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'NCIS' Season 17 winter premiere: Ziva's goodbyes to the team stood out more than her farewell to Gibbs

Trust Ziva to pull at our heartstrings with words like those and no speck of a reunion between her and her family, but for now, we just have to do with these emotional goodbyes.
Gibbs and Ziva (CBS)
Gibbs and Ziva (CBS)

This article contains spoilers for season 17, episode 11: 'In the Wind'

When it was revealed that season 17's winter premiere, aka episode 11 would be the last time we saw Ziva on NCIS - or subtly implied by the fact that Cote de Pablo is not listed for any further episodes this season, we knew 'In the Wind' was going to be huge in terms of emotions and sentimental value. Sure, they weren't going to randomly take Ziva away from us the way they did four years ago and then put her on MIA list for seasons to come, but there was the whole Tiva reunion on the cards, and also some hope for minor closure before Ziva zooms off the NCIS premises once again. But none of that could have prepped us for the goodbyes we saw her say to fellow agents Torres, Bishop, and Sloane; not even the heartwarming goodbye of sorts between Ziva and Gibbs this time.

Ziva and Gibbs' goodbye happened in the car after the two were able to finally rescue Gibbs' little neighbor friend Phineas from a kidnapper who was about to fly him as a hostage after Gibbs shot Phineas' mother. As the two were returning from the airport where they rescued Phineas, Ziva opens up about her fears of being too damaged to rejoin society as a mother and a partner. But trust Gibbs to offer her all the strength, inspiration, and support she needed in times of self-doubt like these to get her smiling. That was interrupted by a video message from Tony, where little Tali is addressing Ziva, asking her to come to see them soon, and so ends Ziva and Gibbs' goodbye in a rather unceremonious manner. But while that leaves our expectations dissatisfied, it also leaves scope for the possibility that maybe this goodbye wasn't all that final at all? Even though Ziva's touching goodbyes to the rest of the team would refute that.

At the end of the episode, Ziva arrives at the NCIS headquarters to say her goodbyes to the rest of the team. She walks up to Torres and tells him how if her own child ever went missing, she would want him to solve the case. In Slone's case, Ziva told her what an excellent job she has been doing, and thanked her for taking good care of 'his' heart - meaning there is definitely something more transpiring between Sloane, and this 'he' aka Gibbs. The best of them all was Ziva's goodbye to Bishop, as she complimented her by her first name and even said "You have not just filled my shoes, but you have outgrown them." Trust Ziva to pull at our heartstrings with words like those and no speck of a reunion between her and her family, but for now, we just have to do with this emotional goodbye and some moiety of closure until the writers, or Pablo herself decides to surprise us once again with her brilliant avatar on the show.

'NCIS' season 17 airs on Tuesdays at 8/7c only on CBS.