Sammy (littlesammy) wrote,

About NCIS 10x06 - Shell Shock Pt I

Last Tuesday, my show piled so much goddamn perfection in one single episode that I had real trouble finding the right words. "Shell Shock Pt I" was by far my favorite episode of the season so far. It left me in tears, it left me a sobbing mess, and I really, really embarrassed myself when I tried to tell a co-worker about the emotional impact one simple scene had on me... and burst into tears in front of her. Yeah, she got the impact, all right... =_=

As usual -- no linking at the Tiva proboards forum, please, I have issues with that place. Other pro places are fine. And now -- on with the show... in which Tony is le petit prince, Ziva is his rose, nothing hurts, and this was all just too beautiful for words. ♥

In general... ~

I loved many, many things about this episode, and yes, this review will be a lot longer than usual -- simply because it held too many neat little things and too much symbolism for my little fannish heart to deal with in a concise way. I know already this will be one of those episodes I will go over a gazillion times, and boy, am I glad we don't use VHS anymore so there won't be any danger of wearing my file out anytime soon. I have only two smallish gripes with the episode (which I'll get to at the appropriate moments), but I can easily ignore them in favor of an incredible episode.

The review will be split into two parts -- the first one, right here, will hold my general squees, my shallow drooling over screenshots, the usual fannish lusting. ;) The other will be completely devoted to a comparison with the book Ziva quoted and what this actually means.

Okay, let's start with the good stuff...

McGee: The screamers?
Tony: The screamers.

There are many things absolutely perfect about this scene -- like McGee knowing that Tony has neighbors now who give him a first row seat to loud sex, for instance. (My muse insists there's a snippet in there somewhere where he tells McGee about it and bitches about he's not getting any and this must be Karma and all that jazz, and McGee getting there's a reason Tony doesn't tell Ziva about this. Or that other snippet, where Ziva offers to "lend him a hand", so to speak, to show his neighbors how thin the walls really are and give them a show in return, and in the morning everyone is heartily embarrassed... uhm, yeah. I need about 17 months off, I think, to write all these...)

Gibbs: Nice look, helmet-head.

I love this scene, fiercely. Love how McGee and Ziva gang up and share the spoils of snooping, so to speak. And I also love that young!Tony had a thing for taking pictures -- very consistent, actually, with a lot of people fascinated by movies/making movies. That love often overlaps and is enhanced by a love for static imagery.

Tony: Hey, boss. It was a... transitional phase. You know, the 80s.

Dear Tony, that haircut was not a good look in the 80s. Trust me. Take it from someone who's been there.

Right in his very first scene, Westcott kills me. That moment when his hands start to shake... ugh. You can see so easily that the poor guy is completely messed up.

I bet you know what comes now -- that nice ritual of ours called "shallow interlude":

For fuck's sake, can you two get ANY yummier?! O_O

Simple things I adore for consistency's sake: Ducky sitting down and leaving the report to Palmer. Because not too long ago this man had a heart attack, and I love that he is, by now, actually taking it a bit slower. We've seen him sit so rarely during this kind of scene -- right now, I can only recall the times where he happened to be at his computer when someone walked in -- so this moment really sticks out to me.

Gibbs: What am I looking at?
McGee: Those shadows you see may be duplicates, ghost images. It's what happens when the same tape gets recorded over without being erased.
Gibbs: Meaning?
McGee: Meaning, some of the people you see were there last night, some maybe six months ago.

The thing with the old VHS tape? It's such a stroke of genius, I can only bow down to the author. It's such a brilliant, brilliant analogy to Westcott's messed-up mind, to his faulty memories, to his stressed-out brain that conjures up things that belong to his past and mixes them with the present -- oh, god, THIS is how you tell a story, people! Kudos to Ms. Mirante-Matthews for this. I bow to you.

