Season 8 Episode 5

Dead Air

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Oct 19, 2010 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (13)

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  • Oh, the horrors of badly written symbolism.

    Symbolism, in the hands of a master like Bronte or Dostoyevsky, expands the meaning of the narrative, giving the reader an instinctual awareness of underlying tensions, paints in the colors of the mood, and lets us understand, without being told in dialogue or description, the themes and characters of a work.

    Unfortunately, ham-fisted, banana-peel, in-your-face symbolism is the mark of unskilled pens, and writers who have no respect for their subject matter. They cannot be bothered to flesh out characters into whole people who hint at lives beyond their 43 minutes of screen time; they won't dig deep enough to find motivations and histories that are fully formed, that might inform the decisions and actions of real people, or that could possibly give the episode's action and plot-line any relevance or immediacy.

    One wonders why they bother to name their characters at all beyond "Justice Avenger," "Sinister Beauty," or "Village Idiot." Or, perhaps, I've been watching a 1950s comic book all along - or, since season 5.5 anyway.

    Baseball. Suburban blandness turned evil. Wiping out history. A return of weapons. Enforced silence. Blindness. Father figures. Dead Air.

    Cleverness is not a substitute for good writing, emotion-involving plot, well-formed character development, or humor. Ask Data. He wrote 'clever' poetry that bored the socks off people.

    I'm asking myself, did the writers finally come to the realization that Ziva's character has been so badly written/conceived that they must return to yesterday (!), wipe out their own utterly hopeless work of the past few years, and try to begin again? Have they turned to each other in the writers' room and said, "I can't come up with anything stupider, more idiotic, more thoughtless or less like a true federal agent for Tony to say, so let's make him mute?" Are they hoping that the fans, much like Abby, will be able to turn a blind eye to the down-grading of this once semi-intelligent show and hope against hope that they've turned the train around and it's finally on the right track?

    This episode convinced me of nothing except that the writers are still messing with the fans, fans who, they believe, will never blink twice at what the symbolism shows us. Gibbs/Ziva are father and daughter, bonded more deeply than anyone else, therefore she is excused anything, with Tony and Tim standing on the sidelines as the joke of the week. Abby will continue to turn a blind eye to her hero with feet of clay. Tony will chase after normalcy - and, even worse, Ziva - in a totally Marx Brothers, I Love Lucy way, and never quite catch it.

    These characters are what you have made them, Shane Brennan. Don't try to turn back the clock to when they made sense as federal agents, or when they had - or deserved - any respect for each other. As much as I'd love a return to ClassicGibbs who worked well with his team, SmartTony who solved cases and saved lives, HonorableTim who wasn't polished or urbane but lovable and humble, and QuirkyAbby who could do anything with evidence and still maintain her little girl charm, it seems all you're willing to give us is OldZiva in an attempt to erase the utterly vindictive and underhanded things she's done.

    I'd rather watch reruns or DVDs. I'm closing the book on this one. Turning out the light. Switching channels. What do you think of my symbolism?
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