Hey again, fans! I’m back with another breakdown of the latest Nikita episode.
Being a Shane West fan, I’ve been waiting for this episode of Nikita ever since the synopsis was released. Being a fan of the original La Femme Nikita, I’ve been speculating on this episode ever since the synopsis was released. So I think it’s time to quit the theorizing and find out what the truth is, don’t you?
Michael’s just getting home (nice house, by the way!) when Nikita walks into his living room. A day earlier, she’s meeting with a guy named Henry who tells her that he has a report for her. There’s a guy named Kasim who’s coming out of hiding for a meeting. “It’s going to mean more to a friend,” she says awkwardly, and we know who.
That same day, Michael hears his name dropped by Percy, but Percy won’t green-light a mission. In fact, he thinks Michael needs a vacation. Aha! He’s giving Michael an unofficial chance to take two days and finish his unfinished business. Nikita asks Alex to find the frequency of the tracker in Michael’s body (ew, how very Persons Unknown) so she can keep tabs on Michael. No doubt so he doesn’t do anything irrational.
In 2001, Michael’s meeting a source in Yemen, in his past life as a Naval Intelligence officer. He’s actually happy and social for once. He tells said source that he’s arranged a protective detail and urges him to make use of it. (Does anyone really think the guy will ever actually get there?) That’s when Michael’s wife and daughter roll up. Aww! Now we know Nikita did borrow from La Femme Nikita, for the most part. We also know how heartbreaking that’s going to turn out to be.
Alex fakes residual pain to get back into Medical, and once the doctor steps out again, she finds the information Nikita is looking for. However, she makes a rookie mistake; he can tell that his computer’s been used.
With that, we’re back to the present day, with Nikita offering her help to Michael (whose wardrobe now apparently consists of one color) in order to kill Kasim. It’s the second straight episode without an opening montage and voiceover. Wonder if we’ve seen the last of that device? I’m of two minds there; I’m not crying over it, but all the same, it could also be helpful to casual viewers, people who’ve missed an episode, or people with no attention span.
After that, though, we get a scene full of head-scratching dialogue. Michael makes reference to how his shoulder is still sore after Nikita shot him in the pilot. Really? Really? After he’s been healed for how many episodes, now the show makes reference to his injury? She tells him that she knows he’s not blind to what Division is doing, and now she tells him he’s ignored it in order to get to Kasim. Didn’t she say it was to protect the recruits? Or is it both? He eventually agrees to work with her, however, because he’s not putting his allegiance above what’s right in the situation, unlike some people.
Meanwhile, Alex whacks the good doctor when he tries to sexually harass her in order to keep from implicating her. Good for her.
Nikita and Michael have A Plan. This plan consists of her looking hot and making nice with the bad guy’s friend so she can swipe his room key. Once Michael has it, he heads upstairs to see what he can find, copying the contents of his computer to a flash drive. She clones the guy’s SIM card for good measure. It’s all fairly standard spy procedure, until Michael uncovers a briefcase with a whole lot of money and a false lining. Cue his confused face. In said briefcase is a notebook with some potentially damning information. He escapes the room just before being found out. Unfortunately, he’s about to have an even bigger problem on his hands: Percy and Amanda have discovered that he’s working with Nikita, and Percy’s desire to see Nikita killed trumps all else. He dispatches a strike team.
Jaden is finally back, and snarky as ever! She wants to make friends with Alex for their mutual good, but Alex is not having it. Neither is Amanda, who wants to know why Dr. Hanson’s still drooling on the floor in Medical. Alex feigns ignorance, but Amanda tells her he’ll be awake in a few hours.
Back on the other side of the world, Nikita and Michael are planning how best to interrupt Kasim’s meeting. He’s ready to blow a hole in Kasim’s head. It’s nice to see Michael in something other than a suit for once, and I’ve always enjoyed seeing attractive men armed with large sniper rifles, so this scene makes me happy. However, since Nikita is with him, she has no idea that Alex is desperate for help. Jaden starts following her, wondering what has her spooked.
Michael and Nikita are lying in wait at the meeting point, with Michael waiting for his shot. There are too many people in the way for him to get it, however, so it’s on to Plan B. The show teases us with Nikita being in Michael’s crosshairs, but we know he’s not idiotic enough to shoot her when she’s helping him. Instead, he watches as she disables the car and then gets into a fight with a henchman. This gives him the opportunity to snipe someone out to get her for the second time. He has no time to enjoy it, though, as he spots the Division strike team arriving to crash the party. Does he rescue Nikita, risk publicly exposing himself as a traitor, and step into the line of fire? Yes. Yes, he does. For that ballsy move, he gets himself shot again (at least he was wearing a vest this time) and abducted.
Since our hero is unconscious, it’s time for another 2001 flashback. He’s assuring his wife everything will be okay eventually, which is the red flag that everything is about to go horribly wrong. That’s when he gets a phone call from Kasim. Yes, Kasim was that source he tried to protect, and for that the ungrateful jerk blows Michael’s family up in a car bomb.
