Oh, the unapologetic drama. It's better even than foreshadowing - with all the ads telling us that one of the agents was going to die, every minute of this episode had us sure that THIS was the minute. DiNozzo falls down a (small) hill...and is fine. Someone has their sniper rifle sighted on McGee...and Ducky's van moves into view. There's a (extremely rare in Virginia) poisonous snake on Agent Todd's feet...but DiNozzo saves her. Then the victim's car is rigged to explode, and DiNozzo runs last, break to commercial...he's fine. Who's going to die? Who IS it, already?
What we do know is that someone is trying to kill everyone at NCIS, again. (For those of you who missed out on last week, an evil and demented pharmaceutical CEO tried to kill them all with the plague, and DiNozzo almost died. Mwa ha ha!) This time it's a terrorist assassin bent on killing Gibbs. You see, Al Quaeda wants Gibbs dead. And the terrorist (who's undergoing some sort of terrorist hazing) sees fit to tell him about the plot. Best of all, if Gibbs can eliminate the terrorist cell in 24 hours, the assassin will back off. Isn't that cute. (cue Middle Eastern mood music, terrorist zooms off on his motorcycle.)
Of course, there's more to the story. It turns out that terrorist Ari isn't getting his entrance exam, but is running the cell. And the cell is out to murder thousands (a "soft target") of Marines and their family members with a UAV (unmanned airborne vehicle) stolen using the fingerprint of the murdered Navy pilots from the opening credits. As usual, they're coming in at the very last possible second to save the fighting men and the cute little girl who's holding the homing beacon in a teddy bear (dastardly!). And Kate is shot! She's down! But no, she's fine. Everyone's celebrating. And...yikes. Bullet through the back of the head. It is Kate, dying despite all evidence to the contrary. They fooled us after all.