I liked the episode for the most part. I don't understand why Muslim extremists don't want girls educated, but I know that attacks on Muslim girls wanting an education is unfortunately a sad reality. I think this was depicted realistically. Loved Ziva's interaction with the kids and when she didn't want to leave the dying soldier's side, but would have liked to have seen her telling his family what he told her. I didn't understand the relevance of Gibbs' flashbacks and felt they only took time away from the main story. Also Tony's fear of children seemed stupid-he's dealt with children before and while he didn't seem to do well with small children, he seemed fine with older ones. And I agree with those that thought the end was a bit rushed.
I can't help it, but my gut reaction was: Glorification of the military and propagandistic defense of the war; Hero worship; American values uber alles; a one-sided negative depiction of Afghans. It reminded me of propaganda films of other nations of another time. Sorry, but that's how I felt.
This was a huge step up from Part One! It was action packed, with great scenes in Afghanistan (although I have no idea where they actually filmed) and it was so much fun to watch.
I particularly loved the first half of the episode, with finding the missing First Lieutentant Flores and the children. That was superb!
The second half was WAY too rushed. The whole finding out about the bomb threat and the bomb actually being stopped lasted less than 10 mintutes. They should've either kept that part of the episode and turned it into a separate episode of its own, or they should've got rid of it completely, and spent fmore time in Afghanistan.
I appreciate the improvement, but this won't cut it for me. NCIS needs a big step up - especially before it is too late. Hopefully DiNozzo Senior will provide that next week...
The second half of this two parter was a huge dropoff from the first and really resulted in a mediocre NCIS. I did not buy how invested the crew got in this case and how easily Gibbs snapped during the interrogation and with the punch at the end. Not like him at all.
There was some good, intense yelling tonight, but just not what it could have been with the first part.
Sorry, but I didn't care for this episode due to the excess of preachy patriotic and religious propaganda, and the lack of good NCIS detective work.
I had expected a longer and more elaborate rescue of Flores. I also expected more screen time role for her, what with all the emphasis on her in Part I.
And then the uncovering and preventing of the terror plot in the U.S., tacked on in the last 10 minutes of the episode, seemed rushed and unconvincing. In interrogations, the younger brother merely blurted out that the older brother was (1) alive in the U.S., and (2) would be using a bomb. From this meager information (and the fact that the older brother was an auto mechanic!!!) Gibbs extraordinarily deduces that the older brother will bomb a particular bus of kids that day! And miraculously, they apprehend the older brother at the very second he is about to press the bomb trigger. Also, there was no reason at all for the younger brother to run from NCIS in the first place and readily confess to being a radical Islamicist.
There were a few good scenes, but also these bad ones: Tony's lone speech to God in church; the Chaplain's pushiness and meddling; and Tony's sudden fear of little children and facing that fear. And I resented the way they shabbily manipulated the audience into thinking that Flores was dead in the opening "flash forward:" Tony somberly, grimly walks into the church where Fores' dad is and hesitates. Then the scene moves to the lone coffin on a plane. Then the scene shifts to "48 hours earlier." Any normal person delivering the news would rush in and exclaim,"Good News. She's alive and well!" Tony merely slowly says she's "alive."
Some have mentioned these minor points that don't really bother me: (1) when they rescued Flores, only Gibbs was wearing a cloth hat, not a helmet, and (2) when Flores held hands with her father at the end, you could see her perfect nails.
