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October 22, 2014

'NCIS' Season 8, Episode 9 Recap

by Allison Waldman, posted Nov 24th 2010 3:00AM
jethro_gibbs_cbs_mark_harmon_NCIS['NCIS' - 'Enemies Domestic']

Without a doubt, this was one of the best episodes of the season for 'NCIS.' It was the second half of a two-parter, but with the clever use of flashbacks to fill out the backstory that led to the attack on Leon Vance (Rocky Carroll) and Eli David (Michael Nouri), 'Enemies Domestic' easily surpassed its predecessor, 'Enemies Foreign.'

It's kind of a shame that 'NCIS' doesn't receive any love from the folks that dole out the Emmys, because this show would definitely qualify. The writing, direction and acting was superb.

After last week's explosive conclusion, it seemed likely that someone's life would be hanging in the balance. That someone was Leon. If you had any question about Gibbs' loyalty to the Director, this show dispelled it.

Jethro might cross swords with Leon on occasion, as he did with Jenny Shepard (Lauren Holly); however, when Vance told Gibbs that he was in charge, he was trusting Jethro with his life. There were other moments between the two men that revealed a strong bond.

The Palestinian terrorists could not have planned the attack on the safe house because they were either dead or in NCIS custody. That meant someone on the inside was a traitor. The Israelis blamed Ziva (Cote de Pablo) and her NCIS crew, while Tony (Michael Weatherly) and Ziva were suspicious of Liat (Sarai Givaty) and Malachi (T.J. Ramini).

Ziva realized that Liat had purposely mislead her and Tony by obscuring a clue left outside the safe house by Eli. Ziva deciphered the half Liat left behind and tracked down her father at a synagogue. Underscoring the intensity of the scene, Ziva did not call to him as Director David or Eli, she called for 'abba.'

That's Hebrew for father. Liat objected, but Eli appeared and agreed to return to NCIS with his daughter. He may not have revealed himself if Agent David had not reached out to him on a familial level.

The real heart of the show, however, wasn't in the present. In flashbacks, we learned that Leon had been recruited right out of college to NIS -- which was the predecessor of NCIS -- for a mission to Amsterdam. It was a suicide mission and only his connection with Eli saved his life.

Those flashback scenes were excellent and the makeup work was truly amazing. Rocky Carroll, Michael Nouri and Michael O'Neill (as McCallister) were made to look like 1991 versions of themselves. It was uncanny how well the makeup removed the years. Rocky Carroll was especially good, not only looking younger but acting younger, too.

As Leon endured surgery and fought to survive, McCallister tipped off Gibbs to follow the trail of Operation Trident. Why the former special agent did that is somewhat baffling. If he wanted Jethro to believe the 'Russian' had tried to kill Vance in 2010 for revenge over what happened in Amsterdam in 1991, he miscalculated. Or perhaps he didn't know that Gibbs had killed the 'Russian' -- Anatoly Zukov -- in Paris in 1999?

Leon credited a moment of clarity while in recovery for his realizing that the person who tried to kill him and Eli was right under their noses -- McCallister. Riley McCallister was envious of Vance's position and, truth be told, he had wanted him killed in Amsterdam in 1991. It irked him that Leon had risen so far up the NCIS ladder while he was stuck in low-level regional offices.

Gibbs figured out that McCallister was the traitor and employed Rule #9 -- "Never go anywhere without a knife." He smuggled a knife into the hospital and made sure Vance understood the reason he'd given it to him.

When McCallister appeared to finish Vance off, once and for all, Leon stabbed and killed the guy. Moments later, Gibbs entered. He'd let Leon get revenge on his own. Mike Franks would have approved of his Probie's decision.

Finally, there was a rapprochement between Ziva and Eli. It's not as if all that happened between them doesn't matter or all is forgiven. However, father and daughter took a step closer to rebuilding their relationship.

'NCIS' airs Tuesdays at 8PM ET on CBS.

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