I am very much in awe with the research that went into this whole episode. Even before it aired last night, we got the CBS Insider's Blog entry for it, which is usually posted on the next day. There wasn't anything spoilerish in it, so that was okay. What I really loved about it is how it showcases clearly how much planning, love, and research goes into the episodes these days: they started to prepare this two-parter in May, for fuck's sake. When they were still far from filming the new season. You wanna yammer on again about how Gary doesn't do his homework? Bitch, I can't hear you over the sound of a perfectly orchestrated storyline...

I love the care they put into this. The utmost respect they awarded the topic. The way they tried to tackle complex and painful issues and stay true to what's actually happening to the ones suffering from it. Still, one of my two small gripes with the episode comes in here -- namely, the fact that they made it all about Gibbs, again. Yes, he knows this stuff, he's seen this happen before, and yes, he's been through similar things himself. And yes, I do get that sometimes the authors feel like Gibbs is really the total center of attention for most viewers. And that's fine. My gripe with it starts at the point where they "dumb down" the other characters to let him and his gut shine. Because Ziva's right there. Ziva's been through enough combat-related trauma herself. And, it stands to reason, Ziva knows a thing or two about PTSD herself. So yeah, for the life of me I cannot understand why they made her totally oblivious to what was going on with Westcott. I simply don't get it, it makes no sense. I guess I will have to chalk it up to a) Gibbs being the usual center of attention and b) Ziva's trauma, especially the Somalia aftermath, being simply too much for this time slot to handle. I think over time that elephant in the middle of the room has just gotten so enormous that it's almost impossible to tackle for any writer on a prime time show. They can't go into the really gritty detail because kids and teens are watching. And yeah, I understand that urge to sweep it under the carpet instead and pretend it never happened, trust me. But that doesn't make it go down any easier for me. *grinds teeth*

Ziva: (chuckles) No need to explain, Tony. Everyone goes through... an awkward stage.
Tony: Granted, it may have been a little awkward, but take a look at me now -- not very awkward.

Favorite thing about this? Yeah, she does take a good look at him there. One could almost say, she ogles him very obviously and shamelessly. And holy moly, can we blame her, when he's pointing out his... assets... so nicely...? *coughs* *clears throat* *ogles along with Ziva*

Ziva: Well, I think underneath that nice suit and that charming smile you are still a very homely little boy.
Tony: 'Homely' little boy? I was an adorable little boy, and when I get those pictures developed, your world will be rocked, Miss David.
Ziva: Well, I'm looking forward to it.

I. FUCKING. CAN'T. I mean, LOOK AT THEM! Look at them smiling, and being happy, and flirting, and him wanting to rock her world, and her looking forward to it, and omg, I've run out of air I think...! O_O

Aside from the very obvious squee factor of this moment -- I've seen some jerks"fans" claim that Ziva was mean when she called him 'homely', that she was being a snide bitch... you get the gist. I have two replies to this:
a) She was right. Deep inside, he *is* still that same little, not-too-fancy boy who just wants to be loved.
b) Seriously, guys. I think 'homely' was putting it nicely. If you think otherwise, go take a look at that picture again and then go swear on your mother's loins that you think he was a real stud there. I dare you. =_=

I *loved* that the guy doesn't just hit Tony and gets away. I *love* the fact that Tony punches back right away, out of sheer reflex, then pulls his gun before the guy can even catch his breath. I *love* that he's dangerous, too. That he doesn't need the ninja to save his ass, he just chooses to let her handle things sometimes. I already loved this scene fiercely when Gary smuggled it to Europe in his previews roll. I now love it even more because it fits so well with how Tony currently is, how calm and secure and sure of himself and his place in life. Yes, there's still some thinking left to be done, but all in all? He's as good as it gets right now. *bounces all over the place*

Also (beware, shallow side note coming up) -- angry!Tony gets me hot in no time. In the "holy fuck, I don't care how mad you are right now, just go right ahead and do dangerous things to me, my body is ready" kind of way. *fans self*

