Nikita: Invisible Hand

Nikita: "Unarmed?"
Amanda: "Oh, I fired my shot weeks ago. It's just reaching you now."

Well, this was a frustrating episode. I must've rolled my eyes at least half a dozen times.

So Division goes under, and suddenly our group of super spies becomes inept and whiny?

The scene at the beginning with the car trap made absolutely no sense. Why on earth would Nikita willingly put herself in a situation where she had no viable escape? Car-bombs are kind of the bread and butter of spy shows, the fact that it was remote controlled was kind of irrelevant. Sure, she might have trusted the man she was contacting, but wasn't it just a touch suspicious that he asked to met remotely instead of in person? Even if it wasn't odd to do a remote meet, they could've used cell-phones. They are spies, after all. They have to have pretty insane encryption.

So Amanda's big plan was to have Nikita kill the president? That's shockingly unoriginal. Sure, Amanda said she doesn't care about the President, hat she just wants to give Nikita one final lesson, yada yada yada. Honestly, I'm tired of Amanda's prattling on about Nikita's need to atone for her sins. The mutual obsession thing has become way overplayed. Although I do like the hero's dilemma Amanda's forced on Nikita. Which is the lesser of two evils, kill the President or let Michael die? Kind of horrible either way. The thing is, I hope the writers don't actually go that far. I want the team to foil Amanda's plan. I want them to kill Amanda seven or eight times so that her nine lives are fully exhausted.

The thing that really bugs me about the situation is, why didn't Nikita tell the group? There are about a hundred non-verbal ways of communicating, especially once she got back to Division. Also, why didn't they all immediately test their own blood when they found out about the nano-toxin? My first reaction to it was; well Amanda's been in physical contact range with all of us at one point or another, has she dosed me? Sure, I'm the paranoid type, but wouldn't they be, too?

Which leads me to Michael and his kind of against character complaints about Nikita's motivations and intentions. He knows her, he loves her, he understands her better than anyone else. It is just poor writing to have him behave like this. Sure, I can see him wanting to get away, to be done. I just don't believe that he would be so selfish about it. Arguing about semantics, bitching about how it's always one more mission when he's just as bad. That's why they work as a couple, they are always fighting the good fight, together. This false crack in the foundation of their relationship feels forced.

That being said, I didn't entirely hate this episode. I loved that Nikita and Alex are on good terms again. I loved the Sonja and Birkoff moment, and the Sonja and Alex conversation. Giving Alex a new sense of purpose was really awesome. I thought Maggie Q did a really nice job conveying the emotional breakdown when faced with the impossible choice she was given. Still that was it, that's all I liked in this one.

Finally, we have the Shop, which seems to be this super evil, but super secretive global organization that does boogeyman-like experiments. Of course, Amanda fits right in. They seem like a decent villain for next season, they're big and nasty and their motives and goals are obscured very well. I'm just kind of ambivalent towards them right now, especially with Amanda as their face woman.

A biological nanobot killchip... ick. Red means bad, blue means good. Why do villains always dye their evil liquids in red and blue? Also, why was the ratio between bad stuff and the anti-bad stuff 3:1? Shouldn't it have been evenly spaced? Two red doses and two blue doses? Of course if there was a second dose we wouldn't have a heartbreaking dilemma. Damn those plot-convenient villains, always thinking fifteen steps ahead; "We'll create just one antidote so the heroes will have to make a fateful choice!"


I liked the Nobel prize winner. She seemed like a good role-model for Alex. It gave us a glimpse at the life Alex should be leading. Alex could be such a powerful force for good, and she's finally starting to see that potential in herself.

No Ryan or Owen (Sam). This close to the end, that's surprising.

So why would an assassin wear a pair of very distinctive glasses? First rule of blending in, don't wear something that draws attention.

Okay, I'll give Amanda some credit, the hand thing was a nice pay off for that rather bizarre subplot. Putting Michael in the cross-hairs puts our heroine front and center for the finale.

So I didn't like this one, eh, doesn't mean the show is slipping. Sure, I think Amanda has lived just a few episodes too long, but I can understand wanting to end her in a finale, though. That is, if they do end her in the next episode. Three seasons is too long for one big bad, no matter how good they are. It was better with Ari around, it was much better with Percy around. Now that Division is gone, she should be, too.

2 out of 4 Really ugly glasses that make you stand out in a crowd.

J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related.


Michal Dvorak said...

Please tell me Amanda dies in the next episode. I'm so tired of her and all her manufactured drama. Percy was a villain that made sense to me. He had his own goals and he was only after Nikita because she was in his way. Amanda doesn't seem to have any goals besides hurting Nikita, which in my opinion diminishes her, and the whole show as well. She's just petty and childish and, admittedly, frighteningly skilled at manipulation, which is an interesting combination. But the novelty value has worn off long ago.

I agree with all the reservations you had, J.D. Also, to add one of my own, there are no magical waves that can reach you anywhere underground. If the waves reach you underground, you simply haven't gone deep enough. Take Michael to the bottom of a deep mine, maybe put some lead shielding around him if you want to be extra safe. I'd like to see a microwave beam try to get to him. (I know it is just TV, but this should be basic enough knowledge.)

