Now that Alex has settled into her new life and we’ve settled into the new direction of Nikita, it’s time to get back to what this show does best: secrets, lies and a healthy dose of action.
In voiceover, Alex gives us (and Nikita) the specifics of her first mission as a full-fledged Division agent: assassinating Prince Eric of Georgia at a museum get-together, taking orders from Brendan Fehr from Roswell. When prompted, she also tells Nikita that Michael hasn’t asked about her lately (in an operational context, of course), but when she asks Nikita what the deal is between them, Nikita brushes past that to focus on screwing up this latest mission.
Alex later runs into Michael, who’s busy repairing all the damage done from Nikita’s escape in the midseason finale. (That’s right, Division has not magically fixed itself in the last two weeks.) He warns her that there’s no such thing as an easy mission, something Nikita echoes while the two women decide that the Georgian director of intelligence is the most likely to profit from the prince’s death. You have to love the Disney references that they work into this scene. It’s not like we weren’t all thinking that when they told us the prince’s name was Eric. With their plan figured out, Nikita arrives at the gala, getting close to Princess Kristina so that she can pass on the message that her husband’s life is in danger within the hour. Unfortunately for Nikita, the princess is in on the plan, and she ends up Tased. So much for true love.
When Kristina alerts Percy to what went down, Percy realizes his opportunity to not only accomplish the mission, but also take out the organization’s worst enemy. He alerts the Division team to Nikita’s presence, but foolishly believes she’s been put down by the Georgians. We know better, as she comes to, subdues her captor, steals a radio and gets back on the job. It can’t be more than a few minutes between her Tasing and her kicking some rogue behind. Now that‘s dedication. She reaches Prince Eric just as the Division team starts shooting up the museum under the guise of being Georgian rebels, despite not having foreign accents. The prince tells Nikita that his marriage was more of a business arrangement, and that he planned to give up the throne as he’d fallen in love with their assistant. “People in love don’t try to kill each other,” he says, and she replies (oh so perfectly), “Are you serious?” while we all smirk knowingly.
Using the radio that she’s swiped, Nikita has Prince Eric inform his girlfriend of the situation, and hand her headset over to Alex so they can use it for themselves. Once Alex is on the line, she tells the younger woman to trip a silent alarm in the security office, which leads Alex to have to give the headset to her new team leader for a round of good-natured taunting. Now that the Division team is aware that Nikita is alive, they come after her, leading her to make use of an unconventional choice of weapon. As a one-time swordfighting enthusiast, I really cannot argue with anything that gives me Maggie Q wielding a katana. Swords are an awesome accessory, and she looks a lot better wielding one than I do. Though she gets Prince Eric to the roof of the building, he refuses to leave without his girlfriend, saying that no one would choose love over duty. “I know someone,” she corrects him, but agrees that they’re not going anywhere yet. If you somehow hadn’t figured it out already, this episode is rife with hints that Nikita and Michael belong together – and unlike my healthy distaste of most foreshadowed TV relationships, I’m actually behind this one. It probably has something to do with my enjoying both characters as individuals…to say nothing of my belief that Michael needs a hug. He really just needs a hug.
The NYPD arrives, and because this is not a show about the NYPD, they’re pretty much left in the dark. The arrival of the cops does not deter Team Leader’s quest to kill Nikita. It’s like he wants to be Michael, if Michael had a major stick shoved up somewhere. Unfortunately for him, he is neither as smart or as handsome as Shane West, nor is he a series regular, so I don’t think Michael has anything to worry about. Speaking of Michael, he is not pleased with losing two agents (Rogers and Downey – is that a reference to Leverage honchos John Rogers and Chris Downey? I think so, since this episode was written by Leverage scribe Albert Kim), and goes to fix Team Leader’s screwup. This involves him leading a not-FBI strike team. I am also down with this, as it’s an excuse to see Shane West (he whom I was quite lucky to chat with this afternoon) make riot gear look attractive. I officially take back the wisecracks I’ve made about Michael’s limited wardrobe. So nice to be proven wrong. Now if they gave him a sniper rifle again, I’d be a very happy camper, but alas, not this time.
Nikita is not happy to see Michael turn up, but they tell each other that they’ll do what they have to do, even if they also agree in principle that this is an unpleasant situation. While she listens in, he gives Team Leader fifteen minutes before he sends in the not-FBI guys and finishes the job himself. This also means that it’s time for everyone else to make their move. Kristina tells Team Leader that they’ll flush out her husband by threatening the assistant. This sends Prince Eric into a panic but Nikita tells him that Division can’t kill her as she’s still valuable to them for leverage. That doesn’t stop Alex from breaking one of the woman’s fingers, which makes Nikita pick up the phone so they can have another coded exchange about what they’re up against. If there’s one thing Alex has learned over the course of the series, it’s how to disseminate information quickly without being made – one of the most valuable skills in her line of work. I have to admit, the girl is growing on me.
When the Division bad guys arrive, Nikita is ready for them. She dispatches the first wave as Michael and his reinforcements arrive, just in time for Michael to watch Alex slap Kristina across the face. Once he’s totally not chastized her for that, he sets off in pursuit of Nikita, who’s busy reuniting Prince Eric with his girlfriend. She tells them to surrender to the NYPD, leaving her to fend for herself. Needless to say, she slips away from Michael yet again, literally walking away from him in front of his face – not without one last longing look.
Alex and Nikita attempt celebrating, but are interrupted by a phone call from Michael. He compliments her on not going to pieces when Team Leader went off the rails. He asks her what Nikita said when they spoke on the headset, and appears to buy her explanation. It sounds like he’s once again in the dark, but he’s got the security footage from the museum, and from that look on his face, he can read lips…and he’s not happy. Oh, snap. Did I mention I never want to be on his bad side?
I have to say that I like this episode better than last week’s, as there’s more action to be had, but then again this episode didn’t have to play catch-up for us, either. It’s now able to get us back to the elements that make Nikita great: plenty of deception and plenty of action. Certainly, the spouses trying to kill each other thing isn’t novel, but that’s not really the point. The point is to see Alex as an agent and not a recruit, to remind us that Michael and Nikita are meant for each other (if they don’t kill each other first), and to also remind us that Percy is not to be trusted as he uses Division for his own ends. Those are important aspects of the show going forward and the episode references all of them. Not to mention, it’s just a fine, fun hour of entertainment. You can’t argue with that. So far, the second half of Nikita is looking better than the first.