Tony looking over his shoulder when Mathis asks him if he knows the strip club. *snorts* Guess our "whipped boyfriend" knows a little too well how Ziva will feel about that... XD

Speaking of which -- holy crap, Ziva stewing in jealousy when he's talking to Misty, the stripper! I mean, hellooo! Her reaction was in fact so eloquent that I have no other choice than to put it here in gif form -- mere screencaps seriously didn't cut it. XD

And he notices. And tells her to cut the crap because he's not flirting, he's just talking to a "nice girl". Hee. Hee hee. I love these two so much! (Yes, that was a pretty pointless remark. Sorry, I can't hear you over the sound of my helpless flailing. XD )

McGee: Try spending the day with her.
Abby: Oh, you love it, and you know it.

I'm not really a McGee/Abby shipper, simply because the "spark" seems to be gone and I haven't seen anything between them except friendship for long, long years. This scene, though, had me squeeing, again, for many different reasons: McGee, in the lab with her, running stuff while she works on other things -- so much "old school NCIS" in there it made my heart swell. There was such a wonderful vibe between them in that scene -- two people who simply know each other really well. ♥ Also, Abby in all pink was a winner. And the way she maneuvers Gibbs through the dolls? Perfect, because it felt like old times, too -- quirky, different, but not annoying and "weird-for-the-sake-of-weirdness", like they scripted her so often during the past couple of years.

Ducky: Denial is a very powerful thing.

I think this is the most overlooked line in this whole episode. It's a plain and simple truth, and it doesn't just apply to the dead Lieutenant.

One of my favorite scenes of this episode has to be Tony and Ziva bouncing into the office that morning -- together, completely in sync, dressed in matching outfits, and completely lost in each other. And oh my god, that moment when they see Gibbs is already there? Look at their faces! It's such a "shoot, now we have to look normal or we'll get busted!" expression that it boggles my mind! Again, mere screencaps didn't cut it, I had to put this in gif form. Look at Ziva's guilty expression!

And they really expect my shipper brain to ignore this sort of thing? Yeah, good luck with that! Because Ziva seems to be extra cuddly that morning. She doesn't tone it down. In fact, she couldn't get much closer except if she were to sit on his lap then...

I can't blame her. He's rarely looked yummier than this morning. So does she, coincidentally. Yeah, I think I'd be all over my partner, too. *whimpers* *has some really really naughty thoughts*

Coincidentally, I have a screencap to share about that...

Dr. Pete: Now, besides these recurring flashbacks -- are you experiencing any nightmares or insomnia? Anger, irritability, panic attacks?
Westcott: Yes, sir.
Dr. Pete: And which ones, Captain?
Westcott: All of them, sir.

I think my heart broke in that moment. That man, confessing something so huge, so terrifying, in such a small, humble voice... god, I just want to hug him. :(

I really love that his brother is there and wants to help him. Love how torn and horrified he looks when he hears his big, strong brother talk about problems he's been struggling with on his own for the past eight months. How... guilty he feels that he didn't notice it earlier.

Evan Westcott: I'm sorry.
Joe Westcott: Don't be, it is what it is.

And yeah, that was the one moment where I got really, really angry that they made this one all about Gibbs. Because seriously, with that line in the mix? I wanted a scene between Joe and Ziva, badly. Because seeing an understanding between these two (something that maybe draws out some deeply buried things in her so she, too, can start to deal with her past) would have been brilliant. *kicks something in frustration*

Westcott: Listen, if I have to lie on a couch and talk about the pet bunny that I lost when I was three, I'm coming after you, Agent Gibbs. Big time.

*snorts* I love this guy. ;)

The plot twist towards the end was... hm. I'm not entirely sure what to think of it yet and will reserve my final verdict for after I've seen the second part. On the one hand, it feels good to have confirmation that yes, the Captain was seriously messed up that night, but -- much like that old videotape -- his mind wasn't completely making things up, just mixing past and present because there was something that connected both. On the other hand -- for some reason it feels like the second part will be much more action oriented and I will end up feeling about it like I felt about the "Engaged" two-parter: heartbroken and shattered during part one, but only mildly engaged and not even remotely as touched and thus, disappointed, during part two.

