'NCIS' Reveals Why Sahar Wants Ziva Dead — What Does Tony Know? (RECAP)

Meredith Jacobs
Spoiler Alert Michael Yarish/CBS

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 17, Episode 2 of NCIS, "Into the Light."]

Can the team trust Ziva (Cote de Pablo)? That's the question for her second episode of NCIS Season 17.

After only seeing Ziva with Gibbs (Mark Harmon) in the premiere, we finally see her reunite with other members of her family: Ducky (David McCallum) and McGee (Sean Murray). (It looks like poor Palmer will have to wait until next time.)

But as Bishop (Emily Wickersham) warns McGee, Ziva may not be the same person he remembers. How far is she willing to go to get her life back?

10 Things We Need to See When Ziva Returns to 'NCIS' (PHOTOS)

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We haven't seen nearly enough from Ziva in Season 17.

What Is Sahar Up To?

Gibbs and Ziva take over a sheriff's station to question Sahar about the Senator whose life is in danger, but she refuses to talk — even as Ziva once again threatens to shoot her. "I am you," Sahar tells her. They both lost years of their lives in prison, only she says Ziva chose hers, chose to hide from the ones she loves. In response, Ziva smashes things with a baseball bat. Gibbs tells her to take a breather, and when she steps out of the back room, Bishop walks into the station.

They step outside, where Bishop admits she thought it might be her only chance to meet Ziva. She has a lot of questions. But before she can ask any, the helicopter arrives to bring them all back to D.C.

Meanwhile back at HQ, McGee and Torres (Wilmer Valderrama) go over what they know about Sahar. She led a terrorist splinter group, but it fell apart and she ended up in a POW camp. While they want to know why she's targeting a senator, Jack (Maria Bello) informs them they need to figure out why she's after Gibbs first. Then a breaking news report from ZNN comes in: an attempted suicide bomber was killed at a senator event. The size of his bomb suggests a single target. So, Chief Freydano who said he couldn't do anything without more intel? Owes Vance (Rocky Carroll) an apology.

(Michael Yarish/CBS)

While Gibbs heads to the crime scene, Ziva heads back to his basement, where she remembers killing Ari. She pulls her gun when she hears a noise, but it's just Ducky. He'd been waiting four hours. We get a sweet moment of the two reuniting, with a hug, and she even shows him a photo of her daughter (taken from far away, as close as she dared to get).

As for Tony, "it's complicated," she says. "The less Tony knows, the better. The less you all know, the better." She admits that she expected Gibbs to follow the trail she left after her "death" and promises to do whatever it takes to get back to her daughter.

Gibbs sends Jack in to interrogate Sahar, but all she gets out of her is that she may have meant a congressman was in danger — just before Torres reports another suicide bomber stopped, this time at the commemoration for a retiring congressman. Capitol police have activated the Patriot Act's iron citadel protocol. Both bombers had matching tattoos associate with white supremacists. So why are they working with Sahar?

McGee and Ziva Take Matters Into Their Own Hands

Annoyed that everyone's getting to see Ziva but him, McGee insists that Gibbs let him bring her photos of the bombers. He makes the mistake of tapping her shoulder from behind, and she pins him to the counter in the diner before realizing it's him. They have a lovely reunion as well, and after their hug, McGee shows her photos of his kids.

She doesn't recognize the bombers, but she did learn that Ari was part of Sahar's group. After Ziva killed him, things fell apart for the group, so Sahar blames her. She's unsure about returning to NCIS, but McGee tells her, "whatever you think of us, we still think of you as family. Ziva, come home."

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And so Ziva returns to the building and her old desk. Torres meets her and sizes her up, "one ass-kicking demon to another," and she declines his and Bishop's offer to join them in Kasie's (Diona Reasonover) lab. That means she misses out on Kasie revealing that the bombs were disabled before the attacks. They were never going to go off, even with dead man's switches.

They trace the bombs' computer systems to Dwight Colton, and thanks to the bug Ziva left in the office, she knows where they're heading. She forces Torres to fight her to draw his and his men's attention, and once they're thoroughly distracted — and she has Torres on his knees — they and Bishop arrest them. In interrogation, Gibbs informs Dwight that Sahar disabled his bombs, and Dwight gives up the person who helped him get them through security: Chief Freydano.

Ziva's Secrets

He's gone when they get to his house, but what's important is that Gibbs and Ziva get a moment to talk about what she told Ducky. She reveals she got the scar on her wrist in Paraguay. When she heard Gibbs and McGee had been kidnapped, even when her contacts said they were dead, she still went looking. And after they were rescued, she made sure no one could come looking for revenge. It's what you do for family, she tells him, whereas, he "couldn't even hope [she] was still alive."

McGee finds a burner in Freydano's house, and Kasie is able to partially reconstruct one of his video chats with Sahar. She wanted them to activate the iron citadel protocol. Furthermore, she finds calls between him and Ducky — from after Ducky gave Ziva his phone.

(Michael Yarish/CBS)

But Ziva couldn't be working with Sahar, right? And she couldn't be behind Sahar's escape from custody? Once they pick up Freydano trying to leave the country, he tells them Ziva is helping Sahar rebuild her organization, albeit not willingly. Originally, Sahar was going to get Ziva to cooperate by kidnapping Gibbs, but instead she told her she could have her life back.

One of her men passed Ziva a drive before she and McGee met in the diner. And once Ziva was in NCIS, she accessed Vance's computer, using the emergency powers granted to the agency, to transfer assets to Sahar's group. And it looks like the evidence is stacked against her.

Then, Ducky's phone is turned back on, and they have a location. Ziva meets with Sahar and her men at the sheriff's station from the beginning of the episode, with proof of the transfer. But Sahar unsurprisingly goes back on her end of the bargain. Before her men can kill Ziva, Gibbs and the others burst in — and Ziva reveals that she alerted Interpol and Sahar's people will be arrested when they go to receive the money. Sahar then has her men kill her, and the team kills them.

Will Ziva Return After the 4 'NCIS' Season 17 Episodes?

Will Ziva Return After the 4 'NCIS' Season 17 Episodes?

The actress also revealed why she came back to the show and teased how the character has changed.

Gibbs finds Ziva packing in her secret office. He admits he didn't go looking for her because he'd already lost her once before, and if he thought she was alive and went looking, but she wasn't … However, she tells him she would've lost him a thousand times if that's what it took. She waited for him, but he never came. He knows that was a mistake.

Now, she has one more thing to do before she can put it all behind her. But then Gibbs' phone rings, and it's Tony; he called him earlier. Gibbs knows Tony needs to hear it from Ziva, and she says he will.

(Cliff Lipson/CBS)

So, what will bring Ziva back next time?

NCIS, Tuesdays, 8/7c, CBS