WARNING: The following article contains a link to and discussion of spoilers for the April 7 episode of CW’s Nikita. Do not read any further if you are attempting to avoid spoilers.
On Tuesday, The CW released a new promotional spot for their hit series Nikita. Being a fan of the show as well as a journalist, I clicked the link and viewed it – then immediately wished I hadn’t.
The thirty-second clip advertising April 7th’s return, the show’s first new episode after a month-long hiatus, promises that “one moment” in the episode will “change everything.” It then proceeds to show us said moment: rogue ex-Division agent Nikita (Maggie Q) and her former handler turned hunter Michael (Shane West) sharing a tender exchange before a passionate clinch that ends with them obviously headed towards sleeping together, while we hear a voiceover of Michael telling Nikita that he’s with her “one hundred percent.”
Within minutes of its release, my Twitter timeline was exploding with a vocal reaction from Nikita fans. On one hand, there were die-hard “Mikita” fans overjoyed that their favorite TV couple was getting their romantic moment. On the other, some fans worried about the impact of such a scene, while still others wondered if it was even real, or just another fake-out from the writers, who already teased the audience with a kiss that proved to be just a figment of Alex’s (Lyndsy Fonseca) subconscious in the last episode, “Echoes.” It was clearly too big to overlook; I had to unfollow several people on my Twitter feed just to stop the tide of endless speculation and retweets of fangirlish glee.
With such a huge reaction, however, it’s worth discussing. Does the clip give away too much? What does it really mean? Or are we all just getting our hopes up? Let’s discuss.
1) Did the clip reveal too much?
Yes. The contents of the clip are certainly a huge spoiler, whatever way you interpret them (more on that in the next section). It’s certainly one of the most spoilery promos I’ve seen in recent years. I’m reminded of the teasers for the second and third seasons of 24, which began to give away so much each week that I had to quickly change channels right after the end of each episode, or have the next one pretty much ruined for me. This one isn’t quite that bad, but CW certainly gave away something major.
What that means for you depends on your attitude toward spoilers. Several people expressed disappointment, to the point where some fansites refused to post the clip for fear of spoiling other fans. They wondered if CW couldn’t have cut a promo that alluded to more and showed less. On the other hand, I’m sure others will be tuning in just for that scene alone.
2) Is what’s depicted in the clip real or not?
No: Several fans believe that it’s a dream or wishful thinking on Nikita’s part, or a “what if” on the behalf of the writers. One on my Twitter feed pointed to an interview in which Maggie Q stated we’d see “through Nikita’s eyes and some of the things she wished she had in her life.” They have a point – we’ve already seen over the course of the season so far that the writers are willing to manipulate reality, whether it’s through flashbacks or drug-induced hallucinations.
Yes: It would seem unfair for the writers to tease the fans again after dangling that imaginary kiss in front of them in the previous episode. They’re certainly very aware that the pro-Michael/Nikita fans are a huge part of their fan base. “Mikita” is a term that’s now even being used by members of the press, after all. And Craig Silverstein did say in December that there would be sex on the series. But if it is legitimate, the contents of that clip raise a whole lot of questions. Keep reading.
3) Did this clip completely spoil the cliffhanger at the end of “Echoes”?
Nikita‘s most surprising moment yet came at the end of the last aired episode, “Echoes,” when Michael showed up in Nikita’s loft armed and having discovered that it was his former trainee who’d been in cahoots with Alex all along. It left fans wondering what would happen next. Short of him killing her (for the obvious reason that there wouldn’t be a show without the title character), anything seemed possible.
Yet if this clip is legitmate, it seems to show that Michael’s going to go from angry to enamored over the course of one episode. We know now that whatever confrontation they do have isn’t going to matter much, because they’re going to be whispering sweet nothings to one another within the same installment. It undercuts all the suspense built up – and it does so almost a month in advance of the next new episode. If this had to come out ahead of time, I’d have preferred to see it closer to the April 7 airdate, so it could build up buzz for the show’s return – but without killing all our anticipation from the perfectly executed cliffhanger.
4) Does this turn of events do damage to Michael’s character?
I’ve said on numerous occasions that Michael’s divided loyalties are one of the most compelling elements of Nikita. Whereas we know where all the other characters stand, we don’t have a clue whose side he’ll be on, episode to episode, and that’s what makes him fascinating. Will he suffer for having that mystery resolved?
There’s a lot more to the character than any past or future romantic relationship with Nikita. We know that he has a truckload of issues, many of them surrounding lies and manipulation in his past. He has every right to be infuriated now that he knows Alex has been working with Nikita, especially since he’s still upset with Nikita for keeping him from getting his revenge on Kasim, the man who murdered his family. It’s safe to say that he knows he’s been being played by both Nikita and Alex all along. So how is it going to look if he goes from being so upset that he feels the need to arrive with a gun to rekindling a romantic relationship with the woman he knows has been plotting against him – in the length of one episode? In my opinion, fairly laughable.