Now, for the scene that had a whole fandom sobbing uncontrollably... ~

I'm going to start out by giving you a complete rundown of those glorious two minutes and thirty-five seconds of uninterrupted, unspoiled emotional connection -- something I didn't expect to witness, really. Something that touched my heart in so many ways that, even after a good night's sleep, I start bawling my eyes out when Tony starts to open up. Yesterday, I tried to tell a co-worker how big an emotional impact that one single scene had for me, and I ended up royally embarrassing myself because I burst into tears in front of her. Yeah, she got the impact, alright... =_=

I'll put in some caps to show their facial expressions because their reactions are important and show a lot of what's going on on the emotional front.

Ziva: There you are! Are you looking at more 'homely' pictures?

Ziva: (sees he's in a withdrawn mood, cuts the teasing and sits down beside him) Are you alright, Tony?
Tony: Can I show you something?

Ziva: Yes.
Tony: (hands her a stack of photos)
Ziva: Is this your mother?
Tony: Yes.

Ziva: Wow. She was... she was beautiful.
Tony: Oh. I guess she was.
Ziva: How come you never talk about her?
Tony: I don't?
Ziva: No. (shakes head) No, you don't.

Tony: Hm. Well... I guess... she was the first woman to break my heart, and I don't like to talk about things like that.
Ziva: You don't like to talk about it because you don't want to. Maybe it causes you too much pain. (realizes he's drifting off) So she was the one who took you to the movies?
Tony: Yeah. We would go to this dollar matinee, make these weekend trips into the city. There was this theater that she loved over on 42nd street. (laughs) Pretty run down, but she loved movies. And... uh... I think she loved... the escape. This is the last movie we ever saw together. Right before she... "The Little Prince".
Ziva: 'That which is essential is invisible to the eye.'
Tony: Ziva David, did you just quote a movie?
Ziva: No. I quoted a book... that was made into a movie.

There is everything -- EVERYTHING -- right about this scene. It is flawless, in so many ways -- in the way of Ziva actually looking for him at the beginning of the scene, for instance. Or of her tapping his arm playfully to get him to look at her. Or of her starting out as a tease, but then switching seamlessly to a show of support when she notices his pensive mood -- keeping her "Are you all right?" lighthearted and playful, asking him in a tone of voice that suggests he can easily go back to their usual ways and just ignore the deeper moment here and tease her right back and that would be okay, too, but if he wants to talk, she wants to listen. And you can see it in his face for a moment -- how he struggles with the decision. How his mouth is twitching and he thinks about giving her one of his usual quips at first, but then decides to take a leap of face and let her in and hope that she doesn't laugh this time like she did when she saw the boarding school pic. Because this is important to him. And I think part of him wants her to understand that. He wants her to listen. He wants her to "get him", in a way few others have. Yes, it makes him vulnerable, and he is not too fond of exposing himself like that... but in this case, he does want it, and he wants to try and see if she can, without mocking it, appreciate something that is really important to him. And so the scales of decision tip for him, and he tries his hand at this new thing between them: this trust thing.

Someone on Tumblr (I forgot who, apologies) already drew the brilliant connection to the season five episode "Tribes" and this exchange:

(Tony pulls a book out of Ziva's drawer titled "Movies for the Moron")
Tony: Hahaha!
Ziva: (grabs the book from Tony) I have killed for less.
Tony: You cheated.
Ziva: Did not!
Tony: Yes, you did. That is a book of movies. I bet you never saw all those movies. You just read the book!
Ziva: I like books.
Tony: I like movies.
Ziva: Do not quote books, I will not quote movies.
Tony: What if it's a book that's been made into a movie?

