What a sad way to wrap up the first half of NCIS Season 17.
Ziva lost someone important to her, and Gibbs lost someone who was becoming important to him on NCIS Season 17 Episode 10.
While I didn't like it, I had to appreciate the Sarah/Zahar twist which I never saw coming.
More on that later. Let's talk first about Ellie Bishop, budding badass.
Working with Ziva should have served as a cautionary tale for Ellie.
But she's been there right along for her illustrious predecessor, so it wasn't a surprise that Bishop answered when Odette called for a favor.
Was Odette's explanation of why Ziva couldn't handle the exchange for the flash drive more than a little weak?
Yes, it certainly was. That's probably why Bishop refused to give it up to Odette -- because she sensed something was off.
Granted, she had no idea that Odette was playing both Gibbs' team and Ziva, for the right reason, of course.
Odette using one of Gibbs' people in an off-the-books mission (a relatively harmless one, but still) brought the wrath of Gibbs down on Ziva, who was innocent for a change.
Odette had maneuvered Gibbs and Ziva back together because they needed each other and had some psychological baggage to work through.
There was a big event going on that no one knew about, Adam being abducted.
How much of a guardian angel Adam had been to Undercover Ziva was effectively spelled out through a series of flashbacks, as he aided her in her battle against her nemesis, Zahar.
And the truth slowly came out: Adam did what he did for Ziva because he loved her, even if it was unrequited. That's what made his death all the sadder.
But even in death, he protected Ziva, letting her and Gibbs know that Zahar was still alive and out to get Ziva.
The flashback scenes also revealed how shaky Ziva has become because of all that has happened to her since she left NCIS.
Gibbs was right when he noted that she didn't have her head on straight anymore.
But Ziva's lucky that she's just dealing with anxiety after being targeted in a bombing and then hunted, having to go into hiding and giving away Tali to Dinozzo to protect her.
That's enough to mess with anyone's head and helps to explain her often erratic behavior.
Such as threatening to bring down that old factory in order in order to escape that basement. But Gibbs was right that they couldn't help Adam if they were dead.
Unfortunately, it didn't matter in the end as Adam's wounds were too severe for him to be saved.
It should have been obvious that Odette introducing Bishop to Victor Mir wasn't just coincidence.
I wanted to see sexy Ellie take down that obnoxious bodyguard but that wasn't the right play then. Ziva would have, for sure.
Mir was an information broker so it was logical that he would have information the team and Ziva needed about Zahar, even if he didn't realize that what he knew was valuable.
After all, not many kids are named Phineas, at least not outside the U.K.
Fortunately, Ziva's well-earned reputation preceded her, so that Mir folded like a cheap suit, with very little actually torture.
He told her everything she needed to find Zahar even if that didn't work out that well for Ziva.
At least until Gibbs made a timely appearance.
It was appropriate that Gibbs killed Zahar to save Ziva with a shot that mirrored the one that Ziva took to kill Ari and save Gibbs.
I was disappointed when it was revealed that Zahar and Sarah were the same person.
I thought that maybe, just maybe, Gibbs could have a romantic relationship outside of work. I guess that was too much for which to ask.
It's a shame because it seemed he was falling for her.
Gibbs is definitely smitten with Phineas, which made Zahar's betrayal all that much more devastating.
Phineas, with his enthusiastic "Jethro Gibbs" salutation, had quickly become the surrogate son that Gibbs had never had.
And Gibbs had become the father figure that Phineas so desparately needed.
Now the big question when NCIS returns on Jan. 7 is what happens next?
How does Gibbs tell Phineas that his mother is dead and that Gibbs shot her?
Does that end their relationship? Or, on the other extreme, does Gibbs end up adopting Phineas, which would be logical in any other circumstance?
Could Gibbs manage the role of working dad, after not being one for so many years?
(Yes, yes, he has been a mentor to all his agents, but that's not the same thing.)
Apparently Phineas has already been a latchkey kid, so he's self-sufficient.
Then there's Ziva, returning for her last episode of the season.
What's that thing that Ziva needs to take care of before she returns to her family, which she first mentioned back on NCIS Season 17 Episode 2?
Most importantly, will fans finally get an on-air reunion with Tony and Tali? Otherwise, what's the point, with no happy-ever-after?
After that, the series can return to such predictable storylines as the "will-they-or-won't they" romance of Torres and Bishop, especially after Torres torpedoed his most recent relationship.
And what will Odette's offer to train Ellie yield?
To catch up during the hiatus, watch NCIS online.
Were you surprised by Sarah/Zahar?
Did you anticipate Adam's death?
Will Gibbs adopt Phineas?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.