going to interpret him finding her necklace in his pocket as Ziva’s way of saying “I expect you to bring this back to me,” to Tony, because I want that happily ever after for those two. Because let’s face it, I ship Tony/Ziva harder than anybody since Mulder/Scully.
I may stop watching NCIS now, in fact, because if I stop now I can have that happily ever after in my mind, whereas if I keep watching it’ll eventually be crushed. :)