This is Nikita‘s winter finale – and I warned you yesterday, it’s a heck of one. Unlike yesterday, now I can spoil, and squeal and scream with the rest of you.
Alex is having a little fashion show for Amanda, as she’s been drafted to finish someone else’s operation, which Michael explains to us when he walks into the room. This is to serve as her potential graduation from recruit to field agent – if she can kill her intended target. She isn’t happy about the idea, and Nikita tells her that she will help by being her excuse for not following through with the kill order.
It’s flashback time again, where the two of them are at Nikita’s pad, talking about the shell program we’ve seen them use all season. Surprisingly, it’s Alex and not Nikita who broaches the idea of putting Alex undercover within Division. I certainly didn’t see that coming; we’ve taken to seeing the pre-canon Alex as a young, unformed, sometimes selfish woman, not one willing to put herself on the line like that. “No risk, no reward,” she says.
In the present day Alex is riding shotgun in the car of a scared wedding planner (The Game‘s Robin Givens). She’s posing as the woman’s assistant as she helps coordinate a wedding at an expansive estate. What she’s really doing is taking pictures of the entire place for the upcoming mission. What could be going on at a wedding? Nikita bursts onto the scene and tells Alex that the father of the bride is the East Coast head of an Armenian crime syndicate. She thinks he’s worth killing off, and she plans to let Alex take the credit and thus get promoted. Alex resists, saying she wants to do it herself because Division killed her family, apparently having a very quick change of heart from her scared behavior earlier.
Back at Division, Jaden is still trying to get on Thom’s good side, by showing him the evidence she uncovered from Alex’s room the previous episode. She wants to use him and his newly-minted agent status to get back at Alex (and no doubt, to get in bed with him besides). Thom goes to see Alex, who is preparing to leave for her mission, but not to turn her in. He warns her that Jaden is coming after her, and the two share another awkward moment. When she says Jaden thinks they’re together, he says, sounding almost detached, “She’s mistaken.” The tension only rises as she asks him about what it’s like to kill someone, and he tells her how he still struggles with it. He believes her to be stronger than him.
Time for another flashback. Nikita tells Alex about a guy caught up with a major pharmaceutical company that is now marked for death by Division. When she whips out the goofy animal masks, that opening robbery scene from the pilot now makes a lot more sense. They discuss what the job will entail, and Nikita warns Alex that taking a life also means losing a part of herself. Hello, ominous relevance. “This is the moment when you ask yourself, how far am I willing to go?” she asks Alex, who just answers the question with the same question.
Michael makes his first appearance giving Alex some basic information about the mission. While he’s talking about how everything should run smoothly, Nikita is running around the estate setting up her own equipment. Alex refers to Michael as her “guardian angel” just before he teaches her how to shove a hypodermic needle into someone’s larynx, and I can hear the Michael/Alex fans making dreamy sighs now. No offense, but that’s not something that I want to see, not to mention I’ve never found a hypodermic needle romantic. The scene is thankfully interrupted by Birkhoff summoning Michael and Percy to tell them that he’s discovered Nikita’s shell program. Percy decides to use it to see if he can raise Nikita, and he does. Michael advises him to call off the mission again, and again, Percy ignores him because Percy never really takes anything Michael says seriously. One of these episodes, I’d really love to see Shane West eyeroll when that happens, because that’s what I do.
Nikita is watching via several well-placed cameras as the wedding party gets underway, with Thom behind the bar and Alex mingling, getting directions from Michael, who’s still hanging out in the car. She gets the syringe from Thom, who tries to reassure her one more time, and approaches her target. Nikita decides to have the house blow a fuse at that moment, and quickly figures out her shell program has been compromised when she sees it come up at the same time she watches Alex heading away with her intended target. She’s not successful with the first attempt, but she’s able to grab a gun off one of the guards and aim that at him instead. Unfortunately, she hesitates and a brawl breaks out. Nikita comes to Alex’s rescue, at the same time that Percy orders Michael and a new batch of armed goons (how many do they have?) to crash the party.
As all the unnamed characters are quickly gunned down (that’s why they don’t have names), Nikita drags Alex away from the party and into a storage shed, where Alex is having another mini-meltdown. She admits that Nikita was right about her all along. Knowing Alex will be cancelled otherwise, Nikita tells Alex to use her as a hostage, as Percy won’t kill her until he gets information from her that she doesn’t intend to give. Michael reaches the highest point he’s ever been on the jerk scale as he enjoys poking Nikita with the cattle prod a little too much, if the death glare on his face after he does it is any indication.
Percy is too focused on finally getting Nikita to worry about Alex or the remains of the operation. He’d rather have a friendly chat with his former operative about where his missing black box is. He’s not man enough to do anything to her, though, instead leaving that to Amanda. That’s a disappointment, given that A) Xander Berkeley is a wonderful bad guy and B) didn’t we just see Percy kill someone last week? Oh, well. I’m too concerned that Michael is injured and in medical. Shane West just looks so in need of a hug, and I know a few people who’d volunteer. He tells Alex what to say in order to stay alive, while asking how she managed to escape Nikita. “I didn’t,” she says, and he has no idea how telling those two words are.
While Amanda has fun reminiscing with an unimpressed Nikita (ew, there are surveillance tapes of them in bed? Nothing salacious, but I can’t help but wonder how much they recorded), Alex is breaking into the armory in order to mount a rescue mission. She sets a series of explosives, only to be caught out by an armed Thom. Since the series allowed him to be promoted, Thom has really developed from simply someone to be fought over to a full-fledged character of his own. Ashton Holmes does a great job of showing just how shocked and hurt he is as he realizes that Jaden is right and Alex really is a traitor.
The explosives go off, setting Nikita free (and Amanda runs away, which is either wise or making her look weak, or both) and forcing her to walk right by an unforgiving Michael before fighting her way through the recruits. Alex is likewise forced to fight Thom for her own survival. Just as he asks her if everything was a lie – presumably really meaning his feelings for him – he seems to freeze. Alex realizes that she has accidentally shot him, and refuses to leave his side, even as Nikita offers her an escape from what is going to be an even more dire situation now that Percy is aware that there’s a mole. Alex, finally selfless, chooses staying with Thom in his last moments over protecting herself, and finally gives him a real kiss just before he dies. It’s heartwrenching, but at the same time, even more so because I believe his character still had plenty of untapped potential.
As Nikita escapes, Percy discusses Thom’s death with Alex, and we realize that he believes Thom is the mole. It’s too easy, as he still had the piece of evidence that Jaden gave him on his body. Though Alex maintains that he was loyal, Percy is as narrow-minded as ever, and she knows that she has to accept the false truth if she is to move forward and survive. She’s earned her promotion – by replacing Thom and at the cost of his life.
January 27 seems a long time away, doesn’t it? I think that with a series like Nikita, however, a winter finale is a good thing. We’ve asked and answered a lot of questions over these eleven episodes, and the break gives us time to process the facts we’ve learned, and figure out where they’re leading. Alex is the show’s biggest question; she’s just undergone a horribly traumatic event, and she’s about to move on to the next level in her Division career. We’ve seen Michael turned against Nikita (although sadly, the shift in their relationship hasn’t really had time to be explored since “One Way”) and we know that she’s going to have to work twice as hard to wear him down as she had before.
The other characters haven’t gotten much development, sadly (and are frustratingly one-note at times), but we’ve seen new characters who are intriguing, like rogue agent Owen and CIA agent Ryan. There are plenty of pieces that we can move around and try and fit together to our heart’s content. I, for one, know I’ll be thinking on a lot in the wake of this game-changer.