In Season 9, the writers/producers/editors of NCIS appear to be concentrating, successfully, on further developing the personalities of several team members, as has been done on occasion during prior seasons. At the end of Season 8, for example, Ziva's sensitivities and vulnerabilities were revealed in further depth during the search for and apprehension of the P2P Killer; the former Mossad assassin has become considerably less monolithic, and her interaction with the rescued children in this episodes resonates with warmth. Episode 9/3 offered more of McGee's back story: the viewer had learned that McGee has a sister in Season 4, but nothing else about McGee's family had been revealed until a sensitive case involved his grandmother. McGee's interactions with his grandmother both revealed an alienation from his father which had gone unmentioned previously and clarified Gibbs' place as a father figure for McGee – viewers already know that Gibbs has been, for years, a father figure for Tony. In 9/4, Abby discovers, to her great shock, that she was actually adopted; viewers get a more intimate portrait of this primarily happy-go-lucky, fey genius as Abby meets the brother who does not know that she is his sibling. When a shaken Abby then turns to Gibbs as she works through the knowledge that her late parents had concealed the fact of her adoption, yet another facet of Gibbs is definitively confirmed: while comforting the grieving Abby, Gibbs assures her that she does not have to face her confusion alone, specifically referring to the NCIS team as "family."
Fast-moving and intricate as the paired episodes may be, they serve more as a vehicle for character development than as a plot-driven story. [One notes that similar phenomenon has begun to occur frequently in the series spin-off "NCIS – Los Angeles," as the often tense, often comical story lines offer not only a shifting focus from character to character but also considerable deepening and broadening of those characters and of their interrelationships.] Gibbs' steely determination to ease the agony of Gabriele Flores' father, first at her assumed death and then at the possibility of her survival, resonates with subtlety, as does his interaction with the two orphaned girls who had been kidnapped and tortured by Islamic extremists in Afghanistan: viewers remember that Gibbs' own beloved daughter was murdered many years ago, but rather than shutting out fatherly emotion, Gibbs instead harnesses the impact of his own pain and loss into his driving energy as team leader, especially when someone stands in need of rescue. Gabriele's strength [and, to a certain extent, her physical appearance] in crisis reminds Gibbs of another strong and independent woman Marine from his past, one whose lingering imprint has probably contributed to Gibbs' appreciation of, and respect for, genuinely strong and independent women. The viewer already knows that Gibbs "cares" about individuals as well as about cases, but until Gibbs' MTAC interchange with Clayton Jarvis, new Secretary of the Navy, there has been little reason to believe that Jarvis feels the same way – another small deepening of character.
The developing portrait of Tony DiNozzo's character has undergone considerable clarification in the last couple of seasons, as the viewer sees him actually admit to the fears and insecurities which so often underlie his comedian's mask. Tony's interactions with Chaplain Burke set the scene for an unexpected glimpse into his spiritual side, as he carries on what he declares to be an extremely one-sided conversation with God, part of which Chaplain Burke inadvertently overhears; that conversation allows her to note, without preaching, that God is not necessarily declining to answer Tony. Instead of a "there, there" approach to spiritual counseling, Burke offers to face his fears with him when he feels ready to face them. One of those fears? Children. Tony's childhood featured abandonment of many sorts, even when his father was present, and he obviously worries about his own abilities as a father – the topic was introduced in Season 3 on his first undercover assignment with Ziva, as Tony bantered with one of his captors about there being "no little DiNozzos" in his future.
In addition to offering considerable more insight into the personalities of various team members, this two-part episode provides a provocative commentary by the use of comparison/contrast when illustrating the nature of patriotism: the Afghans who kill and torture even Afghani children to keep "the West" from exposing them to non-Islamic teachings manifest a deadly patriotism mutated into fanaticism. American Marines and NCIS members evince equally intense patriotism, but theirs focuses on freeing people rather than on forcing them along preordained paths. A related contrast is that between religions: things turn violent when Islam braids together theocracy and patriotism. In contrast, the episode demonstrates the quietly liberating approach to religion possible in a democracy, as Chaplain Burke ministers to the grieving, the bereft, and the fearful of every denomination, without condemnation.
Neither this episode nor the series as a whole offers quick solutions to, or resolution of, serious problems: Gibbs, Tony, Ziva, and McGee have been dealing with their damages for decades. Evil survives, and sometimes it wins – but episodes such as this show that good also survives, and it does often win, even when the battle stretches over half a lifetime and when those victories are hard-won. What gives this episode its power, even more than its direct illustration of, and commentary on, the tragedies of war for everyone involved, is its honesty about pain, loss, healing, damage, and the wounds with which real people must learn to live. No rose-colored glasses mar this episode – but neither does it succumb to darkness.
