Category Archives: Nikita

Nikita – Game Change

My favorite new show from the 2010-2011 season has returned! Yes, Nikita beat out the renewed Blue Bloods and the North American version of Being Human, plus the cancelled Detroit 1-8-7, No Ordinary Family, Outsourced, and The Cape as my most exciting discovery of the regular season. The CW kept me on pins and needles, finally renewing Nikita in mid-May, well after I’d learned the fate of the other shows I watched.

Spoilers ahead!

Last season ended with a huge blow-out episode. Percy (Xander Berkeley) found out Michael was working with Nikita (Maggie Q). Alex (Lyndsy Fonseca) was reeling after finding out Nikita killed her parents. Amanda took over Division from Percy with the help of Oversight. Birkhoff helped Michael escape with a decrypted black box.

As this season opens, Nikita and Michael are on the run and trying to set right the wrongs listed on the black box – without “starting World War III.” They’re unaware that Amanda is now in charge of Division, Percy is locked up, and Alex is working with Amanda as an independent contractor. But they know they have to now bring down Oversight (a group of six highly-connected individuals who are responsible for Division) as well as Division.

Oversight sends in a liaison to keep tabs on Division, Sean, played by Dillon Casey (I’m only familiar with the actor from his appearance on the Warehouse 13 pilot). He butts heads with Alex immediately, but you can tell that the sparks between them aren’t just angry ones. With Thom and Jaden dead, Nathan out of the picture, and recruitment on hold, the show really needed someone else for Alex to interact with her own age, and Sean fits that slot. Whether he’ll end up being a good guy or a bad guy remains to be seen.

At the beginning of the episode, Alex doesn’t really seem out to get Nikita. At least intellectually, she understands that Nikita was only following orders, and the real villain is the man who ordered her parents’ deaths. But to get to him, she has to help out Division, so she’s out to retrieve the black box.

Nikita and Michael both get a chance to show off their fighting skills in this episode – Nikita with taking out Russians who laundered money for Division (her tease about breaking up with her boyfriend was so mean – but it made it all that much cooler when Shane West came barging in on his motorcycle), and Michael with helping a prisoner unwillingly escape from jail.

The prisoner had been investigating a Division money heist, so Percy had him framed and then threatened his son if he ever spoke up. Nikita and Michael are about to go get the son when Alex calls Nikita, claiming to be in trouble and back on drugs. But Alex’s ploy to get Nikita out of the way fails when a Division team zooms in. Badly outgunned, all looks lost for Michael and Nikita when fighter drones fly in, take out the Division team, and knock out the two and the prisoner. They wake up in a lavish house to discover the brains behind their rescue – Birkhoff!

I absolutely love that they brought Birkhoff back for season two. And apparently, this season is going to have more humor than the previous one (that and some awesome guest stars were really the only things that were lacking in season one), and Birkhoff (Aaron Stanford) will be a huge part of that. It was hilarious when, after instructing Michael to tell Division they’re not working together (and thus get Division off his back), he steps in front of Michael during a video chat with Division to taunt their techs. Afterwards, Michael deadpans, “By the way, Birkhoff is not working with us.”

I mentioned in my first post about this show, that despite many similarities to Dollhouse, the only significant (meaning more than Shane West’s few lines in one Buffy episode) Whedonverse connection was Melinda Clarke (Amanda), but I’ve found another since then. Marc David Alpert worked on many episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, even getting his name in several cemetery scenes, and he also produces Nikita.

The climax of the episode is the big fight scene between Nikita and Alex. Nikita tried to talk Alex out of fighting her several times, even dropping her weapon while Alex still has her gun pointed at her, but Alex stubbornly keeps attacking. In the end, Nikita breaks her arm and shoots her in the leg, saying. “I’m doing this because I care” and “Get out while you’re still alive.”

I’d be more worried about this making them mortal enemies forever if Nikita hadn’t shot Michael in the shoulder last season – look where he is now. But its certain to fuel Alex’s anger in the short-term, at least. Looking forward to the next episode!

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Nikita – Intense Intrigue

I think it was a Hulu ad that first alerted me to the show Nikita. I wasn’t familiar with any of the previous renderings of the characters and storyline – in fact, I was several episodes in before I realized this wasn’t a brand new show.

The premise of the show intrigued me. A rogue agent taking down a corrupt agency and an undercover agent helping her from the inside. It alone was enough to get me to watch the first episode. I didn’t recognize the actors (the only one I might have noticed in the ad was Shane West), and I generally don’t watch CW shows.

The pilot episode blew me away. Great acting, great plot. Intense action sequences and deep back stories. Intrigue, manipulation, and hidden agendas. And more than that, it filled the missing place I’d had since another show I loved was canceled. That show? Dollhouse.

Before all the Whedonites jump down my throat, let me say that it’s not exactly like Dollhouse or even as good as Dollhouse. There is one Whedon-verse connection on the show, however – Amanda (who channels Adelle from the early episodes of Dollhouse) is played by Melinda Clarke, who also plays Nandi from the Firefly episode Heart of Gold.

Every episode of Nikita delves deeper into the characters. That plus the twisting plotlines makes me feel like I’ve watched the show for two seasons when I’m only 16 episodes (of 22) into the first season.

My favorite character on the show is Michael, played by Shane West. I’d only seen him before on A Walk to Remember, which I’d enjoyed, but not to the point where I looked for him in other movies and shows. After Nikita, however, he moved to my top 20 (if not my top 10) favorite actors. He plays the brooding, conflicted hero so well. And it’s surprising, because he doesn’t seem to have too much that typical “brooding look” many actors do (hint – they’re often cast as vampires). He has to show that brooding in a more subtle and difficult way through his acting.

Maggie Q as Nikita seems a bit cold, but she’s a trained assassin on a mission, so anything else would seem out of place. And that makes her emotional moments all the more poignant.

I only knew Lyndsy Fonseca (who plays Alex, the young undercover agent-in-training) as the daughter in the opening sequences of How I Met Your Mother. Her acting seems slightly overplayed (more dramatic), which works well against Maggie’s underplayed acting.

To round out the cast, you have the power-hungry and manipulative Percy, the poised but lethal Amanda, and the spineless computer genius Birkhoff, plus other recruits, agents, guards, and allies.

To up the show’s pull, episodes end with a final cliffhanging scene that makes you beg for the next episode. This past week’s episode’s was a doozy! And only after watching it did I realize that the show is off the air for 5 whole weeks. I’m going to go crazy! (And yes, that’s why I’m blogging about it now, to keep myself sane as I anticipate the wait!)

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