NCIS season 16 episode 19 review: Who is Faith Tolliver?


Tonight, NCIS season 16 episode 19 kicked off with a harrowing sound: An alarm at a military hospital. There was an active shooter on-site and the team would need to run over and do their best in order to help.

What the writers were pretty careful with from the get-go is making sure that the shooter situation itself was dealt with properly — it’s such a scary, topical crisis and it can be a little too sensitive for some to see in a graphic, brutal manner. By the time Gibbs and company arrived to the scene of the crime, the shooter had already fled the hospital and was currently at larger. It was NCIS’ job to track them down, but there was already a roadblock in play. Jack Sloane, soon after arrived, determined that she needed to recuse herself from the investigation … and she wasn’t exactly keen to explain why.

As NCIS continued their investigation, they found soon after that there was a woman inside the hospital who walked away: Faith Tolliver. She was in the hospital for open-heart surgery at the time of the shooting and as it turns out, she also just so happens to be Sloane’s biological daughter.

The moment that Sloane learned that Tolliver was going to be coming to NCIS for questioning, she was nervous. Understandably so. This was the first time she’d been in the same room with her since she was born. Yet, Gibbs invited her into interrogation so that she could take part in the questioning and use her empathy and the natural connection to the woman.

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Meet Evan Sykes

Sykes is, per the analysis that Kasie has figured out, the person responsible for the shooter. To make matters worse, it’s possible that he was considering targeting some other places beyond just the hospital — think in terms of an ice-skating rink and then also an elementary school.

While McGee and some of the rest of the team tried to collect evidence as to what he was planning, Gibbs and Torres took on the task of trying to interview his father. Evan was, apparently, angry about what happened to his brother and wanted to take out some of the people who have wronged him. The father was the key to tracking down Sykes — he had to find a way to get through to him and, with Sloane’s help, he was able to do just that.

Eventually, NCIS was able to make it to the hotel room for Sykes where Torres went in alone. This was a test for him to show that he could handle this responsibility alone. The objective here wasn’t to go into the hotel room and kill him; instead, it was to make sure that he got out of there alive. Torres didn’t necessarily make this easy, but he contained his rage at what Evan did long enough for Gibbs and McGee to come in and arrest him.

Sloane tries to connect

As it turns out, Tolliver knew from the get-go that Sloane was her mother, and she was trying her best in order to subtly reconnect to her. That’s why she approached her later offering some protection … when Faith knew full well what she was really doing.

After Sykes was in custody, Sloane made one final attempt at connecting with her — while there, she told her that she had to cut all ties with her after she was born because she thought it was necessary. She couldn’t bear to tell the full truth at the moment, but she wanted to at some point.

In the end, Tolliver asked the question that so many of us were probably wondering: If she didn’t want to see her daughter, why did Sloane move back to DC? It may have been a sort of gravitational pull, one that she couldn’t avoid no matter if she really wanted to.

What’s going on with Bishop and Ziva?

In the early going during this episode, we saw Ellie cart over to her office a houseplant that was previously in Ziva’s shack, hoping that she could develop some sort of green thumb to bring it back to life. Torres was upset about the case and with that, he tried to bring the plant over to Kasie to repurpose some of his anger and actually do something good.

Bad news — according to Kasie’s source Bob the Botanist (can we plant it? Yes we can!), the plant’s been dead for years and there’s a 0% chance that it can be turned into anything at this point. After this, Bishop decided to eventually bring up the subject to Gibbs — or, more specifically, to say this:

“If you know, I need you to say it.”

You don’t have to really go hardcore into analysis here to know what Bishop was doing — she was prying to see if Gibbs knew that she was actually still alive. He wasn’t budging.

At the end of the episode…

We had a powerful scene tonight with Gibbs and McGee, one where Leroy admitted that he’d burned one of his old rules — never get personally involved in a case. He was struggled with the idea of that concept and because of that, we saw a little more of a personal side to this guy than what we’re used to.

Meanwhile, Bishop decided to bring in a new plant into the office, claiming that she wanted to continue working in Ziva’s old office for at least the remainder of the time that there’s a payment out on it. We don’t know just how much we can read into the conclusion of this episode, other than that the door is clearly still left open for more Ziva down the line.

CarterMatt Verdict

“Perennial” was not your ordinary episode of this show. It was emotional throughout, mostly in that you could see Gibbs being turned almost every which-way and was struggling to grasp exactly everything that was happening around him. While there may not have been a whole lot of closure to Bishop’s storyline, we did find ourselves fairly satisfied with what we had tonight.

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What did you think about NCIS season 16 episode 19 overall? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments. (Photo: CBS.)

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