I honestly hope Nikita doesn't accept the false dilemma that Amanda presented: kill the president or kill Michael. As if there were no other options. Otherwise the finale will be frustrating as well, which would be disappointing in this otherwise excellent series.

Olga said...

I agree with everything you said J.D. - this whole Amanda plot is overplayed, overdone and I'm beyond tired of it. I think Amanda's stay on the show is long past acceptable limit.

Nikita coming back to Division and looking all crushed by the weight of the decision she has to make felt [to me] unnecessary and ridiculous. Just pass a note that you've been bugged and try to figure it out. I think Nikita probably didn't say anything to protect Michael, but what choice does she have - kill the President? I really hope she brings the team into the loop.

Did anyone else notice how Amanda several times referred to The Shop as The Group, and not "The Shop" :)It sounded much better. I guess if she said The Shop the whole scene had a laughable effect instead of dramatic.

Glad that Alex finally has some purpose, if that was a series finale there is no better future for her than this job. But... it is not series finale...

One question: When Nikita gave the nanotoxin to the doctor, and Amanda activated it, how come Michael who stood right behind him didn't die? Is it DNA specific? I'm not sure we were told that.

Panda said...

JD, don't want to sound annoying and whiny, but can you please watch what goes into the first paragraph? This was a little spoilery, since I'm a little behind, and I only glanced at it :P

Anonymous said...

This episode was weak, I totally agree.

Amanda's reason for all her actions is boring by now. What is her plan after either Michael or the President dies? What will she do with Nikita then? Because I cannot see her letting Nikita or rather her obsession with her go.

It's kind of sad that Amanda's childish grudge will be in the end the big story of Nikita. I think the series deserved better.

I was surprised that neither Michael nor Birkhoff did see through Nikita's bad acting after arriving back at Division. It was so obvious that she wasn't honest.

Michael behaved totally out of character. When it was about his hand he couldn't let it go either but making him now pleading for run and hide was strange. He pleaded for the next mission often enough himself.

I am still mad at the writers for giving Michael his hand just to bring back The Shop (which we did not know would come back in Season 2) so that Amanda could be another step ahead and use it now as the means to an end that won't be an end.

This episode was so full of chliches and plotholes that it's not even funny or entertaining. I did not like that at all.

But at least I liked the way Alex' story developed. It would be a good end for her and they should end her story next episode for good that way.

@Olga: "The Shop" is a nickname coined by Birkhoff, so it's not surprising that Amanda's not using "The Shop" but I wondered the same thing about the nanotoxin.

Anonymous said...

Why does every villain have to have a discernible plan.
When a villain has an end game it inevitably gets stopped by the good duys.
Amanda dosent actually want to achieve anything in terms of finances or for personal power.
Amanda reminds me of the joker from Dark Knight. 'Some people just want to see the world burn'. In this case Amanda wants to see Nikita burn.
Clearly alot of u did not understand The episode that had Amandas backstory. Nikitas character in itself negates everything Amanda/Helen has done. Which is the whole point. Amanda dosent wont to kill nikita she has to break her to give HERSELF meaning. Amanda is a sociapathic loser who has to see nikita become a monster to validate her own existence.
It may not be likeable to some of you but its not generic television thats for sure. I always appreciate a litle sociapath in my villains and Amanda fits that perfectly. I respect the writers for taking risks with the usual abc format of villains.
Also within in the shows world you forget that amanda created owen, alex and nikita, and was around birkhoff and michael long enough to know them inside out. This is why she has been able to survive so long. As the last scene with her and nikita indicated she didnt need a gun because she had already defeated nikita (with a somewhat hokey plot holed plan,i admit).

I agree that michael was rwally annoying this episode.

Sonia seemed to get alot of lines which could indicate her death.

Obviously nikita is going to find a way to give the teams clues to whats going on. Have faith in the writers especially after seasons 1 and 2s endings.

The car scene at the beginning was a callback to nikitas old method of gaining information..She has done this in prior seasons.

Wheres Nadim.

Billie Doux said...

Anonymous, Nadim is no longer writing for us. His site is here:

J.D. Balthazar said...

I totally get where you're coming from Anonymous, in that Amanda could be an incredibly cool and interesting villain. Except the novelty of her ended a long time ago, with a Joker-esqe character they are much better in small doses. Chaos and anarchy follow in their wake, and they slip back to plot another blow against our hero. If that's all they did with Amanda I think I'd actually like her. The problem is they are using her as the only villain right now. She just isn't the right kind of antagonist to sustain this kind of big bad scenario.

I do applaud the writers for investing time and energy into establishing a villain that has unique motives. I just wish they would create more than one.

Bex said...

Amanda was always my favorite character from day one, she´s the new version of my Madeline from LFN.
But I just hate the turn the writers did this season with her, it´s just illogical, unoriginal and boring.

I feel they could have done so many things with her this year and they took the worst. I´m sure she´ll die on the season finale and then I´ll stop watching, for me the show has run its course.

Anonymous said...

It's true :( They give Nikita only 6 episodes in season 4.

Very disappointing but I really hope (and I trust the writers and the showrunner) that they will end the show not only satisfying but also with a bang!

ChrisB said...

Excellent review, J.D. You nailed exactly what I was feeling about this episode.

I also like Olga's comment about why Michael didn't die. There were several fairly large plot holes, of which this was the most obvious.