NCIS: New Orleans season 5 episode 16 review: Hannah vs. Victor Zelko

NCIS: New Orleans

Tonight, NCIS: New Orleans season 5 episode 16 reintroduced us once again to Victor Zelko. What do we know about him? For starters, he’s a really bad dude. This is an terrorist who was basically the Joker to Hannah’s Batman. For a significant chunk of her career, she worked as a part of a Task Force operation to bag him once and for all. She thought that it was a success, but it wasn’t. He was still alive and within this episode, she wanted some semblance of revenge.

Here was the problem: Hannah trying to get revenge in this situation was problematic, mostly because she was far too personally invested in the case. Pride and NCIS pulled her off the case; beyond that, she and her family were put into protective custody as a means of further ensuring that she wouldn’t be involved.

Spoiler alert: She still got involved. Also, it was clear that Zelko was ready to do whatever he could to ruin her life. This was a terrorist who’d lost much of the power he held dear and there was literally nothing better that he had to do. That’s why he was fine orchestrating betrayals, taking Hannah’s daughter Naomi and thinking that this would be his way to get one over on her.

Yet, here is the thing with Hannah and her former partner: They were resourceful enough to escape peril temporarily, long enough to frantically go after Hannah’s daughter and to take out Zelko once and for all. The thing with this guy is that the more that his plans went awry, the more desperate he got, the more mistakes that he made. That gave Hannah an opportunity, and it also allowed Pride and the rest of the NCIS: New Orleans team a chance to catch up.

Where everything came to a head

Hannah was able to locate her daughter in a building occupied by Zelko and some of his cronies. Yet, she still had him to deal with. This wasn’t a situation where she could just take Naomi out and then say “see you later” — she had to find a way to take Zelko out once and for all. Otherwise, he would come back and come back; there is no recourse other than trying to find a way to take him down.

This is where Hannah took a page out of MacGyver and created enough of a diversion to bloody him up … and then eventually electrocute him. She rescued her daughter, she fought her biggest demon, and she won. Yet, she also had to kill a man in an incredibly brutal, horrific way. She also had to contend with the fact that it happened while her daughter was in the thick of danger.

CarterMatt Verdict

What a heck of a performance tonight from Necar Zadegan, who took the lead for most of the hour as Hannah did what she could in order to save her family and get her revenge. In the short-term, she can breathe easy and start to actually enjoy the routine and the normalcy of life as a part of the team … if such a thing is even possible for any agent. Hannah is a hero. She wants to stop running, she wants to settle down, and she wants to be human. This entire episode was a chance to really echo these themes and also show her vulnerability — the only reason she hid being in New Orleans at first was fear. For a person so brave and so strong, there’s one thing that sent a chill down her spine — the idea that her family would no longer want her around.

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