Last week’s episode of NIKITA was shocking on multiple levels. First, it dared to kill off a fan-favorite character. Second, it dared to burn down its own house. NIKITA has always been a trigger-happy show and has dared to kill off high profile characters before (R.I.P. Percy), but killing one of its white-knight heroes was earth-shattering. In addition, we all knew the days of Division being able to operate as a clandestine force for good would be short-lived with all those allegedly reformed agents chaffing under the imposed-constraints. We just did not suspect that it would be this short. Division literally imploded once the recruits figured out that their own government was coming to exterminate each and everyone of them, effectively reneging on the deal to give each a pardon in exchange for their service in tracking down the rogue Division agents.
In the ashes of the scary and unsettling episode, we watched aghast at the destruction – both physical and emotional. Nikita (Maggie Q) may have been rescued from Amanda’s (Melinda Clarke) evil clutches, but the damage to her psyche may be just as irreparable as the damage inflicted on Alex (Lyndsy Fonseca), for Amanda’s mind-games and psychological warfare has taken a heavy toll. It has stolen their friend and ally Owen (Devon Sawa) and replaced him with his former identity – a ner’do well self-centered opportunist. It has shaken Alex’s confidence in everything she believed to be true about Nikita, their relationship and the role of Division in their lives. It stole and seemingly returned Michael’s (Shane West) arm, which may or may not still be a weapon to be used against them. It has put each and every one of them in the cross-hairs of the U.S. government who wants to literally bury them all in order to forget the sins of its past. And heart-breakingly, it claimed the life of Sean Pierce (Dillon Casey).
When Amanda threatened to turn everyone in Nikita’s life against her, we scoffed just as much as she did. We knew that the people Nikita had surrounded herself with would literally die for and would never betray her. So instead of using the usual tactics of bribery and coercion, which are never very effective, Amanda found ways to hijack the minds or bodies of those closest to Nikita. Whoever wrote the “The Art of War” has nothing on the art of manipulation that Amanda skillfully wields. She can literally get inside a person’s head and mess it up so that she can alter their base instincts of who they love and protect. Amanda has never needed a gun, she just needed a few carefully chosen words and those words would do more damage than a bullet ever could have.
It was not Alex’s tears that shook us the core, but rather the look of utter defeat on Birkhoff’s (Aaron Stanford) face as he stood amongst the ruins of Division. Nikita is a trained fighter. Even when the world around her is disintegrating, she refuses to give up. She does not see all the chaos as a sign that she failed; she views it as a the next challenge. But as viewers, we have been privy to more than what Nikita has seen and knows. We have seen the depths to which Alex has sunk in her despair and lonelinessness. We have seen the soullessness to Owen, which we thought would never see the light of day. We have seen the twinges of uncertainty on Michael’s face over the unexpected gift of a new hand. We were there as Birkhoff struggled in vain to keep Division from burning down its own house in their fear, anger and rage at a government that treats them like bastard-children. Nikita has also not lost anyone close to her in this deadly-dance with Amanda. Sure, Nikita liked Sean, but he was not the love of her life. He was a convenient ally. Nikita has not lost enough for her to really know who the cracks in the core relationships in her life are going to have more long-term, permanent effects. But we see those cracks, those dividing lines, that erosion of trust and know that Nikita’s world is about to come crumbling down around her. Amanda is not just setting off a homemade bomb (albeit an emotional/mental bomb opposed to a physical one), she is demonstrating that “death by a thousand cuts” hurts more than one lethal blow. She is slowly stripping the people that Nikita loves and relies on out of her life – leaving Nikita alone and defenseless.
However, there is the error in Amanda’s plan. She has forgotten that is when Nikita is her most dangerous – when she is utterly alone. Without the constraints and having to worry about those she cares about, Nikita is a finely-tuned killing machine. She will kill without hesitation and without remorse, if there is no one to stop her. Nikita only became a weapon for good once she began to see herself as others saw her. It was only once she wanted to prove that she was a better person and, thus deserved a better life, that she began to atone for her past sins. Over the years, she wanted to prove to Michael, to Alex, to Birkhoff, to Ryan, to Owen and now to herself that she is worthy of love, redemption and being a leader for others feeling just as lost in the world. But if none of those people are there to witness that she has changed, then Nikita is free to do what she does best. Track down and eliminate threats.
Amanda may feel she knows and can anticipate how Nikita will react – but does she really? Did she actually ever foresee that Nikita would seek redemption and turn on those that created her? Did she foresee that Nikita would strive to connect to and to love so many people? Amanda has always under-estimated Nikita that way. It is why Amanda has failed time and time again. Nikita is a wild-card. A woman driven by mass contradictions, yet over-coming every obstacle in her way; and Amanda should know better than to torment a woman so determined to protect and love. Love conquers all – and Nikita fueled by her love and loyalty to those she cares about is unstoppable.
Division may be in ruins, abandoned and hunted, but that will never stop Nikita. She has too much to prove, too many people to save, too many villains to stop, and a drive to be something she can never attain: a better person. But it will fuel her never-ending crusade to bring down Amanda and anyone else who stands in her way.
Warning to Amanda: Do you feel that bulls-eye on your back? You may not have earned a death-card before, but this latest attempt to sabotage Nikita’s life has ear-marked you for certain death. Make your peace on this Earth because you will not have long now to say your goodbyes. Nikita’s vengeance knows no bounds. And we’re looking forward to cheering her on. You’re time is up.
NIKITA airs Friday nights at 8:00 p.m. on the CW.
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