They've come a long way since then. Remember, back in "One Last Score", when Ziva goes on and on about Faulkner and at first thinks Tony's on the same page (pardon the pun) and then he says he doesn't like Faulkner's books, but rather the movies he made out of other people's books? And she's like, "I give up!"? This, right here, this is bridging the at times enormous gap between them, and that's why I loved the scene already fiercely after Gary leaked it. This shows they *do* have a common ground after all, they *do* speak the same language, and they *do* understand each other when it matters. They come from different sides of the issue, true, but even though she quotes books and he quotes movies, they eventually end up in the same place after all. ♥

I also love the way Tony watches her when she looks at the pictures. How he's searching her face for a reaction, how intense he is about it. And how he's surprised when her first comment isn't about him, the "homely" boy, at all but about how beautiful his mother was. How you can hear in his voice how he's even surprised by that -- how he seems to have forgotten that fact over all the grief thinking of her gave him. And it's beautiful that this one talk with Ziva reminds him of the good about those memories. Makes him look back at them slightly different. Maybe makes them a little less painful.

Watching this scene is downright amazing in its own way. Because Tony is ripping his chest right open in front of Ziva and lays his heart out for her, for her to stomp on if she wants to. She doesn't, of course. She looks at his memories and his emotions, and in that moment she gets a lot about him. And I think Ziva treasures that moment as much as we do. Because she gets that when he quietly admits that mom liked "the escape", he's much like his mother was in that regard -- he, too, watches so many movies because it's an easy escape. And that line about her being the first woman to break his heart? Oh dear god, he breaks mine in that scene. *sobs* It's true, yes, and that's what makes this such a big thing for him: actually admitting this to Ziva. Again, splitting himself and his emotions wide open for her.

And afterwards, it feels like not only do they come out of this stronger and tighter than ever -- it feels like something else is back between them, something that shows most clearly when they stroll back into the bullpen:

They're a unit right then, right there. They're one. And I love it because it reminds me so much of the last time we saw this kind of bond between them -- during the trauma of "Judgment Day":

This has always been one of my favorite scenes between them, because right there, she is in his head, she feels what he feels, and she's hovering like mad because she knows exactly how he's suffering. And we never got that particular feeling between them back after Vance ripped the team apart and her time in Israel drove a wedge between them. They never got back to that particular place, that special kind of understanding they shared in this very moment.

Except now, they are. And they feel it. And Ziva -- Ziva loves being in his head. She loves "getting" him. Because for the first time he willingly let her in. This -- this is the basis for what's coming. They're a unit again. They're one. They feel and breathe the same. This is true harmony. Love, if you will. And so much promise here it chokes me up and makes my heart swell. ♥

(This is where I throw in my other small gripe about this episode, btw: I wish I hadn't known about this scene before. I wish I hadn't read any spoilers about it. I wish I hadn't seen the leaked sneak peek. I wish they would have left me totally clueless that it was coming because then it would have hit me that much harder. I can only imagine the true impact if it had hit me out of left field. I probably would have sat there in shock, not believing what I'd just witnessed. It would have left me speechless and with my emotions all over the place. It was still incredibly strong, and it will probably still get me in years to come, much like the elevator scene in "Swan Song" did... but I wish I hadn't known about it. I would have liked that incredible experience. Dear Gary, if you ever happen to read this (who knows) -- please, when they kiss, don't tell us about it before. Don't even hint at it. I don't care how much you're bouncing on your toes, just trust me on this one, okay? If we don't know it's coming, it will hit us so much harder. And we will love you for it. I swear.)

And finally, to wrap this up, there is one other interesting thing about this -- his mother. We've seen before that there's a weird discrepancy between the type of women he actively "hunts", so to speak, and the ones he actually gets close to. Now, seeing this pic of his mother, I feel like this, too, explains so much about the Tony we've seen so far. Because all the girls he's sort of accidentally fallen for, the ones he felt close to without even trying... well, let's just line them up for a comparison, okay?

