Welcome back, Nikita. Now what?
Five years ago, we were in St. Petersburg, Russia, because all sorts of spy stuff happens in Russia. Nikita nearly shoots Michael when he shows up unannounced to help her with a mission. Back in the present day (picking up immediately from the end of “Echoes”), they are much less happy to see one another. He forces her to completely disarm – like that’s really going to help him much – and accuses her of working for Gogol, the Russian spy organization. He tells her that if she doesn’t get him Kasim’s location in the next twenty-four hours, he’s going to “feed Alex to Amanda.” Oh, and he shoots her computer for measure on the way out, informing an emotional Nikita, “There is no us. There never was.”
That’s cold, dude. But completely understandable at the same time, which is what makes it freaky.
When he returns to Division, Percy is surprisingly okay with him using Division resources to look for Kasim. Percy is rarely happy, so I am immediately disturbed.
Alex arrives at Nikita’s place and asks what her issue is. She has issues of her own, having second thoughts about getting out of Division, especially with Nathan in harm’s way. Nikita tells her that the only way to protect him is to break things off completely and make sure Amanda knows about it. As soon as Alex leaves, she makes first contact with Gogol, asking for a meeting with Ari. We subsequently move to Russia, where she’s stuffed into the back of a big black van (is there any other kind?)
Time for another flashback. After their mission (seems Nikita’s seduction target was more into Michael than Nikita, whoops), Michael and Nikita get a little hot and heavy, but he puts the brakes on the situation, confessing to her about the deaths of his wife and daughter, which we learn that only Percy, Amanda and now Nikita know of. He adds that he joined Division to get Kasim, before he gets adorably choked up, and she says, “I wil do anything to help you.” Fangirls everywhere fawn.
‘Anything’ currently involves meeting Ari, with a nice bruise on her face, explaining to him that she plans to rob one of the al-Qaeda trucks that go through his territory, allowing him to cozy up to the terrorists by means of providing protection. The trucks belong to Kasim, of course. Ari agrees but warns her that Gogol won’t hesitate to come after her if something goes wrong.
Alex tries and fails to break up with Nathan. They end up in bed instead, and then she has remorse afterward. None of that is surprising.
I knew Percy’s good mood was temporary. He denies Michael’s request to go to Europe in order to pursue Kasim. He shows Michael one of the black boxes, and Michael reminds us what they’re for. “There are changes coming, Michael,” Percy says, and anything that uses the phrase “stranglehold of government” is scary. He wants Michael to be a part of his grand plan, but only if Michael is completely committed.
Meanwhile, in the middle of frozen nowhere, Nikita uses remote devices to get the terrorists to abandon their drug convoy, which she explodes. Word quickly gets back to Kasim, which is exactly what she wants so she can find him; however, the trace is interrupted before she can get a specific location. She’s lucky, however, because as predicted, he comes to Russia to meet with Ari. What does he get? A tranquilizer dart in the arm as Nikita steals his car and drives him away. She phones Michael to tell him that she has Kasim, but she won’t give him up until he tells her where all the black boxes are and who’s protecting each of them. Turnabout is fair play, Michael.
He calls back claiming to have held up his end of the bargain, but insists on a face-to-face meeting in twelve hours. Twelve hours later, we get a really obtrusive score as Nikita waits for him to arrive. She’s so busy with gadgetry that she doesn’t notice Kasim getting free of his handcuffs; thankfully, he’s quickly subdued. At gunpoint, he wants to have a conversation about vengeance, in which he reveals that he knows her name. His buddies arrive – predictably the beat after he spits out a pithy one-liner – and start shooting up the place. Nikita is outnumbered. Can anyone else guess what’s about to happen?
If you guessed Michael on the lawn with a sniper rifle, you’re right. One by one, he knocks off nameless minions that you knew weren’t going to last through the episode anyway, and then walks in to give Kasim a much-deserved beating. In mid-strangling, we find out that Kasim is Division, according to Nikita. The look on Michael’s face is absolutely classic as he realizes that his boss had another evil plan all along: to kill Michael in order to plant Kasim inside al-Qaeda. After realizing that Percy was messed up in the head, Kasim defected, and Percy used his own backfired plan to get the next best minion: Michael. Oh, snap. Michael is going to need some therapy if he doesn’t already.
Since we already despise him no matter which side he’s on, Nikita puts Kasim down anyway. Let’s face it, he would not have been welcome at the Superfriends meetings.
Michael is outside talking half to himself about how he and his family got a house and were supposed to live happily ever after. He wants to go into Percy’s office and shoot him, damn the consequences. “You’re stronger than that,” Nikita says. “You’re the strongest person I’ve ever met. You dedicate your life to people you know are innocent. I don’t think you’re capable of not caring.” Yep. Lots and lots of therapy.
He copes by going back to Division, pretending to make nice with Percy to get in on his master plan, and then showing up at Nikita’s loft. There’s predictably sappy music that plays while the two finally have their romantic moment. Well, good for them, but if someone would turn the music down, I’d like it better.
And with that we wade into awkward territory: while it’s not a bad episode by any means, I feel like I should have enjoyed “Covenants” more than I did. I think the episode is the victim of the show’s hiatus – too much time for too much hype. We’ve heard for most of the hiatus how this episode was supposed to be great, and while certain parts of it are indeed surprising, I’d say it was good but not great; the expectations cast a long shadow.
We went into this episode a little (in theory, anyway) when we discussed the promo for it, and I still have some of the same concerns after viewing the installment that I did before. It’s clear now that Michael has switched sides, and that he’s going to be working inside Division not unlike Alex. His coming to that point is fairly believable, but because of where the episode ends, we don’t know yet how the show is going to address some of the potential problems that come out of it. Who’s going to be Nikita’s new antagonist? What’s Alex’s role to play? We don’t know yet, and I’ll be uneasy until I see how the development completely plays out.
I also have a larger concern with this episode, and it’s one that I’m sure won’t curry me any favor with fans – I’m getting a little restless when it comes to the emphasis on the “Mikita” relationship. As one of my readers pointed out, at this point the show could potentially be renamed Mikita instead of Nikita. While I’d say I enjoy the pairing, it’s not why I watch the show – in fact it’s far down the list of reasons why – and I’m concerned that it’s being pushed to the forefront by all parties. Do we need to see Michael and Nikita half-naked in next week’s promo? I don’t think so. Then we have interviews where the relationship seems to be the primary topic of interest, and even a recent magazine article which makes a point of mentioning the “hot” men that Nikita is between. I’m not against the relationship, but I watch the series for the plots and characters, so I wish there’d be more focus on those and less on things like nudity, sex and eye candy.
All in all, it’s hard to judge “Covenants” completely until we see where the show goes from here – whether the changes in this episode really work for the series overall or not. Was it entertaining? Certainly. Interesting? Yes. There’s no questioning that it’s a turning point. We just don’t know where that turn is going to lead us yet.