Imagine my surprise when, once again, I came across cries of "But where's the Tiva? *wail*"
You know what? If you don't (want to) see what's going on right in front of your nose, just go the fuck away. Find a show where you see it. Find a show where they fall all over each other banging their brains out and making babies. Leave me to my happy-space and don't tell me there wasn't anything to be seen. It's not my problem you're blind.
(Yes. As you can tell, my patience with this is wearing quite thin, especially after we have been promised BY THE FUCKING SHOWRUNNER *AND* THE ACTORS INVOLVED that we would get an actual relationship this year.)
Okay. *breathes out* Now that we got that out of the way, let's start with our review. Surprisingly enough, the biggest part of it is about the episode itself...
Reviewy ramblings - as usual, quite disjointed, but very, very happy with the show...
Just like our show left us, it resurfaces after the hiatus - with Ducky, and a scene that literally left me a sobbing mess and wiping my eyes barely a minute in.
Doctor: Doctor. Do you know where you are?
Doctor: The hospital.
Ducky: Same thing.
Notice the sand on his cheek. It's all over his chest and arms, too. Wonderful attention to detail here.
Doctor: Mr Palmer's been with you the whole time.
Oh, god. That shot of Jimmy, holding Ducky's hand! And you just *know* he's been doing that for every second he was allowed to be there. *sobs* That boy... *cries some more*
Ducky: Are they all right?
Jimmy: Let's just focus on you in... in this situation, and later we can talk.
Ducky: Are. They. All. Right?
Jimmy: I don't know. I haven't been able to reach anyone.
And just like that I sat there thinking, fuck. Ducky was right - this *is* Purgatory. This is limbo, this is not knowing one way or the other. *sobs*
Admittedly, the new credits distracted me a bit. Because fuck, yeah, that's swag! *dances* And Palmer! Finally, finally, we have Brian Dietzen in the credits! And they've used such a gorgeous shot of him, too! ♥
As a matter of fact -all of them look simply gorgeous. And it's interesting that they seem to have used scenes that show them... I dunno, a bit less action-heavy? More relaxed, more happy? I like the theme they've chosen here, really. Feels like yet another sign of the characters changing, evolving, growing up... being more centered? (Not sure if that makes sense. I'll just throw it out there and let you figure it out. ;) )
The one scene from the preview that still kills me is this one - Abby watching numbly, quietly, how a co-worker's face is covered. I... this just hits me hard, you know? And yeah, I get why this will hit her hardest of the crew. It's a brutal intrusion into her little world of safety and family. It rips her world view apart. It's not something she can sweettalk or gloss over. It death, and destruction, and it's brutal, and vicious. It's not something Abby is used to.
I do have one small gripe with this setting, and that's the fact that - through a certain way of storytelling - they *did* choose to gloss it over somewhat. Yes, I would have liked one or two of them to be seriously hurt and dealing with it for a few weeks/months, not just "a few stitches" and that's it. Yes, I would have liked to know details about the dead and wounded. Would have liked to hear names. Would have liked to hear how many casualties, simply to have a dimension of the terror in my head. "Plenty", imo, leaves too much room for speculation and takes away a lot of the impact. (That said, it's such a minor thing for me that I can easily ignore it for the bigger picture here.)
A little birdie had told me about that scene before, so I knew what was coming, but it still ripped my heart out - surprisingly, it all lay in the way Gibbs touches Timmy's face, like the boy's going to fall any second and he's there to catch him... man, that one *killed* me! So, so good.
Jimmy: You need me.
Ducky: They need you more.
I can't yet put the finger on why this particular scene makes me cry like mad. It does. I can't help it, I just start sobbing like a baby at these lines. (I'm quite serious about that, btw. It's not just a phrase when I say I bawl my eyes out. wennuhpen can attest to my crying fits...)
And it kills me when Gibbs relays the latest info to Vance and says in this quiet, rough voice, "Ducky had a heart attack". The way he says that, so subtle, but you can actually feel the pain, feel how hard this hits him... *cries again*
Abby's (indeed) "gorgeous face" after the elevator rescue! ♥
Fornell (to Gibbs): You never dress up for me anymore.
*snorts* I just love these two, okay? They're so... married. ♥
Fornell: You take a break, Jethro, you're home now.
Gibbs: Navy Yard is my home, too. That didn't stop him, Tobias. He hurt my family.
Yeah. *sobs* This is what makes this so bad. This is why this hurts, because these guys are our family, too. (And it's also something I'll come back to later.)
The FBI trap for Dearing was actually an interesting setup, as is the subplot with Dearing evading them by using his dead brother's body... although all of that, sadly, did feel a little rushed and out of the blue - and that's actually my one small gripe with this whole storyline: I would have liked to see it spread out over more than just one ep. I would have liked to see them chase Dearing for at least two or three episodes, with scenes happening here and there, aside from the main plot, like they did during the hunt for Ari. Maybe spread the time jumps across individual episodes. Have them deal with the trauma, but have the wounds ripped open by the continuing search and the moments of their biggest enemy resurfacing every now and then.
