Nikita: Rough Trade

"You think you're gonna break me?"

I was pleasantly surprised by this one. What started out as a potentially eye-rolling hour about slave labor and the fashion industry, soon evolved into a complicated hour about trauma and forgiveness.

First off, Michael and Nikita's relationship is developing perfectly with just the right amount of animosity, suspicion, and enlightenment (for Michael at least). I'm enjoying the fact that she's opening his eyes to the truth just a little bit more with every episode. Moreover, Maggie Q conveys so much depth and range with every single look. I love how she got forgiven at the end but Maggie Q still played it with a hint of unworthiness. It's both heroic and heartbreaking.

I also believe a highlight of Nikita are the revelatory scenes between Alex and Amanda. Here, the former reveals her sex-slave past while the latter retains her menacing composure in an utterly compelling manner before executing her sinister plan. And even after the exercise is over, Amanda still suspects Alex which of course is necessary for the plot's longevity but also further exemplifies just how smart these characters are. Lyndsy Fonseca and Melinda Clarke are just phenomenal together (particularly in later episodes). The fact that the two actresses are such good friends (as evidenced by Lyndsy's Twitter feed) is just icing on the cake.

Bits & Bullets:

- Alex getting an anxiety attack under the car was pretty disturbing.

- I liked Maggie Q and Shane West's chemistry during that flashback. Her wig, on the other hand..

- I think one of the most memorable and beautifully filmed scenes Nikita has ever done is that entire sequence as she exits her vehicle with the baton, frees the slave laborers while kicking their captives' asses, and then finally setting the factory on fire. Beyond badass.

- So amused by Amanda's drugged up tea.

- Baby bomb? Horrifyingly genius.

- Love how Amanda straps Alex to a heartbeat-synced straight-jacket. Another innovative yet insanely creepy Division tactic.

- Although I should have, I really didn't expect Victor to be working with the Red Circle Triad.

- Incredible slow-mo shot of Nikita smashing through the glass with a fire extinguisher.

- Love the juxtaposition of Alex's fake story to Amanda with flashbacks of the real event.

- The peanut oil lipstick? Utterly brilliant twist that makes perfect sense in hindsight of the allergy we heard of in the flashback.

- Of course Nikita takes out Victor's gang with her hands in cuffs. God I love her.

- Michael saving Nikita with the sniper rifle is just a kickass moment.

- And how exactly does Michael owe Percy his life? Hmm...

Nikki Notables:

Nikita: Be a good slave and tell me the address.

Amanda: We still need to work on your manners.
Alex: Sorry to ruin the whole day-spa vibe you've got going on here.

Amanda: (To Alex in a straight-jacket) Do you like it? It's part of our spring collection.

Victor: So what you makes think you can make a difference in the world?
Nikita: You. In Prison. Being man-raped? That'd be different.

Nikita: I can't believe I ever thought you were cute.
Victor: I can't believe I never had my way with you.
Nikita: You couldn't handle me. Not then, not now.

- The strongest hour yet, "Rough Trade" is a thrilling and layered hour of Nikta.

3.5 out of 5 straight jackets.

Previously posted at Nad's Reviews.

4 comments:

PlatinumRosebud said...

Another good review, Nadim.
Love your Nikki Notables.
This show's writers really gets to me. The continuity, the mixture of sarcasm and humor; brilliantly delivered by the actors, especially by Maggie Q.
Shane West, btw, i've observed the that in the coming episodes, he's sorta becomes more comfortable, acting-wise. I think it added spunk to his chemistry with the rest of the cast, not just with Maggie.
Have a nice day! :)

Nadim said...

You're so right. It's such a potent mix of comedy, action and fantastic continuity. And it just keeps getting better!
You're so right about Shane West by the way. When I began the show last year, I wasn't really a fan but he slowly improved and became an integral part of the show!

Anonymous said...

This review is spot-on. Once again, it all comes down to the characters and I love Nikita, Alex and Amanda.

ChrisB said...

I agree with the comments about Shane West. I didn't know that much about him before this, but he is impressing me. He can convey a lot in a look -- like the one he gave Nikita from the rooftop. Sigh...