Nikita: All The Way

"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.

- Believe 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.

Nikki Notables:

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.

11 comments:

Miguel said...

This episode is amazing. I remember the first time I watched season one and got about six episodes in, I thought, hey this show is actually kind of good and definitely watchable. By the time I got to episodes 8-10 I felt myself becoming addicted and a little impressed by the storytelling, but then this episode happened and it blew me away. I never thought a little show on the CW would deliver such an epic, beautifully acted, nail-biting and emotionally charged hour. I have watched all the big "critically-acclaimed" genre shows (Breaking Bad, 2004's Battlestar Galactica, The Sopranos, The Wire, Alias, Buffy etc.) and this episode is right up there with their bests. Once this episode happened, I knew I was sucked in and couldn't stop. I then proceeded to marathon to the end of the season in a couple of days.

The first half of Nikit's premiere season is pretty fair, a little mediocre in places, spy-lite television, but this episode raised the roof on the quality this show can produce, and the rest of the season doesn't disappoint either. I recently raced through and finished the Vampire Diaires, and needed a new show to love, one that would suck me in and have me glued to my couch, and thank you so much Nadim for helping me discover my next television obsession (I'm almost done with season two now).

All the actors gave phenomenal performances, and almost like Alias' Phase II episode did, All The Way surprised and shocked the hell out of me; the episode moved at such a breathtaking pace. I love the character of Nikita so much, and that scene with her in chains and breaking them out of the ceiling is one of my favorite moments in the series. The second would have to be her taking down all those recruits in division. Imagine how long that must have taken to film.

My rating: Simply Incredible.

KaZ (AKA Caped Crusader) said...

Hi Nadim,

I could not wait for you to review this episode. It is absolutely outstanding and as Miguel stated above really made me take note of how this show raised the roof.

I found the first half of Nikita's season rocky but that's like most first seasons of new shows. This episode changed everything from here on out though its sheer excellence all the way through to the season 2 finale (give or take a couple of episodes). I don't want to spoil anything for those who are new to this show but I can't wait for certain season 1 episodes to get reviewed. I have my favourites. :-P

Nikita for me is vastly becoming a favourite of mine to watch on the CW. I watch a lot of shows but it's currently filling the spot that Alias vacated in the spy drama genre.

I was so happy Nadim when you started to review this show. After watching this Nikita I had to order all seasons of LFN and the two films (Luc Beeson's Nikita and The Assassin) on DVD. I have watched the films and am hoping to start LFN soon.

Before I forget I would just like to say thank you for reviewing this show Nadim. Like this episode and the show - you are doing an amazing job.

Side Note: I really need to create a user account on this as I read the reviews from far and rarely comment although as you can see I always have a lot to say. I have followed Billie Doux for years now (back in the Buffy days!) and have welcomed all the new writers and someday hope to join the staff :-)

Keep up the good work.
KaZ

Anonymous said...

For sure a stand out episode of the season, maybe even of the series.

Maggie and the chaines were awesome. And the interrogation/torture scenes with Amanda are always great - regardless who the victim is.

Nadim said...


Hey guys. Thank you so much for your kind words. It's really nice to hear that people are actually reading my reviews and better yet, they're enjoying them! It really motivates me to keep on writing!

I agree Miguel, Nikita is right up there with the best although it will probably never get that recognition being a CW show and an action show. This episode really reminded me of of Phase One from Alias as well, another favorite hour of TV of mine!

Kaz, Nikita really did fill the Alias void in my heart as well and it's really cool to see that I'm not the only one who experienced that! By the way, let me know if you think LFN is worth watching since we're both Alias and Nikita fans before watching the original LFN. I'd be interested to hear your recommendation.
Also, you should email Billie about possibly reviewing here for the future! You obviously know your stuff!

Thank you guys for commenting. Keep 'em coming!

Mikey said...

I remember during the summer of 2010, I had written Nikita off as total fluff. For me, it was all about NBC's Undercovers. JJ Abrams producing with some writing and directing? Check. Giacchino score? Check. High production values? Check.

Now THIS was gonna be the spiritual child of Alias.

And then something peculiar happened. I watched the pilot for Nikita out of curiosity... and I loved it. It had style, a strong lead in Maggie, and that twist ending - so obvious in retrospect - completely floored me.

Then I saw the pilot for Undercovers and it was, well, cute. And polished.

I began watching both shows, but Undercovers became a chore. Other than Giacchino's score (not enough can be said about that man), the show was far too inconsequential to me. I didn't even finish the season.

Nikita, however, exploded for me. My roommate and I swallowed up every episode. The fight between Michael and Nikita in the third episode was a clincher for me, but it was the climax of "All the Way" that cemented my fan-lust.

I don't think Nikita has quite topped that final, climactic set piece. Like the final ten minutes of the epic Alias episode "The Telling," Nikita set the bar VERY high.

Luckily, the character work and slick editing keep me coming back every week. I still hope they can manage to top the sheer audacity of "All the Way."

Anonymous said...

Nadim, if you like stuff like Nikita and Alias you should give LFN a try.

Although Nikita has some aspects which are similar to LFN, the overall arc is different. To me the characters of LFN are more intense and not so light, because the story isn´t as decentralized as Nikita. In LFN the overall theme is the developement of Nikita and maybe her relationship to Michael, whereupon the fight against Devision is central on Nikita.

If you don´t mind watching an older show which of course has its flaws with the today´s knowledge, than you should at least try it. It´s the mother of shows like Alias and Nikita. And seeing Roy Dupuis as Michael is reason enough to watch LFN.

Nadim said...

Very interesting thoughts Mikey. I don't think I have a sequence that tops the power of the above mentioned "All The Way" scenes but there is one episode which had enough emotion to to rival it. And fthat would be "Power" from the second season which I already reviewed on my blog and will reach it soon on Billie Doux. Without spoiling anything for those have not seen it, it's probably my favorite episode of Nikita or at least equals this one. Beyond brilliant.

And yes, I will definitely watch LFN at some point!

Sooze said...

Nadim - I have been skimming through your reviews because I planned on watching Nikita at some point and I didn't want to completely spoil myself. Your enthusiasm is so infectious...now I think I need to move Nikita to the top of my "haven't seen it yet" list for viewing, now that I have finished BSG, and series 10 of MI-5.
I'm looking forward to being able to go back and read your reviews in full, and more slowly.
I am a huge Alias fan (I believe it is the show that first brought me to this site...can't remember) - and based what you and other folks are saying, this show fills the "Alias void". Can't wait.

Nadim said...

Thanks Sooze. I really can't contain my excitement for this show because I'd been waiting for show to fill my Alias void for SO long. I'm sure it will do the same for you! Be sure to comment from the beginning when you start watching! I intend on finish both seasons' reviews before the third season starts up again so try to catch up if you can!

Anonymous said...

What more can I say? You´ve already said everything I think too. What an amazing, amazing episode! I love Amanda´s interrogation scenes and I just love Nikki ripping the chains and fighting alongisde Alex.
WOW! I´m naming these scenes but I love everything in this episode and your review is also amazing.

ChrisB said...

There is only one thing to say about this episode, and that is WOW! I could list all the other adjectives, but most have them have been used in the comments above.

Simply amazing hour of television. Loved it.