Granted, Jeanne's not a blonde, but otherwise she fits the profile a little too well, and having all of them together like this is downright creepy to me. And you know what, I know that it's a really weird thing to say, coming from me, but this one freaking picture suddenly explained the atrocity that was "Obsession" to me. It explains why Tony was getting so invested in "saving" her. It explains why he felt so close to her without even meeting her once. And it explains why her death hit him as hard as it did. Suddenly, just like that... I am at ease with this particular episode. Who would have guessed that? O_o

And now, for all the mindblowing parallels between "The Little Prince" and that Tony/Ziva thing... ~

I'm among the few people who actually both read the book and watched the movie long before the show mentioned it, and so, when Tony said the title, many, many things rushed through my mind at once and I burst into big, fat tears. The only thing I remembered of the movie itself was that I didn't like it that much when I saw it many years ago, and now, after watching it again, I can confirm that. (It's probably all that weird singing. It seriously takes away a lot of the message and the emotional impact.)

I have loved the book for years, though, and even though I remembered the story itself, I wanted to read it again now to see why exactly they had chosen this one. (Actually, why Michael had chosen it -- Nicole Mirante-Matthews tweeted that it was his idea. And I love him for it because it's perfect. Because yes, after nine and a half years of Tony it's astonishing to realize that he isn't really Peter Pan after all -- he's that little prince.) I can only encourage you to do the same -- not because it was quoted here, not because it's a thing you should do as a proper fan, but simply because it's a wonderful book with a true and important message. You don't even have to spend money for that, there's a beautiful online version in several languages around. It's a book you can easily read in just a couple of hours. And it's worth the time, I promise.

Now, for those of you who don't want to bother with reading, for whatever reason, bear with me while I go all Ziva on you and work along the book version in pointing out all the parallels that made me cry hard while sitting in a bus, on my way to work. One quote, though, I will give you from the movie version, because it's slightly different from the book, and especially in light of a previous scene, of Ziva's line about the boy underneath the suits and smiles, this one made my heart stop:

Fox: Underneath the Prince, you're a little boy.

The book starts out with the narrator contemplating how he, as a kid, drew an image of a cobra who had swallowed an elephant and how he, soon enough, stopped drawing because all the grown-ups he showed the image to didn't get it. They only saw what resembled a hat in that picture and told him to stop wasting his time, and eventually it was too tiresome to explain it all the time. He grew up himself, became a pilot, but...

Whenever I met one of them who seemed to me at all clear-sighted, I tried the experiment of showing him my Drawing Number One, which I have always kept. I would try to find out, so, if this was a person of true understanding. But, whoever it was, he, or she, would always say:
"That is a hat."
Then I would never talk to that person about boa constrictors, or primeval forests, or stars. I would bring myself down to his level. I would talk to him about bridge, and golf, and politics, and neckties. And the grown-up would be greatly pleased to have met such a sensible man.

And this, dear friends, is essentially what Tony does when he asks, "Can I show you something?" He wants to try if she gets the true meaning of things, if she understands what's important without having it explained to her, without telling him to stop wasting his time. He wants to see if she thinks like he thinks.

So I lived my life alone, without anyone that I could really talk to

Tony, to Gibbs: It must have been nice, having someone to talk to, for a little while.

It took me a long time to learn where he came from. The little prince, who asked me so many questions, never seemed to hear the ones I asked him. It was from words dropped by chance that, little by little, everything was revealed to me.

That's exactly how Tony is, you know. Especially with Ziva. He never offers anything important willingly. He snoops around in others' lives, but guards his own heart so fiercely that one could think on fleeting observation there's nothing underneath that shallow exterior. But Ziva listens to the words dropped by chance, and over time, a lot of what makes up Tony was revealed to her. She knows him better than most people. Because she listens to a word here, a sentence there.

