by J.D. Balthazar
This season has been fairly disappointing so far -- until this episode. For the first time the curtain was pulled back, and we were finally able to see pieces of the whole plan.
I just didn't quite expect corporate espionage on a global scale. I kept thinking while the entire MDK office scene was happening, that the Shop was folding awfully easily. So of course in the end it wasn't actually that simple. This was the first time I bought the Shop as a credible enemy. They won, and not just by countering Nikita and beating her down. They won by letting her win as well.
The pieces of the Shop's plan to let Nikita win were all well-thought-out, too. They used a familiar asset (Ramón) to acquire the missile, he was someone that Nikita had basically saved before; red flag 1. Amanda let Peller try and destroy Shadownet knowing full well that would alert Birkhoff and possibly open a bridge to their location; red flag 2. And finally, there was Amanda's rather bizarre need to destroy the U.S. Carrier Group with no real end game or reason so that Nikita would be forced to use drastic measures, red flag 3. None of those on their own came across as particularly fishy, but together though? I gotta give the Nikita PTB some credit on this one, good job with plot-fu.
It wasn't just a partial win, either. They got Birkhoff's father, they recovered the President, and they effectively took down a billion dollar arm of the Shop with one four man raid; okay that's red flag number 4. I can't see Team Nikita buying that story for too long though, not with so many easy coincidences and with so many pieces falling into place so well. It wraps up too neatly, which of course feels like an elaborate set-up, and one thing our spies have always had trouble with is a simple, clean outcome.
Then there was the hero moment at the end, where Nikita tried to save Amanda. While I get Nikita's need to try and save everyone, I actually yelled at the screen. "Amanda? Really!?" After everything she's done to Nikita, you'd think Nikki would just smile and let her die. Instead she put herself in harm's way again, for someone who wasn't worth it. Of course Nikita didn't have any major injuries from the ballistic missile explosion, and she even got Michael back. I knew the break-up wouldn't last very long.
I'm not entirely sure how it works in tech land, but the idea of capturing one missile to access the entire Pakistani missile defense network feels like a fault in the system, especially with the nation on high alert because of all the weirdo allegations that they were in cahoots with Nikita. An intrusion of that significance would've set off every alarm they have, and every network guy on staff would've been hunting down the worm. Also having Birkhoff isolate that one missile was so clearly plot foreshadowing. I just knew that MDK office in Dubai was gonna be toast by the end of the episode.
The B-plot wasn't quite as action-focused, but had a few fun moments. They really are going full speed on the Alex/Sam (Owen) thing, which I'm totally happy with. Even with Sam being money-focused and smarmy, he clearly cares for Alex; otherwise he wouldn't have gone back into the hotel to save her life. That moment on the couch also felt genuine, and I thought the sparks between them were palpable. Still I'm glad they didn't force a kiss or anything. That would've been too soon. Sam needs to accept Owen as a part of himself to be worthy of Alex, and at the moment he is still mostly just a duplicitous opportunist (try saying that five times fast).
I could see the twist coming at the end with the Amanda who died being a duplicate. There was no way this show was gonna kill her off with two episodes to go. Ah well.
No Sonia at all in this episode. Where did she go?
Ramón was a one-shot character from season 2. I really liked them bringing him back. It not only felt like good continuity, but a nice wave to the long time fans of the series. Plus we got some neat bionic-leg-fu with his jump over Michael's head, and a good moment for Michael and his miracle hand.
Alex: "I guess I could use an undercover prop."
Alex: "You could be my gold-digging boy-toy."
Jones: "You're no longer in a position to make any calls when it comes to Nikita, remember?"
Amanda: "I'm simply advising you."
Jones: "Your bizarre obsession with this woman has put us in danger of critical exposure."
Peller: "This is really every father's dream, watching his son launch a ballistic missile onto his own position."
This was a significant improvement over the last three episodes. I'm also starting to feel the overall scope of the season now too. This episode also effectively wipes the board in set-up for the final two episodes, which may be a good thing. At least I hope it's a good thing.
3 out of 4 Ballistic Missiles