We’ve seen in the past that Nikita has had to earn Michael’s trust – they’re still on shaky ground after the events of “One Way.” Why shouldn’t she have to earn it again here now that he knows just what she’s been up to? I’m of the belief that yes, they are meant to be, but it shouldn’t be instantaneous love where all the baggage and acrimony between them just disappears. It would be entirely unrealistic for him to forgive her in one episode, let alone be willing to fall into bed with her. I don’t want the show to take away Michael’s strength of character and strip him of all the things we’ve loved to see him deal with just to cater to a fanbase.
5) Is it too soon to see Michael and Nikita become personally involved with one another?
The tension, both personal and professional, between Michael and Nikita has quickly become a huge component of Nikita. Though it isn’t official, most people seem to believe that the series will see a season two. So is it too early to see them become a couple both in love and war?
Michael turning sides is an inevitability. At some point, he’s either going to come to his senses having seen Division ops go off the rails again and again, or he’s just going to look stupid. The question is when it’s most appropriate for that to happen. It seemed to be on a course to happen this season – and then the writers seemed to buy themselves more time by having him distrust Nikita after the events of “One Way.” Have they changed their minds? I don’t know, but I still maintain that if it has to happen this season, it would be one heck of a way to wrap up the season finale and start with a whole new slate for season two. Yet April 7 will only be the series’ seventeenth of twenty-two episodes. I think this is at least five episodes too early…if not more.
As far as Michael and Nikita’s romantic involvement, I certainly want to see them get together, but that may not be what’s best for the show – now or otherwise. We’ve seen countless shows get screwed up when lead characters get involved (such as House). We’ve also seen shows drag out sexual tension way too long with the introduction of other love interests that we know won’t last (like Bones). Unlike the spy side of things, the writers can conceivably play this out a bit longer without risking character damage – although once Michael turns hero, I can only imagine that a full-on romance can’t be far behind. I’d say this would also be too soon. Michael needs to sort himself out first, and when he gets to a place in his life where he’s ready for that kind of emotional involvement, then I could see him connecting with Nikita.
Let’s just hope that it’s portrayed as a legitimate, strong bond (like we’ve seen in episodes like “The Last Seduction”) and not the standard fare that most TV shows turn out. If Nikita goes soft, that’ll be the kiss of death for this show.
6) What does this mean for the show?
A whole lot. If and when Michael does turn sides, the series is going to need a new antagonist for Nikita. I don’t mean Percy and Amanda, either. Someone has to fill the role that Michael does now: the person with the gun literally aimed at her head. As Shane West himself said in our February interview, Michael would be hard to replace. The show would need a character just as strong and interesting, but different enough from him that they’re not just repeating Michael’s story arc. It would seem to be unwise to make that move before establishing whomever that bad guy or girl would be – and of the characters we’ve seen so far, none look to be a viable candidate, so we’d have to bring in someone new and start from scratch.
Furthermore, what might Michael’s defection mean for the character of Alex, function-wise? Alex’s primary gimmick is that she’s Nikita’s mole on the inside of Division. If Nikita has Michael inside Division working with her (and why wouldn’t he be? He’s in too great a position not to use that to their advantage), how much does she still need Alex, if at all?
The show has also already introduced a few potential allies for Nikita – Owen (Devon Sawa) and Ryan (Noah Bean), both of whom have become recurring characters. Adding Michael, that means we have five people working against Division. I’m all for fighting the good fight but it might get a little ridiculous if we end up having an army. After all, the show is still called Nikita, not Nikita and Her Anti-Division Justice League.
The one positive here is that when Michael does go rogue, watching him work is going to be fun. He’s a trained professional with plenty of experience – he’s going to be a lot harder to catch than Alex. And when he is inevitably revealed or caught, the confrontation with Percy is bound to be explosive.
7) Did the fans take their reaction a little too far?
Oh, Nikita fans. You know I love you. But the reaction on all sides to this promo clip was pretty ridiculous.
Just from a monitoring of my Twitter feed over Tuesday, I noticed two things happening: die-hard “Mikita” shippers celebrating as if this was the greatest thing in the history of the world, and then fights breaking out between those people and other fans who dared say anything to the contrary. It didn’t surprise me that insults were exchanged. Even my saying that I didn’t like the clip because I felt it spoiled too much got some unpleasant responses.
I appreciate the “Mikita” shippers. In fact, I consider myself one. But I thought they were celebrating a little too much. I certainly didn’t want to see my Twitter feed full of retweets of every single fangirlish squeal and snarky comments toward those who didn’t share in that opinion. It seemed terribly one-sided.
Then there’s the just plain weird: people who hold a belief that because the characters have romantic intentions, there must also be a romantic relationship between the actors. I think that’s confusing the line between fiction and reality just a little bit.
Thankfully, things seem to have generally calmed down two days later.
At the end of the day, this is just a TV show. And we shouldn’t read too much into this too soon. It wouldn’t be the first time that a TV show’s ads have manipulated fans into wild speculation, only to end up letting them down in some way.
It’s obvious that there are about a dozen different ways the promo clip can be interpreted. No one can say for sure that they’re right, and no one is wrong. We won’t get any real resolution until we see the episode itself. And considering the point of an ad is to get people talking (and ostensibly tuning in), I think we can all admit that this one accomplished what it set out to do.
Nikita returns on April 7 at 9 PM ET/PT on The CW.