When the narrator talks about the tiny planet the prince comes from, which he believes has only been seen by one person so far:
On making his discovery, the astronomer had presented it to the International Astronomical Congress, in a great demonstration. But he was in Turkish costume, and so nobody would believe what he said.
Grown-ups are like that...
Fortunately, however, for the reputation of Asteroid B-612, a Turkish dictator made a law that his subjects, under pain of death, should change to European costume. So in 1920 the astronomer gave his demonstration all over again, dressed with impressive style and elegance. And this time everybody accepted his report.

For some reason I keep thinking about Tony and his suits here...

Oh, little prince! Bit by bit I came to understand the secrets of your sad little life... For a long time you had found your only entertainment in the quiet pleasure of looking at the sunset.
"One day," you said to me, "I saw the sunset forty-four times!"
And a little later you added:
"You know -- one loves the sunset, when one is so sad..."
"Were you so sad, then?" I asked, "on the day of the forty-four sunsets?"
But the little prince made no reply.

I cannot stress the beauty of this enough. Remember the line about his mother loving the escape. Remember the hidden implication of him loving the movies for the same reason. He truly is the little prince. And the movies are his sunsets. And whenever he feels sad, he moves his chair a bit on his tiny planet and watches yet another one, and that always cheers him up. *sobs*

"A sheep--if it eats little bushes, does it eat flowers, too?"
"A sheep," I answered, "eats anything it finds in its reach."
"Even flowers that have thorns?"
"Yes, even flowers that have thorns."
"Then the thorns -- what use are they?"
The little prince never let go of a question, once he had asked it. As for me, I was upset over that bolt. And I answered with the first thing that came into my head:
"The thorns are of no use at all. Flowers have thorns just for spite!"
There was a moment of complete silence. Then the little prince flashed back at me, with a kind of resentfulness:
"I don't believe you! Flowers are weak creatures. They are naive. They reassure themselves as best they can. They believe that their thorns are terrible weapons..."

And this was the moment where it dawned on me that the metaphor went so much deeper than I'd thought before -- that not only was Tony the little prince in this setting, who never let go of a question once he had asked it... no, in addition to that we have Ziva as the flower he had come to care for. The flower who believed she was so strong and equipped with terrible weapons to keep her safe, but in fact all the walls she'd built around herself, around her heart, were of no use when it came to real danger. And she, much like the flower in this story, needs someone to protect her heart and ward off the big things that threaten her.

"If someone loves a flower, of which just one single blossom grows in all the millions and millions of stars, it is enough to make him happy just to look at the stars. He can say to himself, 'Somewhere, my flower is there...' But if the sheep eats the flower, in one moment all his stars will be darkened... And you think that is not important!"

Tony: After that, business as usual lost all meaning.

(And this is the moment where Sammy breaks down crying again.)

I soon learned to know this flower better. On the little prince's planet the flowers had always been very simple. They had only one ring of petals; they took up no room at all; they were a trouble to nobody. One morning they would appear in the grass, and by night they would have faded peacefully away.

Tony and his one night stands, which are of no importance at all, which take up no room in his heart, which leave no trace in his soul once they fade away...

But one day, from a seed blown from no one knew where, a new flower had come up; and the little prince had watched very closely over this small sprout which was not like any other small sprouts on his planet.

Pull up "Kill Ari" for me in your mind. Remember the scene where she saunters into the bullpen. Yeah, you get it, don't you?

And he continued his confidences:
"The fact is that I did not know how to understand anything! I ought to have judged by deeds and not by words. She cast her fragrance and her radiance over me. I ought never to have run away from her... I ought to have guessed all the affection that lay behind her poor little strategems. Flowers are so inconsistent! But I was too young to know how to love her …"

Yes, Tony. Do look beyond the teasing and the playful pulling of hair. Do see the affection Ziva has harbored for you for such a long time now. Do learn how to love her.

"Don't linger like this. You have decided to go away. Now go!"
For she did not want him to see her crying. She was such a proud flower.

