Warning: This article contains spoilers for NCIS Season 18 Episode 8.
Four girls are kidnapped in Afghanistan
NCIS Season 18, Episode 8 (titled “True Believer”) opens with two men driving down a road in Afghanistan. They stop once they see a school bus facing the wrong direction. They get out of their car to investigate, and they see the bus driver has been killed and there are girls’ shoes and books left on the bus seats. One of the men looks up and sees “Sloane NCIS” scrawled into one of the dusty bus windows.
Gibbs visits Sloane’s office and he sees her working after hours. He sees that Sloane is still considering leaving NCIS when he picks up one of her travel books about Costa Rica. Sloane tells Gibbs that she’s serious about moving on. “I’m serious,” says Sloane. “I’m ready for sun and sand and not facing a new murder every single day.” Sloane reveals she’s putting in an offer on a place near the beach in Costa Rica.
The NCIS team is on the case
Suddenly, Director Vance comes to Sloane’s office and tells her she’s needed in MTAC. Gibbs is asked to come along, too. Once they arrive, it is revealed that a school bus carrying four 10-year-old girls and their chaperone was hijacked and the driver was shot to death. They assume the girls were kidnapped by the Taliban. According to them, they wanted to stop the girls from attending school.
Sloane is made aware that Darya, a woman who was held captive with her in Afghanistan years ago, is likely the person who left the note for her on the bus window. Darya is the head of an organization called Safe Passage, which provides food and shelter for young girls. However, Darya was also trying to help the girls learn math and English.
Vance got clearance for Sloane and Gibbs so they could help rescue Darya and the girls. Darya means a lot to Sloane because she brought her food and water when she was imprisoned. She also patched her wounds after she was tortured by her captor.
Gibbs and Sloane say goodbye
One thing the team is trying to figure out is who leaked the girls’ bus route to the Taliban. Later in the episode, Gibbs and Sloane are alerted about a commotion outside. When Sloane turns around, she sees it’s Darya. Her body was thrown from a truck. She had a note attached to her that said, “Go home or there will be more blood.”
Sloane is shaken by Darya’s death. She then tells Gibbs this is exactly why she wants to leave NCIS. She can’t take situations like this anymore and she was insulted that Gibbs thought Darya might have been in on the plan to kidnap the girls.
“This is why I want out,” says Sloane. “We chase bad guys. We put them away. And nothing ever changes except for us. Darya risked her life to help me, and we’re all so twisted we couldn’t see that basic act of humanity for what it was.”
Gibbs and Sloane later find out that Darya’s partner at Safe Passage leaked the bus coordinates to the Taliban. He was responsible for the abductions of the girls.
Now that the case has been solved and the girls are home safely, Sloane decides what she’s going to do. Instead of moving to Costa Rica, Sloane decides to stay in Afghanistan and take Darya’s place at Safe Passage. She says she will say her goodbyes to the NCIS team when she’s ready. She then begins to tell Gibbs he can visit. Before she can finish her sentence, Gibbs and Sloane kiss.
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