Michael wakes up in the present day and has a nice chat with Kasim. He’s clearly emotional when the subject of his family comes up, especially when Kasim refers to them as “collateral damage.” It’s some of the best work that Shane West has done on Nikita. “I swear, on the soul of my family, you will die today, ” he says, and it’s impossible not to believe him. Not only believe him, but cheer him on.
Nikita is having a minor meltdown at not being able to locate Michael, until she uses the cloned SIM card to call a vehicle recovery service and report the getaway car stolen. The friendly Foreign OnStar people tell her where the car is, and she’s back in business.
At Division, Jaden goes looking for Alex, even if it means crawling around in the air vents, in the dark, like in a bad horror movie. She’s found an escape route. However, when she comes back, Alex is waiting there for her with a camera. She’s blackmailing Jaden because she needs her help with the Dr. Hanson problem. I know the two of them aren’t buddies, but even so, she couldn’t just ask? I don’t see tough-girl Jaden as letting somebody get away with sexual harassment. Sure, Alex could get cancelled, but we’ve heard Jaden say earlier in the episode that working with Alex could also help her get promoted. Maybe it’s a spy thing, always taking the difficult way.
Nikita comes to Michael’s rescue. Even though he’s bordering on incoherent, once freed he has no problem interrogating Kasim’s henchman, finding out Kasim has gone to the airport, and putting two slugs in the minion. That’s dedication. She warns him that charging on will get them both killed, and he could care less. As a matter of fact, he drop her off on the side of the road and goes on without her.
Dr. Hanson spills everything to Percy and Amanda. So why do they appear unmoved? Alex has gotten to them first, and she spills an attempted rape story in front of him, with Jaden as her witness. “If these two are on the same page, it has to be true,” Amanda says, and the good doctor is dragged off, presumably to be cancelled and never seen again.
In hot pursuit of Michael, Nikita steals a cop car. However, he’s already at the airport, where everyone is staring at his face. He’s going to need more than an ice pack for that. He says his goodbyes to Nikita, to which she tells him that no matter what he thinks, she has him. It’s a sweet sentiment, but not enough to dissuade him, so she sics the cops on him instead. They detain him just before he can get to Kasim, and drag him off screaming. When he sees her, he knows that she’s responsible. I can only imagine that he’s going to hold this against her for awhile.
We have time for one final flashback, with Michael in the hospital after the car bomb. He’s having fun with morphine, presumably trying to see what he can do to himself, when Percy comes to visit. “You have options,” he says, and offers Michael a job. “Get even,” he says. “Get justice. For yourself and your country.”
When Michael arrives back at Division in the present day, worse for wear, Percy is there waiting for him. “I know you sent in the strike team,” Michael says, “You were right about Nikita. I couldn’t have trusted her.” Percy tells him, “You’ll get him. And when you do, I will be the one that helps you. Now you know who your real friends are.” Looks like all that progress Michael had made in trusting Nikita, and trusting his gut instincts about what’s going on at Division, has just been undone. From the standpoint of a writer, it’d be wise if it took Michael awhile to come around again. Yet as a fan, wanting the best for Michael, it’s painful to think he’s back on the wrong side.
We’ve finally gotten into Michael’s backstory, and it was certainly worth the wait – not to mention, the present day has been irreversibly changed by events in this episode. Who can blame Michael for being permanently angry at everything with what he’s been through? Not to mention, how Percy’s played on that for the last nine years? That’s how he gets him to work for Division, after all. Michael’s taken that anger and made it his driving force. It’s not healthy, and he’s finally cracking. With the pieces that we’ve seen in this episode, the Michael we know now makes a lot more sense, and is an even more compelling character. I didn’t think that was possible, but it is.
Shane West gives an amazing performance in this episode, his best in the series. He gets to use his range much more than he has ever been able to before, and he takes the audience along in his emotional journey. Who wasn’t caught up with him? Who wasn’t pleading for him to get to Kasim and put a knife in his back? I certainly was, and that’s because Shane made us want that as much as Michael does.
“One Way” also changes the game in the present day. The big question with this series is when Michael is going to turn sides, and now all the progress he’s made toward that has been wiped clean. He’s back at square one. Not only does this mean he’s going to be an even tougher opponent for Nikita, which will make her life immensely difficult, but it’s also bad for him as a character. He’s only going to continue to be pushed around and manipulated by Division. I can’t see him cutting Nikita any more breaks like he did in the pilot. If that situation happened now, he’d probably shoot her. Now that we’re invested in Michael as a character, that’s doubly painful to see. He’s going to be a great adversary for her, but we’re also going to struggle with seeing him fall back into old habits that we now know have the potential to destroy him.
The rest of this season just got a heck of a lot more interesting.
A little bad news, Nikita fans: we get reruns for the next three weeks, according to listings. The good news is that on December 2, Devon Sawa returns again as Owen in what’s presumably going to further his story and the conspiracy surrounding the “black boxes.” Plus, two weeks from now, the rerun is “Rough Trade,” which is now the second best episode of the season, so we can all enjoy it over again. (Me, I still have it on my DVR.) Don’t fret, though – I’ll try to keep bringing you Thursday features so we have something to tide ourselves over in the interim. I’m sure we can spend the next month speculating on what we just watched.