It *was* a really good storyline, and I have a lot of praise for it. But it could have been downright brilliant (possibly even rivaling the Ari storyline) if they had chosen to do a little more with it, not just use it as means to an end (= the gang overcoming the trauma and all, during the upcoming episodes).
Official first shallow side note of this season: yeah, I'm not ashamed to say, I really, really want to see you two in bed. A lot. *whimpers* *licks screen*
Abby: All I see is pain and destruction.
Maybe it's just me, but the thing that strikes me hardest about this scene is that when she grabs Bert, he doesn't fart anymore. Destruction indeed. :(
Tony (to Gibbs): Must have been nice having someone to talk to. For a little while.
That right there is the start of another thing we were promised: Tony does some thinking. And it becomes more and more apparent that he doesn't want to be alone any longer. (And a part of my brain insists that this is exactly why he was with EJ - because he wanted someone to talk to, to get along with, even if it's just for a little while. Which is also why it didn't work out - she never was all that interested in more than a nice little romp, even if she was willing to turn it into a regular romp.)
Palmer, talking to himself much like his mentor. ♥ "And you are not helping matters, Abby!" Adorable exchange... although I thought she had overcome those fears seasons ago? Ah, well, under those circumstances it's understandable to have it resurface, and I'm more than willing to be lax on the nitpicking.
Love the phone call with Penny. Gives me hope she might show up again. I really, really liked her.
Gibbs: Duck. You're not here, remember?
Ducky: Yes, but I am alive. And until I am embalmed and buried, there will be stories to tell. And I look forward to telling them.
Yes. That. *points at journal's title*
Ziva: Agent Fornell asked me to convey this message - 'Are you freaking kidding me?'
Anyone else freaked out about Dearing's wall of surveillance and the snapshots of our team on there? This really *was* personally, and he knew full well whom he was targeting. This wasn't just a random bombing. He planned to hurt *these* people, not just any random Navy guys who happened to be there. *shudders*
Vance: Are you building something?
Gibbs: Yeah. I need a bigger basement.
What now, Gibbs? Were you told to build an Ark...? O_o
Ziva: This is infuriating.
Tony: Ziva is upset.
I don't care how silly you are, you yummy man, you. Just keep talking with that pretty mouth of yours, and keep showing us your insanely beautiful hands. Keep messing with our minds by just being extremely delectable, okay? Okay.
Dearing playing Evan's tapes... I have to admit, that was the first scene where I actually felt a glimpse of what this character is about. Felt some emotion from him (and about him), instead of him being just the cold and obsessed mastermind. Makes the showdown much more poignant.
And that showdown... man, I have to confess, I didn't expect it to affect me like this, but it did - I ended up crying, hard, because that wasn't just any end to that fight. Gibbs did the same thing Dearing had done to him - he made this one deeply personal. He broke his own rule, he brought a knife to a gunfight, and he didn't just fire an impersonal bullet - he took that knife and gutted the man who had threatened his family, his home. Not just one stab, he kept shoving the knife in. And he held Dearing and looked him in the eye the whole time. I... am torn between heavy emotion and feeling severely creeped out, to be honest. But it was a good way to end this. A very, very satisfying way. I still wish they had spread this out over more episodes. Much like "Spider and the Fly", I was longing for the kind of emotional impact the prolonged chase *could* have had. But aside from that - no, I'm fucking happy with this storyline. They did good.
And that plaque - yeah. It's fitting. Because that day left all of us devastated, and it sent us into a hiatus that seemed a lot longer than most of them.
Well done, show. Well done indeed. ♥
(Okay, maybe I have one tiny gripe more - I think there were way too many spoilers floating around. I can understand all these reporters being hyped about their advance copies and the crew being hyped about the season ahead of them, but seriously? There weren't that many surprises left. Which took away some of the impact, sadly. I hope they cut back on the spoilers a bit for the next episodes.)
And now, for the thing you all came to read about... the Tony/Ziva "subtext"... ~
Another shallow side note: both Tony and Ziva looked extremely yummy and edible throughout the whole episode. And boy, oh boy! So much casual!Tony it hurts my eyes! ♥
Tony: I'm so glad we broke protocol and took the elevator. Whose bright idea was that anyway?
You know what I love about this scene? They don't answer that question. Could have been either of them. :P
Okay, really bad image quality from here on, due to the lighting of that scene. I tried to enhance the crap out of them, just so you can see the expressions better.
Tony: Xenia Onatopp. The Bond villain from 'Goldeneye', Famke Janssen. She would kill men by squeezing her muscular, well-shaped thighs...
Ziva: I can think of worse ways to die.
Yeah, so can Tony, from the way he's fondling her thigh... *wipes brow*
Now, let me, the happy little movie geek, reiterate the true awesomeness behind this moment: first, the mentioned villain slash Bond girl... the first time Bond hears her name in that movie, he mishears and repeats "On top?"... and Tony, saying that name, while Ziva is on top of him, so to speak... not to mention the sexiness of the whole analogy... and yeah, there was that scene where she tries to kill Bond by crushing him between her thighs... which was in a sauna, if I remember correctly... a very sweaty situation, too!