OK, this is my first review on TV.com so be gentle. The overall story and theme of this episode was good and I was, for the most part, entertained, which is the goal of all tv shows. However, I have watched NCIS since it first spun off from JAG and the last few episodes just have not felt up to scratch. In this episode, I had to question a few things. First (Spoilers ahead if you haven't already seen the episode) what was with Tony's "fear" of small children? WHERE did that come from? He has been around small kids before and how exactly did the plane crash trigger this fear and lead him to making his bucket list? It just seemed random and forced. No doubt that there will be relevance later in the season (maybe Tony and Ziva knock boots and she gets preggers, thus forcing Tony to face his fears?) Second, why did the terrorist confess the plan just because he thought his brother and sister were dead? That felt incredibly forced and utterly non-believable. "Oh no, my family is dead. Guess I better tell you exactly what we were going to do!" Third, am I the only one who is getting tired of all the women Leroy Jethro Gibbs has been involved with in the past? Where did this one come from and why was she brought up NOW? Does anyone else remember them ever mentioning a love interest when he was in the Marines? Does anyone care? We know he was married three times. We know he only really truly loved his first wife. We know that his first wife and daughter were killed by a drug cartel. We know he was involved at one time with former Director Sheppard. Do we really need to know even MORE about his prior love interests? I sure don't. I would rather know about CURRENT love interests. Fourth, why did they pick such wimpy terrorists for this episode? None of them except the eldest brother were willing to die for what they believed in. I fully expected the female to shoot the hostage and then Gibbs would in turn shoot her dead. That would have made a better storyline as then Gibbs and Ziva would have had to deal with the aftermath and the guilt that they were unable to save LT Flores. Maybe I am just being to finicky. Finally, is Tony becoming bi-polar? He seems to be swinging from being moody and introspective one week to being over-the-top childish and silly the next and then back again. Perhaps this is the writers' clumsy attempt to show him growing up?
With that being said, the rest of the episode was good. The death of the Marine Captain was pitch perfect. Loved McGhee and Abby's interactions. It's funny that McGhee doesn't react at all to Abby's eccentricities any longer but just goes right along with them. I liked the Chaplain. I didn't think I would, but she didn't seem to be as cheesy as I thought she would be. Kudos to the actress (Jaime Newman?) for the subtle portrayal. Although I really don't care to see more of Gibb's romantic past, it is nice to see Mark Harmon's son playing a younger version of his father's character. Sometimes I think they are angling for a made for tv movie about Gibbs' younger days (I'd watch it!). Not the shows best episode by a long shot, but it was at least entertaining.
As a great continuation of S09E08 the NCIS team led by Gibbs goes to Afganistan to rescue Lt. Gabriela. The grieving father is given hope that Gabriela is alive, and through high-yrchlow-tech combination her location is identified and an extraction team rescues her, with the commanding officer as a casulty. I would have liked him to survive and see the success of his operation but in war casulties are expected, unfortunately. I particulary liked the ,anner in which Gibs extracted the information to save a group of 300 youngsters and the high-tech used to kill the detonation of the bus.
Great show. Really shows what it is like in the military. Unfortunately many do die. But our military would do it again. Great showing that our troops also are doing good overseas- to the best they can.
Hu-rah! to our troops and thank you to those in this show who contribute to honoring our Heros.
The show was wonderful - I love the United States of America and appreciate all who protect us!
Every time I watch story lines about terrorism, it makes me think why people would go into this. Why would they want to inflict hurt on other people. Makes me wonder what kind of people they are... It's sad. Another kind of terrorism is denying people the right to be educated. In this episode, the girls were not allowed to be educated. Sad...
On a lighter note, McGee seems to look better lately. He doesn't look so thin anymore. As always, Tony was hilarious. He is terrorized by kindergarten! haha, funny! And Gibbs, too.. very classic! Wish everyone is like Gibbs - he finds work fun! haha
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