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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