"Now hit me, and make it good."
"All The Way" is probably one of my most favorite hours of television ever produced. It's a stunning masterpiece that perfectly epitomizes what great television is all about. It's also the hour that elevates Nikita to another level and raises the standards of the show to an unexpectedly grand caliber.
Rewatching this episode a year later, I'm pleasantly surprised by just how phenomenal it is. There's just so much to love about it that I don't know where to begin. I think it would be most appropriate if I discussed one of the most mind-blowing sequences ever caught on film: Nikita escaping Division. It's raw, emotional and thrilling in every manner. The simple sight of our heroine held up like a gladiator in chains has simply become such an iconic image for the show, and the escape itself is a beauty to behold. The explosions, the chilling yet rousing orchestral score, Amanda's utter look of fear and then screaming "She's loose!", Nikita hoisting herself up and savagely ripping the chains off the ceiling before landing like some otherworldly being; it's ridiculously breathtaking. And might I add, it still gives me goosebumps on every rewatch, particularly as Nikita screams like a beast and swings the chains at the guards (my only regret is that we never actually see her fight with these fantastic accessories).
With the above sequence alone, the hour is spectacular, but what follows is an equally epic sequence: Nikita taking on and annihilating Division's entire line of recruits. The exhilarating fight choreography, Nikki's resourceful use of the weight room, it's just faultless. And of course, it's perfectly book-ended with Nikki shooting at Percy who doesn't flinch as he coldly observes his old student while his lackeys scurry for safety. Incredible.
In addition to these grandiose sequences, this episode also exemplifies why Amanda is the perfect villain for the show. The scene in which she scrutinizes Nikki is superb as it perfectly conveys her conviction in Division's purpose. It's beyond chilling and that's what makes her the show's ultimate and most compelling antagonist. And of course, Melinda Clarke is astonishing.
And finally, I haven't even discussed Alex, who underwent quite a journey in this one. All the signs were pointing to her making her first kill, and it's fitting that the victim is Tom in the end. Although his death wasn't especially touching as the writers hadn't really managed to make him very sympathetic or likable, the development was still wonderfully handled as Alex managed to make him Division's mole. Moreover, the ending with Percy finally promoting her to agent status was a magnificent beat to leave things on as now Alex is more devoted than ever to her "mission."
Bits & Bullets:
- Alex's fashion show for Amanda was creepily amusing.
- Awesome flashback to the moment Alex offered herself to Nikita as a Division mole.
- The "I'll take the bunny" flashback was excellent.
- Percy discovering the shell program and the fact that Nikki has a mole inside Division is a development I was sure would not happen this early in the show's run. Amazing.
- Lyndsy Fonseca looks beyond gorgeous in that "sapphire" dress. Actually, it's probably the most beautiful she's ever looked on the show.
- The entire sequence with Alex trying to kill Zoman is marvelous. Everything from her beating up the guards to the flashback of the original kill from the pilot, culminating in the riveting Nikita/Alex teamup fight scene that was 11 episodes in the making.
- Nikita asking Alex to knock her out and surrender her to Division is a genius move.
- Loved Nikita and Alex "threatening" each other and hatching the details of an escape plot right before Percy's nose.
- Nikita looks so darn badass in those chains.
- The look of fear on Nikita's face when Amanda appears to interrogate her. Obviously they have a lot of history and it couldn't be more intriguing.
- Amanda choosing to show Nikita the Daniel videos and mentally breaking her down instead of physically torturing her is harrowing and heartbreaking in its efficiency.
- Loved that they intercut Alex rigging Division with explosives with Amanda's session with Nikita.
- Belive it or not, I never really noticed that you can actually see Nikita counting down the explosion as Amanda interrogates her. The attention to detail on this show is sensational.
- Check out Maggie Q's muscles as she lifts herself up the chains. Damn.
- Extraordinary fight scene between Alex and Tom. Lyndsy Fonseca really is magnificent in the show's action scenes.
- Michael and Nikita sharing a glance as she escapes: priceless.
- Loved the final shot of Nikki escaping Division through the hatch.
Nikita: Little girl, your fifteen minutes of fame start right now.
Percy: Where have you been getting your intel from?
Nikita: I think the question is where haven't I been getting it from. Division's got more leaks than BP, and I have friends everywhere.
Nikita: The Inquisitor, huh? This is gonna hurt.
Amanda: You have no idea.
Amanda: It's too late to save yourself. But there may be time to save others.
Nikita: Right now, I'd be wondering about who's gonna save you.
- One of the most perfect hours of television I've ever seen, "All The Way" is Nikita and television at its finest.
5 out of 5 gladiator chains.
Previously posted at Nad's Reviews.