Also... come on, guys! He wants a girl who at least appreciates the way he appreciates movies? And she does just that, she not only listens to his rambling, she also comments positively and even agrees with his flow of consciousness! What more do you want?!
Ziva: I'm almost... there... We're stuck!
Tony: Well, keep pushing, thigh master, I'm starting to enjoy this...
Ziva: We slipped.
Tony: Did we? I thought the earth moved.
Ziva: You're sweating.
Tony: It's hot in here.
Ziva: I had not noticed.
I... just... can I just flail and scream and whimper for a second here, guys? Can I? Because SERIOUSLY!!! HOW CAN YOU SAY THERE WAS NO FUCKING TIVA IN THIS EPISODE AFTER *THIS* SCENE?!?!
Look at the way she stares at his mouth. How she leans into him and sniffs him out. How he looks at her almost shyly when he makes the earth moving comment. How he looks at her when he touches her friggin face and brushes the hair out of her eyes and his hand almost cups her face as if he'll pull her closer any second now, but then he stops at the last second... and how Ziva gives that throaty little laugh suddenly, and they stand there and look as if someone glued them together at the hip when the whole friggin elevator leaves them enough room to step away?
AND, MOST IMPORTANTLY, HOW SHE GRABS HIM WHEN HER PHONE RINGS???
Seriously, people! Regular buddies/friends/co-workers usually do NOT wrap themselves around each other like that! (Or do they? Educate me. If that's the norm, I'm seriously missing out on some fun!)
That whole "phone call from daddy" moment... at first viewing I didn't really notice the true awesomeness of that scene, I have to admit it. Yes, I would have preferred to actually see a scene or two with Michael Nouri, but I do realize that a few recorded lines are better to handle schedule- and budget-wise. I'm vaguely irritated that Eli just keeps talking and talking without waiting for a single word from Ziva - I'm guessing that's the reason she snaps at him at one point. I *would* have liked subtitles for that talk, I have to admit that, but yeah, I can deal with it, especially since I get such a fucking couple-vibe from the both of them suddenly that it's uncanny. Especially with Eli complaining about Tony, apparently, and Ziva defending her
Tony: That's sweet. Your dad called. My father should be calling any second.
And, once more, she almost crawls into him when there is absolutely no higher need for that ever. Yeah, of course you're just buddies. Sure.
So, skipping ahead to the rescue scene... once again, we see them glued together and using the least space possible in that big fat elevator... And yeah, I have to admit, for someone who just complained about body odor, she sure stares at him as if she's comtemplating licking him all over...
Tony complaining about the guy who always undresses Ziva with his eyes. Yup, he sure notices those things... and yeah, once again I get this insane "married!" vibe from them in this scene. This incredible intimacy... that's yet another step further along the way. And I really, really like it. ♥
Ziva: Abby! I've never been more happy to see your gorgeous face!
Yeah. With that smile? I buy it. ♥
Abby: You guys... must be ready to kill each other.
Oh, no worries, Abbs. Kill? Naw. Fuck each other senseless? Yeah, that's more like it...
This! This is one of the "loud looks" Cote was talking about. The ones that are better than any conversation because they are so obvious, so apparent, so... telling. The people who keep saying that "it takes more than a few looks for them"... you know what, just walk away. Because most likely even hot monkey sex wouldn't be enough for you, if you don't recognize foreplay in its purest form.
And that's why I think people should better shut the fuck up before claiming that Gary mislead them and there was no emotional connection during those three hours in the elevator. Because one thing is suddenly VERY different from the way they treated each other over the past couple of years: it's sexual again.
Yes, there was touching, there was closeness, there was playful groping... but that's just it: ever since Somalia, Tony never really treated Ziva like the sexual creature she was before. He made jokes, he gave her bad puns, but he never once looked down her blouse or went into her personal space with the express goal to distract her with that physicality. He didn't *look* at her like that. Which is understandable. He didn't know what to do with this girl for the better part of two years. He knew there was something broken, inside her, between them, and yeah, he probably felt looking at her like he had before would be deeply inappropriate.
But now, he *does* notice for the first time in a long, long while that yes, she has incredible thighs, and yeah, he gropes her, and no, she doesn't blow him off - on the contrary, she gets pretty distracted by that closeness, and she looks at him afterwards as if she wants to devour him, too. And that end scene, when Abby assumes they were close to killing each other? A whole new understanding passes between them, and you can see that, for the first time, they actually both LIKED the experience. That, no, they don't mind spending time with each other. The only thing they minded was the aftermath of the bombing.
And you can see that new understanding, that closeness, that bond, that willingness to be with each other, in the very last scene - yes, it's blurry and far away, but this? This is foreshadowing. This is them, how they will be from now on - together. It can't end any other way from here on. ♥
All in all - I love this one, fiercely. I love where it brought us, I love where it left off, and I can't WAIT for the rest of this season. I am very, very sure it will be worth every goddamn minute I'll spend with my show. ♥