'NCIS' Season 17 Episode 18 'hits you in the heart' with the way it tackles rape victims and trauma, say fans

With the return of Sloane's daughter a lot of burried trauma from the past resurfaces and as Sloane navigates through her past, the show takes us on an emotional ride


                            'NCIS' Season 17 Episode 18 'hits you in the heart' with the way it tackles rape victims and trauma, say fans
Sloane and Faith (CBS)
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Spoilers for 'NCIS' Season 17 Episode 18 'Schooled'

'NCIS' finally aired its Episode 18 of Season 17 titled 'Schooled', after what seemed like weeks worth of waiting for the episode that sees the return of the mysterious Faith Tolliver aka Agent Jaqueline, Jack Sloane's (Maria Bello) daughter.

Faith disappeared quite sparsely on the show so far - once before, in fact, from what one can vaguely remember. So this sudden return must come with a solid reason and as teased by the official CBS synopsis of the episode, we knew there were some intense mother-daughter moments coming up. But what viewers were left with was something totally off the charts. Their interaction managed to leave viewers emotional, touched as they lauded the show for tackling such a traumatic incident with such cautious sensitivity.

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The synopsis stated, "Sloane is caught off-guard when her daughter, Faith, makes an unexpected request," and the show doesn't digress from that at all.

Faith, Sloane's biological daughter, was getting married and is opting for fertility treatments, as she tells her mom. But with that comes a rather difficult request: Faith wants to know who her real father is. The reason it's all so difficult, as we find out eventually, is that Faith was conceived after Sloane was raped. Sloane had gotten drunk at a party and asked a friend for a ride home, but the friend took advantage of her state and had raped her. Six weeks later she found out she was pregnant and soon after the baby was born, Sloane gave her up for adoption and joined the army.

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It might look like this how she coped with her trauma, but Sloane buried this so deep down that not only did she never want Faith to know the truth, but she had kept it from Jethro Gibbs too. She refused to give him a name when he offered to seek justice, all because Sloane didn't want to be seen as a victim who needed someone else to step in and fight her battles or even save her. But while she decided to keep the 30-year-old truth buried and made Gibbs swear to forget it, there was no getting this past the intelligent Faith who has more in common with her incredibly smart mother than we assumed.

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Faith, who's also a doctor, puts two and two together and saw right through Sloane's facade. Luckily, like most happy endings on the show, Faith was also able to see Sloane's love and need to protect her daughter from the truth and this just brought them closer.

It was one of those episodes where 'NCIS' tackles difficult mother-daughter relationships, rape, pregnancy from rape and even highlighted adoption as a way out, with a rather functional mother-child relationship in the future. Traumatic as Sloane's story was, it's good to see she found her respite after all. And noting the emotionally laden nature of the episode, fans took to Twitter to write: "The team solved the case, but I was more involved in the whole Sloane storyline tonight. What a rollercoaster ride of emotions being brought up from her past trauma. @maria_bello deserves an award her performance. She has been a phenomenal addition to the team."

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Noting the non-preachy but sensitive portrayal of the storyline, a fan also remarked: "Beautiful moment between Sloane and the daughter she gave up for a better life. So powerful. #NCIS does it again...brought me to tears. As well as addressing a major pet peeve of mine, predatory “educational” institutions. Well done all involved!" 

Another emotional fan wrote: "This is the first time #NCIS hit me in the heart. I feel for Sloane as a daughter of adoption in the same scenario. Thank you for showing the complexities from all angles," while a third one chimed in with all cheers for a young Sloane being just as badass as ever, writing: "Sloane putting her boxing skills to good use. Another great character-driven story. Love her wanting to protect her daughter and working not to be a victim."

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'NCIS' Season 17 airs on Tuesdays at 8 pm only on CBS.