Nikita this week isn’t without its quirks. Like running a new episode the day after Thanksgiving and scheduling it to start a minute earlier than usual. With Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer as the lead-in. Talk about a tonal shift! And now we’re playing “guess who’s not a clone,” although that’s just one of our problems.
Our titular heroine stumbles into a Bronx animal hospital, passes out, and wakes up aboard the Flying Fortress in front of a very nonplussed Michael. Nikita’s informed that the team is “halfway to DC,” as FBI Guy from last week is blaming her on national television. Ryan knows everything is ultimately Amanda’s fault, and suggests that several high-ranking officials have been switched out for evil doubles. Convinced by his argument, Nikita calls the FBI and publicly outs FBI Guy as a double, referring to him as her new “point of attack.” Ouch.
Meanwhile, Alex is still being held at gunpoint by Sam/Owen, who’s been hunting her so that he, too, can find Amanda. But before he can get anything from her, a horde of nameless bad guys show up, forcing them to work together. Sonya comes to their rescue, shutting down the power grid so that they have cover. And Sam surprises Alex by shooting her in order to take out a thug that would’ve killed her. He follows her back to her place, where he tries to convince her that he doesn’t have to be her enemy, which only sort of works. This might be because Sam’s in debt to some dangerous people.
Amanda gives a pep talk to FBI Guy – who then goes home and has his wife killed and himself wounded – while Ryan correctly deduces that Amanda isn’t working alone, and Nikita once again laments how many people around her have been hurt. As usual, her angst turns to anger, and she suggests that she kill FBI Guy, if only to force the taking of a postmortem DNA sample that will out him as a double.
This means that she has to work with Michael, which isn’t awkward at all. She decides that as they’re preparing for the operation is a good time to have a discussion about their issues. Nikita wants to leave again; Michael thinks she should stay. And then Nikita shoots him with her sniper rifle – so that Birkhoff can make it look like she assassinated FBI Guy. This footage is soon all over the news, faster than a Dave Grohl death hoax. Amanda figures the plan out in all of two seconds, and threatens to kill the real FBI Guy, who she’s got caged up downstairs.
So will Nikita kill one more innocent person in order to go through with stopping a corrupt one who could perpetrate even more crimes? With everyone giving her advice – including the real FBI Guy, who’s willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good – she can’t make up her mind. While she agonizes, Michael pulls the trigger, dropping fake FBI Guy, although Amanda suddenly seems not to mind much, saying that he’d “already outlived his usefulness.” She then follows through on her promise to execute the real one, and Nikita angsts again.
As everyone tries to comfort her – including Alex, just before she’s captured by the CIA, though Sam helps Sonya escape their clutches – Nikita finds out that repairing things with Michael isn’t going to be as easy as one conversation. He tells her that while he’s still there to help her, and to fight the good fight, he is “done fighting” for their personal relationship. Plus, Amanda and her team put Alex in their frame-up crosshairs next, and Birkhoff discovers another double, this one installed in the NSA. However, he claims not to have noticed, and the ominous music is meant to make us doubt our favorite nerd.
We’re now already one-third of the way through Nikita‘s final season, so it’s not as if there’s a lot of time to beat around the bush. This episode specifies that framing Nikita isn’t just about her, but also about giving the United States justification to invade Pakistan; it was pretty much a given that there was a larger plan, but it’s smart of the show to disclose that plan early on, especially since we need to keep things moving along at a fast clip. And bringing Sam/Owen back around to the side of the good guys, albeit possibly only temporarily, is a plus because Devon Sawa is an asset to the show – he needs to be part of the endgame.
And while this may get us some flak from the loyal Mikita fans, we’re going to argue that it’s good that they’re not all warm and fuzzy back together. Frankly, that wouldn’t be very realistic. Even though she clearly regrets leaving him, that doesn’t negate the damage that was done, and it would make Michael look weaker as a character if he just accepted Nikita back like nothing happened. We’ve got no doubt these two will find their way back to each other eventually (or there would be a revolt of a very large portion of the fan base), but the show’s got to earn that happening.
There are a few things that nag here, one of them something that’s frustratingly common to a lot of action-adventure shows – the scenes where characters feel the need to have Important Conversations in the middle of a crucial happening. There’s got to be a better time for Nikita and Michael to bury their proverbial hatchet then as they’re starting an operation. They weren’t in any immediate danger, so why not discuss that afterward? We’ll concede that it probably helps move the story along faster, but it still makes us cringe when personal stuff gets inserted into the least opportune moments.
And it’s kind of head-scratching that Amanda would go through any trouble to coerce Nikita not to kill her man on the inside, if he really had “outlived his usefulness” as she claimed afterward. Considering that her partner said otherwise in the episode’s final scene, this might just have been a line she fed to Nikita to keep her from getting any satisfaction. Whether it is or isn’t, that line still plants doubt that takes away from the sense of accomplishment that should come with Team Nikita knocking off one of the bad guys. Instead, we’re left to wonder if we’ve just watched them essentially spin their wheels for 42 minutes.
But there are pieces here that will definitely be important going forward – the shifting allegiance of Sam, the reveal of Birkhoff’s big secret (which we won’t spoil if you didn’t see the preview for next week’s episode) – and bottom line, that’s what matters. Because of how short this season is, we’re not looking at it on an episode-by-episode basis like any other show. These are six chapters in one final story arc, and this is ultimately an intriguing chapter two.
The final season of Nikita continues next Friday at 9 PM ET/PT on The CW. You can also click here to check out our final season interviews with the cast and creator Craig Silverstein.