Nikita: Game Change

"I want a home; I just wanna be able to live with myself when I get there."

Season premieres are almost always risky propositions and I think Nikita did a very good job with its second year opener. While there was a bit too much exposition (as expected), the hour arranged this season's chess pieces in a nonetheless exciting and intriguing manner.

First off, it's fun to see Nikita and Michael on the run. I'm a fan of seasons where our protagonists are never in one place for too long (the second season of Prison Break comes to mind) as it infuses the proceedings with an unpredictable and unstable element. In addition, I love seeing Amanda in power and Percy imprisoned. I mentioned this a lot last year, but Amanda is a much better fit for the show as its primary antagonist as she's infinitely more complex than Percy (not to mention creepier).

This was also a good episode for Alex as it conveyed just how determined yet undeniably lost she's become with different forces tugging at her from all sides. Her confrontation with Nikita at the end was phenomenal, and especially heartbreaking, as our heroine broke her former protege's arm (to incapacitate her) and then proceeded to shoot her in the leg. Lyndsy Fonseca's screams of agony literally sent chills down my spine.

And finally, I'm not totally convinced by the introduction of Sean Pierce. Much like Nathan, he feels like a CW mandate for Alex as a potential love interest. Still, it's too early to judge.

Bits & Bullets:

- Fantastic opening with Nikki robbing the underground casino. And the explosion revealing Michael on his motorcycle was badass, too.

- Way too much exposition in the Nikki-Michael motel room scene. I get that we're trying to get new viewers up to speed, but overkill much?

- Alex beating up the casino thugs was quite satisfying.

- I still can not get enough of any scenes featuring Amanda and Alex in the room together.

- The fighter drones that saved Nikki & Michael were much too CGI for the show.

- I enjoyed Birkhoff for the first time ever in this episode. He had some nice moments with Nikki and Michael. I especially enjoyed him taunting Amanda and the Division crew via webcam.

Nikki Notables:

Michael: (To Nikita) Would you like to buy ammo or groceries this month? Because we can't buy both.

Michael: (To Nikita) You're right, you never said you were perfect. I did.

Nikita: (To Birkhoff) Aw, nerd, you're lonely. And you have no friends and you missed us, so you saved us.

Amanda: (To Michael) By the way, where's Nikita? Shouldn't I be speaking to the man in charge?

- "Game Change" is an effective season opener that does a pretty good job of setting the show's new status quo.

3.5 out of 5 fighter drones.

Previously posted at Nad's Reviews.

6 comments:

Miguel said...

I loved Berkhoff in this episode more than ever before rescuing our renegades while trying to mantain a low profile with division.
(Michael:"Oh yeah, and Berkhoff is is no way working with us"....haha, too good.)

The fight at the end between Nikita and Alex was really what made the episode for me. Nikita breaking Alex's arm and then shooting her in the leg shocked me. It ultimately had to be done, as Alex was clearly in over her head. Nikita said she did it because she cares, and although she was being honest, I'm worried Alex won't see it that way and only be more determined to beat Nikita in the next round.

Oh how things have changed. The show's confidence in itself to completely change the dynamics of the show is admirable and a risk that is ultimately paying off.

Oh and Percy in a magneto-like cell hundreds of feet underground is delightful. I love his and Amanda's back and fourth banter throughout the season. It was a good move of the writers to keep him around. He plays off the other characters so well.

A very solid season premiere that made me look forward to what the writers had next. I was so glad Nikita returned with a bang.

Nadim said...

Thanks Miguel. We agree on everything it seems. I had forgotten about the Birkhoff working with us moment. That was wonderful!

And yes the show's confidence is impressive. I seem to remember this season having a weak stretch in the next few episodes so we'll see if that's still there. Of course, halfway through season Nikita becomes epic television and one of my favorite years of any tv show ever!

Anonymous said...

I wouldn´t say that Amanda is better villain than Percy. I think they complement each other very well, they are different kind of villains.

The Nikki-Alex confrontation was insane, but I agree...the CGI drones were crappy and over the top.

ChrisB said...

Like you, I am not sold on the introduction of Sean. It's so obvious what he is there to achieve; but, if the writers aren't careful, they are going to make him so unsympathetic that any kind of relationship with Alex is going to feel forced.

Yes the drones were obvious CGI, but I loved them. It ramped up that scene to a whole other level and I was cheering them on.

While I was watching the scenes with Michael and Nikita, it occurred to me that some other shows could take a cue from this one. So many shows now, afraid of the "Moonlighting Curse," keep the obvious couple apart for far too long. As a result, when they do finally come together, the expectations have become so high that nothing could ever meet them.

By bringing this couple together before the end of the first season, it feels very organic and real to watch them interact. I also love what it has done with the character of Nikita. Being with Michael has softened her (in a good way) and gives her someone to lean on, which in turn only makes her stronger. A good choice that I hope they stick with.

Nadim said...

So true about not dragging out the love story. It's this unorthodox decision that made me love the show even more! Plenty of developments such as these to come :)

Anonymous said...

I loved this episode. Like you said, the show´s confidence is what helps the episodes even more. But I loved how the dynamics of the show changed for everyone. I love seeing Nikki, Michael and now Birkoff together as well Amanda leading Division.
The fight scene between Alex/Nikita was outstanding but heartbreaking at the same time because the relationship they had and that I loved seems to be shattered.