It is what it is. She's so much like Ziva it hurts. :( And after "Aliyah", Tony tries to let her go, much like the little prince tries to leave his flower alone, because -- much like the prince -- he believes his flower doesn't like him as much as he likes her, and so he tries to walk away from her.

"Come and play with me," proposed the little prince. "I am so unhappy."
"I cannot play with you," the fox said. "I am not tamed. (...) Are you looking for chickens?"
"No," said the little prince. "I am looking for friends. What does that mean -- 'tame'?"
"It is an act too often neglected," said the fox. "It means to establish ties."
"'To establish ties'?"
"Just that," said the fox. "To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you, I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world..."
"I am beginning to understand," said the little prince. "There is a flower... I think that she has tamed me..."

She has indeed -- much like he has tamed her. Both of them used to skittle away from each other on an emotional level, but over the years, they have grown accustomed to each other, they have come to know each other, and now, they are unique to each other in all the world. Irreplaceable.

"My life is very monotonous," the fox said. "I hunt chickens; men hunt me. All the chickens are just alike, and all the men are just alike. And, in consequence, I am a little bored. But if you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life. I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all the others."

How often has Tony mentioned by now that there's got to be more to life than what he had so far? That it gets stale? That he wants something to show for at the end of the day...? He wants to be tamed by now. ♥

"What must I do, to tame you?" asked the little prince.
"You must be very patient," replied the fox. "First you will sit down at a little distance from me--like that--in the grass. I shall look at you out of the corner of my eye, and you will say nothing. Words are the source of misunderstandings. But you will sit a little closer to me, every day..."

Gary Glasberg: I’m not going to argue; it’s definitely baby steps. It’s better to spoon it out little by little and let people savor it.

He's in the process of taming us, you see.

Stop harassing him. Stop demanding more or "proof of romance". Just stop. Just be patient, and sit there, and watch, out of the corner of your eye. Each time, he will move a little closer. And one day, what he has created will be unique to us, and we will treasure it more than any other ship out there in the universe.

The little prince went away, to look again at the roses.
"You are not at all like my rose," he said. "As yet you are nothing. No one has tamed you, and you have tamed no one. You are like my fox when I first knew him. He was only a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But I have made him my friend, and now he is unique in all the world."
And the roses were very much embarrassed.
"You are beautiful, but you are empty," he went on. "One could not die for you. To be sure, an ordinary passerby would think that my rose looked just like you -- the rose that belongs to me. But in herself alone she is more important than all the hundreds of you other roses: because it is she that I have watered; because it is she that I have put under the glass globe; because it is she that I have sheltered behind the screen; because it is for her that I have killed the caterpillars (except the two or three that we saved to become butterflies); because it is she that I have listened to, when she grumbled, or boasted, or ever sometimes when she said nothing. Because she is *my* rose."

This is the moment that is so very close -- the moment where Tony will realize that all the pretty faces in the world do not compare to his rose. That they are empty, one like the other. That he already has that one rose he will gladly die for.

"What moves me so deeply, about this little prince who is sleeping here, is his loyalty to a flower -- the image of a rose that shines through his whole being like the flame of a lamp, even when he is asleep..." And I felt him to be more fragile still. I felt the need of protecting him, as if he himself were a flame that might be extinguished by a little puff of wind...

Be honest: Isn't this how all of us feel about Tony sometimes...?

And then, of course, there is the end of it, with the little prince walking deep into the desert, to let the treacherous snake bite him. Because his body is too heavy, he cannot take it along, of course, and so dying is the only way he can be reunited with his flower.

"Truth or Consequences", anyone...?

Yeah, this is the one thought that left me crying for long minutes. I am wiping away tears again while I type this. I suspect I will end up crying whenever I think of this for a long time to come.

Thank you, show. Thank you for taming me. It hurts at times too much to bear, yes, but I wouldn't want to miss it for the world.
Tags: ncis!squee, ncis: episode discussion, ncis: season ten, ncis: tiva!squee, ncis: tony/ziva

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