This episode was both better and more affecting than I expected. It had moments I've been wanting to see for quite a while, and ended one character's arc in a fitting and heartwrenching way.
At the top of the episode we got Nikita undressed and vulnerable, lying on a bed as if she hadn't a care in the world. Sure it was kinda gratuitous, but at least it wasn't as bad as the infamous red bikini. The whole sequence felt intentionally dream-like, as if it were all an illusion and maybe Nikita was really stuck in Amanda's chair somewhere, and all the positive outcomes were fake. Of course as soon as the characters mentioned it felt like a dream, that was effectively shattered.
Nikita being the face of the truth was an interesting choice. Trapping her in a big lie again felt like a bit of a repeat of her original situation with Division (with an admittedly better set of living arrangements). In fact the whole coming out to the public thing was very interesting. Division is finally out of the bag and revealed to everyone, which was long overdue but fitting for the penultimate episode of the series. I also thought that the full debriefing montage was really fun. Hearing our main characters tell their stories out loud illustrated how ridiculous some of it was, and when they were finished I laughed at the bewildered and confused expressions on all the Senators' faces.
Ryan of course suspected conspiracy, only why was he the only one that did? All those things he listed were totally suspicious. Maybe his creepy conspiracy wall made his claims feel off (I'm actually kind of tired of that visual cue. The Wall of Weird has become so cliché that I've started to roll my eyes whenever one shows up). Then he ignored Nikita, and went to see Jones alone. I'm not sure I buy how he was kidnapped and put in Amanda's chair, but the following scene was very intense. His choice to sacrifice himself instead of letting her mess with his mind was devastating. I've always liked Ryan and I thought his end was perfect for his character. I hope he is the only one we lose.
I think Mr. Adrian (Vincent Ventresca from Dollhouse and The Invisible Man) playing tennis was the wrong move to set up the new head honcho of the Shop; he doesn't really seem menacing at all. It wasn't the actor's fault because I know he can play evil, he was an absolute monster on Dollhouse. I wonder if he was set up with a lack of menace to make him seem like a hurdle that Amanda can easily jump in order to take control of the Shop. For example, he was easily duped into letting Amanda augment all the doubles so they would be more loyal, so of course she made them loyal to her above all else.
So Sam wants to be a better man for Alex. That's a good start, and it was very healthy of Alex to push him away until he figured things out first. It wasn't a no, it was a 'not until you're ready'. Also that kiss, finally. It fit as a follow up of Alex's scene where she saved Sam. Her going in alone and apparently unarmed was a nice nod to her character in general. She's always been the one that seemed vulnerable and always underestimated. So when she made that simple declaration to the thug that Sam owed money to, it didn't seem like much of a threat. Alex isn't given the opportunity to be a true badass that often, and when she is it always makes me smile.
Philip Jones. I hadn't caught the reference before, but he shares the same name as an integral character from the final arc of La Femme Nikita.
It was good that they confirmed that Chappell was not a double early in the episode, otherwise it would've seemed like he was pressuring Nikita to keep quiet in service of the Shop.
How did Sonya end up with Birkhoff? Was she in transition to America in the last episode?
Never really thought about it before, but Nikita Mears... could they have come up with a worse last name?
There were eight members of the Shop. Assuming Mr. Avery is one of them, we have six yet to see. There are also 50 more doubles and we've only seen one: Ms. Dixon, the CEO of the Markridge Group.
During Ryan's mad escape attempt, I wish he had just put a bullet in Amanda's head. It would have been fitting enough for me, but I guess I can understand why the writers didn't go there.
I loved that the episode ended with Nikita and Alex together, ready to go after Amanda. It basically set up the finale in a way that I might get some of the stuff I'd hoped for going into this season.
Birkhoff: "That evil freaking bitch!"
I loved this reaction, with Birkhoff kicking the television that was showing Nikita getting a medal.
Ryan: "Nikita told you her price, and you paid it."
Nikita: "Ryan's dead, and they want to give me a medal."
So naturally she put the medal with Ryan's body. I loved the sentiment.
Much like the last episode, this was quite a bit better then the first three of the season. I'm really looking forward to the finale now, and I hope it delivers as well as this episode did.
3 1/2 out of 4 medals given to the wrong person.
J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related.