We knew that Ziva was alive and back in the States as of the end of the last episode of "NCIS," what we didn't know was whether or not she was going to be part of the team again. Except, of course, that she was definitely going to be, whether or not the show wanted to make it explicit last week.
Agent Fillmore was in Ziva's chair at the beginning of the episode, but she quickly resigned, and did so in excellent fashion. Everyone on the show is so quirky and hysterical, that it all completely works as television but is obviously foolish as reality. Fillmore called them on their foolishness, it won't change them - it shouldn't, that would be horrible - but it was nice to see the reality check and a good way for Fillmore to exit Ziva's chair.
Vance was the guy who really hit the nail on the head with Ziva's reinstatement though - she was the Mossad Liaison Officer - if she wasn't Mossad anymore, or they didn't want her there anymore, she couldn't really be the Liaison Officer, could she? Vance signed her up for psych evaluations, but he wasn't definitive on whether she'd get a job following them. But Gibbs was pushing for her, and he has some clout, so, as we all knew, she was getting her job back eventually.
The big thing though was at the end of the episode when Ziva admitted that she had orders back in the day to earn Gibbs' trust by eliminating Ari. Gibbs called that a "problem." Building a relationship on such a lie, even if the relationship became a great one, is unquestionably problematic. I did accept Ziva saying that she didn't kill Ari to earn Gibbs' trust but to protect him, Gibbs did too, but I can't imagine that the trust issues just disappear. That's going to linger, even if Gibbs and Vance did make sure that Ziva was back on the team at the end of the episode.
And because it would be wrong to not discuss the case at all... The killer tonight shaved his victims. Now that's a signature. Sure, it might have been hard to dispose of the hair later, but it was a good calling card. Not that the killer was using it as such, but still. Also, the killer didn't so much kill our three victims at a bachelor party - it was a fake bachelor party complete with real stripper. Way to go the extra mile.
It made for a good case, right up until they decided that Officer Shelley had done it. It seemed like an awful long time to hang onto high school bullying, didn't it? I get that Shelley was bullied badly, but triple murder in which he sets the victims in the same positions he was put in during high school? That was way too much and I don't know why Gibbs and company bought it even for a moment.
Elaina, the auction house lady who worked with one of the victims, learning of their nefarious smuggling activities and teaming with Shelley? I guess I can buy that, but not enthusiastically. Needlessly twisty and not well-established if you ask me, but I was really far more interested in watching how Ziva was going to rejoin the team (and I get the impression that the writers were more interested in getting her to rejoin the team) than in the murders.
Bits and pieces:
* "Hector Stuckey, I'm in showbiz." Wow, the guy manages strippers. Is that the way you'd describe yourself if that was your job?
* What is the Gibbs/Ducky bachelor party story? Did I miss that episode, cause I definitely want to see it.
* Abby yelling at Ziva - great stuff, right?
* Is Gibbs going to have trust issues with Ziva for a while now? He is, right?