mark harmon ncis 320 'NCIS': Gibbs creates rule 51The season finale of “NCIS” started us off with a whole lot of unanswered questions. It ended by answering some of those questions, but by leaving a whole bunch more wide open.

We didn’t have to wait long this week to find out who was pulling the strings down in Mexico – it was Paloma Reynosa, the head of the Reynosa cartel and the daughter of the man Gibbs killed. Reynosa had been working with Bell, but Bell had been “a means to an end,” that end being Gibbs. However, what she wanted wasn’t the end of Gibbs… weird.

See, I absolutely thought (and would assume that you did too), that Reynosa wanted Gibbs because Gibbs killed her dad and she wanted to kill him for revenge. That would have been boring though, wouldn’t it have? I’m happy they didn’t head down that road. Reynosa was still a cold-blooded, calculating villain (she had Franks’ finger removed in advance so that she could show it to Gibbs when he balked), just not a straight-up killer. She even let Gibbs go when Rivera and his Federales showed up at her place. Well, she only sort of did because Rivera and Reynosa are siblings and Rivera just brought Gibbs right back to her place.

In my book that makes everyone out there who suggested it was Reynosa and everyone who suggested it was Rivera exactly right. They were the baddies and they were doing a great job. They even had Gibbs’ gun used to kill Bell, which didn’t really help them but was a cute little touch.

With Gibbs down in Mexico, Vance was on the case and was cutting Hart out of the loop – which, with what they knew, was absolutely the right thing to do. Vance sent Ziva and Tony to Mexico to rescue Gibbs, not that Gibbs needed rescuing – he met them at the airport and hopped on their plane. He had cut one of those deals with Reynosa-Ramirez where he was going to pretend like he was working with them before working against them. Why do the bad guys always think that they have some sort of great blackmail over the good guys that is going to make such a ploy work?

In what was in the end semi-playing and semi-serious, Vance ended up having it out with Gibbs about our dear leader’s methods. I don’t think it’s possible to fault the Director for getting awfully tired of looking the other way when Gibbs is doing some sort of off-the-book thing. I love Gibbs as much as the next person, and the show definitely puts forward a Gibbs-is-always-right-no-matter-what-he-does vibe, but you can’t get angry at the man in charge of the office for wanting to actually know what his people are doing.

Clearly we all knew that Gibbs was never going to be turned tonight no matter what Reynosa had on him, but I’m betting Vance still would have liked to have known upfront what Gibbs was doing for the cartel… or pretending to do for them. Vance kind of knew what was happening, he picked up on what Gibbs wasn’t saying (and bugged Gibbs’ phone), but I can’t imagine – as much as Vance may have faked being angry – that he really 100 percent approved of Gibbs’ methods. That’s definitely a relationship that I would like to see explored more next season.

As for those crucial bits of season finale plot… Dean ended up dead in D.C. in a shoot out with Tony, McGee, and Ziva (the cartel let him walk into it). Tony was tasked to “follow” Rivera in Mexico (“follow” meant kill), but Franks was free and promised that he could still pull the trigger even without his finger. Hart sidetracked the Hernandez case file proving that she was a decent human being. As for Reynosa, in the last scene of the season, she was introducing herself to Gibbs’ dad.

That’s right, another season ended with a cliffhanger. I’m okay with that, as long as part of the cliffhanger is this Hernandez report thing. Are they just going to completely forget about it? Hart handed Gibbs a hard copy of it, is there no electronic version? Did Ramirez not keep any records of ever having asked for Abby to look into it? Is the Mexican government never going to ask again about it? These aren’t complaints mind you, they’re just things I want the producers to know I need them to delve into next season.

All in all, a solid episode, lots of loose threads, but I imagine they’re going to be wrapped up come the fall.

Odds and ends:

  • Rule #51 – Sometimes – you’re wrong.

  • Ziva passed her citizenship exam! I hope she doesn’t start getting her Americanisms right now.

  • I liked Gibbs’ riddle.

  • Ducky didn’t have a story? Now that’s scary.

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Posted by:Josh Lasser